For hundreds of years, certain women were seen as a danger to the society of the time, and the simplest way to get rid of them was the accusation of witchcraft, something that, getting closer to Halloween, we have already spoken.
Many women died for this belief, strengthening the fear of the unknown and perpetuating the punishment to those who did not comply with the traditions or were different from the rest. Nevertheless, witches as characters of fiction or part of a mythological story, remained forever in our imaginary and general culture, giving rise to innumerable stories. Here are some interesting facts about witches, to get a clear view of the subject.
9. Not all were burned at the stake
The image of the witches burning at the stake is the most widespread of all, however, it was not always so. In fact, in the Salem Witches trials, for example, the culprits were hung and not burned.
8. Witchcraft was not just for women
Although the accused were almost always women, due to the discrimination and bad concepts of the feminine gender, the sorcerers or wizards also existed. Many of the people killed were men and even children, but women were always seen as most prone to the dark arts because of their moral weakness.
7. Accusations came without any real evidence
The only evidence of witchcraft that there were dream appearances to village people or witnesses who claimed to have seen people in strange situations. Other tests were body marks considered signs of the devil, but they were only malformations or spots on the skin.
6. The existence of witches was confirmed by a Pope
The Pope Innocent VIII confirmed the existence of witches and sorcerers as the cause of crimes and worship the devil. Among his negative actions were to go against births and marriages, to modify nature and to assassinate.
5. Malleus Maleficarum
This book was written by Jakob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer, two clergymen who started witch hunts. The text was the basis of all theory against witchcraft, giving advice on how they look and how they behave.
4. The Pointed Hat
Many think that it became a symbol of witches when Pope Innocent III ordered the Jews to wear pointed capes in the year 1215. Discrimination against these people generated rejection and accusations of witchcraft, pagan worship, and crimes. In the 18th century, the current image we know of was popularized thanks to the artists who painted them with this type of hat.
3. The Witches were flying or something like that..!
We usually imagine witches flying on brooms, and somehow it is not so far from reality. The rituals of witchcraft involved the use of the plant called Mandrake, which causes hallucinations and strange visions. Women used to rub it on their body, creating a sensation of flight or levitation.
2. Between 40 thousand and 60 Thousand people died during the Witch Hunts
Executions reached this number between 1480 and 1750, in Europe and North America. The tests were almost always birthmarks, although some thought that witches were performing secret tattoos. However, many did so simply to take advantage of these women, whom they had to undress and examine in private.
1. Modern Witches
Currently, there are still practices of witchcraft and one of the most widespread is Wicca. They hold meetings called sabbats and esbats, and one of them falls on October 31, when much of the world is celebrated Halloween.