Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Black Death and Witchcraft in the Elizabethan Age

To fully understand what witches went through during the Elizabethan Age in England, you need to realize how troubled life was for the common people. The bubonic plague, known to most as the Black Death, had such a powerfully negative impact upon the witches and warlocks living during this time. The fear that people felt just to survive resulted in some of the darkest times in the history of witchcraft.

The Black Death was a brutal disease killing millions of people without warning or reason. Medical and scientific technology was not advanced enough at the time to discover that the plague was spreading so quickly due to rats. Because of this, people believed that a more supernatural cause was responsible for the sickness and death. And so the persecution of innocent men and women as members of witchcraft began.

At first, the speculation of witchcraft being the cause of the Black Death was minimal and contained to a few scattered cases. But as the death tolls rose and the hysteria grew, more and more people believed beyond a doubt that only black magic and sinister witches could be at fault.

Of the almost 300 witch trials that took place, almost all involved women. Most of the women were poor common folk whose only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time. A neighbor dying unexpectedly, a crop turning out a bad harvest, or a house or barn catching fire could all result in an innocent person being accused of witchcraft. Even having birth defects and other physical abnormalities could lead to accusations of being a witch.

The Black Death was an event that killed millions of people. And because there was no obvious cause, the blame was placed on witches and warlocks. Witchcraft in the Elizabethan age was a scapegoat for a plague that people just didn't have the ability to understand at that time.

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