James’s obsession with witches was rooted in fierce misogyny and personal insecurity. This became clear in his treatise on witchcraft called Daemonologie, in which he argued that women were much more likely to be susceptible to Satanic influence than men. In his version of the Bible, he changed all mention of witchcraft to apply exclusively to women.
“As that sex is frailer than man is, so is it easier to be entrapped in these gross snares of the Devil, as was overwell proved to be true by the Serpent’s deceiving of Eve at the beginning which makes him the friendlier with that sex since then.” — James VI, Daemonologie
James certainly did not invent witch hunts, but he did play a major role in exacerbating fears and paranoias that already existed. Eventually, the European witch hunts fizzled out in the late 18th century, though the scars on history remain.
Why do these witch hunts continue to occur? Witch hysteria happens mostly when the public or ruling powers are seeking scapegoats for inexplicable calamitiesMagic and Hysteria: The History of Witch Hunts Through the Ages – MagellanTV