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BURNING TIMES BULL

By The Notorious Doctor Zoom Zoom

Before 1975, researchers used the anti-witch sermons and manuals of the era mostly from Roman Catholic sources. These manuals were deliberately attempting to create witch hysteria, and aren't reliable. It wasn't until after 1975 that researchers began to use the court documents of the trials and the surviving letters of the accused. Court records gave data collected by the people that were actually present at the trials, such as the verdicts, the testimony of the accused, and property confiscated. But most Wiccans still love to recite the faulty pre-1975 data

In a period of about 400 years, a more realistic number of people executed for witchcraft is around 65,000...and that's the high end estimation. The lowest estimation figure is around 4,500. The majority of these executions happened in France, Germany, and Switzerland. Some of them may have been actually guilty of some form of sorcery or another. The majority of them were probably innocent of being sorcerers, but just happened to get on the wrong side of the authorities for whatever reason.

   New examination of records from the period show that the women executed were usually poor, unattractive and anti-social. According to some authorities such as Rossel Robbins, the Roman Catholic Church began to take an interest in executing witches beginning in the 14th century A.D. because it had gotten rid of those it deemed "heretics". In essence, they needed a new source of heretics, according to Robbins, and witches fit the bill. The executions of these people were carried out by the state, not the Church as is usually supposed (Refer to The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology by R.H. Robbins for more details). There were even cases where Churches protected women accused of witchcraft by angry mobs! Yes, you read that right, but don't expect it to appear in any Silver Ravenwolf books anytime soon.

  In any case, these accused people were NOT Wiccans. The execution of people accused of sorcery is a dark period in Western civilization indeed, but we should get the facts straight about it. Anyone who tries to make these poeple into survivors of an underground religion when they were not, or inflate the figures of those executed is doing nothing but exploiting the deaths of these people for their own gain. They are not better than the people who used the executions of these people to take their land and possesions.

    Again, I am not trying to downplay the executions of these people so long ago, even if the figures have been grossly exaggerated. . It is a black mark on Western history. The point I am making is that these people were NOT Wiccans! Nor is it likely these people were part of any kind of a Pagan religion at all! As already mentioned, even by liberal estimates, it is believed Paganism was abandoned in even the most remote parts of Europe by 1200 A.D. Yes, a spell or superstition survived here and there, but there was no organized underground Pagan religion. If the Internet is any indication however, most followers of Wicca believe they are the victims of a Medieval holocaust, which would imply they believe by and large in the "caveman Wicca" theory, as opposed to the "reconstructionist movement" theory. But even most of the so-called "reconstructionists" still get riled up about these so called "Burning Times" and state how "it will always be a part of Wiccan lore". Why? Because these types need an invented history replete with "xtian persecution".

The Witch Trials Were Really About Money
                                                                                         
Unscrupulous, evil men conducted the witch trials not to stamp out some underground Pagan religion, but rather for monetary gain! When  The Witch's Hammer was first published, the idea  of  hunting witches did not catch on right away, and seems to have slowly developed over a century. Some people out there realized there was money to be made from these trials, and that's when the witch hunts got into full swing.


 When witch trials were conducted, someone had to foot the bill. The judges, witch-finders, jailers, executioners, etc., all had to be paid. The property of the condemned witches were seized to make payment. If the condemned "witch" had no property or money but worked for a noblemen, then the noblemen was forced to foot the bill. Had the funding for these trials never been allowed in the firstplace, the Witch Hunt Era would have never happened to begin with.  

Why The Witch Trials Finally Came To An End

   Once the money dried up, it's no coincidence that the witch trials vanished. In 1630 Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinan II forbade the appropriation of property of accused witches by the courts. This action (Surprise! Surprise!) caused accusations of witchcraft to sharply decline and then cease altogether by the following year.  In Bamberg, for instance,  there had been an average of 100 executions for witchcraft (again, not Wicca or Neopaganism, but Christians wrongfully accused of sorcery) a year between 1626 to 1629. There were 24 executions in 1630,  and then in 1631 there were none. In other regions where similar laws were passed, the witch hunts also stopped. Obviously the motive in the hearts of these later witch hunters had not been religious fanaticism and superstition as it had been with Sprenger and Kramer and their ilk, nor had it been to stop the Wicca or a goddess religion since Paganism had been abandoned centuries before.

The real motivation behind this horrible practice was money and financial gain, plain and simple, not the persecution of a rival religion! Jesus of Nazareth was certainly right when he said the love of money is the root of all evil.

HISTORIANS SUCH AS PROFESSOR RONALD HUTTON AND PROFESSOR R.H. ROBBINS (AMONG NUMEROUS OTHERS) HAVE CONCLUDED THERE WERE NO PAGANS KILLED DURING THE SO-CALLED "BURNING TIMES"! PAGANISM HAD BEEN ABANDONED CENTURIES PRIOR AND WAS GONE FROM EUROPE BY THE 12TH CENTURIES EVEN IN THE MOST REMOTE PARTS OF EUROPE! True, there was a superstition here or there, but one superstition does not make an underground religion.
   

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