Several paranormal feats have been attributed to witches for centuries; and accompanying each new feat is a new characteristic or quality: warts, the ability to fly, shape-shifting to other beings. This paper will demonstrate the existence of witches in society today and throughout most of modern history as is evidenced by their appearance in literature, self-proclamation, and an explanation of their current practices.
Literature can be used to serve various purposes; and witches have held a strong role in literature for centuries. The largest example is that of the Holy Bible, often used by Christians to define morals and guide actions. The Holy Bible was considered by early Christians to be a work of nonfiction. The fact that witches appear as "evil" beings in humankind's earliest works of literature implies that not only did witches exist but that the literature was used to scare people--either away from witches or away from the practice of witchcraft. Indeed, several supplementary works of literature went into more detail about how the practice of witchcraft was a sin; Dante's Inferno, for example, described the idea that witches were sent to the deepest regions of Hell (Canto IX)-implying that to practice witchcraft was the worst of all sins.
Later works of literature were used to inform about the reality of w...
, The Truth about Witchcraft Today, Cunningham strives to inform his audience about the differences between a witch living in society and the myths of earlier texts that witches were evil beings with supernatural powers. Since the religious movement of the 1950s brought witchcraft back into the mainstream, other pieces of literature have worked to soften the idea of witches; although these works still portray witches as magical beings, television shows such as "Bewitched" and "Charmed" and books such as the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling portray witches as using their magical powers for the betterment of humankind and in conjunction with what society would define as "just."
To address the second point of evidence, self-proclamation, this paper will focus on the people who claim themselves to be witches. Thus far, this paper has shown that the traditional concept of the Devil-worshipping witch, using magic to bring harm to a community that has harmed her is an unlikely and unreal concept. However, the existence of witches as self-defined practitioners of a specific belief system that worships a female deity and chants spells to bring about some form of change is, in fact, real. The famous philosopher Descartes once famously uttered words that translate roughly to "I think, therefore I am." Working upon this thought, he also indicated that humans are what they believe they are; or what they portray themselves to be. By the same token, those individuals who believe themselves to be witches, believe they have the power to effect change in their lives by mixing an herbal decoction for illness or chanting a spell, may indeed have a point. Because they believe they are witches, and portray themselves as such to the rest of society, other people cannot deny the