Home >> City and country >> 10 real facts about magic and sorcerers

10 real facts about magic and sorcerers


The belief in magic and sorcery there is about as much as humanity itself. For example, scientists believe that prehistoric carvings, which are regularly found on the walls of caves throughout Europe and Asia (remember, the ones where schematically depict men with spears chasing antelopes, goats and other animals?), it could be part of some primitive magic rituals designed to ensure the rich spoils of the hunt.

In magic, believed in Ancient Egypt and in Ancient Rome. And in the Middle ages, not just "knew" that witches and wizards really exist, but struggled with them the most radical methods.

And still many peoples of our planet have shamans and witches are supposedly able to change the weather, improve crop quality, to treat any disease with a single touch, to predict future events, etc.

Want to know more? Then here's 10 interesting (and quite historical) facts about magic and witchcraft.

10. Belief in magic was considered a pagan superstition

We used to think that in the Middle ages in magic believed everything, including, of course, priests. But in fact, in the early middle Ages the clergy tried (though unsuccessfully) to convince the flock that magic actually exists, or that it's all just echoes of pagan times.

Everything that happens on Earth is either God or the devil. Here the devil is just deceiving enough of some believers by making them believe that they possess some supernatural powers.

Moreover, in some European countries prohibited the execution of witches and wizards, because it is "pagan crime" (after all, witchcraft doesn't happen!).

And only in XV century, Pope innocent VIII officially recognized the existence of witches, but with the caveat that they don't practice magic, and enter into a contract with the devil and, in fact, that he (the witches) doing their lewdness. From this time began the same mass hysteria around witches, originated the concept of "Sabbath", etc.

9. The priests themselves practiced magic

When we're talking about practiced in the middle Ages witch hunt, then, of course, immediately submitted to the head of the councils senior priest accusing another poor woman in the performance of any heretical or pagan rituals.

But in fact, priests and monks themselves often practiced magic, at least kept the "magic" works. For example, in the library of the monastery of SV. Augustine's in Canterbury had 30 books on "magic", which spoke of how to summon spirits.

And in the twelfth century the parish priests in England were often performed this ritual: it was on the field, spraying in all directions milk, honey, butter and Holy water, and reciting this prayer, to make the land more fertile.

By the way, in Russia until the beginning of XX century priests also often practiced such rites, where Orthodoxy is closely mixed with pre-Christian paganism.

8. In the middle ages, science was linked with magic

Today only, uh... very narrow-minded and poorly educated people seriously believe in astrology, every day check my horoscope, I believe that if you hang on the neck a pendant with a specific precious stone, life will get better and his career will go uphill.

Well, in the Middle ages, when science in our sense did not exist yet in sight, it was in order. And therefore, even the most well-known and recognized scientists of the time very hard not only (and not so) mysterious causes of those or other phenomena of nature, as, for example, the formula for the philosopher's stone (capable of turning any metal into gold), or elixir of immortality, or something equally fantastic.

Many medieval characters, who had a reputation for outstanding "researchers" actually was or outright charlatans, or just alchemists.

At the same time, real scientists, much ahead of his time (such as Roger bacon, – who lived in the XIII century astronomer, mathematician, chemist, etc., who believed that the Earth is round, who knew how to make gunpowder and watching the stars in personally assembled the prototype of the modern telescope) is often considered to be sorcerers.

7. Some kings willingly used the services of sorcerers

By the way, despite the censure of the Church, offering scientists"magicians" and alchemists often used even crowned heads. Kings after all – the same people, and they sometimes wanted to know, I think if the court or the heirs of his own attempted suzerain, or whether to start a war with a neighbouring state, etc.

And suddenly "warmed" king alchemist still find the philosopher's stone? Indeed, in this case the Treasury is never empty!

Therefore, well-known astrologers, alchemists and other "magicians" has toured across Europe from one Royal court to another, sometimes it's nice earning a horoscope page for nobles and "predictions of the future."

However, sometimes they are caught cheating, risked being executed if you do not have time to escape. For example, the English "magician, psychic and alchemist" of the XVI century Edward Kelley, according to some reports, died from injuries when he tried to escape from the Emperor Rudolph II, descended from the window of the castle-prison of Gavin. By the way, Rudolph II is particularly willing to notice in my court these individuals.

6. Magic was divided into "male" and "female"

In traditional societies, as we know, the social roles of men and women were "spelled out" very clearly and unequivocally: a woman – a homemaker, giving birth and raising children and supporting peace and harmony in the family. Well, the man is always a warrior, protector and breadwinner. Therefore, the magic was initially divided into male and female.

A woman ought to know and apply a variety of healing (magic) herbs, prophesy the future, to do a love spell and lapels to create amulets for the house, etc. the Man also needs a different magic – for protection and luck in battle ("zagovornye" weapons), to ensure a good harvest (e.g., spell of weather), or rich prey for hunting, etc.

For example, the peoples of Scandinavia, it was believed that the man involved in the predictions, humbles himself and is "effeminate" (in the "Elder Edda" Loki reproached for it Odin himself).

5. There was a "practice guide" on combating the witches

Few people even have not heard about this medieval work, as "Hammer of witches". And, by the way, in the XV-XVI centuries it was the most published book after the Bible (after its release in 1487, during the ensuing half century it was reprinted 14 times!).

The main author of this treatise on demonology and the most effective methods of persecution and punishment of witches – Dominican monk-Inquisitor Heinrich Kramer (Institor), according to the memoirs about him, were rare paranoid and misogynist, and besides, a devout religious fanatic, deeply confident in the fact that witches exist and that the most malicious magic involved women.

The work he wrote after even his own ecclesiastical superiors were horrified and the zeal of the "hard work" Kramer in the eradication of "the ungodly witch" in Innsbruck, annulled his sentences and asked the Inquisitor to withdraw from the city.

In "Hammer of witches" Kramer tried to justify their methods. They say he is very sincerely boasted that burned more than 200 witches.

4. A woman can recognize a witch even for the hair color

In the Middle ages no woman could be sure that one day she will not be accused of black magic and connections with the devil.

In XV-XVII centuries the witch suddenly could "be" ugly and too old, and too beautiful young girl (well, just her!), and a middle-aged woman with the body of a lot of moles or warts (these are the markings of the devil!), and just bright red person (it's the color of Hellfire!).

Witchcraft and malice could blame even a grumpy character! It was enough that two neighbors quarreled and one of them reported to the local Inquisitor that the other Walpurgisnacht was not at home (so – to fly to the Sabbath).

Specific evidence from "witnesses" no one has demanded, and torture of the unfortunate "witches" a confession was beaten out not only that she is in bed with the devil, but in the fact that she kill half the cattle in the neighboring village, flew on broomsticks, turned into a black cat, etc.

3. Witches and sorcerers tried not inquisitors

It is generally believed that witch trials were held exclusively under the leadership (and initiative) of priests and inquisitors.

In fact, the vast majority of cases, these courts do not accept the spiritual, and the local secular authorities (after complaints and denunciations of local citizens).

As for the Inquisition, it was connected to such processes only when they have a definite "heretical element". (By the way, officially this order was determined in 1258 by Pope Alexander VI).

So witches and sorcerers mainly, tried, tortured and executed is not the notorious inquisitors in black robes and with violent individuals (which we used to see in movies and TV series), and city officials, representatives of the local Duke, etc.

2. The last law prohibiting witchcraft were repealed only in 1951

Of course, during the mass hysteria associated with the "witch hunt" (XV-XVII centuries) in Europe in excess of existed laws banning magic and witchcraft and the eradication of these "ungodly" phenomena, and men and women using magic rituals.

So, in England, "criminal" prosecution of witches was abolished only in 1735 In fact, it didn't mean that "witches" (for example, Gypsy fortune tellers, the owners of the spiritualist salons, etc.) this year stopped to catch and punish, just now they were accused not of witchcraft, and fraud.

Finally, the last law about witchcraft and combating abolished in 1951 (!) year.

By the way, the last execution of witches in Europe (it was Anna, Geldi) took place in Switzerland in 1782

You just think about it: Isaac Newton long ago discovered his Law of universal gravitation, Leibniz laid the foundations of mathematical logic and of the binary number system, Descartes created analytic geometry and discovered the laws of light propagation, etc., etc., and all over Europe still furiously burned the witches.

1. In some countries a "witch hunt" and it happens today

It's crazy and scary, but nowadays in many countries (especially in Africa and the middle East) continues a "witch hunt".

For example, in Saudi Arabia and Papua New Guinea, you can absolutely officially (according to the criminal law) go to jail for witchcraft for quite a considerable period of time.

In 2008, Kenya was burned at the stake 12 "sorcerers" and "witches". In Tanzania annually lynched thousands of innocent women caught in the activities of "evil magic". Approximately the same situation in the Central African Republic. While in India from 1995 to 2014, after "people's courts" were stoned, burned, etc. from 3 to 5 thousand "witches".

Ignorant and superstitious people can be easily persuaded that all their troubles happen by the fault of a particular "wizard".

It got to the point that in 2009 at the meeting of the United Nations of extrajudicial executions have been officially invited to take "witches" under the protection, issuing a special international acts on the inadmissibility of the aforementioned incidents. And this happens in the XXI century!

^ Top