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Witchcraft in Medieval Europe

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Jess Pearce

on 24 October 2012

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Transcript of Witchcraft in Medieval Europe

Witchcraft in Medieval Europe Explain Witchcraft in Medieval Europe. Then evaluate how a witch was spotted and what happened to them if they were. Witchcraft was feared all over Europe during the medieval times. People thought they were a magic illusion made by the devil. Most people thought that witches were bad luck and caused accidents, illnesses or death. Even people that were healers or made potions for fatal diseases were considered evil. Witches were considered normal and were treated the same until Christianity became a big religion. In 1563 towns went into panic because the Christians started a witch hunt and put people on trial. Most of the people that were executed during the witch hunt were female because the Christians believed they were easier for the devil to persuade. To the Christians no matter what happened witches were always wrong and were never thought of as any good. They were believed to be the cause for things such as storms, cyclones and earthquakes. Witches had their own language and some people believed they ate human flesh. If a witch cast a spell on an animal it would be burnt or buried alive to stop the magic from spreading. How was a Witch Spotted? A person could be arrested for witchcraft over little evidence. If a person was disliked or if a person wanted to get back at someone they could even accuse them of witchcraft. Lastly, people gained money from the capture or information of witches. Most of the women that were killed were old, wrinkly, wore raged clothes and always seemed to be poor. Lots of them were executed because they had broomsticks, cauldrons and pointed hats. During the witch hunt women were forced to have their bodies checked for dark spots because it was a sign of the devil. If someone objected they were probably executed for disobeying orders. Another thing that was done to make sure someone wasn't a witch was to make people recite the Lord’s Prayer without making any mistakes. People would also be thrown into water tied to a plank. If the accused sunk they were innocent and if they floated then they were guilty and executed. There was no winning during this time. What happened to them? An accused witch was nearly always killed and there would only be a few occasions where they might be banished instead. The most common way people were killed was burnt at the stake. To get information out of people they were tortured. Sometimes the torture was so bad that people confessed just to get out of the pain but were later executed. Nearly all of the people during the Witch Hunt were innocent and about 100 000 people died because of this. If a victim was wrongly accused their family would receive money as an apology. Christians believed strongly against witches but as time went on peoples beliefs changed and there were no more executions after 1782. The Witch Hunt ended because people slowly started to believe that people could die of natural causes and realised that there was little evidence to convict someone. Conclusion Witches were the blame for everything during the Medieval Times. Witches were accused over little evidence and if they were convicted they were executed. As time went on peoples beliefs changed and there were no more executions after 1782 because people believed they could die of natural causes. G. (1950) How was witchcraft supposedly spotted during the Burning Times. [online] Available at: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_was_witchcraft_supposedly_spotted_during_the_Burning_Times [Accessed: 10 Oct 2012].

Bellerby, R. (2009) Witchcraft in the Middle Ages | Suite101. [online] Available at: http://suite101.com/article/witchcraft-in-the-middle-ages-a125228 [Accessed: 10 Oct 2012].

En.wikipedia.org (2011) Witch trials in the Early Modern period - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_trials_in_the_Early_Modern_period [Accessed: 10 Oct 2012].

Yesnet.yk.ca (1995) Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. [online] Available at: http://www.yesnet.yk.ca/schools/projects/middleages/witchcraft/witchcraft.html [Accessed: 10 Oct 2012].

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