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"
By the early 14th Century, all the ingredients were in place for witchcraft’s horrible rise to prominence. Now all that was left was for this heady brew to simmer. From about 1300 to 1450, the image of the witch grew stronger across the generations and accusations and trials began to rise. In 1320 Pope John […]Read more "The Witchcraft Virus"
Magic’s cultural stock in Western Europe experienced a healthy resurgence during the 13th Century. In its infinite capacity for irony the primary driver behind magic’s new vogue status were the Crusades. In a very rudimentary sense the call to religious war had expanded the cultural and economic exchange between the Greek and Islamic worlds and […]Read more "The Magicians of Solomon"
Erring on the side of massacre became the mantra of the Catholic Church when it came to responding to new heresies. And there were always new heresies to worry about, like the Waldensians in France or the Fraticelli in Italy. In both cases greater elements of the Witch’s Sabbath crept into the arguments used by […]Read more "The Heresy of Popes and Saints"
In the end, the story of witchcraft was regrafted onto the less acceptable branches of the Christian tree as a means of slandering would be reformers. Evolution is a slow process, with countless failed starts and mutations. In an institution like the Catholic Church, reform movements represented this part in the theological life cycle of […]Read more "God Will Know His Own"