ETYM AS. wiccecraeft.
The art of sorcery; SYN. witchery.
The alleged possession and exercise of magical powers— black magic if used with evil intent, and white magic if benign. Its origins lie in traditional beliefs and religions. Practitioners of witchcraft have often had considerable skill in, for example, herbal medicine and traditional remedies; this prompted the World Health Organization in 1976 to recommended the integration of traditional healers into the health teams of African states.
The Christian church persecuted witches in Europe between the 15th and 17th centuries and in North America (see Salem). The last official execution of a witch in Europe was that of Anna Goddi, hanged in Switzerland in 1782. Obi is the witchcraft of black Africa imported to the West Indies, and includes Christian elements; voodoo is a similar cult.