Johannes Nider’s Formicarius was a demonological treatise written during the Council of Basel in Switzerland. Nider’s treatise detailed the features that were commonly thought to be a part of the witches’ sabbat, including cannibalistic infanticide as an initiation ritual: “When Peter had questioned one of the captured witches how they ate babies, she said: ‘This […]
The Scottish act of 1563 went into effect in 1563, establishing witchcraft as a crime punishable by death. The act did not specify how to handle a witchcraft trial, nor did it establish qualifications for how to identify a witch. It is unclear who exactly drafted the piece of legislation. The act went through a […]
The Magna Carta was signed in 1215 near Windsor, England. It was signed by King James in an effort to pacify rebel barons. It originally was meant to protect church rights and property, protection for barons against illegal imprisonment, rights to a swift trial and limitations to payments to the crown. The document was annulled […]
The Malleus Malificarum or Der Hexenhammer in German, was a fifteenth century treatise written by Heinrich Kramer, a German Catholic clergyman. Many additions also cite the work of Jacob Sprenger as a co-author, although it is heavily argued that he was only added to gain credibility. The work was published in Speyer, Germany was spread throughout […]
The Copenhagen Articles of 1547 were two clauses that affected the Danish witchcraft trials. The first clause determined that no statement of evidence from a dishonest person, this definition included accused witches and sorcerers, could form the basis of a conviction. This clause meant that the courts could not ask accused witches to name other […]
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