The 16th and 17th century’s dramatic and religious literature are filled with superstition with witchcraft being a popular topic. Carlyle notes upon the common superstitions, saying, “The day of magic has gone by; witchcraft has been put a stop to by Act of Parliament. But the mysterious relations which it emblemed still continues; the soul of man still fights with the dark influences of Ignorance, Misery, and Sin … still follows false shows, seeking peace and good on paths where no peace or good is to be found” (Lucy, Margaret). Sir Edward Coke, said to be the most acute lawyer of the age, ventured to define the devil's agents in witchcraft. Sir Thomas Browne and Sir Matthew Hale, in 1664, proved their faith, “the one by his solemn testimony in open court, the other by his still more solemn sentence." (Thiselton-Dyer, T.F.). The belief in the supernatural was so strong that laws had to be passed for those who seek justice against those that use "magic" do do another harm. This creed held such a prominent place in the history of this period. It has sent thousands of victims to be sent to the torture-chamber, to the stake, and to the scaffold.
The accused were often considered "ugly, poverty-stricken, disheveled, and diseased" (Thiselton-Dyer, T.F.). Old hags were called out to be witches. Living on the fringes of village life, isolating one's self would cause rumors and suspicion. For if they were to utter a curse onto another ( swear at them or say something horrible) and that other happens to fall ill or something bad happened, the village may use that as evidence of witchcraft. There was a mass fear of the country being overruled by witches, so it's no surprise they found killing the “witch”, as the best course of action (Elizabethan Star Wars: Superstition and the Supernatural).
Superstition influenced people in their daily activities and giving great significance to seemingly ordinary occurrences. Magical beliefs played an even larger role in daily life than they do today, thankfully. It's hard to find how their everyday superstition came to be. From warnings not to whistle at night or strange cures for hiccups, few people ever questioned these beliefs and practices. It simply was passed down from generation to generation. Elizabethan households were well stocked with peculiar superstitions and strange practices: such as a horseshoe over the door to ward off evil spirits, a bowl of cream set out for the fairies every night, and a stockpile of charms to ward off ghosts and witches should they come to their door (Elizabethan Star Wars: Superstition and the Supernatural).
The church did its best to discourage black (or malevolent) witchcraft. Village priests and city bishops all over England preached that belief in witches, faeries, ghosts, and the influence of the stars were wicked and sinful. People are the cause of their afflictions and the people should not be blaming their problems upon supernatural excuses. This preaching fell upon deaf ears. Even with law requiring attendance at Protestant services on Sundays, there were people who didn't bother putting effort into churchgoing. This did not stop people from believing that the Bible could heal just by reading it's pages or that the pages from the Bible could be used as protective amulets against the Devil. The church was never clear of what kind of worship was considered wickedness. The article, Elizabethan Star Wars: Superstition and the Supernatural bring up a good question, “If someone put a cross to ward off evil spirits could it be considered engaging in religion or blasphemy? A folk healer advising a customer to repeat the Lord prayer seven times each morning would it be considered to be advising magic or religion?”. It's a thin line what could have been considered an act of using magic or exercising one's religion.
The Catholic Church had it's lines blurred about it but the Protestant reformers had very definitive views on the subject. They insisted that there were no magical powers in any of the old rituals and practices. The reform swept away repetition of prayers, holy relics, and special amulets as “Catholic” gradually came to be equated with “Superstitious” and “ritual” with “Necromancy” (Elizabethan Star Wars: Superstition and the Supernatural).
Above is an old but interesting video talk about witchcraft in the time. It gives a look upon the superstition that took hold.