Unformatted text preview: Ik History UiUi ty The of Civilization C. K, OGDEN, M,A, History of Witchcraft The History of Civilization In the Section of this Series devoted included the following volumes ; /. PRE-HISTGRY and ANTIQUITY to Introduction and Pre-History *SOCIAL ORGANIZATION MAN W. H. . THB EARTH BEFORE HISTORY PREHISTORIC . . . . . . , . . . . . . , . . . . . J. E. Pittar V, G, Child A, Mon . . , . J . , . J. , . . . L Myc Mye L. G* Elliot Smit , .IX *' , de Morga Vendry^ L. Febva J. . ........ ....... . R. Rivei E. Pern* . LANGUAGE* A LINGUISTIC INTRODUCTION TO HISTORY A GEOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION TO HISTORY RACE AND HISTORY *THE ARYANS . FROM TRIBE TO EMPIRE *WOMAN'S PLACE IN SIMPLE SOCIETIES *CYCLKS IN HISTORY *THE DIFFUSION OF CULTURE *THE MIGRATION, OF SYMBOLS ,/'/,' *, ,'.;' '. *TTHE DA*WN 'OB* E^ito-swJiF CIVILIZATION . a$ A* ' ' '. IL THE NILE AND EGYPTIAN The Early Empires .... CIVILIZATION ......... ^COLOUR SYMBOLISM OF ANCIENT EGYPT MESOPOTAMIA THE AEGEAN CIVILIZATION . . . /// . G. Gltr . Greece ...,. THE FORMATION OF THE GREEK PEOPLE . W . A. Jarc . . GREECE AT WORK THE RELIGIOUS THOUGHT OF GREECE . THE ART OF GREECE GREEK THOUGHT AND THE SCIENTIFIC SPIRIT THE GREEK CITY AND ITS INSTITUTIONS MACEDONIAN IMPERIALISM * ANCIENT Mor< Delapor 3L. . . . A IX A. Mackenz . G C Gloi SourcliI Deonna and A. de Kidd< . L. Robi . . ...... . G. Gloi . . 1 Subject Histories . , *TB HISTORY HISTORY HISTORY HISTORY OF MEDICXKB OF MONEY . . . . . . . . * Ati asterisk indict<e$ tl^at th* A fult lisi <?/ ^C+C T, E. Gregoa ...... ..... ,..-,,. OF COSTUME OF WITCHCRAFT OF TASTE * OF ORIENTAL 3LiTBRAT0iifi HrsxoRY or Music vOKfnoie . M, Hfl M. Summe does not faria part of the French collection 1^3 S^lrtts will be fowtti At tfo J, tsft E. FdwyB Mathe * end o Cecil ** Gn PLATE I THE DEPARTURE FOR THE SABBAT David Temers The History of Witchcraft and Demonology By MONTAGUE SUMMERS Imtiati sunt Beelphegor : et CQm&d&mtnt sacvificia moftuomm* Et immolauerunt filios suos, etfilias $ita$ damnii$* Et effud&Yunt sanguin&m innoceni&m* Et fovnic&ii sunt in ad^nuent^onit)u$ suis, -PSALM cv. LONDON KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRUBNBR & NEW YORK A* 1 : ' 1926 CO* To m memory of Loreto and Our Lady's Holy House 9 as also of Our Lady*$ miraculous Picture at CampocavaUo? Our Lady of Pompeii, La Consolata of Turin, Consolatrix Rome h Santissima Madonna delh Btrada Afflictorum in $* Caterina ai Funari at Vergine del Pmto of S, Agostiw* the 9 La Nicopeja of San Marco at Venice* NotreDame-de-Bonm-Nowelk of Rennet Notre-Dame de at the Gfesit> 9 Grande Puissmce of Lmiballe, and French Madonnas at whose shrines we Printed in The Mayfloww Pfm> G*rea,t Britain, Plymouth* all the Italian haw worshipped* at WlIJ!&m Brandon $ Sou, Ltd, and CONTENTS .....* INTRODUCTION" PAGE vii CHAPTER I, THE WITCH : HERETIC AND ANABOHIST I THE WOBSHIP OF THE WITCH . . III. DEMONS . . IV. THE SABBAT II. V. VI. VII. AISTD THE WITCH FAMILIARS . . IN HOI.Y WMT DIABOLIC POSSESSION ANB THE WITCH . . IN BIBLIOGRAPHY * MOBEBN * . SPIRITISM DBAMATIC LiTEBATtmsj . ....... . . . . . . . .51 .81 .110 ,173 ,198 ^76 .316 347 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS PLATE I, II. THE DEPARTURE FOR THE SABBAT (David Temers) THE WORLD TOST AT TENNIS. 1620 4to., (Facsimile title-page,) III. COMPENBIVM MALEFIC ARVM. t^tle-pa>ge IV. V. VI. VIII. ---. OFF TO THE SABBAT (Queverdo) THE SABBAT (Ziarnko) THE WITCH OF END OR (Frontispiece VII, MEDIOLANI, 1626 of second edition,) S. to - (W, Faithorne) - * - - - 12 ^ - 17 Saddwismus Twumphatus 1681) t JAMES VISITS THE WARLOCK'S THE WITCH OF "EDMONTON. (Facsimile title-page.) DEN 4to., (Pieter Breughel) 1658 2 2c as old as the world and history of Witchcraft, a subject understand for the present 1 since as wide as the world, THE Black Magic, Necromancy, purpose by Witchcraft, Sorcery, and secret Divination, Satanism, every kind of malign at once confronts the writer with a most difficult occult art, dilemma upon to exercise a choice, and his by no means made the easier owing to the fact He problem. is is called acutely conscious that whichever way he may decide he is laying himself open to damaging and not impertinent Since it is essential that his work should be comcriticism. he is compass he may elect to attempt a birdVeye view of the whole range from China to Peru, from the half-articulate, rhythmic incantations of primitive man at the dawn of life to the last spiritistic fad and mani* festation at yesterday's stance or circle, in which case his or pages will most certainly be thin and often superficial again he may rather concentrate upon one or twp features prised within a reasonable : in the history of Witchcraft, deal with these at some length, stress some few forgotten facts whose importance is now neglected and unreali zed s utilize new material the result of laborious research, but all this at the expense of inevitable r omissions, of hiatus, of self-denial* the avoidance of fascinat- and valuable inquiry, of silence when he would fain be entering upon discussion and expositionWith a full sense of its drawbacks and danger I have selected the second ing by-ways method, since in dealing with a topic such as Witchcraft where there is no human hope of recording more than a tithe of the facts I believe it better to give a documented account of certain aspects rather thaa to essay a somewhat huddled and confused conspectus of the whole, for such* indeed, even at best is itself gaps and lacuna, however it complete. 1 am is bound to have no inconsiderable carefully conscious, then* paragraph in the present we eadeavoup to that there is $weely k work which might not ni 1 easily be INTRODUCTION vlii which might not expanded into a page, scarcely a page its great advantage become a chapter, and certainly not a chapter that would not be vastly improved were it elabor- to ated to a volume. Many omissions are, as I have said, a necessary consequence of the plan I have adopted ; or indeed, 1 venture to the treatment suppose, of any other plan which contemplates can but offer my I Witchcraft. as of so universal a subject to this come who History to find apologies to these students of the sorceries and details of Finnish magic Lapland, who themselves to inform wish concerning Tohungaism among the Maoris, Hindu devilry and enchantments., the Ucrsckir of Iceland, Siberian Shamanism, the blind Fan Bus and Mutangs of Korea, the Chinese Wu-po, Serbian lycanthropy, negro Voodoism, the dark lore of old Scandinavia and Islam* I trust my readers will believe that I regret as much as any ? the absence of these from my work, but after all in any human endeavour there are practical limitations of space. In a complementary and companion volume* I am intending to treat the epidemic of Witchcraft in particular localities, the British Isles, France, Germany, Italy, New England, and other countries. Many famous canes, the Lancashire witchtrials, the activities of Matthew Hopkins, Gillcft dc Rais^ Gaufridi, TJrbain Grandier, Cotton Mather ancl the Salem sorceries, will then be dealt with and discussed in some detail* It is a surprising fact that amongst English writers Witchcraft in. Europe has not of recent years received anything like adequate attention from serious students of history, who strangely fail to recognise the importance of this tragic belief both as a political and a social factor* Magic, the genesis of magical cults and ceremonies,, the ritual of primitive peoples, traditional superstitions* and their ancillary lore-* have been made the subject of vast and erudite studies, mostly from an anthropological and folkloristic point of view but the darker side of the subject* the history of Satanism seems hardly to have been attempted. Possibly one reason for this neglect and ignorance lies in the fact that the heavy and crass materialism, which wasr so promine&t a feature during the greater part of the eighteenth and' nineteenth centuries in England^ mtclcctmally dbavowed the supernatural** and attempted not without some 1 INTRODUCTION Ix success to substitute for religion a stolid system of respectable morality. Since Witchcraft was entirely exploded it would* at best, possess merely an antiquarian interest, and even so* the exhumation of a disgusting and contemptible superIt were more seemly to stition was not to be encouraged. This was the attitude forget the uglier side of the past. which prevailed for more than a hundred and fifty years, and when Witchcraft came under discussion by such narrowly prejudiced and inefficient writers as Leeky or Charles Mackay they are not even concerned to discuss the possibility of the accounts given by the earlier authorities, who, as they premise, were all mistaken, extravagant^ purblind, and misled. The cycle of time has had its revenge, and this The extraordinary rationalistic superstition is dying fast. to of immense adherence and Spiritism, would alone vogue interest the that is taken in whilst widespread prove that, mysticism is a yet healthier sign that the world will no longer be content to be fed on dry husks and the chaff of straw. And these are only just two indications, and by no means the most significant, out of many. It is quite impossible to appreciate and understand the true lives of men and women in Elizabethan and Stuart England, in the France of Louis XIII and his son, in the Italy of the Renaissance and the Catholic Reaction to name but three countries and a few definite periods unless we have some realization of the part that Witchcraft played in those ages amid the affairs of these kingdoms. All classes were concerned from Pope to peasant^ from Queen to cottage gill. u the abstracts and brief Accordingly as actors are " chronicles of the time 1 have given a concluding chapter which deals with Witchcraft as seen upon the stage, mainly This review has concentrating upon the English theatre, not before been attempted, and since Witchcraft was so formidable a social evil and so intermixed with all stations of life it is obvious that we can find few better contemporary illustrations of it than in the drama, for the playwright ever had his finger upon the public pulse* Until the development of the novel it was the theatre aloe that mSxxQwA manners and history. There are many general French studies of Witchcraft of x the greatest value ? amongst which we may name such standard works as Aatoine-Loiiis Daugis, TraiU snr la magiet U sortilege, les possessions, obsessions et maUfices, 1782 ; Jules Garinet, Histoire de la Magie en France depuis le commencement de la monarchic jusqu'tt nos jours, 1818 ; Michelefc's famous La Sorder e ; Alfred Maury, La Magic et VAstrologie, 3rd edition, 1868 ; l/Abb6 Lecanu, Histoire de Satan ; Jules Baissae, Les grands Jours de la Sorcellerie, 1 800 ; Theodore de Cauzons, La Magie et la Soreellcrie en France, 4 vols., 1910, etc. In German we have Eberliard Hauber's Bihliotlicca Magica ; Roskoff s Geschichte des Teufels, 186!) ; Solclan's (hischicUe der Hexenprozesse (neu bearbeitct von Dr* lleliirieli Heppe), 1880 ; Friedricli Leitschuch's Beilrwge zur (tescfuchte dcs Johan Dic.ffdiibuch's 'Dcr Ilexenwesens in Frariken* 188B Hewenwahn vor und nach der Glaubensspaltunfi in Deutchland ; y Die Heseenprozewe im llreittgau ; Ludwig Rapp's Die Heasenprozesse und ihre Gegner av<$ Tirol ; Joseph Hansen's Quellen und Untermchungen %ur Geschichle des and very many more admirably docuHeocenwahnS) 1901 mented studies. In England the best of the older books must be recom1888 ; Schreiber's ; Thomas Wright's reservations* Narratives of Sorcery and Magie*, 2 vols., 1851, is to be commended as the work of a learned antiquarian who often referred to original sources, but it is withal sketchy and can hardly satisfy the careful scholar. Some exceptionally good writing and sound, elear, thinking are to be met with in Dr, F. G. Lee's The Other World, 2 vols., 1875 ; More mended with necessary ; of the World Unseen, 1878 ; Glimpses in the Twilight, atid Sight and Shadows, 1894, all of which deserve to be far more widely known, since they well repay an unhurried and repeated perusal* Quite recent work is represented by Professor Wallace Note$tela*$ History of Witchcraft in England from 1508 *$ This intimate study of a century '-published in 1911. *, half 'Concentrates, as its title tells, alone* upon It is supplied with ample and useful appendixes* In of 'the orderly marshaEimg, of Ms fttete, garnered from the 'trials and other sources no small laboux^***Proftep0r Note* deseryeE- a- generous meed of praise ; his . 1 < , xi of the facts and Ms deductions may not unfairly be criticized* Although his incredulity must surely now and again, be shaken by the cumulative force of reiterated and corroborative evidence, nevertheless he refuses to admit even the possibility that persons who at any rate affected supernatural powers held clandestine meetings after nightfall in obscure and lonely places for purposes and plots of their own* If human testimony is worth anything at all, unless we are to be more Pyrrhonian than the famous Dr. Marphurius himself who would never say, '* Je suis venu ; mais ; II me semble que venu/' when in 1612 Roger Nowell had swooped down on the Lancashire coven and carried off Elizabeth Demdike with three other beldames to durance vile in Lancaster Castle, Elizabeth Device summoned the whole Pendlc gang to her home at Malking Tower, in order that they might discuss the situation and contrive the delivery of the prisoners* As soon as they had forgathered, they all sat down to dinner., and had a good north country spread of beef* bacon, and roast mutton. Surely there is nothing very remarkable and the evidence as given in Thomas Potts' famous in this narrative,. The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the countie je suis ; of Lancaster (London, 1618), bears the very hall-mark and The persons aforesaid had to their impress of truth which Mutton dinners Beefe, Bacon, and roasted Mutton (as this Examinates said brother said) was of a Wether of * fi ; ; Christopher Swycrs of Barley : which Wether was brought in the night before into this Examinates mothers house by the said lames Deuice, the Examinates said brother : and in this Examinates sight killed and eaten/' But Professor He writes : " The concurring Notestein will none of it* evidence in the Malking Tower story is of no more compelling character than that to be found in a multitude of Continental stories of witch gatherings which have been shown to be the outcome of physical or mental pressure and of leading It seems unnecessary to accept even a sub* questions, stratum of fact " (p. 124). In the face of such sweeping and dogmatic assertion mere evidence is no use at all For we know that the Continental stories of witch gatherings aJtfe with very few exceptions the chronMe of actttal iwt*' It must be confessed that such feeble 0eeptic!sm, tlrbieh repeatedly mars his summary of the witch-fertals, is a ' , INTRODUCTION xil blemish in Professor Notesteia's work,, and in view of Ms industry much to be regretted. Miss M. A, Murray does not for a moment countenance any such summary dismissal and uncritical rejection of evidence. Her careful reading of the writers upon Witchcraft has justly convinced her that their statements must be accepted. Keen intelligences and shrewd investigators such as Gregory XV, Bodin, Guazzo, De Lancre, D'Espagnet, La Reynie, Boyle, Sir Matthew Hale, Glanvill, were neither The evidence must stand, but deceivers nor deceived. as Miss Murray finds herself unable to admit the logical consequence of this, she hurriedly starts away with an " the statements do not bear the construction arbitrary, and in The Witch-Cult in Western Europe them," put upon (1921) proceeds to develop a most ingenious, but, as I show, a wholly untenable hypothesis. Accordingly we are not surprised to find that many of the details Miss Murray has collected in her painstaking pages are (no doubt uncon- made to square with her preconceived theory. However much I may differ from Miss Murray in my outlook* and our disagreement is, I consider, neither slight nor superficial, I am none the less bound to commend her frank and sciously) courageous treatment of many essential particulars which are all too often suppressed, and in consequence a false and counterfeit picture has not unseldom been drawn. So vast a literature surrounds modem Witchcraft, for frankly such is Spiritism in effect, that it were no easy task to mention even a quota of those works which seem to throw some real light upon a complex and difficult subject. Among many which I have found useful are Surbled* Spiritualisms Gutberlet, Per spiritisme and Spirites et mediums ; um die Dr. Marcel Seele Viollet, Le spiritism ; Kampf et dans ses rapports avec la folie ; X Godfrey Raupert, Modern Spiritism and Dangers of Spiritualism ; the Very Rev. Alexis L^picier, O.S.M., The Unseen World ; the Rev. A, V. Miller, Sermons on Modern Spiritualism ; Lapponi, Hypnotism and Spiritism ; the late Monsignor Hugh Benson's Spiritualism Elliot O'DonnelPs The Menace (The History of Religions) of Spiritualism ; and Father Simon Blackmore'sf Spiritism : Fads and Frauds, 1925. My own opinion of this movement has been formed not only from reading studies and mono* ; INTRODUCTION xili graphs which treat of every phase of the question from all points of view, but also by correspondence and discussion with ardent devotees of the cult, and, not least, owing to the admissions and warnings of those who have abandoned these dangerous practices, revelations made in such circumstances, however, as altogether to preclude even a hint as to their import and scope. of Witchcraft is full of interest to the theologian,, the psychologist, the historian, and cannot be ignored* But it presents a very dark and terrible aspect, the details of which in the few English studies that claim serious attention have almost universally been unrecorded,, and, indeed, Such treatment is undeliberately burked and shunned. to a and degree, reprehensible and unscholarly worthy definite The History dishonest. The work of Professor Notestein, for example, is gravely vitiated, owing to the fact that he has completely ignored the immodesty of the witch-cult and thus extenuated Its He is, indeed, so uncritical^ I would even venture to " so No unscholarly, as naively to remark (p. 300) : say one who has not read for himself can have any notion of evil. the vile character of the charges and confessions embodied in the witph pamphlets. It is an aspect of the question which has not been discussed in these pages* Such a confession, is amazing. One cannot write in dainty phrase of Satanists and the Sabbat* However loathly the disease the doctor must not hesitate to diagnose and to probe. This ostrich-like policy is moral cowardice. None of the Fathers and great writers of the Church were thus culpably prudish. When S. Epiphanius has to discuss the Gnostics,, he describes in " detail their abominations, and pertinently remarks : Why should I shrink from speaking of the things you do not fear to do ? By speaking thus, I hope to fill you with horror of the turpitudes you commit." And S* Clement of Alexandria uI am not ashamed to name the parts of the body says wherein the foetus is formed and nourished and why, indeed* should I be, since God was not ashamed to create them ? " few authors have painted the mediaeval witch in pretty colours on satin* She has become a somewhat eccentric but old shrewd and perspicacious with a knowledge kindly lady, of healing herbs and simples, ready to advise sacl aid her 3 ? : ; A INTRODUCTION xiv not disdaining neighbours who are duller-witted than she in return a rustic present of a flitch, meal, a poult or eggs from the farm-yard. And so for no very definite reason she ; an easy prey to fanatic judges and ravening inquisitors, notoriously the most ignorant and stupid of mortals, who caught her, swum her in a river, tried her, tortured her, and finally burned her at the stake. Many modern writers, more fell sceptical still, frankly relegate the witch to the land of nursery tales and Christmas pantomime ; she never had any real existence other than as Cinderella the Countess D'Aulnoy's Madame 5 s fairy Bfeiiuche. godmother or I have even heard it publicly asserted from the lecture platform by a professed student of the Elizabethan period that the Elizabethans did not, of course, as a matter of fact It were impossible to imagine that believe in Witchcraft. men of the intellectual standard of Shakespeare, Ford* Jonson, Fletcher, could have held so idle a chimsera, born of sick fancies and hysteria. And his audience acquiesced with no little complacency, pleased to think that the great names of the past had been cleared from the stigma of so degrading A few uneducated peasants here and and gross a superstition, there may have been morbid and ignorant enough to dream of witches, and the poets used these crones and hags with But as for giving any actual effect in ballad and play. credence to such fantasies, most assuredly our great Elizabethans were more enlightened than that And, indeed. Witchcraft is a phase of and a factor in the manners of the seventeenth century, which in some quarters there seems a tacit agreement almost to ignore. All this is very unhistorical and very unscientific* In the following pages I have endeavoured to show the witch as she really was an, evil liver ; a social pest and pamsite ; the devotee of a loathly and obscene creed ; an adept at poisoning, blackmail, and other creeping crimes j a member of a powerful secret organization inimical to Church and State ; a blasphemer in word and deed ; swaying the villagers by terror and superstition ; a charlatan and a quack somea bawd ; an abortionist ; the dark counsellor of times lewd court ladies and adulterous gallants ; a n^ixuster to vice and inconceivable corruption ; battening upon the ! ; filth and foulest passions of the age. XV 5 present work is the result of more than thirty years close attention to the subject of Witchcraft, and during this period I have made a systematic and intensive study of the My older demonologists, as 1 am convinced that their first-hand evidence is of prime importance and value ? whilst since their writings are very voluminous and of the last rarity they have universally been neglected, and are allowed to accumulate thick dust undisturbed. They are, moreover, often difficult to read owing to technicalities of phrase and vocabulary* Among the most authoritative 1 may cite a few names : Guazzo Bartolomeo Sprenger (Malleus Maleficarum) Grilland O.P. Jerome O.P. John ; Nider, Mengo ; Spina, Molitor Ulrich Basin Binsfeld Gerson Murncr ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; Henri Boguet Bodin ; Martin Dclrio, Crespet ; Anania Pierre le Loyer S. J. Ludwig Elich ; Godclmann Nicolas ; ; ; Rerny Salerini ; Castro Dom ; ; ; ; Leonard Vair ; Sebastian Michaelis, O.P* De Lancrc ; Sinistrari ; ; Alfonso de Perreaud ; Sylvester Mazzolini, O.P. (Prierias), When we supplement these by fche judicial records and the legal codes we have an immense body of material In all that I have written 1 have gone to original sources, and it has been, Calmct ; endeavour fairly to weigh and balance the evidence, to judge without heat or prejudice^ to give the facts and the comment upon them with candour, sincerity, and truth* At the same time I ana very well aware that several great scholars for whom I have the sincerest personal regard and whose attainments 1 view with a very profound respect will differ from me in many particulars. my I am conscious that the roi * ^ list x*f ^M^ wM^h T have 'tbs^i up does no*_ Reserve to be dignified with the title, Bibiit^phy. It is sadly incomplete, yet should it, however inadequate, prove helpful in the smallest way it will have I may add that my Biblical j ustificd its inclusion. quotations, save where expressly otherwise noted, are from the Vulgate or its translation into English commonly called the Dona! Version, IK FESTO S* TBBESUB, F, THE HISTORY OF WITCHCRAFT CHAPTER THE WITCH : I HERETIC AND ANABCHIST 6C SOKCIER est celuy qui par moyens Diaboliqucs sciemment u de parucmr & quel que chose," ( A sorcerer Is one who by commerce with the Devil has a full intention of attaining his own ends/ ) With these words the profoundly erudite jurisconsult Jean Bodin one of the acutest and most strictly impartial minds of his age, opens his famous De la Demonomanie de$ Sorders^ 1 and it would be* 1 imagine, hardly possible to discover a more concise, exact, comprehensive* and intelligent definition of a Witch, The whole tremendous subject of Witchcraft, especially as revealed in its multifold and remarkable manifestations throughout every district of Southern and Western Europe from the middle of the thirteenth until the dawn of the eighteenth century/ has it would seem in recent times seldom, if ever-, been candidly and fairly examined, The only sound sources of s'efforce 5 9 information are the contemporary records detailed legal reports of the actual trials ; ; the meticulously the vast mass of pamphlets which give eye-witnessed accounts of individual witches and reproduce evidence wrbatim as told in court and* above all, the voluminous and highly technical works ; of the Inquisitors and demonologissts^ holy and reverend divines, doctors utriwque wri$) hard-headed* slow* and sober lawyers^- learned 333^ scholars of philosophic xni&d, the moist honourable wm.es in the universities of Europe* in tljufc 1 ad culture forefront of literature, science, polties* who- kept the conscience of king> pdatifts j< ; HiOEto whos^ word would OF 2 set Europe aflame and bring an emperor to Ms knees a their gate. It is true that Witchcraft has inconsiderable literature, but it formed the subject of a no will be found that inquirers this eternal and terribl< of humanity from biassed, althougi chapter in the history wholly divergent, points of view, and in consequence it if often necessary to sift more or less thoroughly their partia presentation of their theme, to discount their unwarrantec commentaries and illogical conclusions, and to get down ir time to the hard bed-rock of fact. have for the most part approached In the first place we have those writings and that interest which may be termed merely antiquarian. Witchcraft h treated as a curious by-lane of history, a superstition long since dead, having no existence among, nor bearing upon, the affairs of the present day. It is a field for folk-lore, where one may gather strange flowers and noxious weeds. Again, we often recognize the romantic treatment of Witchcraft, Tis the Eve of S. George, a dark wild night, the pale moon can but struggle thinly through the thick massing clouds. The witches are abroad, and hurtle swiftly aloft, a hideous covey, borne headlong on the skirling blast. In delirious tones they are yelling foul mysterious words as .they go; " of the Har Har Har Altri Altri " To some peak Brocken or lonely Cevennes they haste, to the orgies of the Sabbat, the infernal Sacraments, the dance of Acheron^ the " sweet and fearful fantasy of evil, Vcrs les stupres impurs 3 et les baisers immondes." Hell seems to vomit its foulest dregs upon the shrinking earth a loathsome shape of obscene horror squats huge and monstrous upon the ebon throne the stifling air reeks with filth and blasphemy faster and faster whirls the witches' lewd lavolta shriller and shriller the corneinuse screams and then a wan grey light flickers a moment more and there sounds the in the Eastern sky loud clarion of some village chanticleer ; swift as thought the vile phantasmagoria vanishes and is sped, all is quiet and still in the peaceful dawn, But both the antiquarian and the romanticist reviews of Witchcraft may be deemed negligible and impertinent $oar as the present research is concerned, however entertaining and picturesque such treatment proves to many readers* ! ! ! ! ! ; ; ; ; ; ; 8 : affording not a few pleasant hours, draw highly dramatic and whence they are able to brilliantly coloured pictures of old time sorceries, not to be taken too seriously, for these 4 things never were and never could have been, and the sceptic, when inevitably The rationalist historian confronted with the subject of Witchcraft, chose a charmingly easy way to deal with these intensely complex and intricate problems, a flat denial of all statements which did not fit, or could not by some means be squared with, their own narrow What matter the most irrefragable evidence, prejudice. which in the instance of any other accusation would unhesitatingly have been regarded as final. What matter the belief of centuries^ of the most cultured the highest intelligences of Europe ? Any appeal peoples, to authority is, of course,, useless, as the sceptic repudiates save his own. Such things could not be* We all authority must argue from that axiom, and therefore anything which it is impossible to explain away by hallucination, or hysteria* or auto-suggestion, or any other vague catch-word which may chance to be fashionable at the moment, must be uncompromisingly rejected, and a note of superior pity, to candy the so suave yet crushingly decisive judgement, has proved of great service upon more occasions than one. Why examine the evidence ? It is really useless and a waste of time, because we know that the allegations are all idle and " " ridiculous ; the facts sworn to by innumerable witnesses, which are repeated in changeless detail century fter century in every country, in every town, simply did not take place. How so absolute and entire falsity of these facts can be demonstrated the sceptic omits to inform n$, but we must unquestioningly accept Ms infallible authority in the face logical and reasoned and truth* Yet supposing th$t with clear and candid minds we proceed of reason, evidence, carefully to investigate this accumulated evidence, to inquire into the circumstances of a number of typical cases, to compare the trials of the fifteenth century in France with the trials of the seventeenth century in England, shall we not find that antid obvious accretions of fantastic and super* fttious details certain very solid substrattini of apernaan^nt and invaried character is unmistakably to be tr^eed thxoughowt the whole ? This cannot in t&&&n be denied, and here we OF 4 have the core and the enduring reality of Witchcraft and the witch-cult throughout the ages. there were some There "were some gross superstitions there was deception, there was unbridled imaginations legerdemain there was phantasy there was fraud Henri Boguet seems, perhaps,, a trifle credulous, a little eager to explain obscure practices by an instant appeal to the supernormal Brother Jetzer, the Jacobin of Berne, can only have been either the tool of his superiors or a cunning impostor ; Matthew Hopkins was an unmitigated scoundrel who preyed upon the fears of the Essex franklins whilst he emptied their Lord Torphichen's son was an idle mischievous boy pockets whose pranks not merely deluded both his father and the Rev, Mr. John Wilkins* but caused considerable mystification and amaze throughout the whole of Calder ; Anne Robinson^ Mrs. (folding's maid, and the two servant lasses of Baldarroch were prestidigitators of no common sleight and skill; and ; ; ; ; ; ; | all these examples of ignorance-, gullibility, malice, trickery, and imposture might easily be multiplied twenty times over and twenty times again, yet when every allowance has been made, every possible explanation exhausted, there persists a congeries of solid proven fact which cannot be ignored, save indeed by the purblind prejudice of the rationalist, and cannot be accounted for, save that we recognise there were and are individuals and organizations deliberately, nay, even devoted to the service of evil, greedy of such emotions and experiences, rewards the thraldom of wickedness may bring, enthusiastically, The sceptic notoriously refuses to believe in Witchcraft, critical examination of the evidence at the but a sanely show that a vast amount of the modern vulgar incredulity is founded upon a complete misconception of the facts, and it may be well worth while quite briefly to review and correct some of the more common, objections that are so loosely and so repeatedly maintained. There are many points which are urged as proving the fatuous absurdity and demonstrable impossibility of the whole system, and yet there is not one of these phenomena which is not capable of ,& satisfactory, and often a simple, elucidation. Perhaps the witch-trials will first thought of a witch that will occur to the man in the a hag on a broomstick flying up the cMmney street is that of 5 : through the air. This has often been pictorially impressed on his imagination, not merely by woodcuts and illustrations traditionally presented in books* but by the brush of great painters such as Queverdo's Le DSpart au Sabbat Le Depart pour le Sabbat of David Teniers, and Goya's midnight fantasies. The famous Australian artist, Norman Lindsay9 has a picture To The Sabbat 5 where witches are depicted wildly rushing through the air on the backs of grotesque pigs and hideous 9 u Hover Shakespeare, too, elaborated the idea, and " air itself has and the upon filthy impressed fog through the English imagination. But to descend from the airy realms of painting and poetry to the hard ground of actuality. Throughout the whole of the records there are very few instances when a witness definitely asserted that he had seen a witch carried through the air mounted upon a broom or stick of any kind, and on every occasion there is patent and obvious exaggeration to secure an effect* Sometimes the witches themselves boasted of this means of transport to impress their hearers. Boguet records that Claudine Boban, a young girl whose head was turned with pathological vanity, obviously a monomaniac who must at all costs occupy the centre of the stage and be the cynosure of public attention, confessed that she had been to the Sabbat* and this was undoubtedly the case but to walk or ride on horseback to the Sabbat were far too ordinary methods of locomotion, melodrama and the marvellous must find their place in her " account and so she alleged that both she and hear mother used to mount on a broom, and so making their exit by the chimney in this fashion they flew through the air to the Sabbat." 6 Julian Cox (1664) said that one evening when she was in the fields about a mile away from the hoxtse "there came riding towards her three persons upon three Broom-staves, born tip about a yard and a half from the 7 There is obvious exaggeration here; she saw ground." goats. ; : two men and one woman bestriding brooms and leaping high in the air. They were, in fact, performing a magic rite, a figure of a dance* So it is recorded of the Arab crones that u In the time of the Munkidh the witches rode about saaked on a stick between the graves of the cemetery of Shatear. 8 9 * Nobody <mn refuse to believe that the witohes bestrode sticks and poles and in their ritual eapered to and fro in this manner. HISTORY OF WITCHCRAFT 6 but by no means an impossible, ceremony, evidence of which with no reference to flying through the air is frequent, has been exaggerated and transformed into the popular superstition that sorcerers are carried aloft and so transported from place to place, a wonder they were all ready to exploit in proof of their magic powers. And yet it is not impossible that there should have been actual instances of levitation. For, outside the lives of the Saints, spiritistic seances afford us examples of this supernormal phenomenon, which, if human evidence is worth anything at all, are beyond all question a sufficiently grotesque, And this bizarre action. proven. As for the unguents wherewith the sorcerers anointed themselves we have the actual formulae for this composition,, and Professor A. J. Clark, who has examined these, 9 considers that it is possible a strong application of such liniments might produce unwonted excitement and even delirium. But long ago the great dcmonologists recognized and laid down that of themselves the unguents possessed no " The ointment such properties as the witches supposed, and lotion are just of no use at all to witches to aid their " journey to the Sabbat, is the well-considered opinion of 10 Boguet who, speaking with confident precision and finality, on this point is in entire agreement with the most sceptical of later rationalists. The transformation of witches into animals and the extra* C4 the Devil" under ordinary appearance at their orgies of many a hideously unnatural shape, two points which have been repeatedly held up to scorn as self-evident impossibilities and proof conclusive of the untrustworthiness of the evidence and the incredibility of the whole system, can both be easily and fairly interpreted in a way which offers a complete and convincing explanation of these prodigies. The first metamorphosis, indeed, is mentioned and fully explained in the Liber Poenitentialis 11 of S. Theodore, seventh Archbishop of Canterbury (068-690), capitulum xxvii, which code includes under the rubric De Idolatria et Sacrilegio " qm in Kalendas * and prescribes laxmarii in ceruulo et in, uitula xiadit, u If anyone at the Kalends 'of January goes about as a stag or a bull ; that is, making himself into a wild animal and dressing in the skin of a herd animal, and putting on the 5 : AND : 7 those who in such wise transform themheads of beasts selves into the appearance of a wild animal, penance for 35 These ritual masks, three years because this is devilish. furs, and hides, were, of course, exactly those the witches at certain ceremonies were wont to don for their Sabbats* " " of the Sabbat was the Devil There is ample proof that Master of the Grand the very frequently a human being, attendants were immediate and officers district, and since Ms " ct some has witches confusion the Devils also termed by where sufficient details cases few In a on occasion ensued. " the Devil are given it is possible actually to identify by name. Thus, among a list of suspected persons in the reign cc Ould Birtles, the great devil, Hoger of Elizabeth we have ; ftc and Anne Birtles." 13 The evil William, " Red Lord Soulis, of Hermitage Castle, often known as of of a coven sorcerers. "the Devil" was Very Cap," seldom "the Devil" was a woman. In May, 1569, the " quhair a Regent of Scotland was present at S. Andrews notabill sorcercs callit Nicniven was condemnit to the death and burnt." Now Nicniven is the Queen of Elphin, the Mistress of the Sabbat, and this office had evidently been filled by this witch whose real name is not recorded. On Birtles and his wife, 8 November-, 1576 Elizabeth or Bessy Dunlop, of Lyne, in the Barony of Dairy, Ayrshire, was tried for sorcery, and she confessed that a certain mysterious Thorn Reid had met her and demanded that she should renounce Christianity and her baptism, and apparently worship him. There can be " the *" little doubt that he was of a coven, for the Devil which are all original details, very full, point to this. He 5 seems to have played his part with some forethought and skill, since when the accused stated that she often saw him in the churchyard of Dairy, as also in the streets of Edinburgh, where he walked to and fro among other people and handled goods that were exposed on bulk& for sale without attracting any special notice, and was thereupon asked why she did not address him, she replied that he had forbidden her to recognise him on any such occasion unless he made a sign or first actually accosted her* She was ** convict and burnt." 19 In the case of Alison Peirson, tried 28 May, 1588, " " the Devil was actually her kinsman, William Synapsoiv " and $he wes conuict of the vsing of Sorcerie and Witchcraft, ' HISTORY OF WITCHCRAFT 8 with the Inuocatioun of the spreitls of the Deuill speciallie in the visioune and forme of ane Mr. William Sympsoune, ; Mr cousing and moder-brotheris-sone ? quha sche affermit 14 Conuicta et grit scoller and doctor of medicin/' combusfa is the terse record of the margin of the court-book. One of the most interesting identifications of the Devil 59 occurs in the course of the notorious trials of Dr. Fian and his associates in 1590-1. As is well known, the whole crew was in league with Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell^ and even at the time well-founded gossip, and something more than, gossip, freely connected his name with the spells, Sabbats, and orgies of the witches. He was vehemently he was an undoubted client of suspected of the black art warlocks and poisoners his restless ambition almost overtly aimed at the throne, and the witch covens were one and all frantically attempting the life of King James, There can be no sort of doubt that Bothwell was the moving force who energized and directed the very elaborate and numerous organization of deinonolaters, which was almost accidentally brought to light, to be fiercely crushed by the draconian vengeance of a monarch justly frightened for his crown and wes ane fic ; ; his life. In the nineteenth century both Albert Pike of Charleston and his successor Adriano Lernmi have been identified upon abundant authority as being Grand Masters of societies practising Satanism, and as performing the hierarchical cc the Devil " at the modern Sabbat, functions of God, so far as His ordinary presence and action in Nature are concerned, is hidden behind the veil of secondary causes, and when God's ape, the Demon, can work so successfully and obtain not merely devoted adherents but fervent wotto shippers by human agency, there is plainly no need for manifest himself in person either to particular individuals or at the Sabbats, but none the less, that he can do so and has done so is certain, since such is the sense of the Church, and there are many striking cases in the records and trials which are to be explained in no "other way. That, as Burns Begg pointed out, the witches not twsel;4owi et seem to have been -undoubtedly the victims of unsartiputoM nm i$ no designing kaaves, who personated Satan ojf their crimes, and therefore they are not one Mm 1 < . ' 1 PLATE II A Courtly xviaKjue: ^ThdDeuice called, The World toft at Tcnnit diners times Trcfentcdto the Coaccnrmcnt of many Noble and VVcrchy it bath Spcftatcrs; By the * ? j j Indented and FRINGE his Ser&int*. w/ r ler >Gcnt. t THE WORLD TOST AT TENNIS The First Quarto I face P AND : 9 and devil- worship, for this and desire. Nor do I think that the man who personated Satan at their assemblies was so much an unscrupulous and designing knave as himself a demonist, believing intensely in the reality of his own dark powers, wholly and horribly dedicated and doomed to the whit the was less guilty of sorcery their hearts' intention service of evil. We the witches were upon occasion wont in skins and ritual masks and there is to array themselves that the hierophant at the Sabbat, when complete evidence a have *seen that being played that r61e, generally wore a corre- human somewhat more elaborate, disguise* Nay more, sponsive, as regards the British Isles at least -and it seems clear that in other countries the habit was very similar we possess a " n as lie the Devil appeared to pictorial representation of if the witches. During the famous Fian trials Agnes Sampson " The deucll wes clod in ane blak goun with ane confessed His faicc was terrible, Ms noise blak hat vpon his head, of ane the bck greet bournyng cyn ; Ms handis and egle, lyk leggis wcr herry, with clawcs vpon Ms handis, and feit lyk In the pamphlet Newea from Scotland? the griffon." 16 11 we Declaring the Damnable life and death of Doctor Pian have a rough woodcut, repeated twice, which shows "the '* Devil preaching from the North Berwick pulpit to the whole coven of witches, and allowing for the crudity of the draughtsman and a few unimportant differences of detail -the black gown and hat are not portrayed ttio demon in the picture is exactly like the description Agnes Sampson gave. It must be remembered, too, that at the Sabbat she was obviously in a state of morbid excitation/ in part due to deep cups of heady wine, the time was mid* night, the place a haunted old church, the only light * few .flickering candles that burned with a ghastly blue flame, Now ** the Devil " as he is shown in the [email protected]
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