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The History of Witches

            Do you ever wonder why the world is like this? Humans have always had the curiosity to know and explain the world around them. Before the scientific era, people would turn to their faith for answers. In the Bible it states that unfortunate events are caused by demons and the devil. The word "witch" from the words "wicca" and "wicce"1. In Middle English, the word it became wicche. Throughout time wicche referred to women and not used to describe a man. Men today are known as wizards, warlocks, and sorcerers. In the 16th century the spelling changed from "wicche" to "witch". The origin of "wicca" and "wicce" aren't clear, but in Old English it was always associated with being wise, teaching and fortune telling. In the Wiccan religion, Witchcraft is what is practiced. According to law books in the Middle Ages, the act of witchcraft is talking and working with evil spirits.2 Witches were used to explain anything unfortunate that would happen (storms, miscarriages, fights and illness etc.) and it was only until the scientific era did society stop believing in witches as a whole. Witches are deeply enrooted into European culture and witch hunts still plague much of the world today.
             Historians say that this witch obsession started in Protestant areas over Catholic areas and people would typically accuse woman over men.3 There were different punishments for practicing witchcraft depending on what part of Europe you came from. But typically, the way witches were accused and then killed were very similar, leading people to say that witches were a continental problem. These witches were claimed to be trying to ruin the world with their evil ways. According to Brian Levack, "around 75 percent of all witchcraft persecutions occurred in combined Germany, France, Switzerland and the Low Countries, and together these countries contained about half of the entire European population.

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