QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2004-03 > 1079128363
Subject: [Q-R] Excerpt Of History
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 16:52:43 EST
"Common justice demands that a witch should not be condemned to death
unless she is convicted by her own confession. Physical evidence was never enough.
Witches rarely confessed without some form of torture.
Guidelines for torturing a witch...........
First the accused would be asked to confess, then showed instruments of
torture and asked again, finally they would be tortured, if necessary.
The guards would bind her with cords and apply her to some engine of
The Inquisitors, besides probing the specific accusation of spellcasting,
invariably zeroed in on two topics, sex with the devil and witches Sabbath.
Page after page of court testimony revolves around the devils_______.
If she confesses under torture, she should then be taken to another place
and questioned anew, so that she doesn't confess only under the stress of
torture. This is how the court would make the statement that she, confessed under
free and open confession.
Witches were usually swiftly handed over to civil authorities for
execution. A condemned person who had renounced satan might be mercifully strangled
before the pyres were lit.
One of the uglier aspects of the witch persecutions, was the profit
incentive for the Church and lay authorities. The property of anyone convicted of
heresy was confiscated, and split according to varying formulas between civil and
ecclesiastical authorities. In 1630 the Holy Roman emperor forbade the
appropriation of property.
By the 1700s, during the age of the so-called Enlightenment, witchcraft was
finally decriminalized. Great Britain, whose laws greatly influenced the
American colonies, took it off the books in 1736."