How False Constructs Come to Be Regarded As Irrefutable Truth: The Malleus Maleficarum, Demonologists and Witch-Prickers–Let’s See if She Floats!

A very interesting post by Dr. Michael L. Langan.

Reading this post felt like a… Déjà Vu.

…”Context, characters and circumstances may differ but the mechanics do not.

The mosaic remains the same.

The Malleus shows how false constructs come to be regarded as irrefutable and the creation and chains of causation are timeless.”

Agreed (this is true, sadly)

A related excerpt (witch-prickers) follows.


The woman who became a witch-pricker BBC News | November 18, 2012

…”The pricker tested for the devil’s mark, a spot on the body where a pin could be slipped in without bleeding or pain.

This was seen as proof that the witch had contracted with the Devil, getting powers to harm her neighbours with her spells.

The pricker stripped the victim naked and shaved them from top to toe.

Then the pin was pushed in, again and again, until the right spot was found.

And it wasn’t a little dressmaker’s pin, but a thicker hand-made pin, several inches long.

We all have spots on our body which are surprisingly insensitive, but there was a psychology to this.

In a society which prized modesty, women were stripped naked in public and handled all over their bodies.

This was humiliating sexual abuse. Many would confess just to make it stop.

So how does a woman get into this line of work?”…

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-20315106


Disrupted Physician

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“The belief that there are such things as witches is so essential a part of the faith that obstinately to maintain the opposite opinion manifestly savors of heresy.”  

So begins Malleus Maleficarum , a witch hunters manual published in 1486 that  launched a new paradigm for all those concerned with the identification and extirpation of witches.  Used as a judicial case-book the Malleus set forth definitions of witchcraft, rules of evidence, and the canonical procedures by which suspected witches were tortured and put to death.   Written by Inquisitors for Inquisitor, the Malleus construct came to be regarded as irrefutable truth and contributed to the identification and execution of as many as 60,000 “witches”, predominantly women.  The 29th and last edition was published in 1669.

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Although there was a general belief in witches at the time theas published they were not regarded as evil or life threatening.  Society did not…

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