Happy almost Halloween everyone! I’m not only celebrating the night of ghouls and goblins, I’m celebrating the release of my new paranormal MM erotic romance novel, Brush with Catastrophe. It's about witches-- in my case a male witch. But my hero is a young witch and student at a Manhattan university. One of his teachers, another witch, is a professor of history and teaches a class on the witch craze that gripped Europe and later the US from the 1400s through part of the 1700s. If you have ever studied this time in history, you have to get a chill. And if you’re female, feeling a bit of outrage may also be in order. Here is a little excerpt from the history of the witch craze which ultimately killed perhaps hundreds of thousands of people (the low estimate is over 100,000) at least 80% of whom were women. Here's a bit of the history --
It was announced that satanists in Germany were meeting with demons, casting spells that destroyed crops, and aborting infants. The pope asked two friars, Heinrich Kramer (a papal inquisitor of sorcerers from Innsbruck) and Jacob Sprenger, to publish a full report on the suspected witchcraft. Two years later, the friars published Malleus maleficarum ("Hammer of Witches") which put to rest the old orthodoxy that witches were powerless in the face of God to a new orthodoxy that held Christians had an obligation to hunt down and kill them. The Malleus told frightening tales of women who would have sex with any convenient demon, kill babies, and even steal penises. (The friars asked, "What is to be thought of those witches who collect...as many as twenty or thirty members together, and put them in a bird's nest or shut them up in a box, where they move themselves like living members and eat oats and corn?" Over the next forty years, the Malleus would be reprinted thirteen times and come to help define the crime of witchcraft. Much of the book offered hints to judges and prosecutors, such as the authors' suggestion to strip each suspect completely and inspect the body to see whether a mole was present that might be a telltale sign of consort with demons, and to have the defendants brought into court backwards to minimize their opportunities to cast dangerous spells on officials.
Outbreaks of witchcraft hysteria, with subsequent mass executions, began to appear in the early 1500s. Authorities in Geneva, Switzerland burned 500 accused witches at the stake in 1515. Nine years later in Como, Italy, a spreading spiral of witchcraft charges led to as many as 1000 executions.
Amazing what we humans can do when we demonize some group. When will we ever learn?
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