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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Dark Facts: All About Witches

- In the Middle Ages any woman having a mole, a wart or any other mark on her skin could be considered a witch since those birthmarks were supposed to be the "devil's marks".
- Anyone having red hair could be accused of dealing with witchcraft since that was the colour of hell's fire.
- Witches were accused of cannibalism, human sacrifices or sexual freedom.
- In order to obtain confessions of witchcraft, people were boiled in hot oil or tortured with pincers whcih could be wither hot or cold. Pincers pulled out fingernails or tore their flesh cauing mutilation. Men were castrated.
- Witches were supposed to use consecrated wafers, bat's blood, ashes and grease from corpses to practise black magic.
- Premature mothers whose babies died at childbrith were sometimes also accused of being witches since it was thought they had practised a volunatry abortion. They were tortured with pincers to mutilate their breasts.
- As some poeple talked or recited parts of the Bible during their executions, their tongues were cut.
Many of the ingredients for the magic potions witches prepared could be found in the well-stocked garden, as could remedies for all kinds of maladies both natural and supernatural -from acne to snakebite. Herbs were also used as amulets and were worn in small cloth bags and round the neck to ward off evil spirits, disease or the curse of an angry neighbour. It was believed that by simply looking at a plant  you could tell what it was good for. The colours of the flowers or fruit, the shape of a root or leaf, the texture of a petal or stem -all might hold clues to a plant's medicinal properties. Yellow-flowered plants, such as goldenrod, were said to cure jaundice. 
The plants used by witches include hemlock, belladonna and mandrake. In ancient times mandrake was considered a pain killer and a sleeping aid and in large doses it was said to induce delirium and even madness.

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