Ap Euro, Period 3
3 November 2013
Raising storms, riding broomsticks,and torturing babies, witches, were seen as the source of much mischief in Europe. From 1480 to 1700, witches were persecuted in a majority of Europe.
Southern Germany, Switzerland,England, Scotland, Poland and parts of France had witch trials.
Witches were prosecuted mainly based on gender prejudice, fallacious accusations, and personal gain.
Kramer and Sprenger, two Dominican monks, believed,”a greater number of witches is found in the fragile feminine sex than among men.” Women were seen as,”naturally more impressionable” and could become much more susceptive to evil spirits. Johannes Junius, the mayor of Bamberg, describes how those accused of witchcraft, mostly women, were forced to accept charges against them. Lastly,
Johan Wier, a Belgian physician, believed ,”witches are usually old women of melancholic nature and small brains.” Wier believed this made women easy targets for the devil. Older women were seen as greater targets since they were seen as senile. Women were believed to be witches due to the fact that they were seen as inferior to men and much more susceptible to the devil’s evil deeds.
Fallacious accusations were a leading cause to the prosecution of witches. Thomas Ady, an
Englishman, described the strange occurrences after denying an elderly women relief. Ady, had no concrete evidence of this women being a witch, signifying the facility of accusing a person as a witch.
Another case of fallacious accusation were churchwardens in Gloucestershire, who accused Alice
Pradury of witchcraft. She is accused of witchcraft due to the fact that she,”taking upon her not only to help Christian people of disease strangely happening, but also horses and all other beasts.” Accusations
were so extreme, people were starting to believe the things that were being said about them. In The
Diary of a Young Protestant Boy, a description of boys “encounter” with the devil illustrates how he was brainwashed into believing he was a witch. He describes