19 May 2012

Suicide Witchcraft

The Malleus Maleficarum by Kramer and Sprenger, 1489, Excerpts

After they have admitted their crimes, they try to commit suicide by strangling or hanging themselves. And they are induced to do this by the Enemy, lest they should obtain pardon from God through sacramental confession. We have often learned from the confessions of those whom we have caused to be burned, that they have not been willing agents of witchcraft. Similarly, after they have confessed their crimes under torture they always try to hang themselves; and this we know for a fact; for after the confession of their crimes, guards are deputed to watch them all the time, and even then, when the guards have been negligent, they have been found hanged with their shoe-laces or garments

In conclusion we may say that it is as difficult, or more difficult, to compel a witch to tell the truth as it is to exorcise a person possessed of the devil.

Demons taking soul of hanged peasant girl. Engraving, 1520

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