Many people assume that witchcraft disappeared after the witch-hunts of the middle ages. Witchcraft was driven underground by the persecution but it was not eliminated. The surviving Witches had to be more careful, but carry on they did. As late as the early twentieth century the traditional figure of the old wise witch was still in existence (E.g. Mother Redcap from Cambridge born in the mid-nineteenth century died 1926).
Witchcraft & witches have often been prominent in various isolated and third world countries around the world. They occasionally are reported in European papers, recent cases that found their way into the UK press include Witches in the Ivory Coast, Mexico and South Africa. These witches can trace their tradition back through the centuries as they have been largely accepted by their cultures and have not had to operate covertly. These witches of the third world while some of their practices and beliefs are very similar owe little to the heritage of the Witches who were persecuted during the European and American medieval witch trials.
While the persecution of witches and publicity the authorities and the church gave to it thankfully disappeared in the middle ages, witchcraft has persisted in Europe up to the present day. As there is little documentary evidence regarding the craft in the intervening centuries this is a very difficult statement to verify. This may be partly due to the secrecy needed before the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in England in 1951, and because Witchcraft in early Europe was largely a verbal tradition.
Whatever the truth of its origin Wicca and Witchcraft have now become a fast growing minority religion since the revival in the 1940s. It possibly now has as many followers in some western countries as other more officially acceptable alternative religions such as the Sikhs. Wicca is now even recognised by some government bodies such as the American military, which recognises it as an official religion. Even in Britain, the UK Home Office has authorised Wiccan prison visiting priests and priestesses.