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Theories Of Witchcraft

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What does magic, death and early modern Europe all have in common? Witches. In pop culture today witches are seen as ugly, sometimes green women with pointed hats. In early modern Europe witches were seen very differently and deadly. Witchcraft trials were rampant throughout Europe from the 14th to the 16th century’s. Peak witch hunting mania hit mostly between 1580 to 1630. Some estimated 50,000 people persecuted as witches were hanged, burned and tortured to death. The reason has mystified historians and enthusiasts for years. Many theories as to what caused this mania has been speculated. Methods for trials and convicting them in each theory are similar and different in each case. Three main theories have stood out amongst others; the disaster theory, mental illness and the devil himself. Disaster leaves many people to believe supernatural things even in today’s modern world. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII claimed that Satanists were meeting with demons just outside Germany, casting spells to…show more content…
By the late 16th and 17th centuries witch hunts had died off almost completely. In some cases, like in 1692, witch hunts had switched to across the seas, referring to the Salem witch trials. Across Europe however technology in medicine and the better understanding of people had developed. In all of these theories the trials and the outcome were the same, mass deaths and religious undertones had taken over. The most plausible theory was that people were still trying to understand the world and how they acted in each trial determined their understanding. Trials that were taken over by religious officials may have had a bigger image in mind, keeping people in order. Other types of trials were because of the need of change to laws. Some were due to the lack of understanding of natural causes and human nature. More research came about the effects of torture and the lead to false confessions which is still dealt with
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