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Archive for September, 2008

1. Based on the original writings of the Hebrew Bible, the followers of the God Yahweh believed that “Thou shalt not suffer _____ to live.”

a. a witch

b. a medium

c. an evil spell-caster

d. a Goddess worshiper

The answer is C – an evil spellcaster. The question is referring to the original writings of the Hebrew Bible. This passage is found in Exodus 22:8 of the Old Testament, and was later used to put to death people identified as Witches during the Inquisition. The actual word which was used in the Hebrew Bible is m’khashephah, which translates to a form of magic worker. The ancient Hebrews, along with members of just about every other culture of the time, did acknowledge that there was a distinct difference between those they might describe as working magic for good (what today we would probably call scientists or doctors or chemists or whatever…), versus those who did malicious harm, the taking of life, or the destroying of property through psychic means. These were the people that the Bible was attempting to address, and it was this sort of evil nature of the m’khashephah that the writers of the bible were attempting to weed out.

The major change of this passage occurred during the time of the Inquisition, when the inquisitors decided to lump everyone who practiced any form of magic all under the same title of Witch.

2. There have been laws passed prohibiting the practice of witchcraft or spellcraft for malignant ends since

a. Constantine

b. the Christianization of Europe

c. ancient Rome

d. William the Conqueror

The earliest known Roman legal codes contained edicts to punish people who cast baneful spells – such punishment could include the death penalty if magick was used to hurt or kill someone, or destroy property. Remember, there was a big difference between ancient definitions of “witchcraft” vs. how we view the term today. In answering questions of this nature, we need to look at that time period and that culture’s views…not modern views.

3. This ecclesiastical document, recorded in 900 AD, defined witchcraft as devil worship but also declared it was nothing more than foolish delusion:

a. the Reformation

b. the Papal Reform Movement

c. Nicene Creed

d. the Canon Episcopi

The Canon Episcopi was one of the most important ecclesiastical documents of the Middle Ages. It defined Witchcraft as devil worship, but also declared it to be nothing more than foolish delusion. The Nicene Crede is the statement of Christian beliefs, put together at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.

4. Who passed the first statute against witchcraft in England, allowing the civil courts to try and punish witches?

a. James I

b. Edward IV

c. Henry VIII

d. Henry I

Passed in 1542, this law allowed witches to be tried and punished by the state, instead of just by the church. It made it a felony to be involved with magickal acts of malevolence, and made Love Magick a crime worthy of capitol punishment.

5. The 1604 Witchcraft Act in England was repealed in 1736, but a new law was put into its place. This new law

a. punished those who claimed to possess magickal powers with prison time of up to one year and public humiliation

b. repealed the death penalty but replaced it with life in prison

c. required the payment of hefty penalty fees if caught practicing magick

d. eliminated seeking confessions through the use of torture

The 1604 Witchcraft Act was repealed by George II, and in its place was a new statute that included persecution of those who pretended to possess magickal powers. The punishment dropped from the death penalty to one year in jail and time in the stocks.

6. What finally put a stop to the Salem witchcraft trials?

a. the girls accused the wife of the governor

b. one of the witnesses admitting to having lied

c. the girls were sued for slander

d. after the death of the Reverend in charge, the town stopped believing the girls and things just stopped on their own

The girls, drunk on their own power, accused Lady Phips, the wife of the royal governor. That was the last straw. The governor moved the court proceedings out of the village and disallowed any spectral evidence, which removed any proof of witchcraft. Most of those being held were acquitted, and the condemned granted reprieves. This pretty much put an end to the whole sordid affair.

7. Those who accused the “white witch” or healer of witchcraft were often

a. doctors

b. other healers

c. the patients

d. all of the above

Back in the olden days, an accusation of witchcraft was a fairly common way of getting “revenge” on someone you didn’t like. Doctors would sometimes accuse the local healers in cases where their own treatments failed to cure the patient, but more often the accusers were unhappy patients dissatisfied with the results of the healer’s remedies, or other healers attempting to gain more business.

8. He founded the Witches Anti-defamation League in New York City to help ensure Witches religious rights and educate the public about Witchcraft. He also held the first “Witch-In” in Central Park:

a. Raymond Buckland

b. Isaac Bonewits

c. Leo Martello

d. Herman Slater

Leo Martello, who died in 2000, was a hereditary Sicilian Witch who went public with his beliefs in the 1960’s. In attempting to hold the first “Witch-In” in 1970, he ran into problems trying to obtain a permit, and had to call in the services of the ACLU. This led to his founding of the Witches Anti-Defamation League.

9. When were the witchcraft laws removed from the federal statute books in the United States?

a. 1958

b. 1965

c. 1980

d. there was never a federal law against witchcraft

This is something of a trick question. While some individual states or towns still have their own laws against spiritualism and fortune-telling, there has never been a federal law against witchcraft.

10. What time period is traditionally called by Witches as “the Burning Times?”

a. early fourteenth through eighteenth centuries (1300’s – 1700’s)

b. mid-fourteenth through seventeenth centuries (1350’s – 1600’s)

c. mid-fifteenth through eighteenth centuries (1450’s – 1700’s)

d. late sixteenth through nineteenth centuries (1570’s – 1800’s)

This is something of a tricky question. The rumbles that were the beginning of this period of history started during the latter part of the fourteenth century, towards the end of the Black Plague, which some believed was actually facilitated by “the enemies of the church.” While we began to see an increase in trails from 1380’s – 1430’s, it was not until around 1450 that we started to see mass trials and executions on the grounds of witchcraft. The peak time for witch trials was from 1550 – 1650, during the height of the religious strife between the Catholics and the Protestants, also known as the Reformation.

11. The proof of guilt during the Salem witchcraft trials was almost completely based upon

a. physical evidence

b. testimony of neighbors

c. spectral evidence

d. spectral and physical evidence

Many of you said B, the testimony of neighbors. Sorry, folks…this would certainly be the evidence used in the courtroom today, but we have to again go back in history to the views of the time. The only evidence that was allowed at that time was the actual spectral evidence of the girls who claimed they were being tormented by spirits…it was their visions and performances that were used to try the accused – in fact, some of the neighbors even tried to defend the accused; a petition was sent to Governor Phips asking for a reprieve for Rebecca Nurse, but she was executed on July 19, 1692. It was only after the girls accused the Governor’s wife that spectral evidence was thrown out of the courts, and without such the accusations finally died out.

12. The vast majority of witches who died during the Burning Times were condemned by

a. the church courts – the Inquisition

b. the localized secular courts

c. the national secular government courts – the king’s court

d. none of the above

The localized secular courts – these are the courts that were made up of those within the accused’s community – were responsible for the vast majority of accusations…and executions. 90 percent of those brought before them accused of witchcraft met their deaths. Compare this to only 30 percent of those who were brought before the national secular, or king’s courts. In reality, the rate of those brought before the church accused of witchcraft who actually were condemned to death was very low. The purpose of the church Inquisition was to bring the souls of heretics back to the church. In reality, the Spanish Inquisition tried very hard to keep witch trials out of the civil courts, and grant lenient penalties and pardons to those who confessed and repented. While they held control, no witches were condemned. It was not until the secular court regained power that we then saw the executions, with over three hundred people being killed before the Church was able to stop the trials. The truth is….you had a better chance of survival with the church than you did with a jury of your peers!

13. The Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA), an international educational organization, was organized in 1986 by renowned Salem Witch Laurie Cabot. It was originally created in response to

a. a child custody case

b. a prisoner’s rights case

c. the local filming of a movie

d. the town not allowing Laurie Cabot to have her store in Salem

Believe it or not, it all started because of Hollywood. The organization began as a protest against the filming of John Updike’s book The Witches of Eastwick. The WLPA does not handle individual cases, but is an organization for the distribution of information and monitoring of the media.

14. His philosophy about witches laid the foundation for years of persecution at the hands of the Inquisition. His writings influenced the church’s view toward sorcery, moving it away from the Canon Episcopi and in the direction of witchcraft being labeled a heresy:

a. Pope Leo IX

b. Thomas Aquinas

c. Tomas de Torquemada

d. Pope Urban II

Thomas Aquinas (1226 – 1274), a noted author and theologian of his day, believed in the devil as an actual being and that all heretics were, by nature, involved with the devil whether or not they realized it. In another words…if you didn’t follow the teachings of the church, you were thus a heretic – a devil worshipper and witch. Aquinas’s teachings are completely contrary to the Canon Episcopi, which acknowledged the existence of devil worship, but referred to it as foolishness. Aquinas also eliminated the distinction between “good magic” and “malevolent” magic which had been accepted up to that time, and insisted that any practice of magic constituted devil worship, and the only way to deal with such individuals was death by burning. Lovely fellow, wasn’t he?

15. What Christian sec made up the Papal Inquisition and the Inquisitors?

a. Dominicans

b. Franciscans

c. Carmelites

d. Augustinians

Although there were several “orders of friars,” the Dominicans were answerable only to the Pope, having been giving that honor by Pope Gregory IX in 1233.

16. Which country had the highest rate of witch executions?

a. Germany

b. Spain

c. Ireland

d. England

While there were more accusations in Spain, few of them actually led to executions, as the church in Spain was notably lenient in its punishment, and preferred to pardon those who confessed. On the other hand, Germany executed nearly 80% of all those who were accused…and this was largely due to the fact that in Germany, most of the trials were held by local secular courts, and we have already discussed their tendency to be much harsher in their condemnations. Bear in mind that Germany was at this time made up of dozens of small, loosely put together, independent states, that did not necessarily work together as a country. In addition, Germany experienced a high degree of religious strife during the Reformation. Approximately 26,000 people died in Germany.

17. What was the actual site in America where the witchcraft hysteria of 1692 began?

a. Danvers

b. Andover

c. Salem

d. Winchester

In reality, there were never any witchcraft accusations in Salem (but don’t tell Laurie Cabot that!) The accusations actually occurred in what was called Salem Village, later to be known as Danvers. Although nearby and loosely associated, Salem Village was separate from the town of Salem, and they each had their own churches and communities.

18. The Malleus Maleficarum (1486) is also called

a. The Malicious Magic of Witches

b. The Witches Hammer

c. the bloody book

d. the devil’s book

The Witches Hammer or the Hammer Against Witchcraft was a manual for the identification, torture, and prosecution of witches.

19. How did the Witchcraft Act of 1604 differ from earlier witchcraft acts?

a. the 1604 act distinguished between, and allowed for the practice of “good” magick

b. the 1604 act was more lenient than the previous law, allowing for retribution

c. the 1604 act was considerably stricter in its punishment of witches

d. there was little difference between the two

Under the old Elizabethan code, passed by Queen Elizabeth in 1547, if you were found guilty of malicious magick and it was your first offense, your punishment was one year in jail and pillory time. Only a second offense could be punishable by death, and certain offenses spared you with only lifetime imprisonment. With the Witchcraft Act of 1604, any offense of harm by witchcraft received the death penalty – first offense or not. This act was not repealed until 1736.

20. The Council of Witches was formed in 1973 for the purpose of

a. stopping the Witch Wars

b. defining the principles of Wicca

c. electing the “King” and “Queen” of the Witches

d. lobbying for Wicca as a religion

Although it only met for a year before being disbanded in 1974, the Council of American Witches, an alliance of contemporary Witches from a variety of different traditions, was instrumental in creating the Principles of Wiccan Belief, which continue to be embraced as the central core of beliefs held in modern Wicca.

21. Using torture, lies, deceit, and fraud, he was England‘s most notorious professional Witch hunter:

a. Cotton Mather

b. Heinrich Kramer

c. Jakob Sprenger

d. Matthew Hopkins

Matthew Hopkins worked in the early 1600’s as a witch finder for profit, selling his services to towns at a high price. He is known to have condemned at least 230 people to the gallows, using methods of torture, lies and deceit. He was very successful and much in demand for a time, but eventually he was criticized for his greed and excessive force, and disappeared in 1647.

22. There were _____ people accused and _____ people executed during the Salem witchcraft trials

a. 50 accused, 8 executed

b. 96 accused, 13 executed

c. 160 accused, 19 executed

d. 250 accused, 26 executed

There were 50 accusers (those who claimed to see specters and witches), over 160 people accused, 31 condemned, and 19 executed. One person died under torture, and at least 13 died in prison during the Salem witch trials of 1692 and 1693. The ages of those accused ranged from four years of age to eighty years of age.

23. Who was/were the author(s) of the Malleus Maleficarum?

a. King Henry VIII

b. Reginald Scott and Pope Innocent VIII

c. Henrich Kramer and Jakob Sprenger

d. Thomas Aquinas

Kramer and Sprenger were both Dominican monks. Kramer, who was the primary author of the Malleus, was appointed Inquisitor for the provinces of Tyrol, Bohemia, Salzburg, and Moravia (in the geographical area of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). He was eventually kicked out of the order for various reasons. Sprenger was later named regent of studies at Cologne Convent.

24. Which king passed the Witchcraft Act of 1604, and why did he hate witches?

a. Edward VI; a coven refused to let him join

b. Richard II; he believed they were spying on him

c. Henry V; he wanted a horse, but they gave him a cow

d. James I; he believed a coven was working “black magic” toward him

King James, who was also James VI of Scotland. James had developed a personal vendetta against witches after hearing that a coven claimed to have tried to sink his ship by using weather magick as he traveled from Denmark. He also authored a book on the malicious and evil nature of witches, called Daemonologie, in 1597. He did mellow in his older age and pardoned several accused witches for lack of evidence.

25. What did Pope Innocent IV do to help open the way for the Burning Times?

a. allowed for the confiscation of a convicted heretic’s possessions

b. gave permission to torture witches

c. labeled witches as heretics

d. ordered that all witches must be burned at the stake

Innocent IV expanded the prohibitions against heresy, and encouraged enforcement by granting permission to the secular authorities to use torture, imprisonment, and execution on behalf of the church, and once guilt was established, permission to confiscate the personal possessions of heretics. In another words, he made it profitable to become a “witch-hunter.”

26. The Malleus Maleficarum was reproduced numerous times over the years. How often was it reprinted before being discontinued?

a. sixteen editions

b. twenty editions

c. thirty editions

d. it is still available

Believe it or not, it is still available, and you can even buy it at Amazon. This book was actually a best seller, second only to the Bible, until 1678. There were 16 editions of it by 1669, and it is being published today, although it is now studied more for its historical and theological content than as a factual identification of witches.

27. This group was founded at Carleton College in 1963 as a protest against the college’s required religious service attendance. The popularity of their rituals was one of the impetuses for revoking of the campus policy, yet they continued to meet, giving rise to one of the leading Pagan Druid organizations:

a. Ar nDraiocht Fein

b. New Druids of the United States

c. Reformed Druids of North America

d. White Willow Coven

While it would be easy to think the answer is A, it is actually C. The ironic thing is that the Reformed Druids of North America began as a joke, but quickly became a popular movement that extended well beyond Carleton College to groves throughout the United States. Interestingly enough, Isaac Bonewits – probably one of the best known North American Druids – was introduced to Druidism through his roommate Robert Larson, who was an alumnus of Carleton College and heavily involved in the RDNA. Together they established a grove in California, and Bonewits then went on to found Ar nDraiocht Fein in 1983.

28. In 1993, when this event was held for the first time in a century, Witches and Pagans were granted not only representation but also active participation and acceptance as a religion:

a. the opening of Stonehenge to the public

b. the Parliament of World Religions

c. Harvard University’s Gathering of Religions

d. the International Folk and Mythology Festival

Witches and Pagans were well represented at the Parliament of World Religions. This event was a gathering of the leaders of world faiths for sharing information and addressing concerns. One or two groups left the Parliament in protest of the Pagans being there, and many others thought that these witches were loony. However, after a few days of hard questioning, it was recognized that Wicca and other Pagan Paths are a true legitimate religion, and a representative of the Pagan Community signed the Parliament’s statement of religious tolerance. A permit for a full moon circle was originally rejected by the city of Chicago (where the Parliament was taking place), only to have Cardinal Bernardin of the Archdiocese of Chicago, along with other members of the Parliament, step forward to object. The permit was granted, and more than three hundred people, from a wide variety of faiths, joined hands to participate in this landmark event.

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