A Timeline History of Witchcraft

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Medieval costumed reconstruction: the convoy of a witch to the place of execution

The History of Witchcraft BC

931 BC – 721 BC  In the book of 1 Samuel in the Old Testament, King Saul visits the ‘Witch of Endor’ to summon the spirit of the dead prophet Samuel, to help him defeat the Philistine army. We see the History of Witchcraft begin as the necromancer is said to raise Samuel from the dead, who prophesied the death of Saul and his sons. The next day, Saul’s sons died in battle, and with that Saul committed suicide.

Also from the Old Testament- Exodus 22:18 says, “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” and there are other Biblical passages cautioning against using witches for necromancy or any prophetic divination.

The History of Witchcraft AD

1000 AD the practice of Witchcraft now invokes the wrath of priests, as Christianity molds the ideals of society’s views of good and evil.

1022 AD – The first crusade against witchcraft sees the first witch burned to death. 

1200 AD – The killing of witches is authorized by Pope Gregory IX.

1482 – 1782, approximately 100,000 people throughout Europe were accused of witchcraft. It is said that 40–50,000 were executed, but this number could be much, much higher.

1487-1520 -Malleus Maleficarum – Latin for “Hammer of Witches” or  “Witch’s Hammer” the de-facto handbook published 13 times, for witch-hunters and Inquisitors during the Spanish Inquisition in Late Medieval Europe. 

1498 – Pope Innocent VIII issues a declaration confirming the existence of witches, and inquisition now goes into frenzy mode. 

1542 – Witchcraft became a crime In England. The statute renewed again in 1562 and 1604. Accused witches across Europe received the penalty for murder, which was hanging. With the exception of Scotland under decree from the Spanish Inquisition, witches were burned.

1574-1669 the Witches Hammer – ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ was published 16 more times.

Half a century of witchcraft prosecution in the British Isles, with 3 major witch hunts. 

The 1590s Witch hunt craze in Edinburgh Scotland.

1612 – Lancashire Witch hunt craze.

1640s Essex and East Anglia witch hunt craze.

1632 – The execution of Bridget Bishop convicted of witchcraft in Salem Massachusetts. 

1647- Alse Young in Windsor, Connecticut was the first person in America executed for witchcraft. 

1655 – Lower Norfolk County, Virginia – law was passed making it a crime to falsely accuse someone of witchcraft.

1626 – 1730 – Over 20 witch trials took place in Virginia. None of the accused were ever executed as witches.

1697 – Connecticut’s final witch trial took place. 46 people accused of witchcraft 11 executed.

1692 – The witch hunt hysteria decreases across Europe finally, but starts to grow in America. However, in Massachusetts, this was the best-known cases of the Salem Witch Trials. In total 14 women and 5 men were convicted and executed of the nearly 200 accused and tried.

1706 – Grace Sherwood, the most famous witch in Virginia’s is brought to trial by her neighbors who accused her of killing their pigs and putting a hex their cotton. 

Modern History of Witchcraft

1954 – Gerald Gardener starts the Wicca movement. Bringing back the Old Ways of the Craft. Making it a religion, more so than a cult.

The 1960s – The emergence of Neo-Paganism; as the History of Witchcraft goes full circle – as witches are allowed to continue their peaceful coexistence with nature, and with all of its inhabitants again.  

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