Judgment And Witch Hunt

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Judgment and witch hunt


To start, the figure of the Church will be referred to, which had great interventions in the principles of witchcraft. That means that it was part of the construction of the representation of those people called, mostly, "witches". Over time there were several versions by the Catholic religion about the reasons for the existence of sorcery, so that times later they will try to understand the causes that there began to be a great increase in witchcraft. During the period of the Modern Age some theologians related witchcraft to demonism, because the aspects of the final stage were considered. 

Satan obtained a very important role. It also came to believe that the apocalypse prophecy was about to be fulfilled.It should be noted that previously, in the year 906, an ecclesiastical document called Canon Episcopi had been created where the Church argued that believing in witches was a heresy .Some time later for new arguments, the aforementioned document was repealed;And Pope Innocent VIII authorized that two inquisitors will begin to use all the power of the Inquisition to remove the witches from all over Germany. These two inquisitors called Heinrich instor or Kramer and Jakob Sprenger presented a book called "Malleus Maleficarum" .


This book was also called "The Hammer de las Brujas" with the aim of being a manual for witch hunters.As mentioned before, between the 16th and 18th centuries a relationship between demonism and witchcraft began to emerge. In the first place, it began to spread that Satan was released from his bonds;And at the same time, through his false religion he sought to seduce the world.Together with what was raised, it can be claimed that most of the theologians of the time supported the idea that witchcraft was the product of the incarnation of the demon’s malice, in addition that “the Lutheran theologian Jacob Heilbronner. He argued that, since Satan had used the magicians.

To face the Word of God in biblical times, it was not surprising to use the same mechanisms in the 16th century ” .If the aforementioned relationship continues to investigate, it can be said that both were aspects of the final period, which was believed at that time;that is, there was an apocalyptic expectation that was being fulfilled. To explain the increase in witches, in the seventeenth century, Pastor Joachim Zahner had made use of prophecy already raised. This possible end of Era was being attributed to the witches, because their actions began to link with the sins, since it began to be considered that the magicians and witches were the precursors of the Antichrist. 

It is worth mentioning what John de Gaulle wrote, in 1646, “a witch is an antichrist, opposite to Christ not only in his work but in his person;Because just as Christ is incarnate, the witch can also be seen as an incarnate devil. I do not say, a witch is the Antichrist, but I am sure, the Antichrist needs to be a sorcerer ".What can also be included is that one of the great accusations assigned to the witches was to copulate with the demon, this led to the fact that through the witch hunt it was demonizing the sexuality of those women involved with thewitchcraft. Later the work will enter this last approach.

Various centuries before there was another vision about witchcraft. Before the year 1000 D.C., Specifically in 906, an ecclesiastical document had been put strictly. The person in charge of writing it was Regino de Prüm (842 – 915 D.C.). Within this document they collected testimonies of women possessed by the Devil, and there was already talk about the existence of the Aquelarre . At that time people accused each other of being witches or sorcerers, or having supernatural powers to do evil;There were also speculation about certain women who were able to travel through the air. 

It was also believed that they could travel great distances at huge speeds. Faced with this situation, the authorities did not demonstrate a great interest in systematically hunting the witches and forcing them to confess their crimes committed. In fact, the Catholic Church insisted on the absence of things such as witches with the ability to fly through the air. Even at this time, the belief that these flights were real and the Church officially held that trips were an illusion caused by the devil was prohibited. "The canon warned:" The Impious soul believes that these things do not happen in the spirit but in the body. ".

In other words, the devil can make us believe that you or others travel at night, but neither you nor can they really do it ”. It was also proposed that not only should it distrust the people accused of witchcraft but also in the accusers, because if the latter saw such situations, such as flights, it could actually be manipulated by the devil. "However, the dreamer has bad thoughts and must be punished, but not with the bonfire, but with the excommunication" throughout the thirteenth century the Church created a special paramilitary power whose only function was to remove the heresy, the Inquisition was appointed. 

 In the beginning it was based on fighting against subversive movements or illicit ecclesiastical organizations that were born throughout Europe;and threatened to break the monopoly of Rome on tithes and sacraments. That is, a witch hunt was not raised at the beginning, and one of those reasons is because the witches enjoyed the protection of Canon Episcopi, in which it was said that “witchcraft was a crime but not a heresy, put onthat Aquelarre was an invention of imagination " .What happened over time was that the cases of witches were no longer the same as at the time that the canon had been written.

That is because a new and more dangerous type of witch had begun to develop. These new witches could really fly to the Aquelarres, and they resembled the secret meetings of the other heretical sects too much. That led to the Inquisition insisting on communicating that witchcraft was a dangerous heresy. At the time it had been believed that witchcraft constituted a form of social protest, but for a movement to be considered in that way, it must be against the established order;You have to have an explicit doctrine of social criticism or undertake a dangerous and threatening line of action. 

Beyond the fact that witches have existed or not, there are no testimonial.When facing this new situation, Pope Innocent VIII promulgated a bull, in 1448, which recognized the existence of witches, leaving the Episcopi Canon repealed.As previously mentioned, the Pope authorized Heinrich Instor or Kramer and Jakob Sprengger, two inquisitors, to use all the power of the Inquisition to remove the witches from all over Germany. Subsequently, they two presented a book called "Malleus Maleficarum"

Malleus Maleficarum "or" The hammer of the witches ", was made with the idea that is a complete manual for witch hunters. In addition, he concluded with a report that detailed the ways to identify, accuse, process, torture, declare guilty and sentence the witches. If you seek to compare with the Episcopi Canon, now what was said is that “some witches only imagined that they attended the Aquelarre;But many were really transported there in body ”, therefore the explanation that is provided is that the witches actually gathered in secret affairs and constituted a threat to the security of Christianity.

For this time, several misfortunes were attributed to the witchcraft, that is, the witches began to be treated as the people who caused certain imaginable misfortunes such as: the loss of cattle and crops, death of children, diseases, ailments, infidelity, sterility and sterility andcraziness. In this way, varied accusations around the witch began to emerge. Throughout the 16th century to the 18th, in Europe, 500.000 were the people declared guilty of witchcraft and died burned. 85% of the total executed, during this period of witch persecutions, is attributed to women of all ages, even girls.

These witches received varied accusations, but not too far from each other, because sometimes they were blamed for committing two acts, one used to be more mundane than another. As mentioned before, relationships with the devil are going to be established;In addition to emerging new factors by the State. The latter is due to the fact that a close danger began to be transmitted to the population, and that way it was achieved that people will concentrate on the witch hunt and not on the facts that were committed.On the other hand, those under such accusations suffered aggressive interrogations and obtained extreme torture.

The mechanisms used by the examiners were too durable, severe and tenacious. It should be noted, the interrogations were made systematically and were generating a chain, since a woman accused of witchcraft ended up implying another.As already mentioned, there were a lot of witchcraft accusations, of which most went to women. These did not belong to any social class, and that was demonstrated by HC Erik Midelfort in a study that said: “1.258 executions for witchcraft in southwest Germany between 1562 and 1684 shows that 82% of witches were helpless and midwife women.

 of the lower class were normally the first to be accused in any local outbreak ”.At the same time, the remaining percentage was awarded to Mesoneros, Acaudalados merchants, magistrates and teachers;doctors, jurists and university professors were rarely accused;And for obvious reasons, the inquisitors themselves and the clergy were usually safe. In the event that a person accused of having seen some bishop or prince in a coven, unspeakable torture were performed;For that same fact Midelfort could only find three cases of accusations of witchcraft against members of royalty, even some of them were executed.

They were usually condemned and burned with accusations such as: performing pacts, maintaining sex and worshiping the devil;copulate with inescapos and succubes;belong to illegal meetings, that is to say those;and travel through the air to long distances mounted in brooms. Other more mundane accusations were: kill a neighbor’s cow;cause hailstones;destroy crops;And the last one that refers to infanticide, steal and eat children. Apart from those already mentioned, there were others that are fully related to the sexuality of women such as: administer contraceptives to other women, make abortions or give drugs against childbirth pain.

In these cases, a clear control is demonstrated that it was sought to obtain on the body of women and their sexuality, since some women who accused them of participating in the covens were accused of copulating with the devil or in some cases ofhave unlimited sexuality. Another of the great powers made to the witches was the use of magical ointments, which for studies carried out years later;It can be said that it was a hallucinogen, called atropine, when applying it a muscular relief is caused. Therefore, continuing with the idea that those those had been real, it can be stated that they were actually hallucinogenic experiences.

Returning to the witch hunting system, it can be said that there was an obvious contradiction, because the inquisitors were not obsessed with destroying witchcraft, but rather obsessed with creating it. In other words, the main objective of the witch hunters was the annihilation of these;But contrary they were responsible for increasing the diffusion of the belief that the witches were omnipresent and dangerous. Basically what the inquisitors achieved was to increase the number of witchcraft accusations;And the main result "consisted that the poor came to believe that they were victims of witches and devils instead of princes and potatoes".

 In other words, it can be considered that the intentions of the State truly were distract from the people with more importance;In addition, the fact that the nobility and clergy have presented themselves as the great protectors of humanity against an omnipresent enemy and those in charge of freeing the evil that existed, led to being a good reason to pay tithes and taxes.It has already been mentioned that when a person was accused of committing acts of witchcraft, a series of torture was performed, which endured until he confessed, in some cases, having made a pact with the devil;And in others, having flown to a blanket.

There is a case documented by a historian of Western witchcraft, called Charles Henry Lea, which occurred in 1601 in Offenburg, Germany;The woman accused of committing a crime of witchcraft was Else Gwinner and she confessed to having enjoyed the love of a demon and having caused, together with her mother, the loss of crops to raise the price of bread. After he denied what he had confessed before, the examiners told him: "That he was going to continue torture without mercy or compassion until he told the truth" . These torture continued until the witch revealed the names of other people who had also been present at the Aquelarre.

On the other hand, if the defendant retracted he was tortured more intensity until he confirmed his original confession again. The examiners were never satisfied until at some point the witch gave names for possible new suspects, which would later be accused and tortured in a routine way. That way it can be said that the system used, was forming a kind of chain, because if the tortured person did not point to another, it continued to be subjected to such torments. All confessions that were torn under torture had to be confirmed before sentence was issued. 

Even accused people had to seal their confession with a final oath.The intimidation method used in the cases of witches was: first threaten to torture, then describe the instruments that would be used, and finally show them. Confessions could be possessed at any time in the process. In torture, the use of the strapada, the foal and the Eculguera was more common;But chairs were also used with sharp tips heated from below, shoes with sharp objects, hot irons, reddish tongs, needle tapes, hunger and insomnia. On the other hand, a critic of the time, called Johann Matthaus Meyfarth. 

Matthaus wrote that in the torture chambers he saw: torn members, eyes taken from the head, feet torn from the legs, twisted tendons in the joints, unnecessated omoplates, inflamed deep veins, and perforated surface veins. In this way, it continues with a detailed description of various ways to torture the human body. Finally, it can be noted that for the system employee to work, the costs of the process should be reduced and that was through the system of forcing the family of the witches to pay an invoice for the services provided by the torturers and the executioners. 


Also, local authorities received an authorization to confiscate all the assets of the convicted person. The transition from feudalism to capitalism occurred during the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, because feudalism had begun to enter a decay;The solution was to create early or incipient capitalism. It is worth mentioning that capitalism is an economic system that is based on the private property of the means of production. From there you can begin to mark a close relationship between the new economic system of the State and the woman. To initiate, it should be noted that for the capitalism that was arising, it was necessary that a certain accumulation be obtained.

This accumulation was workforce, in addition to expanding the population. Faced with this situation, an idea already raised in the previous chapter can be extracted, which is that the State began to criminalize the control established by women about their reproductive abilities and sexuality. Therefore, in these new capitalist states the role of women began to emerge, because they are the only ones that have the capacity of procreation.In short, for these new states the woman’s body, more specifically, the uterus, became a labor force reproduction machine.

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