Methods of obtaining Familiars

There seem to have been four methods of obtaining familiars 1, by gift from the Devil 2, by gift from a fellow-witch 3, by inheritance 4, by magical ceremonies. Of these, Nos. 2 and 3 appear to be confined to the domestic familiar, consequently they are found chiefly in the eastern counties of England. 1. The gift of the Devil was sometimes a divining familiar, sometimes a domestic familiar, commonly presented at the admission ceremony. As the divining familiar it represented the Devil himself,...

Gilles de Rais

Like Joan of Arc, Gilles de Rais was tried and executed as a witch and in the same way, much that is mysterious in this trial can also be explained by the Dianic Cult. On the mother's side he descended from Tiphaine de Champtoce, and on the father's from Tiphaine de Husson this latter was the niece of Bertrand du Guesclin, and called after du Guesclin's wife, who was a fairy woman. 1 The name Tiphaine appears to come from the same root as Fein, Finn, and Fian, all of which meant 'fairy' in...

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...

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...