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Witchcraft is a sensation that has captured the minds of people since the beginning of time I think it important to first discuss some history of witchcraft The World Book Encyclopedia 2002 describes some of the history as follows The term witch comes from the Old English word wicca which is derived from the Germanic root wic meaning to bend or to turn In many places around the world witchcraft beliefs and practices have existed for centuries with little change and prehistoric art depicts magical rites to ensure successful hunting p 371 372 Some beliefs about witchcraft may have risen from stories and legends told possibly around a fire just as ghost stories are now told around a campfire Around AD 700 Christian religion saw witchcraft as denouncing the Catholic Church and began to question heresy a rejection of the church and began a long campaign to stamp out heresyand beginning in the 1000s religious leaders sentenced heretics to death by burning World Book 2002 p 372 It was then that society and the church began associating witchcraft with devil worship Although according to The World Book Encyclopedia 2000 historians doubt that worship of the Devil was ever widespread if indeed it even took place But stories about it created a mood of fear and anxiety p 372 By the 1600s the witch hunt craze was at its highest point and most of the people who were accused of being witches were women In author Ann Llewellyn Barstows book Witchcraze A New History of the European Witch Hunts 1994 a typical witch was usually described in this way women which be commonly old lame bleare-eied pale fowle and full of wrinkles and like a bitch far more hideous to look at than all the others p16 A comparative analysis of a society the Nupe of Northern Nigeria and examples of witch-hunts throughout Europe during early European history will show difference in
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