Many innocent women happily welcomed death by confessing to witchcraft in order to end their excruciating torture during the medieval ages. Since many records were lost, destroyed or never kept, the best estimation of the total deaths is several million (4). The main cause of the witch hunts was the Church inflicting fear upon the common and educated man by lying to them about what witches do and who they are. The Church also directly and indirectly increased the pain that accused women would go through during their torture. The Church made it clear, to all those who would listen, that all women were evil and capable of witchcraft. Vicious comments like this caused even women themselves to fear what other women may do. This fear only lead to the distrust of woman. A book written by two German men, titled Malleus Maleficarum, "The Hammer of Witches", only furthered peoples" fear of women's evil. It states that women are more likely to become witches: ""Because the female sex is more concerned with things of the flesh then men; because being formed from a man's rib, they are only "imperfect animals" and "crooked" where as man belongs to a privileged sex from whose midst Christ emerged."(Malleus Maleficarum, 1486)"(2). Even devotion to the Virgin Mary (who is the biological mother of Jesus) was considered an indication of evil (2). One women, named Aldonca de Vargas, was even reported just for smiling at the mention of the Virgin Mary (Henry Kamen, Inquisition and Society in Spain) (2). .
Once a woman was accused of witchcraft she would first have to confess in order to be executed. The torturing of accused women was so unbelievably horrid and sadistic that you would think a man of low standing would be the one to carry it out, but sadly it was the men of educated positions such as bishops, judges, professors and others. By doing the torture themselves it set them in a position of fear throughout the community and it is even said that "after the execution of a wealthy witch, officials [would treat] themselves to a banquet at the expense of the victim's estate.