Child testimonies during an outbreak of witch hysteria: Sweden 1670-1671

J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1995 Sep;36(6):1039-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.1995.tb01349.x.


Eight hundred and nine testimonies given by children between the ages of 1 and 16 to the priests of the parish of Rättvik, and to the Royal commission of inquiry, during an outbreak of witch hysteria in 1670-71 are examined. The result implies that the capacity to separate reality from fantasy as well as the tendency to give stereotyped testimonies are related to age, social influence from other children and sex. The results also suggest that the testimonies were influenced by the person investigating the child.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / history*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Fantasy*
  • Female
  • History, 17th Century
  • Humans
  • Hysteria / history*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Sweden
  • Truth Disclosure*
  • Witchcraft / history*