Since the beginning of time, humans have attempted to understand the environment around them and make sense of occurrences that oftentimes had little to no reasonable explanation; or so it seemed. As a result of this, the creation of gods and legends helped to define what would otherwise be considered a very chaotic and disturbing environment; one in which death and acts of calamity were all too present. Oftentimes these myths were relatively harmless and did not contribute to any one member of society being persecuted or harassed. At other times, rituals and superstition demanded that a particular type of individual should be shunned, mistreated, or even hunted down and killed. The focus of this particular discussion is on the superstitious origins of the term “witch” and the manner through which this particular identification has come to be propagated for such a very long period of time. It is the further intent of the analysis to point to the illogical and unrealistic mechanisms through which a “witch” has been defined and correlate these to the manner in which individuals that are considered as “aberrant” to society are oftentimes grouped.
Before delving directly into a discussion of witches throughout history, it is necessary to note that the definition or determination of a “witch” throughout history has been an individual that did not ascribe to the norm. As such, whether for reasons of disability, unsightliness, or mental illness, a witch has oftentimes been a societal label for an individual that could not integrate or fit in with the remainder of society (Schwartz, 2004). Naturally, within this understanding, it is vital to realize that the label of a witch has absolutely nothing to do with magical powers or some type of collaboration with a mythical dark spiritual force. Instead, it is merely a cruel way in which societies have chosen to label people that do not abide by a given set of norms and standards that they have set forward to group their society by.