Since time immemorial, the terms’ witch’ and ‘witchcraft’ have always had a negative connotation, and most societies believed it was a form of black magic. But, on the contrary, many societies also increased the practice of ‘white magic’ with the help of healers, God lovers, people from the church, etc., who could reverse the effects of Witchcraft. In Britain, these people were known as cunning folk or wise people.


Witchcraft in the Near East

When sorcery and witchcraft practices started spreading in the ancient Near East and the Nile Valley, it played a conspicuous role in their culture. Their tradition began with anti-witchcraft rituals. The code of Hammurabi also described that when a spell is put on another man without justification, the spell goes to the Holy River and has no effect.


Both idolatry and necromancy are severe theological and practical offenses in Judaism. They believed that although magic existed, they were prohibited from using it on other people, which could potentially cause harm. That said, some of the rabbis also practiced ‘magic’ themselves or also taught the subject to others. However, these types of magic were generally seen as religious practices that caused no potential harm to another person or community.


The abolition of witches and Witchcraft in the African continent is proof of the practice’s early existence. Some colonialists tried to eradicate the concept of Witchcraft and witch-hunting by implementing rules and regulations by the law. The persecution is also encouraged of suspected witches in Africa.


The first case of Witchcraft in British America was seen in 1645 when Springfield and Massachusetts accused each other of performing Witchcraft. Since then, people suspected of following the practice were hanged or executed by law. However, witchcraft was considered essential to their social and cultural history during the Mexican Inquisition. So when Spanish inquisitors viewed this as a problem, they thought the only cure could be a confession.


In India, a common concept of a witch is a person with their feet faced backward. The land which believes in supernatural beings, witchcraft is practiced in India from time to time. The law punishes people proven guilty of harming others through such procedures. In countries like Nepal, the malpractice of women abuse in the name of Witchcraft is a prominent practice. According to the reports in 2013, women who practiced Witchcraft were generally closely related to the family or neighbors who had terrible intent for a particular family or person.


Europe was popular in the 14th and 15th centuries to have people that practiced Witchcraft, after which it only intensified after the social disruptions in the entire continent. It was also believed that people with power and prestige were involved in such practices. Over time, laws were put forth for the execution or punishment of witches in Europe.