While I was studying witchcraft I found this very helpful website telling me the history of witchcraft. If you wish to see it on the site itself the link is in the description.
Here is parts of the article that I took note on,
" 'Malleus Maleficarum'
Witch hysteria really took hold in Europe during the mid-1400s, when many accused witches confessed, often under torture, to a variety of wicked behaviors.
Within a century, witch hunts were common and most of the accused were executed by burning at the stake or hanging.
Single women, widows and other women on the margins of society were especially targeted.
Between the years 1500 and 1660, up to 80,000 suspected witches were put to death in Europe. Around 80 percent of them were women thought to be in cahoots with the Devil and filled with lust.
Germany had the highest witchcraft execution rate, while Ireland had the lowest.
The publication of "Malleus Maleficarum"--written by two well-respected German Dominicans in 1486--likely spurred witch mania to go viral.
The book, usually translated as "The Hammer of Witches," was essentially a guide on how to identify, hunt and interrogate witches.
"Malleus Maleficarum" labeled witchcraft as heresy, and quickly became the authority for Protestants and Catholics trying to flush out witches living among them.
For more than 100 years, the book sold more copies of any other book in Europe except the Bible.
Salem Witch Trials
As witch hysteria decreased in Europe, it grew in the New World, which was reeling from wars between the French and British,
a smallpox epidemic and the ongoing fear of attacks from neighboring native American tribes. The tense atmosphere was ripe for finding scapegoats.
Probably the best-known witch trials took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.
The Salem witch trials began when 9-year-old Elizabeth Parris and 11-year-old Abigail Williams began suffering from fits, body contortions and uncontrolled screaming (today,
it is believed that they were poisoned by a fungus that caused spasms and delusions).
As more young women began to exhibit symptoms, mass hysteria ensued, and three women were accused of witchcraft: Sarah Good, Sarah Osborn and Tituba, an enslaved woman owned by Parris's father.
Tituba confessed to being a witch and began accusing others of using black magic.
On June 10, Bridget Bishop became the first accused witch to be put to death during the Salem Witch Trials when she was hanged at the Salem gallows.
Ultimately, around 150 people were accused and 18 were put to death. Women weren't the only victims of the Salem Witch Trials; six men were also convicted and executed.
Massachusetts wasn't the first of the 13 colonies to obsess about witches, though. In Windsor, Connecticut in 1647, Alse Young was the first person in America executed for witchcraft.
Before Connecticut's final witch trial took place in 1697, forty-six people were accused of witchcraft in that state and 11 were put to death for the crime.
In Virginia, people were less frantic about witches. In fact, in Lower Norfolk County in 1655, a law was passed making it a crime to falsely accuse someone of witchcraft.
Still, witchcraft was a concern. About two-dozen witch trials (mostly of women) took place in Virginia between 1626 and 1730. None of the accused were executed"
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