Nearly 400 years after the worst of the Norwegian witch trials ripped through the area, approximately 100 people have made their way to the small town of Vardoe, just over 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) from the North Pole, for northern Norway's first ever witch conference.
"When we take the low population of Finnmark (Norway's northernmost county and home to Vardoe) into consideration, the persecution of accused witches is almost the worst in all of Europe," Rune Blix Hagen Hagen, historian at the University of Tromsoe, says. Approximately 20 percent of the 138 people convicted of witchcraft in Finnmark county between 1598 and 1692 were Sami.
While the belief in witchcraft and magic may appear firmly lodged in the past, the willingness to participate in witch hunts has not ebbed with the passing centuries, according to social anthropologist Jan Broegger. >> continue