Image by Rondell Melling from Pixabay
The “Hammer of the Witches” details the “special signs” of the devil's servant
· The most popular sign was considered to be a large breast nipple.
· Birthmarks, warts, wen, calluses – any speck meant a place from which witches feed the spirits-helpers with milk or blood (mosquitoes were also among them).
· Redheads are a classic devilish sign: their hair burns with hellfire.
· Women who weighed less than 49.5 kg with the broom.
· Developmental abnormalities – hump, squint, nervous tics. According to legend, the Ostankino district in Moscow is guarded by an old hunchback woman. Her ghost appeared to Paul I, Count Sheremetyev, and even to the builders of the Ostankino TV tower – so that they would not “build a nativity scene” at the burial sites of the witch's remains (hence the name).
· Young, beautiful and believing – a special deceit of witches, disguising their ugliness. In 1629, 19-year-old Barbara Gobel was burned at the stake. She was not even saved by the fact that on the executioner's list she was listed as “the most holy virgin of Wurzburg.”
· A look that charms men – even Ovid and Plutarch wrote about the poison contained in the eyes of witches.
· The most important sign of the devil's beginning were the favorites of witches: any living creatures – cats and dogs, toads and frogs, blackbirds and crows (prophetic birds), up to bumblebees and cockroaches. Allegedly, evil spirits turned into animals to serve the witch. A certain Elizabeth Clarke confessed under torture that she had five such companions, among them – a fat legless spaniel and a long-legged creature resembling a gray hound with a bull's head and wide-set eyes, which could turn into a headless 4-year-old child.
· A mole, coupled with fleas (the Middle Ages were not hygienic) were considered irrefutable evidence of the witch's essence.
The suspect was stripped naked, then shaved off her head and body and carefully examined. Often, the procedure was carried out in public, in the square near the pillar of shame. Even those who by birth, age and way of life were numbered among the witches did not avoid her. These are single women, old women, illegitimate children and those whom the mother breastfed for up to 2 years. To avoid a mistake, the suspects were thrown tied into the water: the witch would hold out, and an honest person would certainly drown.
Witches were buried face down or pierced the coffin with an aspen stake.
Witches specialized in astrology, fortune telling, witchcraft, etc. The tools were slightly different, but there is a gentleman's set common to all. It is still stored in our kitchen.
This is the broom used for night flights. It was made of oak branches, a stick was made of hazel, and the twigs were tied with birch. Magical powers were attributed to trees: oak – forest king, hazel – wisdom, birch – purification. In the XIV century, the Dutch physician I. Weiter suggested that witches flew thanks to a magic ointment, like Bulgakov's Margarita, rubbed with Azazello cream. The ointment was made from strong narcotic herbs. The doctor's guess was confirmed by Isabelle Goudy, saying that she used a broom to deceive her husband. She put her in bed instead of herself when she went to the Sabbath.
The second most important instrument was the cauldron. The tripod, on which he held himself, personified the triple nature of the moon. And the boiler itself combined four main elements: fire, water, earth and steam.
With the help of a magic mirror – in the form of a sphere or a plane – a witch wondered and predict the future. In extreme cases, it was replaced by a black bowl filled with water.
Knife (or knife) with a black handle – Atman – was needed to keep the obedience due to the spirits of the land. Magic symbols were engraved on the blade.