America and Eastern European religions and witchcraft

What were the religions in America and Eastern Europe and did they have anything to do with the belief in witchcraft?

Evangelism, which is the practice of giving information about a particular doctrine or set of beliefs to others with he intention of converting others to the christian faith, has played an essential part in the history of religion in America, from colonial times to the present. Spreading the “Good News” during colonial times was accomplished through books printed by the Puritans on the press brought to Boston in 1638, or carried across the Atlantic on ships loaded with colonists. the Pilgrims came to America aboard the Mayflower in search of religious freedom in 1620. The Puritans soon followed, for the same reason.The arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans in New England in the early 1600s was a response to persecution that these religious protesters had experienced in England. But the Puritan fathers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony did not allow tolerance of opposing religious views. many of the colonies that in 1776 became the United States of America were settled by men and women of deep religious beliefs who in the 17th century crossed the Atlantic Ocean to practice their faith freely. That the religious intensity of the original settlers would reduce to some extent over time was perhaps to be expected, but new waves of 18th century immigrants brought their own religious enthusiasm across the Atlantic and the nation’s first major religious renewal in the middle of the 18th century injected new power into American religion. The result was that religious people started to rebel against Great Britain in 1776, and that most American statesmen shared the convictions of most of their components that religion was necessary to the maintenance of republican institutions.

The largest religion in Eastern Europe for at least a millennium and a half has been christianity. Modern revival movements include wicca, which is a modern pagan, witchcraft religion, this was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century. This could have been based on the hunts in the 17th century where rumored witches were hunted. During the early middle ages, most of Europe underwent christianization. Reformation of the 16th century were to tear apart Christendom into hostile factions, atheism and agnosticism have spread across Europe.

In the period from about 1450 to 1750, somewhere around 40,000 individuals were accused as witches and sentenced to death in Eastern Europe. Of that number, as high as three-quarters of the victims were women.

Numerous scholars have pointed out that beginning in the fourteenth century the Christian establishment of Europe was forced to deal with an beginning of social, economic, and religious changes. It was also during this time (1347—49) that the Black Death, the bubonic plague, nearly killed of the populations of the European nations and greatly encouraged rumors of devil-worshippers who conspired with other heretics, such as Jews and Muslims, to call upon Satan to bring about a disease that would destroy Christianity and the West. During most of the Middle Ages, those who practiced the Old Religion and worked with herbs and charms were largely ignored by the church and the Inquisition. After the plague of the Black Death, witchcraft trials began to increase steadily throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

The first major witch-hunt occurred in Switzerland in 1427; and in 1428, in Valais, there was a mass burning of 100 accused witches. In 1486, the infamous “hammer for witches,” Malleus Maleficarum, the official textbook for trying and testing witches written by the monks Sprenger and Kramer, was published.

magical thinking or the belief in witchcraft is an important aspect of culture and religion.Magic is common in all societies, regardless of whether they have organized religion or more general systems of animism or shamanism. Religion and magic became theoretically separated with the development of western monotheism, where the distinction appeared between supernatural events approved by mainstream religious doctrine (miracles) and simple magic implanted in folk belief or occult speculation. In pre-monotheistic religious traditions, there is no crucial distinction between religious practice and magic.

in short Evangelism was the religion in America from colonial times to the present and Christianity was and still is the main religion in Eastern Europe. the Puritan fathers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony did not allow tolerance of opposing religious views, so religious outsiders were considered easier targets and could be easily accused. In Europe the reformation of the 16th century was to tear apart Christendom into hostile factions, atheism and agnosticism had spread across Europe. Because of that people would accuse each other and that could have lead to the persecutions of innocent people.

How was the idea of witchcraft introduced in America?

In late March 1662, John and Bethia Kelly grieved over the body of their 8-year-old daughter inside their Hartford, Connecticut, home. Little Elizabeth had been fine just days before when she returned home with a neighbor, Goodwife Ayres. The distraught parents, grasping at any explanation for their loss, saw the hand of the devil at work.

The parents were convinced that Elizabeth had been fatally possessed by Goody Ayres. The Kellys testified that their daughter first took ill the night after she returned home with her neighbor, and that she exclaimed, “Father! Father! Help me, help me! Goodwife Ayres is upon me. She chokes me. She kneels on my belly. She will break my bowels. She pinches me. She will make me black and blue.”

After Elizabeth’s death, accusations of bewitchment flew, and fingers were pointed at numerous townspeople. Hysteria gripped Hartford, a town that a generation before had witnessed the first execution of a suspected witch in the American colonies. Alse (Alice) Young of Windsor, Connecticut, was sent to the gallows erected in Hartford’s Meeting House Square, now the site of Connecticut’s Old State House, on May 26, 1647.

Witchcraft was one of 12 capital crimes decreed by Connecticut’s colonial government in 1642. The legal precedent cited by the devoutly Puritan colonists was of a divinely higher order: biblical passages such as Exodus 22:18 (“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”) and Leviticus 20:27 (“A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death”).

After Young’s public hanging, at least five other Connecticut residents met a similar fate. However, it was in Hartford in 1662, 30 years before the infamous Salem witch trials, that a witch hunt hysteria took hold, resulting in seven trials and four executions.

Shortly after Elizabeth Kelly’s death, the pious Ann Cole suddenly became “afflicted,” shaking violently and spouting blasphemy. According to one contemporary account, Cole was “taken with strange fits, wherein she (or rather the devil, as ‘tis judged, making use of her lips) held a discourse for a considerable time.” Cole blamed her bewitchment on neighbor Rebecca Greensmith, described by one townsperson as “a lewd, ignorant, considerably aged woman,” and others already suspected of witchcraft in the Kelly case. The accused began to accuse others, and even their spouses, of being the true witches. In what became a vicious circle, neighbors began testifying against neighbors. Goody Ayres’ husband, perhaps in an attempt to save his wife, joined in the chorus of Greensmith’s accusers.

The most damning testimony supposedly came from Greensmith herself, who reportedly admitted to having “familiarity with the devil” and said that “at Christmas they would have a merry meeting” to form a covenant. Greensmith implicated her husband and said she had met in the woods with seven other witches, including Goody Ayres, Mary Sanford and Elizabeth Seager. Neighbors testified that they saw Seager dancing with other women in the woods and cooking mysterious concoctions in black kettles.

How was the idea of witchcraft introduced in Eastern Europe?

During the Bronze Age (typically from around 2000 to 750 BC), Northern European magic was similar to other cultures during that time. The Celts of Northern Europe and the British Isles during the final centuries BC were a deeply spiritual people, who worshipped both a god and goddess. Their religion was pantheistic, meaning they worshipped many aspects of the “One Creative Life Source” and honoured the presence of the “Divine Creator” in all of nature. They believed in reincarnation and that after death they went to the Summerland for rest and renewal while awaiting rebirth. By about 350 BC, the “Druids” had developed a priestly class, and were the priests of the Celtic religion, as well as teachers, judges, astrologers, healers, midwives and bards.

The religious beliefs and practices of the Celts, their love for the land, and their veneration of trees (the oak in particular) grew into what later became known as paganism. Blended over several centuries with the beliefs and rituals of other Indo-European groups, this spawned such practices as concocting potions and ointments, casting spells , and performing works of magic, all of which, along with many of the nature-based beliefs held by the Celts and other groups, became collectively known as witchcraft.

in short the idea in America was introduced because of concerned parents who couldn’t cope with the loss of their daughter, so they pointed the finger at someone else. In Europe however it started way earlier and it was a common religion and only later known as paganism or witchcraft.

What were the differences between America and Eastern Europe in how witchcraft was seen?

The main difference between America and Eastern Europe is the fact that in Europe the

accused witches were interrogated, most of the time tortured to confess but could be

released when proved innocent. In America there wouldn’t even be a trial, if you were

accused, you were immediately executed.In Early Modern European tradition, witches were

stereotypically, though not exclusively, women.European pagan belief in witchcraft was

associated with the goddess Diana. Witch hunts first appeared in large numbers in southern

France and Switzerland during the 14th and 15th centuries. The peak years of witch hunts in

southwest Germany were from 1561 to 1670. The characterization of the witch as an evil

magic user developed over time. As Christianity became the dominant religion in Europe,

its concern with magic reduced.The Protestant Christian explanation for witchcraft,

commonly involves a diabolical pact, a pact with the devil, or at least an appeal

to the intervention of the spirits of evil. The witches or wizards engaged in such practices

were alleged to reject Jesus . It was a folkloric belief that a Devil’s Mark, like the brand on

cattle, was placed upon a witch’s skin by the devil to signify that this pact had been

made.Witches were most often characterized as women. Witches disrupted the societal

institutions, and more specifically, marriage. It was believed that a witch often joined a pact

with the devil to gain powers to deal with infertility, immense fear for her children’s well-

being, or revenge against a lover. They were also depicted as lustful and perverted, and it

was thought that they laid with the devil at the Sabbath.The Church and European society

were not always so enthusiastic in hunting witches or blaming them for misfortunes. Saint

boniface declared in the 8th century that belief in the existence of witches was un-

Christian. The emperor Charlemagne declared that the burning of supposed witches was a

pagan custom that would be punished by the death penalty.

In 820 the Bishop of Lyon and others rejected the belief that witches could make bad

weather, fly in the night, and change their shape. This denial was accepted into Canon law

until it was reversed in later centuries as the witch hunt gained force. Other rulers such as

King Coloman of Hungary declared that witch-hunts should cease because witches do not

exist.The Church did not invent the idea of witchcraft as a potentially harmful force whose

practitioners should be put to death.

Witchcraft was an important part of the social and cultural history of late-Colonial Mexico. Spanish Inquisitors viewed witchcraft as a problem that could be cured simply through confession. Yet, as anthropologist Ruth Behar writes, witchcraft, not only in Mexico but in America in general, was a “conjecture of sexuality, witchcraft, and religion, in which Spanish, indigenous, and African cultures converged.” According to anthropology professor Laura Lewis, witchcraft in colonial Mexico ultimately represented an “affirmation of hegemony” for women, Indians, and especially Indian women over their white male counterparts as a result of the casta system.

How come the people believed witches existed?

People believed in witchcraft in the 17th century because they needed a way to explain the unexplainable, according to the BBC. When situations came up that could not be explained due to the lack of scientific and medical knowledge, people needed a scapegoat to help the masses understand. The easiest way to do that was to blame demonic powers. In the 17th century, people believed that witchcraft was practiced by women who had rejected God and made a pact with evil spirits. From 1484, when Pope Innocent VIII declared witchcraft a unorthodox opinion, until 1750, historians believe that nearly 40,000 people across Europe were burned as witches.

The fear of witches in Europe was only deepened by the fact that many famous kings were frightened of the idea of witchcraft. King James was historically famous for being terrified of witches and witchcraft. In 1567, he encouraged the writing of a book called “Daemonologia.” This book set the stage for how witches were identified throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.

In short the difference between America and Eastern Europe is the fact that in Europe the accused witches were interrogated, most of the time tortured to confess but could be

released when proved innocent. There were situations that could not be explained and due

to the lack of scientific resources they made the idea of witchcraft and witches exist, it was a

scapegoat for them.

Why were people who were accused of witchcraft persecuted?

People were simply terrified of the alleged witches, they were scared for their families or that

their crops or business would get cursed, so the only way to feel saver was to blame someone,

or in this case a whole lot of someones. And not to mention just before the hunts started the

bubonic plague broke out and the accused witches were to blame for this, so that could be the

final reason that made the hunts start.

What was the difference in how people were persecuted in America and Eastern Europe?

the witch trials in the early modern period,were a period of witch hunts that took place across

early modern Europe and the European colonies in North America between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. The trials were sparked by the belief that vicious satanic witches were operating as an organized threat to christianity. Those accused of witchcraft were portrayed as being worshippers of the Devil, who engaged in such acts as sorcery at meetings known as

Witches Sabbath. Many people were afterwards accused of being witches, and were put on trial for the crime, with varying punishments being appropriate in different regions and at different times.

Belief in the reality of magic and the existence of vicious witches was widespread in Early Modern popular culture, but it was among the educated elite that the idea of witches as Devil-worshippers developed. The Roman Catholic Church had persecuted various heretical groups during the earlier Late Medieval, and it was from that context that the Early Modern witch trials emerged. The peak of the witch hunt was during the period of the European wars of religion, between circa 1580 and 1630. Over the entire duration of the phenomenon of some three centuries, an estimated total of 40,000 people were executed. The sociological causes of the witch-hunts have long been debated in scholarship. Mainstream historiography sees the reason for the witch craze in a complex interaction of various factors that mark the early modern period, including the religious discrimination in the wake of the reformation besides other religious, social, economic and climatic factors.

Academic scholarship on the subject has intensified since the 1970s, allowing for a sophisticated understanding of the trials. Meanwhile, alternative perspectives have also developed; the witch cult hypothesis held that the witches persecuted were practitioners of a surviving pre-Christian religion, and has led to the formation of the Neo-Pagan religion of Wicca. The trials have since provided inspiration for various fictionalised portrayals in literature and film.

Although organized witchcraft trials continued to be held throughout Europe and even the English colonies in North America until the late seventeenth century, they were most often civil affairs. About 40 people were executed in the English colonies between 1650 and 1710, and half of these victims perished as a result of the Salem trials of 1692.

That all said there wasn’t a big difference in how the men and women accused of witchcraft were persecuted, they were all hunted and few survived. There was only a difference in the trial, said in chapter 2.

How were the accused people punished?

The punishment for witchcraft varies throughout history, depending on the time period as well as the culture. Though people tend to associate witchcraft executions with being burned at the stake, hanging was more common than burning. In some countries outside of Europe, witches were stoned to death. When you think of all the crazy things that were done to suspected witches in history, it’s usually the tests for witchcraft that stand out not the punishment itself. The most well-known was the water test. A suspected witch would be tied and thrown into a pond or lake. If she floated and survived, she would be considered guilty and then executed. If she sank and drowned, she would be declared innocent of all charges and given a proper Christian burial. I say “she” because the majority of people tried for witchcraft were women but men were occasionally accused as well.

Accused people were also watched to see if they had a demonic “familiar”, which could be anything from a local stray cat to a spider that takes up residence in their jail cell.

Sometimes confessions were extracted using more traditional torture methods, like thumb-screws. In many cases, the punishment for witchcraft was less horrifying than the interrogation.

If the “evidence” wasn’t solid enough, the guilty weren’t executed but either jailed or pilloried in the town square. pillory was when a person was punished by putting their hands and/or head in the stocks and made to stand that way for several hours or days. Besides being extremely uncomfortable, other townspeople could throw stones or garbage on the accused person during their time in the stocks.

The last executions for witchcraft in Europe were in the late 1700s, though even up until modern day have people been killed for such crimes, particularly in Africa.

In short the people were afraid of the idea of witches and in order to not be afraid anymore they persecuted the accused witches. There was no difference in how the accused were persecuted, they were all hunted. The punishment was over all the same, there was torture to death, hanging, burning and sometimes even stoning to death.

What are the salem witch trials and where did they take place?

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 were a dark time in American history.

More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were killed during this. Although burning is mostly associated with witchcraft, most of the young women who died during the Salem Witch Trials were hanged and not burned.

The following are some facts about the Salem Witch Trials

Definition of the Salem Witch Trials: The Salem Witch Trials were a series of witchcraft cases brought before local magistrates in the colony of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.

The Salem Witch Trials officially began in February of 1692, when a few town’s girls accused the first three victims, Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne, of witchcraft and ended in May of 1693, when the remaining victims were released from jail.

The Salem Witch Trials was a classic example of scapegoating. Fear combined with a traumatic or stressful event, is what often leads to scapegoating. Fear of the Devil, and witches who did his bidding, was very real in Salem at the time.

During this time period, people feared that the Devil was constantly trying to find ways to infiltrate and destroy Christians and their communities.

As a devoted and strongly religious community living in near isolation in the mysterious New World, the community of Salem had a heightened sense of fear of the Devil and then experienced a “trigger” when Tituba, one of the accused witches, confessed that she and others were in fact witches working for the Devil.

This induced panic and hysteria and quickly sparked a massive witch hunt. Although there were other contributing factors, this is the main reason why the Salem Witch Trials happened.

The Massachusetts Bay colonists had accused and convicted people of witchcraft before, starting with Margaret Jones in 1648, but nobody in the colony had ever confessed to being a witch before stated that there were other witches out there. Tituba’s simple confession reinforced all of the colonist’s hidden fears. In addition to this constant sense of fear, Salem residents were also under a great deal of stress during this period due to a number of factors.

One major factor was that in 1684, King Charles II canceled the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s royal charter, a legal document granting the colonists permission to colonize the area.

The charter was canceled because the colonists had violated several of the charter’s rules, which included basing laws on religious beliefs and discriminating against Anglicans.

In 1691, a newer, more anti-religious charter replaced the original one and also combined the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth Colony and several other colonies into one.

The puritans, who had left England due to religious persecution, feared they were under attack again and were losing control of their colony. A feeling of uneasiness and discontent surrounded them.

Other factors included a recent small pox epidemic in the colony, growing rivalries between families within the colony, a constant threat of attack from nearby Native-American tribes, and a recent arrival of refugees trying to escape King William’s war with France in Canada and upstate New York.

All of these things created a tense environment in Salem and heightened the colonist’s fear and anxiety. According to the book “An Account of the Life, Character, & C of the Rev. Samuel Parris, of Salem Village”

Did the slave trade had anything to do with the salem witch trials in colonial

Massachusetts ?

Named in the above, Tituba, the first accused witch in Salem, was an African/ West Indian

slave who was owned by Samuel Parris, the Puritan minister in Salem. Tituba was accused by

Elizabeth Parris, the daughter of Samuel Parris. Massachusetts was the first colony in New

England with slave ownership and was a center for the slave trade throughout the 17th and

18th centuries. The exact date slaves first entered Massachusetts is unknown but many

sources suggest Samuel Maverick was the first slaveholder in the colony after he arrived in

early Boston in 1624 with two slaves.No legislation was passed that abolished slavery until

the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 was authorized by the state.

Technically it remained legal until the end of the Civil War, but as an institution largely

died out in the late 18th Century through judicial actions prosecuted on behalf of slaves

seeking freedom.

What happened after the salem witch trials?

On September 22 of 1693, the last of the so-called “witches” were released from prison in Salem Massachusetts. The Salem Witch Trails have officially ended. During the past year, one to two hundred people in the Salem area have been imprisoned. Twenty died and fifty-five falsely admitted to witchcraft. The trials did not end at the release of the witches. The aftermath of the Salem Witch Trials plays a big part in life even today. It shows us how much is yet to be learned, and ways in which we can prevent future happenings similar to these.

The aftermath of the witch trials created closure in the community of Salem. However it is surprising that only one of the six accusing girls apologized. Each girl lived a relatively normal life after the incidents. Betty Parris (one of the chief accusers) was not persecuted nor had any action taken against her. She went on to live a regular life, she married and had four children. Something similar happened with Elizabeth Hubbard and many of the other accusers. This brings up questions about the truth in the girls fits and accusations. They either could not recognize what they had done was wrong, or chose to ignore their past.

One of the girls, however, did apologize. Her name was Ann Putnam Jr. She accused sixty-two people of witchcraft and was the only accuser to publicly apologize. She issued a public apology in 1706. She stated that she was extremely sorry, and felt as though she was truly taken by the devil. She said, “I desire to be humbled before God for that sad and humbling providence that befell my father’s family in the year about ninety-two; that I, then being in my childhood, should, by such a providence of God, be made an instrument for the accusing of several people for grievous crimes, whereby their lives was taken away from them, whom, now I have just grounds and good reason to believe they were innocent persons; and that it was a great delusion of Satan that deceived me in that sad time.” Ann Putnam Jr. talked about the true sorrow that she felt and how she knew how grave and mistaken her actions were. She did not take all of the blame for her accusations though. She also said that the devil had taken her, and she had no choice but to do what she was told. None of the other accusers issued an apology, which is strange because they played just as large a part in the accusations as Ann Putnam Jr.

Each of the guilty acted in extremely different ways after the trials ended, For example, Judge Samuel Sewall. Sewall was born in Hampshire England, and moved to Massachusetts to go to Harvard University.It was there that he was appointed to the court of Oyer and Terminer. He was one of the judges during the trials, he felt that he had made many bad decisions. After the trials died down he stood up in the south church during service and admitted to “Blame, and Shame.” Twelve jurors also stood up and said that their actions were ‘sadly deluded and mistaken.”

Samuel Parris (the Reverend) took some blame for his actions, but first shifted most of it to someone else. Parris had not been an especially fair minister and was refused his salary many times because of bad behavior. After the trials he was slow to apologize, and did not apologize until 1694 saying “I may have been mistaken.” But it was already too late. He was kicked out of the village in 1696, and was replaced by Thomas Green as the new Reverend, who spent the rest of his life trying to repair the reputation of the church.

Another important event in the healing of Salem was when Governor Phips was taken out of office. Governor Phips believed strongly in witchcraft, but most suspect that he was aware of people being falsely accused of witchcraft. He created and ran the court of Oyer and Terminer. He was a big reason that faalse evidence was allowed as evidence in the trials. Phipps became a controversial figure, not only for allowing false evidence during the trials, but also because after the trails ended, he tried to shift the blame to his Lieutenant Governor, William Stoughton.

William Stoughton was born on September 30, 1631 in England. His parents (Israel and Elizabeth Stoughton) owned a large quantity of land in the Massachusetts Bay colony. Stoughton had always been interested in law. He graduated with a degree in theology, from Harvard University at age 19. Then he moved back to England and got a Masters Degree from Oxford in April 1652. Following this he entered a political life. William Phips appointed him Lieutenant Governor and Chief Justice of Massachusetts, even though he had no history in law. Phips appointed him head judge of the court Oyer and Terminer, and he served there until the court was shut down. He made many questionable decisions but overall was a relatively fair judge. After Phips left the colonies, he served as Governor of Salem until his death on July 7, 1701.

Governor Phips was a controversial governor even before the Salem Witch Trials. With the Salem Witch Trials, his inability to lead just became more apparent. Phips tried to protect his job by pardoning the rest of the accused witches and dissolving the court of Oyer and Terminer. On February 21, 1693 he sent a letter to the King of England scolding his Lieutenant Governor William Stoughton. He did this in order to defend himself from the Salem Witch Trials, but this was not enough. Eventually, in 1694, King William of England made Phips sail back to England. Phips died from a horrible fever in England in February 1695. Over the course of the next couple of years, William Stoughton became governor of Massachusetts, replacing Phips. He signed a law paying the heir of each accused witch a sum of “600. Later the General Court declared the trials unlawful. After the year 1752 Salem Village was renamed Danvers, and Salem Town became Salem, MA. Salem renamed itself to Danvers to leave its past of death and hatred behind.

In 1957, the last witches” names were cleared. The town of Salem realized the mistakes that they had made and in 1992 a memorial was made to honor the deaths of people accused of witchcraft. Honoring the victims of the witch trials was an important milestone for the people of Salem. It was Salem’s way of stating that the times of persecution are over.

The trials happened in what is now Danvers, Massachusetts. But the aftermath took place all over the world. “Witch hunts”, whether hunting actual witches or not, became a serious threat.

in short the Salem Witch Trials were a series of witch cases in colonial Massachusetts. The trials official begun in February 1692 when the afflicted girls accused the first three victims and ended in May 1693. At the end of this 20 people died and over a 100 people were accused of witchcraft. The slave trade did have something to do with the trials, because the first accused witch was an African/ West Indian slave, Massachusetts was also the first colony to hold slave ownership and the centre for slave trade throughout the 17th century. After the trials only few publicly apologized for their doing, one of the girls Ann Putnam Jr, who accused 62 people did apologize. For the rest of the accusing girls, they lived a relatively normal life after the trials, they got married and had children and were never prosecuted for what they did.

how did the hunts stop?

The hunts declined in the early eighteenth century with the growth of the Enlightenment and rationalism among the educated elites. Laws were put into action to bring about the end of organised persecution of accused witches, although occasional hanging of accused witches continued beyond the Early Modern.

Decline of the trials 1650—1750

While the witch trials had begun to fade out across much of Europe by the mid-17th century, they continued to a greater extent on the borders of Europe and in the American colonies. In Scandinavia, the late 17th century saw the peak of the trials in a number of areas; for instance, in 1675, the TorsÃ¥ker witch trials took place in Sweden, where 71 people were executed for witchcraft in a single day. In the nearby Finland, which was then under the control of the Swedish monarchy, the hunt peaked in that same decade.During the same period, the Salzburg witch trials in Austria led to the death of 139 people (1675—1690).

The ministry of church and the intellectuals began to speak out against the trials from the late 16th century. Johannes Kepler in 1615 could only by the weight of his influence keep his mother from being burnt as a witch. The 1692 Salem witch trials were a brief outburst of witch hysteria in the New World at a time when the practice was already decreasing in Europe. In the 1690s Winifred King Benham and her daughter Winifred were thrice tried for witchcraft in Wallingford, Connecticut, the last of such trials in New England. While found innocent, they were forced to leave Wallingford to settle in Staten Island, New York.

The 18th century witnessed increased urbanisation and technological development in Europe, which gave Early Modern society an increased belief in its own abilities to fashion the world; this led to a decreasing belief in the existence of invisible forces affecting humanity.Belief that Satan interfered in human affairs directly had also begun to fade. Belief in demons became rare among the educated elites, and thus a belief in demonic witchcraft wore away with it.Rationalist sceptics of the trials came to the opinion that the use of torture had resulted in wrong testimony.

During the early 18th century, the practice subsided. Jane Denham was among the last subjects of a typical witch trial in England in 1712, but was pardoned after her conviction and set free. The last execution for witchcraft in England took place in 1716, when Mary Hicks and her daughter Elizabeth were hanged.Janet Horne was executed for witchcraft in Scotland in 1727. The Witchcraft act of 1753 saw the end of the traditional form of witchcraft as a legal offense in Britain; those accused under the new act were restricted to people who falsely pretended to be able to procure spirits, generally being the most dubious professional fortune tellers and mediums, and punishment was light. Helena Curtens and Agnes Olmanns were the last women to be executed as witches in Germany, in 1738. In Austria, Maria Theresa outlawed witch-burning and torture in the late 18th century; the last capital trial took place in Salzburg in 1750.

In short the hunts stopped with the growth of rationalism, people started to rationally think things through and realized they were simply doing unacceptable things.

How come that nowadays the belief in witchcraft is minimal or it’s seen as a fiction

after all the hunts that peaked in the 17th century?

There is a simple explanation for people not believing in witchcraft or for that matter any sort of

magic, because religion is not the most important part in our daily lives anymore. Witchcraft is a

concept of the bible, it always have been extremely religious people who spread the word of so called

witches. It were religious people who said witches existed and worshipped the devil, which is also a

concept of the bible, and those people said witches should be persecuted, be held for trial and

eventually be hanged or burned. But at the end of the 17th century things started to look better for

people, in the 18th century the enlightenment culminated, science and philosophy increased. People

started rationally thinking and realized that not everything the church said was right and that what

they did throughout the 15th-17th century was very wrong. For example look at how the idea of

witchcraft was introduced in America, the parents of the ill Elizabeth saw the hand of the devil at

work, but there just wasn’t enough information and knowledge at that time to see that the poor

girl was just ill and nothing more.

Also said in chapter 3 people needed a way to explain the unexplainable for example; sudden

unknown diseases. Nowadays we have enough information and knowledge about a lot of

diseases, the times have become a lot better, we can explain the unexplainable and that is most likely

why we do not believe in witchcraft or magic anymore.

Another way to look at why we do not believe anymore is because we want to forgot what happened

during that time, especially in America, a lot of innocent and young people died in the most

tremendous ways. So a way to forgot what happened is to pretend that magic or witchcraft is a fiction,

something out of the bible. It was something only from that time because people were uneducated

and believed everything the bible was telling them, but all of that is just an excuse for all the murders

that happened during that period.

Source: Essay UK - http://ntechno.pro/essays/religious-studies-theology/america-and-eastern-european-religions-and-witchcraft/


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