The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Sprenger

Possibly the world's most popular inclination, the impulse to export your suffering to another seems to be near-universal. Not confined to any race, sex, or age category, the impulse to cause pain appears to well up from deep inside human beings. This is mysterious, because no one seems to enjoy pain when it is inflicted on them. Go figure.

The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Sprenger

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:38 am

of Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger
Translated with an Introduction Bibliography & Notes by The Reverend Montague Summers




Table of Contents:

• Back Cover
• Introduction to 1948 Edition
• Introduction to 1928 Edition
• A Note Upon the Bibliography
• The Bull of Innocent VIII: Innocent, Bishop, Servant of the servants of God, for an eternal remembrance
• The First Part
o Part One
 Question 1: Whether the belief that there are such beings as witches is so essential a part of the Catholic faith that obstinately to maintain the opposite opinion manifestly savours of heresy.
 Question 2: If it be in Accordance with the Catholic Faith to maintain that in Order to bring about some Effect of Magic, the Devil must intimately co-operate with the Witch, or whether one without the other, that is to say, the Devil without the Witch, or conversely, could produce such an Effect.
 Question 3: Whether children can be generated by Incubi and Succubi.
 Question 4: By which Devils are the Operations of Incubus and Succubus Practised?
 Question 5: What is the Source of the Increase of Works of Witchcraft? Whence comes it that the Practice of Witchcraft hath so notably increased?
 Question 6: Concerning Witches who copulate with Devils. Why is it that Women are chiefly addicted to Evil superstitions?
 Question 7: Whether Witches can Sway the Minds of Men to Love or Hatred.
 Question 8: Whether Witches can hebetate the Powers of Generation or obstruct the Venereal Act.
 Question 9: Whether Witches may work some Prestidigatory Illusion so that the Male Organ appears to be entirely removed and separate from the Body.
 Question 10: Whether Witches can by some Glamour Change Men into Beasts.
 Question 11: That Witches who are Midwives in Various Ways Kill the Child Conceived in the Womb, and Procure an Abortion; or if they do not this Offer New-born Children to Devils.
 Question 12: Whether the Permission of Almighty God is an Accompaniment of Witchcraft.
 Question 13: Herein is set forth the Question, concerning the Two Divine Permissions which God justly allows, namely, that the Devil, the Author or all Evil, should Sin, and that our First Parents should Fall, from which Origins the Works of Witches are justly suffered to take place.
 Question 14: The Enormity of Witches is Considered, and it is shown that the Whole Matter should be rightly Set Forth and Declared.
 Question 15: It is Shown that, on Account of the Sins of Witches, the Innocent are often Bewitched, yea, Sometimes even for their Own Sins.
 Question 16: The Foregoing Truths are Set out in Particular, this by a Comparison of the Works of Witches with Other Baleful Superstitions.
 Question 17: A Comparison of their Crimes under Fourteen Heads, with the Sins of the Devils of all and every Kind.
 Question 18: Here follows the Method of Preaching against and Controverting Five Arguments of Laymen and Lewd Folk, which seem to be Variously Approved, that God does not Allow so Great Power to the Devil and Witches as is involved in the Performance of such Mighty Works of Witchcraft.
• The Second Part
o Question 1: Of those against whom the Power of Witches availeth not at all.
 Chapter 1: Of the several Methods by which Devils through Witches Entice and Allure the Innocent to the Increase of that Horrid Craft and Company.
 Chapter 2: Of the Way whereby a Formal Pact with Evil is made.
 Chapter 3: How they are Transported from Place to Place.
 Chapter 4: Here follows the Way whereby Witches copulate with those Devils known as Incubi.
 Chapter 5: Witches commonly perform their Spells through the Sacraments of the Church. And how they Impair the Powers of Generation, and how they may Cause other Ills to happen to God’s Creatures of all kinds. But herein we except the Question of the Influence of the Stars.
 Chapter 6: How Witches Impede and Prevent the Power of Procreation.
 Chapter 7: How, as it were, they Deprive Man of his Virile Member.
 Chapter 8: Of the Manner whereby they Change Men into the Shapes of Beasts.
 Chapter 9: How Devils may enter the Human Body and the Head without doing any Hurt, when they cause such Metamorphosis by Means of Prestidigitation.
 Chapter 10: Of the Method by which Devils through the Operations of Witches sometimes actually possess men.
 Chapter 11: Of the Method by which they can Inflict Every Sort of Infirmity, generally Ills of the Graver Kind.
 Chapter 12: Of the Way how in Particular they Afflict Men with Other Like Infirmities.
 Chapter 13: How Witch Midwives commit most Horrid Crimes when they either Kill Children or Offer them to Devils in most Accursed Wise.
 Chapter 14: Here followeth how Witches Injure Cattle in Various Ways.
 Chapter 15: How they Raise and Stir up Hailstorms and Tempests, and Cause Lightning to Blast both Men and Beasts.
 Chapter 16: Of Three Ways in which Mean and Women may be Discovered to be Addicted to Witchcraft: Divided into Three Heads: and First of the Witchcraft of Archers.
o Question 2: Introduction, wherein is Set Forth the Difficulty of this Question.
 Chapter 1: The Remedies prescribed by the Holy Church against Incubus and Succubus Devils.
 Chapter 2: Remedies prescribed for Those who are Bewitched by the Limitation of the Generative Power.
 Chapter 3: Remedies prescribed for those who are Bewitched by being Inflamed with Inordinate Love or Extraordinary Hatred.
 Chapter 4: Remedies prescribed for those who by Prestidigitative Art have lost their Virile Members or have seemingly been Transformed into the Shapes of Beasts.
 Chapter 5: Prescribed Remedies for those who are Obsessed owing to some Spell.
 Chapter 6: Prescribed Remedies; to wit, the Lawful Exorcisms of the Church, for all Sorts of Infirmities and Ills due to Witchcraft; and the Method of Exorcising those who are Bewitched.
 Chapter 7: Remedies prescribed against Hailstorms, and for Animals that are Bewitched.
 Chapter 8: Certain Remedies prescribed against those Dark and Horrid Harms with which Devils may Afflict Men.
• The Third Part
o Question 1: General & Introductory: Who are the Fit and Proper Judges in the Trial of Witches?
 The First Head
 Question 1: The Method of Initiating a Process.
 Question 2: Of the Number of Witnesses.
 Question 3: Of the Solemn Adjuration and Re-examination of Witnesses.
 Question 4: Of the Quality and Condition of Witnesses.
 Question 5: Whether Mortal Enemies may be Admitted as Witnesses.
 The Second Head
 Question 6: How the Trial is to be Proceeded with and Continued. And how the Witnesses are to be Examined in the Presence of Four Other Persons, and how the Accused is to be Questioned in Two Ways.
 Question 7: In Which Various Doubts are Set Forth with Regard to the Foregoing Questions and Negative Answers. Whether the Accused is to be Imprisoned, and when she is to be considered Manifestly Taken in the Foul Heresy of Witchcraft. This is the Second Action.
 Question 8: Which Follows from the Preceding Question, Whether the Witch is to be Imprisoned, and of the Method of Taking her. This is the Third Action of the Judge.
 Question 9: What is to be done after the Arrest, and whether the Names of the Witnesses should be made Known to the Accused. This is the Fourth Action.
 Question 10: What Kind of Defence may be Allowed, and of the Appointment of an Advocate. This is the Fifth Action.
 Question 11: What Course the Advocate should Adopt when the Names of the Witnesses are not Revealed to him. The Sixth Action.
 Question 12: Of the Same Matter, Declaring more Particularly how the Question of Personal Enmity is to be Investigated. The Seventh Action.
 Question 13: Of the Points to be Observed by the Judge before the Formal Examination in the Place of Detention and Torture. This is the Eighth Action.
 Question 14: Of the Method of Sentencing the Accused to be Questioned: and How she must be Questioned on the First Day; and Whether she may be Promised her Life. The Ninth Action.
 Question 15: Of the Continuing of the Torture, and of the Devices and Signs by which the Judge can Recognize a Witch; and how he ought to Protect himself from their Spells. Also how they are to be Shaved in Parts where they use to Conceal the Devil’s Masks and Tokens; together with the due Setting Forth of Various Means of Overcoming the Obstinacy in Keeping Silence and Refusal to Confess. And it is the Tenth Action.
 Question 16: Of the fit Time and of the Method of the Second Examination. And it is the Eleventh Action, concerning the Final Precautions to be Observed by the Judge.
 The Third Head: Which is the Last Part of the Work: How the Process is to be Concluded by the Pronouncement of a Definite and Just Sentence.
 Question 17: Of Common Purgation, and especially of the Trial of Red-hot Iron, to which Witches Appeal.
 Question 18: Of the Manner of Pronouncing a Sentence which is Final and Definitive.
 Question 19: Of the Various Degrees of Overt Suspicion which render the Accused liable to be Sentenced.
 Question 20: Of the First Method of Pronouncing Sentence.
 Question 21: Of the Second Method of Pronouncing Sentence, when the Accused is no more than Defamed.
 Question 22: Of the Third Kind of Sentence, to be Pronounced on one who is Defamed, and who is to be put to the Question.
 Question 23: The Fourth Method of Sentencing, in the Case of one Accused upon a Light Suspicion.
 Question 24: The Fifth Manner of Sentence, in the Case of one under Strong Suspicion.
 Question 25: The Sixth Kind of Sentence, in the Case of one who is Gravely Suspect.
 Question 26: The Method of passing Sentence upon one who is both Suspect and Defamed.
 Question 27: The Method of passing Sentence upon one who hath Confessed to Heresy, but is still not Penitent.
 Question 28: The Method of passing Sentence upon one who hath Confessed to Heresy but is Relapsed, Albeit now Penitent.
 Question 29: The Method of passing Sentence upon one who hath Confessed to Heresy but is Impenitent, although not Relapsed.
 Question 30: Of One who has Confessed to Heresy, is Relapsed, and is also Impenitent.
 Question 31: Of One Taken and Convicted, but Denying Everything
 Question 32: Of One who is Convicted but who hath Fled or who Contumaciously Absents himself.
 Question 33: Of the Method of passing Sentence upon one who has been Accused by another Witch, who has been or is to be Burned at the Stake.
 Question 34: Of the Method of passing Sentence upon a Witch who Annuls Spells wrought by Witchcraft; and of Witch Midwives and Archer-Wizards.
 Question 35: Finally, of the Method of Passing Sentence upon Witches who Enter or Cause to be Entered an Appeal, whether such be Frivolous or Legitimate and Just.
• Letter of Approbation: Official Letter of Approbation of the Malleus Maleficarum from The Faculty of Theology of the Honourable University of Cologne
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:39 am

Back Cover

For nearly three centuries Malleus Maleficarum (The Witches' Hammer) was the professional manual for witch hunters. This work by two of the most famous Inquisitors of the age is still a document of the force of that era's beliefs. Under a Bull of Pope Innocent VIII, Kramer and Sprenger exposed the heresy of those who did not believe in witches and set forth the proper order of the world with devils, witches, and the will of God. Even if you do not believe in witchcraft, the world of 1484 did.

Contemporary cases illustrate methods by which witches attempt to control and subvert the world: How and why women roast their first-born male child; the confession of how to raise a tempest by a washwoman suspended "hardly clear of the ground" by her thumbs; methods of making a formal pact with the Devil; how witches deprive men of their vital member; and many others. Methods of destroying and curing witchcraft, such as remedies against incubus and succubus devils, are exemplified and weighed by the authors.

Formal rules for initiating a process of justice are set down: how it should be conducted and the method of pronouncing sentence; when to use the trial by the red-hot iron; how the prosecutor should protect himself; how the body is to be shaved and searched for tokens and amulets, including those sewn under the skin. As Summers says, it was the casebook on every magistrate's desk.

Montague Summers has given a very sympathetic translation. His two introductions are filled with examples of witchcraft and the historical importance of Malleus Maleficarum. This famous document should interest the historian, the student of witchcraft and the occult, and the psychologist who is interested in the medieval mind as it was confronted with various forces which could be explained only by witchcraft.

Unabridged republication of the 1928 edition. Introduction to the 1948 edition is also included. Translation, notes, and two introductions by Montague Summers. A Bull of Innocent VIII.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:39 am


It has been observed that “it is quite impossible to appreciate and understand the true and inner lives of men and women in Elizabethan and Stuart England, in the France of Louis XIII and during the long reign of his son and successor, in Italy of the Renaissance and the Catholic Reaction - to name but three European countries and a few definite periods - unless we have some realization of the part that Witchcraft played in those ages amid the affairs of these Kingdoms. All classes were affected and concerned from Pope to peasant, from Queen to cottage girl.”

Witchcraft was inextricably mixed with politics. Matthew Paris tells us how in 1232 the Chief Justice Hubert de Burgh, Earl of Kent, (Shakespeare’s “gentle Hubert” in King John), was accused by Peter do Roches, Bishop of Winchester, of having won the favour of Henry III through “charms and incantations”. In 1324 there was a terrific scandal at Coventry when it was discovered that a number of the richest and most influential burghers of the town had long been consulting with Master John, a professional necromancer, and paying him large sums to bring about by his arts the death of Edward II and several nobles of the court. Alice Perrers, the mistress pf Edward III, was not only reputed to have infatuated the old King by occult spells, but her physician (believed to be a mighty sorcerer) was arrested on a charge of confecting love philtres and talismans. Henry V, in the autumn of 1419, prosecuted his stepmother, Joan of Navarre, for attempting to kill him by witchcraft, “in the most horrible manner that one could devise.” The conqueror of Agincourt was exceedingly worried about the whole wretched business, as also was the Archbishop of Canterbury, who ordered public prayers for the King’s safety. In the reign of his son, Henry VI, in 1441, one of the highest and noblest ladies in the realm, Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester, was arraigned for conspiring with “a clerk”, Roger Bolingbroke, “a most notorious evoker of demons”, and “the most famous scholar in the whole world in astrology in magic”, to procure the death of the young monarch by sorcery, so that the Duke of Gloucester, Henry’s uncle and guardian, might succeed to the crown. In this plot were further involved Canon Thomas Southwell, and a “relapsed witch”, that is to say, one who had previously (eleven years before) been incarcerated upon grave suspicion of black magic, Margery Jourdemayne. Bolingbroke, whose confession implicated the Duchess, was hanged; Canon Southwell died in prison; the witch in Smithfield was “burn’d to Ashes”, since her offence was high treason. The Duchess was sentenced to a most degrading public penance, and imprisoned for life in Peel Castle, Isle of Man. Richard III, upon seizing the throne in 1483, declared that the marriage of his brother, Edward IV, with the Lady Elizabeth Grey, had been brought about by “sorcery and witchcraft”, and further that “Edward’s wife, that monstrous witch, has plotted with Jane Shore to waste and wither his body.” Poor Jane Shore did most exemplary penance, walking the flinty streets of London barefoot in her kirtle. In the same year when Richard wanted to get rid of the Duke of Buckingham, his former ally, one of the chief accusations he launched was that the Duke consulted with a Cambridge “necromancer” to compass and devise his death.

One of the most serious and frightening events in the life of James VII of Scotland (afterwards James I of England) was the great conspiracy of 1590, organized by the Earl of Bothwell. James with good reason feared and hated Bothwell, who, events amply proved, was Grand Master of more than one hundred witches, all adepts in poisoning, and all eager to do away with the King. In other words, Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell, was the centre and head of a vast political plot. A widespread popular panic was the result of the discovery of this murderous conspiracy.

In France as early as 583, when the infant son and heir of King Chilperic, died of dysentery, as the doctors diagnosed it, it came to light that Mumolus, one of the leading officials of the court, had been secretly administering to the child medicines, which he obtained from “certain witches of Paris”. These potions were pronounced by the physicians to be strong poisons. In 1308, Guichard, Bishop of Troyes, was accused of having slain by sorcery the Queen of Philip IV of France (1285-1314), Jeanne of Navarre, who died three years before. The trial dragged on from 1308 to 1313, and many witnesses attested on oath that the prelate had continually visited certain notorious witches, who supplied him philtres and draughts. In 1315, during the brief reign (1314-1316) of Louis X, the eldest son of Philip IV, was hanged Enguerrand de Marigny, chamberlain, privy councillor, and chief favourite of Philip, whom, it was alleged, he had bewitched to gain the royal favour. The fact, however, which sealed his doom was his consultation with one Jacobus de Lor, a warlock, who was to furnish a nostrum warranted to put a very short term to the life of King Louis. Jacobus strangled himself in prison.

In 1317 Hugues Géraud, Bishop of Cahors, was executed by Pope John XXII, who reigned 1316-1334, residing at Avignon. Langlois says that the Bishop had attempted the Pontiff’s life by poison procured from witches.

Perhaps the most resounding of all scandals of this kind in France was the La Voison case, 1679-1682, when it was discovered that Madame de Montespan had for years been trafficking with a gang of poisoners and sorcerers, who plotted the death of the Queen and the Dauphan, so that Louis XIV might be free to wed Athénais de Montespan, whose children should inherit the throne. The Duchesse de Fontanges, a beautiful young country girl, who had for a while attracted the wayward fancy of Louis, they poisoned out of hand. Money was poured out like water, and it has been said that “the entire floodtide of poison, witchcraft and diabolism was unloosed” to attain the ends of that “marvellous beauty” (so Mme. de Sévigné calls her), the haughty and reckless Marquise de Montespan. In her thwarted fury she well nigh resolved to sacrifice Louis himself to her overweening ambition and her boundless pride. The highest names in France - the Princesse de Tingry, the Duchesse de Vitry, the Duchesse de Lusignan, the Duchesse de Bouillon, the Comtesse de Soissons, the Duc de Luxembourg, the Marguis de Cessac - scores of the older aristocracy, were involved, whilst literally hundreds of venal apothecaries, druggists, pseudo-alchemists, astrologers, quacks, warlocks, magicians, charlatans, who revolved round the ominous and terrible figure of Catherine La Voisin, professional seeress, fortune-teller, herbalist, beauty-specialist, were caught in the meshes of law. No less than eleven volumes of François Ravaison’s huge work, Archives de la Bastille, are occupied with this evil crew and their doings, their sorceries and their poisonings.

During the reign of Urban VIII, Maffeo Barberini, 1623-1644, there was a resounding scandal at Rome when it was discovered that “after many invocations of demons” Giacinto Contini, nephew of the Cardinal d’Ascoli, had been plotting with various accomplices to put an end to the Pope’s life, and thus make way for the succession of his uncle to the Chair of Peter. Tommaso Orsolini of Recanate, moreover, after consulting with certain scryers and planetarians, readers of the stars, was endeavouring to bribe the apothecary Carcurasio of Naples to furnish him with a quick poison, which might be mingled with the tonics and electuaries prescribed for the ailing Pontiff, (Ranke, History of the Popes, ed. 1901, Vol. III, pp. 375-6).

To sum up, as is well observed by Professor Kittredge, who more than once emphasized “I have no belief in the black art or in the interference of demons in the daily life of mortals”, it makes no difference whether any of the charges were true or whether the whole affairs were hideous political chicanery. “Anyhow, it reveals the beliefs and the practices of the age.”

Throughout the centuries witchcraft was universally held to be a dark and horrible reality; it was an ever-present, fearfully ominous menace, a thing most active, most perilous, most powerful and true. Some may consider these mysteries and cantrips and invocations, these sabbats and rendezvous, to have been merest mummery and pantomime, but there is no question that the psychological effect was incalculable, and harmful in the highest degree. It was, to use a modern phrase, “a war of nerves”. Jean Bodin, the famous juris-consult (1530-90) whom Montaigne acclaims to be the highest literary genius of his time, and who, as a leading member of the Parlement de Paris, presided over important trials, gives it as his opinion that there existed, no only in France, a complete organization of witches, immensely wealthy, of almost infinite potentialities, most cleverly captained, with centres and cells in every district, utilizing an espionage in ever land, with high-placed adherents at court, with humble servitors in the cottage. This organization, witchcraft, maintained a relentless and ruthless war against the prevailing order and settled state. No design was too treacherous, no betrayal was too cowardly, no blackmail too base and foul. The Masters lured their subjects with magnificent promises, they lured and deluded and victimized. Not the least dreaded and dreadful weapon in their armament was the ancient and secret knowledge of poisons (veneficia), of herbs healing and hurtful, a tradition and a lore which had been handed down from remotest antiquity.

Little wonder, then, that later social historians, such as Charles Mackay and Lecky, both absolutely impartial and unprejudiced writers, sceptical even, devote many pages, the result of long and laborious research, to witchcraft. The did not believe in witchcraft as in any sense supernatural, although perhaps abnormal. But the centuries of which they were writing believed intensely in it, and it was their business as scholars to examine and explain the reasons for such belief. It was by no means all mediæval credulity and ignorance and superstition. MacKay and Lecky fully recognized this, as indeed they were in all honesty bound to do. They met with facts, hard facts, which could neither have been accidents nor motiveless, and these facts must be accounted for and elucidated. The profoundest thinkers, the acutest and most liberal minds of their day, such men as Cardan; Trithemius; the encylcopædic Delrio; Bishop Binsfeld; the learned physician, Caspar Peucer; Jean Bodin; Sir Edward Coke, “father of the English law”; Francis Bacon; Malebranche; Bayle; Glanvil; Sir Thomas Browne; Cotton Mather; all these, and scores besides, were convinced of the dark reality of witchcraft, of the witch organization. Such a consensus of opinion throughout the years cannot be lightly dismissed.

The literature of the subject, discussing it in every detail, from every point of view, from every angle, is enormous. For example, such a Bibliography as that of Yve-Plessis, 1900, which deals only with leading French cases and purports to be no more than a supplement to the Bibliographies of Græsse, the Catalogues of the Abbé Sépher, Ouvaroff, the comte d’Ourches, the forty-six volumes of Dr. Hoefer, Shieble, Stanislas de Guaita, and many more, lists nearly 2,000 items, and in a note we are warned that the work is very far from complete. The Manuel Bibliographique, 3 vols., 1912, of Albert L. Caillet, gives 11,648 items. Caillet has many omissions, some being treatises of the first importance. The library of witchcraft may without exaggeration be said to be incalculable.

It is hardly disputed that in the whole vast literature of witchcraft, the most prominent, the most important, the most authorative volume is the Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer) of Heinrich Kramer (Henricus Institoris) and James Sprenger. The date of the first edition of the Malleus cannot be fixed with absolute certainty, but the likeliest year is 1486. There were, at any rate, fourteen editions between 1487 and 1520, and at least sixteen editions between 1574 and 1669. These were issued from the leading German, French and Italian presses. The latest reprint of the original text of the Malleus is to be found in the noble four volume collection of Treatises on Witchcraft, “sumptibus Claudii Bourgeat”, 4to., Lyons, 1669. There is a modern German translation by J.W.R. Schmidt, Der Hexehammer, 3 vols., Berlin, 1906; second edition, 1922-3. There is also an English translation with Introduction, Bibliography, and Notes by Montague Summers, published John Rodker, 1928.

The Malleus acquired especial weight and dignity from the famous Bull of Pope Innocent VIII, Summis desiderantes affectibus of 9 December, 1484, in which the Pontiff, lamenting the power and prevalence of the witch organization, delegates Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger as inquisitors of these pravities throughout Northern Germany, particularly in the provinces and dioceses of Mainz, Cologne, Tréves, Salzburg, and Bremen, granting both and either of them an exceptional authorization, and by Letters Apostolic requiring the Bishop of Strasburg, Albrecht von Bayern (1478-1506), not only to take steps to publish and proclaim the Bull, but further to afford Kramer and Sprenger every assistance, even calling in, if necessary, the help of the secular arm.

This Bull, which was printed as the Preface to the Malleus, was thus, comments Dr. H.C. Lea, “spread broadcast over Europe”. In fact, “it fastened on European jurisprudence for nearly three centuries the duty of combating” the Society of Witches. The Malleus lay on the bench of every magistrate. It was the ultimate, irrefutable, unarguable authority. It was implicitly accepted not only by Catholic but by Protestant legislature. In fine, it is not too much to say that the Malleus Maleficarum is among the most important, wisest, and weightiest books of the world.

It has been asked whether Kramer or Sprenger was principally responsible for the Malleus, but in the case of so close a collaboration any such inquiry seems singularly superflous and nugatory. With regard to instances of jointed authorship, unless there be some definite declaration on the part of one of the authors as to his particular share in a work, or unless there be some unusual and special circumstances bearing on the point, such perquisitions and analysis almost inevitably resolve themselves into a cloud of guess-work and bootless hazardry and vague perhaps. It becomes a game of literary blind-man’s-bluff.

Heinrich Kramer was born at Schlettstadt, a town of Lower Alsace, situated some twenty-six miles southwest of Strasburg. At an early age he entered the Order of S. Dominic, and so remarkable was his genius that whilst still a young man he was appointed to the position of Prior of the Dominican House at his native town, Schlettstadt. He was a Preacher-General and a Master of Sacred Theology. P.G. and S.T.M., two distinctions in the Dominican Order. At some date before 1474 he was appointed an Inquisitor for the Tyrol, Salzburg, Bohemia, and Moravia. His eloquence in the pulpit and tireless activity received due recognition at Roma, and for many years he was Spiritual Director of the great Dominican church at Salzburg, and the right-hand of the Archbishop of Salzburg, a munificent prelat who praises him highly in a letter which is still extant. In the late autumn or winter of 1485 Kramer had already drawn up a learned instruction or treatise on the subject of witchcraft. This circulated in manuscript, and is (almost in its entirety) incorporated in the Malleus. By the Bull of Innocent VIII in December, 1484, he had already been associated with James Sprenger to make inquisition for and try witches and sorcerers. In 1495, the Master General of the Order, Fr. Joaquin de Torres, O.P., summoned Kramer to Venice in order that he might give public lectures, disputations which attracted crowded audiences, and which were honoured by the presence and patronage of the Patriarch of Venice. He also strenuously defended the Papal supremacy, confuting the De Monarchia of the Paduan jurisconsult, Antonio degli Roselli. At Venice he resided at the priory of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (S. Zanipolo). During the summer of 1497, he had returned to Germany, and was living at the convent of Rohr, near Regensburg. On 31 January, 1500, Alexander VI appointed him as Nuncio and Inquisitor of Bohemia and Moravia, in which provinces he was deputed and empowered to proceed against the Waldenses and Picards, as well as against the adherents of the witch-society. He wrote and preached with great fervour until the end. He died in Bohemia in 1505.

His chief works, in addition to the Malleus, are: Several Discourses and Various Sermons upon the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist; Nuremberg, 1496; A Tract Confuting the Errors of Master Antonio degli Roselli; Venice, 1499; and The Shield of Defence of the Holy Roman Church Against the Picards and Waldenses; an incunabulum, without date, but almost certainly 1499-1500. Many learned authors quote and refer to these treatises in terms of highest praise.

James Sprenger was born in Basel, 1436-8. He was admitted a novice in the Dominican house of this town in 1452. His extraordinary genius attracted immediate attention, and his rise to a responsible position was very rapid. According to Pierre Hélyot, the Fransican (1680-1716), Histoire des Ordres Religieux, III (1715), ch. XXVI, in 1389 Conrad of Prussia abolished certain relaxations and abuses which had crept into the Teutonic Province of the Order of S. Dominic, and restored the Primitive and Strict Obedience. He was closely followed by Sprenger, whose zealous reform was so warmly approved that in 1468 the General Chapter ordered him to lecture on the sentences of Peter Lombard at the University of Cologne, to which he was thus officially attached. A few years later he proceeded Master of Theology, and was elected Prior and Regent of Studies of the Cologne Convent, one of the most famous and frequented Houses of the Order. On 30 June, 1480, he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Theology at the University. His lecture-room was thronged, and in the following year, at the Chapter held in Rome, the Master General of the Order, Fra Salvo Cusetta, appointed him Inquisitor Extraordinary for the Provinces of Mainz, Trèves, and Cologne. His activities were enormous, and demanded constant journeyings through the very extensive district to which he had been assigned. In 1488 he was elected Provincial of the whole German Province, an office of the first importance. It is said that his piety and his learning impressed all who came in contact with him. In 1495 he was residing at Cologne, and here he received a letter from Alexander VI praising his enthusiasm and his energy. He died rather suddenly, in the odour of sanctity - some chronicles call him “Beatus” - on 6 December, 1495, at Strasburg, where he is buried.

Among Sprenger’s other writings, excepting the Malleus, are The Paradoxes of John of Westphalia Refuted, Mainz, 1479, a closely argued treatise; and The Institution and Approbation of the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, which was first erected at Cologne on 8 September in the year 1475, Cologne, 1475. Sprenger may well be called the “Apostle of the Rosary”. None more fervent than he in spreading this Dominican elevation. His zeal enrolled thousands, including the Emperor Frederick III, in the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, which was enriched with many indulgences by a Bull of Sixtus IV. It has been observed that the writings of Father James Sprenger on the Rosary are well approved by many learned men, Pontiffs, Saints and Theologians alike. There can be no doubt that Sprenger was a mystic of the highest order, a man of most saintly life.

The Dominican chroniclers, such as Quétif and Echard, number Kramer and Sprenger among the glories and heroes of their Order.

Certain it is that the Malleus Maleficarum is the most solid, the most important work in the whole vast library of witchcraft. One turns to it again and again with edification and interest: From the point of psychology, from the point of jurisprudence, from the point of history, it is supreme. It has hardly too much to say that later writers, great as they are, have done little more than draw from the seemingly inexhaustible wells of wisdom which the two Dominicans, Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, have given us in the Malleus Maleficarum.

What is most surprising is the modernity of the book. There is hardly a problem, a complex, a difficulty, which they have not foreseen, and discussed, and resolved.

Here are cases which occur in the law-courts to-day, set out with the greatest clarity, argued with unflinching logic, and judged with scrupulous impartiality.

It is a work which must irresistibly capture the attention of all mean who think, all who see, or are endeavouring to see, the ultimate reality beyond the accidents of matter, time and space.

The Malleus Maleficarum is one of the world’s few books written sub specie aeternitatis.

Montague Summers.
7 October, 1946.
In Festo SS. Rosarii.



NOTA - To Dr. H.J. Norma I wish to express my grateful thanks for his kindness in having read through the proofs of the Malleus Maleficarum. Those who realize the labour and sacrifice of time such a task demands will best appreciate the value of such generous assistance. - M.S.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:43 am

Part 1 of 3


It has been recognized even from the very earliest times, during the first gropings towards the essential conveniences of social decency and social order, that witchcraft is an evil thing, an enemy to light, an ally of the powers of darkness, disruption, and decay. Sometimes, no doubt, primitive communities were obliged to tolerate the witch and her works owing to fear; in other words, witchcraft was a kind of blackmail; but directly Cities were able to to co-ordinate, and it became possible for Society to protect itself, precautions were taken and safeguards were instituted against this curse, this bane whose object seemed to blight all that was fair, all that was just and good, and that was well-appointed and honourable, in a word, whose aim proved to be set up on high the red standard of revolution; to overwhelm religion, existing order, and the comeliness of life in an abyss of anarchy, nihilism, and despair. In his great treatise De Ciutate Dei S. Augustine set forth the theory, or rather the living fact, of the two Cities, the City of God, and the opposing stronghold of all that is not for God, that is to say, of all that is against Him.

This seems to be a natural truth which the inspired Doctor has so eloquently demonstrated in his mighty pages, and even before the era of Christianity men recognized the verity, and nations who had never heard the Divine command put into practice the obligation of the Mosaic maxim: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. (Vulgate: Maleficos non patieris uiuere. Douay: Wizards thou shalt not suffer to live. Exodus, xxii, 18.)

It is true that both in the Greek and in the earlier Roman cults, worships often directly derived from secret and sombre sources, ancient gods, or rather demons, had their awful superstitions and their horrid rites, powers whom men dreaded but out of very terror placated; fanes men loathed but within whose shadowed portals they bent and bowed the knee perforce in trembling fear. Such deities were the Thracian Bendis, whose manifestation was heralded by the howling of her fierce black hounds, and Hecate the terrible “Queen of the realm of ghosts,” as Euripides calls her, and the vampire Mormo and the dark Summanus who at midnight hurled loud thunderbolts and launched the deadly levin through the starless sky. Pliny tells us that the worship of this mysterious deity lasted long, and dogs with their puppies were sacrificed to him with atrocious cruelty, but S. Augustine says that in his day “one could scarce find one within a while, that had heard, nay more, that had read so much as the name of Summanus” (De Ciuitate Dei, iv, 23). Nevertheless there is only too much reason to believe that this devil-god had his votaries, although his liturgy was driven underground and his supplicants were obliged to assemble in remote and secret places. Towards the end of the fifth century, the Carthaginian Martianus Capella boldly declares that Summanus is none other than the lord of Hell, and he was writing, it may be remembered, only a few years before the birth of S. Benedict; [1] some think that he was still alive when the Father of All Monks was born.

Although in Greek States the prosecution of witches was rare, in large measure owing to the dread they inspired, yet cases were not unknown, for Theoris, a woman of Lemnos, who is denounced by Demosthenes, was publicly tried at Athens and burned for her necromancy. It is perhaps not impertinent to observe that many strange legends attached to the island of Lemnos, which is situated in the Aegaean Sea, nearly midway between Mt. Athos and the Hellespoint. It is one of the largest of the group, having an area of some 147 square miles. Lemnos was sacred to Hephaestus, who is said to have fallen here when hurled by Zeus from Olympus. [2] The workshops of the Smith-God in ancient legend were supposed to be on the island, although recent geologists deny that this area was ever volcanic, and the fires which are spoken of as issuing from it must be considered gaseous. Later the officinae of Hephaestus were placed in Sicily and the Lipari Islands, [3] particularly Hiera.

The worship of Hephaestus in later days seems to have degenerated and to have been identified with some of the secret cults of the evil powers. This was probably due to his connexion with fire and also to his extreme ugliness, for he was frequently represented as a swarthy man of grim and forbidding aspect. It should further be noted that the old Italian deity Volcanus, with whom he was to be identified, is the god of destructive fire - fire considered in its rage and terror, as contrasted with fire which is a comfort to the human race, the kindly blaze on the hearth, domestic fire, presided over by the gracious lady Vesta. It is impossible not to think of the fall of Lucifer when one considers the legend of Hephaestus. Our Lord replied, when the disciples reported: Domine, etiam daemonia subiiciuntur nobis in nomine tuo [4] (Lord, the devils also are subject to us in Thy Name), Uidebam Satanam sicut fulgur de coelo cadentem (I saw Satan like lightning falling from Heaven); and Isaias says: [5] “Quomodo cecidisti de coelo, Lucifer, qui mane oriebaris? Corruisti in terram qui uulnerabas gentes?” (How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? How art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations?) Milton also has the following poetic allusion:

Nor was his name unheard or unador’d
In Ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
Men called him Mulciber; and how he fell
From Heav’n, they fabl’d, thrown by angry Jove
Sheer o’er the Chrystal Battlements: from Morn
To Noon he fell, from Noon to dewy Eve,
A Summers day; and with the setting Sun
Dropt from the Zenith like a falling Star,
On Lemnos th’ Ægæan Ile: thus they relate,
Erring; for he with his rebellious rout

Fell long before; nor aught avail’d him now
To have built in Heav’n high Towrs; nor did he scape
By all his Engins, but was headlong sent
With his industrious crew to build in hell. [6]

Hephaestus, especially in later days, is represented with one leg shortened to denote his lameness; and throughout the Middle Ages it was popularly believed that his cloven hoof was the one feature which the devil was unable to disguise. In this connexion with Loki, the Vulcan of Northern Europe, will be readily remembered. Frederick Hall writes: [7] “Hephaestos, Vulcan and Loki, each lame from some deformity of foot, in time joined natures with the Pans and satyrs of the upper world; the lame sooty blacksmith donned their goatlike extremities of cloven hoofs, tail and horns; and the black dwarfs became uncouth ministers of this sooty, black, found fiend. If ever mortal man accepted the services of these cunning metalworkers, it was for some sinister purpose, and at a fearful price - no less than that of the soul itself, bartered away in a contract of blood, the emblem of life and the colour of fire.”

There were also dark histories of murder and blood connected with Lemnos. When the Argonauts landed here they found it inhabited only by Amazons, who, having murdered all their husbands, had chosen as their queen Hypsipyle, daughter of Thoas, whom she secretly preserved alive. When this was discovered the unfortunate woman was compelled to leave the island, and being subsequently captured by pirates she was sold to Lycurgus, king of the sacred groves that surrounded the temple of Zeus Nemeus in a remote Argive valley. Hypsipyle here became the nurse of the mysterious child Archemorus, the Forerunner of Death, who was bitten by a magic serpent and vanished, portending the doom of the Seven who went against Thebes.

At a later time the Pelasgians are said to have massacred the inhabitants of Lemnos, and to have settled there with some Athenian maidens they had carried off from Attica. Afterwards these savages murdered both their wives and their children. In consequence of such atrocities Lemnian deeds became proverbial in Greek for horrors and sorceries. [8] It is curious to remark that a certain red clay (terra Lemnia) found on the island was, as Pliny tells us, employed as a remedy for wounds, and especially the bite of a snake. This latter may have some obscure connexion with the story of Archemorus. In any case enough has been said to show that this island was considered a land of mystery and ancient terrors, a fitting origin for the witch Theoris.

In Rome black magic was punished as a capital offence by the Law of the Twelve Tables, which are to be assigned to the fifth century B.C., and, as Livy [9] records, from time to time Draconian statutes were directed against those who attempted to blight crops and vineyards or to spread rinderpest amongst flocks and cattle. None the less it is evident from many Latin authors and from the historians that Rome swarmed with occultists and diviners, many of whom in spite of the Lex Cornelia almost openly traded in poisons, and not infrequently in assassination to boot. Sometimes, as in the Middle Ages, a circumstance of which the Malleus Maleficarum most particularly complains, the sorcerers were protected by men of wealth and high estate. This was especially the case in the terrible days of Marius and of Catiline, and during the extreme decadence of the latest Caesars. Yet, paradoxical as it may appear, such emperors as Augustus, Tiberius, and Septimius Severus, whilst banishing from their realms all seers and necromancers, and putting them to death, in private entertained astrologers and wizards among their retinue, consulting their art upon each important occasion, and often even in the everyday and ordinary affairs of life.

Nevertheless it must be noted that all the while normal legislation utterly condemned witchcraft and its works, whilst the laws were not merely carried out to their very letter, but reinforced by such emperors as Claudius, Vitelius, and Vespasian.

These prosecutions are very significant, and I have insisted upon them in some detail, as I wish to emphasize that stern and constant official opposition to witchcraft, and the prohibition under severest penalties, the sentence of death itself, of any practice or pursuit of these dangerous and irreligious arts, was demonstrably not a product of Christianity, but had long and necessarily been employed in the heathen world and among pagan peoples and among polytheistic societies. Moreover, there are even yet savage communities who visit witchcraft with death.

Accordingly, if we cite the Vincentian cannon, quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus, we might surely say that from the earliest dawn of civilization witchcraft has been prohibited, hated, and feared.

At the time of the triumph of Christianity a decadent Empire in the last throes of paganism was corroded by every kind of superstition and occult art, from the use of petty and harmless sympathetic charms of healing to the darkest crimes of goetic ceremonial. Spells, scrying, conjurations, evokings of the dead were never more fashionable and never more keenly explored by every class and ever order, from the divine Caesar in his palace to the losel peasant in his humble shed. If the disease is universal, the medicine must be sharp. It was very difficult, when the infection of crime was so general, to discriminate and draw the line, to take into consideration relative differences and nice gradations. So much that was heathen, so much that was bad, was mixed up with what might seem to be simple credulity, and the harmless folk-customs of some grandam tradition and immemorial usage, a song or a country dance mayhap, innocent enough on the surface, and even pleasing, so often were but the cloak and the mask for something devilish and obscene, that the Church deemed it necessary to forbid and proscribe the whole superstition even when it manifested itself in modest fashion and seemed guileless, innoxious, and of no account. Thus, for example, to make a wind blow or to drop in a world-wide fantasy which appears harmless enough. The Esthonians when they wish to raise a wind strike a knife into a house-beam in the direction from which they desire the wind to blow, while at the same time they croon an old-time canzonet. The underlying idea is that the gentle wind will not let any innocent thing, not even a beam, suffer without coming swiftly and breathing softly thereon to assuage the pain. But at Constantinople, in the reign of Constantine, a warlock named Sopater was put to death on a charge of binding the winds by magic, which he had at any rate esssayed to do, whether or no the fact that the cornships of Egypt and Syria were detained on their voyage by calms and headwinds was actually due to his interference. The city was nearly starved, and the Byzantine mob, clamouring for bread, was ready to break out into the wildest excesses. [10] In Scotland witches used to raise the wind by dipping the corner of a plaid in water and beating it thrice upon a stone, crooning the following words:

I knok this rage upone this stane
To raise the wind in the divellis name,
It sall not lye till I please againe. [11]

It will readily be remembered that one of the chief charges brought against the coven of North Berwick witches during the famous trial of 1590 was that they performed incantations to raise a tempest which might wreck the fleet that was escorting James VI when he brought his queen, Anne of Denmark, from her native country to Scotland. So we see that a superstition which in a little fishing village, when some mother was calling a fair wind for her son, or some lass whistled for a gentle breeze to fill the sails of her sweetheart’s trawler, was simple and kindly enough, might yet become dangerous and deadly at least in intent when launched be malevolent witches who had the will if not the power to destroy, and who if this means failed would hasten to employ other methods that should prove far more resourceful in their means and efficacious in their results.

Accordingly, during the years 319-21 a number of laws were passed which penalized and punished the craft of magic with the utmost severity. A pagan diviner or haruspex could only follow his vocation under very definite restrictions. He was not allowed to be an intimate visitor at the house of any citizen, for friendship with men of this kind must be avoided. “The haruspex who frequents the houses of others shall die at the stake,” such is the tenor of the code. [12] It is hardly an exaggeration to say that almost every year saw a more rigid application of the laws; although even as to-day, when fortune-telling and peering into the future are forbidden by the Statute-Book, diviners and mediums abound, so then in spite of every prohibition astrologers, clairvoyants, and palmists had an enormous clientèle of rich and poor alike. However, under Valens, owing to his discovery of the damning fact that certain prominent courtiers had endeavoured by means ot table-rapping to ascertain who should be his successor upon the throne, in the year 367 a regular crusade, which in its details recalls the heyday of Master Matthew Hopkins, was instituted against the whole race of magicians, soothsayers, mathematici, and theurgists, which perhaps was the first general prosecution during the Christian era. Large numbers of persons, including no doubt many innocent as well as guilty, were put to death, and a veritable panic swept through the Eastern world.

The early legal codes of most European nations contain laws directed against witchcraft. Thus, for example, the oldest document of Frankish legislation, the Salic Law (Lex salica), which was reduced to a written form and promulgated under Clovis, who died 27 November, 511, mulcts (sic) those who practise magic with various fines, especially when it could be proven that the accused launched a deadly curse, or had tied the Witch’s Knot. This latter charm was usually a long cord tightly tied up in elaborate loops, among whose reticulations it was customary to insert the feathers of a black hen, a raven, or some other bird which had, or was presumed to have, no speck of white. This is one of the oldest instruments of witchcraft and is known in all countries and among all nations. It was put to various uses. The wizards of Finland, when they sold wind in the three knots of a rope. If the first knot were undone a gentle breeze sprang up; if the second, it blew a mackerel gale; if the third, a hurricane. [13] But the Witch’s Ladder, as it was often known, could be used with far more baleful effects. The knots were tied with certain horrid maledictions, and then the cord was hidden away in some secret place, and unless it were found and the strands released the person at whom the curse was directed would pine and die. This charm continually occurs during the trials. Thus in the celebrated Island-Magee case, March 1711, when a coven of witches was discovered, it was remarked that an apron belonging to Mary Dunbar, a visitor at the house of the afflicted persons, had been abstracted. Miss Dunbar was suddenly seized with fits and convulsions, and sickened almost to death. After most diligent search the missing garment was found carefully hidden away and covered over, and a curious string which had nine knots in it had been so tied up with the folds of the linen that it was beyond anything difficult to separate them and loosen the ligatures. In 1886 in the old belfry of a village church in England there were accidentally discovered, pushed away in a dark corner, several yards of incle braided with elaborate care and having a number of black feathers thrust through the strands. It is said that for a long while considerable wonder was caused as to what it might be, but when it was exhibited and became known, one of the local grandmothers recognized it was a Witch’s Ladder, and, what is extremely significant, when it was engraved in the Folk Lore Journal an old Italian woman to whom the picture was shown immediately identified it as la ghirlanda delle streghe.

The laws of the Visigoths, which were to some extent founded upon the Roman law, punished witches who had killed any person by their spells with death; whilst long-continued and obstinate witchcraft, if fully proven, was visited with such severe sentences as slavery for life. In 578, when a son of Queen Fredegonde died, a number of witches who were accused of having contrived the destruction of the Prince were executed. It has been said in these matters that the ecclesiastical law was tolerant, since for the most part it contented itself with a sentence of excommunication. But those who consider this spiritual outlawry lenient certainly do not appreciate what such a doom entailed. Moreover, after a man had been condemned to death by the civil courts it would have been somewhat superfluous to have repeated the same sentence, and beyond the exercise of her spiritual weapons, what else was there left for the Church to do?

In 814, Louis le Pieux upon his accession to the throne began to take very active measures against all sorcerers and necromancers, and it was owing to his influence and authority that the Council of Paris in 829 appealed to the secular courts to carry out any such sentences as the Bishops might pronounce. The consequence was that from this time forward the penalty of witchcraft was death, and there is evidence that if the constituted authority, either ecclesiastical or civil, seemed to slacken in their efforts the populace took the law into their own hands with far more fearful results.

In England the early Penitentials are greatly concerned with the repression of pagan ceremonies, which under the cover of Christian festivities were very largely practised at Christmas and on New Year’s Day. These rites were closely connected with witchcraft, and especially do S. Theodore, S. Aldhelm, Ecgberht of York, and other prelates prohibit the masquerade as a horned animal, a stag, or a bull, which S. Caesarius of Arles had denounced as a “foul tradition,” an “evil custom,” a “most heinous abomination.” These and even stronger expressions would not be used unless some very dark and guilty secrets had been concealed beneath this mumming, which, however foolish, might perhaps have been thought to be nothing worse, so that to be so roundly denounced as devilish and demoniacal they must certainly have had some very grim signification which did not appear upon the surface. The laws of King Athelstan (924-40), corresponsive with the early French laws, punished any person casting a spell which resulted in death by extracting the extreme penalty. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries there are few cases of witchcraft in England, and such accusations as were made appeared to have been brought before the ecclesiastical court. It may be remarked, however, that among the laws attributed to King Kenneth I of Scotland, who ruled from 844 to 860, and under whom the Scots of Dalriada and the Pictish peoples may be said to have been united in one kingdom, is an important statute which enacts that all sorcerers and witches, and such as invoke spirits, “and use to seek upon them for helpe, let them be burned to death.” Even then this was obviously no new penalty, but the statutory confirmation of a long-established punishment. So the witches of Forres who attempted the life of King Duffus in the year 968 by the old bane of slowly melting a wax image, when discovered, were according to the law burned at the stake.

The conversion of Germany to Christianity was late and very slow, for as late as the eighth century, in spite of the heroic efforts of S. Columbanus, S. Fridolin, S. Gall, S. Rupert, S. Willibrod, the great S. Boniface, and many others, in spite of the headway that had been made, various districts were always relapsing into a primitive and savage heathenism. For example, it is probably true to say that the Prussian tribles were not stable in their conversion until the beginning of the thirteenth century, when Bishop Albrecht reclaimed the people by a crusade. However, throughout the eleventh and the twelfth centuries there are continual instances of persons who had practised witchcraft being put to death, and the Emperor Frederick II, in spite of the fact that he was continually quarrelling with the Papacy and utterly indifferent to any religious obligation - indeed it has been said that he was “a Christian ruler only in name,” and “throughout his reign he remained virtually a Moslem free-thinker” - declared that a law which he had enacted for Lombardy should have force throughout the whole of his dominions. “Henceforth,” Vacandard remarks, “all uncertainty was at an end. The legal punishment for heresy throughout the empire was death at the stake.” It must be borne in mind that witchcraft and heresy were almost inextricably commingled. It is quite plain that such a man as Frederick, whose whole philosophy was entirely Oriental; who was always accompanied by a retinue of Arabian ministers, courtiers, and officers; who was perhaps not without reason suspected of being a complete agnostic, recked little whether heresy and witchcraft might be offences against the Church or not, but he was sufficiently shrewd to see that they gravely threatened the well-being of the State, imperilling the maintenance of civilization and the foundations of society.

This brief summary of early laws and ancient ordinances has been given in order to show that the punishment of witchcraft certainly did not originate in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and most assuredly was not primarily the concern of the Inquisition. In fact, curiously enough, Bernard Gui, the famous Inquisitor of Toulouse, laid down in his Practica Inquisitionis [14] that sorcery itself did not fall within the cognizance of the Holy Office, and in every case, unless there were other circumstances of which his tribunal was bound to take notice when witches came before him, he simply passed them on to the episcopal courts.

It may be well here very briefly to consider the somewhat complicated history of the establishment of the Inquisition, which was, it must be remembered, the result of the tendencies and growth of many years, by no mens a judicial curia with cut-and-dried laws and a compete procedure suddenly called into being by one stroke of a Papal pen. In the first place, S. Dominic was in no sense the founder of the Inquisition. Certainly during the crusade in Languedoc he was present, reviving religion and reconciling the lapsed, but he was doing no more than S. Paul or any of the Apostles would have done. The work of S. Dominic was preaching and the organization of his new Order, which received Papal confirmation from Honorius III, and was approved in the Bull Religiosam uitam, 22 December, 1216. S. Dominic died 6 August, 1221, and even if we take the word in a very broad sense, the first Dominican Inquisitor seems to have been Alberic, who in November, 1232, was travelling through Lombardy with the official title of “Inquisitor hereticae prauitatis.” The whole question of the episcopal Inquisitors, who were really the local bishop, his archdeacons, and his diocesan court, and their exact relationship with the travelling Inquisitors, who were mainly drawn from the two Orders of friars, the Franciscan and the Dominican, is extremely nice and complicated; whilst the gradual effacement of the episcopal courts with regard to certain matters and the consequent prominence of the Holy Office were circumstances and conditions which realized themselves slowly enough in all countries, and almost imperceptibly in some districts, as necessity required, without any sudden break or sweeping changes. In fact we find that the Franciscan or Dominican Inquisitor simply sat as an assessor in the episcopal court so that he could be consulted upon certain technicalities and deliver sentence conjointly with the Bishop if these matters were involved. Thus at the trial of Gilles de Rais in October, 1440, at Nantes, the Bishop of Nantes presided over the court with the bishops of Le Mans, Saint-Brieuc, and Saint-Lo as his coadjutors, whilst Pierre de l’Hospital, Chencellor of Brittany, watched the case on behalf of the civil authorities, and Frère Jean Blouin was present as the delegate of the Holy Inquisition for the city and district of Nantes. Owing to the multiplicity of the crimes, which were proven and clearly confessed in accordance with legal requirements, it was necessary to pronounce two sentences. The first sentence was passed by the Bishop of Nantes conjointly with the Inquisitor. By them Gilles de Rais was declared guilty of Satanism, sorcery, and apostasy, and there and then handed over to the civil arm to receive the punishment due to such offences. The second sentence, pronounced by the Bishop alone, declared the prisoner convicted of sodomy, sacrilege, and violation of ecclesiastical rights. The ban of excommunication was lifted since the accused had made a clean breast of his crimes and desired to be reconciled, but he was handed over to the secular court, who sentenced him to death, on multiplied charges of murder as well as on account of the aforesaid offences.

It must be continually borne in mind also, and this is a fact which is very often slurred over and forgotten, that the heresies of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, to cope with which the tribunal of the Inquisition was primarily organized and regularized, were by no means mere theoretical speculations, which, however erroneous and dangerous in the fields of thought, practically and in action would have been arid and utterly unfruitful. Today the word “heresy” seems to be as obsolete and as redolent of a Wardour-street vocabulary as if one were to talk of a game of cards at Crimp or Incertain, and to any save a dusty mediaevalist it would appear to be an antiquarian term. It was far other in the twelfth century; the wild fanatics who fostered the most subversive and abominable ideas aimed to put these into actual practice, to establish communities and to remodel whole territories according to the programme which they had so carefully considered in every detail with a view to obtaining and enforcing their own ends and their own interests. The heretics were just as resolute and just as practical, that is to say, just as determined to bring about the domination of their absolutism as is any revolutionary of to-day. The aim and objects of their leaders, Tanchelin, Everwacher, the Jew Manasses, Peter Waldo, Pierre Autier, Peter of Bruys, Arnold of Brescia, and the rest, were exactly those of Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, and their fellows. There were, of course, minor differences and divergences in their tenets, that is to say, some had sufficient cunning to conceal and even to deny the extremer views which other were bold enough or mad enough more openly to proclaim. But just below the trappings, a little way beneath the surface, their motives, their methods, their intentions, the goal to which they pressed, were all the same. Their objects may be summed up as the abolition of monarchy, the abolition of private property and of inheritance, the abolition of marriage, the abolition of order, the total abolition of all religion. It was against this that the Inquisition had to fight, and who can be surprised if, when faced with so vast a conspiracy, the methods employed by the Holy Office may not seem - if the terrible conditions are conveniently forgotten - a little drastic, a little severe? There can be no doubt that had this most excellent tribunal continued to enjoy its full prerogative and the full exercise of its salutary powers, the world at large would be in a far happier and far more orderly position to-day. Historians may point out diversities and dissimilarities between the teaching of the Waldenses, the Albigenses, the Henricans, the Poor Men of Lyons, the Cathari, the Vaudois, the Bogomiles, and the Manichees, but they were in reality branches and variants of the same dark fraternity, just as the Third International, the Anarchists, the Nihilists, and the Bolsheviks are in every sense, save the mere label, entirely identical.

In fact heresy was one huge revolutionary body, exploiting its forces through a hundred different channels and having as its object chaos and corruption. The question may be asked - What was their ultimate aim in wishing to destroy civilization? What did they hope to gain by it? Precisely the same queries have been put and are put to-day with regard to these political parties. There is an apparent absence of motive in this seemingly aimless campaign of destruction to extermination carried on by the Bolsheviks in Russia, which has led many people to inquire what the objective can possibly be. So unbridled are the passions, so general the demolition, so terrible the havoc, that hard-headed individuals argue that so complete a chaos and such revolting outrages could only be affected by persons who were enthusiasts in their own cause and who had some very definite aims thus positively to pursue. The energizing forces of this fanaticism, this fervent zeal, do not seem to be any more apparent than the end, hence more than one person has hesitated to accept accounts so alarming of massacres and carnage, or wholesale imprisonments, tortures, and persecutions, and has begun to suspect that the situation may be grossly exaggerated in the overcharged reports of enemies and the highly-coloured gossip of scare-mongers. Nay, more, partisans have visited the country and returned with glowing tales of a new Utopia. It cannot be denied that all this is a very clever game. It is generally accepted that from very policy neither an individual nor a junto or confederacy will act even occasionally, much less continually and consistently, in a most bloody and tyrannical way, without some very well-arranged programme is being thus carried out and determinate aim ensued, conditions and object which in the present case it seems extremely difficult to guess at and divine unless we are to attribute the revolution to causes the modern mind is apt to dismiss with impatience and intolerance.

Nearly a century and a half ago Anacharsis Clootz, [15] “the personal enemy of Jesus Christ” as he openly declared himself, was vociferating “God is Evil,” “To me then Lucifer, Satan! whoever you may be, the demon that the faith of my fathers opposed to God and the Church.” [16] This is the credo of the witch.

Although it may not be generally recognized, upon a close investigation it seems plain that the witches were a vast political movement, an organized society which was anti-social and anarchichal, a world-wide plot against civilization. Naturally, although the Masters were often individuals of high rank and deep learning, that rank and file of the society, that is to say, those who for the most part fell into the hands of justice, were recruited from the least educated classes, the ignorant and the poor. As one might suppose, many of the branches or covens in remoter districts knew nothing and perhaps could have understood nothing of the enormous system. Nevertheless, as small cogs in a very small wheel, it might be, they were carrying on the work and actively helping to spread the infection. It is an extremely significant fact that the last regularly official trial and execution for witchcraft in Western Europe was that of Anna Goeldi, who was hanged at Glaris in Switzerland, 17 June, 1782. [17] Seven years before, in 1775, the villain Adam Weishaupt, who has been truly described by Louis Blac as “the profoundest conspirator that has ever existed,” formed his “terrible and formidable sect,” the Illuminati. The code of this mysterious movement lays down: “it is also necessary to gain the common people (das gemeine Volk) to our Order. The great means to that end is influence in the schools.” This is exactly the method of the organizations of witches, and again and again do writers lament and bewail the endless activities of this sect amongst the young people and even the children of the district. So in the prosecutions at Würzburg we find that there were condemned boys of ten and eleven, two choir boys aged twelve, “a boy of twelve years old in one of the lower forms of the school,” “the two young sons of the Prince’s cook, the eldest fourteen, the younger twelve years old,” several pages and seminarists, as well as a number of young girls, amongst whom “a child of nine or ten years old and her little sister” were involved.

The political operations of the witches in many lands were at their trials exposed time after time, and these activities are often discernible even when they did not so publicly and prominently come to light. A very few cases, to which we must make but brief and inadequate reference, will stand for many. In England in the year 1324 no less than twenty-seven defendants were tried at the King’s Bench for plotting against and endeavouring to kill Edward II, together with many prominent courtiers and officials, by the practice of magical arts. A number of wealthy citizens of Coventry had hired a famous “nigromauncer,” John of Nottingham, to slay not only the King, but also the royal favourite, Hugh le Despenser, and his father; the Prior of Coventry; the monastic steward; the manciple; and a number of other important personages. A secluded old manor-house, some two or three miles out of Coventry, was put at the disposal of Master John, and there he and his servant, Robert Marshall, promptly commenced business. They went to work in the bad old-fashioned way of modelling wax dolls or mommets of those whom they wished to destroy. [18] Long pins were thrust through the figures, and they were slowly melted before a fire. The first unfortunate upon whom this experiment was tried, Richard de Sowe, a prominent courtier and close friend of the King, was suddenly taken with agonizing pains, and when Marshall visited the house, as if casually, in order that he might report the results of this sympathetic sorcery to the wizard, he found their hapless victim in a high delirium. When this state of things was promptly conveyed to him, Master John struck a pin through the heart of the image, and in the morning the news reached them that de Sowe had breathed his last. Marshall, who was by now in an extremity of terror, betook himself to a justice and laid bare all that was happening and had happened, with the immediate result that Master John and the gang of conspirators were arrested. It must be remembered that in 1324 the final rebellion against King Edward II had openly broken forth on all sides. A truce of thirteen years had been arranged with Scotland, and though the English might refuse Bruce his royal title he was henceforward the warrior king of an independent country. It is true that in May, 1322, the York Parliament had not only reversed the exile of the Despensers, declaring the pardons which had been granted their opponents null and void, as well as voting for the repeal of the Ordinances of 1311, and the Despensers were working for, and fully alive to the necessity of, good and stable government, but none the less the situation was something more than perilous; the Exchequer was well-nigh drained; there was rioting and bloodshed in almost every large town; and worst of all, in 1323 the younger Roger Mortimer had escaped from the Tower and got away safely to the Continent. There were French troubles to boot; Charles IV, who in 1322 had succeeded to the throne, would accept no excuse from Edward for any postponement of homage, and in this very year, 1324, declaring the English possessions forfeited, he proceeded to occupy the territory with an army, when it soon became part of the French dominion. There can be not doubt that the citizens of Coventry were political intriguers, and since they were at the moment unable openly to rebel against their sovran lord, taking advantage of the fact that he was harassed and pressed at so critical a juncture, they proceeded against him by the dark and tortuous ways of black magic.

Very many similar conspiracies in which sorcery was mixed up with treasonable practices and attempts might be cited, but only a few of the most important must be mentioned. Rather more than a century later than the reign of Edward II, in 1441, one of the greatest and most influential ladies in all England, “the Duchesse of Gloucestre, was arrested and put to holt, for she was suspecte of treson.” This, of course, was purely a political case, and the wife of Duke Humphrey had unfortunately by her indiscretion and something worse given her husband’s enemies an opportunity to attack him by her ruin. An astrologer, attached to the Duke’s household, when taken and charged with “werchyrye of sorcery against the King,” confessed that he had often cast the horoscope of the Duchess to find out if her husband would ever wear the English crown, the way to which they had attempted to smooth by making a wax image of Henry VI and melting it before a magic fire to bring about the King’s decease. A whole crowd of witches, male and female, were involved in the case, and among these was Margery Jourdemain, a known a notorious invoker of demons and an old trafficker in evil charms. Eleanor Cobham was incontinently brought before a court presided over by three Bishops, London, Lincoln, and Norwich. She was found guilty both of high treason and sorcery, and after having been compelled to do public penance in the streets of London, she was imprisoned for life, according to the more authoritative account at Peel Castle in the Isle of Man. [19] Her accomplices were executed at London.

In the days of Edward IV it was commonly gossiped that the Duchess of Bedford was a witch, who by her spells had fascinated the King with the beauty of her daughter Elizabeth, [20] whom he made his bride, in spite of the fact that he had plighted his troth to Eleanor Butler, the heiress of the Earl of Shrewsbury. So open did the scandal become that the Duchess of Bedford lodged an official complaint with the Privy Council, and an inquiry was ordered, but, as might have been suscepted, this completely cleared the lady. Nevertheless, five years later the charges were renewed by the Lord Protector, the Duke of Gloucester. Nor was this the first time in English history that some fair dame was said to have fascinated a monarch, not only by her beauty but also by unlawful means. When the so-called “Good Parliament” was convened in April, 1376, their first business seemed to be to attack the royal favourite, Alice Perrers, and amongst the multiplicity of charges which they brought against her, not the least deadly was the accusation of witchcraft. Her ascendancy over the King was attributed to the enchantments and experiments of a Dominican friar, learned in many a cantrip and cabala, whom she entertained in her house, and who had fashioned two pictures of Edward and Alive which, when suffumigated with the incense of mysterious herbs and gums, mandrakes, sweet calamus, caryophylleae, storax, benzoin, and other plants plucked beneath the full moon what time Venus was in ascendant, caused the old King to dote upon this lovely concubine. With great difficulty by a subtle ruse the friar was arrested, and he thought himself lucky to escape with relegation to a remote house under the strictest observance of his Order, whence, however, he was soon to be recalled with honour and reward, since the Good Parliament shortly came to an end, and Alice Perrers, who now stood higher in favour than ever, was not slow to heap lavish gifts upon her supporters, and to visit her enemies with condign punishment.

It is often forgotten that in the troublous days of Henry VIII the whole country swarmed with astrologers and sorcerers, to whom high and low alike made constant resort. The King himself, a prey to the idlest superstitions, ever lent a credulous ear to the most foolish prophecies and old wives’ abracadabra. When, as so speedily happened, he wearied of Anne Boleyn, he openly gave it as his opinion that he had “made this marriage seduced by witchcraft; and that this was evident because God did not permit them to have any male issue.”

There was nobody more thoroughly scared of witchcraft than Henry’s daughter, Elizabeth, and as John Jewel was preaching his famous sermon before her in February, 1560, [21] he described at length how “this kind of people (I mean witches and sorcerers) within these few last years are marvellously increased within this Your Grace’s realm;” he then related how owing to dark spells he had known many “pine away even to death.” “I pray God,” he unctuously cried, “they may never practise further than upon the subjects!” This was certainly enough to ensure that drastic laws should be passed particularly to protect the Queen, who was probably both thrilled and complimented to think that her life was in danger. It is exceedingly doubtful, whether there was any conspiracy at all which would have attempted Elizabeth’s personal safety. There were, of course, during the imprisonment of the Queen of Scots, designs to liberate this unfortunate Princess, and Walsingham with his fellows used to tickle the vanity of Gloriana be regaling her with melodramatic accounts of dark schemes and secret machinations which they had, with a very shrewd knowledge of stagecraft, for the most part themselves arranged and contrived, so we may regard the Act of 1581, 23 Eliz., Cap. II, as mere finesse and chicane. That there were witches in England is very certain, but there seems no evidence at all that there were attempts upon the life of Elizabeth. None the less the point is important, since it shows that in men’s minds sorcery was inexplicably mixed up with politics. The statute runs as follows: “That if any person … during the life of our said Sovereign Lady the Queen’s Majesty that now is, either within her Highness’ dominions or without, shall be setting or erecting any figure or by casting of nativities or by calculation or by any prophesying, witchcraft, conjurations, or other like unlawful means whatsoever, seek to know, and shall set forth by express words, deeds, or writings, how long her Majesty shall live, or who shall reign a king or queen of this realm of England after her Highness’ decease … that then every such offence shall be felony, and every offender therein, and also all his aiders (etc.), shall be judged as felons and shall suffer pain of death and forfeit as in case of felony is used, without any benefit of clergy or sanctuary.”

The famous Scotch witch trial or 1590, when it was proved that upon 31 October in the preceding year, All Hallow E’en, a gang of more than two hundred persons had assembled for their rites at the old haunted church of North Berwick, where they consulted with their Master, “the Devil,” how they might most efficaciously kill King James, is too well known to require more than a passing mention, but it may be remembered that Agnes Sampson confessed that she had endeavoured to poison the King in various ways, and that she was also avowed that she had fashioned a wax mommet, saying with certain horrid maledictions as she wrought the work: “This is King James the sext, ordinit to be consumed at the instance of a noble man Francis Erle of Bodowell.” The contriver of this far-reaching conspiracy was indeed none other than Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell, who, as common knowledge bruited, almost overtly aspired to the throne and was perfectly reckless how he compassed his ends. It was he, no doubt, who figured as “the Devil” at the meeting in the deserted and ill-omened kirkyard. In fact this is almost conclusively shown by a statement of Barbara Napier when she was interrogated with regard to their objects in the attempted murder of the King. She gave as her reason “that another might have ruled in his Majesty’s place, and the Government might have gone to the Devil.” That is to say, to Francis Bothwell. The birth of Prince Henry at Stirling, 19 February, 1594, and further of Prince Charles at Dunfermline, 19 November, 1600, must have dashed all Bothwell’s hopes to the ground. Moreover, the vast organization of revolutionaries and witches had been completely broken up, and accordingly there was nothing left for him to do but to seek safety in some distant land. There is an extremely significant reference to him in Sandys, [22] who, speaking of Calabria in the year 1610, writes: “Here a certaine Calabrian hearing that I was an English man, came to me, and would needs persuade me that I had insight in magicke: for the Earl Bothel was my countryman, who liues at Naples, and is in these parts famous for suspected negromancie.”

In French history even more notorious than the case of the Berwick witches were the shocking scandals involving both poisoning and witchcraft that came to light and were being investigated in 1679-82. At least two hundred and fifty persons, of whom many were the representatives and scions of the highest houses in the land, were deeply implicated in these abominations, and it is no matter for surprise that a vast number of the reports and several entire dossiers and registers have completely disappeared. The central figures were the Abbé Guibourg and Catherine Deshayes, more generally known as La Voisin, whose house in the Rue Beauregard was for years the rendezvous of a host of inquirers drawn from all classes of societym from palaces and prisons, from the lowest slums of the vilest underworld. That it was a huge and far-reaching political conspiracy is patent form the fact that the lives of Louis XIV, the Queen, the Dauphin, Louise de la Vallière, and the Duchesse de Fontanges had been attempted secretly again and again, whilst as for Colbert, scores of his enemies were constantly entreating for some swift sure poison, constantly participating in unhallowed rites which might lay low the all-powerful Minister. It soon came to light that Madame de Montespan and the Comtesse de Soisson (Olympe Mancini) were both deeply implicated, whilst the Comtesse de Rouse and Madame de Polignac in particular, coveting a lodging in the bed royal, had persistently sought to bring about the death of Louise de la Vallière. It is curious indeed to recognize the author of The Rehearsal in this train, but there flits in and out among the witches and anarchists a figure who can almost certainly be identified with George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham. Yet this is the less surprising when we remember how very nearly he stirred up a mutiny, if not an insurrection, against the King who had so particularly favoured and honoured him, but who, in the words of a contemporary, “knew him to be capable of the blackest designs.” Of Buckingham it has been written without exaggeration: “As to his personal character it is impossible to say anything in its vindication; for though his severest enemies acknowledge him to have possessed great vivacity and a quickness of parts peculiarly adapted to the purposes of ridicule, yet his warmest advocates have never attributed to him a single virtue. His generosity was profuseness, his wit malevolence, the gratification of his passions his sole aim through life.” [23] When we consider the alliance of Buckingham with the infamous Shaftesbury, we need hardly wonder that whilst in Paris he frequented the haunts of this terrible society, and was present at, nay, even participated in the Satanic mass and other of their horrible mysteries. At the house of La Voisin necromancy was continually practised, poisons were brewed, the liturgy of hell was celebrated, and it was undoubtedly the hub of every crime and ever infamy. Other instances, and not a few, might be quoted from French history to show how intimately politics were connected with witchcraft. Here Madame de Montespan, aiming at the French throne, an ambition which involved the death of the Queen, Maria Theresa of Austria, at once resorts to black magic, and attempts to effect her purpose by aid of those who were infamous as past adepts in this horrid craft.

Even in the Papal States themselves such abominations were not unknown, and in 1633 Rome was alarmed and confounded by an attempt upon the life of Urban VIII. It seems that some charlatan had announced to Giacinto Centini, nephew of the Cardinal d’Ascoli, that his uncle would succeed the reigning Pontiff in the Chair of S. Peter. The rash and foolish young man promptly attempted to hasten the event, and did not hesitate to resort to certain professors of occult arts to inquire when the next conclave would take place. He was so incredibly foolish that, far from attempting any subterfuge or disguise, he seems to have resorted to the houses of astrologers and other persons, who were already suspected of necromancy in the most open way, and further to have boasted among his intimates of the high honours which he expected his family would shortly enjoy. He first applied to one Fra Pietro, a Sicilian, who belonged to the Order of Augustinian Eremites. This occultist told him that the Cardinal d’Ascoli would be elected at the next conclave, but that the present Pope had many years to live. Upon seeing the young man’s bitter disappointment the cunning mage whispered that it was in his power to bring about the event much sooner than it would happen in the ordinary course of affairs. Needless to say, the proposition was taken up with alacrity, but it was necessary to employ the services of two other diviners, and they accordingly selected for the task Fra Cherubino of Ancona, a Franciscan, and Fra Domenico of the Eremite monastery of S. Agostino at Fermo. The friars then deligently set to work to carry out their murderous projects. A number of ceremonies and incantations were performed which entailed considerable expense, and for which it was needful to procure exotic herbs and drugs and rare instruments of goetry that could not readily be had without attracting considerable curiosity. It appeared, however, as if all their charms and spells, their demoniac eucharists and litanies, were quite ineffective, since Urban at sixty-five years of age remained perfectly hale and hearty and was indeed extraordinarily active in his pontificate. Young Centini became manifestly impatient and spurred the wizards on to greater efforts. It really seems as if, vexed beyond measure and goaded to exasperation by his importunities, they flung all caution to the winds, whilst he himself proclaimed so magnificently what he would do for his friends in a few weeks or months after he had assumed the authority of Papal nephew, that it was hardly a matter of surprise when the Holy Office suddenly descended upon the four accomplices and brought them to the bar. Amongst the many charges which were put forward was one of causing “a statue of wax to be made of Urban VIII, in order that its dissolution might ensure that of the Pope.” This in itself would have been sufficiently damning, but there were many other criminal accounts all tending to the same end, all proven up to the hilt. The result was that Centini, Fra Pietro, and Fra Cherubino were executed in the Campo di Fiore, on Sunday, 22 April, 1634, whilst Fra Domenico, who was less desperately involved, was relegated for life to the galleys.

These few instances I have dwelt upon in detail and at some length in order to show how constantly and continually in various countries and at various times witchcraft and magical practices were mixed up with political plots and anarchical agitation. There can be no doubt - and this is a fact which is so often not recognized (or it may be forgotten) that one cannot emphasize it too frequently - that witchcraft in its myriad aspects and myriad ramifications is a huge conspiracy against civilization. It was as such that the Inquisitors knew it, and it was this which gave rise to the extensive literature on the subject, those treatises of which the Malleus Maleficarum is perhaps the best known among the other writers. As early as 600 S. Gregory [24] I had spoken in severest terms, enjoining the punishment of sorcerers and those who trafficked in black magic. It will be noted that he speaks of them as more often belonging to that class termed serui, that is to say, the very people from whom for the most part Nihilists and Bolsheviks have sprung in modern days. Writing to Januarius, Biship of Cagliari, the Pope says: “Contra idolorum cultores, uel aruspices atque sortilegos, fraternitatem uestram uehementius pastorali hortamur inuigilare custodia … et si quidem serui sunt, uerberibus cruciatibusque, quibus ad emendationem peruenire ualeant, castigare si uero sunt liberi, inclusione digna districtaque sunt in poenitentiam redigendi …” But the first Papal ordinance directly dealing with witchcraft may not unfairly be said to be the Bull addressed in 1233 by Pope Gregory IX (Ugolino, Count of Segni) [25] to the famous Conrad of Marburg, bidding him proceed against the Luciferians, who were overtly given over to Satanism. If this ardent Dominican must not strictly be considered as having introduced the Inquisition to Germany, he at any rate enjoyed Inquisitorial methods. Generally, perhaps, he is best known as the stern and unbending spiritual director of that gentle soul S. Elizabeth of Hungary. Conrad of Marburg is certainly a type of the strictest and most austere judge, but it should be remembered that he spared himself no more than he spared others, that he was swayed by no fear of persons of danger of death, that even if he were inflexible and perhaps fanatical, the terrible situation with which he had to deal demanded such a man, and he was throughout supported by the supreme authority of Gregory IX. That he was harsh and unlovable is, perhaps, true enough, but it is more than doubtful whether a man of gentler disposition could have faced the difficulties that presented themselves on every side. Even his most prejudiced critics have never denied the singleness of his convictions and his courage. He was murdered on the highway, 30 July, 1233, in the pursuit of his duties, but it has been well said that “it is, perhaps, significant that the Church has never set the seal of canonization upon his martyrdom.” [26]

On 13, December, 1258, Pope Alexander IV (Rinaldo Conti) [27] issued a Bull to the Franciscan Inquisitors bidding them refrain from judging any cases of witchcraft unless there was some very strong reason to suppose that heretical practice could also be amply proved. On 10 January, 1260, the same Pontiff addressed a similar Bull to the Dominicans. But it is clear that by now the two things could not be disentangled.

The Bull Dudum ad audientiam nostram peruenit of Boniface VIII (Benedetto Gaetani) [28] deals with the charges against Walter Langton, Bishop of Conventry and Lichfield, [29] but it may be classed as individual rather than general.

Several Bulls were published by John XXII (Jacques d’Euse) [30] and by Benedict XII (Jacques Fournier, O. Cist), [31] both Avignon Popes, and these weighty documents deal with witchcraft in the fullest detail, anathematizing all such abominations. Gregory XI (Pierre Roger de Beaufort); [32] Alexander V (Petros Filartis, a Cretan), who ruled but eleven months, from June 1409 to May 1410; and Martin V (Ottone Colonna); [33] each put forth one Bull on the subject. To Eugenius IV (Gabriello Condulmaro) [34] we owe four Bulls which fulminate against sorcery and black magic. The first of these, 24 February, 1434, is addressed from Florence to the Franciscan Inquisitor, Pontius Fougeyron. On 1 August, 1451, the Dominican Inquisitor Hugo Niger received a Bull from Nicholas V (Tomaso Parentucelli). [35] Callistus III (Alfonso de Borja) [36] and Pius II (Enea Silvio de’ Piccolomini) [37] each issued one Bull denouncing the necromantic crew.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:43 am

Part 2 of 3

On 9 August, 1471, the Franciscan friar, Francesco della Rovere, ascended the throne of Peter as Sixtus IV. His Pontificate has been severely criticized by those who forget that the Pope was a temporal Prince and in justice bound to defend his territory against the continual aggression of the Italian despots. His private life was blameless, and the stories which were circulated by such writers as Stefano Infessura in his Diarium [38] are entirely without foundation. Sixtus was an eminent theologian, he is the author of an admirable treatise on the Immaculate Conception, and it is significant that he took strong measures to curb the judicial severities of Tomàs de Torquemada, whom he had appointed Grand Inquisitor of Castile, 11 February, 1482. During his reign he published three Bulls directly attacking sorcery, which he clearly identified with heresy, an opinion of the deepest weight when pronounced by one who had so penetrating a knowledge of the political currents of the day. There can be no doubt that he saw the society of witches to be nothing else than a vast international of anti-social revolutionaries. The first Bull is dated 17 June, 1473; the second 1 April. 1478; and the last 21 October, 1483.

It has been necessarily thus briefly to review this important series of Papal documents to show that the famous Bull Summis desiderantes affectibus, 9 December, 1484, which Innocent VIII addressed to the authors of the Malleus Maleficarum, is no isolated and extraordinary document, but merely one in the long and important record of Papal utterances. although at the same time it is of the greatest importance and supremely authoritative. It has, however, been very frequently asserted, not only be prejudiced and unscrupulous chroniclers, but also by scholars of standing and repute, that this Bull of Innocent VIII, if not, as many appear to suppose, actually the prime cause and origin of the crusade against witches, at any rate gave the prosecution and energizing power and an authority which hitherto they had not, and which save for this Bull they could not ever have, commanded and possessed.

It will not be impertinent then here very briefly to inquire what authority Papal Bulls may be considered to enjoy in general, and what weight was, and is, carried by this particular document of 9 December, 1484.

To enter into a history of Bulls and Briefs would require a long and elaborate monograph, so we must be content to remind ourselves that the term bulla, which in classical Latin meant a water-bubble, a bubble [39] then came to mean a boss of metal, such as the knob upon a door. [40] (By transference it also implied a certain kind of amulet, generally made of gold, which was worn upon the neck, especially by noble youths). Hence in course of time the word bulla indicated the leaden seals by which Papal (and even royal) documents were authenticated, and by an easy transition we recognize that towards the end of the twelfth century a Bull is the document itself. Naturally very many kinds of edicts are issued from the Cancellaria, but a Bull is an instrument of especial weight and importance, and it differs both in form and detail from constitutions, encyclicals, briefs, decrees, privileges, and rescripts. It should be remarked, however, that the term Bull has conveniently been used to denote all these, especially if they are Papal letters of any early date. By the fifteenth century clearer distinctions were insisted upon and maintained.

A Bull was written in Latin and as late as the death of Pope Pius IX, 1878, the scrittura bollatica, an archaic and difficult type of Gothic characters much contracted and wholly unpunctuated was employed. This proved often well-nigh indecipherable to those who were not trained to the script, and accordingly there accompanied the Bull a transsumptum in an ordinary plain hand. The seal, appended by red and yellow (sometimes white) laces, generally bore on one side the figures of SS. Peter and Paul; on the other a medallion or the name of the reigning Pontiff.

A Bull begins thus: “N. Episcopus Seruus seruorum Dei ad perpetuam rei memoriam.” It is dated “Anno incarnationis Domini,” and also “Pontificatus Nostri anno primo (uel secundom, tertio, etc.).” Those Bulls which set forth and define some particular statement will be found to add certain minatory clauses directed against those who obstinately refuse to accept the Papal decision.

It should be remembered that, as has already been said, the famous Bull of Pope Innocent VIII is only one in a long line of Apostolic Letters dealing with the subject of witchcraft.

On 18 June, 1485, the Pontiff again recommended the two Inquisitors to Berthold, Archbishop of Mainz, in a Bull Pro causa fidei; upon the same date a similar Bull was sent to the Archduke Sigismund, and a Brief to Abbot John of Wingarten, who is highly praised for his devotion and zeal. On 30 September, 1486, a Bull addressed to the Bishop of Brescia and to Antonio di Brescia, O.P., Inquisitor for Lombardy, emphasizes the close connexion, nay, the identity of witchcraft with heresy.

Alexander VI published two Bulls upon the same theme, and in a Bull of Julius II there is a solemn description of that abomination the Black Mass, which is perhaps the central feature of the worship of Satanists, and which is unhappily yet celebrated to-day in Londin, in Paris, in Berlin, and in many another great city.

Leo X, the great Pope of Humanism, issued on Bull on the subject; but even more important is the Bull Dudum uti nobis exponi fecisti, 20 July, 1523, which speaks of the horrible abuse of the Sacrament in sorceries and the charms confuted by witches.

We have two briefs of Clement VII; and on 5 January, 1586, was published that long and weighty Constitution of Sixtus V, Coeli et Terrae Creator Deus, which denounces all those who are devoted to Judicial Astrology and kindred arts that are envenomed with black magic and goetry. There is a Constitution of Gregory XV, Omnipotentis Dei, 20 March, 1623; and a Constitution of Urban VIII, Inscrutabilis iudiciorum Dei altitudo, 1 April, 1631, which - if we except the recent condemnation of Spiritism in the nineteenth century [41] - may be said to be the last Apostolic document directed against these foul and devilish practices. [42]

We may now consider the exact force of the Apostolic Bull Summis desiderantes affectibus issed on 9 December, 1484, by Innocent VIII to Fr. Henry Kramer and Fr. James Sprenger.

In the first place, it is superflous to say that no Bull would have been published without the utmost deliberation, long considering of phrases, and above all earnest prayer. This document of Pope Innocent commences with the set grave formula of a Bull of the greatest weight and solemnity. “Innocentius Episcopus Seruus seruorum Dei ad perpetuam rei memoriam.” It draws to its conclusion with no brief and succinct prohibitory clauses but with a solemn measured period: “Non obstantibus praemissis ac constitutionibus et ordinationibus Apostolicis contrariis quibuscunque. . . .” The noble and momentous sentences are built up word by word, beat by beat, ever growing more and more authoritative, more and more judicial, until they culminate in the minatory and imprecatory clauses which are so impressive, so definite, that no loophole is left for escape, no turn for evasion. “Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paganim nostrae declarationis extentionis concessionis et mandati infringere uel ei ausu temeraris contrarie Si qui autem attentate praesumpserit indignationem omnipotentis Dei ac beatorum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum eius se nouerit incursurum.” If any man shall presume to go against the tenor let him know that therein he will bring down upon himself the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Could words weightier be found?

Are we then to class this Bull with the Bulla dogmatica Ineffabilis Deus wherein Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception? Such a position is clearly tenable, but even if we do not insist that the Bull of Innocent VIII is an infallible utterance, since the Summis desiderantes affectibus does not in set terms define a dogma although it does set forth sure and certain truths, it must at the very least be held to be a document of supreme and absolute authority, of dogmatic force. [43] It belongs to that class of ex cathedra utterances “for which infallibility is claimed on the ground, not indeed of the terms of the Vatican definition, but of the constant practice of the Holy See, the consentient teaching of the theologians, as well as the clearest deductions of the principles of faith.” Accordingly the opinion of a person who rashly impugns this Bull is manifestly to be gravely censures as erronea, sapiens haeresim, captiosa, subuersiua hierarchiae; erroneous, savouring of heresy, captious, subversive of the hierarchy.

Without exception non-Catholic historians have either in no measured language denounced or else with sorrow deplored the Bull of Innocent VIII as a most pernicious and unhappy document, a perpetual and irrevocable manifesto of the unchanged and unchangeable mind of the Papacy. From this point of view they are entirely justified, and their attitude is undeniably logical and right. The Summis desideranted affectibus is either a dogmatic exposition by Christ’s Vicar upon earth or it is altogether abominable.

Hansen, either in honest error or of intent, willfully misleads when he writes, “it is perfectly obvious that the Bull pronounces no dogmatic decision.” [44] As has been pointed out, in one very narrow and technical sense this may be correct - yet even here the opposite is arguable and probably true - but such a statement thrown forth without qualification is calculated to create, and undoubtedly does create, an entirely false impression. It is all the more amazing to find that the writer of the article upon “Witchcraft” in the Catholic Encyclopaedia [45] quotes Hansen with complete approval and gleefully adds with regard to the Bull of Innocent VIII, “neither does the form suggest that the Pope wishes to bind anyone to believe more about the reality of witchcraft than is involved in the utterances of Holy Scripture,” a statement which is essentially Protestant in its nature, and, as is acknowledged by every historian of whatsoever colour or creed, entirely untrue. By its appearance in a standard work of reference, which is on the shelves of every library, this article upon “Witchcraft” acquires a certain title to consideration which upon its merits it might otherwise lack. It is signed Herbert Thurston, and turning to the list of “Contributors to the Fifteenth Volume” we duly see “Thurston, Herbert, S.J., London.” Since a Jesuit Father emphasizes in a well-known (and presumably authoritative) Catholic work an opinion so derogatory to the Holy See and so definitely opposed to all historians, one is entitled to express curiosity concerning other writings which may not have come from his pen. I find that for a considerable number of years Fr. Thurston has been contributing to The Month a series of articles upon mystical phenomena and upon various aspects of mysticism, such as the Incorruption of the bodies of Saints and Beati, the Stigmata, the Prophecies of holy persons, the miracles of Crucifixes that bleed or pictures of the Madonna which move, famous Sanctuaries, the inner life of and wonderful events connected with persons still living who have acquired a reputation for sanctity. This busy writer directly or incidentally has dealt with that famous ecstatica Anne Catherine Emmerich; [46] the Crucifix of Limpias; Our Lady of Campocavallo; S. Januarus; the Ven. Maria d’Agreda; Gemma Galgani; Padre Pio Pietralcina; that gentle soul Teresa Higginson, the beauty of whose life has attracted thousands, but whom Fr. Thurston considers hysterical and masochistic and whose devotions to him savour of the “snowball” prayer; Pope Alexander VI; the origin of the Rosary; the Carmelite scapular; and very many themes beside. Here was have a mass of material, and even a casual glance through these pages will suffice to show the ugly prejudice which informs the whole. The intimate discussions on miracles, spiritual graces and physical phenomena, which above all require faith, reverence, sympathy, tact and understanding, are conducted with a roughness and a rudeness infinitely regrettable. What is worse, in every case Catholic tradition and loyal Catholic feeling are thrust to one side; the note of scepticism, of modernism, and even of rationalism is arrogantly dominant. Tender miracles of healing wrought at some old sanctuary, the records of some hidden life of holiness secretly lived amongst us in the cloister or the home, these things seem to provoke Fr. Thurston to such a pitch of annoyance that he cannot refrain from venting his utmost spleen. The obsession is certainly morbid. It is reasonable to suppose that a lengthy series of papers all concentrating upon certain aspects of mysticism would have collected in one volume, and it is extremely significant that in the autumn of 1923 a leading house announced among Forthcoming Books: “The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism. By the Rev. Herbert Thurston, S.J.” Although in active preparation, this has never seen the light. I have heard upon good authority that the ecclesiastical superiors took exception to such a publication. I may, of course, be wrong, and there can be no question that there is room for a different point of view, but I cannot divest my mind of the idea that the exaggerated rationalization of mystical phenomena conspicuous in the series of articles I have just considered may be by no means unwelcome to the Father of Lies. It really plays into his hands: first, because it makes the Church ridiculous by creating the impression that her mystics, particularly friars and nuns, are for the most part sickly hysterical subjects, deceivers and deceived, who would be fit inmates of Bedlam; that many of her most reverend shrines, Limpias, [47] Campocavallo, and the sanctuaries of Naples, are frauds and conscious imposture; and, secondly, because it condemns and brings into ridicule that note of holiness which theologians declare is one of the distinctive marks of the true Church.

There is also evil speaking of dignities. In 1924 the Right Rev. Mgr. Oeter de Roo published an historical work in five volumes, Materials for a History of Pope Alexander VI, his Relatives and his Time, wherein he demonstrates his thesis that Pope Alexander VI was “a man of good moral character and an excellent Pope.” This is quite enough for Fr. Thurston to assail him in the most vulgar and ill-bred way. [48] The historian is a “crank,” “constitutionally incapable,” “extravagant,” and one who writes in “queer English,” and by rehabilitating Alexander VI has “wasted a good deal of his own time.” “One would be loath to charge him with deliberate suggestio falis,” smugly remarks Fr. Thurston, and of course directly conveys that impression. As to Pope Alexander, the most odious charges are one more hurled against the maligned Pontiff, and Fr. Thurston for fifteen nauseating pages insists upon “the evil example of his private life.” This is unnecessary; it is untrue; it shows contempt of Christ’s Vicar on earth.

The most disquieting of all Fr. Thurston’s writings that I know is without doubt his article upon the Holy House of Loreto, which is to be found in the Catholic Encyclopaedia, Vol. XIII, pp. 454-56, “Santa Casa di Loreto.” Here he jubilantly proclaims that “the Lauretan tradition is beset with difficulties of the gravest kind. These have been skilfully presented in the much-discussed work of Canon Chevalier, ‘Notre Dame de Lorette’ (Paris, 1906). . . . His argument remains intact and has as yet found no adequate reply.” This last assertion is simply incorrect, as Canon U. Chevalier’s theories have been answered and demolished both by Father A. Eschbach, Procurator-General of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, in his exhaustive work La Vérité sur le Fair de Lorette, [49] and by the Rev. G. E. Phillips in his excellent study Loreto and the Holy House. [50] From a careful reading of the article “Santa Casa di Loreto” it is obvious that the writer does not accept the fact of the Translation of the Holy House; at least that is the only impression I can gather from his words as, ignoring an unbroken tradition, the pronouncements of more than fifty Popes, the devotion of innumerable saints, the piety of countless writers, he gratuitously piles argument upon argument and emphasizes objection after objection to reduce the Translation of the House of Nazareth from Palestine to Italy to the vague story of a picture of the Madonna brought from Tersato in Illyria to Loreto. With reference to Canon Chevalier’s work, so highly applauded by Fr. Thurston, it is well known that the late saintly Pontiff Pius X openly showed his great displeasure at the book, and took care to let it be widely understood that such an attack upon the Holy House sorely vexed and grieved him. [51] In a Decree, 12 April, 1916, Benedict XV, ordering the Feast of the Translation of the Holy House to be henceforward observed every year on the 10th December, in all the Dioceses and Religious Congregations of Italy and the adjacent Isles, solemnly and decisively declares that the Sanctuary of Loreto is “the House itself - translated from Palestine by the ministry of Angels - in which was born the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in which the Word was made Flesh.” In the face of this pronouncement it is hard to see how any Catholic can regard the Translation of the Holy House as a mere fairy tale to be classed with Jack and the Beanstalk or Hop o’ my Thumb. It is certain that Fr. Thurston’s disedifying attack has given pain to thousands of pious souls, and in Italy I have heard an eminent theologian, an Archbishop, speak of these articles in terms of unsparing condemnation.

Father Thurston is the author of a paper upon the subject of Pope Joan, but I am informed that it is no longer in print, and as I have not thought it worth while to make acquaintance with this lucubration I am unable to say whether he accepts the legend of this mythical dame as true or no.

His bias evidently makes him incapable of dealing impartially with any historical fact, and even a sound and generally accepted theory would gain nothing by the adherence of so prejudiced an advocate. It has seemed worth while to utter a word of caution regarding his extraordinary output, and especially in our present connexion with reference to the article upon “Witchcraft,” which appears to me so little qualified to furnish the guidance readers may require in this difficult subject, and which by its inclusion in a standard work of reference might be deemed trustworthy and reliable.

It is very certain then that the Bull of Innocent VIII, Summis desiderantes affectibus, was at least a document of the highest authority, and that the Pontiff herein clearly intended to set forth dogmatic facts, although this can be distinguished from the defining of a dogma. A dogmatic fact is not indeed a doctrine of revelation, but it is so intimately connected with a revealed doctrine that it would be impossible to deny the dogmatic fact without contradicting or seriously impugning the dogma. It would not be very difficult to show that any denial of the teaching of Pope Innocent VIII must traverse the Gospel accounts of demoniacs, the casting out of devils by Our Saviour, and His Divine words upon the activities of evil spirits.

Giovanni Battista Cibò, the son of Arano Cibò and Teodorina de’ Mare, was born at Genoa in 1432. His father, a high favourite with Callistus III (Alfonso de Borja), who reigned from 8 April, 1455, to 6 August, 1458, had filled with distinction the senatorial office at Rome in 1455, and under King René won great honour as Viceroy of Naples. Having entered the household of Cardinal Calandrini, Giovanni Battista Cibò was in 1467 created Bisop of Savona by Paul II, in 1473 Bishop of Molfetta by Sixtus IV, who raised him to the cardinalate in the following year. In the conclave which followed the death of this Pontiff, his great supporter proved to be Guiliano della Rovere, and on 29 August, 1484, he ascended the Chair of S. Peter, taking the name of Innocent VIII in memory, it is said, of his countryman, the Genoese Innocent IV (Sinibaldo de’ Fieschi), who reigned from 25 June, 1243, to 7 December, 1254. The new Pope had to deal with a most difficult political situation, and before long found himself involved in a conflict with Naples. Innocent VIII made the most earnest endeavours to unite Christendom against the common enemy, the Turk, but the unhappy indecision among various princes unfortunately precluded any definite result, although the Rhodians surrendered to the Holy Father. As for Djem, the younger son of Mohammad II, this prince had fled for protection to the Knights of S. John, and Sultan Bajazet pledged himself to pay an annual allowance of 35,000 ducats for the safe-keeping of his brother. The Grand Master handed over Djem to the Pope and on 13 March, 1489, the Ottoman entered Rome, where he was treated with signal respect and assigned apartments in the Vatican itself.

Innocent VIII only canonized one Saint, the Margrave Leopold of Austria, [52] who was raised to the Altar 6 January, 1485. However, on 31 May, 1492, he received from Sultan Bajazet the precious Relic of the Most Holy Lance [53] with which Our Redeemer had been wounded by S. Longinus [54] upon the Cross. A Turkish emir brought the Relic to Ancona, whence it was conveyed by the Bishop to Narni, when two Cardinals took charge of it and carried it to Rome. On 31 May Cardinal Hiulino della Rovere solemnly handed it in a crystal vessel to the Pope during a function at S. Maria del Popolo. It was then borne in procession to S. Peter’s, and from the loggia of the protico the Holy Father bestowed his blessing upon the crowds, whilst the Cardinal della Rovere standing at his side exposed the Sacred Relic to the veneration of the thronging piazza. The Holy Lance, which is accounted one of the three great Relics of the Passion, is shown together with the Piece of the True Cross and S. Veronica’s Veil at S. Peter’s after Matins on Spy Wednesday and on Good Friday evening; after High Mass on Easter Day, and also several times during the course of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. The Relics are exposed from the balcony over the statue of S. Veronica to the left of the Papal Altar. The strepitaculum is sounded from the balcony and then all present venerate the Lance, the Wood of the Cross, and the Volto Santo.

One of the most important exterior events which marked the reign of Innocent was undoubtedly the fall of Granada, the last stronghold of the Moors in Spain, which city surrendered to Ferdinand of Aragon, who thereby with his Queen Isabella won the name of “Catholic,” on 2 January, 1492. The conquest of Granada was celebrated with public rejoicings and the most splendid fêtes at Rome. Every house was brilliant with candles; the expulsion of the Mohammedans was represented upon open stages in a kind of pantomime; and long processions visited the national church of Spain in the Piazza Navona, San Giacomo degli Spagnuoli, which had been erected in 1450. [55]

On 25 July, 1492, Pope Innocent, who had long been sickly and ailing so that his only nourishment for many weeks was woman’s milk, passed away in his sleep at the Vatican. They buried him in S. Peter’s, this great and noble Pontiff, and upon his tomb, a work in bronze by Pollaiuolo, were inscribed the felicitous words: Ego autem in Innocentia mea ingressus sum.

The chroniclers or rather scandalmongers of the day, Burchard and Infessura, have done their best to draw the character of Innocent VIII in very black and shameful colours, and it is to be regretted that more than one historian has not only taken his cure from their odious insinuations and evil gossip, but yet further elaborated the story by his own lurid imagination. When we add thereto and retail as sober evidence the venom of contemporary satirists such as Marullo and the fertile exaggerations of melodramatic publicists such as Egidio of Viterbo, a very sensational grotesque is the result. During his youth Giovanni Battista Cibò had, it seems, become enamoured of a Neapolitan lady, by whom he was the father of two children, Franceschetto and Teodorina. As was proper, both son and daughter were provided for in an ample and munificent manner; in 1488 [56] his father married Franceschetto to Maddalena, a daughter of Lorenzo de’ Medici. The lady Teodorina became the bride of Messer Gherardo Uso de’ Mare, a Genoese merchant of great wealth, who was also Papal Treasurer. The capital that has been made out of these circumstances is hardly to be believed. It is admitted that this is contrary to strict morality and to be reasonably blamed. But this intrigue has been taken as the grounds for accusations of the most unbridled licentiousness, the tale of a lewd and lustful life. So far as I am aware the only other evidence for anything of the kind is the mud thrown by obscure writers [57] at a great and truly Christian, if not wholly blameless, successor of S. Peter.

In spite of these few faults Innocent VIII was a Pontiff who at a most difficult time worthily filled his Apostolic dignity. In his public office his constant endeavours for peace; his tireless efforts to unite Christendom against their common foe, the Turk; his opposition to the revolutionary Hussites in Bohemia and the anarchical Waldenses, two sources of the gravest danger, must be esteemed as worthy of the highest praise. Could he have brought his labours to fruition Europe would in later ages have been spared many a conflict and many a disaster.

Roscoe in reference to Innocent remarks: “The urbanity and mildness of his manners formed a striking contrast to the inflexible character of his predecessor.” [58] And again: “If the character of Innocent were to be impartially weighed, the balance would incline, but with no very rapid motion, to the favourable side. His native disposition seems to have been mild and placable; but the disputed claims of the Roman See, which he conceived it to be his duty to enforce, led him into embarassments, from which he was with difficulty extricated, and which, without increasing his reputation, destroyed his repose.” [59] We have here the judgement of a historian who is inclined to censure rather than to defend, and who certainly did not recognize, because he was incapable of appreciating, the almost overwhelming difficulties with which Innocent must needs contend if he were, as in conscience bound, to act as the chief Pastor of Christendom, a critical position which he needs must face and endeavour to control, although he were well aware that humanly speaking his efforts had no chance of success, whilst they cost him health and repose and gained him oppugnancy and misunderstanding.

Immediately upon the receipt of the Bull, Summis desiderantes affectibus, in 1485, Fr. Henry Kramer commenced his crusade against witches at Innsbruck, but he was opposed on certain technical grounds by the Bishop of Brixen, nor was Duke Sigismund so ready to help the Inquisitors with the civil arm. [60] In fact the prosecutions were, if not actually directed, at least largely controlled, by the episcopal authority; [61] nor did the ordinary courts, as is so often supposed, invariably carry out the full sentence of the Holy Office. Not so very many years later, indeed, the civil power took full cognizance of any charges of witchcraft, and it was then that far more blood was spilled and far more fires blazed than ever in the days when Kramer and Sprenger were directing the trials. It should be borne in mind too that frequent disturbances, conspiracies of anarchists, and nascent Bolshevism showed that the district was rotted to the core, and the severities of Kramer and Sprenger were by no means so unwarranted as is generally supposed.

On 6 June, 1474, Sprenger (Mag. Jacobus Sprenger) is mentioned as Prior of the Dominican house at Cologne, and on 8 February, 1479, he was present, as the socius of Gerhard von Elten, at the trial of John von Ruchratt of Wesel, who was found guilty of propagating the most subversive doctrines, and was sentenced to seclusion in the Augustinian monastery at Mainz, where he died in 1481.

Unfortunately full biographies of these two remarkable men, James Sprenger and Henry Kramer, have not been transmitted to us, but as many details have been succinctly collected in the Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum of Quétif and Echard, Paris, 1719, I have thought it convenient to transcribe the following accounts from that monumental work.

F. Jacobus Sprenger (sub anno 1494). Fr. James Sprenger, a German by birth and a member of the community of the Dominican house at Cologne, greatly distinguished himself in his academic career at the University of that city. His name was widely known in the year 1468, when at the Chapter General of the Order which was held at Rome he was appointed Regent of Studies at the Formal House of Studies at Cologne, and the following is recorded in the statutes: Fr. James Sprenger is officially appointed to study and lecture upon the Sentences so that he may proceed to the degree of Master. A few years later, although he was yet quite a young man, since he had already proceeded Master, he was elected Prior and Regent of this same house, which important offices he held in the year 1475, and a little after, we are told, he was elected Provincial of the whole German Province. It was about this date that he was named by Sixtus IV General Inquisitor for Germany, and especially for the dioceses of Cologne and Mainz. He coadjutor was a Master of Sacred Theology, of the Cologne Convent, by name Fr. Gerard von Elten, who unfortunately died within a year or two. Pope Innocent VIII confirmed Fr. Sprenger in this office, and appointed Fr. Henry Kramer as his socius. Fr. Sprenger was especially distinguished on account of his burning and fearless zeal for the old faith, his vigilance, his constancy, his singleness and patience in correcting novel abuses and errors. We know that he was living in our house at Cologne at least as late as the year 1494, since the famous Benedictine Abbot John Trithemus [62] refers to him in this year. It is most probable that he died and was buried among his brethren at Cologne. The following works are the fruit of his pen:

1. The Paradoxes of John of Westphalia, which he preached from the pulpit at Worms, disproved and utterly refuted by two Masters of Sacred Theology, Fr. Gerard von Elten of Cologne and Fr. James Sprenger. Printed at Mainz, 1479.

2. Malleus Maleficarum Maleficat & earum haeresim, ut framea potentissima conterens per F. Henricum Institoris & Jacobum Sprengerum Ord. Praedic. Inquisitores, [63] which has run into many editions (see the notice of Fr. Henry Kramer). This book was translated into French as Le Maillet des Sorcières, Lyons, Stephanus Gueynard, 4to. [64] See the Bibliothèque Françoise du Verdier.

3. The institution and approbation of the Society of Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary which was first erected at Cologne on 8 September in the year 1475, with an account of many graces and Miracles, as also of the indulgences which have been granted to this said Confraternity. I am uncertain whether he wrote and issued this book in Latin or in German, since I have never seen it, and it was certainly composed for the instruction and edification of the people. Moreover, it is reported that the following circumstances were the occasion of the found of this Society. In the year 1475, when Nuess was being besieged by Charles, Duke of Burgunday, [65] with a vast army, and the town was on the very point of surrender, the magistrates and chief burghers of Cologne, fearing the danger which threatened their city, resorted in a body to Fr. James, who was then Prior of the Convent, and besought him that if he knew of any plan or device which might haply ward off this disaster, he would inform them of it and instruct them what was best to be done. Fr. James, having seriously debated the matter with the senior members of the house, replied that all were agreed there could be no more unfailing and present remedy than to fly to the help of the Blessed Virgin, and that the very best way of effecting this would be if they were not only to honour the Immaculate Mother of God by means of the Holy Rosary which had been propagated several years ago by Blessed Alan de la Roche, [66] but that they should also institute and erect a Society and Confraternity, in which every man should enrol himself with the firm resolve of thenceforth zealously and exactly fulfilling with a devout mind the obligations that might be required by the rules of membership. This excellent plan recommended itself to all. On the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady (8 September) the Society was inaugurated and High Mass was sung; there was a solemn procession throughout the city; all enrolled themselves and were inscribed on the Register; they fulfilled their duties continually with the utmost fervor, and before long the reward of their devotion was granted to them, since peace was made between the Emperor Frederick IV and Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgandy. In the following year, 1476, Alexander Nanni de Maltesta, Bishop of Forli and legatus a latere [67] from Sixtus IV, who was then residing at Cologne, [68] solemnly approved the Confraternity and on 10 March enriched it with many indulgences. And this is the first of those societies which are known as the Rosary Confraternirty [69] to be erected and approved by the Apostolic authority. For in a short time, being enriched with so many indulgences, and new privileges and benefice being bestowed upon them almost daily, they have spread everywhere and they are to be found in almost every town and city throughout the whole of Christendom. [70] It is worthy of remark that on the very same day that this Confraternity was erected at Cologne, Blessed Alan de la Roche of blessed memory, the most eminent promoter of the devotion of the Holy Rosary, died at Rostock; [71] and his beloved disciple, Fr. Michel François de l’Isle, who was sometime Master of Sacred Theology at Cologne, [72] gave Fr. Sprenger the most valuable assistance when the Rosary was being established, as we have related above. The works of Fr. James Sprenger are well approved by many authors as well as Trithemius; since amongst others who have praised him highly we may mention Albert Leander, O.P.; [73] Antony of Siena, O.P.; [74] Fernandez in his Concert. & Isto. del Rosar, Lib. 4, cap. 1, fol. 127; Fontana in his Theatro & Monum. published at Altamura, 1481; and, of authors not belonging to our Order, Antonius Possevinus, S.J., [75] Miraeus, [76] Aegidius Gelenius in his De admirance Coloniae Agrippinae urbi Ubiorum Augustae magnitudine sacra & ciuli, Coloniae, 1645, 4to, p. 430; Dupin, [77] and very many more.

Of Henry Kramer, Jacques Quétif and Echard, Scriptores Ordini Praedicatorum, Paris, 1719, Vol. 1, pp. 896-97, sub anno 1500, give the following account: Fr. Henry Kramer (F. Henricus Institorus) was of German nationality and a member of the German Province. It is definitely certain the he was a Master of Sacred Theology, which holy science he publicly professed, although we have not been able to discover either in what town of Germany he was born, in what Universities he lectured, or in what house of the Order he was professed. He was, however, very greatly distinguished by he zeal for the Faith, which he most bravely and most strenuously defended both by his eloquence in the pulpit and on the printed page, and so when in those dark days various errors had begun to penetrate Germany, and witches with their horrid craft, foul sorceries, and devilish commerce were increasing on every side, Pope Innocent VIII, by Letters Apostolic which were given at Rome at S. Peter’s in the first year of his reign, 1484, appointed Henry Kramer and James Sprenger, Professors of Sacred Theology, general Inquisitors for all the dioceses of the five metropolitan churches of Germany, that is to say, Mainz, Cologne, Trèves, Salzburg, and Bremen. They showed themselves most zealous in the work which they had to do, and especially did they make inquisition for witches and for those who were gravely suspect of sorcery, all of whom they prosecuted with the extremest rigour of the law. Maximilian I, Emperor of Germany and King of the Romans, by royal letters patent which he signed at Brussels on 6 November, 1486, bestowed upon Fr. Kramer and Fr. Sprenger the enjoyment of full civil powers in the performance of their duties as Inquisitors, and he commanded that throughout his dominions all should obey the two delegates of the Holy Office in their business, and should be ready and willing to help them upon every occasion. For several years Fr. Henry Kramer was Spiritual Director attached to our Church at Salzburg, which important office he fulfilled with singular great commendation. Thence he was summoned in the year 1495 to Venice by the Master-General of the Order, Fr. Joaquin de Torres, in order that he might give public lectures, and hold disputations concerning public worship and the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament. For there were some theologians about this date who taught that the Blessed Sacrament must only be worshipped conditionally, with an implicit and intellectual reservation of adoring the Host in the tabernacle only in so far as It had been duly and exactly consecrated. Fr. Kramer, whose disputations were honoured by the presence of the Patriarch of Venice, [78] with the utmost fervour publicly confronted those who maintained this view, and not infrequently did he preach against them from the pulpit. The whole question had recently arisen from a certain circumstance which happened in the vicinity of Padua. When a country fellow was collecting wood and dry leaves in a little copse hard by the city he found, wrapped up in a linen cloth beneath some dry brambles and bracken and dead branches of trees, two pyxes or ciboria containing particles which some three years before had been stolen from a neighbouring church, the one of which was used to carry the Lord’s Body to the sick, the other being provided for the exposition of the Sanctissimum on the feast of Corpus Christi. The rustic immediately reported what he had discovered to the parish priest of the chapel hard by the spinnery. The good Father immediately hastened to the spot and saw that it was exactly as had been told him. When he more closely examined the vessels he found in one pyx a number of Hosts, and so fetching thither from the church a consecrated altar-stone which it was the custom to carry when the Viaticum was taken to the dying in order that the ciborium might be decently set thereon, he covered the stone with a corporal or a friar linen cloth and reverently placed it beneath the pyx. He built all around a little wooden baldaquin or shrine, and presently put devout persons to watch the place so that no indignity might be done. Meanwhile the incident had been noised abroad and vast throngs of people made their way to the place where the thicket was; candles were lighted all around; “Christ’s Body,” they cry, “is here”; and every knee bent in humblest adoration. Before long news of the event was reported to the Bishop of Padua, [79] who, having sent thither tow or three priests, inquired most carefully into every detail. Since in the other ciborium they only found some corrupted particles of the Sacramental Species, in the sight of the whole multitude the clerics who had come from the Bishop broke down the tiny tabernacle that had been improvised, scattered all the boughs and leafery which were arranged about it, extinguished the tapers, and carried the sacred vessels away with them. Immediately after it was forbidden under severest penalties of ecclesiastical censures and excommunication itself for anyone to visit that spot or to offer devotions there. Moreover, upon this occasion certain priests preached openly that the people who resorted thither had committed idolatry, that they had worshipped nothing else save brambles and decay, trees, nay, some went so far as to declare that they had adored the devil himself. As might be supposed, very grave contentions were set astir between the parish priests and their flocks, and it was sharply argued whether the people had sinned by their devotion to Christ’s Body, Which they sincerely believed to be there, but Which (it seems) perhaps was not there: and the question was then mooted whether a man ought not to worship the Blessed Sacrament, ay, even when Christ’s Body is consecrated in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and elevated and carried as Viaticum in procession to the sick, only conditionally, that is to say, since he does not perhaps know if It is actually Christ’s Body (or whether some accident may not have occurred), since no mane can claim to be individually enlightened to by God on this point and desire to have the Mystery demonstrated and proved to him. [80] It was much about the same thing that Fr. Kramer undertook to refute and utterly disprove the bold and wicked theories put forward by another preacher who at Augsburg dared to proclaim from the pulpit that the Catholic Church had not definitely laid down that the appearances of Christ in His human body, and sometimes bleeding from His Sacred Wounds, in the Blessed Sacrament [81] are real and true manifestations of Our Saviour, but that it may be disputed whether Our Lord is truly there and truly to be worshipped by the people. This wretch even went so far as to say that miracles of this kind should be left as it were to the good judgement of God, inasmuch as with regard to these miraculous appearances nothing had been strictly defined by the Church, nor yet do the Holy Fathers or Doctors lay down and sure and certain rule. These doctrines Fr. Kramer opposed with the utmost zeal and learning, delivering many an eloquent sermon against the innovator and utterly condemning the theories which had been thus put forth and proclaimed. Nay, more, by virtue of his position and his powers as delegate of the Holy Office he forbade under the pain of excommunication that anyone should ever again dare to preach such errors. Fr. Kramer wrote several works, of which some have been more than once reprinted:

1. Malleus Maleficarum Maleficas & earum haeresim, ut framea potentissima conterens per F. Henricum Institorem & Jacobum Sprengerem ord. Praed. Inquisitores, Lyons, Junta, 1484. [82] This edition is highly praised by Fontana in his work De Monumentis. Another edition was published at Paris, apud Joannem Paruum, 8vo; also at Cologne, apud Joanem Gymnicium, 8vo, 1520; and another edition apud Nicolaum Bassaeum at Frankfort, 8vo, 1580 and 1582 (also two vols., 12mo, 1588). The editions of 1520, 1580, and 1582 are to be found in the Royal Library, Nos. 2882, 2883, and 2884. The editions printed at Venice in 1576 and at Lyons in 1620 are highly praised by Dupin. The latest edition is published at Lyons, Sumptibus Claudi Bourgeat, 4 vols., 1669. [83] The Malleus Maleficarum, when submitted by the authors to the University of Cologne was officially approved by all the Doctors of the Theological Faculty on 9 May, 1487.

2. Several Discourses and various sermons against the four errors which have newly arisen with regard to the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, now collected and brought together by the Professor of Scripture of the Church of Salzburg, Brother Henry Kramer, of the Order of Preachers, General Inquisitor of heretical pravity. Published at Nuremburg by Antony Joberger, 4to, 1496. This work is divided into three parts:

The First Part. A Tractate against the errors of the preacher who taught that Christ was only to be conditionally worshipped in the Blessed Sacrament: A Reply to the objection raised by this preacher, and XI sermons on the Blessed Sacrament.

The Second Part. XIX Sermons on the Blessed Sacrament.

The Third Part.

Further Six Sermons on the Sacrament.
Advice and cautels for priests.
A little Treatise concerning the miraculous Host and the species of Blood which have been reserved for the space of 300 years at Augsburg, or a sharp confutation of the error which asserts that the miraculous Sacrament if the Eucharist, whilst there is the appearance in the Host of Blood or Human Flesh or the form of a Figure, is not truly the Blessed Sacrament, with the promulgation of the Ban of Excommunication against all and sundry who dare to entertain this opinion. A copy of this book may be found at Paris in the library of our monastery of S. Honorat. [84]

In was about the same time, 1497-98, that certain refractory and unruly spirits took great exception against the censure which the Bishop of Trèves, [85] who was a legatus de latere from the Apostolic See, and the Patriarch of Venice has pronounced on Antonio degli Roselli of Arezzo and his book De Monarchia siue de potestate imperatoris, and since these rash men openly averred that the censure and condemnation of this work had not been brought about in any just or legal way, Fr. Henry was requested by Don Antoni de’ Pizamanni, a patrician of Venice, who was also a Doctor of Sacred Theology, to write a tractate impugning this said book of Antonio degli Roselli. Accordingly Fr. Kramer composed his opuscule with the following title:

3. Here beginneth a Tractate confuting the errors of Master Antonio degli Roselli of Padua, jurisconsult, concerning the plenary power of the Supreme Pontiff and the power of a temporal monarch. The conclusion is as follows: Here endeth the Reply of the Inquisitor-General of Germany, Fr. Henry Kramer, in answer to the erroneous and mistaken opinions of Antonio degli Roselli. Printed at Venice, at the Press of Giacomo de Lencho, at the charge of Peter Liechtenstein, 27 July, 1499.

4. The Shield of Defence of the Holy Roman Church against the Picards [86] and Waldenses. This was published when Fr. Kramer was acting as Censor of the Faith under Alexander VI [87] in Bohemia and Moldavia. This work is praised by the famous Dominican writer Noel Alexandre [88] in his Selecta historiae ecclesiasticae capita et in loca eiusdem insignia dissertationes historicae, criticae, dogmaticae. In dealing with the fifteenth century he quotes passages from this work. The bibliographer Beugheim catalogues an edition of this work among those Incunabula the exact date of which cannot be traced. Georg Simpler, who was Rector of the University of Pforzheim, and afterwards Professor of Jurisprudence of Tubingen in the early decades of the sixteenth century, also mentions this work with commendation. Odorico Rinaldi [89] quotes from this work in his Annales under the year 1500. The Sermons of 1496 are highly praised by Antony of Siena, O.P. [90] Antonius Possevinus, S.J., speaks of a treatise Against the Errors of Witches. This I have never seen, but I feel very well assured that it is no other work than the Malleus Maleficarum, which was written in collaboration with Fr. James Sprenger, and which we have spoken above in some detail.

In what year Fr. Henry Kramer died and to what house of the Order he was then attached is not recorded, but it seems certain that he was living at least as late as 1500.

Thus Quétif-Echard, but we may not impertinently add a few, from several, formal references which occur in Dominican registers and archives. James Sprenger was born at Basel (he is called de Basilea in a MS. belonging to the Library of Basel), probably about 1436038, and he was admitted as a Dominican novice in 1452 at the convent of his native town. An extract “ex monumentis contuent. Coloniens.” says that Sprenger “beatus anno 1495 obiit Argentinae ad S. Nicolaum in Undis in conuentu sororum ordinis nostri.” Another account relates that he did not die at Strasburg on 6 December, 1495, but at Verona, 3 February, 1503, and certainly Jacobus Magdalius in his Stichologia has “In mortem magistri Iacobi Sprenger, sacri ordinis praedicatorii per Theutoniam prouincialis, Elegia,” which commences:

O utinam patrio recubassent ossa sepulchro
Quae modo Zenonis [91] urbe sepulta iacent.

Henry Kramer, who appears in the Dominican registers as “Fr. Henricus Institoris de Sletstat,” was born about 1430. His later years were distinguished by the fervour of his apostolic missions in Bohemia, where he died in 1505.

Although, as we have seeb, Fr. Henry Kramer and Fr. James Sprenger were men of many activities, it is by the Malleus Maleficarum that they will chiefly be remembered. There can be no doubt that this work had in its day and for a full couple of centuries an enormous influence. There are few demonologists and writers upon witchcraft who do not refer to its pages as an ultimate authority. It was continually quoted and appealed to in the witch-trials of Germany, France, Italy, and England; whilst the methods and examples of the two Inquisitors gained an even more extensive credit and sanction owing to their reproduction (sometimes without direct acknowledgement) in the works of Bedin, De Lancre, Boguet, Remy, Tartarotti, Elich, Grilland, Pons, Godelmann, de Moura, Oberlal, Cigogna, Peperni, Martinus Aries, Anania, Binsfeld, Bernard Basin, Menghi, Stampa, Clodius, Schelhammer, Wolf, Stegmann, Neissner, Voigt, Cattani, Ricardus, and a hundred more. King James has drawn (probably indirectly) much of his Daemonologie, in Forme of a Dialogue, Divided into three Bookes [92] from the pages of the Malleus; and Thomas Shadwell, the Orance laureate, in his “Notes upon the Magick” of his famous play, The Lancashire Witches, [93] continually quotes from the same source.

To some there may seem much in the Malleus Maleficarum that is crude, much that is difficult. For example, the etymology will provoke a smile. The derivation of Femina [94] from fe minus is notorious, and hardly less awkward is the statement that Diabolus [95] comes “a Dia, quod est duo, et bolus, quod est morsellus; quia duo occidit, scilicet corpus et animam.” Yet I venture to say that these blemishes - such gross blunders, of you will - do not affect the real contexture and weight of this mighty treatise.

Possibly what will seem even more amazing to modern readers is the misogynic trend of various passages, and these not of the briefest nor least pointed. However, exaggerated as these may be, I am not altogether certain that they will not prove a wholesome and needful antidote in this feministic age, when the sexes seem confounded, and it appear to be the chief object of many females to ape the man, an indecorum by which they not only divest themselves of such charm as they might boast, but lay themselves open to the sternest reprobation in the name of sanity and common-sense. For the Apostle S. Peter says: “Let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives, considering your chaste conversation with fear. Whose adorning let it not be the outward plaiting of the hair, or the wearing of god, or the putting on of apparel; but the hidden man of the heart is the incorruptibility of a quiet and meek spirit, which is rich in the sight of God. For after the manner heretofore the holy women also, who trusted God, adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters you are, doing well, and not fearing any disturbance.”

With regard to the sentences pronounced upon witches and the course of their trials, we may say that these things must be considered in reference and in proportion to the legal code of the age. Modern justice knows sentences of the most ferocious savagery, punishments which can only be dealt out by brutal vindictiveness, and these are often meted out to offences concerning which we may sometimes ask ourselves whether they are offences at all; [96] they certainly do no harm to society, and no harm to the person. Witches were the bane of all social order; they injured not only persons but property. They were, in fact, as has previously been emphasized, the active members of a vast revolutionary body, a conspiracy against civilization. Any other save the most thorough measures must have been unavailing; worse, they must have but fanned the flame.

And so in the years to come, when the Malleus Maleficarum was used as a standard text-book, supremely authoritative practice winnowed the little chaff, the etymologies, from the wheat of wisdom. Yet it is safe to say that the book is to-day scarcely known save by name. It has become a legend. Writer after writer, who had never turned the pages, felt himself at liberty to heap ridicule and abuse upon this venerable volume. He could quote - though he had never seen the text - an etymological absurdity or two, or if in more serious vein he could prate glibly enough of the publication of the Malleus Maleficarum as a “most disastrous episode.” He did not know very clearly what he meant, and the humbug trusted that nobody would stop to inquire. For the most part his confidence was respected; his word was taken.

We must approach this great work - admirable in spite of its triffling blemishes - with open minds and grave intent; if we duly consider the world of confusion, of Bolshevism, of anarchy and licentiousness all around to-day, it should be an easy task for us to picture the difficulties, the hideous dangers with which Henry Kramer and James Sprenger were called to combat and to cope; we must be prepared to discount certain plain faults, certain awkwardnesses, certain roughness and even severities; and then shall we be in a position dispassionately and calmy to pronounce opinion upon the value and the merit of this famouse treatise.

As for myself, I do not hesitate to record my judgement. Literary merits and graces, strictly speaking, were not the aim of the authors of the Malleus Maleficarum, although there are felicities not a few to be found in their admirable pages. Yet I dare not even hope that the flavour of Latinity is preserved in a translation which can hardly avoid being jejune and bare. The interest, then, lies in the subject-matter. And from this point of view the Malleus Maleficarum is one of the most pregnant and most interesting books I know in the library of its kind - a kind which, as it deals with eternal things, the eternal conflict of good and evil, must eternally capture the attention of all men who think, all who see, or are endeavouring to see, reality beyond the accidents of matter, time, and space.

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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:44 am

Part 3 of 3



1. The influence of this Saint over the dark powers was very remarkable, and he is especially venerated as “effugator daemonu.” The Medal of S. Benedict has been found to be extremely potent against all evil spells. During a trial for witchcraft in 1647 at Nattenberg near the Abbey of Metten in Bavaria, the sorcerers acknowledged that their attempts against the monks were foiled by the holy Medal. The possessed boys of Illfurt (Alsace), 1864-69, exhibited the utmost dread of S. Benedict's Medal.

2. Homer, “Iliad,” I, 590, sqq. Cf. Ovid, “Fasti,” III, 82: “Uolcanum tellus Hypsipylea colit.” Upon which Paulus glosses: “Hoc est, Lemnos insula, at Hypsipyle Thoantis filia quae in ea regnauit.”

3. “Aeneid,” VIII, 416-422:
Insula Sicanium iuxta latus Aeoliamque
erigitur Liparen, fumantibus ardua saxis,
quam subter specus et Cyclopum exesa caminis
antra Aetnaea tonant, ualidique incudubus ictus
auditi referunt gemitus, striduntque cauernis
stricturae Chalybum et fornacibus ignis anhelat,
Uolcani domus, et Uolcania nomine tellus.

4. S. Luke, x, 17, 18.

5. Isaias, xiv, 12.

6. “Paradise Lost,” I, 738-51.

7. “The Pedigree of the Devil,” London, 1883, pp. 178-9.

8. Aeschylus, “Choephoroe,” 631-38.

9. IV, 50; XXV, 1; XXXIX, 16.

10. Eunapius, “Uitae sophistarum”: Aedesius (ed. Didot, p. 463).

11. “The Darker Superstitions of Scotland”: T. G. Dalyell (p. 248).

12. “Codex Theodosianus,” Lib, IX, tit. xvi, 1, 1.

13. Olaus Magnus, “Gentium septentr. hist.,” III, 15. A Stornoway woman sold a mariner such a cord with three knots. “Our Highland Folklore Heritage,” Alexander Polson, Inverness, 1926, p. 73.

14. “Practica Inquisitionis haereticae prauitatis.” Document publié pour la première fois par le chanoine C. Douais. Paris, 4to, 1886.

15. Guillotined in 1794.

16. Proudhon, “La Révolution au XIXième siècle,” p. 290.

17. The last trial and judicial execution in Europe itself was probably that of two aged beldames, Satanists, who were burned at the stake in Poland, 1793, the year of the Second Partition, during the reign of Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski.

18. This is certainly one of the oldest and most universal of spells. To effect the death of a man, or to injure him by making an image in his likeness, and mutilating or destroying this image, is a practice found throughout the whole wide world from its earliest years. It is common both in Babylon and in the Egypt of the Pharoahs, when magicians kneaded puppets of clay or pitch moistened with honey. If it were possible to mingle therewith a drop of a man's blood, the parings of his nails, a few hairs from his body, a thread or two from his garments, it gave the warlock the greater power over him. In ancient Greece and Rome precisely the same ideas prevailed, and allusions may be found ni Theocritus (“Idyll” II), Vergil (“Eclogue” VIII, 75-82), Ovid (“Heroides,” VI, 91, sqq.; “Amores,” III, vii, 29, sqq.), and many more. (See R. Wunsch, “Eine antike Rachepuppe,” “Philologus,” lxi, 1902, pp. 26-31.) We find this charm among the Ojebway Indians, the Cora Indians of Mexico, the Malays, the Chinese and Japanese, the aborigines throughout Australia, the Hindoos, both in ancient India and at the present day, the Burmese, many Arab tribes of Northern Africa, in Turkey, in Italy and the remoter villages of France, in Ireland and Scotland, nor is it (in one shape and form or another) yet unknown in the country districts of England.

19. Some of the chronicles say Chester.

20. This is referred to in Heywood's “King Edward IV,” 4to, 1600, in the opening scene, where the Duchess of York, the King's mother says:
O Edward, Edward! fly and leave this place,
Wherein, poor silly King, thou are enchanted.
This is her dam of Bedford's work, her mother,
That hath bewitch'd thee, Edward, my poor child.

21. This is probably the exact date. The discourse in question was certainly delivered between November, 1559, and 17 March, 1560.

22. “Relation of a Journey,” London, 1632.

23. “Biographia Dramatica,” Vol. I, p. 729.

24. Reigned 590-604.

25. Reigned 1227-41. He was almost one hundred years old at the time of his death.

26. A. L. Maycock, “The Inquisition,” 1926, p. 235.

27. Reigned 1254-61.

28. 24 December, 1294-11 October, 1303

29. A close investigation was made, but the Bishop completely cleared himself of the charges.

30. 7 August, 1316-4 December, 1334.

31. 20 December, 1334-25 April, 1342.

32. 30 December, 1370-27 March, 1378.

33. 11 November, 1417-20 February, 1431.

34. 3 March, 1431-23 February, 1447.

35. 6 March, 1447-24 March, 1455.

36. 8 April, 1455-6 August, 1458.

37. 19 August, 1458-15 August, 1464.

38. Stefano Infessura was born at Rome circa 1435 and died there circa 1500. This turbulent spirit was entangled in the conspiracy of Stefano Porcaro against Nicholas V (1453), which aimed at overturning the Papal government and making Rome a republic. His violent bias makes his “Diarium urbis Rome,” a chronicle from 1294 to 1494 (written partly in Latin and partly in Italian), of little value, as he did not hesitate to reproduce any idle scandal, and even to invent notorious calumnies, concerning such Pontiffs as Sixtus IV and Innocent VIII.

39. Cf. Ovid, “Metamorphoseon,” x, 734-35:
ut pluuio per lucida caelo
Surgere bulla solet.

40. Cf. Cicero, “In Uerrum,” II, iv, 56: “Bullas aureas omnes ex his ualuis, quae erant et multae, et graues, non dubitauit auferre.”

41. There are also decrees of the Holy Office of 1856; 30 March, 1898; 24 April, 1917, etc.

42. For a full account of the Papal Bulls, see my “Geography of Witchcraft,” 1927, c. vii, “Italy,” pp. 524-46.

43. Similarly, Leo XIII undoubtedly meant the Bull “Apostolicae Curae,” 18 September, 1896, to fix the belief and practice of the Catholic Church for ever. In a letter to Cardinal Richard, 5 November, 1896, the Pope declared that his intention has been absolute iudicare et penitus dirimere, and that all Catholics must receive his judgement as perpetuo firmam, ratam, irreuocabilem.

44. “Zauberwahn . . . im Mittelalter,” Munich, 1900.

45. New York, The Encyclopaedic Press, Inc., Copyright, 1913, Vol. XV, pp. 674-77.

46. Concerning whom he wrote no less than four highly controversial articles, “The Month,” September to December, 1921, and in a fresh fit of exacerbation returned to the attack, “The Month,” January, 1924.

47. One may contrast the beautiful and most devotional study of this shrine by my friend Professor Allison Peers with the cold sneers of Fr. Thurston's articles upon the miraculous Crucifix.

48. “The Month,” April, 1925.

49. 1909.

50. 1917. There are, it should be remarked, many other writers of authority who conclusively traverse Canon Chevalier's thesis, but these are dismissed by Fr. Thurston as “comparatively few and unimportant.” One would be loath to charge him with deliberate suggestio falsi.

51. “Loreto and the Holy House,” by the Rev. G. E. Phillips, p. 6.

52. Feast, 15 November. In Austria Duplex primae classis cum octaua.

53. On the second Friday in Lent was formerly kept the Feast of the Spear and Nails first granted by Innocent VI, 13 February, 1353, for Germany and Bohemia at the request of Charles IV. In some places the Feast was kept on the Friday after Low Sunday. It is now observed by certain religious families.

54. Feast, 15 March. He is especially venerated at Mantua.

55. It was restored less than fifty years ago. S. Maria di Monserrato, of which church S. Giacomo is Contitolare is now served by Spanish priests.

56. The bride, her mother Clarice Orsini, and a magnificent retinue entered Rome on 3 November, 1487; the marriage was celebrated at the Vatican, Sunday, 20 January, 1488.

57. Burchard was only aware of two children of Innocent VIII. But Egidio of Viterbo wrote: “Primus pontificum filios filiasque palam ostentauit, primus eorum apertas fecit nuptias.” And there are the Epigrams of Marullo:
Quid quaeris testes, sit mas an foemina Cibo?
Respice natorum, pignora certa, gregem.

Octo Nocens pueros genuit, totidemque puellas,
Hunc merito poterit decere Roma patrem.

It is hardly to be believed that these libels have been accepted as actual fact.

58. “Lorenzo de’ Medici,” c. vi.

59. “Leo the Tenth,” c. iii.

60. Jansen, “History of the German People,” English translation, XVI, 249-51.

61. In November, 1485, the Bishop required Fr. Kramer to leave the diocese of Brixen. At the beginning of Lent, 1486, the Bishop insists that Fr. Kramer shall no longer delay his departure.

62. Born at Trittenheim on the Moselle, 1 February, 1462; died at Wülrzburg, 13 December, 1518. He took the monastic habit in 1482 at Sponheim, and here, owing to his love of books, he built up the renowned library. Having ruled as abbot for twenty-three years he sought a more retired and peaceful life, which he enjoyed as head of the Scottish house of S. James at Wülrzburg. Here he died aged fifty-five years. Only a part of his works, numbering more than eighty, have appeared in print. Many treat of the ascetical life, but some deal with classical literature and natural science.

63. “The Hammer of Witches which destroyeth Witches and their heresy as with a two-edged sword,” by Fr. Henry Kramer and Fr. James Sprenger, of the Order of Preachers, Inquisitors.

64. An edition which cannot be traced. See the Note upon the Bibliography.

65. 1433-77. In 1467 he succeeded to the Dukedom of Burgundy on the death of his father, Philip the Good.

66. Alanus de Rupe, born about 1428; died at Zwolle in Holland, 8 September, 1475. Early in life he entered the Dominican Order, and after a distinguished academic career, preached throughout Northern France, Flanders, and the Netherlands with intensest enthusiasm, his special mission being the re-establishment everywhere of the Holy Rosary. His vision of the Rosary is generally assigned to the year 1460. The “Petite Année Dominicaine” (Rome, 1911, p. 309) says: “Il fut le grand prédicateur des vertus de la T.-Ste-Vierge au XVe siècle et le restaurateur du St. Rosaire. Car . . . une dévotion si rationelle, si facile, si attrayante, si utile, inaugerée par un aussi grand saint que Dominique était tombée presque partout dans l’oubli. Alains se mit à l’æuvre . . . faisant renaître avec la culture du Rosaire, les fruits de grâce. . . . Sa mort était celle d’un saint, et son tombeau devint glorieux par de nombreux miracles. Un autel lui était dédié dans le couvent de Dinan, et le B. Grignon de Montefort aimait à y dire la messe.”

67. The legati a latere are cardinals set by the Pope on extraordinary missions or as temporary representatives.

68. The Archbishop Rupprecht von der Pfalz (1463-80) was forcibly pressing his rights as temporal lord, an action which gave rise to considerable violence and much fighting throughout the territory.

69. The Devotion itself was revealed by Our Lady to S. Dominic. Although perhaps no actual Confraternities had been granted indulgences before 1475-6, yet there were Dominican Guilds and Fraternities which foster this Crown of Prayers.

70. In 1486 a priest in London writes to his patron in Yorkshire: “I send a paper of the Rosary of Our Lady of Coleyn, and I have registered your name with both my Ladis names, as the paper expresses, and ye be acopled as brethren and sisters.” “Plumpton Correspondence” (Camden Society, p. 50).

71. Later authorities say Zwolle in Holland.

72. Michel François de l’Isle, O.P., Bishop of Selymria, born circa 1435; died 2 June, 1502. In 1488 this famous theologian was Regent of Studies at Cologne. An ample biography may be found in Quétif-Echard, “Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum,” Paris, 1719, sub anno 1502, Vol. II. pp. 7-9. Selymbria, or Selybria, is a titular see in Thracia Prima, suffragan of Heraclea.

73. He was the socius of Francis Silvester, O.P., of Ferrara, a celebrated theologian, who was born circa 1474, and died at Rennes, 19 September, 1526.

74. Lusitanus, born near Braga in Portugal; died at Naples, 2 January, 1585. The praise of Sprenger may be found in his “Bibliotheca Ordinis Praedicatorum.” He is called “of Siena” because of his great devotion to S. Catherine of Siena.

75. Theologian and papal envoy. Born at Mantua in 1533 or 1534; died at Ferrara, 26 February, 1611. His many writings include “Moscovia,” Vilna, 1586, an important work on Russian history; “Del Sacrificio della Messa,” Lyons, 1563; “Apparatus sacer ad Scripturam Ueteris et Noui Test.,” Venice, 1603-6; “Il soldato cristiano,” Rome, 1569; and a “Bibliotheca Selecta,” Rome, 1593.

76. Albert Le Mire, ecclesiastical historian, born at Brussels, 30 November, 1573; died at Antwerp, 19 October, 1640. He wa a canon of Antwerp Cathedral, and in 1624 he became Dean of the chapter and Vicar-general of the diocese. He has left thirty-nine vast works on profane, ecclesiastical, and monastic history. See De Riddler's “Aubert Le Mire, sa vie, sas écrits, meémoire historique et critique,” Paris, 1865.

77. Louis-Ellies Dupin, born 17 June, 1657; died 6 June, 1719. He wrote at great length upon the Fathers, many of whose works he edited with commentaries. Some of his statements involved him in disputes with Dom. Petit-Didier and later with Bossuet. Dupin is an extremely prolific author, but several of his propsitions were regarded as suspect in orthodoxy.

78. In 1457 Pope Nicholas V, upon the death of Domenico Michel, Patriarch of Castello, incorporating them both by the terms of the Bull “Regis aeterni” in the new Patriarchate of Venice, and thus Venice succeeded to the whole metropolitan jurisdiction of Grado, including the see of Dalmatia.

79. Jacopo Zeno, nephew and biographer of the famous Venetian admiral, Carlo Zeno.

80. It is remarkable that at the very moment similar controversies are raised about the Blessed Sacrament. The words “Real Presence” are freely bandied. This is a popular phrase, since it may mean anything or nothing. It is far better to save all ambiguity, and to say, “The Blessed Sacrament is God.” One writer, professing himself a Christian, declares that it is at least doubtful whether Our Lord instituted The Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. This, of course, is tantamount to a denial of Christ.

81. It must suffice to mention only a few of the many Saints who have seen Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. S. Veronica of Binasco, the Augustinian, saw Him there with her bodily eyes, whilst the Host was environed by adoring Angels. Vaulem the Cistercian saw in the Host the Infant Jesus, Who held a crown of gold adorned with precious stones. When Peter of Toulouse was holding the Host over the chalice at Mass the Bambino of marvellous beauty appeared between his fingers. The same thing happened every morning for two or three months. Similarly Our Lord was seen by S. Angela of Flogno; S. Hugh of Cluny; S. Lydwine; S. Ignatius; S. Joseph of Cupertino; Domenica of Paradise; Teresa de la Cerda, O.S.D., who saw the Infant Jesus lying on the corporal; and very many more. S. Catherine of Siena saw Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament under different forms, and at the fraction of the Host she saw how He remained entired in each part. Mary of Oignies at the elevation in Passion-Tide saw Our Lord upon the Cross; at Christmas Our Lady appeared in the Host carrying the Infant Jesus in her arms. In the Cathedral at Orvieto I have venerated the Corporale which is stained with blood that fell from the Host when a young priest who doubted was saying Mass. This happened in the days of Pope Urban IV, who reigned 1261-64.

82. This can hardly be correct.

83. The contents of this valuable collection are as follows:
Vol. I:
Nider, O.P., John. Formicarius de maleficiis.
Sprenger and Kramer. Malleus Maleficarum.
Vol. II:
Anania, Giovanni Lorenzo. De Natura Daemonum.
Basin, Bernard. De Artibus magicis.
Bernard of Como, O.P. De Strigibus. (With the annotations of Frencesco Peña.)
Castro, O.M., Alfonso A. De impia Sortilegarum haeresi.
De Vignate, Ambrose. Quaestio de Lamiis. (With a commentary by Peña.)
Gerson, John. De Probatione Spirituum. De erroribus circa artem magicam reprobatis.
Grilland, Paul. De Sortilegiis.
Leone, Giovanni Francesco. De Sortilegiis.
Moliter, Ulrich. De Pythonicis mulieribus.
Murner, O.M., Thomas. De Pythonico Contractu.
Simancus, Iago. De Lamiis.
Spina, O.P., Bartolomeo. De Strigibus. In Ponzinibium de Lamiis Apologia.
Vol. III:
Gorichen, Heinrich De. De superstitionis quibusdam casibus.
Mamor, Pietro. Flagellum maleficorum.
Menghi, Girolamo, Capuchin. Flagellum Daemonum. Fustis Daemonum.
Stampa, Pietro Antonio. Fuga Satanae.
Vol. IV:
Ars exorcistica tribus partibus.

84. This great Saint is much honoured in France. He was Archbishop of Arles, and founder of the monastery of Lérins. Born about 350, he died in January, 429.

85. John II, Margrave of Baden.

86. The extremer Picards seem to have been an offshoot of the Behgards and to have professed the Adamite heresy. They called their churches Paradise whilst engaged in common worship stripped themselves quite nude. Shameful disorders followed. A number of these fanatics took possession of an island in the river Nezarka and lived in open communism. In 1421 Ziska, the Hussite leader, practically exterminated the sect. There have, however, been sporadic outbreaks of these Neo-Adamites. Picards was also a name given to the “Bohemian Brethren,” who may be said to have been organized in 1457 by Gregory, the nephew of Rokyzana. They held very extreme views, denying that the Blessed Sacrament is the Body of Christ, advocating the abolition of all disctinctions of rank and fortune and the living in community. In the course of time these views were practically modified, and to-day they may be said to be represented by the Moravian Body.

87. Reigned from 11 August, 1492, to 18 August, 1503.

88. Born at Rouen 19 January, 1639; he entered the Dominican Order in that city, 9 May, 1655. His literary labours were very vast, and in 1677 he published at Paris the first volume of his huge “History.” Some passages were very sharply criticized, and even censured, but in the preface to the third edition (aris, 1699, 8 volumes, folio) the author, whilst fully submitting to the Holy See, tactfully defends himself. He died of old age in the convent of S. Jacques at Paris, 21 August, 1724.

89. Oratorian, born at Treviso, 1595; died at Rome, 22 January, 1671. This eminent historian occupied himself with the continuation of the “Annales” of the Ven Cesare Baronio, and his work, which covers the years from 1198 to 1565, was published at Rome, 1646-77.

90. In his “Bibliotheca Ordinis Praedicatorum.”

91. S. Zeno, Martyr, is the Patron of Verona, in which city a basilica, San Zenone, is dedicated in his honour. His feast is kept 12 April, and the Roman Martyrology tells us that he was a Bishop of Verona, put to death under the Emperor Gallienus.

92. Edinburgh, 1597.

93. 4to, 1682. Produced at the Duke's Theatre, Dorset Garden, in the autumn (probably September) of 1681.

94. The word is from fe—, feu—, =Grk. — , to produce; whence fetus, fecundus, etc. Cf. Sanscrit bhuas, bhavas, to become. Also fi—o; fu—turus.

95. The word is from = tradicere. So , slander, enmity. , the slanderer, the enemy; hence, Satan, the devil.

96. For an excellent study of this most difficult and most painful subject see a valuable work by George Ives, “The History of Penal Methods,” 1914.



NOTA - To Dr. H.J. Norma I wish to express my grateful thanks for his kindness in having read through the proofs of the Malleus Maleficarum. Those who realize the labour and sacrifice of time such a task demands will best appreciate the value of such generous assistance. - M.S.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:45 am


The Bibliography of the Malleus Maleficarum is extremely intricate and difficult, as many of the earlier editions both folio and quarto are without place or date. Thus the British Museum possesses a copy (Press-Mark 1 B, 1606), folio, which in the catalogue stands as “1485?”, but this can hardly be correct. The British Museum has five editions of the fifteenth century: 4to, 1490? (IA 8634); folio, 1490 (IB 8615); 4to, 1494 (IA 7468); folio, 1494 (IB 5064); 4to, 1496 (IA 7503). [1]
Graesse, Bibliotheca Magica, Leipzig, 1843, gives the editions of the fifteenth century as Nuremberg, both 4to and folio, 1494 and 1496. He also mentions an early folio and an early 4to without date or place. He further records a 4to published at Cologne in 1489, and a folio published at Cologne, 1494.

Malleus Maleficarum, 8vo, Paris, an edition to which the British Museum catalogue assigns the date of “1510?”.

Malleus Maleficarum, 8vo, “Colonie. Per me Henricü de Nussia,” 1511.

Malleus Maleficarum, 8vo, Coloniae, J. Gymnicus, 1520. (Copies of these two Cologne editions are in the British Museum.)

Malleus Maleficarum … per F. Raffaelum Maffeum Venetum et D. Jacobi a Judeca instituti Seruorum summo studio illustratis et a multis erroribus vindicatus . . . Venetiis Ad Candentis Salamandrae insigne. MD. LXXVI, 8vo. (This is a disappointing reprint, and it is difficult to see in what consisted the editorial care of the Servite Raffaelo Maffei, who may or may not have been some relation of the famous humanist of the same name (d. 25 January, 1522), and who was of the monastery of San Giacomo della Guidecca. He might have produced a critical edition of the greatest value, but as it is there are no glosses, there is no excursus, and the text is poor. For example, in a very difficult passage, Principalis Quaestio II, Pars II, where the earliest texts read “die dominico sotularia iuuenum fungia … perungunt,” Venice, 1576, has “die dominica sotularia iuuenum fungia … perungent.”)

Malleus Maleficarum, Impressum Francofurti as Moenum apud Nicolaum Bassaeum … 8vo, 1580.

Malleus Maleficarum, … Francofurti … apud Nicolaum Bassaeum … 8vo, 1582.

Malleus Maleficarum, … Francofurti … apud Nicolaum Bassaeum, 2 vols., 8bo, 1588. This edition also contains in Vol. I extracts from Nider’s Formicarius. Vol. II, which is dedicated to John Mündzenberg, Prior of the Carmelite House at Frankfort, contains the following nine Tractates:

Bernard Basin, De artibus magicis. (1482.)

Ulrich Molitor, De lamiis. (1489.)

Girolamo Menghi, O.S.F.C., Flagellum Daemonum. (1578.)

John Gerson, De probatione Spirituum. (circa 1404.)

Thomas Murner, O.M., De Pythonico contractu. (1499.)

Felix Hemmerlin, De exorcismis. (circa 1445.)

Eiusdem, De credulitate Daemonibus adhibenda. (1454.)

Bartolomeo Spina, O.P., De strigibus. (1523.)

Eiusdem, Apologiae III aduersus Ioann. Franc. Ponzinibum. (1525.)

The title-page announces that these works are “Omnes de integro nunc demum in ordinem congestos, notis & explicationibus illustratos, atque ab innumeris quibus ad nauseam usque scatebant mendis in usum communem uindicatos.” It is true that the earlier editions did swarm with errors, and some of these blemishes have been duly corrected, but there still remains much to be done in the way of emendation. It is to be wished that even the little care given to Vol. II had been bestowed on the text of the Malleus Maleficarum in Vol. I, for this is very poor and faulty.

Malleus Maleficarum, Lyons, 8vo, 1595. (Graesse.)

Malleus Maleficarum, Friburg, 1598.

Malleus Maleficarum, Lyons, 8vo, 1600.

Malleus Maleficarum, Lyons, “multo auctior,” 8vo, 1620.

Malleus Maleficarum, Friburg, 8vo, 1660.

Malleus Maleficarum, 4to, Lyons, 1666. (Graesse.)

Malleus Maleficarum, 4 vols., “sumptibus Claudii Bourgeat,” 4to, Lyons, 1669.

This would appear to be the latest edition of the Malleus Maleficarum, and the test has here and there received some revision. For example, in the passage to which reference has already been made, Principalis Quaestio II, Pars II, where the former reading was “sotularia iuuenum fungia … perungent,” we have the correct “axungia” [2] instead of “fungia.” I have given in the Introduction a list of the collections contained in these four noble volumes.

Quétif-Echard, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum, 2 vols., Paris, 1719, Vol. I, p 881, mention a French translation of the Malleus Maleficarum, Le Maillet des Sorcières, as having been published, quarto, at Lyons by Stephanus Gueynard. No date, however, is given, and as this book cannot be traced, it seems highly probable that one of the many Lyons reprints of the Malleus Maleficarum was mistakenly supposed to be a French rendering of the original. In answer to my inquiries M. le Directeur of the Bibliothèque Nationale has kindly informed me: “L’ouvrage de Sprenger, Le Maillet des Sorcières, édition de Lyon, ne se trouve point à la Bibliothèque Nationale. Mais, de plus, je me suis reporté à l’excellente bibliographie lyonnaise de Baudrier, XIª série, 1914, et là non plus, l’édition de Stephanus Gueynard ne se trouve point.” Le Maillet des Sorcières, 4to, Lyons, by Stephanus Gueynard, does not occur in the valuable Essai d“une Bibliographis Franéaise mèthodique et raisonnée de la Sorcellerie of R. Yve-Plessis, Paris, 1900.

There is a modern German translation of the Malleus Maleficarum by J. W. R. Schmidt, Der Hexenhammer, 3 vols., Berlin, 1906; second edition, 1922-3.

In 1912 Oswald Weigel, the famous “Antiquariat & Auktions-Institut” of Leipzig, sold an exceptionally fine, if not - should it be once permissable to use a much over-looked word - a unique collection of books dealing with witchcraft. This library contained no fewer than twenty-nine exemplars of the Malleus Maleficarum, of which the dates were catalogues as follows: (1) Argentorati (Strasburg), J. Prüss, ca. 1487. (2) Spirae, Peter Drach, ca. 1487. (3) Spirae, Peter Drach, ca. 1490; or Basle, J. von Amorbach, ca. 1490?. (4) No place nor date. With inscription “Codex moasterij scti Martini prope Treuirum.” (5) Küln, J. Koelhoff, 1494. (6) Nürnberg, Anton Koberger, 1494. (7) Nürnberg, Anton Koberger, 1496. (8) [Paris], Jehan Petit, ca. 1497. (9) Cüln, Henricus de Nussia, 1511. (10) [Paris, Jehan Petit, no date.] (11) Lyon, J. Marion, 1519. (12) Nürnberg, Frederick Peypus, 1519. (13) Küln, J. Gymnicus, 1520. (14) Venetiis, Io. Antonius Bertanus, 1574. (15) Ventiis, ibid., 1576. (16) Francofurti, apud Nicolaum Bassaeum, 1580. (17) Francofurti, ibid., 1582. (18) Lugduni, apud Ioannam Iacobi Iuntae, 2 tomi, 1584. In this edition the title is misprinted Malleus Maleficorum. (19) Francofurti, Sumptibus Nicolai Bassaei, 1588. (20) Duplicate of 19. (21) Lugduni, Petri Landry, 2 tomi, 1595. (22) Francofurti, Sumptibus Nicolai Bassaei, 2 tomi, 1600. (23) Lugduni, Sumptibus Petry Landry, 3 tomi, 1604. (24) Lugduni, ibid., 1614. (25) Lugduni, ibid., 1615. (26) Lugduni, Sumptibus Clavdii Landry, 3 tomi, 1620. (27) Lugduni, 3 tomi, 1620-21. (28) Lugduni, 4 tomi, 1669. (29) The modern German translation of the Malleus Maleficarum by J. W. R. Schmidt, Der Hexenhammer, 3 vols., Berlin, 1906.



1. Jules Baissac, “Les grands Jours de la Sorcellerie,” 1890, p. 19, says - I do not know on what authority - “La 1re édition du ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ est de 1489, in - 4, Cologne, cinq ans après la publication de la Bulle Summis desiderantes.”

2. Axis-ungo. See Palladius, 1, xvii, 3. Also Vegetius, “De Arte Ueterinaria,” IV, x, 3; also IV, xii, 3.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:46 am



Innocent, Bishop, Servant of the servants of God, for an eternal remembrance.

DESIRING with the most heartfelt anxiety, even as Our Apostleship requires, that the Catholic faith should especially in this Our day increase and flourish everywhere, and that all heretical depravity should be driven far from the frontiers and bournes of the Faithful, We very gladly proclaim and even restate those particular means and methods whereby Our pious desire may obtain its wished effect, since when all errors are uprooted by Our diligent avocation as by the hoe of a provident husbandman, a zeal for, and the regular observance of, Our holy Faith will be all the more strongly impressed upon the hearts of the faithful.

It has indeed lately come to Our ears, not without afflicting Us with bitter sorrow, that in some parts of Northern Germany, as well as in the provinces, townships, territories, districts, and dioceses of Mainz, Cologne, Tréves, Salzburg, and Bremen, many persons of both sexes, unmindful of their own salvation and straying from the Catholic Faith, have abandoned themselves to devils, incubi and succubi, and by their incantations, spells, conjurations, and other accursed charms and crafts, enormities and horrid offences, have slain infants yet in the mother’s womb, as also the offspring of cattle, have blasted the produce of the earth, the grapes of the vine, the fruits of the trees, nay, men and women, beasts of burthen, herd-beasts, as well as animals of other kinds, vineyards, orchards, meadows, pasture-land, corn, wheat, and all other cereals; these wretches furthermore afflict and torment men and women, beasts of burthen, herd-beasts, as well as animals of other kinds, with terrible and piteous pains and sore diseases, both internal and external; they hinder men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving, whence husbands cannot know their wives nor wives receive their husbands; over and above this, they blasphemously renounce that Faith which is theirs by the Sacrament of Baptism, and at the instigation of the Enemy of Mankind they do not shrink from committing and perpetrating the foulest abominations and filthiest excesses to the deadly peril of their own souls, whereby they outrage the Divine Majesty and are a cause of scandal and danger to very many. And although Our dear sons Henry Kramer and James Sprenger, Professors of Theology, of the Order of Friars Preachers, have been by Letters Apostolic delegated as Inquisitors of these heretical pravities, and still are Inquisitors, the first in the aforesaid parts of Northern Germany, wherein are included those aforesaid townships, districts, dioceses, and other specified localities, and the second in certain territories which lie along the borders of the Rhine, nevertheless not a few clerics and lay folk of those countries, seeking too curiously to know more than concerns them, since in the aforesaid delegatory letters there is no express and specific mention by name of these provinces, townships, dioceses, and districts, and further since the two delegates themselves and the abominations they are to encounter are not designated in detailed and particular fashion, these persons are not ashamed to contend with the most unblushing effrontery that these enormities are not practised in these provinces, and consequently the aforesaid Inquisitors have no legal right to exercise their powers of inquisition in the provinces, townships, dioceses, districts, and territories, which have been rehearsed, and that the Inquisitors may not proceed to punish, imprison, and penalize criminals convicted of the heinous offences and many wickednesses which have been set forth. Accordingly in the aforesaid provinces, townships, dioceses, and districts, the abominations and enormities in question remain unpunished not without open danger to the souls of many and peril of eternal damnation.

Wherefore We, as is Our duty, being wholly desirous of removing all hindrances and obstacles by which the good work of the Inquisitors may be let and tarded, as also of applying potent remedies to prevent the disease of heresy and other turpitudes diffusing their poison to the destruction of many innocent souls, since Our zeal for the Faith especially incites us, lest that the provinces, townships, dioceses, districts, and territories of Germany, which We had specified, be deprived of the benefits of the Holy Office thereto assigned, by the tenor of these presents in virtue of Our Apostolic authority We decree and enjoin that the aforesaid Inquisitors be empowered to proceed to the just correction, imprisonment, and punishment of any persons, without let or hindrance, in every way as if the provinces, townships, dioceses, districts, territories, yea, even the persons and their crimes in this kind were named and particularly designated in Our letters. Moreover, for greater surety We extend these letters deputing this authority to cover all the aforesaid provinces, townships, dioceses, districts, territories, persons, and crimes newly rehearsed, and We grant permission to the aforesaid Inquisitors, to one separately or to both, as also to Our dear son John Gremper, priest of the diocese of Constance, Master of Arts, their notary, or to any other public notary, who shall be by them, or by one of them, temporarily delegated to those provinces, townships, dioceses, districts, and aforesaid territories, to proceed, according to the regulations of the Inquisition, against any persons of whatsoever rank and high estate, correcting, mulcting, imprisoning, punishing, as their crimes merit, those whom they have found guilty, the penalty being adapted to the offence. Moreover, they shall enjoy a full and perfect faculty of expounding and preaching the word of God to the faithful, so often as opportunity may offer and it may seem good to them, in each and every parish church of the said provinces, and they shall freely and lawfully perform any rites or execute any business which may appear advisable in the aforesaid cases. By Our supreme authority We grant them anew full and complete faculties.

At the same time by Letters Apostolic We require Our venerable Brother, the Bishop of Strasburg [1] that he himself shall announce, or by some other or others cause to be announced, the burthen if Our Bull, which he shall solemnly publish when and so often as he deems it necessary, or when he shall be requested so to do by the Inquisitors or by one of them. Nor shall he suffer them in disobedience to the tenor of these presents to be molested or hindered by any authority whatsoever, but he shall threaten all who endeavour to hinder or harass the Inquisitors, all who oppose them, all rebels, of whatsoever rank, estate, position, pre-eminence, dignity, or any condition they may be, or whatsoever privilege or exemption they may claim, with excommunication, suspension, interdict, and yet more terrible penalties, censures, and punishment, as may seem good to him, and that without any right of appeal, and if he will he may by Our authority aggravate and renew these penalties as often as he list, calling in, if so please him, the help of the secular arm.

Non obstantibus … Let no man therefore … But if any dare to do so, which God forbid, let him know that upon him will fall the wrath of Almighty God, and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Given at Rome, at S. Peter’s, on the 9 December of the Year of the Incarnation of Our Lord one thousand four hundred and eighty-four, in the first year of Our Pontificate.



1. Albrecht von Bayern, 1478-1506

The translation of this Bull is reprinted by permission from “The Geography of Witchcraft,” by Montague Summers, pp. 533-6 (Kegan Paul).
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:47 am


Here beginneth auspiciously the first part
of this work. Question the First.

Whether the belief that there are such beings as witches is so essential a part of the Catholic faith that obstinately to maintain the opposite opinion manifestly savours of heresy.

And it is argued that a firm belief in witches is not a Catholic doctrine: see chapter 26, question 5, of the work of Episcopus. Whoever believes that any creature can be changed for the better or the worse, or transformed into another kind or likeness, except by the Creator of all things, is worse than a pagan and a heretic. And so when they report such things are done by witches it is not Catholic, but plainly heretical, to maintain this opinion.

Moreover, no operation of witchcraft has a permanent effect among us. And this is the proof thereof: For if it were so, it would be effected by the operation of demons. But to maintain that the devil has power to change human bodies or to do them permanent harm does not seem in accordance with the teaching of the Church. For in this way they could destroy the whole world, and bring it to utter confusion.

Moreover, every alteration that takes place in a human body - for example, a state of health or a state of sickness - can be brought down to a question of natural causes, as Aristotle has shown in his 7th book of Physics. And the greatest of these is the influence of the stars. But the devils cannot interfere with the stars. This is the opinion of Dionysius in his epistle to S. Polycarp. For this alone God can do. Therefore it is evident the demons cannot actually effect any permanent transformation in human bodies; that is to say, no real metamorphosis. And so we must refer the appearance of any such change to some dark and occult cause.

And the power of God is stronger than the power of the devil, so divine works are more true than demoniac operations. Whence inasmuch as evil is powerful in the world, then it must be the work of the devil always conflicting with the work of God. Therefore as it is unlawful to hold that the devil’s evil craft can apparently exceed the work of God, so it us unlawful to believe that the noblest works of creation, that is to say, man and beast, can be harmed and spoiled by the power of the devil.

Moreover, that which is under the influence of a material object cannot have power over corporeal objects. But devils are subservient to certain influences of the stars, because magicians observe the course of certain stars in order to evoke the devils. Therefore they have not the power of effecting any change in a corporeal object, and it follows that witches have even less power than the demons possess.

For devils have no power at all save by a certain subtle art. But an art cannot permanently produce a true form. (And a certain author says: Writers on Alchemy know that there is no hope of any real transmutation.) Therefore the devils for their part, making use of the utmost of their craft, cannot bring about any permanent cure - or permanent disease. But if these states exist it is in truth owing to some other cause, which may be unknown, and has nothing to do with the operations of either devils or witches.

But according to the Decretals (33) the contrary is the case. “If by witchcraft or any magic art permitted by the secret but most just will of God, and aided by the power of the devil, etc . . . . ” The reference here is to any act of witchcraft which may hinder the end of marriage, and for this impediment to take effect three things can concur, that is to say, witchcraft, the devil, and the permission of God. Moreover, the stronger can influence that which is less strong. But the power of the devil is stronger than any human power (Job xl). There is no power upon earth which can be compared to him, who was created so that he fears none.

Answer. Here are three heretical errors which must be met, and when they have been disproved the truth will be plain. For certain writers, pretending to base their opinion upon the words of S. Thomas (iv, 24) when he treats of impediments brought about by magic charms, have tried to maintain that there is not such a thing as magic, that it only exists in the imagination of those men who ascribe natural effects, the cause whereof are not known, to witchcraft and spells. There are others who acknowledge indeed that witches exist, but they declare that the influence of magic and the effects of charms are purely imaginary and phantasmical. A third class of writers maintain that the effects said to be wrought by magic spells are altogether illusory and fanciful, although it may be that the devil does really lend his aid to some witch.

The errors held by each one of these persons may thus be set forth and thus confuted. For in the very first place they are shown to be plainly heretical by many orthodox writers, and especially by S. Thomas, who lays down that such an opinion is altogether contrary to the authority of the saints and is founded upon absolute infidelity. Because the authority of the Holy Scriptures says that devils have power over the bodies and over the minds of men, when God allows them to exercise this power, as is plain from very many passages in the Holy Scriptures. Therefore those err who say that there is no such thing as witchcraft, but that it is purely imaginary, even although they do not believe that devils exist except in the imagination of the ignorant and vulgar, and the natural accidents which happen to a man he wrongly attributes to some supposed devil. For the imagination of some men is so vivid that they think they see actual figures and appearances which are but the reflection of their thoughts, and then these are believed to be the apparitions of evil spirits or even the spectres of witches. But this is contrary to the true faith, which teaches us that certain angels fell from heaven and are now devils, and we are bound to acknowledge that by their very nature they can do many wonderful things which we cannot do. And those who try to induce others to perform such evil wonders are called witches. And because infidelity in a person who has been baptized is technically called heresy, therefore such persons are plainly heretics.

As regards those who hold the other two errors, those, that is to say, who do not deny that there are demons and that demons possess a natural power, but who differ among themselves concerning the possible effects of magic and the possible operations of witches: the one school holding that a witch can truly bring about certain effects, yet these effects are not real but phantastical, the other school allowing that some real harm does befall the person or persons injured, but that when a witch imagines this damage is the effect of her arts she is grossly deceived. This error seems to be based upon two passages from the Canons where certain women are condemned who falsely imagine that during the night they ride abroad with Diana or Herodias. [1] This may read in the Canon. Yet because such things often happen by illusion are merely in the imagination, those who suppose that all the effects of witchcraft are mere illusion and imagination are very greatly deceived. Secondly, with regard to a man who believes or maintains that a creature can be made, or changed for better or for worse, or transformed into some other kind or likeness by anyone save by God, the Creator of all things, alone, is an infidel and worse than a heathen. Wherefore on account of these words “changed for the worse” they say that such an effect if wrought by witchcraft cannot be real but must be purely phantastical.

But inasmuch as these errors savour of heresy and contradict the obvious meaning of the Canon, we will first prove our points by the divine law, as also by ecclesiastical and civil law, and first in general.

To commence, the expressions of the Canon must be treated of in detail (although the sense of the Canon will be even more clearly elucidated in the following question). For the divine in many places commands that witches are not only to be avoided, but also they are to be put to death, and it would not impose the extreme penalty of this kind if witches did not really and truly make a compact with devils in order to bring about real and true hurts and harms. For the penalty of death is not inflicted except for some grave and notorious crime, but it is otherwise with death of the soul, which can be brought about by the power of a phantastical illusion or even by the stress of temptation. This is the opinion of S. Thomas when he discusses whether it be evil to make use of the help of devils (ii. 7). For in the 18th chapter of Deuteronomy it is commanded that all wizards and charmers are to be destroyed. Also the 19th chapter of Leviticus says: The soul which goeth to wizards and soothsayers to commit fornication with them, I will set my face against that soul, and destroy it out of the midst of my people. And again, 20: A man, or woman, in whom there is a pythonical or divining spirit dying, let them die: they shall stone them. Those persons are said to be pythons in whom the devil works extraordinary things.

Moreover, this must be borne in mind, that on account of this sin Ochozias fell sick and died, IV. Kings I. Also Saul, I Paralipomenon, 10. We have, moreover, the weighty opinions of the Fathers who have written upon the scriptures and who have treated at length of the power of demons and of magic arts. The writings of many doctors upon Book 2 of the Sentences may be consulted, and it will be found that they all agree, that there are wizards and sorcerers who by the power of the devil can produce real and extraordinary effects, and these effects are not imaginary, and God permits this to be. I will not mention those very many other places where S. Thomas in great detail discusses operations of this kind. As, for example, in his Summa contra Gentiles, Book 3, c. 1 and 2, in part one, question 114, argument 4. And in the Second of the Second, questions 92 and 94. We may further consult the Commentators and the Exegetes who have written upon the wise men and the magicians of Pharao, Exodus vii. We may also consult what S. Augustine says in The City of God, [2] Book 18, c. 17. See further his second book On Christian Doctrine. [3] Very many other doctors advance the same opinion, and it would be the height of folly for any man to contradict all these, and he could not be held to be clear of the guilt of heresy. For any man who gravely errs in an exposition of Holy Scripture is rightly considered to be a heretic. And whosoever thinks otherwise concerning these matters which touch the faith that the Holy Roman Church holds is a heretic. There is the Faith.

That to deny the existence of witches is contrary to the obvious sense of the Canon is shown by ecclesiastical law. For we have the opinions of the commentators on the Canon which commences: If anyone by magic arts or witchcraft . . . And again, there are those writers who speak of men impotent and bewitched, and therefore by this impediment brought about by witchcraft they are unable to copulate, and so the contract of marriage is rendered void and matrimony in their cases has become impossible. For they say, and S. Thomas agrees with them, that if witchcraft takes effect in the event of a marriage before there has been carnal copulation, then if it is lasting it annuls and destroys the contract of marriage, and it is quite plain that such a condition cannot in any way be said to be illusory and the effect of imagination.

Upon this point see what Blessed Henry of Segusio [4] has so fully written in his Summa: also Godfrey of Fontaine [5] and S. Raymond of Peñafort, [6] who have discussed this question in detail very clearly, not asking whether such a physical condition could be thought imaginary and unreal, but taking it to be an actual and proven fact, and then they lay down whether it is to be treated as a lasting or temporary infirmity if it continued for more than the space of three years, and they do not doubt that it may be brought about by the power of witchcraft, although it is true that this condition may be intermittent. But what is a fact beyond dispute is that such impotency can be brought about through the power of the devil by means of a contract made with him, or even by the devil himself without the assistance of any witch, although this most rarely happens in the Church, since marriage is a most excellent sacrament. But amongst Pagans this actually does happen, and this is because evil spirits act as if they had a certain legitimate dominion over them, as Peter of Palude [7] in his fourth book relates, when he tells of the young man who had pledged himself in wedlock to a certain idol, and who nevertheless in the Church the devil prefers to operate through the medium of witches and to bring about such effects for his own gain, that is to say, for the loss of souls. And in what manner he is able to do this, and by what means, will be discussed a little later, where we shall treat of the seven ways of doing harm to men by similar operations. And of the other questions which Theologians and Canonists have raised with reference to these points, one is very important, since they discuss how such impotence can be cured and whether it is permissible to cure it by some counter-charm, and what is to be done if the witch who cast the spell is dead, a circumstance of which Godfrey of Fontaines treats in his Summa. And these questions will be amply elucidated in the Third Part of this work.

This then is the reason why the Canonists have so carefully drawn up a table of the various differing penalties, making a distinction between private and open practice of witchcraft, or rather of divination, since this foul superstition has various species and degrees, so that anyone who is notoriously given to it must be refused Communion. If it be secretly practised the culprit must do penance for forty days. And if he be a cleric he is to be suspended and confined in a monastery. If he be a layman he shall be excommunicated, wherefore all such infamous persons must be punished, together with all those who resort to them, and no excuse at all is to be allowed.

The same penalty too is prescribed by the civil law. For Azo, [8] in his Summa upon Book 9 of the Codex, the rubric concerning sorcerers, 2 after the lex Cornelia, [9] concerning assassins and murderers, lays down: Let it be known that all those who are commonly called sorcerers, and those too who are skilled in the art of divination, incur the penalty of death. The same penalty is enforced yet again. For this is the exact sentence of these laws: It is unlawful for any man to practise divination; and is he does so his reward shall be death by the sword of the executioner. There are others too who by their magic charms endeavour to take the lives of innocent people, who turn the passions of women to lusts of every kind, and these criminals are to be thrown to the wild beasts. And the laws allow that any witness whatsoever is to be admitted as evidence against them. This the Canon treating of the defence of the Faith explicitly enjoins. And the same procedure is allowable in a charge of heresy. When such an accusation is brought, any witness may come forward to give evidence, just as he may in a case of lese-majesty. For witchcraft is high treason against God’s Majesty. And so they are to be put to the torture in order to make them confess. Any person, whatsoever his rank or position, upon such an accusation may be put to the torture, and he who is found guilty, even if he confesses his crime, let him be racked, let him suffer all other tortures prescribed by law in order that he may be punished in proportion to his offences.

Note: In days of old such criminals suffered a double penalty and were often thrown to wild beast to be devoured by them. Nowadays they are burnt at the stake, and probably this is because the majority of them are women.

The civil law also forbids any conniving at or joining in such practices, for it did not allow a diviner even to enter another person’s house; and often it ordered that all their possessions should be burnt, nor was anyone allowed to patronize or to consult them; very often they were deported to some distant and deserted island and all their goods sold by public auction. Moreover, those who consulted or resorted to witches were punished with exile and the confiscation of all their property. These penalties were set in operation by the common consent of all nations and rulers, and they have greatly conduced to the suppression of the practice of such forbidden arts.

It should be observed that the laws highly commend those who seek to nullify the charms of witches. And those who take great pains that the work of man shall not be harmed by the force tempests or by hailstorms are worthy of a great reward rather than of any punishment. How such damage may lawfully be prevented will be discussed in full below. Accordingly, how can it be that the denial or frivolous contradiction of any of these propositions can be free from the mark of some notable heresy? Let every man judge for himself unless indeed his ignorance excuse him. But what sort of ignorance may excuse him we shall very shortly proceed to explain. From what has been already said we draw the following conclusion; It is a most certain and most Catholic opinion that there are sorcerers and witches who by the help of the devil, on account of a compact which they have entered into with him, are able, since God allows this, to produce real and actual evils and harm, which does not render it unlikely that they can also bring about visionary and phantastical illusions by some extraordinary and peculiar means. The scope of the present inquiry, however, is witchcraft, and this very widely differs from these other arts, and therefore a consideration of them would be nothing to the purpose, since those who practise them may with greater accuracy be termed fortune-tellers and soothsayers rather than sorcerers.

It must particularly be noticed that these two last errors are founded upon a complete misunderstanding of the words of the Canon (I will not speak of the first error, which stands obviously self-condemned, since it is clean contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture). And so let us proceed to a right understanding of the Canon. And first we will speak against the first error, which says that the mean is mere illusion although the two extremes are realities.

Here it must be noticed that there are fourteen distinct species which come under the genus superstition, but these for the sake of brevity it is hardly necessary to detail, since they have been most clearly set out by S. Isidore [10] in his Etymologiae, Book 8, and by S. Thomas in his Second of the Second, question 92. Moreover, there will be explicit mention of these rather lower when we discuss the gravity of this heresy, and this will be in the last question of our First Part.

The category in which women of this sort are to be ranked is called the category of Pythons, persons in or by whom the devil either speaks or performs some astonishing operation, and this is often the first category in order. But the category under which sorcerers come is called the category of Sorcerers.

And inasmuch as these persons differ greatly one from another, it would not be correct that they should not be comprised in that species under which so many others are confined: Wherefore, since the Canon makes explicit mention of certain women, but does not in so many words speak of witches; therefore they are entirely wrong who understand the Canon only to speak of imaginary voyages and goings to and fro in the body and who wish to reduce every kind of superstition to this illusion: for as those women are transported in their imagination, so are witches actually and bodily transported. And he who wishes to argue from this Canon that the effects of witchcraft, the infliction of disease or any sickness, are purely imaginary, utterly mistakes the tenor of the Canon, and errs most grossly.

Further, it is to be observed that those who, whilst they allow the two extremes, that is to say, some operation of the devil and the effect, a sensible disease, to be actual and real, at the same time deny that any instrument is the means thereof; that is to say, they deny that any witch could have participated in such a cause and effect, these, I say, err most gravely: for, in philosophy, the mean must always partake of the nature of the two extremes.

Moreover, it is useless to argue that any result of witchcraft may be a phantasy and unreal, because such a phantasy cannot be procured without resort to the power of the devil, and it is necessary that there should be made a contract with the devil, bu which contract the witch truly and actually binds herself to be the servant of the devil and devotes herself to the devil, and this is not done in any dream or under any illusion, but she herself bodily and truly co-operates with, and conjoins herself to, the devil. For this indeed is the end of all witchcraft; whether it be the casting of spells by a look or by a formula of words or by some other charm, it is all of the devil, as will be made clear in the following question.

In truth, if anyone cares to read the words of the Canon, there are four points which must particularly strike him. And the first point is this: It is absolutely incumbent upon all who have the cure of souls, to teach their flocks that there is one, only, true God, and that to none other in Heaven or earth may worship by given. The second point is this, that although these women imagine they are riding (as they think and say) with Diana or with Herodias, in truth they are riding with the devil, who calls himself by some such heathen name and throws a glamour before their eyes. And the third point is this, that the act of riding abroad may be merely illusory, since the devil has extraordinary power over the minds of those who have given themselves up to him, so that what they do in pure imagination, they believe they have actually and really done in the body. And the fourth point is this: Witches have made a compact to obey the devil in all things, wherefore that the words of the Canon should be extended to include and comprise every act of witchcraft is absurd, since witches do much more than these women, and witches actually are of a very different kind.

Whether witches by their magic arts are actually and bodily transported from place to place, or whether this merely happens in imagination, as is the case with regard to those women who are called Pythons, will be dealt with later in this work, and we shall also discuss how they are conveyed. So now we have explained two errors, at least, and we have arrived at a clear understanding of the sense of the Canon.

Moreover, a third error, which mistaking the words of the Canon says that all magic arts are illusions, may be corrected from the very words of the Canon itself. For inasmuch as it says that he who believes any creature can be made or transformed for the better or the worse, or metamorphosed into some other species or likeness, save it be by the Creator of all things Himself, etc . . . . he is worse than an infidel. These three propositions, if they are thus understood as they might appear on the bare face of them, are clean contrary to the sense of Holy Scripture and the commentaries of the doctors of the Church. For the following Canon clearly says that creatures can be made by witches, although they necessarily must be very imperfect creatures, and probably in some way deformed. And it is plain that the sense of the Canon agrees with what S. Augustine tells us concerning the magicians at the court of Pharao, who turned their rods into serpents, as the holy doctor writes upon the 7th chapter of Exodus, ver. II, - and Pharao called the wise men and the magicians . . . . We may also refer to the commentaries of Strabo, who says that devils hurry up and down over the whole earth, when by their incantations witches are employing them at various operations, and these devils are able to collect various species to grow. We may also refer to Blessed Albertus Magnus, [11] De animalibus. And also S. Thomas, Part I, question 114, article 4. For the sake of conciseness we will not quote them at length here, but this remains proven, that it is possible for certain creatures to be created in this way.

With reference to the second point, that a creature may be changed for better or worse, it is always to be understood that this can only be done by the permission and indeed by the power of God, and that this is only done in order to correct or to punish, but that God very often allows devils to act as His ministers and His servants, but throughout all it is God alone who can afflict and it is He alone who can heal, for “I kill and I make alive” (Deuteronomy xxxii, 39). And so evil angels may and do perform the will of God. To this also S. Augustine bears witness when he says: There are in truth magic spells and evil charms, which not only often afflict men with diseases but even kill them outright. We must also endeavour clearly to understand what actually happens when nowadays by the power of the devil wizards and witches are changed into wolves and other savage beasts. The Canon, however, speaks of some bodily and lasting change, and does not discuss those extraordinary things which may be done by glamour of which S. Augustine speaks in the 18th book and the 17th chapter of Of the City of God, when he reports many strange tales of that famous witch Circe, and of the companions of Diomedes and of the father of Praestantius. This will be discussed in detail in the Second Part.

The second part of our inquiry is this, whether obstinately to maintain that witches exist is heretical. The questions arises whether people who hold that witches do not exist are to be regarded as notorious heretics, or whether they are to be regarded as gravely suspect of holding heretical opinions. It seems that the first opinion is the correct one. For this is undoubtedly in accordance with the opinion of the learned Bernard. And yet those persons who openly and obstinately persevere in heresy must be proved to be heretics by unshaken evidence, and such demonstration is generally one of three kinds; either a man has openly preached and proclaimed heretical doctrines; or he is proved to be a heretic by the evidence of trustworthy witnesses; or he is proved to be a heretic by his own free confession. And yet there are some who rashly opposing themselves to all authority publicly proclaim that witches do not exist, or at any rate that they can in no way afflict and hurt mankind. Wherefore, strictly speaking those who are convicted of such evil doctrine may be excommunicated, since they are openly and unmistakably to be convicted of false doctrine. The reader may consult the works of Bernard, where he will find that this sentence is just, right, and true. Yet perhaps this may seem to be altogether too severe a judgement mainly because of the penalties which follow upon excommunication: for the Canon prescribes that a cleric is to be degraded and that a layman is to be handed over to the power of the secular courts, who are admonished to punish him as his offence deserves. Moreover, we must take into consideration the very great numbers of persons who, owing to their ignorance, will surely be found guilty of this error. And since the error is very common the rigor of strict justice may be tempered with mercy. And it is indeed our intention to try to make excuses for those who are guilty of this heresy rather than to accuse them of being infected with the malice of heresy. It is preferable then that if a man should be even gravely suspected of holding this false opinion he should not be immediately condemned for the grave crime of heresy. (See the gloss of Bernard [12] upon the word Condemned.) One may in truth proceed against such a man as against a person who is gravely suspect, but he is not to be condemned in his absence and without a hearing. And yet the suspicion may be very grave, and we cannot refrain from suspecting these people, for their frivolous assertions do certainly seem to affect the purity of the faith. For there are three kinds of suspicion - a light suspicion, a serious suspicion, and a grave suspicion. These are treated of in the chapter on Accusations and in the chapter on Contumacy, Book 6, on Heretics. And these things come under the cognizance of the archidiaconal court. Reference may also be made to the commentaries of Giovanni d’Andrea, [13] and in particular to his glosses upon the phrases Accused; Gravely suspect; and his note upon a presumption of heresy. It is certain too that some who lay down the law on this subject do not realize that they are holding false doctrines and errors, for there are many who have no knowledge of the Canon law, and there are some who, owing to the fact that they are badly informed and insufficiently read, waver in their opinions and cannot make up their minds, and since an idea merely kept to oneself is not heresy unless it be afterwards put forward, obstinately and openly maintained, it should certainly be said that persons such as we have just mentioned are not to be openly condemned for the crime of heresy. But let no man think he may escape by pleading ignorance. For those who have gone astray through ignorance of this kind may be found to have sinned very gravely. For although there are many degrees of ignorance, nevertheless those who have the cure of souls cannot plead invincible ignorance, as the philosophers call it, which by the writers on Canon law and by the Theologians is called Ignorance of the Fact. But what is to be blamed in these persons is Universal ignorance, that is to say, an ignorance of the divine law, which, as Pope Nicholas [14] has laid down, they must and should know. For he says: The dispensation of these divine teachings is entrusted to our charge: and woe be unto us if we do not sow the good seed, woe be unto us if we do not teach our flocks. And so those who have the charge of souls are bound to have a sound knowledge of the Sacred Scriptures. It is true that according to Raymond of Sabunde [15] and S. Thomas, those who have the cure of souls are certainly not bound to be men of any extraordinary learning, but they certainly should have a competent knowledge, that is to say, knowledge sufficient to carry out the duties of their state.

And yet, and this may be some small consolation to them, the theoretical severity of law is often balanced by the actual practice, and they may know that this ignorance of the Canon law, although sometimes it may be culpable and worthy of blame, is considered from two points of view. For sometimes persons do not know, they do not wish to know, and they have no intention of knowing. For such persons there is no excuse, but they are to be altogether condemned. And of these the Psalmist speaks: He would not understand in order that he might do good. But secondly, there are those who are ignorant, yet not from any desire not to know. And this diminishes the gravity of the sin, because there is no actual consent of the will. And such a case is this, when anyone ought to know something, but cannot realize that he ought to know it, as S. Paul says in his 1st Epistle to Timothy (i.13): But I obtained the mercy of God, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And this is technically said to be an ignorance, which indirectly at least is the fault of the person, insomuch as on account of many of occupations he neglects to inform himself of matters which he ought to know, and he does not use any endeavour to make himself acquainted with them, and this ignorance does not entirely excuse him, but it excuses him to a certain degree. So S. Ambrose, [16] writing upon that passage in the Romans (ii, 4): Knowest thou not, that the benignity of God leadeth thee to penance? says, If thou dost not know through thine own fault then thy sin is very great and grievous. More especially then in these days, when souls are beset with so many dangers, we must take measures to dispel all ignorance, and we must always have before our eyes that sever judgement which will be passed upon us if we do not use, everyone according to his proper ability, the one talent which has been given. In this way our ignorance will be neither thick nor stupid, for metaphorically we speak of men as thick and stupid who do not see what lies directly in their very way.

And in the Flores regularum moralium the Roman Chancellor commenting upon the second rule says: A culpable ignorance of the Divine law does not of necessity affect the ignorant person. The reason is this: the Holy Spirit is able directly to instruct a man in all that knowledge essential to salvation, if these things are too difficult for him to grasp unaided by his own natural intellect.

The answer to the first objection then is a clear and correct understanding of the Canon. To the second objection Peter of Tarentaise (Blessed Innocent V [17] ) replies: No doubt the devil, owing to his malice which he harbours against the human race, would destroy mankind if he were allowed by God to do so. The fact that God allows him sometimes to do harm and that sometimes God hinders and prevents him, manifestly brings the devil into more open contempt and loathing, since in all things, to the manifestation of His glory, God is using the devil, unwilling though he be, as a servant and slave. With regard to the third objection, that the infliction of sickness or some other harm is always the result of human effort, whereby the witch submits her will to evil, and so actually as any other evil-doer, by the volition of her will can afflict some person or bring about some damage or perform some villainous act. If it be asked whether the movement of material objects from place to place by the devil may be paralleled by the movement of the spheres, the answer is No. Because material objects are not thus moved by any natural inherent power of their own, but they are only moved by a certain obedience to the power of the devil, who by the virtue of his own nature has a certain dominion over bodies and material things; he has this certain power, I affirm, yet he is not able to add to created material objects any form or shape, be it substantial or accidental, without some admixture of or compounding with another created natural object. But since, by the will of God, he is able to move material objects from place to place, then by the conjunction of various objects he can produce disease or some circumstance such as he will. Wherefore the spells and effects of witchcraft are not governed by the movement of the spheres, nor is the devil himself thus governed, inasmuch as he may often make use of these conditions to do him service.

The answer to the fourth objection. The work of God can be destroyed by the work of the devil in accordance with what we are now saying with reference to the power and effects of witchcraft. But since this can only be by the permission of God, it does not at all follow that the devil is stronger than God. Again, he cannot use so much violence as he wishes to harm the works of God, because if he were unrestricted he would utterly destroy all the works of God.

The answer to the fifth objection may be clearly stated thus: The planets and stars have no power to coerce and compel devils to perform any actions against their will, although seemingly demons are readier to appear when summoned by magicians under the influence of certain stars. It appears that they do this for two reasons. First, because they know that the power of that planet will aid the effect which the magicians desire. Secondly, They do this in order to deceive men, thus making them suppose that the stars have some divine power or actual divinity, and we know that in days of old this veneration of the stars led to the vilest idolatry.

With reference to the last objection, which is founded upon the argument that gold is made by alchemists, we may put forward the opinion of S. Thomas when he discusses the power of the devil and how he works: Although certain forms having a substance may be brought about by art and the power of a natural agent, as, for example, the form fire is brought about by art employed on wood: nevertheless, this cannot be done universally, because art cannot always either find or yet mix together the proper proportions, and yet it can produce something similar. And thus alchemists make something similar to gold, that is to say, in so far as the external accidents are concerned, but nevertheless they do not make true gold, because the substance of gold is not formed by the heat of fire which alchemists employ, but by the heat of the sun, acting and reacting upon a certain spot where mineral power is concentrated and amassed, and therefore such gold is of the same likeness as, but is not of the same species as, natural gold. And the same argument applies to all their other operations.

This then is our proposition: devils by their act do bring about evil effects through witchcraft, yet it is true that without the assistance of some agent they cannot make any form, either substantial or accidental, and we do not maintain that they can inflict damage without the assistance of some agent, but with such an agent diseases, and any other human passions or ailments, can be brought about, and these are real and true. How these agents or how the employment of such means can be rendered effective in co-operation with devils will be made clear in the following chapters.



1. “Diana or Herodias.” This decree, which was often attributed to a General Council of Ancyra, but which is now held to be of a later date, was in any case authoritative, since it passed into the “De ecclesiasticis disciplinis” ascribed to Regino of Prum (906), and thence to the canonists S. Ivo of Chartres and Johannes Gratian. Section 364 of the Benedictine Abbot's work relates that “certain abandoned women turning aside to follow Satan, being seduced by the illusions and phantasms of demons, believe and openly profess that in the dead of night they ride upon certain beasts with the pagan goddess Dianan and a countless horde of women, and that in these silent hours they fly over vast tracks of country and obey her as their mistress, while on other nights they are sullen to pay her homage.” John of Salisbury, who died in 1180, in his “Policraticus,” I, xvii, speaks of the popular belief in a witch-queen named Herodias, who called together the sorcerers to meeting at night. In a MS., “De Sortilegis,” the following passage occurs: “We next inquire concerning certain wicked crones who believe and profess that in the night-time they ride abroad with Diana, the heathen goddess, or else with Herodias, and an innumerable host of women, upon certain beasts, and that in a silent covey at the dead of night they pass over immense distances, obeying her commands as their mistress, and that they are summoned by her on appointed nights, and they declare that they have the power to change human beings for better or for worse, ay, even to turn them into some other semblance or shape. Concerning such women I answer according to the decrees of the Council of Alexandria, that the minds of the faithful are disordered by such fantasies owing to the inspiration of no good spirit but of the devil.”

2. "The City of God." S. Augustine's great work "De Ciuitate Dei" was written 413-26.

3. "On Christian Doctrine," The "De Doctrina Christiana" was originally written in 397, but S. Augustine revised his work with addition in 427, leaving a monument of hermeneutics.

4. “Blessed Henry.” Blessed Henry of Segusio, usually called Hostiensis, the famous Italian canonist of the thirteenth century, was born at Susa, and died at Lyons, 25 October, 1271. After a most distinguished career, on 4 December, 1261, he became Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia and Velletri, whence his name Hostiensis. His “Summa super titulis Decretalium” (Strasburg, 1512; Cologne, 1612; Venice, 1605), which was also known as “Summa aurea,” or “Summa archiepiscopi,” since it was written whilst he was Archbishop of Embrun, won for its author the title “Monarcha iuris, lumen lucidissimum Decretorum.” One portion of this work, the “Summa, siue Tractatus de poenitentia et remissionibus,” was very popular, and is continually referred to as of high authority. The book was written between 1250 and 1261.

5. “Godfrey.” Godfrey of Fontaines, Doctor Uenerandus, scholastic philosopher and theologian, was born near Liège within the first half of the thirteenth century; he became a canon of his native diocese, and also of Paris and Cologne. In 1300 he was elected to the See of Tournai, which he declined. During the last quarter of the century he taught theology with great distinction at the University of Paris. His vast work, “XIV Quodlibeta,” which in manuscript was extensively studied in the mediaeval schools, has recently been pubished for the first time with an ample commentary.

6. “S. Raymond.” One of the most distinguised names of the Dominican Order. Born in 1175, he professed Canon law at Barcelona and Bologna. At the request of his superiors he published his “Summa Casuum,” of which several editions appeared in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His reputation as a jurist was so great that in 1230 he was called to Rome by Gregory IX, who directed him to rearrange and condify the ecclesiastical canons. Having completed the work, he refused all honours, and returned to Spain. He died at Barcelona, 6 January, 1275. His feast is celebrated on 23 January.

7. “Peter of Palude.” Peter of Palude, who died 1342, of the Order of S. Dominic, was one of the most distinguished Thomistic theologians during the first half of the fourteenth century.

8. “Azo.” Early in the thirteenth century Portius Azo stood at the head of the Bolognese school of law which was accomplishing the resuscitation of the classical Roman law. He was the pupil of the celebrated Johannes Bassianus, and his fame so eclipsed all his contemporaries that in 1205 Thomas of Marlborough, afterwards Abbot of Evesham, spent six months at Bologna hearing his lectures every day. Azo was saluted as “Master of all the Masters of the laws,” and the highest praise that could be given another canonist was to declare him to be “second only to Azo.” Savigrey says that Azo was alive as late as 1230. His chief work is a “Summa” of the first nine books of the Code, to which he added a “Summa” of the Institutes. No less than thirty-one editions appeared between 1482 and 1610; of which five are earler than 1500. Throughout the Middle Ages these treatises were in highest respute.

9. “Lex Cornelia.” De Sicariis et Ueneficis. Passed circa 8I B.C. This law dealt with incendiarism as well as open assassination and poisoning, and laid down penalties for accessories to the fact.

10. “St. Isidore.” The “Etymologiae,” or “Origines” as it is sometimes called, must be regarded as the most important and best known of the works of S. Isidore of Seville, born circa 560; died 4 April, 636. It has been described as “a vast storehouse in which is gathered, systematized, and condensed, all the learning possessed by that time.” Throughout the greater part of the Middle Ages it was the text-book most in use in educational institutions. Arevalo, who is regarded as the most authoritive editor of S. Isidore (7 vols., Rome, 1797-1803), tells us that it was printed no less than ten times between 1470 and 1529.

11. “Blessed Albertus.” Albert the Great, the Dominican doctor, scientist, philosopher, and theologian. Born circa 1206; died at Cologne, 15 November, 1280. He is called “the Great” and “Doctor Universalis” on account of his extraordinary genius and encyclopaedic knowledge, for he surpassed all his contemporaries in every branch of learning cultivated in his day. He is certainly one of the glories of the Order of Preachers. Ulrich Endelbert speaks of him as: “Uir in omni scientia adeo divinus, ut nostri temporis stupor et miraculum congrue vocari possit” (“De summo bono,” III, iv). Perhaps at the present day his extraordinary genius is not sufficiently recognized, for he was certainly one of the most learned men of all time. The latest edition of his complete works, Paris (Louis Vives), 1890-99, in thity-eight quarto volumes, was published under the direction of the Abbé Auguste Borgnet, of the diocese of Reims. “De animalibbus” will be found in Vols. XI-XII. The feast of Albertus Magnus is celebrated on 15 November. He was beatified by Gregory XV in 1622, so in this translation I call him “Blessed” by anticipation.

12. “Bernard.” Junior, or Modernus, a canonist who lived in the middle of the thirteenth century, called “Compostellanus” from the fact that he possessed an ecclesiastical benefice in Compostella. He was also known as Brignadius from his birthplace in Galicia, Spain. Bernard was chaplain to Innocent IV, who reigned 1243-54, and was himself a noted canonist. Bernard's Commentaries on Canon law are very copius and very celebrated. He is termed Modernus to distinguish him from Bernard Antiquus, a canonist of the early thirteenth century, a native of Compostella, who became Professor of Canon law in the University of Bologna.

13. “Giovanni d'Andrea.” This distinguished canonist was born at Mugello, near Florence, about 1275; died 1348. He was educated at the University of Bologna, where he afterwards became Professor of Canon law. He had previously taught at Padua and Pisa, and his career as a lecturer extended for nearly half a century. His works are “Glossarium in VI decretalium librum,” Venice and Lyons, 1472; “Glossarium in Clementinas”; “Nouella, siue Commentarius in decretales epistolas Gregorii IX,” Venice, 1581; “Mercuriales, siue commentarius in regulas sexti”; “Liber de laudibus S. Hieronymi”; “Additamenta ad speculum Durand” (1347).

14. “Pope Nicholas.” Nicholas V, 1397-1455, the great patron of learning.

15. “Raymond of Sabunde.” Born at Barcelona, Spain, towards the end of the fourteenth century; died 1432. From 1430 to his death he taught theology, philosophy, and medicine at the University of Toulouse. Of his many works only one remains, “Theologia Naturalis.” It was first written in Spanish, and translated into Latin at various times: December, 1487; Strasburg, 1496; Paris, 1509; Venice, 1581, etc. Montaigne, who translated the book into French, Paris, 1569, bears witness to the extraordinary popularity it enjoyed in his own day.

16. “S. Ambrose.” On désigne depuis le XVI siècle sous le nom d'Ambrosiaster )= psuedo-Ambroise) l'auteur anonyme d'un commentair sur les Epîtres de saint Paul (à l'exclusion de Epître aux Hébreux), qui au moyenâge, peut-être même dès l'époque de Cassiodore, fut imputé inexactement à saint Ambroise. Cette paraphrase est tout à fait remarquable; c'est l'une des plus intéressantes que l'antiquité chrétienne nous ait léguées.” Labriolle, “Histoire de la Litterérature Latine Chrétienne,” c. III.

17. “Innocent V.” Petrus a Tarentasia, born in Tarentaise, towards 1225, elected at Arezzo, 21 January, 1276; died at Rome, 22 June, 1276. At the age of sixteen he joined the Dominican Order, and he won great distinction as a Professor at the University of Paris, whence he is known as Doctor Famosissimus. He is the author of several works dealing with philosophy, theology, and Canon law, some of which are still unpublished. The principal of these is the “Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard.” I have used the edition, Toulouse, 1652.
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Re: The Malleus Maleficarum, by Heinrich Kramer & James Spre

Postby admin » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:48 am


If it be in Accordance with the Catholic Faith to maintain that in Order to bring about some Effect of Magic, the Devil must intimately co-operate with the Witch, or whether one without the other, that is to say, the Devil without the Witch, or conversely, could produce such an Effect.

And the first argument is this: That the devil can bring about an effect of magic without the co-operation of any witch. So S. Augustine holds. All things which visibly happen so that they can be seen, may (it is believed) be the work of the inferior powers of the air. But bodily ills and ailments are certainly not invisible, nay rather, they are evident to the senses, therefore they can be brought about by devils. Moreover, we learn from the Holy Scriptures of the disasters which fell upon Job, how fire fell from heaven and striking the sheep and the servants consumed them, and how a violent wind threw down the four corners of a house so that it fell upon his children and slew them all. The devil by himself without the co-operation of any witches, but merely by God’s permission alone, was able to bring about all these disasters. Therefore he can certainly do many things which are often ascribed to the work of witches.

And this is obvious from the account of the seven husbands of the maiden Sara, whom a devil killed. Moreover, whatever a superior power is able to do, it is able to do without reference to a power superior to it, and a superior power can all the more work without reference to an inferior power. But an inferior power can cause hailstorms and bring about diseases without the help of a power greater than itself. For Blessed Albertus Magnus in his work De passionibus aeris [1] says that rotten sage, if used as he explains, and thrown into running water, will arouse most fearful tempests and storms.

Moreover, it may be said that the devil makes use of a witch, not because he has need of any such agent, but because he is seeking the perdition of the witch. We may refer to what Aristotle says in the 3rd book of his Ethics. Evil is a voluntary act which is proved by the fact that nobody performs an unjust action, and a man who commits a rape does this for the sake of pleasure, not merely doing evil for evil’s sake. Yet the law punishes those who have done evil as if they had acted merely for the sake of doing evil. Therefore if the devil works by means of a witch he is merely employing an instrument; and since an instrument depends upon the will of the person who employs it and does not act of its own free will, therefore the guilt of the action ought not to be laid to the charge of the witch, and in consequence she should not be punished.

But an opposite opinion holds that the devil cannot so easily and readily do harm by himself to mankind, as he can harm them through the instrumentality of witches, although they are his servants. In the first place we may consider the act of generation. But for every act which has an effect upon another some kind of contact must be established, and because the devil, who is a spirit, can have no such actual contact with a human body, since there is nothing common of this kind between them, therefore he uses some human instruments, and upon these he bestows the power of hurting by bodily touch. And many hold this to be proven by the text, and the gloss upon the text, in the 3rd chapter of S. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians: [2] O senseless Galatians, who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the truth? And the gloss upon this passage refers to those who have singularly fiery and baleful eyes, who by a mere look can harm others, especially young children. And Avicenna [3] also bears this out, Naturalism, Book 3, c. the last, when he says; “Very often the soul may have as much influence upon the body of another to the same extent as it has upon its own body, for such is the influence of the eyes of anyone who by his glance attracts and fascinates another.” And the same opinion is maintained by Al-Gazali [4] in the 5th book and 10th c. of his Physics. Avicenna also suggests, although he does not put this opinion forward as irrefutable, that the power of the imagination can actually change or seem to change extraneous bodies, in cases where the power of the imagination is too unrestrained; and hence we father that the power of the imagination is not to be considered as distinct from a man’s other sensible powers, since it is common to them all, but to some extent it includes all those other powers. And this is true, because such a power of the imagination can change adjacent bodies, as, for example, when a man is able to walk along some narrow beam which is stretched down the middle of a street. But yet if this beam were suspended over deep water he would not dare to walk along it, because his imagination would most strongly impress upon his mind the idea of falling, and therefore his body and the power of his limbs would not obey his imagination, and they would not obey the contrary thereto, that is to say, walking directly and without hesitation. This change may be compared to the influence exercised by the eyes of a person who has such influence, and so a mental change is brought about although there is not any actual and bodily change.

Moreover, if it be argued that such a change is cause by a living body owing to the influence of the mind upon some other living body, this answer may be given. In the presence of a murderer blood flows from the wounds in the corpse of the person he has slain. Therefore without any mental powers bodies can produce wonderful effects, and so a living man if he pass by near the corpse of a murdered man, although he may not be aware of the dead body, is often seized with fear.

Again, there are some things in nature which have certain hidden powers, the reason for which man does not know; such, for example, is the lodestone, which attracts steel and many other such things, which S. Augustine mentions in the 20th book Of the City of God.

And so women in order to bring about changes in the bodies of others sometimes make use of certain things, which exceed our knowledge, but this is without any aid from the devil. And because these remedies are mysterious we must not therefore ascribe them to the power of the devil as we should ascribe evil spells wrought by witches.

Moreover, witches use certain images and other strange periapts, which they are wont to place under the lintels of the doors of houses, or in those meadows where flocks are herding, or even where men congregate, and thus they cast spells over their victims, who have oft-times been known to die. But because such extraordinary effects can proceed from these images it would appear that the influence of these images is in proportion to the influence of the stars over human bodies, for as natural bodies are influenced by heavenly bodies, so may artificial bodies likewise be thus influenced. But natural bodies may find the benefit of certain secret but good influences. Therefore artificial bodies may receive such influence. Hence it is plain that those who perform works of healing may well perform them by means of such good influences, and this has no connexion at all with any evil power.

Moreover, it would seem that most extraordinary and miraculous events come to pass by the working of the power of nature. For wonderful and terrible and amazing things happen owing to natural forces. And this S. Gregory points out in his Second Dialogue. [5] The Saints perform miracles, sometimes by a prayer, sometimes by their power alone. There are examples of each; S. Peter by praying raised to life Tabitha, who was dead. [6] By rebuking Ananias and Sapphira, who were telling a lie, he slew the without any prayer. Therefore a man by his mental influence can change a material body into another, or he can change such a body from health to sickness and conversely.

Moreover, the human body is nobler than any other body, but because of the passions of the mind the human body changes and becomes hot or cold, as is the case with angry men or men who are afraid: and so even greater change takes place with regard to the effects of sickness and death, which by their power can greatly change a material body.

But certain objections must be allowed. The influence of the mind cannot make an impression upon any form except by the intervention of some agent, as we have said above. And these are the words of S. Augustine in the book which we have already quoted: It is incredible that the angels who fell from Heaven should be obedient to any material things, for the obey God only. And much less can a man of his natural power bring about extraordinary and evil effects. The answer must be made, there are even to-day many who err greatly on this point, making excuses for witches and laying the whole blame upon the craft of the devil, or ascribing the changes that they work to some natural alteration. These errors may be easily made clear. First, by the description of witches which S. Isidore gives in his Etymologiae, c. 9: Witches are so called on account of the blackness of their guilt, that is to say, their deeds are more evil than those of any other malefactors. He continues: They stir up and confound the elements by the aid of the devil, and arouse terrible hailstorms and tempests. Moreover, he says they distract the minds of men, driving them to madness, insane hatred, and inordinate lusts. Again, he continues, by the terrible influence of their spells alone, as it were by a draught of poison, they can destroy life.

And the words of S. Augustine in his book on The City of God are very much to the point, for he tells us who magicians and witches really are. Magicians, who are commonly called witches, are thus termed on account of the magnitude of their evil deeds. These are they who by the permission of God disturb the elements, who drive to distraction the minds of men, such as have lost their trust in God, and by the terrible power of their evil spells, without any actual draught or poison, kill human beings. As Lucan says: A mind which has not been corrupted by any noxious drink perishes forspoken by some evil charm. For having summoned devils to their aid they actually dare to heap harms upon mankind, and even to destroy their enemies by their evil spells. And it is certain that in operations of this kind the witch works in close conjunction with the devil. Secondly, punishments are of four kinds: beneficial, hurtful, wrought by witchcraft, and natural. Beneficial punishments are meted out by the ministry of good Angels, just as hurtful punishments proceed from evil spirits. Moses smote Egypt with ten plagues by the ministry of good Angels, and the magicians were only able to perform three of these miracles by the aid of the devil. And the pestilence which fell upon the people for three days because of the sin of David who numbered the people, and the 72,000 men who were slain in one night in the army of Sennacherib, were miracles wrought by the Angels of God, that is, by good Angels who feared God and knew that they were carrying out His commands.

Destructive harm, however, is wrought by the medium of bad angels, at whose hands the children of Israel in the desert were often afflicted. And those harms which are simply evil and nothing more are brought about by the devil, who works through the medium of sorcerers and witches. There are also natural harms which in some manner depend upon the conjunction of heavenly bodies, such as dearth, drought, tempests, and similar effects of nature.

It is obvious that there is a vast difference between all these causes, circumstances, and happenings. For Job was afflicted by the devil with a harmful disease, but this is nothing to the purpose. And if anybody who is too clever and over-curious asks how it was that Job was afflicted with this disease by the devil without the aid of some sorcerer or witch, let him know that he is merely beating the air and not informing himself as to the real truth. For in the time of Job there were no sorcerers and witches, and such abominations were not yet practised. But the providence of God wished that by the example of Job the power of the devil even over good men might be manifested, so that we might learn to be on our guard against Satan, and, moreover, by the example of this holy patriarch the glory of God shines abroad, since nothing happens save what is permitted by God.

With regard to the time at which this evil superstition, witchcraft, appeared, we must first distinguish the worshippers of the devil from those who were merely idolaters. And Vincent of Beauvais [7] in his Speculum historiale, quoting many learned authorities, says that he who first practised the arts of magic and of astrology was Zoroaster, [8] who is said to have been Cham [9] the son of Noe. And according to S. Augustine in his book Of the City of God, Cham laughed aloud when he was born, and thus showed that he was a servant of the devil, and he, although he was a great and mighty king, was conquered by Ninus the son of Belus, who built Ninive, whose reign was the beginning of the kingdom of Assyria in the time of Abraham.

Thus Ninus, owing to his insane love for his father, when his father was dead, ordered a statue of his father to be made, and whatever criminal took refuge there was free from any punishment which he might have incurred. From this time men began to worship images as though they were gods; but this was after the earliest years of history, for in the very first ages there was no idolatry, since in the earliest times men still preserved some remembrance of the creation of the world, as S. Thomas says, Book 2, question 95, article 4. Or it may have originated with Nembroth, [10] who compelled men to worship fire; and thus in the second age of the world there began Idolatry, which is the first of all superstitions, as Divination is the second, and the Observing of Times and Seasons the third.

The practices of witches are included in the second kind of superstition, which is to say Divination, since the expressly invoke the devil. And there are three kinds of this superstition: - Necromancy, Astrology, or rather Astromancy, the superstitious observation of stars, and Oneiromancy.

I have explained all this at length that the reader may understand that these evil arts did not suddenly burst upon the world, but rather were developed in the process of time, and therefore it was not impertinent to point out that there were no witches in the days of Job. For as the years went by, as S. Gregory says in his Moralia, the knowledge of the Saints grew: and therefore the evil craft of the devil likewise increased. The prophet Isaias says: The earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord (xi, 6). And so in this twilight and evening of the world, when sin is flourishing on every side and in every place, when charity is growing cold, the evil of witches and their inequities superabound.

And since Zoroaster was wholly given up to the magic arts, it was the devil alone who inspired him to study and observe the stars. Very early did sorcerers and witches make compacts with the devil and connive with him to bring harm upon human beings. This is proved in the seventh chapter of Exodus, where the magicians of Pharao by the power of the devil wrought extraordinary wonders, imitating those plagues which Moses had brought upon Egypt by the power of good angels.

Hence it follows the Catholic teaching, that in order to bring about evil a witch can and does co-operate with the devil. And any objections to this may briefly be answered thus.

1. In the first place, nobody denies that certain harms and damages which actually and visibly afflict men, animals, the fruits of the earth, and which often come about by the influence of stars, may yet often be brought about by demons, when God permits them do to act. For as S. Augustine says in the 4th book Of the City of God: Demons may make use of both fire and air if God allow them so to do. And a commentator remarks: God punishes by the power of evil angels.

2. From this obviously follows the answer to any objection concerning Job, and to any objections which may be raised to our account of the beginnings of magic in the world.

3. With regard to the fact that rotten sage which is thrown into running water is said to produce some evil effect without the help of the devil, although it may not be wholly disconnected with the influence of certain stars, we would point out that we do not intend to discuss the good or evil influence of the stars, but only witchcraft, and therefore this is beside the point.

4. With regard to the fourth argument, it is certainly true that the devil only employs witches to bring about their bale and destruction. But when it is deduced that they are not to be punished, because they only act as instruments which are moved not by their own volition but at the will and pleasure of the principal and agent, there is a ready answer: For they are human instruments and free agents, and although they have made a compact and a contract with the devil, nevertheless they do enjoy absolute liberty: for, as has been learnt from their own revelations - and I speak of women who have been convicted and burned at the stake and who were compelled to wreak vengeance and evil and damage if they wished to escape punishments and blows inflicted by the devil - yet these women co-operate with the devil although they are bound to him by that profession by which at first they freely and willingly gave themselves over to his power.

With regard to these other arguments, in which it is proved that certain old women have an occult knowledge which enables them to bring about extraordinary and indeed evil effects without the aid of the devil. It must be understood that from one particular to conclude a universal argument is contrary to all sound reason. And when, as it seems, throughout the whole of the Scriptures no such instance can be found, save where it speaks of the charms and spells old women practise, therefore we must not hence conclude that this is always the case. Moreover, the authorities on these passages leave the matter open to question, that is to say, whether such charms have any efficacy without the co-operation of the devil. These charms or fascinations seem capable of division into three kinds. First, the senses are deluded, and this may truly be done by magic, that is to say, by the power of the devil, if God permit it. And the senses may be enlightened by the power of good angels. Secondly, fascination may bring about a certain glamour and a leading astray, as when the apostle says: Who hath bewitched you? Galatians iii, I. In the third place, there may be a certain fascination cast by the eyes [11] over another person, and this may be harmful and bad.

And it is of this fascination that Avicenna and Al-Gazali have spoken; S. Thomas to thus mentions this fascination, Part I, question 117. For he says the mind of a man may be changed by the influence of another mind. And that influence which is exerted over another often proceeds from the eyes, for in the eyes a certain subtle influence may be concentrated. For the eyes direct their glance upon a certain object without taking notice of other things, and although the vision be perfectly clear, yet at the sight of some impurity, such, for example, a woman during her monthly periods, the eyes will as it were contract a certain impurity. This is what Aristotle says in his work On Sleep and Waking, [12] and thus if anybody’s spirit be inflamed with malice or rage, as is often the case with old women, then their disturbed spirit looks through their eyes, for their countenances are most evil and harmful, and often terrify young children of tender years, who are extremely impressionable. And it may be that this is often natural, permitted by God; on the other hand, it may be that these evil looks are often inspired by the malice of the devil, with whom old witches have made some secret contract.

The next question arises with regard to the influence of the heavenly bodies, and here we find three very common errors, but these will be answered as we proceed to the explain other matters.

With regard to operations of witchcraft, we find that some of these may be due to mental influence over others, and in some cases such mental influence might be a good one, but it is the motive which makes it evil.

And there are four principal arguments which are to be objected against those who deny that there are witches, or magical operations, which may be performed at the conjunction of certain planets and stars, and that by the malice of human beings harm may be wrought through fashioning images, though the use of spells, and by the writing of mysterious characters. All theologians and philosophers agree that the heavenly bodies are guided and directed by certain spiritual mediums. But those spirits are superior to our minds and souls, just as the heavenly bodies are superior to other bodies, and therefore they can influence both the mind and body of a man, so that he is persuaded and directed to perform some human act. But in order yet more fully to attempt a solution of these matters, we may consider certain difficulties from a discussion of which we shall yet more clearly arrive at the truth. First, spiritual substance cannot change bodies to some other natural form unless it be through the mediumship of some agent. Therefore, however strong a mental influence may be, it cannot effect any change in a man’s mind or disposition. Moreover, several universities, especially that of Paris, have condemned the following article: - That an enchanter is able to cast a camel into a deep ditch merely by directing his gaze upon it. And so this article is condemned, that a corporeal body should obey some spiritual substance if this be understood simply, that is to say, if the obedience entails some actual change or transformation. For in regard to this it is God alone Who is absolutely obeyed. Bearing these points in mind we may soon see how that fascination, or influence of the eyes of which we have spoken, is possible. For it is not possible that a man through the natural powers of his mind should direct such power from his eyes that, without the agency of his own body or of some other medium, he should be able to do harm to the body of another man. Nor is it possible that a man through the natural powers of his mind should at his will bring about some change, and by directing this power through the mediumship of his eyes entirely transform the body of a man, upon whom he fixes his gaze, just as his will and pleasure may be.

And therefore in neither of these ways can one man influence another and fascinate another, for no man by the natural powers of his mind alone possesses such an extraordinary influence. Therefore, to wish to prove that evil effects can be produced by some natural power is to say that this natural power is the power of the devil, which is very far indeed from the truth.

Nevertheless, we may more clearly set forth how it is possible for a careful gaze to do harm. It may so happen that if a man or a woman gaze steadfastly at some child, the child, owing to its power of sight and power of imagination, may receive some very sensible and direct impression. And an impression of this kind is often accompanied by a bodily change, and since the eyes are one of the tenderest organs of the body, therefore they are very liable to such impressions. Therefore it may well happen that the eyes receive some bad impression and change for the worse, since very often the thoughts of the mind or the motions of the body are particularly impressed upon and shown by the eyes. And so it may happen that some angry and evil gaze, if it has been steadfastly fixed and directed upon a child, may so impress itself upon that child’s memory and imagination that it may reflect itself in the gaze of the child, and actual results will follow, as, for example, he may lose his appetite and be unable to take food, he may sicken and fall ill. And sometimes we see that the sight of a man who is suffering from his eyes may cause the eyes of those who gaze upon him to dazzle and feel weak, although to a large extent this is nothing else but the effect of pure imagination. Several other examples of the same sort might be discussed here, but for the sake of conciseness we will not discuss them in any further detail.

All this is borne out of the commentators upon the Psalm, Qui timent te uidebunt me. [13] There is a great power in the eyes, and this appears even in natural things. For if a wolf see a man first, the man is struck dumb. Moreover, if a basilisk see a man first its look is fatal; but if he see it first he may be able to kill it; and the reason why the basilisk is able to kill a man by its gaze is because when it sees him, owing to its anger a certain terrible poison is set in motion throughout its body, and this it can dart from its eyes, thus injecting the atmosphere with deadly venom. And thus the man breathes in the air which it has infected and is stupefied and dies. But when the beast is first seen by the man, in a case when the man wishes to kill the basilisk, he furnishes himself with mirrors, and the beast seeing itself in the mirrors darts out poison towards it reflection, but the poison recoils and the animal dies. It does not seem plain, however, why the man who thus kills the basilisk should not die too, and we can only conclude that this is on account of some reason not clearly understood.

So far we have set down our opinions absolutely without prejudice and refraining from any hasty or rash judgement, not deviating from the teachings and writings of the Saints. We conclude, therefore, that the Catholic truth is this, that to bring about these evils which form the subject of discussion, witches and the devil always work together, and that in so far as these matters are concerned one can do nothing without the aid and assistance of the other.

We have already treated of this fascination. And now with reference to the second point, namely, that blood will flow from a corpse in the presence of a murderer. According to the Speculum naturale of Vincent of Beauvis, c. 13, the wound is, as it were, influenced by the mind of the murderer, and that wound receives a certain atmosphere which has been impressed by and is permeated with his violence and hatred, and when the murderer draws near, the blood wells up and gushes forth from the corpse. For it would seem that this atmosphere, which was cause and as it were entered the wound owing to the murderer, at his presence is disturbed and greatly moved, and it is owing to this movement that the blood streams out of the dead body. There are some who declared that it is due to some other causes, and they say that this gushing forth of blood is the voice of the blood crying from the earth against the murderer who is present, and that this is on account of the curse pronounced against the murderer Cain. And with regard to that horror which a person feels when he is passing near the corpse of a man who has been murdered, although he may not be in any way cognizant of the vicinity of a dead body, this horror is psychic, it infects the atmosphere and conveys a thrill of fear to the mind. But all these explanations, be it noted, do not in any way affect the truth of the evil wrought by witches, since they are all perfectly natural and arise from natural causes.

In the third place, as we have already said above, the operations and rites of witches are placed in that second category of superstition which is called Divination; and of this divination there are three kinds, but the argument does not hold good with reference to the third kind, which belongs to a different species, for witchcraft is not merely any divination, but it is that divination, the operations of which are performed by express and explicit invocations of the devil; and this may be done in very many ways, as by Necromancy, Geomancy, Hydromancy, etc.

Wherefore this divination, which is used when they are working their spells, must be judged to be the height of criminal wickedness, although some have attempted to regard it from another point of view. And they argue thus, that as we do not know the hidden powers of nature, it may be that the witches are merely employing or seeking to employ these hidden powers: assuredly if they are employing the natural power of natural things to bring about a natural effect, this must be perfectly lawful. as indeed is obvious enough. Or even let us conceive that if the superstitiously employ natural things, as, for example, by writing down certain characters or unknown names of some kind, and that then they use these runes for restoring a person to health, or for inducing friendship, or with some useful end, and not at all for doing any damage or harm, in such cases, it may be granted, I say, that there is no express invocation of demons; nevertheless it cannot be that these spells are employed without a tacit invocation, wherefore all such charms must be judge to be wholly unlawful.

And because these and many other charms like to them may be placed in the third category of superstition, that is to say, idle and vain observing of time and seasons, this is by no means a relevant argument as to the heresy of witches. But of this category, the observing of times and seasons, there are four distinct species: A man may use such observations to acquire certain knowledge: or he may in this way seek to inform himself concerning lucky or unlucky days and things: or he may use sacred words and prayers as a charm with no reference to their meaning: or he may intend and desire to bring about some beneficial change in some body. All this S. Thomas has amply treated in that question where he asks, Whether such observing be lawful, especially if it be to bring about a beneficial change in a body, that is to say, the restoration of persons to health. But when witches observe times and seasons, their practices must be held to belong to the second kind of superstition, and therefore, in so far as they are concerned, questions concerning this third class are wholly impertinent.

We now proceed to a fourth proposition, inasmuch as from observations of the kind we have discussed certain charts and images are wont to be made, but these are of two separate sorts, which differ entirely one from the other; and these are Astronomical and Necromantic. Now in Necromancy there is always an express and particular invocation of demons, for this craft implies that there has been an express compact and contract with them. Let us therefore only consider Astrology. In Astrology there is no compact, and therefore there is no invocation, unless by chance there be some kind of tacit invocation, since the figures of demons and their names sometimes appear in Astrological charts. And again, Necromantic signs are written under the influence of certain stars in order to counteract the influence and oppositions of other heavenly bodies, and these are inscribed, for signs and characters of this kind are often engraved upon rings, gems, or some other precious metal, but magic signs are engraved without any reference to the influence of the stars, and often upon any substance, nay, even upon vile and sordid substances, which when buried in certain places bring about damage and harm and disease. But we are discussing charts which are made with reference to the stars. And these Necromantic charts and images have no reference to any heavenly body. Therefore a consideration of them does not enter into the present discussion.

Moreover, many of these images which have been made with superstitious rites have no efficacy at all, that is to say, in so far as the fashioning of them is concerned, although it may be that the material of which they are made does possess a certain power, although this is not due to the fact that they were made under the influence of certain stars. Yet many hold that it is in any case unlawful to make use even of images like these. But the images made by witches have no natural power at all, nor has the material of which they are formed any power; but they fashion such images by command of the devil, that by so doing they may, as it were, mock the work of the Creator, and that they may provoke Him to anger so that in punishment of their misdeeds He may suffer plagues to fall upon the earth. And in order to increase their guilt they delight especially to fashion many such images at the more solemn seasons of the year.

With regard to the fifth point, S. Gregory is there speaking of the power of grace and not of the power of nature. And since, as S. John says, we are born of God, what wonder then that the sons of God enjoy extraordinary powers.

With regard to the last point we will say this, that a mere likeness is irrelevant, because the influence of one’s own mind on one’s own body is different from its influence upon another body as though the body were the material form of the mind, and the emotions are an act of the body, but separate, therefore the emotion can be changed by the influence of the mind whensoever there is some bodily change, heat or cold, or any alteration, even to death itself. But to change the actual body, no act of the mind is sufficient by itself, unless there can be some physical result which alters the body. Whence witches, by the exercise of no natural power, but only by the help of the devil, are able to bring about harmful effects. And the devils themselves can only do this by the use of material objects as their instruments, such as bones, hair, wood, iron, and all sorts of objects of this kind, concerning which operation we shall treat more fully a little later.

Now with regard to the tenor of the Bull of our Most Holy Father the Pope, we will discuss the origin of witches, and how it is that of recent years their works have so multiplied among us. And it must be borne in mind that for this to take place, three things concur, the devil, the witch, and the permission of God who suffers such things to be. For S. Augustine says, that the abomination of witchcraft arose from this foul connexion of mankind with the devil. Therefore it is plain that the origin and the increase of this heresy arises from this foul connexion, a fact which many authors approve.

We must especially observe that this heresy, witchcraft, not only differs from all other heresy in this, that not merely by a tacit compact, but by a compact which is exactly defined and expressed it blasphemes the Creator and endeavours to the utmost to profane Him and to harm His creatures, for all other simple heresies have made no open compact with the devil, no compact, that is, either tacit or exactly expressed, although their errors and misbelief are directly to be attributed to the Father of errors and lies. Moreover, witchcraft differs from all other harmful and mysterious arts in this point, that of all superstition it is essentially the vilest, the most evil and the worst, wherefore it derives its name from doing evil, and from blaspheming the true faith. (Melaficae dictae a Melficiendo, seu a male de fide sentiendo.)

Let us especially note too that in the practice of this abominable evil, four points in particular are required. First, most profanely to renounce the Catholic Faith, or at any rate to deny certain dogmas of the faith; secondly, to devote themselves body and soul to all evil; thirdly, to offer up unbaptized children to Satan; fourthly, to indulge in every kind of carnal lust with Incubi and Succubi and all manner of filthy delights.

Would to God that we might suppose all this to be untrue and merely imaginary, if only our Holy Mother the Church were free from the leprosy of such abomination. Alas, the judgement of the Apostolic See, who is alone the Mistress and the Teacher of all truth, that judgement, I say, which has been expressed in the Bull of our Holy Father the Pope, assures us and makes us aware that amongst us, and we dare not refrain from inquiring into them lest we imperil our own salvation. And therefore we must discuss at length the origin and the increase of these abominations; it has been a work of much labour indeed, and we trust that every detail will most exactly and carefully be weighed by those who read this book, for herein will be found nothing contrary to sound reason, nothing which differs from the words of Scripture and the tradition of the Fathers.

Now there are two circumstances which are certainly very common at the present day, that is to say, the connexion of witches with familiars, Incubi and Succubi, and the horrible sacrifices of small children. Therefore we shall particularly deal with these matters, so that in the first place we shall discuss these demons themselves, secondly, the witches and their works, and thirdly, we will inquire wherefore such things are suffered to be. Now these demons work owing to their influence upon man’s mind and upon his free will, and they choose to copulate under the influence of certain stars rather than under the influence of others, for it would seem that at certain times their semen can more easily generate and beget children. Accordingly, we must inquire why the demons should act at the conjunction of certain stars, and what times these are.

There are three chief points to discuss. First, whether the abominable heresies can be multiplied throughout the world by those who give themselves to Incubi and Succubi. Secondly, whether their actions have not a certain extraordinary power when performed under the influence of certain stars. Thirdly, whether this abominable heresy is not widely spread by those who profanely sacrifice children to Satan. Moreover, when we have discussed the second point, before we proceed to the third, we must consider the influence of the stars, and what power they have in acts of witchcraft.

With regard to the first question there are three difficulties which need elucidation.

The first is a general consideration of these demons, which are called Incubi.

The second question is more particular, for we must inquire, How can these Incubi perform the human act of copulation?

The third question is also a special one, How do witches bind themselves to and copulate with these devils?



1. “De passionibus.” This treatise on physical science may be found in Vol. IX. of Abbé Bornet's edition of the “Opera omnia.”

2. “Galatians.” iii, i. The original Greek is , ; Curtius doubts the etymological connexion between and Latin “fascino” as from a root . In classical times the charm was dissolved by spitting thrice. Cf. Theocritus, VI, 39: , .

3. “Avicenna.” Abn Ali Al Hosian Ibn Addalah Ibn Sina, Arabian physician and philosopher, born at Kharmaithen, in the province of Bokhara, 980; died at Hamadan, in Northern Persia, 1037. It should be noted that the Schoolmen were aware of the pantheistic tendencies of Avicenna's philosophical works, and accordingly were reluctant to trust to his exposition of Aristotle.

4. “Al-Gazali.” Abu Hamid Mohammed Ibn Mohammed, the celebrated Arabian philosopher, born at Tous in Khorasan in 1038; died at Nissapour in 1111. He passed through complete scepticism to the mysticism of the Sufis. It is often said that Blessed Albertus Magnus wrote thus: “Non approbo dictum Avicennae et Algazel de fascinatione, quia credo quod non nocet fascinatio, nec nocere potest ars magica, nec facit aliquid ex his quae timentur de talibus.” But thus passage is more than suspicious.

5. “Second Dialogue.” The “Dialogorum Libri IV” is one of the most famous of S. Gregory's works, and very many separate editions have appeared.

6. "S. Peter." "Acts of the Apostles," ix, 36-42; and v, I-II.

7. “Vincent.” Little is known of the personal history of this celebrated encyclopaedist. The years of his birth and death are uncertain, but the dates most frequently assigned are 1190 and 1264 respectively. It is thought that he joined the Dominicans in Paris shortly after 1218, and that he passed practically his whole life in his monastery in Beauvais, where he occupied himself incessantly upon his enormous work, the general title of which is “Speculum Maius,” containing 80 books, divided into 9885 chapters. The third part, “Speculum Historiale,” in 31 books and 3793 chapters, bring the History of the World down to A.D. 1250.

8. “Zoroaster.” Pliny, “Historia Naturalis,” XXX, ii, says of magic: “Sine dubio illic orta in Perside a Zoroastre, ut inter auctores conuenit. Sed unus hic fuerit, an postea et alius, non satis constat.” Apuleius, “De Magia,” XXVI, mentions Zoroaster and Oromazus as the inventors of sorcery. “Audustine magiam . . . artem esse dis immortalibus acceptam . . . a Zoroastro et Oromazo auctoribus suis nobilem, caelitum antistitam?”

9. “Cham.” “A.V.” Ham. Lenglet du Fresnoy in his “History of the Hemetic Philosophy” repeats an old tradition: “Most alchemists pretended that Cham, or Chem, the son of Noe, was an adept in the art, and thought it highly probable that the words ‘Chemistry’ and ‘Alchemy’ are both derived from his name.” Lactantius, “De Origine Erroris,” II, says of the descendants of Cham: “Omnium primi qui Aegyptum occupauerunt; caelestia suspicere, atque adorare coeperunt.”

“Réalité de la Magie et des Apparitions,” Paris, 1819 (pp. xii-xiii), has: “Le monde, purgé par le déluge, fut repeuplé par les trois fils de Noé. Sem et Japhet imitèrent la vertu de leur père, et furent justes comme lui. Cham, au contraire, donna entrée au démon dans son coeur, remit au jour l’art exécrable de la magie, en composa les règles, et en instruisit son fils Misraim.

“Cent trente ans après le déluge, Sem habitait la Perse. Ses enfans pratiguaient la religion naturelle, que Dieu mit dans le coeur du premier homme; et leurs vieillards se nommaient mages, qui veit dire “sages” en notre langue. Dans la suite, les descendans de Cham se partagèrent, et quielques-uns passèrent en Perse; Cham, qui vivait encore, était à leur tête. Il opéra tant de Zoroastre, c’est-à-dire, ‘astre vivant’; et transportèrent à ceux de sa secte le nom honorable de “mages,” que les adorateurs du vrai Dieu abandonnèrent, dès qui’ils le virent ainsi profané: et c’est de là que nous est venu le nom de ‘magie,’ pour signifier le culte du démon.

“Cham, ou Zoroastre, fut encore l’inventeur de l’astrologie judiciaire; il regarda les astres comme autant de dininités, et persuada aux hommes que tout leur destin dépendait de leurs bonnes ou mauvaises influences. Ainsi l’on commença à leur rendre un culte religieux, qui fut l’origine de l’idolâtrie. La Chaldée fut le premier théâtre de ces égaremens; et alors, ‘Chaldéen, astrologue et magicien’ étaient trius mots synonymes.”

10. “Nembroth.” S. Augustine, “De Ciuitate Dei,” XVI, 3, quotes: “Chus autem genuit Nebrothl hic coepit esse gigans super terram. Hic erat gigans uenator contra Dominum Deum.” Nebroth is the English Nimrod, who was considered a past master of magic, and even by later ages a demon. So we have: “Nembroth. Un des esprits que les magiciens consultent. Le mardi lui est consacré, et on l’évoque ce jour-là: il faut, pour le renvoyer, lui jeter une pierre; ce qui est facile.” Collin de Plancy (“Dictionnaire Infernal,” sixième édition, 1863).

11. “Cast by the eyes.” In Ireland it was supposed that certain witches could cast a spell at a glance, and they were commonly called “eye-biting witches.”

12. “On Sleep.” This is one of the smaller treatises connected with Aristotle's great work “On the Soul”.

13. “Qui timent.” Psalm li, 8: Uidebunt iusti et timebunt.
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