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Matthew Hopkins
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Witch Hunter
    (circa 1620-August 1647)
    Born in Grantham, England, United Kingdom
    Self-proclaimed Witchfinder General
    Conducted witch hunts in Sussex, Essex and Norfolk (1644-47)
    Wrote 'The Discovery of Witches' (1647)
    He falsely claimed he had been authorized by Parliament to hunt witches.
    He used sleep deprivation, forcing the accused to walk up and down their cells until their feet blistered and other 'aggressive interrogation' techniques to extract confessions.
    He tended to pick on already unpopular outcasts for his victims.
    He was responsible for the execution of 200-400 people.
    Folklore claimed he was himself accused of witchcraft and executed, but most historians think he died in bed from tuberculosis.
    Montague Summers wrote, 'His reign of terror has caused his name to stink in the nostrils of all decent persons ever since.'
    He found a lucrative career, earning five pounds for each witch caught at a time when the average daily wage was six pence.
    He was satirized in Samuel Butler's poem 'Hubridas.'
    He was portrayed by Vincent Price in the cult horror film 'Witchfinder General.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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