AFAIK the increase in witch trials was an extension of the inquisition, then the reformation, as a means of creating examples by suppressing newly enabled social dissent under the decline of the influence of the church and the personalization of the religious experience by disintermediation from the priesthood. There isn’t really a consensus on it, but my rough understanding is that as wealth increased and local agency increased we saw the the protestant reformation put more control in the local hands at all levels – including religious. About 80% of prosecutions were of women, and most in central europe (germanic) countries. And women were uneducated and … uneducated women (as we see in daily videos) .. and as evidenced by asylum populations (mostly women), and current mental health statistics, were as disruptive in the past with psychosis as they are today – just like males -although we control males aggressively and we don’t control anti-social behavior in females. In other words I interpret it as a puritan reaction to the transfer of power of catholic inquisition to protestant hands, and the ‘fashion’ of exercising that power, until it was rather obvious that it was out of hand, and (a) judges would no longer accept testimony obtained under torture, (b) it was increasingly outlawed.