For nearly two centuries, witchcraft seemed to have disappeared. Although it was driven underground for a time, it is now the fastest growing religion in the United States. There are several reasons for its disappearance and now, for its return.
Until the fifteenth century, witchcraft was not considered an "evil" practice. It was about that time that the Catholic church started labeling witches as heretics and sinners because of their belief in social rebellion. The idea of social rebellion was also a rebellion against the church, which taught that "It was the duty of the common people to endure the tyranny of authority, no matter how oppressive." (Donovan 118)
There were also the other acts in the rituals of witchcraft which included feasting and dancing, both of which the church considered rebellious. But, it was not until the end of the fifteenth century that witchcraft got the reputation of being a satanic religion. The idea of a purely diabolical witchcraft was said to have been invented by the Roman Catholics to supply a way to destroy the threat of the heretic Germans. The idea of satan as an evil figure in religion was not even in the Old Testament, it was put there for an easy way to accuse people. Witches were seen worshipping a horned God, so the church created a horned figure that they related to evil, they called this figure satan. But the creation of this figure did much more than kill just Germans. The theory that witches were devil worshippers gave the church license to begin persecuting them as heretics, and they did. It was the beginning of two hundred years of torture and execution.
In those two hundred years it has been estimated that anywhere from 200,000 to 9,000,000 people were executed or met their death. These people were cruelly tortured, tormented, and harassed until they confessed, and then they were tortured again to be sure that they had given a full confession and that they had been properly purified. Some tortures included strapping the accused's feet in a pair of metal boots and then filling the boots with boiling hot oil. The accused were often whipped for their purification, sometimes they were left out in the open for hours after having been whipped while the torturers went out to lunch. They had to hang there and wait until they returned and often they received additional torture after their wait just to be certain they had been purified. Tortures were so extreme that many people took their practices underground to avoid the Inquisition.
Tyagi stated on his website on witchcraft that up to 90% of the people executed probably were not witches. They were innocents who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, or have some abnormal traits or habits, or even just being the wrong person could be a sufficient reason. It was not until after the Salem witch trials that people really started to see how foolish the entire witch-hunt was. By...