A history of witchcraft in Kent: How 'ritual magic' lead to torture and executions across the county
KENT TRAVEL NEWS
12 May 2020
The mysterious world of witchcraft will forever capture the imagination of people far and wide.
Upon hearing the word, many of us might picture curious figures in pointy black hats, whizzing through the air on broomsticks,
casting spells and cooking up potions in cauldrons. The wondrous adventures of Harry Potter and Halloween parties also spring to mind.
Witchcraft was a crime punishable by death until the 18th century. Picture: The History of Witches and Wizards, 1720
But if we look back at what witchcraft meant to our ancestors, thing suddenly become rather more sinister,
with those accused of sorcery destined for death rather than Diagon Alley.
A Devil's Mark? Burn her at the stake
Witchcraft was made a capital offence in Britain in 1542, during the reign of Henry VIII.
Although, it was deemed heresy - a belief contradictory to religion - for hundreds of years beforehand,
derived from Old Testament laws against ritual magic.
A 'witch' was essentially anyone said to behold supernatural powers used to control people or events.
Suspects were considered evil and to have relations to the Devil.
From 1484 until around 1750, an estimated 200,000 'witches' were tortured, burnt or hanged in western Europe, with some 500 people executed in England.
(read on... )
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