In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII released the papal bull Summis Desiderantes in response to the German inquisitor, Heinrick Kramer’s request to prosecute witchcraft in Germany.
The purpose of this article is to acquaint the reader with the period of the witch trials. The newly formed church did not originally intend to pursue witchcraft so vigorously, but did so by default due to the influence of Mary, Queen of Scots, who rejected laws and clauses which contained anti-Catholic rhetoric.
No creature of the night seems to excite the western imagination quite like the vampire. While others like Frankenstein and the Mummy have lost their lustre over the years, vampires abound in books and films. In the local video store, the horror shelves are stocked with films like ‘The Lost Boys’, and posters proclaim the release of ‘Fright Night II’.
It is thus that Henri Boguet introduces his ‘Examen of Witches’ (1602): a manual based upon his own experiences as a judge concerned with the trial, torture, and burning of numerous victims of the witch scare in Burgundy towards the end of the sixteenth-century. Boguet knows that witches exist because he can cite both learned authority and factual evidence to prove his case conclusively.
Many myths, from all over the world, narrate the tale of an ancestor who stole fire from God’s hearth and gave it to man. Prometheus from Greece, Ilya from Brazil, Anansi from North America, Maui from Oceania, and Lucifer from the Middle East personify this hero. But let us take a closer look at the version of this myth from the Congo — the Africa of the Pygmies.
According to many theorists, Contemporary Pagan rituals are the primary agent for cohesiveness in an otherwise individualistic and vacillating religious structure.
Though it was based on the infamous death sentence of 1587, the Edison Manufacturing Company’s film ‘Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots’ (1895)— which was also distributed under the less-specific titles ‘Execution’ and ‘Execution Scene’ — features no historical context, its narrative consisting solely of brutal capital punishment that lasts fewer than fifteen seconds.
Over the centuries, there have been many incarnations of vampires throughout the world as documented in legend, folklore, historical accounts, fiction and nonfiction writings, cinema, and alleged firsthand accounts of sightings and interactions.
Though modern Baltic Paganism is understood by its members and practitioners as a continuation or restoration of pre-Christian religions of the Latvian and Lithuanian peoples, existing Pagan organizations and activities are very much an outgrowth or further development of folklore and folk music studies of the nineteenth-century, rooted in the fertile soil of nineteenth-century nationalism and romanticism.
The exploration of fact and fiction in stories of witchcraft which this article presents is based on a literary and legal-historical analysis of a variety of sources. The most important sources for early modern English witchcraft stories are Elizabethan and Jacobean witchcraft pamphlets, but the book also uses legal records, other unpublished documents, and possession pamphlets.
The New Testament tells us a surprising thing, right at the beginning of the story of Christ (Matthew 1:18-2:12). It tells us that three wise men — Magi— followed a star to Bethlehem where they found the newborn Jesus. In order to do so, they had to first pay a courtesy visit to Herod, the governor of Palestine, who then ordered the massacre of all firstborn Jewish males in order to ensure he killed the newborn Jesus and thus prevent the young Messiah’s ever taking power.