Although much of what you may know about witches may come from stereotypes from western culture, they existed in Asian, African, and native American societies.

witch-on-a-broom-wallpapers_11250_1920x1200Witches are very mysterious characters in the modern world. Witchcraft originates many centuries ago and the term “witchcraft” comes from the term “Wicca” which means “the wise one.” In various cultures, witchcraft was a religious practice or even a form of magical power. Witchcraft dates back to the very early days of the human race. That was when it was viewed as a magical phenomenon that cured disease, granted good luck, and protected people from harm. However, in 1000 AD, as Christianity spread, priests were infuriated by such practices for they saw witchcraft as an outdated practice that worshiped feminine and earthly aspects of God. This obviously was against Christianity.

Witches were considered to be collaborators with Satan. Some believed that witches were able to fly, be invisible, murder, and tame black wolves and cats to keep an eye on people. The witches were blamed for disease, storms and accidents. Pope Gregory IX had authorized the assassination of witches and thus the inquisition began around the 1200s. However, recorded killing of witches began in the 1500s and 1600s. Witches and their suspects received very harsh treatment. Most of them were burned alive or were murdered inhumanely. Those who were unlucky were tortured by sadistic humans. Witches weren’t only women. Some of them were men and a few were children, all of which were eventually murdered.

Why do they have green skin?

The western world remained fascinated by such humans that many writers began to write stories about them. L. Frank Baum was inspired to write “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by reading stories written by Hans Christian Anderson. The film featured one of the most famous witches ever known in pop culture, “The Wicked Witch of the West” who unintentionally appeared to have green skin due to the color of the film version aired in 1939.

Why do they have pointy hats?

Pointy hats were common during medieval Europe among the upper class. This fashion was then adapted by members of the lower class who were accused of both paganism and witchcraft.

Why do witches have brooms?

Brooms were commonly used by commoners who happened to be pagans, when they protested for their rights. From this simple statement, people believed that witches would hide their magical wand in the broom and would rub the broom with ointment to be able to fly.

Wicca, a modern form of witchcraft was found in the UK around the 1950s. Its followers worshipped nature and believed in a female deity known as “The Goddess.” However, they have taken an oath and agreed to never using their magic in harming others. On top of that, there are currently more 400,000 Wiccas in the US who aren’t easily recognizable because they do not dress according the stereotypical style.

By Rayan El Sharkawy