From the beginning of the 11th century, burning was imposed on relapsed heretics with increasing frequency. In 1198 Pop Innocent III called for the execution of those who persisted in heresy after they had been punished by excommunication. As witchcraft was associated with heresy, the punishment of burning was extendd to witches as well, and from the 15th century onwards, witches were treated even more severely than heretics, being burned on first conviction instead of upon relapse. As fear of heresy and witchcraft grew, torture, a feature of Roman rather than Germanic law, became common practice in Europe.
Salius lays especial stress upon the detail that lycanthropes avoid water: “aquam perhorrescunt.” It were too curious to inquire how far this unnatural dread of clear water is psychologically connected with the water ordeal to which those suspected of sorcery were so often submitted. The history of the “judicium aquae frigidae” is long and interesting, but here we need only touch upon it very briefly. Running water in particular is known to dissolve spells and evil charms; true and natural water is the matter of the “first sacrament”, “ the door of the spiritual life”. Thus the element has of itself a certain quality of holiness. Living water, “ the Hebrews of old called it.
Water was appointed as a test in cases of sorcery as early as the laws of Hammurabi, King of Babylon, in the third millennium B.C., and in England the water ordeal is ancient, a full description of this test being given in the Laws of Aethelstan, 924-940. Other codes mention it, and the test was essayed for theft, adultery, and homicide as well as witchcraft. The Fourth Lateran Council, however, in 1215, under Innocent III, by its nineteenth canon forbade priests to pronounce any benedictions at the ordeals of hot or cold water and of the hot iron. There had been grave abuses, whilst in any case the experiment was not wholly trustworthy.
Nevertheless the ordeal itself persisted, so deep-rooted in the rustic mind was a belief in the completest efficacy of “swimming a witch”. Particularly in England and in Germany did the populace favour the practice. In the sixteenth century King James judged that “their fleeting on the water” was appointed by God “for a super-naturall signe of the monstruous impietie of the Witches, that the water shal refuse to reiue them in her bosom, that haue shaken off them the sacred Water of Baptisme, and wilfullie refused the benefite thereof.
In the worst years of the witch persecutiuon few of the small towns and villages around here, or elsewhere in Germany, were free from the investigation of witch-finders. The chronicler of Treves recorded that the diocese was so “scourged, scoured and purged” of sorcerers in 1586 that in 2 villages only 2 women were left alive. In the village of Lindheim on the banks of the River Nidder, not far from Hesse, the Witch Tower is a grim reminder of the trials that took place in the 17th century when men and women were hanged inside and burned alive. Today the tower of Lindheim sits in a lovely flower-filled park, but a writer who examined it a century ago described it as “supremely horrible. It is impossible to gaze into shadows without a shudder.”
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. II
Paperback Now in Color $90.00
The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
666 pgs + 196 pix = 1,000s of FACTS!
Kicked Out Of Heaven Vol. II: The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700-1700 a.d. is a 3 volume series that will be released one by one. This book details everything about European society and mentality. In this edition you will find these facts: Alcoholism & The Blue Devils, Insanity & Lead Poisoning, Ergot (LSD) Hallucinations, The Sweating Sickness & Leprosy, The Tobacco Enema & Leeches, The Defloration Mania, The Dancing Mania, The Black Death, The Gravediggers & Body Snatchers, Jews Poisoning the Wells, Millions of Deaths, Folklore & Superstition, Magic Mirrors & Crystal Balls, Witches Dancing in Baby Blood, Pants Made of Human Skin, Necromancy & Ghost Armies, Attacks from The Undead, Lycanthropy & Were-Wolves, Multiple Cases of Vampires, Who is Satan, Lucifer & The Devil!
Honey: Modern-day witch Fiona Horne on learning to ‘live better’.