Witchcraft And Cat Woman

Although I didn’t grow up reading science fiction or fantasy books, I’ve always loved TV shows about witchcraft or cat woman. They are quirky, fun, frightening, charming and a lot more. That’s until I read this book “Witch, A Tale Of Terror”. Suddenly my happy witch meal becomes un-chewable and unappetizing when I know that the innocent fantasies about witches and cats and magics were once used for persecution and murder. Not that I didn’t know their existence. I did, but I thought its scale was negligible and no real malice was involved unless in rare circumstances. I was quite mistaken. It was in such a scale and so prevalent. Witch hunt lasted for 300 years from 1450 and finally petered out in 1750. During the height of the witch era, each of the major cities, like Paris, could burn up to several hundred witches every year.

The spread of witchcraft was actually hastened by the churches and governments which intended to stamp out witches and witchcraft, not knowing that the trial process, the torture, and the forced confession only helped to increase the mass hysteria.

Although it is not explicitly stated in the book, I get the impression that most of these people accused of witchcraft were sick people who suffered from seizures, poor people, homeless people, and women who were old and considered ugly. The last one is particularly upsetting to me since as women grow older, the discrimination against them pile up even more. We all know that the beauty standard causes a lot of harm to women, but none so extreme as labeling old women witches and burning them. So beauty is not only an ideal we want to live up to, it’s also a murder weapon–if you are not beautiful, you have no right to exist.

As witch trials became more and more prevalent, it spread from the people of underclass to the general society. Neighbors’ quarrels, spats between employers and hired hands, children’s fantasies, bad dreams. Almost anything could set off the witch alarm and start a witch hunt. Also it was believed that a witch doesn’t act alone. So forced confession usually brought out many relatives and friends as co-conspirators or accomplices.

  • A girl praised a neighbor’s baby and two days later, the baby died. The girl was accused of being a witch and executed.
  • An old woman had a quarrel in a market. She stormed off. And a thunderstorm followed. So the woman was accused of witchcraft and burned.
  • An ill tempered old lady had a black cat as pet. She was accused of being a witch, causing illnesses and death in the village. She, her husband, and her daughter were all killed.
  • A silly school teacher involved her students in a witch story. The next thing she knew, all 50 children started to act weird and told stories of witches. The magistrate was alarmed and wanted to jail all 50 children. Their parents were so desperate to save their kids that they made up stories about the school teacher as a witch, causing the school teacher to flee.
  • A witch finder, Matthew Hopkins, traveled throughout villages of Scotland to identify witches and he caused hundreds of death of innocent people. Eventually he abused his power too much and people started to suspect that Hopkins was a witch. They captured him and burned him.

Incidents like these are numerous and a lot of the trial material are historical records being kept in different cities. I just can’t imagine people could do such things, but what do I know?

28 thoughts on “Witchcraft And Cat Woman

  1. I remember taking a class where I learnt about the witch trials in detail and it was quite disturbing. Apparently, some book started the hysteria which kept growing. I forget what it’s called but I’ll let you know if I remember. It definitely had a lot to do with women and men not wanting women to express themselves sexually. `

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    1. That’s so true. Women have always been considered an odd fit in the society by themselves–their endless chat, their high pitched voice, their attention to “unnecessary” details, their manners (either too reserved or too bubbly). And the witch hunt is particularly targeting poor and older women and women who don’t fit the beauty standard. I have to say I know this person who routinely criticizes women–you are either too uptight or too loose, too reserved or too talkative, too image conscious to go for a cosmetic surgery or too image unconscious as to wear no makeup. Women cannot do anything right. Women usually ignore him and when he becomes too annoying some women would ask him to shut up.

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      1. Yeah you are exactly right. Women can’t get it right no matter what because people are going to criticise women no matter what they do. The witch craft absolutely was targeting a specific group of women but became generalised over time and just began targeting any women they didn’t like.

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  2. Sounds like an interesting read. Ignorance is a very dangerous thing. It still exists. Maybe not like this, but what about the so-called “Cancel Culture?” You disagree? We take you off the air.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you read The Crucible? I find it says a lot about US psyche even today. There are still effects from believing conspiracy theories about witches. For instance, black cats and dogs are less likely to be adopted and they are prevalent in animal shelters

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only read “death of a salesman”, but not the Crucible. Is it an interesting play? Wow, I never know that. I think in youtube video of cats and dogs too, there’s a color bias.

      Like

  4. Witch hunts were a part and parcel to life in medieval Europe and colonial America. A lot of it has been due to superstition and beliefs that witches are real and that they lurk among us, trying to corrupt society. One of the most famous in the United States is the panic in Salem, MA.

    It is a sad time in history.

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    1. It is so laughable when we as modern people think about this. I can’t even imagine people would think the way they did. The book was only about medieval Europe and never talked about the United States. Well it touched a little bit.

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      1. It spill over to the US at for the 17th century. All over New England there were witchcraft trials with Salem being the most infamous of them all. That is part of the reason why in modern US jurisprudence there is the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”.

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        1. I wonder how much of the hysteria is due to superstition, how much is just to vent the tension between neighbors or other human contacts, how much is the wish for a spectacle. One thing is for certain–people can go mad; a group of people can go periodically mad. It is frightening just to think about that. Nowadays technology has made people more powerful than ever and let’s just hope that people can stay sane and reasonable.

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        2. There are a lot of weird theories as to why the witchcraft trials happened, especially in Salem. It was a religiously oppressive colony that was out of touch with European science and Enlightenment philosophies. I also hope people will become saner, but so far I have been having my doubts.

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        3. Yes, I am having doubts too. The world seems to be increasingly disturbed and disquiet… I wonder what will happen next. Most of us have been getting used to the subdued peace for years and years, and now …

          Liked by 1 person

        1. I thought I replied to this comment but somehow it disappeared. LOL. WP is weird sometimes. I love the show and watched several episodes of it. I also enjoy the recent movie. I think I have an inner suppressed bubbly chatty frivolous personality, which enjoys shows of this kind. LOL.

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