18 Reasons One is Executed for Witchcraft during the 'Burning Times'

Left-handed individuals have long been viewed with suspicion, including by witch trial juries. Pinterest.

8. You were left-handed: According to many traditions, there was something ‘sinister’ about being left-handed, and it was seen as one obvious sign that someone was a witch

Witch-hunters were always on the look out for things that made people – or, more likely, women – stand out. And since, statistically speaking, most people are right-handed, being left-handed was often seen as being the mark of a witch. This wasn’t just during the high point of the European and North American witch hunts in the 16th and 17th centuries. Suspicion of left-handedness has been around for centuries. It’s even been called ‘a mark of the devil’, and so any woman seen using their left hand for writing or for other common, everyday tasks, might have found herself under suspicion of practicing dark magic.

The Church were at the forefront of promoting suspicion of left-handers. Priests and bishops would cite passages from the Bible to support the idea of left-handedness being the sign of the devil; for instance, the Gospel of Saint Matthew warns that, on Judgement Day, the righteous will pass to God’s right, while the sinners will be sent to the left. The fact that a woman was left-handed was routinely brought up as evidence during witch trials, though this alone was rarely, if ever, seen as conclusive proof of her guilt.