Yes, this is also is my understanding as long as we also take into account that ritual sacrifice was ancestral, killing scolds, harlots, non conformists, mischief makers, and thieves by casting them as possessed or a witch was ancestral, hanging was aggressive during the period, and the church simply ‘made use of’ the technique just as the church always had made use of whatever it could.

—“A paper published in the August edition of the Economic Journal casts doubt on both theories. Peter Leeson and Jacob Russ, also of George Mason University, collected data for witch trials from 21 countries between 1300 and 1850, in which 43,240 people were prosecuted. They found that the weather had a statistically insignificant impact on the occurrence of witch trials. The impact of negative income shocks or governmental capacity was also very weak.

When Mr Leeson and Mr Russ compared their witch-trial data to the timing and location of over 400 battles between Christian denominations, they found a much closer link. Where there was more conflict between Catholics and Protestants (in Britain, between Anglicans and Presbyterians), witch trials were widespread; in places where one creed dominated there were fewer. The authors conclude that churches engaged in a sort of “non-price competition”, gaining converts in confessional battlegrounds by advertising their commitment to fighting evil by trying witches.”— The Economists via Marginal Revolution

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