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"
By the late 15th Century belief in the witch cult was widespread, and one book would cement European opinions for more than a century. The invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg likely also played a role in speeding up the spread of this viral, murderous meme. Finally in 1484 Pope Innocent […]Read more "The Hammer of Witches"