The Witches of History – The Good, The Evil

Every culture throughout history has included witches. From the ancient times to now, there have been those who associate themselves with magic, demon worship or other kinds of witchcraft.

The definitions of witch are just as varied as the history.

Some cultures are more tolerant of those who call themselves witch than others. Typically, fear is at the root of the intolerance, though there are those who tout the association of witchcraft with demon worship. Most religions have some notations about witchcraft, usually along the lines of how to eradicate it.


The Fear of the Witch

Halloween WitchBecause of the power that witches are thought to have, there have been periods of time when witches were actively hunted. The most famous period is the Salem Witch Trials.

Dozens of men and women who were thought to be practicing witchcraft were hanged, drowned or burned at the stake. Ironically, the fact that these people died was sometimes counted proof of their innocence. After all, wouldn’t a true witch have save herself?


The Hollywood Witch

The witches of Hollywood are an incredibly varied bunch, ranging from evil to benevolent.

Wendy, the Good Witch, is arguably one of the best-known cartoon witches of all times. She wore a red cape, befriended Casper the Friendly Ghost and spent her time helping those who would be hurt by witches.

Not all cartoon witches were good. Who can forget the evil witch who gave Snow White the poison apple?

Wendy wasn’t the only good witch. There are others, including Glenda from the “Wizard of Oz” who put to rest the notion that witches are ugly. But the Wicked Witch of the West from that same show, was ugly. With her troops of flying monkeys, she was very nearly the end of Dorothy and her friends.

One of the most famous television witches was Samantha, of “Bewitched.”  She used her powers only when she and her husband found themselves in trouble. Samantha tried to live in the mortal world apart from her witch-ly family. The two children also had witchcraft powers, a fact that Samantha and her husband constantly tried to hide.

A more recent addition to the television screen is the series “Charmed.” Three sisters work together to battle the powers of evil that are constantly trying to take over.

A couple of witches that hit the big screen a few years ago were Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman (very famous Australian!) in Practical Magic. The pair find themselves in trouble when they try out a spell that they can’t control. Kidman would later play another witch role in the remake of “Bewitched.”

“The Witches of Eastwick” and “The Craft” are a couple of other examples of movies that featured witches, though these witches were much less kind than some.

Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch Toddler/Child Costume Wizard of Oz Wicked Witch Toddler/Child CostumeIncludes dress and hat. Does not include socks or shoes. This is an Officially Licensed Wizard of Oz™ costume.

So What Is It About Witches?

The lure, the appeal and the fear of witches is no doubt associated to the fear of the unknown and the fact that witches – if we believe Hollywood – can do anything. There’s little that can stop a witch unless you’ve become a collector of anti-witch tricks. Happy Halloween!