Witchcraft history is a difficult subject, mainly because there are so many periods of time where it was too dangerous to admit to being a witch. Records were lost or destroyed, and traditions were erased as generations had to hide their practices.
To look farther back, to the very origins of witchcraft, you'll find a mix of elements from around the world. If you are specifically thinking of early Wiccan witchcraft, then that particular brand of witchcraft began in the 1950s with Gerald Gardner.
Once you look past the beginnings of witchcraft, the periods of medieval witchcraft stand out because of the growing troubles faced by witches (and anyone simply accused of being a witch). It was during the medieval period that the church began to speak out against witchcraft, and that Satanic elements began to enter the picture. Horrible punishments for witchcraft were developed, adding even more fear into the mix.
After the medieval era, next came 17th century witchcraft, when the trials really ramped up and reached their peak. It was at the end of this period when the infamous Salem witch trials took place in the United States.
More article are coming in this section on witchcraft history, including some material on the current state of modern witchcraft as well as witchcraft in America.
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