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