Witch-Hunts (often spelled "Witch Hunts"), also known as Witch-Hunting (often spelled "Witch Hunting") refers to a series of historical events in which a moral panic would break out in the search for perceived "witches" in medieval Europe and beyond - often a Witch-Hunt involved many unjust and criminal actions on the part of what would be viewed today as "angry mobs" as well as infamous societies dedicated to torturing victims into confessing their crimes.
Often a Witch-Hunt targeted people based purely on rumor or superstition and once they became convinced of a victim's guilt they would engage in torture, harassment and even lynching - one of the most well-known of the Witch-Hunt punishments was to be burnt at The Stake (though this was actually a lot rarer than most people assume, normally most witches would be hanged, the only places were it was common to burn witches Spain, Italy etc. are the places were they killed the least witches, this myth most likely stems from the fact they would often burn the bodies of the witches after they were killed, for fear they may come back to life.).
Many people lost their lives to the Witch-Hunt in the past (mostly women, though more men than its normally stated also met a similar fate) - either being burned at The Stake, tortured to death or drowned via the Dunking Stool.
The horrific and unfair nature of the Witch-Hunt continues to live on in infamy and has been adopted for any situation that is seen as being akin to it, such as when governments or a group of people pursue perceived enemies with reckless abandon.
Although originally supportive of the Witch-Hunt most religious societies and governments have since gone on to condemn the actions of their ancestors and pardoned most of the victims who died as a result of these events. Ironically, religion actually plays much less a role in the witch hunts than its normally assumed, the majority of witches were executed by legal courts, religious courts almost never executed people for witchcraft, normally if they were executed they would be killed for being heretics not witches, however in the sixteenth century with the loss of religious influence, due to the rise of Protestantism, witchcraft became regarded as a secular crime rather than a religious one and was thus more often handled by legal courts, this is the event most histories link to the significant rise in executions for witches.