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Historically the witchcraft label has been applied to practices people believe influence the mind, body, or property of others against their will—or practices that the person doing the labeling believes undermine social or religious order.
Some modern commentators believe the malefic nature of witchcraft is a Christian projection.
In anthropological terminology, witches differ from sorcerers in that they don't use physical tools or actions to curse; their maleficium is perceived as extending from some intangible inner quality, and one may be unaware of being a witch, or may have been convinced of his/her nature by the suggestion of others.
Historians of European witchcraft have found the anthropological definition difficult to apply to European and British witchcraft, where witches could equally use (or be accused of using) physical techniques, as well as some who really had attempted to cause harm by thought alone.
During the Age of Colonialism, many cultures across the globe were exposed to the modern Western world via colonialism, usually accompanied and often preceded by intensive Christian missionary activity (see "Christianization").
Witchcraft or witchery broadly means the practice of and belief in magical skills and abilities exercised by solitary practitioners and groups.
Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and societally, and thus can be difficult to define with precision, The concept of witchcraft and the belief in its existence have persisted throughout recorded history.
The concept of a magic-worker influencing another person's body or property against their will was clearly present in many cultures, as traditions in both folk magic and religious magic have the purpose of countering malicious magic or identifying malicious magic users.
Many examples appear in early texts, such as those from ancient Egypt and Babylonia.