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Book I, Chapter X
Above all he cautions them not to wash their hands, as it is the habit of other men to do in the morning; for he tells them that to do so constitutes a sure obstruction to his incantations. This is the case whether it is the witches themselves who was their hands, as we learn from the answer freely given to her examiners by Alexia Gallaea of Betoncourt at Mirecourt in December 1584, and by countless others whose names I have not now by me; or whether it is the intended victims of their witchcraft who wash their hands, as was stated by Claude Fellet (Mersuay, February 1587) and Catharina Latomia (Haraucourt, February 1587)....


Oct. 15th, 2008 04:48 pm
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The text of Hohman's The Long Hidden Friend (1819), which has widely been credited as the source of spells and cures used by the 19th century PA German hex-doctors, is available in the article "The Long Hidden Friend," Carleton F. Brown, John George Hohman and Johann Georg Hohman, The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 17, No. 65 (Apr. - Jun., 1904), pp. 89-152. Which is available through JSTOR, though I will have to wait until I have the printer at home set up in order to print it out-- it's 65 pages, and of course a JSTOR subscription is required: http://tinyurl.com/4v9fwq
This looks like fun!

However, this one:
The witches' pharmacopœia. Read before the Historical Club of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, April 13, 1896. By Robert Fletcher, M.D. Baltimore, The Friedenwald Co., Printers, 1896. is available through Google Books: http://tinyurl.com/3jokul
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What does this mean:
"S quis furetur, per collum pendetur, in hoc modo!"

From George F. Black's Bookplate:
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George Fraser Black Collection on Witchcraft
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Wicked Words: Books from the George Fraser Black Witchcraft Collection
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From Jean Bodin's On the Demonomanie of Sorcerers, 1580:

Therefore it is that one accused [Page 6] of being a witch ought never to be folly [sic] acquitted and set free unless the calumny of the accuser is clearer than the sun, inasmuch as the proof of such crimes is so obscure and so difficult that not one witch in a million would be accused or punished if the procedure were governed by the ordinary rules. . . .

-- http://history.hanover.edu/texts/bodin.html

Drew Library has his:
Ioannis Bodini, Andegavensis, De magorvm dæmonomania, sev Detestando lamiarum ac magorum cum Satana commercio, libri IV. : Recens recogniti, et mvltis in locis à mendis repurgati. Accessit eivsdem opinionvm Ioannis Wieri confutatio, non minus docta quam pia. Francofvrti, : Typis Wolfgangi Richteri, : Impensis omnium hæredum Nicolai Bassæi., 1603.

Sometimes, this sounds way too modern to me.
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After reading Witches & neighbors : the social and cultural context of European witchcraft by Robin Briggs, I became convinced that accusations of witchcraft are the late Renaissance and early Enlightenment equivalent of civil damage/malpractice suits...

*sigh* Get it right, people: it was the Jews they massacred for not catching illnesses (and sometimes they substituted any handy local groups of foreigners if they couldn't get Jews or hated the foreigners more). Making people sick, ruining their crops, or curing people when they were beyond human help, THAT was supposed to be witchcraft. (I wonder if they had any wrongful life type witchcraft persecutions...)
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I was recently looking at a (poorly constructed, juvenile) meme quiz, and realized that of all the shapeshifters of folklore, one has entirely vanished from the minds of modern esoteric types. I find this strange, because it's really one of the strongest legends documented in English-speaking lands.

I refer, of course, to the woman/witch who turns herself into a hare. This change, unlike the classical werewolf's, is entirely voluntary. It is apparently best known in parts of England, where the superstition existed up through the twentieth century, though probably only as a quaint story to tell children and the idle rich. (For instance, Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire novels make repeated references to the grandmother of the half-gypsy keeper, who terrorized the neighborhood in the shape of a white hare until Jasper himself shot her with a silver bullet.)

To meet a hare was, in many parts of England, considered unlucky, despite the fact that hares are the only lagomorphs native to Britain-- rabbits were a rarity imported from the continent, and carefully preserved in warrens. Pikas, the other type of lagomorph known to the Old World, are found in Asia (and, in the New World, in the Rocky mountains), but not in Britain.

The hare as a subject of shapeshifting has some major advantages: hares are relatively common, they move swiftly and silently and usually are seen alone; they make forms in the grass from which they may appear suddenly. They move quickly, and if one had to have the animal's fur for shapeshifting purposes, a hare fur would be easy to conceal about the house. There is a great deal of mythology about them, such as the classical belief that they change gender between their first and third years.

Hares as witches' shapes or familiars were apparently known in all of Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and later in some parts of the [Anglo] United States. These hares are difficult or impossible to catch or shoot, and often accused of lingering threateningly round people's houses, or worse, stealing milk from their cows. Witches that have to travel long distances may take the shape of a hare.

However, as a subject of modern-day shapeshifting fantasy, the hare has two major disadvantages: it's not a predator, and it's considered cute. Cuteness can be forgiven, in for instance the case of werecats and selkies-- but not being a carnivore, let alone a predator, and in fact being prey, seems to have blanked out the modern imagination.

So, if you see a large, long eared rabbit near the house and you run out of milk for your coffee unexpectedly... don't suspect me.

William George Black. "The Hare in Folk-Lore," The Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. 1, No. 3. (Mar., 1883), pp. 84-90.
Bodil Nildin-Wall; Jan Wall. "The Witch as Hare or the Witch's Hare: Popular Legends and Beliefs in Nordic Tradition." Folklore, Vol. 104, No. 1/2. (1993), pp. 67-76.
bunnyjadwiga: (humph)
Something I quoted in my "Beyond the Herb-Wife" presentation, about the certain witchcraft-related beliefs, from the MALLEUS MALEFICARUM

And what, then, is to be thought of those witches who in this way sometimes collect male organs in great numbers, as many as twenty or thirty members together, and put them in a bird's nest, or shut them up in a box, where they move themselves like living members, and eat oats and corn, as has been seen by many and is a matter of common report? It is to be said that it is all done by devil's work and illusion, for the senses of those who see them are deluded in the way we have said. For a certain man tells that, when he had lost his member, he approached a known witch to ask her to restore it to him. She told the afflicted man to climb a certain tree, and that he might take which he liked out of the nest in which there were several members. And when he tried to take a big one, the witch said: You must not take that one; adding, because it belongs to a parish priest.

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At one time I contemplated doing some research and writing on the subject of 'witches' in medieval times, which is a lot more complicated that modern pagans, modern feminists, or the Enlightenment scholars ever saw it. (Yeah, I know, earth religions may be my mythology but that's another story.) The trouble is, I haven't had the time to work on this too much, except as it relates to herbalism and medicine. However, here are a few of my thoughts on this...

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