Tests for Witches: Witchcraft Mark, Witch Birthmarks to Identify a Witch
Witch Tests: 10 Historical Tests for Proving Someone Was a Witch

Witch Tests: 10 Historical Tests for Proving Someone Was a Witch

Natasha sheldon - July 13, 2018

Witch Tests: 10 Historical Tests for Proving Someone Was a Witch
Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and, Tituba. Google Images

Mental Illness and Eccentricity

Ultimately, accusations of witchcraft were based on fear and prejudice. Any individual who stood out from the crowd or did not conform to the social norm was at risk if being judged a witch. Sadly, this meant many individuals suffering from mental illnesses or who exhibited eccentric behaviors because of age or infirmity were at risk. Such people included those afflicted with epilepsy, Schizophrenia, or age-related dementia. According to the National Institutes of Health, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “a large number of the alleged witches and possessed persons who were burned probably had visible mental disturbances.”

Odd behavior in women was particularly suspected. The Malleus Maleficarum, drawing on the writings of the ancient philosophers constructed an image of women as inherently weak and corrupt- and so especially susceptible to demonic influence. The womb was described as a source of evil, which explained why women were so venomous at menstruation. Women were “more ready to receive the influence of a disembodied spirit.” In doing so they would become a witch and, as a result, their natural erratic tendencies would simply become more exaggerated or perverse.

Talking to yourself was a particularly suspect behavior, especially if the words were inaudible, leading to assumptions that the individual was muttering spells under their breath. This was just one of the traits exhibited by Pendle Witch Anne Whittle alias Chattox which were used as proof of her witchcraft. At the time of her trial in 1612, Chattox was an old lady of around 80 and probably suffering from dementia. However, her eccentric behavior was used against her when the judges were told how Chattox was always “more ready to do mischief to men’s goods, then themselves, her lips ever chattering and walking: but no man knew what”.

 

Where Do we get our stuff? Here are our Sources:

10 Ways to Identify a Witch, STACY CONRADT, Mental Floss, OCTOBER 15, 2018

The Horrifying Tests used in Salem to Determine if a Woman was a Witch, Barbara Stepko, The Vintage News, Oct 23, 2018

6 Tests to Identify a Witch, Andrei Tapalaga, History of Yesterday, Jul 17, 2020

18 Reasons One is Executed for Witchcraft during the ‘Burning Times’, D.G. Hewitt, History Collection, January 6, 2019

Witch Pricking And The Devil’s Mark, ALEKSA VUČKOVIĆ, Ancient Origins, 22 MARCH, 2021

The Nine-Year-Old Girl Who Accused Her Family of Witchcraft, Lioness Rue, History of Yesterday, Oct 20, 2020

The Curse of Alizon Device, Alex Indovina, Medium, Oct 31, 2020

The Devil’s Disciples: Twelve Male Witch Trials You Haven’t Heard Of, Natasha Sheldon, History Collection, November 18, 2017

15 Bizarre and Cruel Ways People Tested Witches, Tamar Altebarmakian, Ranker

Woodcuts and Witches, Jon Crabbe, The Public Domain Review

Legal Process: Procedures, Courts & Aftermath of the Salem Witch Trials, Legends of America

The woman who became a witch-pricker, Louise Yeoman, BBC News, November 18, 2012

Urine, Noaiddi.com Traditionell läkekonst, August 3, 2015.

Ducking Stool, Medieval Life and Times Info

Weighing Witches, Strange History, April 16, 2013

The History of Witchcraft, Montague Summers, Castle Books, 1992

The Swimming of Witches, Foxearth & District Local History Society

The Little Book of Leicestershire, Natasha Sheldon, The History Press, 2017

Oudewater Witches Weighhouse, Holland.com

Witch Trials: 4 Real Medical Illnesses That Were Mistaken For Witchcraft And The Devil, Elana Glowatz, Medical Daily, October 19, 2016

The Wonderful Discovery of Witches in the County of Lancashire, Thomas Potts, (ed Robert Poole) Carnegie Publishing, 2012

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