“witchcraft represents the expression of a particular method by mean of which men have sought to explain and master various ills of nature. Unable to admit ignorance and helplessness, yet equally unable to achieve understanding and master of diverse physical, biological, and social problems, men have sought refuge in scapegoat explanations. The specific identities of the scapegoats are legion: witches, women, Jews, Negroes, the mentally ill, and so forth. All scapegoat theories postulate that if only the offending person, race, illness, or what-not could be dominated, subjugated, or eliminated, all manner of problems would be solved.
While medical men subscribe enthusiastically to the idea that witches were hysterical women who had been misdiagnosed, social scientists lean toward the view that they were society's scapegoats.”