The Strange Early Skepticism About Flying Witches

In the folklore surrounding witches, there are clues in the literature that show there were always men who knew that accusing someone of witchcraft was, deep down, a religious theater of sorts designed to control unruly women. If you believed that a witch could put a hex on someone or consort with the devil in the pale moonlight, why was their ability to fly a bridge too far?

A manuscript from 1451 depicts witches flying on staffs and brooms to their witch's sabbath. Other texts followed that either furthered this notion or tried to explain it away with drugs. The witch's ointments and potions gave them the illusion that they flew through the air. The church actually held that view from the 10th century that demons seduced women into the thinking that they could fly. But accounts of drug use that led to the illusion and the actual flying both came from authorities that did the accusing, not from women who were considered to be witches, unless they were under torture to admit such things. Read about the idea of flying witches and what it says about witchcraft mania at the Conversation. -via Strange Company 

(Image credit: Martin Le France

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