WOSSNAME -- SEPTEMBER 2007 -- PART 5 OF 8
- WOSSNAME - SEPTEMBER 2007 -- PART 5 OF 8 (continued)
====Part 5 -
23) WITCH TRIALS IN ROUNDWORLD
24) AROUND THE BUGARUP CAMPUS
23) ROUNDWORLD REPORT: THE OTHER SORT OF WITCH TRIALS
by Drusilla D'Afanguin
As recently as the 1930s, anti-witchcraft laws were still in effect
in Britain; it was not until 1951 that the last of these was
repealed, ending a period of terrible tortures and witch hunts that
went back deep into mediaeval times.
In the deeply religion-influenced society of mediaeval Europe,
witchcraft was considered the worst of all heresies. By the twelfth
century, the concept of witch hunts took hold, and over the next 150
years the fear of witches spread across Europe, until by 1450 the
fear had become a mass mania that lasted for several centuries. As
the notion that all magic involved a pact with the Devil spread,
laws against witchcraft grew harsher. Each new conviction reinforced
belief in the rightness of the brutal methods being used to solicit
confessions and in the list of accusations to which the accused
The craze took on new strength in the 15th century when the
Dominican monk Heinrich Institoris published the Malleus Maleficarum
(Hammer against the Witches). Although this book was banned by the
Church in 1490, it was reprinted in 14 editions by 1520 and became
one of the most influential books used by secular witch-hunting
Persecution continued in the 16th century through the Protestant
Reformation. The Caroline Code of 1532 imposed heavy penalties on
witchcraft, and as society became more literate, increasing numbers
of books and tracts fuelled the fear of witchcraft. The craze
reached its height between 1560 and 1660 but lessened soon after
that peak: for example, Louis XIV's 1687 edict against witchcraft
was comparatively moderate, ignoring black cats and other lurid
fantasies from the height of the witch mania. After 1700, the number
of witches accused and condemned fell rapidly, although the fear
never passed completely from the public's minds.
Some torments were designed to test the guilt of a witch. "Swimming"
a witch involved tying the accused hand and foot and immersing her
in deep water. If she sank, she was deemed innocent; but if she
floated, the water had supposedly 'rejected' her and she was deemed
guilty. Similarly, if the witch weighed less than a Bible on a
scale, she was guilty. Witches were thought to have insensitive
spots where the Devil had marked them; the accused would sometimes
be pricked all over with a sharp instrument in the search for such a
spot. Other, more traditional tortures were used to elicit
confessions and accusations against accomplices. These included
thumbscrews, leg vices, whipping stocks with iron spikes, scalding
lime baths, the rack, and the strappado. These tortures would be
often accompanied by a long list of questions, most of which
presumed guilt and were only concerned with the supposed how and
when of the accused's crimes.
The North Berwick witch trials of 1590 involved a number of accused
people from East Lothian, Scotland; these ran for two years and
implicated seventy people, including Francis Stewart, 1st Earl of
Bothwell, who was accused on charges of high treason. Their
confessions were extracted by torture. The trials involved several
people who were convicted of having used witchcraft to create a
storm in an attempt to sink the ship on which King James VI of
Scotland and Anne of Denmark had been traveling. Scholars have
suggested that the alleged witches were innocent dupes, sacrificed
by ambitious Lancastrian political figures in order to curry favour
with the King. During this period, James wrote a treatise on
demonology, sorcery and witchcraft; this was instrumental in leading
to the deaths of hundreds of women in Scotland who were accused of
One of the accused, Agnes Sampson, was examined thusly by James VI
at his palace: she was fastened to the wall of her cell by a witch's
bridle (an iron instrument with four sharp prongs forced into the
mouth), kept without sleep,and thrown with a rope around her head,
until she confessed to the fifty-three indictments against her and
was then strangled and burnt as a witch. According to some
estimates, between 3,000 and 4,000 accused witches may have been
killed in Scotland in the years 1560-1707.
Perhaps the most infamous, and best-documented, of all European
witch trials was that of the Pendle Witches in Lancashire: on 20th
August 1612, ten people were executed at Lancaster Castle for the
murder by witchcraft of seventeen people in the Pendle area. Jane
Bulcock, John Bulcock, Alizon Device, Elizabeth Device, James
Device, Katherine Hewitt, Alice Nutter, Anne Redfern, Isobel Robey,
and Anne Whittle (known as Chattox) were sentenced to death by
hanging. Margaret Pearson was found guilty of witchcraft but not
murder and was sentenced to one year in prison. Jennet Preston, who
lived across the border, was hanged at York. Elizabeth Southerns
died in prison before she could be tried.
The Pendle Witches were accused of selling their souls to devils who
appeared to them in human and animal form. In return for their
souls, the witches received the power to kill or lame their victims.
The usual method of murder, described in Demdike's confession, was
to make an effigy of the intended victim, known as a 'picture of
clay', which was then crumbled or burnt, causing the victim to fall
ill and die.
The majority of the evidence came from the confessions of four of
the accused: Alizon Device, her brother James Device, their
grandmother Demdike, and Chattox. The family lived at Malkin Tower
under the leadership of the elderly Demdike; here, a number of
witches' sabbats were held. Many of those who attended were among
those later tried and hanged. Some of the suspected witches
protested their innocence to the end; some were acquitted when
evidence against them was found to have been fabricated.
Pendle Hill, rising some thousand feet above the district, is
associated with witchcraft to this day. Every Hallowe'en, many
visitors climb it to celebrate this supposed "dark" holiday, and
until fairly recently, the names 'Chattox' and 'Demdike' were still
used as terms of insult for East Lancastrians.
from http://www.pendlewitches.co.uk/, Wikipedia, and other sources
24) AROUND THE B.U. CAMPUS: LONMEET REPORT
by Divers Members of Bugarup University aka firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Asti's gaff. In London, oddly enough
Date: 22 September 2007
In attendance: Asti and Plus One, Lu-Pi, Fuzzy, Ryan and Plus One
Lu-Pi, noted sage (and onion), said in brief:
We discussed: various subjects, including masturbation;
comedity.com; red right hands (possibly in relation to
masturbation); music; guitar playing; Wii playing; pool playing;
Munchkin; The Elder Underwater God's publication, and the stupidity
of the people reading same; food, and vegetarianism; cats;
Dianetics; Anti-Dianetics; Indian sub-continental areas and the
spice choices involved in their national cooking; and, of course,
although briefly, Mr P. Not necessarily in that order. Oh, and
probably some other stuff - Asti took notes...
I can't believe you missed out the bunny dancing champion from that
Asti coughed politely:
My bullet points for the evening are as follows:
- Prostate Cancer
- Red Right Hand
- How many DW novels are there?
- What is the definition of a DW book?
- Battle of the portable games consoles
- Jam Session (what the hell was that !?!?)
- Bunny Dancing Champion
> - How many DW novels are there?A brief soliloquy on how many, with opinions of "something around 37
> - What is the definition of a DW book?
or so" being brought out; this segued into discussion of what made a
"Discworld book" - does Strata count? How about Maurice? Tiffany
wasn't mentioned, but probably should have been. No consensus was
reached, since we changed topics before anyone figured out the
> > - Bunny Dancing ChampionFiona appears to have a future in gaming, since she not only nearly
won Munchkin, before dinner, but managed to clear the floor of
everyone else at Bunny Dancing. Sadly, your chronicler was, at this
stage, losing badly at pool at the other end of the room, so missed
most of the details of this particular achievement. OTOH, I -was-
having fun, so...
All in all, so far as I can tell, a good time was had by all, all the
way up to the last minute, where Lu-Pi had to race off and catch the
last train home, outstaying his welcome to the hilt ;-]
[Editor's note: so, are you going to tell us what Bunny Dancing is?
Is it the sort of thing Tawneee might recognise? Is special clothing
required? And buckets of cold water? Our readers demand answers!]
End of Part 5, continued on Part 6 of 8.
If you did not get all eight parts, write: interact@...
Copyright (c) 2007 by Klatchian Foreign Legion