I missed yesterday so will swing back to that next week. Never mind, it has no bearing on today’s topic.
The Inquisitions. Most people only know the Spanish Inquisitions as the butt of a Monty python joke, but the real thing was far from comical. Dark days where people lived in fear and superstition ( some of which linger to today)
It started in the 12th century. The Catholic church ( Who later admitted it was a scare tactic that got a little out of hand) decreed that anything not in the bible was devils work. This meant other religions, non-religions, practices and ideas. It kind of snowballed from there and grew out of hand. Most people of the age were not trying to be malicious, they were simply living in fear and disillusion. ( Not unlike the Germans in the time of the third Reich) Many truly believed the devil walked the earth and lived in the homes of friends and family. Others truly were malicious.
In love with your neighbors husband? Accuse her of witchcraft and console the widower she leaves behind.Want to make as much money as your boss? Accuse him of being a werewolf. you take his place in the business. Grandma is going through menopause DEVIL. Daughter pregnant before marriage? Incubus. There were countless things you could use as proof of ‘working with the devil’ and most people were willing to take your word. After that, innocence needed to be proven. The most human method (sadly) was the ducking test.
I do not weigh the same as a duck They would tie your hands behind your back and throw you into the water. If you drown, you’re not a witch. Congrats but you’re also dead. (Don’t worry, your killers are fully forgiven for doing what’s right)
After a while special ‘witch hunters’ popped up traveling from town to town. As they got paid per witch, they had a lot of tricks. One way was to jab the suspect with a small sharp object. If the suspect didn’t respond, s/he was a witch and must be killed. Witch hunters had a special ‘poker’ that looked like it was jabbing the suspect but really it retracted into its self.
owning a cat, having a frog sneak into your house (or rat or mouse or beetle for that matter) was a sign of a familiar and therefore witchcraft. Other signs of a witch were
- skin blemishes of any sort
this is where the idea that freckles were ugly (Snow white, Snow queen and Sleeping beauty all make reference to this.) After you were accused of Witchcraft, you were tortured until you admitted to your crimes. heavy duty torture. bones crushed, limbs pulled. Things put in places one would rather not have ‘things’ placed. a few included pouring hot lead directly onto the body.
In the Blooodcloak series, Rose was suspected of Witchcraft at the age of five. To spare her, her mother suffocated her with a pillow.