High Seas
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 04:38 pm
@Green Witch,
Green Witch wrote:

Better yet - you could become Governor of Alaska!

And THAT is the most IDIOTIC comment that I, personally, have EVER HAD to read on this websits. YOU, greenwitch (sic) are a DNA expert, trained in statistical methods for actuarial CALCULATIONS??? Well I DOUBT that.

Fact is the Papua New Guinea savages are (per DNA calculations) only MARGINALLY less backwards, mathematically speaking, than the Amazon forest savages, and even the Congolese are ahead of them - get this, and read it S - L - O - W - L - Y :

NOT ONE OF THEM CAN COUNT BEYOND 1, 2, A FEW, MANY ----.... and that's not EVEN after long TRAINING.

We got illiteracy and innumeracy in the US - and what did YOU ever DO about it?

And, btw, they're the only "people" (assuming they belong to homo sapiens, which isn't proven by their DNA so far) who suffer from a particular form of infection resembling encephalitis caused by EATING OTHER PEOPLES' BRAINS.

Got that? Travel to Papua New Guinea any time soon, any university DNA lab and/or health insurance company and/or vaccine manufacturer for encephalitis viruses will pay for YOUR ticket Smile
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 04:45 pm
The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World (By John Demos)
Book Review By Louis P. Masur, Boston Globe, September 28, 2008

When Americans think of witchcraft, invariably they think of Salem. From 1692 to 1693 the town witnessed accusations, examinations, trials, convictions, and multiple executions. Some 150 residents were imprisoned. A few died in jail. Nineteen people were hanged, 14 of them women. One bold soul, Giles Corey, refused to enter a plea and the court subjected him to pressing - piling stones on his chest to force him to speak. Before dying, it is said, he uttered the words "More weight."

There is no one better qualified to tell these stories and write a general history of witch-hunting than John Demos, Samuel Knight professor of history at Yale University, who won the Bancroft Prize for "Entertaining Satan" (1982), an inspired, exhaustive study of New England witchcraft from different perspectives. When Demos published that book, he included his middle name, Putnam, because he had discovered that he was connected genealogically to the Putnam family that had played a central role in the Salem prosecutions. He expressed hope that when he finished the book he would have also obtained some "personal closure."

Not so fast. Demos may have dropped the Putnam name, but not the subject of witchcraft. He has been lured back to provide an overview of the topic that ranges from 150 AD to the present. The book consists of four parts, each containing chapters that provide both narrative vignettes and historical overviews. The result is a work that at its best offers well-crafted stories that furnish rich insights into the dynamics of witch-hunts.

Demos begins by showing how the idea of witchcraft emerged from concerns with magic, hereticism, and evil in the form of the devil. Christians may have been among the first victims of a witch-hunt (the martyrs of Lyon, France, in 177 AD), but soon enough they became leading victimizers who persecuted their own neighbors. "Always and everywhere," Demos writes, "charges of witchcraft were grounded in a web of local, intensely personal relations."

The first part of the 17th century saw a vast European witch-hunt. In England, France, Switzerland, Germany, citizens armed with new translations of the "Malleus Maleficarum," a sort of witch-finding handbook first published in 1486, made accusations of witchcraft. Whatever the religious, political, economic, and social underpinnings of witch-hunts at different times and places, one fact remained stable: Accusers targeted women. Demos is especially acute on the subject of gender. "Malleus" was saturated with "flat-out, unblinking misogyny"; at least 80 percent of accused witches were female.

The pattern of identifying witches as female is cross-cultural and trans-historical, evident not only in Europe and America but also in Africa and Asia and among pre-modern Native Americans. As a result, Demos suggests, only a psychological explanation can illuminate the phenomenon. As primary caregivers, women were both the "Good Mother," providing nourishment, and the "Bad Mother," controlling and denying desires. Either way, the female presence stood central to psychic development and beliefs.

Noting that most of those identified as witches were women doesn't explain what led to outbursts of witch-hunting. This is where Parts 2 and 3, on early America and Salem, pay rich dividends. As we might expect, this is the heart of the book and Demos is at his narrative best, telling the stories of Northampton's Mary Parsons and Salem's Rebecca Nurse. Indeed, these sections, which Demos italicizes, are so engaging one wishes he had eschewed scholarly synthesis in other chapters for an entire work of literary nonfiction.

Demos reminds us that witchcraft in America transcended Salem. He notes cases from Virginia, New York, and Pennsylvania. Indeed, but for the events at Salem, the colony of Connecticut, not Massachusetts, would hold the dubious title of Satan's entertainment playground. What he finds that runs through all the episodes, wherever they occurred, was "the element of extreme dislocation - social, economic, psychological and geographic."

"The Enemy Within" concludes with a section on modern America. Here Demos probes the jump from literal to figurative witch-hunting. It is an important topic, given prominence by Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," in which the actual Salem witch-hunt serves as parable for anti-Communist hysteria.

Unfortunately, Demos's discussion of anti-Masonry, or brief mention of other conspiratorial fears keyed on subversion that have rocked America over the centuries, does not explain how "the projection of fear, hatred, contempt" is analogized by the victims into witch-hunts and whether the association is apt. It is one thing to persecute someone as a witch; it is something different to persecute others and call it a witch-hunt.

In the final chapter, however, Demos delivers a disturbing account of the child sex-abuse crisis of the 1980s ("a witch-hunt unparalleled in modern times," declared one reporter). In the context of the long history of witch-hunting, this meditation on accusations at Fells Acres Day School in Malden is alarming and eye-opening. A mother, Violet, and her son and daughter, Gerald and Cheryl, were accused of sexual acts with young children in their care. Convicted in 1986, Gerald was sentenced to 30-40 years; Violet and Cheryl were given terms of 8-20 years in 1987.

Their lawyers filed appeals, and only slowly, once the public temper shifted, as it did in Salem years after 1692, were questions asked about what really happened. Offered a chance for parole in 1992 if they acknowledged their guilt, Violet and Cheryl refused. One can almost hear them whispering "More weight." Violet died in prison. Cheryl was paroled in 1999, and Gerald in 2003.

Demos's learned and moving study might manage one day to help free a victim, falsely incarcerated as a result of hysterical accusations. If so, he will have more than justified putting his Putnam name to rest.
0 Replies
Merry Andrew
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 05:08 pm
Witch hunts were the dirty little secret of the Protestants, who succeeded in their publicity campaign to blacken the reputation of Catholics by exaggerated tales of the cruelty and murders of the Inquisition, while tens of thousands of people (mostly women, and most elderly) were slaughtered based on superstition.

Witch hunts were hardly the invetion of the Protestants. Jeanne d'Arc was burned at the stake as a witch in 1431, about 100 years before Martin Luther's nailing of his theses to the door of the Wurtenberg Cathedral. Even more to the point, Malleus Maleficarum was published ca. 1490, along with a bull by Pope Innocent VIII, endorsing this handbook on witchraft by the General Inquisitor for Germany, Jacobus Sprenger. Read Charles Williams' Witchcraft which gives some really chilling details on how seriously the Church of Rome took the "threat" presented by so-called witches.

I do agree, however, that the numbers may well be exaggerated.
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 05:58 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Jeanne d'Arc was not burned as a witch. The specific charge against Jeanne was that she had refused to submit to the church militant in that she wore men's clothing. In addition, the "rehabilitation" trial of Jeanne found that there were numerous gross irregularities in the proceedings against her. The presiding "judge," Bishop Cauchon, was from Paris and not Rouen, a violation of Inquisition rules. Jeanne was not kept in a separate prison for women and her warders were men, a violation of Inquisition rules. Jeanne was not represented by counsel, a violation of Inquisition rules. She was not charged with an offense until days before she was condemned, a violation of Inquisition rules. She was handed over to the English, and not local authorities. The Inquisition had no authority, no power to execute anyone. Standard practice was to hand over a condemned individual to local authority, who would then (almost always) condemn the accused, and the local authorities would then execute the individual. Many, many of the clerics involved in the process left before the end of the "trial," and some few even spoke out against it at the time. Although some "witches" may have been executed at the hands of Catholic authorities, there was no such charge available for trial by the Inquisition (a church organization which was not limited to Spain), and any such executions, if carried out properly according to church policy, would have had to have been done by local authority, after the church had condemned the individual.

There is nothing in the records of the church which comes even close to the slaughter of "witches" by Protestants. By the way, Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517, which was, specifically, 84 years after the execution of Jeanne d'Arc.
0 Replies
Green Witch
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 06:04 pm
@High Seas,
Huh? What's all this talk about DNA and savages?
I was referring to Shewolf causing car wrecks using witchcraft and the post about Palin's prayer meeting with a preacher who believes it can be done.
High Seas
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 06:24 pm
@Green Witch,
LOL GreenWitch - sorry for misreading, was looking into site hurriedly at Hong Kong airport and conflated your post with the original poster's story burning of alleged witches in Papua New Guinea and Africa.

As to Gov. Palin, she's still the most popular governor in all 50 states; Blago of Illinois has a 12% approval rating, and our own (NY) former governor had to resign - even so, we're outranked in the bottom-of-the-heap rankings by New Jersey, Mississipi, and that hardy perennial, Louisiana.

I didn't know Gov. Palin has been meeting with sorcerers - but she does have a sizeable aboriginal voting base (eskimo, or whatever they're called in politically correct speech) so he/she/they probably are their shamans (or whatever they're called in the local lingo).

As I said, I misread your post - sorry.
Green Witch
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 01:11 pm
@High Seas,
No problem, High Seas, I've been know to multi-task myself into a misunderstanding from time to time as well.

0 Replies
Reply Thu 15 Jan, 2009 11:57 am
I actually practice ancient rituals, stuff that people might consider witchcraft. Apparently I am not persecuted, however I practice in secret and in cloak and dagger meetings. I have never mentioned it on my C.V. The thing is very few of the people who were investigating witchcraft actually knew anything about it. They were persecuting the weird, the misfits and the unlucky. I am worried about telling people for being pronounced nuts. I find this ironic when I listen to scientologists.
Midwives and herbalists were the most likely to be persecuted. Despite many provocations I have never turned anyone into a toad........yet
0 Replies

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