In the seventeenth century, despite the emergence of new theories about the origins of witchcraft, witches were still widely believed. In a 1630 article, the Chief Justice of Saint-Claude declared that “the number of accused witches was increasing”. He called them vermin and garden worms, and compared them to pests that plagued his district. In the same essay, he explained why he believed there were no ‘witches’ based on any specific religion.
The practice of witchcraft reached its height during the English civil war and Puritan era. Thousands of people were suspected of performing dark arts and curses against nobles and neighbors. The Plymouth Colony made it illegal to form a solemn compact with the devil through witchcraft. This was the last time that witchcraft was formally outlawed in England. It was still considered a criminal offense until the early 19th century.
There were many types of witchcraft. White witches were credited with resolving human illnesses, while black witches were deemed to be the most dangerous. Inflicting death at will was considered a sign of good fortune and some black witches were notorious for exacerbating local tensions. Despite the vilification of witchcraft, some clients of a gurisseuse in a remote village were confident enough to approach her. Likewise, some of her clients had great faith in their abilities, believing that they possessed the power to do good and cure.
In the 17th century, witchcraft was illegal in England. Hundreds of women were falsely accused of witchcraft. They were wrongly accused if they were not born with a third nipple, had a plethora of scars, and had an unusual growth on their body. Their convictions were often based on faulty evidence, and were often carried out under torture. Some were even tied up and thrown into a river.
The inquisition had several branches and a central one in Toulouse was led by the Dominicans. They were originally tasked with prosecuting Christian groups that they saw as heretical, such as the Waldensians and Cathars. Nevertheless, as the craze spread, the Dominicans became some of the most zealous witches. The Spanish word bruja, which means “old woman”, is a synonym for a sex.
Most of the accused witches were women. Men would conduct the trials and execute them if they were found guilty. The accusations against women were made based on false evidence and had no foundation. During this period, men were more likely to accuse women than to judge them. It was a period of misogyny and sexism, as well as a sexist environment.
In the 17th century, witchcraft was illegal in England. Hundreds of women were falsely accused of being a witch, and many were executed after torture. They were convicted based on false evidence and were hung after undergoing horrific tests. The punishments were gruesome and the victims often died. There is no evidence for their guilt. While most witches were innocent, many were abused, and a few were executed because they were not born with a child.
Throughout the seventeenth century, witchcraft was widely practiced in Europe. In the seventeenth century, most witch prosecutions involved women. At this time, around forty thousand people were convicted of witchcraft in England and thousands more were executed. In the eighteenth century, ‘witches’ were not a criminal class. The term ‘witches’ refers to those who performed occult practices.
In the seventeenth century, many women were accused of being witches. They were punished by the authorities on false evidence. Some of them were even hanged after suffering appalling tortures, such as burning alive their children. Besides the punishments, some witches used certain tools to perform their magic. A broom stick, potions, and a candle were used by these women.
In 1613, the French king burned 80 people for being witches. During this period, formal medical treatment was out of reach for the common people. Thus, witches served as a resource for locals in need of help. However, they were not the only ones who practiced white witchcraft. During the 17th century, people regarded white witchcraft practitioners as legitimate healers.