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Transcript of Witchcraft
Witches and The Craft
Persecution of Witches
Trial and Torture
Who were the witches?
usually women, but there were exceptions in which there were male witches
"witches" were generally poor, unemployed women or widows from ages 20-50
The Daily Life of A Medieval Witch
-witches used herbs, candles, special symbols, etc. for their rituals
-familiars: pets that were believed to be "messengers" of the Devil
-Wise Women, or healers were thought to be witches, but people still went to them for remedies to some conditions (doctors were too expensive for the peasants)
The Witch's Church
witches were believed to arrange Sabbaths
Sabbath: gathering of many witches during a specific time of year
witches also had festivals and gatherings like the Christian Mass
worshiped and made offerings to the Devil
witches were also believed to have a similar ranking to the Church's hierarchy (a witch could go up to the position of a bishop)
The Oppression Begins
witchcraft was first dismissed as "superstitious belief"
King Charlemagne once passed a law that a witch couldn't be killed unless he/she was proven of practicing witchcraft
the "evil" factor in witchcraft developed over time; people first went to witches for help
Church began to blame the witches
considered heretic behavior: defied the Church's rules and ways
the Church needed someone to blame for their inability to control the plague and their failure at the Crusades
they turned to the poorest part of the population: unemployed women and widows
they were considered to be a burden to society
could be exterminated without major loss
women were blamed because of their social inferiority (according to the Bible and people)
Malleus Maleficarum, or The Witches Hammer was a book that greatly contributed to the people's fear of witches
written by a German clergyman named Heinrich Kramer
countered the arguments that stated that witchcraft wasn't real
convinced skeptics that witchcraft was something to be feared
gave instructions on how to punish and torture witches
Europe was in social, economic and religious turmoil (chaos)
people naturally looked to the Church for reasons (since they were all-powerful, apparently)
the Church panicked when it found out that not everyone in Europe was Christian and loyal to the Church
Church was known to eliminate everything that threatened its power
had many ways to determine if a person was guilty of witchcraft or not, but the most popular was the Ordeal of Cold Water
Ordeal of Cold Water: the accused was bound in a fetal position then tossed into a body of water (lake/pond/river) if he/she floated, then he/she was guilty of witchcraft
both accused and proven witches went through several forms of torture
Heretic's Fork: a double-sided, sharp-edged instrument that was strapped on the neck, so that it poked both the person's chin and sternum, if the person's neck moved just a little, the fork would pierce them, guaranteeing a slow, painful and very bloody death
Tongue-Tearer: reserved for heretics and liars. It's jaw red-hot, it would be clamped on the victim's tongue, and would be slowly pulled out, until the tongue was finally ripped off
The Breast Ripper: only for female witches. Metal claw that would be pierced into the person, then it would be pulled out, tearing the flesh
The Pear of Anguish: tool that was inserted into the victim and then opened, its sharp blades shredding the insides of the victim
witch trials and executions were sometimes used for entertainment
torture methods started to get more and more creative
most of the executions were public, and always attracted a large crowd
In the Middle Ages
1. Witches and The Craft
2. Persecution of Witches
3. Trial and Torture
4. Pictures & Facts
The use of magic or sorcery, communication with
the Devil or other evil spirits, and the use of
magical powers obtained from external spirits
stereotype had existed since the Middle Ages
Not Just Halloween
Black Witch vs. White Witch
black witches were evil, white witches were harmless
black witches used their spells and magic for curses, sicknesses, etc.
white witches used their spells for charms, love spells, healing, etc.
any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.
Women were "the Devil's gateway, the unsealer of the tree."
people began to start questioning their beliefs (Was God really with them? Was God even real? Was the Church lying?)
witches were scapegoats for the Church: someone to blame
people started accusing other people of witchcraft, hoping to earn the Church's favor
Church started holding witch trials
Sink or Float?
This form of trial was used during the Salem Witch Hunts as well
Burned at the Stake:
The most popular way of witch-killing is burning. This was usually the most painful way to die, as it was extremely slow
Hanging was probably the least painful death there was: quick and instantaneous
Pictures & Facts
Eye of Newt and
Tongue of Frog
It was believed that witches used belladonna, poppy, and monkshood to create a magical ointment that would help them fly
witches on broomsticks with a demon
Gift of Magic
It was believed that those who entered into a pact with the Devil allowed them to fly on a broomstick, control the weather (storms), and transform into animals
witch feeding her familiars (2 toads and a cat)
examining and torturing a witch
People believed that a witch’s spell could be broken by scratching the witch’s face until it bled
Markings of a Witch
witches were thought to posses some kind of deformity, so they were searched for abnormalities (warts, birthmarks, moles, etc.)
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Natalia Lee 7th
Exorcism performed on a witch
by a clergyman
"Witches Sabbath" by Hans Baldung Grien
Witches with the Devil's minions
The Breast Ripper
The Pear of Anguish