As a Human Being

The evidence of the witches makes it abundantly clear that the so-called Devil was a human being. generally a man. occasionally a woman. At the great Sabbaths. where he appeared in his grand array. he was disguised out of recognition at the small meetings. in visiting his votaries. or when inducing a possible convert to join the ranks of the witch-society, he came in his own person, usually dressed plainly in the costume of the period. When in ordinary clothes he was indistinguishable from any...

Fertility

Every contemporary writer who gives a general view of the religion and ritual observes the witches' powers over human fertility. Boguet says, 'Ils font encor cacher & retirer les 4. Spalding Club Misc., i, p. 93. parties viriles, et puis les font ressortir quand il leur plait. Ils empeschent aussi tantost la copulation charnelle de l'hom m e & de la femme, en retirant les nerfs, & ostant la roideur du membre et tantost la procreation en destournant ou bouchant les conduicts de la...

Introduction

THE subject of Witches and Witchcraft has always suffered from the biassed opinions of the commentators, both contemporary and of later date. On the one hand are the writers who, having heard the evidence at first hand, believe implicitly in the facts and place upon them the unwarranted construction that those facts were due to supernatural power on the other hand are the writers who, taking the evidence on hearsay and disbelieving the conclusions drawn by their opponents, deny the facts in...

The Domestic Familiar

Forbes, the great Scotch lawyer, says that 'to some he the Devil gives certain Spirits or Imps to correspond with, and serve them as their Familiars, known to them by some odd 1. From an unpublished trial in the Justiciary Court at Edinburgh. 2. Glanvil, pt. ii, pp. 136, 137, 152. Names, to which they answer when called. These Imps are said to be kept in Pots or other Vessels.' 1 Though the domestic familiar is thus mentioned in the law of Scotland, it never occurs in the trials. It is confined...

North Berwick

Those marked with a star are the nine who took part in the great attempt on James VI's life. Of these four were tried and executed. Of the rest of the Covens, Christian Tod, Donald Robson, and Robert Grierson were executed as witches in 1594, and Beigis Tod in 1608. The others appear to have escaped altogether. I, 2. Agnes Sampson and her daughter 3. Agnes Stratton 3. Alexander Quhytelaw. 5. Annie Richardson *6. Barbara Napier 17. Christian Tod *18. Donald Robson 19. Duncan Buchanan *20....

Sacrifices

There are four forms of sacrifice 1 the blood sacrifice, which was performed by making an offering of the witch's own blood 2 the sacrifice of an animal 3 the sacrifice of a human being, usually a child 4 the sacrifice of the god. 1. The blood-sacrifice took place first at the admission of the neophyte. Originally a sacrifice, it was afterwards joined to the other ceremony of signing the contract, the blood serving as the writing fluid it also seems to be confused in the seventeenth century...

Transformations into Animals

The belief that human beings can change themselves, or be changed, into animals carries with it the corollary that wounds received by a person when in the semblance of an animal will remain on the body after the return to human shape. This belief seems to be connected with the worship of animal-gods or sacred animals, the worshipper being changed into an animal by being invested with the skin of the creature, by the utterance of magical words, by the making of magical gestures, the wearing of a...

As an Animal

In many religions the disguising of the principal personage -whether god or priest-as an animal is well known. The custom is very ancient-such disguised human beings are found even among the palaeolithic drawings in France and on a slate palette belonging to the late pre-dynastic period of Egypt there is a representation of a man disguised as a jackal and playing on a pipe. 2 The ritual disguise as an animal is condemned, with great particularity, as devilish, in the Liber Poenitentialis of...