Why are people so afraid of them?
Well, the media sure has lots of reasons. But since I've known a few women in my time who state (to their friends mainly) that they are Witches (with a capital letter so you know they have worked to become one)...let me tell you, they are a force to be reckoned with. But they are also the most proud and grounded women I have known as well.
So when sitting around for the last week getting better (so slowly) from this coughing disease, I spent hours looking into more details of my ancestors. (You probably look quickly at my topics and skip those postings. But I keep them because they are an accumulation of facts regarding people's lives that actually were my foremothers and fathers.)
I came upon Ipswich MA which is near Salem. And of course Wikipedia isn't always fact based, but some entries have great bibliographies. Ipswich had the last Witch Trial in the US in 1878. That was recent, folks.
And here's the link telling all about it.
Just another bunch of phoey, I thought. Until they said the man was a Christian Scientist, being tried for having caused harm "mentally." Uh-oh.
I was raised in Christian Science, and my grandmother (born about the time of that trial) was a Practioner of the religion. Would those people have considered her a witch? I doubt it. The Practioner was pretty much a regular person who had conservative political leanings, and prayed a lot. Of course religion was available to go any which way, and still is.
Many people who practice Wicca are asking for recognition as a religion.
Medical care is another issue entirely. I left the religion because I wanted to use modern medicine to cure various problems. I still get sick. I still get well. The idea that healing comes through prayer is a possibility that I don't practice any more, but it may still work for others.
Mind power is scary to others still. But I am amazed how fearful people are that someone else can control their own health through the power of the mind. I'm pretty sure it's your own mind that has control over your body and health.