FAMILIARS. Various typically lesser demons who were thought to attend witches in some assumed animal form were generally known as familiar spirits, or more simply as familiars. This aspect of the witch stereotype is somewhat unique in being more developed in English, Irish, and Scottish sources than in continental ones. A demonic familiar might appear in almost any animal form. Toads, owls, rats, mice, and dogs were all common, but cats were especially associated with familiar spirits. A witch might be given a familiar by the devil, or might inherit a familiar from another witch. The demon then attended the witch and performed magical services for her. The witch, in turn, cared for her familiar much as one would care for a household pet, which is of course what many supposed familiars in fact were. In particular, witches were thought to feed their familiars with their own blood, which the familiar might suck from a small protuberance somewhere on the body, the so-called witch's mark. One of the earliest examples of a demon resembling a familiar appears in the

case of Alice Kyteler. Accused of witchcraft in Ireland in 1324, Alice was supposedly attended regularly by a demon known as Robert or Robin Artisson, who could appear as cat, a shaggy dog, or an Ethiopian. Unlike witches with later familiars, Alice would have sexual relations with Robert and would sacrifice animals to him, especially roosters. Such accusations seem to lie somewhere between the later concept of the familiar and the worship of demons and sexual orgies that typified the witches' sabbath, where demons or Satan himself would typically preside in the form of a black cat or other animal. See also GOATS.


FAUST. Perhaps the most famous story of a human entering into a pact with Satan is that of Faust. Faust was not a witch but rather the archetypical learned magician of the Renaissance period. The legend appears to have been based on the life of Georg (or, later, Johannes—it is possible that there were two different men) Faustus, a traveling magician who seems to have been widely known in southern Germany in the early 16th century. Stories began to circulate that he had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for magical knowledge and power. He was supposedly served by a demon named Mephistopheles, who sometimes accompanied him as a familiar in the form of a large black dog with fiery red eyes. Aided by Mephistopheles, Faust pursued worldly pleasure and arcane knowledge. At the end of Faust's life, the devil came to claim his soul, killing him in a terrible manner. The Faust legend circulated widely in various forms. The first printed "Faustbook" appeared in 1587 in Germany. In England, Christopher Marlowe's play Dr. Faustus was published between 1589 and 1592. Perhaps the most famous version of the legend appeared in the early 19th century in Goethe's play Faust.

FLADE, DIETRICH (?-1589). Probably the highest-ranking victim of any witch-hunt in European history, Flade was a prominent citizen of Trier, an archbishopric and also at that time an independent electoral principality of the German Empire. He was selected by the prince-archbishop to oppose the spread of Protestantism in the region and he became head of the secular courts. In 1580, he also became vice-governor of Trier, and in 1586, he was appointed as rector of the

university there even though he was a layman and not a cleric. In the 1580s, the number of witch trials in Trier began to escalate, apparently because of a period of bad weather, agrarian failures, and economic difficulties. At first, the secular courts, under Flade's direction, were hesitant and cautious in cases of witchcraft. This, however, roused the opposition of more zealous witch-hunting authorities, notably the suffragan bishop of Trier, Peter Binsfeld. Eventually, Flade himself was accused of witchcraft. He fled from Trier in 1588 but was captured and returned to the city. Put on trial in August of 1589, he confessed a month later and was executed.


FRANCE, WITCHCRAFT IN. France was the largest state in Europe, in terms of population, during the period of the witch-hunts. In all, perhaps 4,000 people were executed for witchcraft across this large kingdom. This figure is less than one fifth the number of executions in the German Empire, however, whose various lands together had approximately the same sized population. Within France, the most intense witch-hunting took place in those regions located on the peripheries of the kingdom and which, more importantly, were resistant to the increasing power of the centralized royal government in Paris; for example, the Basque lands in the extreme southwestern portion of the country. Thus, the history of witchcraft in France fits a basic pattern found across Europe that the most severe witchcraft panics and the most intense and destructive hunts generally took place in regions of great local legal autonomy. Regional courts and justices were more easily caught up in the local social, economic, or communal tensions that produced accusations, and often shared in the local panic of a community that began to feel itself under assault by witches. More centralized courts, or at least centrally controlled or supervised courts, on the other hand, could often remain more impartial to local conditions and were generally more concerned with the proper execution of judicial procedures, the rational collection and evaluation of evidence, and so forth, all of which tended to dampen the flames of an incipient witch-hunt.

Cases from local French courts could typically be appealed to the regional parlements. In some cases, these bodies proved willing to accept almost all accusations of witchcraft and thus did little to slow the de-

velopment of witch-hunting. In many cases, however, the parlements overturned local rulings, both stopping the progress of that particular case and sending a message back to the local courts that rampant witch-hunting should not be allowed. In particular, the parlement of Paris, which heard appeals from most of northern France, proved very skeptical and cautious in matters of witchcraft as in matters of heresy and crimes of religious belief in general. To the extent that this central parlement set standards for others across the nation, it played a significant role in holding down trials for witchcraft in France.

In the later 17th century, the right to try cases of witchcraft without outside oversight or interference was one of the many specific issues on which various regional authorities resisted the ever-growing power of King Louis XIV and his centralized government. It is perhaps not surprising that in 1682, Louis, seeking to undermine an area of local resistance to the authority of the crown, issued an edict that reclassified the practice of magic and sorcery as a mere superstition and not a capital offence, thereby effectively bringing legal witch-hunting to an end in France.

FRUND, HANS (ca. 1400-1468). A civic chronicler from Lucerne, Hans Frund was the author of a brief report on witchcraft supposedly taking place in the Alpine region of Valais in the diocese of Sion. The activities he described were set in the year 1428, and so his is one of the earliest reports of full-fledged witchcraft in European history. His account may in fact be closer to actual witch-beliefs and perhaps even activity than those of other early authorities, most of whom were clerics and whose understanding of witchcraft was colored by learned diabolism. Frund was a layman, although obviously educated. His account of witchcraft contained less diabolism and more of a focus on simple maleficium, that is, harmful sorcery. Nevertheless, he did describe a sect of witches and something like a witches' sabbath, including cannibalism, sexual orgies, and the worship of demons. His report is in many ways notably similar to other early accounts of witchcraft from the early 15 th century, such as those by Johannes Nider and Claude Tholosan, and that contained in the anonymous Errores Gazariorum (Errors of the Gazarii), thus indicating, perhaps, how quickly a basic understanding of witchcraft became widespread among various authorities in the course of the 1420s and 1430s.

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