A number of events taking place in the twenty-first century such as mass arrests of members of the Iran President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad's executive office accused of witchcraft make one doubt that witch hunt trials remained in the far Middle Ages. It is religious motives that are usually considered the main reason for anti-witchcraft hysteria. When analyzing the history of anti-witchcraft campaigns we came to the conclusion that in the majority of cases witchcraft was a planned action aimed at consolidating the state power and acquiring additional sources of revenue. By using economic instruments we tried to reveal some general regularities of witch hunt in various countries as well as conditions for this institution to emerge and for ensuring its stability by the state power We show that witch hunt was an instrument of implementing institutional transformations aimed to consolidate the political power or to forfeit wealth by the state power.