Wednesday, April 15, 2015

James I and Witchcraft

If James had been brought up by his mother he would not have been such a fanatic. To quote:
Upon returning to Scotland, James had no fewer than seventy of his subjects rounded up on suspicion of bewitching his fleet and that of his new wife. He personally superintended the interrogation of many of the suspects, including the ringleader – a 'wise woman' named Agnes Sampson. Taking 'great delight' in her torture, he was dismayed when she suddenly called a halt to the proceedings and beckoned the king to her. She then whispered something in his ear that made him go as white as a sheet. It transpired that she had repeated the very words that had passed between James and Anne on their wedding night – words that no other mortal soul could possibly have known. If James needed any further proof that witches existed, this was it. He sent Agnes straight to the flames. Thousands more of his subjects – both in Scotland and (after 1603) in England would perish for the same crime. (Read more.)

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