What were the beliefs about magic in the 1770's?

The answer to this question must be approached carefully, because of the religious views of some now. The influence of the Catholic Church had become uncontested centuries before. The Catholic Church had erected their churches on the sites of old pagan temples where the townspeople were used to worshiping, usurping religions that they considered evil. Even though the Catholic alter is strangely similar to ancient pagan alters; Candles, censors (for burning incense), bells, religious tomes (Bible), a cup for wine and/or water, plates for offerings, and serving the host, an icon-topped (cross) staff, and also statues of holy figures (Jesus, Mary, and the Saints). The actual definition of Magic had become muddled and sometimes outright misrepresented. With the introduction of laws against witchcraft by Parliment in 1563, magic became a crime in most cases and moved underground. The Magic of today is usually defined as the manipulation of the powers naturally present in all living things; By the 15th and 16th century the use of magic was always thought to involve a pact with the Devil, (a concept, by the way, not even believed by modern "Witches".

By the 1700's the fear of so-called "witches" and "black magic" had reach hysterical levels. Witch-hunts and trials had become prevalent and any observation of non-Christian beliefs was deemed "devil worship" and "evil", or at the vary least sacrilege. Wise-women or town healers and midwives were accused of being witches and practicing "black magic"- tortured and executed in the most brutal ways imaginable. In 1693 the legendary Salem witch trials took the lives of over 200 people accused of using magic to harm others. Although there are documented instances of "calling demons", performing spells to enchant or entice animals and humans, harm, or kill; Also descriptions of the use of human sacrifice in "black masses". Many religions still practice ritual magic, including the Jewish practice of the Kabbala, Voodoo, and the Hispanic Santeria. The bulk of historic literature from the 15th and 16th century many agree to be the panicked writings of misinformed monks and religious zealots, but there remains much religious persecution of practitioners of modern majick even today