Thursday, 14 November 2013

Still more from THE HAMMER OF WITCHES: The trial procedure

In a case of witchcraft, the prisoner is not permitted to know the names of his accusers, [because they may be bewitched in revenge]. But the judge must inquire into any personal enmity felt by the witnesses toward the prisoner.  For the less opportunity the prisoner has to defend himself, the more carefully and diligently should the judge conduct his inquiry.

The witch should be led backward into the presence of the judge [so that she cannot bewitch him with her eyes]. As a precaution she should be stripped and her hair shaved from every part of her body, for witches are in the habit of hiding charms in their hair or even in the most secret parts of their bodies which must not be named.

[If she is recalcitrant, she must be tortured].
If, after being properly tortured, she still refuses to confess the truth, she should be shown other instruments of torture and threatened that she would have to endure those. If then she is not induced by terror to confess, the torture must be continued for a second and third day.

Let the judge take note whether she is able to shed tears when standing in his presence or when being tortured. A witch will not be able to weep, although she will assume a tearful aspect and smear her cheeks and eyes with spittle to make it appear that she is weeping.

[The devil has made witches immune to red-hot irons.]
A witch in Constance asked for trial by red-hot iron and carried it not only for the stipulated three paces, but offered to carry it even farther. Although the judge ought to have taken this as manifest proof that she was a witch, she was released and lives to the present day, which is a great scandal to the faith!


  1. How about the dipping stool? Was that used in Constance? and does that not hint at waterboarding in use nowadays? So what else is new in the ways of torture?

  2. Nothing new. Wait for the next post on Sunday to read about two cases of waterboarding in the Canary Islands, c. 1525!