A Witch is a woman (usually) with supernatural power who can cast spells onto you. Mostly people thought witches were evil women who would cast terrible spells onto you, your family or your property. Witches could turn you into a frog, a toad, a newt or anything else bad that you could imagine.

A Wizard is a Man accused of casting spells.

Elizabethan Witches and Superstitions

New Elizabethan superstitions arose due to the fear of witchcraft and the persecution of witches. Women were those most often accused of being witches! There were 270 Elizabethan witch trials of 247 were women and only 23 were men! During the Elizabethan era people blamed unexplainable events as the work of witches - the Bubonic Plague, unexplained deaths or unpleasant illnesses, bad harvests or crop failures, the death of animals and unexplained fires. Those accused of witchcraft, or being a witch, were generally Old, Poor and Unprotected Single women, widows or 'wise women' (many kept pets for company - their 'familiars'). The fear of witches and their supernatural abilities led to the following superstitions:

Superstition 1 - Witches were able to fly ( this explained how witches could move quickly across impossible distances. A broomstick was then added to the superstition as these became common household articles used by women)

Superstition 2 - A witch was often portrayed as an old crone or hag ( with no man to defend her against accusations of witchcraft)

Superstition 3 - Witches are closely associated with living alone ( house in the wood)

Superstition 4 - Witches were known to keep animals like the Cat, Frog, Pig, Raven, Goat, Wolf, Goose, Crow, Bat and Mouse which were believed to be the forms adopted by a Witches Familiar (an evil spirit, in animal form, who was used by the witch to perform evil deeds and cast malevolent spells)

Superstition 5 - Witches brewed magic potions over a cauldron (Wise women had knowledge of herbs such as mandrake, datura, monkshood, cannabis, belladonna, henbane and hemlock)[1]

Fortunately today most people know that witches aren't real but unfortunately the same people who laugh about witchcraft superstitions sometimes believe Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman mythology about God and Jesus.

See also