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The marks, made in the enormous oak beams on the sides facing the fireplace – for the superstitious, a known weak spot in defence against witches – include scorch marks made with a candle flame before the timbers were installed, carved tangles of Vs and Ws invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary, and maze-like marks known as demon traps, intended to trap the malevolent spirits which would follow the lines and be unable to find their way back out.
From the Daemonologie In the dialogue, the authority-figure, Epistemon, explains what kinds of "unlawful charms, without natural causes" are to be considered witchcraft: I mean by such kind of charms as commonly daft wives use, for healing of forspoken [bewitched] goods, for preserving them from evil eyes, by knitting . . . sundry kinds of herbs to the hair or tails of the goods; by curing the worm, by stemming of blood, by healing of horse-crooks, . . . or doing of such like innumerable things by words, without applying anything meet to the part offended, as mediciners do. The crucial test is that the charm works at a distance, unlike accepted medicine; it is witchcraft even when its purpose is good. In all fairness, it seems likely that by the time Macbeth was written James had become rather more skeptical; he continually warned his judges not to allow themselves to be deceived.