I feel crappy! I've got a virus, the flu, the "oinkers" (LOL!), who knows! Anyways, I watch ALOT of documentaries. Right now, there is a very informative documentary about "Witch Hunts" the "Origin of Witches" on :The History Channel. Basically, All you could ever want to know about the hysteria that was that horrific era in time!
As it turns-out, "Heinrich Heumler" (in Germany), with another German, wrote a "Manifesto" on Witches, hunting witches, dealing with them, etc. The Manifesto stated that Women were "Lustfull, decietfull, evil" and "Witches" fornicated with the Devil in wild orgies on the Sabbath! They assumed women, who were midwives, and healers with herbs, were at risk of using their powers for evil! Back in such puritan times, celebacy was assocciated with Christianity, and so the Devil, with lust and fornication!
The Manifesto also stated that you should never ask "are you a witch?" but "when did you become a witch?" The law stated that a "witch" could only be executed upon a confession of being a witch! This is where the saying "the third degree" originated. There were three degrees of tourture. The third degree was always fatal. One infamous tourture was called "the floating of the witch". They would bind someone and toss them into the water. If you floated, you were guilty, and would be excecuted. If you sank and drowned, you were innocent! Prior to their inevitable death, "witches" had to implicate other "witches". Willing to do anything to end their agony, they named others. "Oddly" enough, when an official's wife was accussed, the "witch hunt" abruptly ceased. This all started with a game played by a slave with two young girls in which a raw egg was cracked into a glass of plain water, creating a makeshift "crystal ball". They would ask questions of it and "see" images in the mixture as "answers". During one such session, the "egg" told one of the young girls that her husband would die. The young girls (basically) "threw a fit" and the slave woman was accussed of casting an evil spell upon them.
"Wicca" is a very popular belief system. It is followed by a great many people. In in no way involves "devil worship" and instead is based on celebrating the changing seasons and belief of a continuing cycle of life. Their (Wiccan's) motto: "Do what you will, but harm none".
Here is one of the many online articles related to the "witch Trials" and "Witch Hysteria" available on the internet:Timeline: Witch Hunts In American History