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Witches: Marks, Trials, and Inquisitions Oh My!

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posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 09:24 AM
Sit for a spell and have some brew.Allow me to share this humble thread on witches with you.

'By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.'

(Macbeth, 4.1)

Witch: a woman who is thought to have magic powers (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

1. History of Witchcraft

The earliest records of the concept and practice of witchcraft can be traced to the early days of humankind when witchcraft was seen as magical a phenomenon that was invoked for magical rites which ensured good luck, protection against diseases, and other reasons.

However, it was not until 1000 AD that the practice of Witchcraft and witches invoked the wrath of priests, Christianity, and members of the society.

Held to be against the declarations and beliefs of the Church, witches were considered as evil, making pacts and connections with the Devil. It was even believed that witches engaged in practices such as flying, invisibility, killing, taming black wolves and cats to spy on people, and others.


2. The Mark of the Witch
Some believed the following were marks/ signs for being a witch:
moles, scars, natural blemishes, and birthmarks. They used the mark of the witch as early as the 16th century to have 'proof' of the person being marked by the devil.

3. Witch Trials

Traditional [tolerant] attitudes towards witchcraft began to change in the 14th century, at the very end of the Middle Ages. ... Early 14th century central Europe was seized by a series of rumor-panics. Some malign conspiracy (Jews and lepers, Moslems, or Jews and witches) was attempting to destroy the Christian kingdoms through magick and poison. After the terrible devastation caused by the Black Death [bubonic plague] (1347-1349), these rumors increased in intensity and focused primarily on witches and "plague-spreaders." Witchcraft cases increased slowly but steadily from the 14th-15th century. The first mass trials appeared in the 15th century. At the beginning of the 16th century, as the first shock-waves from the Reformation hit, the number of witch trials actually dropped. Then, around 1550, the persecution skyrocketed. What we think of as "the Burning Times" -- the crazes, panics, and mass hysteria -- largely occurred in one century, from 1550-1650. In the 17th century, the Great Hunt passed nearly as suddenly as it had arisen. Trials dropped sharply after 1650 and disappeared completely by the end of the 18th century. (Gibbons, "Recent Developments in the Study of the Great European Witch Hunt".)
During the three centuries of witch trials approximately 9 million people were found guilty of practicing witchcraft and executed.

4.The Inquisition and Torture Procedure of Witches

'The blackest chapter in the history of Witchcraft lies not in the malevolence of Witches but in the deliberate, gloating cruelty of their prosecutors.' -THEDA KENYON, Witches Still Live

The most common means of torture included burning, beating and suffocating, however the techniques below are some of the more extravagant and depraved methods used.

The Rack
The victim was tied across a board by their ankles and wrists, rollers at either end of the board were turned by pulling the body in opposite directions until dislocation of every joint occurred.

The Stocks
With their feet in the stocks, two pieces of timber clamped together, over and under, both across each leg above the ankles. The soles of their feet then having been greased with lard, a blazing brazier was applied to them, and they were first blistered and then fried.

Water Torture
The victim's nostrils were pinched shut, and eight quarts of fluid were poured down the victim's throat through a funnel. Other techniques included forcing a cloth down the throat, while pouring water, which made a swallowing reflex pushing it further down into the stomach producing all the agonies of suffocation by drowning until the victim lost consciousness. Instead of water, the torture was sometimes conducted with boiling water or vinegar.

The Heretics Fork
This instrument consisted of two little forks one set against the other, with the four prongs plunged into the flesh, under the chin and above the chest, with hands secured firmly behind their backs. A small collar supported the instrument in such a manner that the victims were usually forced to hold their head erect, thus preventing any movement.

The Wheel
The wheel was one of the most popular and insidious methods of torture and execution practiced. The giant spiked wheel was able to break bodies as it rolled forward, causing the most agonizing and drawn-out death.

The Head Crusher
With the victim's chin placed on the lower bar, a screw then forces the cap down on the victims cranium. The recipients teeth are crushed and forced into the sockets to smash the surrounding bone. The eyes are compressed from their sockets and brain from the fractured skull.

Burnt at the Stake
If the Inquisitor wanted to be sure no relics were left behind by an accused and convicted heretic, he would select death by burning at the stake as the preferred method of execution. With few exceptions, death came from being burned alive.


5. Famous Witches in History

Anna Koldings (?-1590)

She was known by her contemporaries as “The Devil’s Mother,” was a Danish witch who was also accused of summoning storms against Queen Anne’s ship.

Merga Bien, a rich German heiress, confessed to murdering her 2nd husband and his children by means of witchcraft and to attending a Witches’ Sabbath.

Bridget Bishop was the first woman executed as a result of the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. Bishop was a successful and outspoken woman. She owned several taverns and was known to dress in provocative red gowns.

6. The Last Witch Trial

Britain:"Helen Duncan in 1944, She was convicted of witchcraft when at one of her seances she exposed a government attempt to cover up the deaths of 861 sailors.

Germany:Anna Schwegelin in Kempten in 1775 -Death sentence wasn't ccarried out.

France: Louis debaraz, in 1793

Saudi Arabia: (It is still going on there.I have read so many cases of being sentenced to death for being a witch in the Middle East in this decade, not just Saudi Arabia.)

On 12 December 2011, Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar was beheaded in Al Jawf Province after being convicted of practicing witchcraft and sorcery.

America: The Salem Witchcraft Trial in 1878 also known as the second salem witchcraft trial. Accused was scientist Daniel H. Spofford.

Watching American Horror Story: the coven got me interested in this subject again. Please click the links to read more about each topic. Add your own tid-bits, information if you like.

edit on 9/11/2013 by Rainbowresidue because: spelling

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 09:29 AM
I have an ancestor on my mother side who was condemned as a witch in 1663.
Mary Barnes - Hartford CT WItch Story
I feel for her. She left behind three children.

Watching American Horror Story: the coven

OH MAN ... that's a good show!

edit on 11/9/2013 by FlyersFan because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 09:31 AM
I love when people twist religion to persecute others or a particular group of people.
Anyway great thread intresting hearing about how they killed witches and others believed to exhibit supernatural powers.

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 09:45 AM
reply to post by FlyersFan

Wow! And thanks for sharing.
I know some neighbors called my late grandmother a witch for reading Tarot cards, but I haven't dug deep enough in my family tree to see whether any of my ancestors were accused of witchcraft. (I have a feeling I might find more than I was looking for.)

reply to post by blueyezblkdragon

I couldn't agree with you more. What a despicable act indeed.

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 09:50 AM
reply to post by Rainbowresidue

Nice read.

It was even believed that witches engaged in practices such as flying, invisibility, killing, taming black wolves and cats to spy on people, and others.

Flying would gave been done with the help of nephil spirits.
The black animals are possessed by nephil spirits, not tamed. Its basically animal 'familiars'.

Also the Rephaim (giants) will either take the form of a crow/raven if they are land based and a black cormorant if their fallen angel father crashed onto the coast.

As its possible to see the future in ink bowl visions, this is probably why the church killed witches; they got jealous.

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 10:02 AM
reply to post by Rainbowresidue

That was a good read, thank you. The devices used to punish the women were more demonic than anything a local witch could conjure up. It was a disgusting part of our history, almost unbelievable that people could treat each other like that.
I've always thought that it was one of the most powerful messages to women in history from the Church: we hold all the power, so don't you even try. Or we will tear you into pieces.

Chilling, but thanks!
edit on 9-11-2013 by beansidhe because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 10:17 AM
reply to post by beansidhe

Thank you.
And would you believe that I actually posted the more 'decent' torture methods?
The others were so graphic, and gruesome,that I couldn't/wouldn't post them. I just left the link if anyone wants to read on.

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 10:31 AM
reply to post by Rainbowresidue

"There is nothing so wicked as that which is done under the guise of a good cause."
That is a paraphrased quote (is that an oxymoron?) from Miss Marple, of all people. But very true, sadly.

Why the interest in witchy torture, if I might ask?

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 10:39 AM
reply to post by beansidhe

It was a dream I had recently, where I was in the past, around 12th century, and people in that dream were talking about me being a witch and a high priestess and all, and how they wanted to tell on me, but were too afraid to, so I was left alone. I watched one of my best friends in that life getting burned at the stake, because she wouldn't rat me out. It was a very strange dream.

That dream was caused most likely by watching American Horror Story:The Coven though, but it did spike my interest in the subject again.

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 10:50 AM
reply to post by Rainbowresidue

Great post and here it is 2013 and not much has changed.
S & F

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 10:56 AM
reply to post by Rainbowresidue

Yucky yuck yuck, what a horrible dream. I'm glad you had it though, in a selfish git kind of a way, since it led you to write this. You're a good writer, I think.

posted on Nov, 9 2013 @ 12:51 PM
Great thread!
I've often wondered, where would we be now in medicines and health if we had never gone through those killings. If instead of a tyrannical fearful approach, it was instead accepted? How far advanced would our medicines be if we hadn't lost all of that information and knowledge...even as primitive as it was, it still held value and worth that could have saved countless lives today. Not to mention the morals and ethics that were usually inherently engrained in the types of individuals who were so at one with nature and their healing abilities.

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