Hovering half forgotten on the edges of Europe Iceland was not immune to the witch craze, but the associations of the Sabbath fit poorly over the actual magic still practiced on the island. Iceland had been a late convert to Christianity, and only then under duress. At the annual gathering known as the Allthing in […]Read more "The Necropantsers of Iceland"
As might be expected, the Witch Craze peaked and subsided at different times across Europe. Historian Amanda Wahlers notes that, viewed from a distance of centuries, the first outbreak of the Witch Craze began in Switzerland in 1430, roiling along until the 1630s as witches were variously blamed for everything from conjuring the climactic shift […]Read more "The Hounds of God"
As with the witch trials, the fairies and shamans of the British Islands were different from the continent. Aside from Lancashire’s wise women, a likely cult presence were the Seely Wights in Scotland. In general the structure feels similar to the Donas, if less communal. The Wights are also similar to the Taltos shamans in […]Read more "Day and Seely Wight"
As with many things British, witchcraft was handled a little differently from their continental cousins. Historically the British had never associated witchcraft with demon worship in the way that crept up on most Europeans over the centuries. Barring one exceptionally odd case in Ireland surrounding a wealthy widow and her demon spirit Robin in 1324 […]Read more "By the Pricking of my Thumbs"
In another example of the Inquisition’s fastidious record keeping and relative leniency, the Benandanti (Good Walkers) of Friuli offer the best picture of a magical practice active at the time of the Witch Craze. Starting in 1575, the local priest learned of a healer and wanderer named Paolo Gasparotto. Like the donas, Gasparotto was a […]Read more "The Good Walkers"
Though it might same like a strange irony, for those accused of witchcraft a court run by the Spanish Inquisition was their best bet for survival. Methodical and for the most part skeptical of the existence of witches, the Inquisition did not accept evidence derived from tortured confessions, nor did they ask the accused to […]Read more "The Ladies from Outside"
Speaking out against the Craze in the late 16th Century became increasingly dangerous for one’s health. In 1563 theologian Johann Weyer published a tract entitled On Magic that attempted to fully refute the existence of witches and the entire craze. Going so far as to point out that the Greek word Luther and co. had […]Read more "The Witch Pyres of Trier"