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PostSubject: Witchcraft   Fri 07 Sep 2012, 15:30

Watched a programme on Channel 5 last night called "The Kings war on witches" about King James VI & I attacks on witchcraft. Up until about 1590, witch hunts in the British Isles were practically non existent, but James managed to convince himself that a storm during his return voyage from Denmark was the work of sorcerers intent on assassinating him. Thereafter, he started a drive against any forms of "Magick", first in Scotland then in England. The persecution outlived the King himself, reaching a peak during the Civil Wars before finally dying out in the late 17th century.

One aspect the programme covered was the excavation of votive pits in Cornwall, surprisingly the newest was dated to the 1970's

http://www.archaeologyonline.org/

James' publications Daemonologie and Newes from Scotland are available to read online;

http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/kjd/
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Sat 08 Sep 2012, 11:22

Quote :
James managed to convince himself that a storm during his return voyage from Denmark was the work of sorcerers intent on assassinating him.
The Danish connection seems quite relevant.

The accusation of witchcraft against Agnes Sampson in North Berwick after the storm in the spring of 1590 followed on from a similar accusation against Anna Koldings in Copenhagen made after another storm a few months earlier in the fall of 1589. In that earlier storm James' bride Anne of Denmark had had to abandon the planned journey to Scotland and put into the Norwegian coast with the intention of overwintering in Oslo. James, however, had then decided to make an unscheduled winter voyage to Oslo to pick up his bride and bring her to Scotland. It was the storm during the return leg which resulted in the accusation against Agnes Sampson.

Denmark-Norway was a united kingdom at that time and was also engrossed with the contemporary witch-trial of Anne Pedersdotter a rich widow in Bergen. It seems that James VI of Scotland was himself heavily influenced by 'Newes from Denmark and Norway'. A study of what the causes were of the witch-hunts in Denmark-Norway at that time could be quite revealing.
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Sat 08 Sep 2012, 12:23

Nils Gilje has written a very good book about Anne Pedersdotter, the first part of which outlines the mounting tensions between the two competing power structures which ultimately resulted in her execution, a case of revenge by proxy against her dead husband, Absalon Pederssøn Beyer, the renowned humanist and Lutheran priest (whose "dagbok" is still probably one of the best sources of information regarding life in the latter half of the 16th century to be found anywhere). There had been one attempt to accuse her of witchcraft while Absalon was still alive, and although it was patently ludicrous it had taken the intervention of the king in Copenhagen to eventually quash it. During this incident the battle lines had become clearly drawn for all to see. On the one side was the ascendant reformation-inspired Lutheran priesthood who enjoyed patronage of no less than the Danish crown itself, and on the other were the "burgher" class of merchants and town councillors who bitterly resented any intrusion into their domain. In Bergen this bitterness was enhanced to a large degree by the city's long-held stature as a Hanseatic League port with the ability to generate (and dispose of) great wealth hitherto independent of royal interference. Absalon and his reformation-inspired allies represented an ominous death knell for this cosy arrangement.

After Absalon's death his widow Anne, despite having been granted liberty from all taxes and duties and the choice of the entire kingdom to set up an estate in her own name by Frederick II, chose to remain in Bergen. The accusation against her had made her bitter indeed and it was obvious that she wished to remain a thorn in the side of those who she quite understandably considered had done her wrong. For their part the burgher class in Bergen became fixated on the woman as their wealth and power were systematically whittled down by her royal protectors. When Frederick II died in 1588 there was a short period while they judged what way the wind was blowing under the new king Christian IV and, when it became obvious that the 11 year old's advisors were focused more on solidifying trust in the junior regent within Denmark, struck while the going was good. The nature of the charges brought against her this time were even more ludicrous than before, evidence probably of the speed with which they were concocted (murder of a pear tree being one of them) and the indecent haste in assembling "witnesses" to testify against her also smacked of desperation on her accusers' part. When her son - also called Absalon - failed in an attempt to invoke royal intervention all pretence of a trial dissolved immediately. Within two days of his failure she had been convicted and burnt.

Even the location of her execution betrayed the politics behind the action. Nordnes, a small peninsula visible from the entire surrounding city, meant that witnessing the execution was almost unavoidable for the entire citizenry on the day. This was the burghers making a point regarding their power, and it was not to be lost on anyone, especially the priesthood. They and Anne's family started a protracted campaign to exonerate her which itself triggered huge social unrest and reform over the next few decades and which spilled over into Norwegian society as a whole. The burgher class ultimately lost this fight as Christian's dominion over their affairs slowly tightened, but not before they had employed similar scare tactics - especially in Finnmark - to emphasise their control and power. Many innocent women were to suffer in other towns and villages before eventually the practise could be successfully stopped through an enforceable royal decree.
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Sat 08 Sep 2012, 14:36

The opportunity to use witch hunts for powerplays would just to good to resist. One thing the programme didn't mention was the implication of the Earl of Bothwell during the North Berwick trials. Bothwell would eventually be driven into exile. Though to be fair on James, the number of real assassination attempts, kidnappings and plots he had to endure, it's little wonder he was paranoid.
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Fri 21 Sep 2012, 15:40

The Hammer of Witches, for anyone who wishes to read it;

http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/mm

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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Wed 31 Oct 2018, 13:20

This is the trailer of a Danish film from the 1920s, quite explicit for the time:

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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Wed 31 Oct 2018, 14:58

Gosh, I think that at sixty and a very big bit that trailer is not something I want to watch past my bedtime, Trike.  I think I mentioned before that there is a shop selling "magic" things in my town now.  Those sort of things give me the creeps.  Well, my trip some time ago to the murkier side of YouTube showed that some people believe in witchcraft still - and that anyone who is famous is part of a satanic illuminati cabal - the tale grew in the telling to say that famous people are mostly transgender and maybe also lizard people.  The folk making these videos and their commentators have names like "FeartheLord" etc (reminded me a bit of names I've seen from the time of Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth).  Still if people making such videos have 4,000 followers I suppose that is not really so large considering the size of the world, but I was alarmed when I first came across them.  I've no doubt there are people who do try to do nasty things and probably use "witchcraft" as an excuse and not necessarily famous people either.
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Wed 31 Oct 2018, 16:22

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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Thu 01 Nov 2018, 11:56

And there have always been people willing to take advantage of a situation;

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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Thu 01 Nov 2018, 16:22

Many years ago I read Hugh Walpole's "Herries" series and there was an episode in one of those novels where someone was accused of witchcraft.  I wonder how many women (and maybe some men) were killed unjustly because they were a bit eccentric.

I know the people who post on the loonier side of YouTube (which I now try to avoid) are fantasising but there was a comment on one video (where they accuse any actress who is even a little bit famous of being secretly a transgendered man) speculating about pulling a "moon bump" off someone. Moon bumps are the prosthetics that actresses wear to simulate a pregnancy if their character is supposed to be pregnant. Of course the loony tunes are saying that certain women have not been/or are not actually pregnant and are faking their pregnancies.  I know members of Res Hist will know how stupid it is but I was a little concerned that some nutter might pull at a pregnant woman's belly thinking she's a clandestine transgender.  Hopefully it would never happen and there's nothing I can do anyway - I tried to make sensible comments but the loony tunes say things like "Wake up sheeple".  Anyhow, I gave up trying to get them to see sense and as I say, try to avoid those type of videos.

Fundamentalism is dangerous in any religion whether it's Christian or a different religion.  Temperance alluded to the potential dangers of fundamental Christianity as mentioned in The Handmaid's Tale.  I'm told it's a good story and well acted but it sounds too depressing for me (Temperance, sorry if your ears are burning because I have typed your name).
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Fri 02 Nov 2018, 09:12

Just imagine the scene in Exeter Assizes:

Prosecutor: "The Accused will now inform the Court of the name of her Familiar"

Accused: "Bosworth"
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Fri 02 Nov 2018, 09:14

Only joking Temp



it's Greymalkin
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Fri 02 Nov 2018, 11:04

Seriously though, Europe saw explosion of witch trials beginning in the latter half of the 16th Century.

This is a print of the Derenburg witch trial of 1555, resulting in the execution of 3 women and 1 man, though by the sensational nature of the print, one of the women was rescued by Satan.


Witch trials at this stage were still comparatively small.
The Weisensteig  trial of 1562-63 resulted in the burning of 67 women, and is regarded as the first of the great witch trials.

Weisensteig Witch Trial
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Fri 02 Nov 2018, 11:34

I wonder why the 1600s saw an increase in trials for witchcraft.  One would have thought that after the Renaissance people would have been less superstitious not more so.
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Fri 02 Nov 2018, 15:29

This is the wiki entry which may provide some clues. Interestingly one of the reasons given was the printing press publishing ideas about witches and demons that helped spread the witch hunts:

Witch trials in the early modern period
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Sat 03 Nov 2018, 12:16

Gosh that's terrifying, Trike. I hope the state of Gilead or something like that never occurs in real life.  It probably won't and as I have said The Handmaid's Tale is too depressing for me but there are some "fundies" in America.
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Sat 03 Nov 2018, 13:00

@Triceratops wrote:
Just imagine the scene in Exeter Assizes:

Prosecutor: "The Accused will now inform the Court of the name of her Familiar"

Accused: "Bosworth"



I would never, ever have named Bosworth - there was a nasty tradition of executing moggies along with their wretched owners. They'd never catch Bos anyway.

But one of the Bideford witches was indeed called Temperance. These poor women have always fascinated me: they and their accusers in Bideford would make excellent characters for a novel. Here is a bit about them from the Crediton Courier (a local rag):


Witchcraft has been a powerful force throughout history, not only in distant places but also very close to home.  

A plaque on the wall of Rougemont Gardens in Exeter recalls the famous Bideford Witch Trials that took place in the assizes held in Exeter Castle in August 1682.  (see photo)

Temperance Lloyd, Susannah Edwards and Mary Trembles were accused of witchcraft. There was precious little evidence and their accusers relied mainly on hearsay.

On August 18, 1682 they were executed in front of a large crowd at Heavitree. Three years later Alice Milland suffered the same fate.  

In fact Exeter has a long and infamous association with witchcraft.

From the reign of Elizabeth 1st to the date of the Bideford Trials, more than 20 women have been put to death for the practice of the dark arts.

It is said that the Bideford Witch Trials may have been the last executions for witchcraft to have taken place in England.



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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Sun 04 Nov 2018, 11:41

@Triceratops wrote:
Only joking Temp




Bosworth was not amused, Trike (but he never is).

I was, though. Smile


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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Mon 05 Nov 2018, 12:45

Honestly never knew about the Temperance charged & executed at Bideford in 1682.

Spooky coincidence with my little joke.

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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Mon 05 Nov 2018, 14:27

Oh Trike!!!  Still you do bring a smile to my face.  Thinking of the Haxan trailer upthread, I find some of the older supernatural films more frightening than some things that have been on TV more recently. Nosferatu has to be one of the creepiest interpretations of the Dracula myth (I may have said that before - I have a memory of someone linking a video of Nosferatu.


I wonder how many unfortunates were "fitted up" as witches and warlocks in days gone by.  I know most people on the board are not religious at all but things pertaining to black magic and mumbo-jumbo in general give me the creeps and I avoid them.  I wonder how many people who indulge in "witchcraft" really believe in it?  Do people such as Aleister Crowley use their beliefs [or alleged beliefs] (about which I'm not an expert and I don't want to be!!!) to run a cult?  I've heard that he may have been nasty to animals (I don't want to know any details thanks very much).
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Mon 05 Nov 2018, 14:37

I couldn't resist ...

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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Mon 05 Nov 2018, 17:10

And what of wizards - is warlock the correct word? I don't recall reading of trials about them - several men were burned in this town but that was for being catholic at the wrong time.
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Tue 06 Nov 2018, 08:00

@Meles meles wrote:
I couldn't resist ...




You have upset Bosworth badly, MM. He is not as handsome a cat as the moggy in the picture, it's true, but Bos would like it noted that he is not some kind of freak with a funny head.


There was a "Wizard" Lord at Hermitage Castle - he was mentioned on the Accuracy in Films thread, I think.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_II_de_Soules


Scottish Borders folklore maintains that a Soulis was involved with the Black Arts being schooled with Michael Scot, the "wizard of the North". Sir Walter Scott made this Evil Lord Soules and gave him a familiar called Robin Redcap. In retaliation for a long history of cruelty, locals boiled this Lord Soules alive at Ninestane Rig.
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Wed 07 Nov 2018, 13:28

Belief in Witchcraft was not confined to Europe;

Witchcraft in South Africa

By the mid-1820s, as every able-bodied Zulu man, except the witch doctors, who were exempt, must be a soldier, Chaka saw that there were too many witch doctors and that they were increasing, so he laid a trap for them. One night, he and two men who were in on the secret, sprinkled the huts in several kraals with bullock's blood. Then the king called all the witch doctors in the land for a grand "smelling out." They came, and after sundry divinations accused several persons. But two of these doctors were bold enough, or shrewd enough, to say that the king himself did it. So Chaka ordered all the witch doctors but these two to be killed, and the witch medical corps was speedily reduced to that number. The employment of "witch doctors" for "smelling out" criminals or abalagati (usually translated "wizards," but meaning evildoers of any kind, such as poisoners), once common in Zululand, as in neighbouring countries, was discouraged by Cetswayo [r. 1872-1884], who established "kraals of refuge" for the reception of persons rescued by him from condemnation as abalagati. But "smelling out," and sacrifice of life on charges of witchcraft were of continual occurrence. "Smelling out" of abalagati was finally suppressed by the British in the early years of the 20th century, but still there was the same superstition and the same result to witch-finders and witchproof and the ceremony of smelling out.
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PostSubject: Re: Witchcraft   Fri 09 Nov 2018, 00:27

In Aotearoa there were wizards/priests/healers known as tohunga. They practised magic and healing through the use of various plants and incantations. Victoria University in Wellington has a site NZETC (New Zealand Electronic Text Centre) which has a long section on these people, mainly men.

Part of it says: A tohunga did not as a rule use his strongest magic to bewitch ordinary men, it was against other wizards that his blackest art was directed. To keep off the evil spells of others the charm called Mata-tawhito had to be recited...
The art of witchcraft was general among all the tribes, but certain of these, such as the Urewera of the East Cape, were regarded as unusually proficient. Any personal relic, such as saliva, cuttings of hair and nails, etc., was generally used as the medium of witchcraft, but scraps of food left over from a meal eaten by the victim were also powerful means of bringing trouble on the careless mortal who had left such tapu morsels where they could be found by another. Or some tasty and relishing food containing a tapu object would be placed in a position where the person to be injured would be tempted to eat it. When the necessary medium had been obtained charms and invocations would be uttered in order to wreck vengeance or bring calamity upon the selected victim.
It must not be imagined, however, that a large part of the life of the tohunga was spent in mere malign mummery. The education necessary occupied a large portion of his youth and manhood, while the occasions for his services were endless and constant. Merely to give a list of the incantations necessary to be learnt or included in the repertory of an page 503 eminent tohunga would fill a small volume.

Here and there in every legend are allusions to different incantations or spells (karakia), and the allusions seem endless. Not only the usual or common forms for hunting, fishing, forest-work, food-planting, war, marriage, birth, death, etc., but quaint and out of the way charms. There were charms for games, for bringing whales to a beach, for holding a canoe fast, for concealing oneself from those seeking, for transforming an enemy into a stone, for making day into night, for charming a weapon so that it never failed to kill, for holding a foeman's steps, for counteracting other spells, for recovering lost strength, for the return of an errant lover, for making a chief's seat sacred, for making a road so that those walking thereon would be bewildered, for “drawing out” the sea or land so that it seemed endless, etc., etc. Then there were the divination charms. Of these the principal was the niu, or casting rods. This was done by the priest naming pieces of sticks for persons and tribes, casting them like spears, and by observation of the way they fell forecasting the result to the parties represented."

The Tohunga Suppression Act was brought in in 1906 but only 9 people were ever prosecuted. It was repealed in 1962.
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