"The Europeans did three things which set them far apart from most other peoples at most other times and places. Between 1500 and 1700 they set sail in tall ships and colonized [enslaved] the far corners of the globe. They made stunning strides forward in the sciences. And they executed tens of thousands of people, mainly women, as witches."
"Philosophy" vol. 73, no. 284 (April 1998) p. 199.
Karen Green and John Bigelow, `Does Science Persecute Women? - The Case of the 16th-17th Century Witch-Hunts'
The real rulers of Europe - big landowners, aristocracy and royalty - clearly didn't believe in `witchcraft'.
Just as obvious: the local police-of-the-day - bailiffs, magistrates, and judges - had no fear of magical retribution for their torture and murder of so many elderly women - so they also didn't believe in witchcraft.
So what were the true reasons for this shameful episode: two centuries of torture and slaughter of mostly uneducated and helpless women?
Europe - and especially Britain - was undergoing a takeover by wealthy land-grabbers whose operations concentrated on plunder of the ancient system of `common rights' to land use, and poor families' inheritance of small subdivided plots around the edges of hamlets and villages.
Large tracts of `common land' were already being pilfered away from the people by the earliest (and infamous) Enclosure Acts. Remember, in those days "parliament" was elected only by the rich - and so only served the rich. (How things have changed - ha!)
But population growth of several centuries meant that many or most poor families still retained legal ownership or `tenure' of small plots of land which were now under growing housing pressures.
At the same time, an uneducated & therefore credulous population was held in thrall by the priests and churches - long allied with the rich and powerful.
See pauline, talltales, pervs
With the `law' in the hands of the rich, as corrupt magistrates and judges, and with the power to steal all `common land' and ancient rights as a prize, they used their propaganda powers to create fears in the population which `authority then cited as justification for torture and murder of thousands of elderly people, mainly old women.
Why old women?
Simple demographics:- peasant women who did not die in childbirth could be expected to live five, ten or twenty years longer than the average male worker.
So `common rights' and small-holdings would eventually pass through a stage of legal ownership by poor, uneducated and vulnerable old women, before passing-on inheritance to their families.
And so elderly women were made into `terrorists' of their day - a claim made by the magistrates, priests and judges on behalf of the large land-owners: the real but hidden leaders of the conspiracy.
All those small-holdings were gradually stolen by `legal' confiscation by the rich and powerful - the old and new aristocracy of usurers.
See genes2#aca, causes#2
In a few generations of corrupt `trials' - with the accusations and `testimony' coming from paid informers, from copy-cat children, even from the relatives & family members of bailiffs, magistrates & judges; with `confessions' gotten by physical torture of frail old women, [and sexual abuse and torture of the few younger women] - eventually there were few land rights remaining to poor people.
After about 1730, `witchcraft trials' in Europe ceased.
Creation of a fake `enemy' and use of church and state proganda, all combined to rob the poor, to increase subjugation and oppression of the people, and to steal the existing `common property' and rights of the population.
Strangely today's academics and media (both controlled / owned by the rich and powerful) have failed to spot the obvious linkages revealed by `Perceptions' analysis.
`The Village Labourer 1760-1832' by J. L. Hammond and B. Hammond continues the account of how corrupt landowners colluded with bent courts / evil magistrates and greedy judges to further dispossess and impoverish ordinary people in UK.
Things don't change too much, do they?
"At the back of every great social evil will be found a great political wrong" - from A.R. Wallace
You'll hardly believe this - corrupt mil / politicos were (and are?) still using accusations of `witchcraft' against women in UK, within living memory - see Jan. 2007 `Guardian' story
How `clean' frontier states get corrupted.
We see that a corrupt establishment of landowners, `aristocracy', `royalty' plus corrupt legal machinery of bailiffs, magistrates, judges, plus a corrupt Church were all necessary for `witchcraft trials'.
Proof? - `Witchcraft trials' never extended to frontier areas. Why?
1) land was effectively free;
2) frontier folk were also temporarily free of the `establishment'.
But the same technique was used by the establishment to demonize the original (real) owners of frontier land: the native peoples - who also mainly held their lands `in common'.
The corrupt European establishment branded native peoples as `pagans' or `devil-worshippers' etc. to justify stealing their land by colonization.
We forecast that same establishment will be making long-term plans to use a similar `demonizing' ploy if / when other planets come within their reach.
In fact, that might be happening right now.
Do folk know when they're in a `dark age'?
No. All they see is their rulers lying, oppressing, stealing and murdering a bit more than usual, and justifying that by a `War on - Saracens / Witchcraft / Terrorism' etc.
And they might notice a lot of rubbish gets written `as-true' because the writers would get fired / oppressed / killed if they wrote the truth.
That's all that people actually see inside a `dark age'.
Analysis of some "dark ages" including `witchcraft trials' and other `Inquisitions' with their causes, might be found at subindex#dark, and bburn.txt.
"Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own" - Georg C. Lichtenberg