Research, Technology

1 billion people believe in witchcraft. Why is this worrying scientists?

In ancient times, when science was not yetdeveloped, people explained almost every phenomenon as witchcraft. If a person is haunted by failure, it means that someone cursed him or a black cat ran in front of him. If a person's livestock died, his neighbor could well be accused of witchcraft and executed. It would seem that these harsh times are long gone, but the results of the new scientific work indicate the opposite - there are still a lot of people who believe in witchcraft. Fortunately, there are no peoples burning witches, but some people believe very willingly in all sorts of signs. Let's find out how scientists came to this conclusion and which men and women tend to believe in the evil eye and other impossible phenomena.

It turns out that the belief in witchcraft still exists and leads to terrible consequences.

People believe in witchcraft and omens

As part of the new scientific work is an economistBoris Gershman studied the results of a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center from 2008 to 2017. The experts called over 140,000 men and women from 95 countries and asked a variety of questions. Among them were those that concerned people's belief in witchcraft. For example, sometimes people were asked if they believed in the evil eye and the ability of certain individuals to send curses.

The evil eye is a popular superstition among many peoples that some people can send trouble with their eyes.

After studying the results of the survey, Boris Gershman calculated that 40% of respondents believe in witchcraft. If we apply this result to the population of the countries whose inhabitants participated in the study, it turns out that 1 billion people believe in witchcraft. In fact, there should have been an even larger number - unfortunately, experts were not able to conduct a survey among residents of China and India, the most densely populated countries in the world.

Unfortunately, experts were unable to interview residents of China and India.

In October 2016, VTsIOM conducted a similar surveyamong the inhabitants of Russia. The results showed that 36% of the people surveyed believe in corruption and the evil eye, with a quarter of them claiming to have seen it personally. Approximately 12% of Russians surveyed believe that amulets can protect them from evil witchcraft, while others use pins and other means.

The era of obscurantism: Why is pseudoscience flourishing in Russia?

What kind of people believe in witchcraft

Apparently, in addition to believing in witchcraft,specialists asked respondents about the level of education and other personal information. As you might expect, people with a low level of education and income are most likely to believe in witchcraft. At the same time, men and women with a good education and material security, for the most part, do not believe in evil eye and spoilage.

Also, researcher Boris Gershman noticed that religious people usually believe in the evil eye. It doesn't matter what religion they follow.

Map showing the prevalence of witchcraft beliefs at the country level around the world

Belief in the supernatural is common, butunevenly - in some countries there are more superstitious people, in others less. For example, the survey results showed that in Sweden only 9% of the population believes in witchcraft. And in Tunisia, located in North Africa, 90% of the population believes in witchcraft. It all depends on the characteristics of culture, history, level of education and many other indicators.

Research confirms that beliefs inwitchcraft is still widespread throughout the world. Moreover, their prevalence is associated with a number of cultural, institutional, psychological and socio-economic characteristics, the author of the scientific work noted.

Which countries are afraid of witches and witchcraft

According to Boris Gershman, the study of people's faith inwitchcraft can be of great benefit. The fact is that such beliefs in some countries still lead to serious conflicts. As an example, some African states can be cited, where children are often accused of witchcraft. So, in Angola, many orphans are accused of being possessed by the devil - this is how relatives want to justify their unwillingness to provide for them. It is hoped that this kind of research will be able to draw attention to such phenomena and save the lives of innocent people.

In order not to miss important science and technology news, subscribe to our Zen channel.

In general, researchers from all over the world seriouslydetermined to study why people believe in omens, witchcraft and other inexplicable phenomena. There are several articles on this topic on our website - they were written by my colleague Lyubov Sokovikova. So, once she spoke in detail about the reason for belief in supernatural phenomena from the point of view of science. She also touched on the topic of why people believe in ghosts and even see them, here is the link.