Whether you saw them come to life on the silver screen in “Hocus, Pocus” or heard of the tale of Hansel and Gretel, witches have been around a long time. Whether fictional or myth, who’s to say? All we have are 10 spooky facts we thought you’d love to sink your teeth into:
Fact 1: Hate to burst your bubble fellas, but not all Witches were hideous, nor were they bad. There were witches who were nasty, and then there were those more benevolent and good. They were called White Witches. And no, Warlock isn’t the term you give to a male witch, because male witches are called witches too. A warlock is a term you give to an oath breaker, betrayer, and someone banished from a witch’s coven.
Fact 2: Those pointy hats that that they seem to be styling? Couldn’t be further from the truth. Legend has it that those hats were just the exaggerated versions of the conical dunce’s hats that criminals were required to wear during trials held in the 15th century. Back when witch trials were rampant in court, the idea of a witch wearing those long pointy hats was an image that stuck.
Fact 3: The years 1480 to 1750 were dark times for someone born with an excess of moles, birthmarks, and beauty marks. It was believed that these marks were “witch marks” or “marks of the devil” and would often be located near the neck, breast, wrist, and genital areas of the prosecuted. Other signs that you were a witch include awful blemishes, satanic tattoos, the mark of a serpent, and triple nipples.
Fact 4: Executions and Witch Hunts that took place in Europe and North America during those times were nothing short of horrendous. Women were being stripped of their clothing and raped behind closed doors under the pretense of a “court mandated investigation”. Other instances include innocent people being given the death penalty even without evidence of witch craft.
Fact 5: There is a Pope that acknowledged the existence of witches! Back in 1418, Pope Innocent VIII issued a papal bill that recognized the existence of these unholy beings, and that an encounter with one must result in the death of the creature. Back then, the Catholic Church firmly believed that witchcraft was a threat to its followers and an abomination that needed to be eradicated.
Fact 6: There is a religion called Wicca that’s widely celebrated in different parts of the world by modern witches and practitioners of black magic. Wiccans celebrate the wheel of the year, which are known as Sabbats, as well as the 13 full moons of the year, called Ebats. One of the Sabbats, called Samhain, falls on the 31st of October, better known by most of us as Halloween.
Fact 7: The most gruesome account of a Witch Hunt would be the Salem Witch Trials, where millions of innocent men and women, children, witches, and wiccans, were killed during the inquisition and trials. Majority of the prosecuted, if not hung or drowned, died in their prison cells due to inhabitable confinement and beatings.
Fact 8: Because of the witch craze that everyone seemed to have caught, there are several pieces of literature that were created which discuss thoroughly about witchcraft. Heck, there’s even a handbook about how to deal with a witch! The most popular one is entitled Malleus Maleficarum. Written by clergy man Jakob Sprenger and University Dean Heinrich Kramer, their book was a de facto handbook on how to handle encounters with witchcraft and witches.
Fact 9: Plants that were a staple in every witch’s pantry included: belladonna, mandrake, jimsonweed and hyoscine. These plants had some pretty powerful hallucinogenic effects, and were often found in their brews, salves, and ointments.
Fact 10: The connection between Witches and black cats date back to centuries ago, when many believed that black cats were demonic or were the familiars of the supernatural. However, black cats don’t necessarily do the witches’ evil biding, nor do witches transform into them to stalk the night. They’re just pretty chill pets to keep.