Witch. A word that, nowadays, carries along with it thoughts of pleasant schools of magic and candy corn for Halloween. But several hundred years ago, from about 1480 to 1700, the term “witch” was an altogether sinister and grave term, one that was not thrown around lightly, as it often brought upon those tagged with it fates arguably worse than death. It was the era of the Inquisition, in which panels of judges were created for the sole purpose of condemning witches, and executioners prospered like never before. It was a time of religious fanaticism and political cunning, of death and wrongful accusations. Witches were persecuted for mainly three reasons, namely for religion, profit, and dislike towards the old, lower-class women. Pope Innocent VIII himself endorsed the trials, claiming that the Devil had taken reign of the weak-willed, while others noted how the executioners prospered from all the executions to the point of their wealth rivaling that of the nobility. And then there are so many statistics showing that a good eighty percent of those executed were female, all of them lower class, and most of them around the age of sixty at a time when people lived not a day beyond seventy. Of course, religion was the base of this paranoia, and the biggest reason for all the persecutions. Religious reasons were the biggest reasons when it came to persecuting witches. People believed that witches were ultimately seduced by the Devil into doing his work for him, which encompassed killing babies and eating them (docA1). Others even considered simple acts such as caring for those with strange diseases as witchcraft (docA4). Others targeted witches for their un-Catholic behavior and difference of religion and faith (docB2). And there were those, such as Calvin, who found reason enough for burning witches in the Bible (docB4). The religious paranoia also had an adverse effect on the youth, who...
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