Witches - myths and reality

Table of Contents

  • Witches: What is Myth and What is Real
  • Witch Myth: The Witch Cult was a pagan religion that heroically perished in opposition to the Christian church.
  • Witch Myth: The witch hunt served to destroy the wise women. These guarded knowledge about abortion and contraception. Behind the witch hunt of the Catholic Church was hiding population policy to increase the subjects.
  • Witch Myth: "The witch hunt was a female persecution of the patriarchy( the men)"
  • Myth: The church haunted the witches
  • Myth: The witch hunt was rampant in the Dark Ages
  • Myth: The witches were natural healers and had extensive knowledge thatlost by the witch hunt.
  • Myth: 1 million up to 10 million people fell victim to the witch hunt.
  • Myth: Enlightenment and Modernity Ended the Witch Hunt
  • Ancient Naturopathy
  • Literature Tips / Sources

fiction mixes with history, and witch hunt of the early modern age with witchcraft images as they evolve both our ancestors and contempor

aries. The most common myths about the historical witch hunt, however, have disproved regional studies of the last 30 years.

Dr. Utz Anhalt cleans up the myths about witches. Picture: nicoletaionescu - fotoliaUtz Anhalt cleans up the myths about witches. Image: nicoletaionescu - fotolia

Witch Myth: Witch cult was a pagan religion that heroically perished in opposition to the Christian church.

The truth of the matter is that Christians took up the pagan religions or Christianized them - from mithra as the headdress of Christian bishops to the birth of the Savior on the night of September 25, the day the sun, Mithras, was born againon the three holy kings, who derive from the Magi of the Zoroastrian religion, the angels who fluttered themselves as winged mediators between God and man in Babylon, Persia and Assyria, to the god with the crown of thorns and his Trinity, whom they excelledtook the Greek Dionysosrites.

They built churches on Mithras temples and sacred places of the Germanic tribes, they interpreted pagan gods and goddesses like Odin, Diana or Herate as demons and evil spirits, they put the celebration of the fertility goddess Ostara Easter. They converted the heathen with fire and sword, destroyed places of worship and libraries, slaughtered whole multitudes who did not accept the new faith - in short, they adorned themselves with the foreign feathers of polytheistic cultures and ruthlessly assassinated the bearers of this knowledge.

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    However, there is no evidence that in the early modern period, the time of the witch hunt, there was an organized heathen cult in Europe opposed to the Church. In some witch trials, for example in the Baltics and northern Italy, Benandanti and "werewolves" showed that they practiced rites and had beliefs that were contrary to Christian doctrine. However, there can be no question of an organized pagan culture, as not only some of today's neo-Pagans, but also the witch pursuers suspected.

    In the vast majority of witch trials, there is no indication that the world interpretation of the accused differs significantly from that of their prosecutors and judges.

    Witch Myth: The witch hunt served to destroy the wise women. These guarded knowledge about abortion and contraception. Behind the witch hunt of the Catholic Church was hiding population policy to increase the subjects.

    The social scientists Heinsohn and Steiger from Bremen developed this myth and were extremely successful with their book "The annihilation of the wise women" because it corresponded to the Zeitgeist of the 1980s. The Catholic Church railed against abortion, and feminists fought for the right to their own guts.

    regional studies show that Heinsohn and Steiger went from completely wrong figures and arbitrary points of witch trials such as sexual intercourse with demons or spells, the men took their power of procreation arbitrarily translated into modern terms and so shifted the focus on abortion and prevention.

    There were "wise women," in other words, midwives and healers, who, in addition to many other effective and ineffective means of naturopathy, also knew measures to abort children or to prevent pregnancies. However, these women did not represent the majority of the victims, nor were they persecuted everywhere and systematically.

    The alleged acts of the witches included thunderstorms that spoiled the crop as well as the milk theft in cows, diseases that they "witch" their alleged victims, magical enrichment, animal transformation and especially the covenant with the devil.

    It met poor women on the margins of society as well as( in the heyday of the trials) well-off women, and men were as much victims as children.

    In addition, there was never a centrally controlled organization of witch hunts, which would have made possible a systematic persecution of the "contraceptive healers".

    The thesis of the "extermination of the wise women" still haunts especially in disciplines remote from science, especially among feminist-inspired esoteric women. Historians have long since disposed of them in the bin as a pseudoscience.

    Hexen-Mythos: "The witch-hunt was a female persecution of the patriarchy( the men)"

    This thesis spread mainly feminists since the 1980s. Among other things, it implied that the male witch hunters and witch judges felt threatened by strong women and wanted to destroy them. The truth of the matter is that the basis of the witch hunts, the witch hammers( Malleus maleficarum) published by the Dominicans Institoris and Sprenger, is one of the most misogynist texts in world history.

    Thus, because of her fickle nature, the woman is exposed to the temptations of the devil to a far greater extent than the man, and femina is allegedly derived from fe minus and means that the woman believes less.

    The authors imagined a Europe-wide operating witches' sect, which was responsible for all misfortune in the league with the devil. The authors relied on ancient texts and saw the followers of Diana, the Roman hunting goddess and Hekates, the Greek goddess of the underworld at work.

    Roman-Greek notions of witch-like creatures such as the lamas and streaks, which in the form of nocturnal birds sucked blood from children or lurked half-carnivore in wastelands to feed humans, cited Institoris and Sprenger as evidence of witchcraft.

    The female body was a vessel for filth, and they believed it was filled with salamanders and snakes.

    The "witch hammer" was only a basis for the witch trials from the 16th to the 18th Century, and the Dominicans initially met with bitter resistance, some rulers chased them from their territories.

    However, where the tools of the witch trial became established, secular courts took over the persecution. The possibilities provided by the witch trial were used by various informers to decide their own conflicts in their favor.

    The purpose of the trial was the confession, and in the witch trial restrictions of torture, as prescribed by the Roman law of the Middle Ages, lifted. While torture was allowed in the Middle Ages, confessions under torture were considered worthless.

    The witch trial, however, demanded repeated torture until the confession, and a lack of confession did not prove innocence, but merely that the devil especially protected the witch / sorcerer.

    It is true that the witch-judges were men because the early modern patriarchal society did not allow women to serve as magistrates. However, many female informants were women, and many processes revolved around conflicts that women had among themselves: young and good-looking women suspected old and ugly women of hexing them out of envy;old women suspected that young and good-looking women owe their attractiveness to the devil.

    Social envy was as much a motive as the search for a scapegoat, which could be held responsible for one's own misfortune and one's own fears. The early modern era was a time of crisis: the plague and the 30-year war devastated Central Europe, the "little ice age" made agricultural yields go down;the urban bourgeoisie prospered and the feudal system of landlordism collapsed. Former servants and maids lined the streets as beggars and tramps, and it was no coincidence that this lumpen proletariat made up a substantial group of victims of the witch trials.

    The vast majority of victims were women, also because their lawlessness left them to the clutches of the judiciary. But overall, a quarter of the victims were men, and regionally, the numbers are very different. In some centers of the witch hunt, almost only women were burned as witches at the stake, but in Ireland the victims were almost exclusively "cunny men," men considered to be sorcerers, and in the Salzburg witch-begging trials homeless young men in particularwho earned an extra with funfair tricks like "conjuring mice out of their sleeves".Even children, and even animals were executed in witch trials.

    Gender bias shifted on certain charges. So the accusation of turning into a wolf and eating in this shape people and livestock and to have "unnatural fornication" with animals, especially men.

    Just as the woman's sexuality, in the literal sense of the word, is mirrored in the female witch, so does the werewolf's demonized sexuality.

    Myth: The Church Persecuted the Witches

    Theologians designed the framework for the witch trials with the Witch Hammer and similar works that served as manuals for the trials.

    There were first convictions for witchcraft in the 13th Century, but they mixed with charges of heresy and sorcery. Heresy, however, was considered a spiritual crime and not a secular one.

    The witch hammer was preceded by the Jew and the Heretic Hammer of the Middle Ages. However, he differed in his goals. The persecution of the Jews was about another religion that could not accept Christianity. Although the church alleged various crimes committed by the church, including the witch trial, the construct of the witches' Sabbath, in which the witches worshiped the devil, derived from the Jewish Sabbath, and the Jews also accused the Inquisition of damaging magic, well poisoning, anddevil faith. But the priority was to fight an external opposition, a rival religion.

    During the heresy process, the Inquisition was concerned with internal opposition, namely interpretations of Christianity that contradicted papal dogma. The first crusades led the Catholic Church not against the Muslims, but against the Waldensians and Cathars, who regarded the "worldliness" of the Christian clergy as blasphemy.

    Just at the center of the Catholic Inquisition, which ruthlessly persecuted Jews and heretics, the clergy rigorously rejected the persecution of witches, and the 16th century Roman Inquisition even repeatedly opposed witch-hunts. Even in the High Middle Ages, witchcraft was not considered a sin in the Catholic Church, but a belief in witchcraft.

    While the trials against Jews and heretics were spiritual processes that led the Church's inquisition to force the accused to abandon their faith and convert to Catholic Christianity, the witchcraft trials fell within the jurisdiction of secular courts.

    The damage magic assumed by the witches was considered worldly crime, not the faith, but the alleged perpetrators were punished. Damage magic was as much a crime as theft or assault, and from today's point of view tangible offenses mingled with the idea of ​​the devil pact.

    So the victims were accused of acts that we now call slander, libel, or coercion, but with the difference that defendants such as plaintiffs and judges were convinced that curses had a real magical effect, or that milk turned into a stickmagic.

    These material damages inflicted by the "witch", however, greatly increased by the imputed pact with the devil. This was the real capital crime, from which derived the other evil deeds.

    The devil faith was and is elementary Christian, and the church provided the dogmas to it. Under this umbrella, however, the witch trials provided a coordinate system in which almost any conflict could be negotiated.

    When a beggar cursed a rich farmer who did not give him alms and plagued the miser of his guilty conscience, he was able to relieve himself by taking the beggar to court for a magical curse. As a result, the victim was as good as dead.

    A shepherd was giving a cattle owner a cow, and the cow died, he blamed the shepherd for having cast a spell on the animal.

    Dying people of an unknown disease, which was very common at the time, raised the question of why to the old widow who lived with her cat on the outskirts of the village.

    A well-behaved pharmacist built a second pharmacy in the neighboring town, said the social envy, that could not do with right things, and accused him of turning into a wolf and fly from one pharmacy to the next.

    The church had little to do with all this, and in the heyday of the witch hunt, critical pastors were also on trial.

    Christian worldviews, meanwhile, shaped the witch trial: The Catholic persecutors referred to the biblical phrase "The magicians should not let you live", the Protestants represented the variant of the Luther Bible "A witch you should not let alive".This is some historians reason why in Protestant regions fewer men were murdered in witch trials than in Catholic.

    On the spot, Christian preachers often pushed the persecution of witches by giving direction and guilt to the despair of the people in the face of natural disasters, disease, material ruin or the consequences of war.

    The witch hunt in the Middle Ages. Image: Sushi-Fotolia The witch hunt in the Middle Ages. Image: Sushi -fotolia

    Some historians consider the religious dispute between Protestants and Catholics to be the driving force behind witch-hunts, while at the same time serving to eliminate competitors, eliminate marginalized groups, and resolve family conflicts. Accordingly, there were few witch trials in the Catholic countries of southern Europe, such as Spain, Portugal or Italy, because here the denominational division did not provide any fuel.

    Myth: The witch hunt was rampant in the Dark Ages

    The belief in witches was widespread in antiquity and the Middle Ages, but the systematic persecution of witches by courts falls into the early modern period, from the 15th to the 18th century, with regional highlightsbetween 1550 and 1650, especially after the Thirty Years' War and the center in Germany and the Alpine countries.

    It was a time of crisis, ideological as well as material. The Little Ice Age led in the 15th century to the agrarian crisis in Central Europe, to inflation and famine. Hail and thunderstorms became commonplace, temperatures dropped, and people lived mainly on agriculture.

    The unfavorable nature of nature hit her in the heart. Uncertainty became fear and fear became panic. Fear, on the other hand, is looking for a way to gain control, and unfortunately that often means finding a culprit for misery.

    The starving people provided a paradise for viruses and bacteria without anyone knowing about these pathogens. Until the 18th century, the plague raged again and again and ravaged Central Europe like a nuclear war.

    Indeed, the first plague wave of 1347-1353 led to the search for guilty parties. The Jews should have poisoned the wells, and the trauma of the masses erupted in Jewish pogroms. Even the first allegations of sorcery and witchcraft hit the Jews. Sometimes they should have met with the "Sultan of Damascus", then with a three-headed hellhound, sometimes with the devil himself.

    The reputation of the Catholic clergy was crumbling. In the High Middle Ages, with few exceptions, neither rulers nor ruled, neither secular nor ecclesiastical, had questioned the Christian worldview and the feudalism derived from it. Now, apparently, the church had no answer to the plague and agricultural disasters.

    The devil, in stable times of Christian rule, was merely a bad example of a fool grotesquely trying to copy God's deeds. Now he became an ubiquitous power - a counter-deity.

    God seemed to have abandoned people, but hell on Earth was revealed in the bulging corpses unloading ox carts in mass graves. In the 16th century actual devil cults were created. Many thought it would make sense to ally with the corporeal and escape the horrors.

    Others celebrated wild orgies, drunk unrestrainedly, danced like crazy and copulated wildly - if the sinking was imminent anyway, they could now "let it out" again.

    The Catholic monopoly on world interpretation broke up. On the one hand, scientists questioned fundamental dogmas with their findings: Hardly any intellectual still believed that the earth was round or that God created the world in 7 days. Protestantism even dissolved the claim of the church to be catholic, that is to say, all-embracing. Various heretical movements have won thousands of followers.

    wars, especially the thirties between 1618 and 1648, devastated vast regions of central Europe and the destruction of the entire infastructure was associated with ideological confusion.

    So a wide range of disasters bundled and shook the mental security of the masses. It was the time of desperation, as a book title about witch hunt calls it. Cults proliferated, seeing the Apocalypse in the immediate future.

    anthropologists know that elementary distress without a practical way out can make scapegoats responsible for controlling fear. The early modern era meant for many people a pattern of such an emergency situation. Focussing all the fears in the character of the devil and his followers calmed the psyche. Because with that there was a( fictitious) way out - namely to fight the devil.

    The witch hunt was seen in many places as a mass hysteria, sometimes even against the will of local rulers. In addition, so-called Veitstänze, in which hundreds of people in ecstatic cramps fell to the ground, prove that such mass hysteria was commonplace.

    There were also masses of traumatized people. People saw mercenaries raping their wives and dumping the men in the village of Jauche in their slashed bellies, survivors of the plague waves saw their relatives "decomposed" alive. Children wandered through smoking ruins and found their parents dismembered and disgraced. Farmers were plagued by hunger, merchants lost their livelihood, forests were occupied by bands of robbers, and the fields lay fallow.

    traumatization is associated with dissociation, in which the person loses the feeling of space and time as well as of their own body. Black-and-white thinking, hallucinations of monsters, and condensed anxiety pictures that seem to take on real shape are also symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome, as is the return of trauma to stored triggers that link memory to it. These triggers have expressly rarely anything objectively to do with the incident.

    To whom a cat as a child scratched his face, whose nightmares act exemplarily later by cats who jump at him, and his fears focus on the image of a cat lurking in the shadows.

    In a time and society where people believed in the supernatural, these images of fear were considered real. Demons were not metaphors for psychic conflicts in the early modern period, but an existential part of reality.

    Those familiar with traumatization need little imagination to visualize the explosive, when a traumatized society that knew nothing of psychology in the modern sense, got an explanation for their suffering with the witches who were in league with the devil. Unprecedented trauma, legal framework and witch pogrom were conditional. The catastrophes of the early modern age burned into the psyche of the people, and in the fight against the "Teufelsbuhlerinnen" they rationalized their mental disorder.

    There were also material motives. Denouncers received part of the victim's possession. But even non-material motives such as revenge or antipathy could be lived out excellently in the witch trial. If the state power agreed with the denouncers, it looked bad for the defendants: The dispute over a border dispute in the field inflamed at the stake.

    Myth: The witches were nature healers and had extensive knowledge lost through witch hunts.

    This notion is also widely used in healing practice. Like shamans in indigenous cultures, the persecuted people of Europe are seen as healers in their communities, who were a thorn in the side of academic doctors because of their alternative medicine.

    This narrative is particularly popular in the transition between healing practice and the esoteric belief in the supernatural. Place Tarot cards, create horoscopes, call Odin or Lilith goes along with forgotten medicinal plants from the local "witch garden".

    Heinsohn and Steiger's "Wise Women" are based on this myth, which was very popular in the 1980s, and which the authors also falsely linked to modern sociology issues, namely empirical research on population policy.

    In the "salvation mysticism", however, different levels of the term witch of cultural anthropology, anthropology, medical and social history merge.

    The word witch derives from Hagazussa, the horseman, who describes a woman acting as a mediator between the world of spirits and humans, much like the shaman of indigenous cultures.

    Women who work as healers in this sense existed and exist, and probably also in the early modern period.

    Medical science was not a monopoly of academic physicians, especially in rural areas, from the 16th to the 18th century, and magical rituals and supernatural beliefs were associated with applied herbal medicine. Shepherds, who knew which ointments disinfected the wounds of sheep to the farmer's wife, who used hot compresses for sore throats, and the pastor who fought diarrhea with spells from the Bible, there was a wide range of folk healers.

    Some of them were in court in connection with their activities. The peasants claimed the magical help of shepherds who claimed to be able to lay a wolfsbane that kept the wolves away from the herds.

    When the cattle got sick, the farmer, who believed in the shepherd's magical abilities, saw a shepherd evil spell at work. From a traditional service that dealt with both magic and veterinary medicine, it became a witch trial.

    In other cases, ointments, herbs, and other "medicines" provided a "clue" to the devilish practices of a "witch."Added to this was the effect of hallucinogenic plants such as henbane, datura or belladonna, which probably flowed into fantasies about the witches' flight on the broom and the apparitions of grotesque demons.

    Magic ideas were widespread in Europe, in the Jews and Christians, in the common people as in the rulers, in the educated and the illiterate. However, the "Volkswissen" on medicine had very little to do with the persecution of alleged witches.

    The pursuit of witches rather invented theological and legal faculties. The academics networked with each other through the printing of letters and with it these theories spread. The ideas spread at the university thus seeped into the populace in densely populated Central Europe via the printing press, without the academic fathers of the witch hunt had the faintest idea of ​​the medical methods of the rural population.

    Myth: 1 million up to 10 million people fell victim to the witch hunt.

    National Socialists and feminists, "new witches" and esotericists surpassed in the last century in casualties of the historic witch hunt. Even Heinsohn and Steiger claimed about 500,000 victims, some feminists brought the "Holocaust to the women in the game", which should surpass the Shoah with 9 million victims.

    The organizer of the Holocaust, Heinrich Himmler was meanwhile convinced that the "Jewish-Roman Church" had carried out the witch hunt in order to wipe out the "Germanic woman" and thus the existence of the "Germanic race".He is also responsible for numbers in the millions.

    Some feminists attacked this theory in the 1980s, with the difference that the church was not concerned with the "Germanic" but generally with "the women".

    Heinsohn and Steiger needed their mass numbers, because they could only underpin the thesis of the destruction of wise women. They worked, as did other researchers who came to similar numbers with historical material, but misinterpreted it.

    So they raised numbers from focal points of the persecution to unexplored regions. Although this is still a problem today, the societal structure of the early modern period did not do justice to this method:

    Clergy and secular territories, princes and bishops, Protestants and Catholics, free cities and kingdoms, they all cooked their own soup.

    The common superstructure imagined by the authors of the "Wise Women" did not exist in the sixteenth century, especially in the waves of witchcraft trials during the Thirty Years' War, any central control that would have made projections more legitimate was eradicated.

    regional studies showed that the practice of witch trials in cities only a few tens of kilometers apart often looked completely different. In a city, when dozens of women died at the stake over the course of ten years, there was often not a single trial in the neighboring city. Operation in one county being a fanatical witch-hunter, another nobleman granted asylum to persecuted persons in his territory.

    Nevertheless, the witch trials were a mass phenomenon. There are many reasons for that.

    1) The torture led to confessions.

    2) These confessions convinced "the people" of the reality of witchcraft

    3) The tortured had to betray their "accomplices".They betrayed all sorts of people they could think of to stop the torments.

    4) Was the witch hunt established, hardly anyone dared to criticize them, because that led very quickly to their own death.

    5) People in the surrounding regions became aware of the "witchcraft" and denounced them as well. The focal points of the witch trials were Thuringia, the Rhineland, Würzburg, Bamberg, Cologne with 2000 and Mainz with 1500 victims, Westphalia, Valais and Scandinavia.

    Systematic regional studies by historians of the past 30 years have decoded a total of 30,000 to 50,000 victims in the witch hunt in Europe. However, this is still the largest non-war destruction of people in Europe at that time. Only the mass murders of fascists and Stalinists in the twentieth century surpassed these figures of victims outside the war.

    Myth: Enlightenment and Modernity Ended the Witch Hunt

    This myth emerged in the Enlightenment of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and goes hand in hand with the notion of witch hunts as an expression of the Dark Ages, as the time of superstition and backwardness, the newTime of knowledge would have been overcome.

    Almost everything is wrong with this idea. The witch hunt had its focus not in the most backward, but the most progressive regions of Europe. Only achievements of the Renaissance, namely the pressure and thus the first mass media disseminated the treatises on the Hexensekte in Europe. Readers were the educated classes, not the illiterates.

    Leading theorists of witchcraft were considered intellectual luminaries of their time and taught at outstanding universities. Jean Bodin, for example, one of the most zealous witch hunters ever, was also the founder of absolutist state theory, that is, of the modern state.

    Bourgeois historians in the 19th century, ideologically influenced by the myth of the enlightened modern age( ie their time) that emerged from the dark Middle Ages, saw Bodin as a prototype of a man torn between modernity and the Middle Ages - the founding father of the modern state was thereforewith one leg still in the Middle Ages.

    This idea was as popular as it was false: Bodin saw a major obstacle to state building in the independent forms of behavior and customary law of communities and fringe groups that he wanted to bring under the general control of a central state. The "witches and wizards", about whom he wrote his second major work alongside his theory of the state, were just such a community for him.

    He really believed in the devils and demons, but drew similar conclusions as modern dictators who want to keep their enemies in check under a total state. So Bodin had more in common with Robbespierre, Saddam Hussein or Stalin than with a Swabian farmer who saw a witch at work when the milk was sour.

    The modern state has a universal legal framework. The witch trial created a basis for it. No longer the "crime against the divine order" was the focus, but the guilt of the "perpetrator" / the "perpetrator".The precise questionnaire of the judges, the methods prescribed to the detail, the confession to force and the equally meticulous specifications, as which tasks of the defendants were to be evaluated, were by no means "mediocre" in the contemptuously bourgeois sense of irrational, but corresponded rather processes onemodern administration.

    The witch hunt did not happen in the Middle Ages, and that's no coincidence. It flourished in the Renaissance and early modernist upheavals - the victims were burned at the stake when Leonardo da Vinci invented his flying machines, John Locke developed liberalism and Isaac Newton discovered gravity.

    In 1782, Anna Göldi was killed in Switzerland as a witch, and the last known executions for witchcraft in Europe took place in 1793 - at the time of the French Revolution. Since the Middle Ages was 300 years back.

    The bourgeoisie of the 19th century, according to Adorno, made the walls invisible. People who did not conform to bourgeois norms were no longer burned at the stake by citizens, but were put into madhouses, labor camps and educational institutions.

    In addition, the persecution of people as witches did not stop internationally - not until today. Today, village tribunals in South Africa sentence people to witchcraft for witchcraft, and victims die with gasoline-filled tires around their necks - in flames. In the Congo, armed gangs are murdering street children who consider them witches and sorcerers;In Tanzania, albinos are being slaughtered for their supposed magical powers

    In Papua New Guinea, the state is trying to stop the villagers' witch pogroms, but success remains slim. Also in India, there are always lynchings of supposed witches. In Saudi Arabia, judges condemn witches and wizards to death under Islamic law.

    In Africa, Mexico, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, over the last 50 years, more people have been murdered for witchcraft than in the witch hunt for Europe in the early modern period, says historian Rune Blix Hagen.

    Ancient Naturopathy

    Specialists in Naturopathy? Guardians of ancient knowledge? Wise women in unity with nature? The victims of the historic witch hunt do not do justice to such images as are common in healing practice.

    The knowledge about healing herbs triggered the suspicion of a witch The knowledge about healing herbs triggered the suspicion of a witch's existence? Image: Lukas Gojda - fotolia

    They were peasants and maids, merchants and beggars, shepherds, homeless and pharmacists, old and young, women and men. They only became "witches" because terrorist justice made them torture and murder for something they could not have done.

    victims of the witch hunt were almost always exclusively victims of judicial killings. The witch became a woman, the werewolf man was not because of a secret knowledge, but because justice and mob made the victim a victim.(Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Witches: What is Myth and What is Reality

Hardly any topic is as overloaded with myths as the Witch's character. The fairytale witch in the children's book, the herbalist in the healing practice, the precursor of the emancipation in feminism, the medium to the supernatural in esoterics, the noble savages in the fight against the Christianity of the new heathens or the salt in the soup of fantasy.

Literature Tips / Sources

Biedermann, Hans: Demons, ghosts, dark gods. Encyclopedia of fearsome mythical figures. Special edition for Gondrom Verlag GmbH &Co. KG.Bindlach 1993.

Clark, Stuart: Thinking with Demons. The Idea of ​​Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe. Clarendon Press. Oxford. New York 1997.

Daxelmüller, Cristoph: Superstition, witchcraft, hell fears. A story of magic. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH &Co. KG.Munich 1996.

Dinzelbacher, Peter: Fear in the Middle Ages. Devil, death and God experience: history of mentality and iconography. Friedrich Schöningh. Paderborn. Munich. Vienna. Zurich 1996.

Ginzburg, Carlo: Witches' Sabbath. Deciphering a nocturnal story. Translated from Italian by Martina Kempter. Fischer Paperback Verlag GmbH.Frankfurt am Main 1993.

Hortzitz, Nicoline( Hrsg.): Hexenwahn. Source writings of the 15th to 18th century from the Augsburg State and City Library. With a historical introduction by Gertrud Roth-Bojadzhiev. Silberburg-Verlag. Stuttgart 1990.

Masters, R.E.L.: The devilish lust. Translated from the American and edited by Fritz Ortmann and Juliane Alfredsson. Lichtenberg Verlag GmbH.Munich 1968.

Sebald, Hans: Witches. Then and now? Special edition for Gondrom Verlag GmbH &Co. KG.Bindlach 1993.

Sidky, H.: Witchcraft, Lycanthropy, Drugs, and Disease. An Anthropological Study of the European

Witch Hunt. Peter Lang. New York. Washington D.C.Baltimore. Bern. Frankfurt am Main.

Vienna. Paris 1997.

Wolf, Hans-Jürgen: Hexenwahn and exorcism. A contribution to cultural history.1st edition. Historia publishing house. Kriftel 1980.

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