Norway’s easternmost town of Vardø has a dark secret. The town is on a small island off the coast of the Varanger Peninsula. At more than 31 degrees east of the Greenwich Meridian, Vardø lies further east than the Bosphorus and the Egyptian city of Alexandria.
In the 16th century, Vardø hosted an extraordinary series of trials in which men and women were accused of witchcraft. Over 100 people were brought before court, leading to 77 women and 14 men being burnt at the stake. The majority of those charged with witchcraft were Norwegians; a small minority were from the local Sami population. The denunciation of those suspected of engaging in witchcraft by the wider population spread fear across the Varanger Peninsula and beyond.