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History Lecture 1.docx

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Darren Mulloy

History Lecture: Tuesday, September 18 Salem Witch Trials  The old colony of New England, which is now Massachusetts  Typically women are associated with witchcraft however in Salem men as well were accused of witchcraft  Puritans- religious descendants in New England between 1620-1640 who leave England due to impurity  VERY RELIGIOUS  They hope to provide a new religious community in the new world to show the corruption in the English churches  They however did not leave all old world ideas behind one example is their belief in witchcraft Witchcraft and its History  In the middle ages the church and witchcraft coincided with no issues but in the twelfth century the church begins to seek out and remove disbelievers from society including gays, jews and witches  Malleus Maleficarum- book created by German monks (Hemet of the withces)  It was a summary of all that was known to the church about witches up until 1487  Often used in the hunting of withces  This novel determined that the state should also take charge not just the church and that the state must act in the presecution, trialing and killing of witches  Depicted witches as women!  The fifteenth century witchcraft went from being an isolated few who practiced in private to an organized threat to the church and to Christianity by a group of witches  1450-1750 between 50 000 and 9 million people were killed for witchcraft  Witchcraft was believed by even the top minds like Isaac Newton, they believed in a physical world being the world we live in that was material and an invisible world that we could not see, they also believed you could pass between these worlds as a wtich  Three types of magic o White Magic  Used for good  To heal  End drought  Superstition is white magic o Black Magic (Maleficium)  Evil  To cause harm  To injure or kill o Pact with the Devil  Using your magic to serve satan  To serve his purposes and a threat to Christianity  Maleficium Examples o Death and serious injury (children were considered vulnerable) o Minor injuries and mishaps (make you trip or get lost) o Amimals (hen stop laying eggs) o Influence the weather (cause storms) o Reproductive process (cause miscarriages or defects) o Nocturnal visits (believed to scratch and visits by spirits) o Jobs (killing your livestock) o Other powers- flying, telling the future, mind reading, invisibility  In Salem at the end of the seventeenth century anything that goes wrong in your village is attributed to witchcraft  Why would they do this? o Greed o Anger o Revenge o People believed it was Satan’s way of overthrowing god’s kingdom  How do you enter this pact? o Sex with the devil o Sign his book, one of his spirits will approach you o You receive goods or marriage in exchange for overthrowing God How a Witch Does What She Does  An evil look, touch or curse- people believed you did not have to see the look, feel the touch or hear the curse just the fact that someone had done the deed meant they could curse you  Animal Familiars- believed to be able to turn themselves into animals, or use spirits which take on animal forms assigned by the devil that helped the devil ensure the witch was completing her task  Image Magic- pretty much a voodoo doll called a poppet that they would model after someone in order to cause harm  Possession- If Satan cannot convince you to help his cause by bribery he will come and choke you, or torture you, or restrict your breathing, when people were being taken over by the devil and were evidently fighting this impulse they were considered possessed  During possession it is said that the possessed had spectral sight which meant they could see their attackers in the invisible world How to Catch a Witch  Punishment for witchcraft was death so people concealed  The evidence of witchery o Spectral  By locating someone who is possessed they are then able to identify their attacker in the invisible world  This led to insane accusations and feuds being settled by witchery accusations o Confession  Someone confesses to being a witch  Best form of evidence  Could once again be a madman confessing who just thinks they’re a witch o Torture  People could admit to make the pain stop  Although it was outlawed in New England evidence shows it was used in the witch trials o Physical  Poppets or dolls  Potions o The Devil’s Mark  The mark that the devil puts onto you if you sign yourself over to him  A way for the devil to identify his followers o The Witch’s Teat  An extra bit of flesh somewhere on the witch’s body that was used by the devil to suck her blood  Believed to be sucking out your soul  Typically on breast or vagina which would be searched by a Women’s Panel appointed by the city o Water Ordeal  Tie up the witch and throw her into the nearest body of water and if she floats she is a witch if she sinks they pull her out, it was believed because she rejects crisis the water rejects her o Praying Badly  Saying the lord’s prayer backwards or not being able to say it at all o Not Crying  At saddest of events  She rejects the lord and therefore has no soul o Laying on Hands  To see where the evil came from by returning it to whoever is possessing you o Not Attending Church  Because they reject God o Witnesses  If someone saw the curse or felt the touch  This became necessary when they decided to stop killing everybody  “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” is in the bible which justifies the death penalty The Procedure  It was not a mob going wild there was a legal procedure that had to be followed
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