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Science and Witches

I figure out who witches are about their stereotypes, everyday life and leisure. They say they loved to swim and endlessly look at the fire. And why they do not speak.

Yesterday I chalked my territory with a broom and thought it over. Why am I not a witch. After all, one of the attributes I have, only a cool hat does not. Then he sat down at his ninth and listened to the song “Hope Kadysheva – For My Green Eyes”, for which she is called a witch.

Suddenly, Flashback threw me back into my past life. In the courtyard of the XV century. I’m a beautiful girl with a twist. The wind develops my red hair, and on the street a very warm evening. Too much. My body is tied to a log, and the fire stretches to hug tight. What am I doing here and how did I come to such a life? Let’s figure it out.

Easy historical reference

In the XIV century there were no Internet, endless nagging, politics and rap. People lived differently. Until the 50th year of the 14th century, witchcraft had a practical purpose. With his help, people managed, they thought, nature in their own interests. Spells to protect people and crops were used everywhere. They punished such things only when they inflicted harm with the help of magic. In the treatise “Hammer of the Witches” such crimes are called maleficia (from the Latin maleficium – crime or harm associated with witchcraft). The victim had the right to legal defense, in case he suspected that the spell of the sorcerer had condescended to him. It is noteworthy that the judges did not blindly believe in the prosecution, but demanded evidence of the criminal’s guilt. Could not prove the guilt? Pay fine and legal costs. Thus, they avoided false accusations. In those days sorcerers were not burned or stoked.

“Hammer of Witches” (lat.Mallēus Maleficārum) – a treatise on demonologists and on proper methods of persecution of witches. Full Latin name Malleus Maleficarum, Maleficas, & earum hæresim, ut phramea potentissima conterens – translation “The Hammer of the Witches, which destroys the Witches and their heresies, like the strongest sword”

Something went wrong?

As often happens in life, an omnipotent carriage of religion drove up to the house of magic and established its rules. At the turn of the mid-14th century, everything changed. Christianity was still as positive about magic associated with religion (various holy miracles), but negatively related to magic outside the church. Attributing these actions demonic nature, and the subjects involved in this hobby involvement in the partnership with Satan. Then the second all-powerful carriage in the face of the well-known holy Inquisition approached the house of magic.

A typical weekday of the Inquisition.
A typical weekday of the Inquisition.

The severity of crimes associated with witchcraft reached its apogee in the XV century. The witches were no longer judged according to generally accepted laws, and any accusation was considered a proof of guilt. Bonus, to the judicial system added torture. And what? And how without torture? Without violence, it is somehow unreliable. Considered justice.

The witches were accused of everything they were dreaming up. Orgies with demons, copulation with demons, moving on brooms and, of course, eating children. People believed and thirsted for justice. The Prosecutor could have been anyone.

Among the historians there is an opinion that envy provoked women to blame other women for witchcraft because of their attractiveness. If you are a cat, then there was also a chance to get a ticket to too warm edges. Sometimes, the reason for the accusation was rumors of participation in the coven with demons accompanied by evil spirits in the guise of domestic animals.

Parties with fire were arranged everywhere. In some villages, there could be no female at all. In this respect, England and Holland were more humane than they thought. Torture was not legalized, so they tested the witch with water. We were tied up and thrown into the river. Not surfaced? Justified, we divide. Surfaced? Victory. You’re a witch. Let’s go to the gallows. In case the culprit did not come up, slanting eyes were taken from the family, and she sighed free, as much as possible after killing her own person. Well, the problems of drowning, the work of the drowning themselves.

Let’s dig deeper into the scientific side of the question

In those days, many women were wonders, so they fooled around for plants and knew how to use the beautiful gifts of nature. They used mainly to treat people, for which they paid. Everyone knows that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. After all, the preparation of potions was accompanied by various spells and rituals, which attracted everyone’s attention. Different plants, depending on the fertility of the soil, weather and other factors, contain different amounts of active substances. In this regard, some potions did not have any effect, and some could lead to the demise of the medieval patient. And then everything is simple, cured? Thank you, I went on call. Killed? Witch. Categorical time.

If you are stuck in the field with pain treated with this:

In 1899, the firm “Bayer” saved us from a hangover by inventing aspirin, the active substance in it is Salicylic acid. It is contained in the roots of the willow and the twill. Now you have reached the pharmacy and bought aspirin, and before that you had to drag yourself into the forest and look for plants. From cramps – wild celery. Ivy from asthma attacks. Digitalis, so that the motor does not stick. And so on.

First-aid kit of the Middle Ages.
First-aid kit of the Middle Ages.
The most popular after cats is a creature next to a witch is a toad. Rumors say that they constantly use them for cooking potions and magic. Basically it’s just a rumor. If we talk about good-natured witch doctors accused of witchcraft, they did not use the frogs. Bad characters could use. In tissues toads common in the active substance is present Evprope bufotoxin – strong poison provoking heart failure. Witches were aware of many plants and parts of animals capable of creating so-called miracles.

And what about the broomsticks?

There are two stories. The Middle Ages are the beginning of a new, successful, in terms of sentences, justice system. It was then that the judges realized that torture could be used to get to the truth. They tried in a sophisticated way and almost always heard what they wanted to hear. And with witches. Under torture, they confessed to flying on a broomstick and participating in coven.

A typical representation of people about the Sabbath
A typical representation of people about the Sabbath

But there was a separate category of ladies that were recognized in flights before the onset of torture. From torture, it still did not save them, but they really believed in their flights.

And the blame for everything is medieval torch and kaifuli. Or rather, alkaloids. Toxic substances affecting human physiology. Witches used in creating a potion such plants as belladonna, henbane and mandrake. When ingested, the active substances of these plants most often lead to death. Therefore, witches mixed the extract with fat and rubbed into the skin. And where is the fastest absorption in the skin? Right. Where it is thinner, and the vessels are close to the surface. Hence, there are vaginal and rectal suppositories. Only in the Middle Ages they are not. Therefore, the witches rubbed the broom wax and mounted it on horseback. And crouched over the hilt.

As a result, the home witch did not fly anywhere, and everything that happened was a poisoning of the organism with alkaloids accompanied by euphoria, hallucinations, depersonalization (getting out of one’s body) and talking with animals. Since knowledge about the change and expansion of consciousness at that time were absent, the subject perceived everything that happens for reality.

Therefore, some witches confessed their magical abilities and were subject to executions.

Cereals against witches

There is another kind of alkaloid that played a significant role in the witch hunt.

Fungus ergot , affecting cereals, led to the fire a lot of sorcerers and witches. Entire villages picked up the disease of the Sacred Fire (Ergotism) and explained it by the intrigues of witches in conspiracy with the devil. In fact, the defeat of cereal crops arose due to improper storage of crops and rainy weather. Depending on the seriousness of the poisoning, the patient begins convulsions, hallucinations, musculoskeletal disorders, vomiting, numbness in the hands and feet, and much more. When the whole village is sick, and some elderly, poor people on the edge of the village do not, the question is “How so?”. The logical answer was the enchantment of the terrain, and not the lack of opportunity for a person to acquire flour. So she also collects herbs, lives in seclusion? Exactly. Witch. Light a fire.

There is an opinion that in one of the loudest processes against witches in Salem in 1692, alkaloids are to blame.

The city is located in the swampy terrain, which indicates a chance of contamination of the cereal crop. In January 1962, a 9-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old niece of a local pastor contracted an unknown disease. Namely ergotism, poisoned with a loaf. The children complained of persistent stitching pains, and while reading the sermons they closed their ears. The doctor decided that it was witchcraft. After that, the children pointed to different people and those unconditionally fell under the investigation. The further trial and trial of more than 200 people points to the apparent mass hysteria and malice of the local residents. During the investigation, 19 people were hanged and about 200 were imprisoned.

The Age of Enlightenment enlightened people’s minds and gradually the witch-hunt began to decline. The last witch was the Swiss maid. On the summer day of 1782 she was beheaded, having accused of poisoning. Under torture, she confessed to the deed and reported collusion with the devil, who was in the guise of a dog. Despite the fact that they tried her for poisoning, everyone understood that they had tried her for witchcraft. Judicial protocols were destroyed.

But everything is in order. After 226 years, she was acquitted and inscribed in the victims of the error of the judicial system.

And hats?

A hat is a stereotype. Witches did not wear them. There are no engravings and illustrations of the Inquisition. They appeared on the pictures only in the XVII century. In fairy tales.


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