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History of WitchcraftHistory of Witchcraft

History of Witchcraft

History of Witchcraft

In the History of Witchcraft, we cover everything you need to know about the hunts and trials that cut a bloody swathe across Europe and the American colonies from the Medieval times to the Early Modern age.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
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IN THIS ISSUE

access_time1 min.
welcome to history witchcraft

In a continent ravaged by plague, war and religious upheaval, maleficium (malicious magic) was just one more menace that people had to weather. No one was safe from maleficium, nor from accusations of practicing magic and consorting with the Devil – not even queens and courtiers. In the History of Witchcraft, we cover everything you need to know about the hunts and trials that cut a bloody swathe across Europe and the American Colonies from the Medieval times to the Early Modern age. Uncover the true stories of the panic and paranoia that swept towns up into hysteria, from accusations at Pendle Hill in Lancashire, England, to the madness of the Salem Witch Trials leading to the execution of 20 people. Find out what tools, ingredients and magical tomes real cunning…

access_time9 min.
witch hunting

The courthouse room is presided over by three judges with a clerk who takes the proceedings. Your name is added to the record before the accusations against you are laid out by the court: your neighbour, whom you’ve known for many years, has reported you to the church authorities for turning her cow’s milk sour. She and her farmer husband have accused you of bringing the unseasonable wet weather that caused their harvest to fail and stirring carnal desires in their two maiden daughters, with love potions made from your herbs. You have no need for a lawyer or representation of any kind in this court, you’re told, as witchcraft is deemed to be an exceptional crime in which God will defend the innocent. Of course, you deny being a witch…

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who were the witch-hunters?

The Witch-Finder General England Matthew Hopkins, the selftitled ‘Witch-Finder General’, was an English witch-hunter who was active from 1644-1647, during which time he was responsible for the execution of 300 convicted witches. He introduced many witch tests that could be considered farcical if it weren’t for their dire consequences. His work was sanctioned by Parliament, but he quickly gained a bad reputation for his methods. After his death, he became the bogeyman of his own vile story. His real legacy, however, was his book The Discovery of Witches, which gained traction in the colonies of late 17th-century America, especially in a community called Salem. Prince-Bishop of Wurzburg Germany With blue-bloods and the Pope behind him, Philipp Adolf von Ehrenberg was a powerful man in what is now southern Germany. A staunch anti-Protestant, his…

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are you a witch?

One way to determine whether a person was in league with the devil or not was to bind their right thumb to their left toe and throw them into a pond. If they were rejected by the ‘baptismal waters’ and floated, they were convicted of witchcraft. If they sank without trace, they were innocent – unfortunately that also meant they would drown. There were many ways someone found guilty of witchcraft could be executed: hanging and beheading were common and drowning was merciful compared to being burned to death. This was a method employed by the zealous Prince-Bishops of Bavaria, who believed that fire was the only way to purge the evil of witchcraft from the land. Common law in 17th-century Britain and its colonies meant the defendant could only be…

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the salem witch trials

Oyer and Terminer This appointed official drawn from Salem’s trusted residents by the governor of Massachusetts, would hear the evidence against the accused and determine their fate. Defendant In the case of Salem, the defendant was guilty on nothing more than vagrancy or distinguishing themselves in some way, to the chagrin of the court witnesses. Witnesses One sure way to get a guilty verdict in the Salem witch trials was to have a fit, or hallucinate in the presence of the accused. This happened very frequently. Jury As with the officials, the jury was drawn from Salem’s residents. If a Grand Jury indicted them, the accused would face another jury in the court of Oyer and Terminer. Possibly the most infamous witch-hunt in history took place over the course of a few months in the Puritan community of…

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the dawn of the witch

The idea witches had the ability to turn men into animals was elaborated on by writers, fuelling the witch hunt craze different from this sinister image — witches were healers and bastions of society. In early Middle Eastern societies, for example, female deities were worshipped, and the holiest of rituals surrounding them were performed by women trained for that purpose. These early examples of witches were known as wise women and were seen as crucial to society. They would stand beside kings, armies would come to them for sacred rituals, and expectant mothers relied on them to deliver babies. But how did this figure, so adored and revered in early society, transform into the spectre of evil and misdeeds that we recognise today? There are many different arguments as to how this…

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