The height of the witch-craze in England occurred in the 1640s, when the Civil War produced unusual anxieties and insecurities, and particularly in Essex, a county where war tensions and a strong previous tradition of witchcraft came together. Into this opportune situation stepped an unsuccessful lawyer named Matthew Hopkins, who was to cause more people to be hanged in 2 years than had been hanged in the previous century. Hopkins, a Puritan, was able to play on the war anxieities of the Puritan population of Essex and convince them that legion of witches was active among them. At a distance it is difficult to judge Hopkins’ motivation. A man who had failed, he seems to have welcomed a chance for fame and success no matter how achieved; he may have relished the power; and he obtained a good deal of money for his efforts. He may even have believed in what he was doing: he relied heavily throughout his career on King James’ Daemonologie. Whatever Hopkins’ own purposes, his ministrations were well received. Making a name for himself first in 1644-45 in Chelmsford, a target for witch accusations since 1566, he then moved throughout southeastern England, appointing searchers to help him in his work.
Hopkins’ methods were thorough and merciless. He stripped suspects to serach for witches’ marks, and used starvation, sleep deprivation, swimming, and other tests and torments. The confessions he elicited show his acceptance of the continental tradition: the witches were members of a sect worshipping the Devil; they met at night; held initiations; had sexual relations with the Devil; and sacrificed to him. Nor did Hopkins neglect English tradition: his witches kept familiars in the shape of dogs, cats, mice, moles, squirrels, and swore in court that they had seen such imps themselves. The witches allegedly performed a variety of maleficia: an elderly pastor of Brandeston, John Lowes, was condemned for sinking a ship from Ipswich by magic. Rossell Hope Robbins observes that the judges were so credulous under the influence of Hopkins’ persuasion that they made no effort even to ‘check whether any shop had foundered that day.’ But Hopkins had gone too far too fast. By 1646 considerable opposition to him was already surfacing; later that year he was forced to retire, and the following year he died in some disgrace. In the short space of 2 years he had earned himself the informal title of witchfinder general of England and the contempt of future generations.
Kicked Out of Heaven Vol. II
Now Available $54.00
The Untold History of The White Races cir. 700 – 1700 a.d.
666 pages 197 pages
- ISBN-10: 1943820058
- ISBN-13: 978-1943820054
ONLY 2 COPIES LEFT!
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!
The Guardian: Laura Bates: witch hunts never stopped – now they’re online.