The phrase “witch hunt” isn’t nearly as frightening as it once was. Seriously, witch hunts are no joke. From 1450 to 1750, it is estimated that there were 35,000 to 100,000 executions all over the world because of witch accusations. Of course Americans are familiar with the Salem Witch Trials but there are many more instances of witch convictions, ranging from locations like Africa to Italy to Nepal.
There was a time when witches were blamed for everything. Bad crop season? Well, that was obviously caused by a witch. Plague? Sounds like a witch to me. Bad weather? Witch, duh. You have to remember that in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America, there were a whole slew of nasty problems nagging people. And, wouldn’t you know it, every problem could be blamed on a witch. Scores and scores of innocent people were killed because of a lack of knowledge and an excess of superstition.
Witches gradually made the transformation from something fearsome and unknown to something fun and kooky (thanks a lot, Hocus Pocus) but the fact remains that the era of witch hunts was a scary and dangerous time for many. Luckily things have gotten much safer for Sabrina, Glinda and the rest of the coven.
Two witches standing around a cauldron. There is a cage in the background containing two children. One witch says to the other, "Oh sorry, but I only eat free-range children."
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