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In Christianity and Islam, sorcery came to be associated with heresy and apostasy and to be viewed as
evil. Among the Catholics, Protestants, and secular leadership of the European Late Medieval/Early
Modern period, fears about witchcraft rose to fever pitch, and sometimes led to large-scale witch-hunts.
Throughout this time, it was increasingly believed that Christianity was engaged in an apocalyptic battle
against the Devil and his secret army of witches, who had entered into a diabolical pact. In total, tens or
hundreds of thousands of people were executed, and others were imprisoned, tortured, banished, and
had lands and possessions confiscated. The majority of those accused were women, though in some
regions the majority were men.
"Warlock" is sometimes mistakenly used for male
Accusations of witchcraft were often combined with other charges of heresy against such groups
as the Cathars and Waldensians.
The Malleus Maleficarum, (Latin for "Hammer of The Witches) was a witch-hunting manual written in
1486 by two German monks, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger. It was used by both Catholics and
for several hundred years, outlining how to identify a witch, what makes a woman more
likely than a man to be a witch, how to put a witch on trial, and how to punish a witch. The book defines a
witch as evil and typically female. This book was not given the official Imprimatur of the Catholic Church,
which would have made it approved by church authorities, but was used by the Inquisition nevertheless.
In the modern Western world, witchcraft accusations have often accompanied the satanic ritual
abuse moral panic. Such accusations are a counterpart to blood libel of various kinds, which may be
found throughout history across the globe.