Posts Tagged: ‘witchcraft’

On June 21, 2013, Britain unveiled a new ‘blue plaque’ historical marker commemorating the block where Doreen Valiente resided before she died in 1999. The ceremony falling on the summer solstice was intentional and significant since Valiente is considered the “mother of modern witchcraft,” and the summer solstice coincides with the Wiccan celebration of Litha. […]

Tags: , , , , , ,

Before the Salem Witch Trials (and in a slightly different region on the U.S.) a woman named Elizabeth Garlick faced trial for witchcraft. In this episode, we tell the story of her accusation and trial. And we talk a little about Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books.

Tags: , , ,

Last week we looked at the mara or nightmare, a chest-crushing entity that preys on the breath of troubled sleepers. While we discussed several varieties of mara, we didn’t explore the sexual world of incubi and succubi.

The Incubus: Translated as “that which lies upon,” incubi carry out the same basic torment tactics as your common nightmare, only with more grinding…

Tags: , ,

Imagine an entire town overcome by a collective waking nightmare. It’s the stuff of fantasy to be sure. Just read Brian McNaughton’s “The Return of Lrion Wolfbaiter” or play a little “Skyrim.” You’ll get there.

But is it also the stuff of history? Is there a scientific explanation for events such as the Salem Witch Trials, when a sleepy, repressed new England town erupted into an orgy of superstitious accusations, urine cakes and heart-wrenching persecution?

It brings us to ergot poisoning. Ergot is a fungus (Claviceps purpurea) that contains toxic compounds similar to LSD. When it infests grains it sometimes makes its way into contaminated bread. And if everyone gets their bread from the same baker…

Tags: , ,

Imagine a half million corpses — mostly women — piled high on a pyre.

Imagine an age of social turmoil, spiritual crisis and technological revolution.

Imagine an age in which children as young as seven were executed for the crime of demonic copulation.

It’s difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of our 15th century predecessors. Witchcraft trials and witch persecutions have become a part of our shared mythology and history, but what truly went on during those centuries of brutal torture and death?

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I look at some compelling theories to why so many men, children and especially women suffered at the hands of superstitious religious persecution.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Witches are perhaps one of the most reviled and misunderstood groups in history — but why? Join Josh and Chuck as they break down the Stuff You Should Know about witchcraft in this episode.

Tags: , , , ,

I’ve always felt kind of bad for witches, having been a longstanding scapegoat for society’s ills and all. That and having to customarily suffer the indignity of dying at the hands of superstitious hicks. They’ve found themselves on the wrong end of land grabs and wide swings to new worldviews. Take the emergence of science. The nascent medical community decided it couldn’t stave off the competition from traditional healers for the few centuries until it reached germ theory and bam! Death to witches.

Tags: , ,

Back in the 17th century, witches struck fear in the heart of every self-respecting Brit. The church chafed at witchcraft and sorcery, and Parliament responded in kind by passing a series of witchcraft laws. In 1735, the death penalty for practicing witchcraft was overturned; by then, thousands of suspected witches had been drowned, burned and hanged, according to the Times. Many women were put to death during the plague — witches were accused of spreading the pestilence.

So it comes as little surprise that people had talismans to ward off witches. And recently, scientists have finished conducting tests on a witch bottle that archaeologists unearthed in Greenwich, London, in 2004.

Tags: , ,

Our friends over at Xenophilia posted an article from BBC about a recent spate of murders of albinos in Burundi and Tanzania. Between the two countries, at least 50 African albinos have been murdered in the last couple of months.

The concentration of albino populations in some African nations is nearly 20 times that of the United States, and despite the political and social successes of some…

Tags: , , ,

Recent Postings by Category