A witch-hunt or a witch purge is a search for people who have been labelled "witches" or a search for evidence of
In current language, "witch-hunt" metaphorically means an investigation that is usually conducted with much publicity, supposedly to uncover subversive activity, disloyalty, and so on, but with the real purpose of intimidating political opponents.
The wide distribution of the practice of witch-hunts in geographically and culturally separated societies (Europe, Africa, India, New Guinea) since the 1960s has triggered interest in the
Belief in witchcraft has been shown to have similarities in societies throughout the world. It presents a framework to explain the occurrence of otherwise random misfortunes such as sickness or death, and the witch sorcerer provides an image of evil. Reports on indigenous practices in the Americas, Asia and Africa collected during the early modern
One study finds that witchcraft beliefs are associated with antisocial attitudes: lower levels of trust, charitable giving and group participation. Another study finds that income shocks (caused by extreme rainfall) lead to a large increase in the murder of "witches" in Tanzania.