Salem Witch Trials – History Channel Documentary Movie
This article discusses witch burnings and related subjects, historically and up to the present day. Yes, there are still some people and nations who are torturing and burning witches these days… and it is based on the Old Testament, or other Holy books, which have a lot of reasons for killing people, either by burning and/or stoning.. To find out more about the wide variety of reasons that justify killing people according to ‘God’s laws’, click on the following link..
Possible Grounds For Execution In The Old Testament… How Many Death Penalties Are There?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The last executions of people convicted as witches in Europe took place in the 18th century. In the Kingdom of Great Britain, witchcraft ceased to be an act punishable by law with the Witchcraft Act of 1735. In Germany, sorcery remained punishable by law into the late 18th century. Contemporary witch-hunts have been reported from Sub-Saharan Africa, India and Papua New Guinea. Official legislation against witchcraft is still found in Saudi Arabia and Cameroon.
From at least the 1930s, the term “witch-hunt” has been used figuratively to describe activities by governments (and, occasionally, by business entities) to seek out and expose perceived enemies, often apparently as a means of directing public opinion by fostering a degree of moral panic. The Second Red Scare of the 1950s, culminating in the McCarthyist persecution of suspected communists in the United States, is especially associated with this usage of the term “witch hunt.”
The wide distribution of the practice of witch-hunts in geographically and culturally separated societies (Europe, Africa, India, New Guinea) since the 1960s has triggered interest in the anthropological
background of this behaviour. The belief in magic
, and attempts to use magic to influence personal well-being (to increase life, win love, etc.) are human cultural universals
Belief in witchcraft has been shown to have similarities in societies throughout the world. It presents a framework to explain the occurrence of otherwise random misfortunes such as sickness or death, and the witch sorcerer provides an image of evil
Reports on indigenous practices in the Americas, Asia and Africa collected during the early modern age of exploration
have indeed been taken to suggest that not just the belief in witchcraft but also the periodic outbreak of witch-hunts are a human cultural universal.
Ancient Near East
Punishment for malevolent sorcery
is addressed in the earliest law codes
preserved; both in ancient Egypt
and in Babylonia
it played a conspicuous part. The Code of Hammurabi
(18th century BCE short chronology
) prescribes that”If a man has put a spell upon another man and it is not yet justified, he upon whom the spell is laid shall go to the holy river; into the holy river shall he plunge. If the holy river overcome him and he is drowned, the man who put the spell upon him shall take possession of his house. If the holy river declares him innocent and he remains unharmed the man who laid the spell shall be put to death. He that plunged into the river shall take possession of the house of him who laid the spell upon him
(In other words, accusing someone of witchcraft was a good way to get all of their stuff and money, for free.)
This video discusses witches from a different perspective from the one presented in this article, so be sure to watch it, if you want a fuller picture.
The pre-Christian Twelve Tables
of pagan Roman law
had provisions against evil incantations and spells intended to damage cereal crops. In 331 BC, 170 women were executed as witches in the context of an epidemic illness
emphasizes that this was a scale of persecution without precedent in Rome. In 184 BC, about 2,000 people were executed for witchcraft (veneficium), and in 182–180 BC another 3,000 executions took place, again triggered by the outbreak of an epidemic. There is no way to verify the figures reported by Roman historians, but if they are taken at face value, the scale of the witch-hunts in the Roman Republic
in relation to the population of Italy at the time far exceeded anything that took place during the “classical” witch-craze in Early Modern Europe.Persecution of witches continued in the Roman Empire
until the late 4th century AD and abated only after the introduction of Christianity
as the Roman state religion in the 390s.
The Lex Cornelia de sicariis et veneficiis promulgated by Lucius Cornelius Sulla
in the 2nd century BC became an important source of late medieval and early modern European law on witchcraft. Strabo
, Gaius Maecenas
and Cassius Dio
all reiterate the traditional Roman opposition against sorcery and divination, and Tacitus
used the term religio-superstitio to class these outlawed observances. The emperor Augustus
strengthened legislation aimed at curbing these practices.
The Hebrew Bible
condemns sorcery. Deuteronomy
18:10–12 states “No one shall be found among you who makes a son or daughter pass through fire, who practices divination, or is a soothsayer, or an augur
, or a sorcerer
, or one that casts spells, or who consults ghosts or spirits, or who seeks oracles from the dead. For whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord;” and Exodus
22:18 prescribes “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”;
tales like that of 1 Samuel
28, reporting how Saul
“hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land”
suggest that in practice sorcery could at least lead to exile.
In the Judaean Second Temple period
, Rabbi Simeon ben Shetach
in the 1st century BC is reported to have sentenced to death eighty women who had been charged with witchcraft on a single day in Ashkelon
. Later the women’s relatives took revenge by bringing (reportedly).. witnesses against Simeon’s son and causing him to be executed in turn.
The 6th century AD Getica
records a persecution and expulsion of witches among the Goths
in a mythical account of the origin of the Huns
. The ancient fabled King Filimer
is said to have”found among his people certain witches, whom he called in his native tongue Haliurunnae. Suspecting these women, he expelled them from the midst of his race and compelled them to wander in solitary exile afar from his army. There the unclean spirits, who beheld them as they wandered through the wilderness, bestowed their embraces upon them and begat this savage race, which dwelt at first in the swamps, a stunted, foul and puny tribe, scarcely human, and having no language save one which bore but slight resemblance to human speech.”
The Councils of Elvira
(314) and in Trullo
(692) imposed certain ecclesiastical penances for devil-worship and this mild approach represented the view of the Church for many centuries.
The general desire of the Catholic Church‘s clergy to check fanaticism about witchcraft and necromancy is shown in the decrees of the Council of Paderborn which in 785 explicitly outlawed condemning people as witches, and condemned to death anyone who burnt a witch. Emperor Charlemagne later confirmed the law. The Council of Frankfurt in 794, called by Charlemagne, was also very explicit in condemning “the persecution of alleged witches and wizards”, calling the belief in witchcraft “superstitious”, and ordering the death penalty for those who presumed to burn witches.
Similarly, the Lombard code of 643 states:”Let nobody presume to kill a foreign serving maid or female servant as a witch, for it is not possible, nor ought to be believed by Christian minds.”
This conforms to the teachings of the Canon Episcopi of circa 900 AD (alleged to date from 314 AD), following the thoughts of St Augustine of Hippo which stated that witchcraft did not exist and that to teach that it was a reality was, itself, false and heterodox teaching.
The “Decretum” of Burchard, Bishop of Worms
(about 1020), and especially its 19th book, often known separately as the “Corrector”, is another work of great importance. Burchard was writing against the superstitious belief in magical potions, for instance, which may produce impotence or abortion. But he altogether rejected the possibility of many of the alleged powers with which witches were popularly credited. Such, for example, were nocturnal riding through the air, the changing of a person’s disposition from love to hate, the control of thunder, rain, and sunshine, the transformation of a man into an animal, the intercourse of incubi
with human beings and other such superstitions. Not only the attempt to practise such things but the very belief in their possibility is treated by Burchard as false and superstitious.
Pope Gregory VII
in 1080 wrote to King Harald III of Denmark
forbidding witches to be put to death upon presumption of their having caused storms or failure of crops or pestilence. Neither were these the only examples of an effort to prevent unjust suspicion to which such poor creatures might be exposed. See for example the Weihenstephan case discussed by Weiland in the Zeitschrift fuer Kirchengeschichte, IX, 592.
Early secular laws against witchcraft, include those promulgated by King Athelstan
(924–939)”And we have ordained respecting witch-crafts, and lybacs [read lyblac “sorcery”], andmorthdaeds [“murder, mortal sin”]: if any one should be thereby killed, and he could not deny it, that he be liable in his life. But if he will deny it, and at threefold ordeal shall be guilty; that he be 120 days in prison: and after that let kindred take him out, and give to the king 120 shillings, and pay the wer
to his kindred, and enter into borh for him, that he evermore desist from the like.”
On many different occasions ecclesiastics who spoke with authority did their best to disabuse the people of their superstitious belief in witchcraft. This, for instance, is the general purport of the book, “Contra insulsam vulgi opinionem de grandine et tonitruis” (Against the foolish belief of the common sort concerning hail and thunder), written by Saint Agobard
(d. 841), Archbishop of Lyons
The manuals of the Roman Catholic Inquisition
remained highly sceptical of the witch craze and of witch accusations, although there was sometimes an overlap between accusations of heresy and of witchcraft, particularly when, in the 13th century, the newly formed Inquisition was commissioned to deal with the Cathars
of Southern France, whose teachings were charged with containing an admixture of witchcraft and magic.
Although it has been proposed that the witch-hunt developed in Europe from the early 14th century, after the Cathars and the Templar Knights
were suppressed, this hypothesis has been rejected independently by two historians (Cohn 1975; Kieckhefer 1976).
They contend that the early witch-hunts originated among common people in the Switzerland
and in the Croatia
, who pressed the civil courts
to support them.
Although Pope John XXII
had authorized the Inquisition to prosecute sorcerers in 1320
inquisitorial courts rarely dealt with witchcraft save incidentally when investigating heterodoxy.
JEWISH HOLOCAUST AS EXTENSION OF WITCH BURNINGS?
(“Early Christian theologians attributed to the Devil responsibility for persecution, heresy, witchcraft, sin, natural disasters, human calamities, and whatever else went wrong. One tragic consequence of this was a tendency to demonize people accused of wrongs. At the instance of ecclesiastical leaders, the state burned heretics and witches, burning symbolizing the fate deserved by the demonic. Popular fears, stirred to fever pitch in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, sustained frenzied efforts to wipe out heretics, witches, and unbelievers, especially Jews.”,
Hinson, “Historical and Theological Perspectives on Satan”, Review & Expositor
(89.4.475), (Fall 1992).)
Most inquisitors simply disbelieved in witchcraft and sorcery as superstitious folly. In the case of the Madonna Oriente
, the Inquisition of Milan
was not sure what to do with two women who in 1384 and in 1390 confessed to have participated in a type of white magic
. The women were released with advice to avoid superstitions.
A Catholic figure who preached against witchcraft was popular Franciscan preacher, Bernardino of Siena
Once again, there seems to have been a phenomenon of superstitious practices and an over-reaction against them by the common people pressing Church and State to act. Bernardino’s sermons reveal this phenomenon.
However, it is clear that Bernardino had in mind not merely the use of spells and enchantments and such like fooleries but much more serious crimes, chiefly murder and infanticide. This is clear from his much-quoted sermon of 1427, in which he says:”One of them told and confessed, without any pressure, that she had killed thirty children by bleeding them…[and] she confessed more, saying she had killed her own son… Answer me: does it really seem to you that someone who has killed twenty or thirty little children in such a way has done so well that when finally they are accused before the Signoria you should go to their aid and beg mercy for them?”
In 1487, Kramer and Sprenger published the notorious Malleus Maleficarum
(the ‘Hammer against the Witches’) which, because of the newly invented printing presses, enjoyed a wide readership. The book was soon banned by the Church in 1490, and Kramer and Sprenger censured, but it was nevertheless reprinted in 14 editions by 1520 and became unduly influential in the secular courts. In 1538 the Spanish Inquisition
cautioned its members not to believe what the Malleus said, even when it presented apparently firm evidence.
Early Modern Europe
The witch trials in Early Modern Europe came in waves and then subsided. There were trials in the 15th and early 16th centuries, but then the witch scare went into decline, before becoming a major issue again and peaking in the 17th century. What had previously been a belief that some people possessed supernatural abilities (which were sometimes used to protect the people) now became a sign of a pact between the people with supernatural abilities and the devil.
To justify the killings, Protestant Christianity and its proxy secular institutions deemed witchcraft as being associated to wild Satanic ritual parties in which there was much naked dancing, and cannibalistic infanticide. It was also seen as heresy for going against the first of the ten commandments (You shall have no other gods before me) or as violating majesty, in this case referring to the divine majesty, not the worldly. Further, scripture specifically decreed that “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18), which many believed.
The Malefizhaus of Bamberg, Germany, where suspected witches were held and interrogated. 1627 engraving.
Witch-hunts were seen across early modern Europe, but the most significant area of witch-hunting in modern Europe is often considered to be central and southern Germany. Germany was a late starter in terms of the numbers of trials, compared to other regions of Europe. Witch-hunts first appeared in large numbers in southern France and Switzerland during the 14th and 15th centuries. The peak years of witch-hunts in southwest Germany were from 1561 to 1670.
The first major persecution
in Europe, when witches were caught, tried, convicted, and burned in the imperial lordship of Wiesensteig in southwestern Germany, is recorded in 1563 in a pamphlet called “True and Horrifying Deeds of 63 Witches”.
The torture used against accused witches, 1577
(there was a LOT of torturing of witches going on back then with rooms full of equipment, and continuing until there was a confession, or death.)
Witch hysteria also erupted in the Americas. In 1645, 46 years before the notorious Salem witch trials, Springfield, Massachusetts experienced America’s first accusations of witchcraft when husband and wife Hugh and Mary Parsons accused each other of witchcraft. At America’s first witch trial, Hugh was found innocent, while Mary was acquitted of witchcraft but sentenced to be hanged for the death of her child. She died in prison. About eighty people throughout England’s Massachusetts Bay Colony were accused of practicing witchcraft- thirteen women and two men were executed in a witch-hunt that lasted throughout New England from 1645–1663. The Salem witch trials followed in 1692–93.
Once a case was brought to trial, the prosecutors hunted for accomplices. Magic was not considered to be wrong because it failed, but because it worked effectively for the wrong reasons. Witchcraft was a normal part of everyday life. Witches were often called for, along with religious ministers, to help the ill or to deliver a baby. They held positions of spiritual power in their communities. When something went wrong, no one questioned the ministers or the power of the witchcraft. Instead, they questioned whether the witch intended to inflict harm or not.
HOW MANY WITCHES WERE KILLED?
Current scholarly estimates of the number of people executed for witchcraft vary between about 40,000 and 100,000. The total number of witch trials in Europe which are known to have ended in executions is around 12,000. (Of course if the Jewish Holocaust and the American Indian genocide of pagan unbelievers is included, it is easily in the many millions of people.)
19 To 100 Million Native American’ Indians Exterminated By ‘Settlers’; via @AGreenRoad
An image of suspected witches being hanged in England, published in 1655
Further information: Nine million witches
In 1973, two American second-wave feminists, Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, published their own pamphlet examining the witch trials, Witches, Midwives & Nurses: A History of Women Healers, in which they put forward the idea that “the women persecuted as witches had been the traditional healers and midwives of their communities, and that their destruction had not merely been a blow against female power but against natural medicine and therapies. The witch trials were therefore a victory for both patriarchy and a flawed, male-dominated, modern science.
Some authors claim that millions of witches were killed in Europe
while modern scholarly estimates place the total number of executions for witchcraft in the 300-year period of European witch-hunts far lower. William Monter estimates 35,000 deaths (see table below),
historian Malcolm Gaskill 40,000–50,000.
About 75 to 80 percent of those were women.
Approximate statistics on the number of trials for witchcraft and executions in various regions of Europe in the period 1450–1750:
Region Number of trials Number of executions
British Isles and North America ~5,000 ~1,500–2,000
Holy Roman Empire (Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Lorraine, Austria including Czech lands – Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia) ~50,000 ~25,000–30,000
France ~3,000 ~1,000
Scandinavia ~5,000 ~1,700–2,000
Eastern Europe (Poland and Lithuania, Hungary and Russia) ~7,000 ~2,000
Southern Europe (Spain, Portugal and Italy) ~10,000 ~1,000
Total: ~80,000 ~35,000
End of European witch hunts in the 18th century
In England, Scotland and Ireland, between 1542 and 1735 a series of Witchcraft Acts
enshrined into law the punishment (often with death, sometimes with incarceration
) of individuals practising, or claiming to practice witchcraft and magic.
The last executions for witchcraft in England had taken place in 1682, when Temperance Lloyd, Mary Trembles, and Susanna Edwards were executed at Exeter.
In 1711, Joseph Addison
published an article in the highly respected The Spectator
journal (No. 117) criticizing the irrationality and social injustice in treating elderly and feeble women (dubbed Moll White) as witches. Jane Wenham
was among the last subjects of a typical witch trial in England in 1712, but was pardoned after her conviction and set free.
Kate Nevin was hunted for 3 weeks and eventually suffered death by Faggot and Fire at Monzie in Perthshire, Scotland in 1715. Janet Horne was executed for witchcraft in Scotland in 1727. The final Act of 1735 led to persecution for fraud rather than witchcraft since it was no longer believed that the individuals had actual supernatural powers or traffic with Satan. The 1735 Act continued to be used until the 1940s to prosecute individuals such as spiritualists and Gypsies. The act was finally repealed in 1951.
The last execution of a witch in the Dutch Republic was probably in 1613. In Denmark this took place in 1693 with the execution of Anna Palles. In other parts of Europe, the practice died down later. In France the last person to be executed for witch craft was Louis Debaraz in 1745. In Germany the last death sentence was that of Anna Schwegelin in Kempten in 1775 (although not carried out). The last known official witch-trial was the Doruchów witch trial in Poland in 1783. Two unnamed women were executed in Poznań, Poland, in 1793, in proceedings of dubious legitimacy.
was executed in Glarus
, Switzerland, in 1782,
and Barbara Zdunk
in Prussia in 1811. Both women have been identified as the last person executed for witchcraft in Europe, but in both cases, the official verdict did not mention witchcraft, as this had ceased to be recognized as a criminal offense.
PRESENT DAY WITCH HUNTS
Witch hunts still occur today in societies where belief in magic is prevalent. In most cases, these are instances of lynching and burnings, reported with some regularity from much of Sub-Saharan Africa, from rural North India and from Papua New Guinea. In addition, there are some countries that have legislation against the practice of sorcery. The only country where witchcraft remains legally punishable by death is Saudi Arabia.
The witch hunts in modern times are continuously reported by the UNHCR of the UNO as massive violation of human rights. Most affected by witch accusation are women and children and additional elder people and outsider groups of the community: albinos and HIV-infected.Poverty, epidemic, social crises and missing education support witch hunt as well as the economical benefit of the hunter and their leader, often a prominent figure in the community or a “witch doctor”, earn by exorcism or sell body parts of the murdered.
In many societies of Sub-Saharan Africa, the fear of witches drives periodic witch-hunts during which specialist witch-finders identify suspects, with death by mob often the result. Countries particularly affected by this phenomenon include South Africa, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia.
Witch-hunts against children were reported by the BBC in 1999 in the Congo and in Tanzania, where the government responded to attacks on women accused of being witches for having red eyes. A lawsuit was launched in 2001 in Ghana, where witch-hunts are also common, by a woman accused of being a witch. Witch-hunts in Africa are often led by relatives seeking the property of the accused victim.
Audrey I. Richards
, in the journal Africa, relates in 1935 an instance when a new wave of witchfinders, the Bamucapi, appeared in the villages of the Bemba people
They dressed in European clothing, and would summon the headman to prepare a ritual meal for the village. When the villagers arrived they would view them all in a mirror
, and claimed they could identify witches with this method. These witches would then have to “yield up his horns”; i.e. give over the horn
containers for curses
and evil potions
to the witch-finders. The bamucapi then made all drink a potion called kucapa which would cause a witch to die and swell up..
The villagers related that the witch-finders were always right because the witches they found were always the people whom the village had feared all along. The bamucapi utilised a mixture of Christian and native religious traditions to account for their powers and said that God (not specifying which God) helped them to prepare their medicine. In addition, all witches who did not attend the meal to be identified would be called to account later on by their master, who had risen from the dead, and who would force the witches by means of drums to go to the graveyard, where they would die. Richards noted that the bamucapi created the sense of danger in the villages by rounding up all the horns in the village, whether they were used for anti-witchcraft charms, potions, snuff or were indeed receptacles of black magic.
The Bemba people believed misfortunes such as wartings, hauntings and famines to be just actions sanctioned by the High-God Lesa. The only agency which caused unjust harm was a witch, who had enormous powers and was hard to detect. After white rule of Africa, beliefs in sorcery and witchcraft grew, possibly because of the social strain caused by new ideas, customs and laws, and also because the courts no longer allowed witches to be tried.
Amongst the Bantu tribes of Southern Africa, the witch smellers were responsible for detecting witches. In parts of Southern Africa, several hundred people have been killed in witch hunts since 1990.
Several African states, including Cameroon have reestablished witchcraft-accusations in courts after their independence.
It was reported on 21 May 2008 that in Kenya a mob had burnt to death at least 11 people accused of witchcraft.
In March 2009, Amnesty International reported that up to 1,000 people in the Gambia had been abducted by government-sponsored “witch doctors” on charges of witchcraft, and taken to detention centers where they were forced to drink poisonous concoctions. On 21 May 2009,The New York Times reported that the alleged witch-hunting campaign had been sparked by the Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh.
In Sierra Leone, the witch-hunt is an occasion for a sermon by the kɛmamɔi (native Mende
witch-finder) on social ethics : “Witchcraft … takes hold in people’s lives when people are less than fully open-hearted. All wickedness is ultimately because people hate each other or are jealous or suspicious or afraid. These emotions and motivations cause people to act antisocially”.
The response by the populace to the kɛmamɔi is that “they valued his work and would learn the lessons he came to teach them, about social responsibility and cooperation.”
In India, labeling a woman as a witch is a common ploy to grab land, settle scores or even to punish her for turning down sexual advances. In a majority of the cases, it is difficult for the accused woman to reach out for help and she is forced to either abandon her home and family or driven to commit suicide. Most cases are not documented because it is difficult for poor and illiterate women to travel from isolated regions to file police reports. Less than 2 percent of those accused of witch-hunting are actually convicted, according to a study by the Free Legal Aid Committee, a group that works with victims in the state of Jharkhand.
A 2010 estimate places the number of women killed as witches in India at between 150 and 200 per year, or a total of 2,500 in the period of 1995 to 2009. The lynchings are particularly common in the poor northern states of Jharkhand, Bihar and the central state of Chhattisgarh. Witch hunts are also taking place among the tea garden workers in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal India. The witch hunts in Jalpaiguri are less known, but are motivated by the stress in the tea industry on the lives of the adivasi workers.
Witch hunts in Nepal are common, and are targeted especially against low-caste women. The main causes of witchcraft related violence include widespread belief in superstition, lack of education, lack of public awareness, illiteracy, caste system, male domination, and economic dependency of women on men. The victims of this form of violence are often beaten, tortured, publicly humiliated, and murdered. Sometimes, the family members of the accused are also assaulted. In 2010, Sarwa Dev Prasad Ojha, minister for women and social welfare, said, “Superstitions are deeply rooted in our society, and the belief in witchcraft is one of the worst forms of this.
Papua New Guinea
Though the practice of “white” magic (such as faith healing) is legal in Papua, the 1976 Sorcery Act imposes a penalty of up to 2 years in prison for the practice of “black” magic. In 2009, the government reports that extrajudicial torture and murder of alleged witches – usually lone women – are spreading from the highland areas to cities as villagers migrate to urban areas.
For example, in June 2013, four women were accused of witchcraft because the family “had a ‘permanent house’ made of wood, and the family had tertiary educations and high social standing”. All of the women were tortured and Helen Rumbali was beheaded. Helen Hakena, chairwoman of the North Bougainville Human Rights Committee, said that the accusations started because of economic jealousy born of a mining boom.
Reports by UN agencies, Amnesty International, Oxfam and anthropologists show that “attacks on accused sorcerers and witches — sometimes men, but most commonly women — are frequent, ferocious and often fatal.” It’s estimated about 150 cases of violence and killings are occurring each year in just the province of Simbu in Papua New Guinea alone.
Reports indicate this practice of witch hunting has in some places evolved into “something more malignant, sadistic and voyeuristic.” One woman who was attacked by young men from a nearby village “had her genitals burned and fused beyond functional repair by the repeated intrusions of red-hot irons.”
Few incidents are ever reported, according to the 2012 Law Reform Commission which concluded that they have increased since the 1980s.
Witchcraft or sorcery remains a criminal offense in Saudi Arabia, although the precise nature of the crime is undefined.
The frequency of prosecutions for this in the country as whole is unknown. However, in November 2009, it was reported that 118 persons had been arrested in the province of Makkah that year for practising magic and “using the Book of Allah in a derogatory manner”, 74% of them being female. According to Human Rights Watch in 2009, prosecutions for witchcraft and sorcery are proliferating and “Saudi courts are sanctioning a literal witch hunt by the religious police
In 2006, an illiterate Saudi woman, Fawza Falih, was convicted of practicing witchcraft, including casting an impotence spell, and sentenced to death by beheading, after allegedly being beaten and forced to fingerprint a false confession that had not been read to her. After an appeal court had cast doubt on the validity of the death sentence because the confession had been retracted, the lower court reaffirmed the same sentence on a different basis.
In 2007, Mustafa Ibrahim, an Egyptian national, was executed, having been convicted of using sorcery in an attempt to separate a married couple, as well as of adultery and of desecrating the Quran.
Also in 2007, Abdul Hamid Bin Hussain Bin Moustafa al-Fakki, a Sudanese national, was sentenced to death after being convicted of producing a spell that would lead to the reconciliation of a divorced couple.
In 2009, Ali Sibat
, a Lebanese television presenter who had been arrested whilst on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, was sentenced to death for witchcraft arising out of his fortune-telling on an Arab satellite channel.
His appeal was accepted by one court, but a second in Medina upheld his death sentence again in March 2010, stating that he deserved it as he had publicly practised sorcery in front of millions of viewers for several years.
In November 2010, the Supreme Court refused to ratify the death sentence, stating that there was insufficient evidence that his actions had harmed others.
On 12 December 2011, Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar was beheaded in Al Jawf Province
after being convicted of practicing witchcraft and sorcery.
Another very similar situation occurred to Muree bin Ali bin Issa al-Asiri and he was beheaded on 19 June 2012 in the Najran Province
In modern terminology ‘witch-hunt’ has acquired usage referring to the act of seeking and persecuting any perceived enemy, particularly when the search is conducted using extreme measures and with little regard to actual guilt or innocence. It is used whether or not it is sanctioned by the government, or merely occurs within the “court of public opinion”.
The term is used when a hunt for wrongdoers becomes abused, and a defendant can be convicted merely on an accusation. For example, in the History Channel documentary America: The Story of Us, narrator Liev Schreiber explains that “the search for runaway slaves becomes a witch hunt. A black man can be convicted with merely an accusation. Unlike white people, they do not have the right to trial by jury. Judges are paid ten dollars to rule them as slaves, five to set them free.“
Use of the term was popularized in the United States in the context of the McCarthyist search for communists during the Cold War, which was discredited partly through being compared to the Salem witch trials. Arthur Miller‘s The Crucible is notable for using the Salem Witch Trials as an extended simile for McCarthyism.
Modern Day Hysteria And Misinformation Campaigns
From the 1960s, the term was in wide use and could also be applied to isolated incidents or scandals, specifically public smear-campaigns against individuals. The phenomenon of day care sex abuse hysteria, most notably the McMartin preschool trial of 1984 to 1990, is another iconic example of a moral panic which saw day care providers accused of what was dubbed “satanic ritual abuse“, i.e. the charge of physical and sexual child abuse out of an alleged Satanist motivation.
The case and the associated media coverage has been frequently termed a witch-hunt by commentators and social researchers. More generally the societal reaction to child sexual abuse has been criticized as a witch-hunt by some academics and commentators since the early 1990s.
This article has discussed the history of witch trials and how they are still happening even today, in some parts of the world. Are you aware of any witch hunts going on in your area, such as someone going after a whistleblower for example?
The Bible on the one hand says that all witches and mediums should be burned.
But then on the other hand, there are numerous references of Biblical characters consulting or having business with ‘3 wise men’ or various others, who could also be called mediums or witches. No one told the 3 wise men, that JC was going to be born in a manger. They just showed up out of nowhere from the Middle Eastern desert country.
The black and white picture painted by some people, that all witches and mediums are evil and deserve to be burned alive, is another one of those myths or urban legends, born of fear, superstition, and projection. Remember, the Bible also warns about false prophets, and that if their prediction does not come true exactly on time, they are also to be put to death.
Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at En-dor.” 8
Then Saul disguised himself by putting on other clothes, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night; and he said, “Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me whom I shall name to you.”
1 John 4:1
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
The point being made here is that things are not as black and white as they may seem. There are more often than not, other motives behind a group of people accusing others of witch craft, mediumship or whatever else. If you watched both movies in the article above, you will probably agree that darker motives such as political ambitions, money, power, prestige, saving face, superstition, jealousy, fear, rage, religious dogma, patriarchy, and projection are often the REAL reasons for executions.
Witch Hunts, Witch Trials And Witch Burnings, In Salem, Europe, Africa, India, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, And Saudi Arabia In History and Present Day
More articles at;
A Green Road Project – Science Of Sustainable Health Open Source Commons Knowledge Database
– Click in search box in upper right corner and type in search term to find any related article(s)
– Click on ‘pages’ in upper left corner to see index of all subjects
Android App – read AGRP on your smart phonehttps://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.AGreenRoadProject
List Of 22 International A Green Road Project Websites Around The World; India, UK, Singapore, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Germany, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Denmark And More
Planet Earth 911 Emergencies And Global Threats
Ancient Stories, Success, Motivation, Activism, Spiritual, Interfaith, Consciousness, Near Death, Miracles, Healing, Auras, Reincarnation
Holistic Living, Health, Self-Healing, Environment And Renewable Energy
Exploring the Inner and Outer Mysteries of Life
Peace, War, Drones, Human Rights, Justice, Prisons, War on Drugs, Violence Prevention, Death Penalty, Jury Rights, Women’s Rights
Drugs, Medicine, GMO’s, Cloning, Education
Art And Science Of Deception; Global Corporations And The 1%, Whistleblowers, And Solutions
Children And Adults – Negative Effects Of Chronic, Cumulative Man Made Radiation Exposure
Negative Effects Of Internal Radiation Exposure, Risk Models, Hormesis, Radiophobia, Radiation Monitoring Networkshttp://agreenroad.blogspot.com/p/effects-of-internal-low-level-nuclear.html
Radiation In Food/Water/Products, Geiger Counters, Dosimeters, Test Labs, Radiation Readings, Conversions
Animals, Insects, Birds And Plants – Negative Effects Of Chronic, Cumulative Man Made Radiation
First Strike Policy, Nuclear Bombs, Down Winders, Acute Radiation Sickness, Nuclear War, Dirty Bombs, Bomb Shelters
Uranium Mining, Enrichment, Nuclear Fuel Chain, Open Air Testing, Fracking
Nuclear Power Plant Threats, Accidents, Recycling Nuclear Fuel, Movie Reviews, Next Generation Nuclear Plants, Terrorists
Individual Radioactive Elements/Isotopes, USA Radiation, Radiation Exposure Prevention, Reversal, Chelation
Lawsuits, Aging Nuclear Reactors, Recertification, Music, Lyrics, Poetry
Long Term Storage Of Nuclear Waste, Ocean Dumping, Incineration, Decontamination, Water Contamination, Dry Cask
“Do not go where the freeway may lead – Go instead where there is no path and leave A Green Road for others to follow.
A Green Road is where heart and paradigm shift happens. Featuring sustainable green living news, movies, articles and videos from cutting edge minds and hearts, AGRP asks the question; what will benefit seven future generations without causing harm? AGRP teaches the Science of Sustainable Health and Success, through articles, videos, books and events.
Thanks for doing your part. What can you do? Do you feel led to work with AGRP in some way? Connect with AGRP above. Share the article/video titles and links by copying and pasting them into email, Facebook and Twitter. Keep shining your light and sharing this information with friends, co-workers, politicians, doctors, professors, and other leaders! If not now, when? If not you, then who?
What is Needed? Top Down Champions Of Sustainability With $; via @AGreenRoad