5. You had a third nipple: Prosecutors were always on the lookout for tell-tale âsigns of a witch’, especially on female bodies
For centuries, witch-hunters believed that sorcerers and other practitioners of black magic bore distinctive marks. Tell-tale âDevil’s Marks‘ included third nipples, otherwise known as the âwitch’s teat’ as it was thought that Satan himself would suckle on it. What’s more, birthmarks and large moles would also be taken as signs of the occult. Since witch-finders maintained that the devil would change the shape and color of the marks he made on his followers, almost any physical imperfection or skin blemish could be enough to see someone accused of being a witch.
Unsurprisingly, peasant women would often ask friends, relatives or trusted doctors to remove moles from their bodies. Or, if there was a witch hunt in their area, they might try to do it themselves. Of course, that only meant that the resultant scar would be taken as proof of the devil! And even if there were no marks, an inquisitor would often prick the accused body to find one. A lady called Catherine Boyraionne, the records show, had hot fat applied to almost every part of her body by a priest. She died whilst in prison, most probably from the horrific injuries sustained during her trial.