Do Witches exist?
To paraphrase a meme that has floated around the net for a while now, “If somebody self — indentifies as a witch we must accept them as a witch.
Statistics on the numbers of people killed for being witches have been the subject of a lot of discussion in Britain. Those who think themselves rationalists will claim records show only a few hundred at most women were executed after being found guilty of witchcraft. This is true — sort of. Due process for those accused of witchcraft could be tried in many ways, none of which involved counsels for prosecution and defence, presentation of evidence or deliberations by a jury.
All in fact involved tests to ascertain if Satan would protect the accused. If her body was weighted with stones and thrown into a river or pond, Satan would make her weightless and she was thus proved guilty, likewise if she was thrown from a church tower, Satan would prove her guilt by carrying her gently to earth. If she was hanged Satan would grip her legs and hold her up. And if she was thrown into a fire (we didn’t do that in England, we’re not animals,) as was the practice in Scotland and France, naturally Satan would not allow the flames to touch her.
So while few women were executed having been found guilty of witchcraft, many were killed for being not guilty.
It is worth noting that in the era of women being hanged for prescribing a cup of willowbark tea for headaches, and barber surgeons being threated with suspicion because they successfully set bones and amputated limbs (cauterising the stump with hot irons,) priest — physicians often condemed their patients to a painful death by treating open wounds with a poultice of dung and urine ‘to draw out evil humors’, witches were risked death by bathing an oprn would with warm wine, closing it by stitching the edges, applying a salve of anti septic herbs and binding it with clean cloth.
If people knew the real history of witches and how they have been treated by the Abrahamic religions, they might change their views.