Saturday, November 12, 2022





That Witches can with safety anoint their hands and their entire bodies with their Magic Ointments: yet if they but touch the Edge of a Person’s Garment it will at once prove fatal to such a one, provided that it is the Witch's intent to Hurt. For otherwise such Contact is harmless and does not injure.

ITCHES have another most treacherous manner of applying their poison; for, having their hands smeared with it, they take hold of the very ends of a man’s garment as it were to entreat and propitiate him. Thus it is hardly possible for you to be on your guard and avoid them, since the action has an appearance of kindness rather than of injury. Nevertheless, it is a most instant poison to the body, as has been made manifest by frequent experience: and it is the more marvelous because the witch’s bare hand endures with complete safety the poison which thus penetrates even several folds of clothing. You may say that there have been men who have transmitted the infection of the plague to others although they themselves were free from it; but this is not a parallel case. For, as will be explained elsewhere (Bk. I, Chap, XXXVI), this touch of a witch is noxious and fatal only to those whom the witch wishes to injure: whereas the infection of the plague strikes those whom you least wish to harm. And this forces me to believe that, in the case we are considering, something is due to the hidden ministry of the Demon, which does not appear but works in secret; and that the unguent is merely the outward symbol of the wretched witch’s complicity in the crime under the guidance and advice of the Demon. Indeed we know from experience that the Poison can with impunity be handled and touched by anybody after the witches have been thrown into prison and have renounced their partnership with the Demon; and the officers who are sent to search for their boxes of poison are able to bring them back in their hands with safety.

This was proved not long since (and Sept., 1589) at Furscheim, a village in German Lorraine. Marie Alberte and Catharina Praevotte, just before they were sentenced for witchcraft, were asked to say whether they had left any of their evil poisons at home, so that after they were dead these venom might not be a danger to any. They at once told where the poison could be found; and the searchers brought two earthenware vessels containing bitumen spotted with yellow and white and glistening here and there with specks of metal. Otillia Kelvers and Anguel Yzarts (6th and 7th Aug., 1589) of the same town, and several other witches in other towns, were found to have done the same. Some may think that the witches give such information in order to curry favor with their Judges, and that they cunningly indicate some unguent which they have prepared for some other and ordinary domestic use instead of the true poison; but this is not the case, and there are many clear proofs that there is no pretense or simulation in this matter.

For, in the first place, if these unguents are put upon the fire they flare and splutter and glitter as nothing else can. Jeanne Michaélis of Etival (2nd June, 1590) has testified to this fact. Again, there have been seen_cases of witches who as soon as the Judge has given them permission to rub or anoint themselves with the unguent, have at once been carried aloft and have disappeared. Lucius Apuleius (Bk. III, de Tino Aureo) tells of Pamphile* that she in the same wat applied such an unguent to her- self and, after a few tentative leaps from the ground, flew up and away in full flight. And however much witches may differ concerning other matters, they are all, when questioned, agreed about the magic use, properties and powers of this ointment. They are even particular in describing its color; and this provides further proof that the matter is no dream, but visible and perceptible to the eyes. At St. Dominique, end Dec., 1586, Jeanne Gallée tells that the Demon gave it to her wrapped in oak leaves, and that its colour was white: and that she nearly always had her hands smeared with it that she might never be without the means of doing an injury on any occasion. At Haraucourt, 2nd Nov., 1586, Alexée Drigie agrees with this, except that she declared hers was reddish in color: and she adds that when, at the instigation of the Demon, she anointed with it her husband who was Iyiny asleep by her side he very soon ied in great agony, writhing and contorting all his limbs.


* “Metamorphoseon,” III, 22. Pamphile the witch transformed herself into an owl, and then “paulatim terra resultat, mox in altum Sublimata forinsecus totis alis euolat.” Joannes Zonaras, Byzantine historian and theologian, lived in the twelfth century under Alexius I Comnenus and Calo-Joannes, His “Annales,” a chronicle of the world from the Creation to the accession of John Comnenus in 1118 was much used in the Middle Ages. Georgius Cedrenus, Byzantine historian, is the author of an historical work which begins with the Creation and goes down to 1057. Edited by Bekker, Bonn, 1838-39.

No comments:

Post a Comment