Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands perished during the extraordinary outbreaks of witchcraft in Scotland. Looking at two distinct episodes in the history of Scottish witchcraft panics (1590/1 & 1597), this half-day symposium seeks to explain and understand the explosive background of accusations and denunciations and looks at the pivotal role of King James VI as witch hunter and interrogator.
In addition to the historical background to these events, which saw the unusual and personal intervention of the king, we will explore contemporary understanding of cognitive psychologies to analyse the behaviour of those accused of witchcraft. Why where so many people denounced without evidence, and why were the accusers so readily believed?
Professor Julian Goodare – University of Edinburgh
Dr Louise Yeoman – BBC Radio Scotland
Dr Fay Skelton – Edinburgh Napier University
Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence, University of Edinburgh