Deaths From the European Witch Craze

In response to the claim:
Nevertheless, the number of people executed in Medieval Europe for "witchcraft" was very large the estimate is nine million died. Actually, the Witch Craze was a phenomenon of the Renaissance — the Malleus Maleficarum was written in the late 15th century. There were relatively few executions for witchcraft (as opposed to heresy) during Medieval times — Barstow, ref. below, estimates ~500 for all of western Europe before 1500.

Nine million sounds like a huge exaggeration. I don't have a bibliography, but I do have some data from one recent book:
Witch craze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts, Anne Llewellyn Barstow, Pandora 1995. A good read, though pretty gruesome in places (16th century executions were nasty affairs).

Adapted from Appendix B: See the book for a much more complete breakdown, together with references to primary sources. The period considered is roughly 1500-1650 (the Witch Craze hit different parts of Europe at different times during this interval). There were few (~500) executions for witchcraft before 1500 — it was a phenomenon of the Renaissance rather than of the Middle Ages.
Location Accused Executed
Holy Roman Empire ~100,000+ ~50,000+
Poland ? ~15,000+
France 10,000+ 5,000+
British Isles
England 2,000 ~1,000
Scotland 3,069 1,337+
Ireland 0 0
New England 334 37
Scandinavia ~5,000 1,500-1,800
Hungary ~1,600 472
Spain 3,687 100+
Italy ~2,200+ 0?

The Holy Roman Empire figure includes the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and parts of modern France, as well as Germany and Austria. Remember that Poland was a huge country back then as well. Both Catholic and Protestant states persecuted witches — this was one issue on which they were in agreement. The low number of executions in Italy and Spain is interesting — the Spanish Inquisition was more interested in heretics and in relapsed converts from Judaism, Islam, etc. than in accusations of witchcraft.

In most areas most of the victims (roughly ¾) were female. Notable exceptions include Finland, Estonia and Russia, but the total numbers from these countries are not large.

Obviously the quality of the primary data varies considerably; in some areas detailed court records survive, in others very little.

We have another (unconfirmed) claim:
"Gerald Gardner, the founder of Modern Witchcraft, estimated nine million victims of the witch hunts off the top of his head when planning his Witchcraft museum. He justified this by saying that if it were done today, there would be about nine million victims of a witch craze."

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