Hammer of the Witches


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Welcome to WITCH Season on History Witch! I keep starting earlier and earlier every year.

The Malleus Maleficarum, also known the Hammer of the Witches is a handbook for hunting witches. It was written in 1487 by Heinrich Kramer. Heinrich clearly had a very small… uh, sorry, Heinrich was a German churchman and inquisitor. He joined the Dominican Order very young and was considered to be enthusiastic and eloquent (whatever).

This ridiculous publication states that there are 3 qualities that define a witch: the evil intentions of the witch, the help of the devil, and the permission of God. It goes on to describe actual forms of witchcraft, how to confront and combat witchcraft and how to aid inquisitors in abolishing witchcraft.

Also within these pages:

Women are more susceptible to demonic temptations due to the weakness of the gender and because they have a “temperament towards flux” and “loose tongues”.

Witches are guilty of infanticide, cannibalism, having the ability to cause harm to their enemies, and… having the power to steal a man’s penis. Interesting.

Witches interact with demons in a sexual manner and it is quite common for them to “perform filthy carnal acts” with those demons.

There are more atrocious accusations and insane theories, but I’ll spare you. Unfortunately, this book spread rapidly throughout Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries due to the invention of the printing press -and- all the religious turmoil throughout those areas.

Historians believe that Kramer’s ridiculous Malleus Maleficarum was instrumental in generating the witch hunt craze for that time period and responsible for the death of thousands of victims. I’d like to think some of them were lurking by Heinrich Kramer’s bedside as he took his last breath.

New Coloring Book!

Very excited that my new coloring book is out there! Here is the information, along with links to my other history books.

NEW! Colorful Women in History- A Coloring Book. A collection of various noblewomen and royals from as far back as Boudicca all the way to Queen Victoria. Also featured: Anne Neville, Aelfthryth, Princess Louise, and many many more. Each page includes a brief profile and a portrait to color. Non-fiction. All ages. 
NEW! The Tudor Tutor (Illustrator). Barb Alexander is releasing the 2nd edition of her book that is ALL Tudorific. This edition includes over 55 portraits. Non-Fiction. All ages.
Releases November 2015.

NEW! A Time and Place: Medieval Feasts and Recipes for the Modern Table (co-author/illustrator). A Fully illustrated cookbook that reinvents medieval recipes according to the calendar of feasts and the history behind them. Non-fiction. All ages. Releases June 2016.
History’s Witches. An illustrated guide to various women who were accused of Witchcraft. Women featured include Eleanor of Aquitaine, Mother Shipton, Bridget Bishop, and Anne Boleyn.Non-fiction. Ages 8 to 15.
Trail Blazers. An illustrated guide to the women who explored the world. This book includes Sacagawea, Nellie Blye, Bessie Coleman, Amelia Earhart and many more. Non-Fiction. Ages 8 to 15.
Her Majesty. An illustrated guide to the women who ruled the world. Clearly, power and money isn’t everything. Women featured include Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, Wu Zetian and many more. Non-Fiction. Ages 8 to 15.

Pendle Hill!


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Kicking off WITCH SEASON with a map of Pendle Hill.

As you may or may not know, Pendle Hill is a lot like Salem, MA with plenty of witchy sites and stories. Except, the Lancashire Witch trials happened eighty years prior to Salem’s debacle.

Six of the ten executed in August of 1612 came from the same family. The area surrounding Pendle Hill in Lancashire was considered to be unruly and lawless. It wasn’t unusual for people in the area to try and seek a career as a healer. When two families fought for business, it didn’t end well for either. Probably two of the most notable women on trial was Mother Demdike (Elizabeth Southerns) and Chattox (Anne Whittle).

The entire country was in religious turmoil. When Elizabeth I took the throne, Catholics- devoted to Mary I, went into hiding. It was thought that many of these catholics went into remote areas such as Pendle Hill to have secret masses. In 1562, Elizabeth passed a law “An Act Against Conjurations, Enchantments and Witchcrafts” to deter these rebels. Breaking this act was punishable by death, but only when the crime “caused harm”. When James I took over in 1603, things got dicey. James was a well known witch hunter and actively campaigned to eliminate these so-called witches.

By 1612, a gruesome hunt for church “nonconformists” had begun. This all led to the 16 folks that found themselves on trial at Lancaster Castle. This included the Samlesbury Witches, the Padiham Witch, and several others. All were accused of bogus crimes ranging from just witchcraft, to child murder, cannibalism, and animal slaughter.

Ten were found guilty and sentenced to death. Anne Whittle, Anne Redferne, Elizabeth Device, James Device, Alison Device, Alice Nutter, Jane Bulcock, John Bulcock, Katherine Hewitt and Isabel Robey were executed at Lancaster on August 20, 1612 for having bewitched to death ‘by devilish practices and hellish means’ no fewer than sixteen inhabitants of the Forest of Pendle. So sad.

Today, thousands of tourists flock to Pendle Hill during Halloween to see the sites.

In 2011, a utility company discovered what is to be a witches cottage at the base of Pendle Hill. You can read more about this here: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-16066680

There’s an interesting documentary on these trials and the Pendle Hill area here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HaBPQti_Mk

Colorful Women!

Happy to say that I’ve been working on a new grown-up COLORING BOOK (although, it will work for kids too). Details and pre-order info coming soon!!!

Each woman profiled has a unique story to tell, and it doesn’t matter if you “can’t even draw stick figures”. Just sit back, learn some fabulous history, and color!

Some of these interesting ladies include: Anne Neville, Josephine de Beauharnais, Isabella of Mar, Joanna of Castile, Queen Charlotte, Katherine Swynford… and a bunch more.

Stay tuned! This book will be out before Christmas.

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Swedish Scandal




This is a HW Follower request!
Cecilia of Sweden, or rather Cecilia Gustavsdotter Vasa, was born on November 16, 1540 in Stockholm, Sweden.

She was considered the most beautiful of Gustav I’s daughters, but often referred to as “the black sheep” due to a FABULOUS Scandal. I like her already.

Cecilia’s sister Catherine married Edzard II, Count of East Frisia, on October 1, 1559. The couple left for Ostfriesland a month later, accompanied by Edzard’s brother John. On their way through Sweden, they stopped at Vadstena Castle… this is where John was caught in Cecilia’s bedroom sans pants. Guards had witnessed Johnny-boy climbing through her window for several nights. Cecilia was placed under house arrest for her sins and eventually sent back to Stockholm.

She was definitely kept on a tight leash (but still managed to cause a LOT of trouble). Cecilia ended up marrying Christopher II, Margrave of Baden-Rodemachern, without much fanfare. After the wedding, she traveled to England for an official state visit. She had been in touch with Elizabeth I and managed to get an invitation from the Queen. This had been in an effort to convince Elizabeth to marry Cecilia’s half-brother King Eric XIV and to negotiate an alliance with Sweden and England.

Elizabeth was not a fan… Cecilia ran up ENORMOUS debts from her very expensive tastes -and- she was in close contact with the Spanish Ambassador. Not cool. On her journey out to Baden, a pregnant Cecilia was stopped and had her luggage as well as her ladies-in-waiting taken away from the creditors to whom she owed money.

Her son was named Edward Fortunatus by none other than Queen Elizabeth I, who was his Godmother.

Edward had quite an interesting life… he spent his first year in the world at Hampton Court. Due to the conflicts between the Catholics and the Protestants, he ended up having a non-church marriage to Maria van Eicken. They had four children- but none were recognized as his heirs due to the fact that Maria was a commoner. Edward inherited quite a bit of debt from his mother- and eventually lost his titles. In his impoverished state- he took up alchemy and black magic. NICE! He passed away in 1600 after falling down a stone staircase, drunk.

There’s a GREAT article about Cecilia’s life of scandal here: https://annabelfrage.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/from-sinful-princess-to-pirate-meet-cecilia-vasa/

Queen of Kings


Tamar the Great!!! (1160 – 1213) was the Queen regnant of Georgia. Her father, George III,  made co-ruler when she was just 18. When he passed away, she succeeded in “calming down”  the opposition to her rule and successfully took over as Queen.

So successful, she was said to be the “King of Kings and Queen of Queens” by her people. She was an active military leader, a patron of the arts & culture, and her reign is still referred to as “The Golden Age”.

She kicked ass and didn’t apologize. When she died, her crown went to her daughter, Rusadan. Tamar was so incredibly respected by her people, she was canonized in the Orthodox church. Her image is currently on Georgia’s currency, the 50 Lari note. It is also the most popular name for girls in Georgia to this day.

There is a FABULOUS article on her here:


turning heads since 189 BC.




Chiomara was the wife of the Galatian Cheiftan, Orgiagon. Rome invaded (what would now be somewhere in Turkey) their land (as the Romans did) so  the tribe rebelled causing the Galatian War of 189 BC.

During the war, Gnaeur Manlius Vulso (pig) beat down the Galatians and took a bunch of hostages. One of which was described as “a woman of exceptional beauty”. This woman was Chiomara. Needless to say, she was raped, tortured and held for ransom. Even during these very violent times, rape was considered to be unacceptable. It’s quite surprising that Gnaeur didn’t just kill her. Well, his greed did NOT get him a-head.

The Galatians came to the meeting point with the ransom. As the pig, Gnaeus, was counting his gold, Chiomara gave her men a signal to cut off his head. And they did.

She proceeded to carry the head home, wrapped in her dress and dropped it at her husband’s feet upon her return. She then said something to the effect of “Only one man alive should have me.”

I like her. I like her a lot.

Morning Glory

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Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna Romanov (1897 – 1918) was Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra’s second daughter. She was born on a sunny morning in June to which the Tsar wrote “the second bright happy day in our family”, “she looks just like her mother!”

Tatiana was described as being tall, refined, and beautiful. Many considered her the most attractive of the Romanov girls (I, personally, think they were all devastatingly gorgeous). She was very close to her sister, Olga, and seemed to be a natural born leader. She became a war nurse during World War I and was rumored to have fallen in love with at least one of the soldiers.

Looking at photographs of Tatiana, it is no wonder she was her mother’s favorite- so regal and elegant.

There’s an in-depth article about this breath-taking Grand Princess here: http://www.freewebs.com/tatiana_romanov/bio.htm

Grand Duchess Maria. Gorgeous and gone.


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I’ve decided to take a break from painting Queen Victoria’s Children, and move over to the Romanov girls.

This is Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna Romanova of Russia. She was the third daughter of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna. On this tragic day in history, Maria and her entire family were murdered by the Bolsheviks.

Before their capture, Maria was described as a pretty, flirtations girl. Her and her sister, Anastasia, were referred to as “the Little Pair” because they were often dressed in the same outfit and shared a room. Maria was interested in the arts, nursing, and having a large family. *SOB*

Their story is so incredibly sad, I have a very hard time getting through the information. Knowing that these beautiful princesses were shot at point blank range is impossible to comprehend.

There’s a powerful video on Maria and her family here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xshg3ZKt8CY

and a very in depth article on her here: https://romanovpalace.wordpress.com/grand-duchess-maria-nikolaevna/

The History Chicks have a podcast on the Romanovs, here: http://thehistorychicks.com/?s=Romanov

Alice not in Wonderland.


Princess Alice (1843 – 1878) was the third child and second daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Unfortunately, she was the first of nine to die. Victoria outlived three of her children. How horrible.

She had a typical (ha) royal childhood until, of course, her father came down with Typhoid Fever in 1861 when Alice was just 18 years old. Alice was said to have nursed her father throughout his illness up until the day he died.

While the family was still in mourning over Albert’s death, Alice married the German Prince Louis of Hesse. Needless to say, the wedding was not exactly a celebration. Even Queen Victoria described it as being more like a funeral than a wedding. ouch.

From caring for her dying father, Alice was very involved with women’s causes and nursing. Her contributions during the Austro-Prussian war were quite brave– she worked out in the field hospitals even through her pregnancies.

She had seven children with Louis, including Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia (born as Princess Alix of Hesse). Alexandra, as you may know, married Nicholas II of Russia and was murdered with her entire family in 1918. Kind of glad Alice wasn’t around for that.

Alice’s youngest son Friedrich “Frittie” died after falling out a window in 1873 (he had hemophilia), Poor girl never really recovered. As a result of the loss, she became quite attached to her other son, Ernest, and youngest daughter Marie.

In 1878, almost the entire family came down with Diptheria. Alice died shortly after (baby Marie dying first, age 4), her last words being “dear papa”. Sad, sad story.

I’m going in the other room to cry now.


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