How did the witch hunts develop?

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How did witch hunts develop? There are different ways the witch hunts started developed and ended; therefore there is no typical witch hunt. Because of this the term “European witch hunt” should be used with caution. The development of witch hunts was spread amongst various national and regional variations. It was a mixture of hundreds if not thousands of separate hunts that occurred at different places and at different times. Before witch hunts could develop, they had to begin. In order for witch hunts to take place it was necessary for certain preconditions to have been satisfied.  One precondition that was necessary in the development of the witch hunts was that the common people as well as the ruling elite had to have knowledge of witchcraft activities and
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the cumulative concepts of witchcraft. Although magistrates and clergy tended to be more familiar with demonological theory, as they learnt greater insight by reading thesis such as Kramer’s “Malleus”, the common people also needed to have knowledge for the development of the witch hunt to take place. As the common people needed to be aware of how to testify against witches for their misfortunes. Popular witch beliefs were intensified by preachers, as the common people were often illiterate. The belief of those of the ruling and administrative elite was more important nevertheless because they controlled the judicial process. The law ...

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