The additional persecution of anything which resembled feminine religiosity went to interesting lengths in that devotion to Mary became suspect. Today the figure of Mary is both popular and important in the Catholic church, but to the Inquisition it was a possible sign of overemphasizing the feminine aspect of Christianity. In the Canary Islands, Aldonca de Vargas was reported to the Inquisition for nothing more than smiling at hearing mention of Mary.
As a result of this, church authorities tortured and killed thousands of women, and not a few men, in an effort to get them to confess that they flew through the sky, had sexual relations with demons, turned into animals, and engaged in various sorts of black magic. The image here depicts what Christians imagined went on at a court of witches where Satan presided.
People typically fear that which they don't understand, so witches were doubly damned: they were feared because they were allegedly agents of Satan seeking to undermine Christian society and they were feared because no one really knew what witches did or how. In the place of real knowledge or Information, Christian leaders made things up and created stories which were certain to cause people to hate and fear witches even more.
People trusted their religious and political leaders to provide them with accurate information, but in reality the "information" provided was simply whatever furthered their leaders religious and political goals. Creating an enemy of out witches served the goal of increased religious and political cohesion because people would want to draw closer together in order to confront the enemy who wanted to destroy them. Isn't that ultimately more important than whether the stories were true or not?
Books in PDF format to read:Anonymous - Witchcraft Dictionary
Jaroslav Nemec - Witchcraft And Medicine
Gordon Chavunduka - Witchcraft And The Law In Zimbabwe