The witch on a broomstick flying over the moon is a classic Halloween symbol. She might even have an accessory black cat, crow or crafty cackle. But the truth is most accused “witches” in history were never as warmly received as this image, let alone the whole Harry Potter craze.
Witch stories from back in the day derive from a bubbling cauldron of small-town suspiciousness, lust and the powerful controlling the narrative of the weak. Here are some crazy witch stories in history that really make you rethink the whole smiling trickster witch motif.
Moll Dyer.legionofpagans Dyer was a lonely woman living on the outskirts of St. Mary’s County, Maryland who was accused of being a witch. The townspeople burned her hut, and when she escaped into the woods, she supposedly cursed the village with years of cold and disease before dying on a rock that still stands there today.
Maret Jonsdotter.marcanhaber Maret Jonsdotter was the first Swedish woman to be tried by the The Great Noise witch hunt. Maret was accused of riding men like horses to a magical meadow called Blockula and performing satanic rituals against their will. Because she never confessed to the crimes even under torture, she at first legally couldn’t be executed, but luckily for the town, they changed the law. They beheaded her before burning her body at the stake.
Angela de la Barthe.blogspot Angela de la Barthe was burned at the stake by the inquisition in 1275 on charges of witchcraft, which reportedly included giving birth to snake-wolf demon monster that eat children. Things were weird back then.
Marie Laveau.gonola Known as “The Voodoo Queen of New Orleans”, Marie Laveau supposedly dabbled in necromancy, mind control, telekinesis, and even love potions. She was never executed for her sorcery, in fact, about 12,000 people came to pay their respects during the funeral.
Dame Alice Kyteler.whitemagicwitch To be fair to Alice Kyteler, people died a lot in 1324 Ireland, but the fact that she was on husband number four was a little too much for church officials. They charged Alice with leading a syndicate of secret sorcerers and even for having relations with an incubus (a ghost who makes love to human mortals. She was Ireland’s first witch.
The Salem Witches.The Salem Witch trials began in 1692 when a priests daughter and niece began acting funny, throwing things and screaming. The town doctor diagnosed them with devil dallying and soon 200 people were accused of witchcraft and 20 were executed for this crime.
Agnes Waterhouse.historywitch In 1566 Agnes Waterhouse was the first woman in England to be charged with witchcraft and executed. It was said that her black sorcery was the cause of death of many of the men of the town, and she even owned a cat named Satan. As she walked to the gallows she supposedly admitted that she once tried to kill a man, but his belief in God prevented her satanic powers from touching him.
Merga Bien.marktokorb In 1603 Balthasar von Dernbach, prince of the German town of Fulda began a witch hunt that started with Merga Bien, a woman twice widowed who had just married her third husband. Von Dernbach’s men tortured her until she admitted to using witchcraft to kill her first two husbands. She was pregnant at the time of her trial, which she thought would help her, but Von Dernbach forced her to admit this was Satan’s child. She was burned at the stake.
What a horrible and silly time these stories come from.
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