hell to pay.

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AngeladelaBarthe

Angéle de la Barthe (1230-1275) was SUPPOSEDLY the first person to be put to death for heretical sorcery- however- only recently, it has been discovered that everything about this woman was fabricated (mmm… maybe.)

The story says that she was a noblewoman living in Toulouse, France and was accused by Inquisitor Hugues de Beniols for having sex with the devil and giving birth to a monster with a wolf’s head and serpent’s tail. This monster ate babies (slaughtered by Angéle or dug up from graves). She confessed to all of it (claiming her baby-eating monster flew away in the night to avoid capture) and was burned alive in Toulouse.

Researches have questioned the entire story due to the fact that A. There is no mention of the trial in court records and B. Having relations with the devil was not yet a crime. uh… ok.

The real story is probably somewhere in the middle- I’m guessing Angéle was a bit of an outcast, or maybe extremely outspoken. She was most likely tried by the townspeople taking matters into their own hands during some sort of turmoil (bad crops, disease, political upheaval, religious strife). Pair that with a masochistic Catholic priest who sought to make a name for himself – and voila- the execution of poor Angéle.

Mon dieu!

 

Queen of the Witches

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aradia

This is Aradia. Queen of the Witches.

In 1899 Charles Leland wrote a book called “Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches”. Leland used this as a religious text for a group of Pagan Witches in Tuscany. In this “gospel” Aradia is the messianic daughter of the goddess Diana and the god Lucifer. She was sent to earth to teach oppressed peasants witchcraft against the Roman Catholics. Upon arriving on earth, Aradia told her followers “ye shall all be freed from slavery, and so ye shall be free in everything.”

Aradia appears in various cultures prior to Leland’s book. She is seen in Italian folklore as a supernatural heroine. some claim she was based on a real woman named Aradia di Toscano. This woman ran a group of witches that worshipped Diana in the 14th century.

Aradia is also an important figure in Wiccan traditions- she is known as the Great Goddess, Moon Goddess, or Queen of the Witches.

In 1992, a man named Aidan Kelly, co-founder of the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn (that’s a heavy title for a business card.) wrote a document titled “The Gospel of Diana and referenced Aradia and the Gospel of the Witches. Aidan’s descriptions have Aradia as quite a sexual being “the sexual act becomes not only an expression of the divine life force, but an act of resistance against all forms of oppression.”

Very cool. I like her. Stand aside Queen Elizabeth I, I’ve found my new muse.

The White Lady (well, one of them.)

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PerchtaFINAL

There are several stories/legends of a “White Lady” ghost- but the most well-known comes out of the Czech Republic. The stories are a wee bit sensationalized so it’s difficult to weed through details and dates.

Perchta von Rozmberk (1429-1476) was the beautiful daughter of Ulrich II von Rosenberg. They were a very powerful and wealthy family so Perchta had many suitors. Unfortunately, Ulrich married her off to Jan von Lichtenstein- who was a cruel and abusive man. He had only recently been widowed, and his widow’s mother and sister still lived with him- ouch! That does NOT sound welcoming! They made her life quite miserable, mostly because Perchta’s father refused to pay the agreed dowry.

Unable to leave her husband, she remained in a sort of hell-on-earth existence. She wrote to her brother and father constantly, begging for them to save her. ” Take me away from these evil people and you will merit praise as if you released a soul from purgatory!” They did not come. These letters are still in existence and have been published. (You can purchase here: http://www.amazon.de/The-Letters-Rozmberk-Sisters-Fifteenth-Century/dp/085991612X)

When Jan was on his death bed- he asked for Perchta’s forgiveness, but she refused. It is thought that he cursed her in his last breath, forcing her to roam his hell castle for eternity. (If it’s THAT easy- I, uh, well…let’s just say I may be haunting a few locations in the afterlife.)

Shortly after her death, Perchta’s  ghost began to appear in several locations including Rozmberk Castle and Cesky Krumlov Castle.  Her remaining relatives claimed she appeared to them whenever something important was going down (always in a white dress) if her ghost was wearing black gloves- bad things were about to happen, if she was wearing white gloves- all good on the home front.

Perchta’s ghost watched over the last child in the family, Peter Vok. She told the Nanny- “Watch the baby. When he grows up, tell him how much I have loved him and show him the place from which I used to come to his cradle and then leave.” When Peter learned of this, he took down the wall where Perchta’s ghost disappeared and found a treasure. Although this was supposedly the last time the ghost was seen- there was a report of a sighting during WWII. Apparently, Perchta ran off a bunch of Nazi’s inhabiting the Cesky Krumlov castle.

bad kitty.

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AgnesWaterhouse

Agnes Waterhouse (1503 – 1566) was the first woman executed for witchcraft in England.

She was accused, along with 2 other women- Elizabeth Francis and her daughter, Joan Waterhouse. The actual trial notes are confusing, but what it boils down to is this:

Elizabeth Francis confessed to having a familiar- a cat named Satan. She received the cat from her grandmother- who taught her witchcraft as a child.

Elizabeth had a close relationship with Satan and it spoke to her in exchange for drops of blood. She also said the cat helped her kill people, terminate pregnancies and instructed her to steal cattle (reminds me of Toonces- anyone remember him?)

Here’s the best part- Elizabeth gave Agnes the cat in exchange for cake. Priorities, priorities. Agnes tested the cat’s witchy abilities and had it kill one of her pigs. After arguing with her neighbors- she had him kill their cows and geese.

Joan Waterhouse testified next- she confessed to giving it a whirl with Satan when her mother was out. At this point in the story- Satan had transformed himself into a toad. When Joan was refused food from a neighbor’s child- Satan the toad offered to help in exchange for her soul. Joan agreed to the deal- and the toad, now a dog with horns, harassed the child. This child, in turn, testified that the black dog with horns asked her for butter (I’m not making this up) and when she refused, Satan promised she would die. When the child asked who the master’s “dame” was- he indicated that it was, in fact, Agnes Waterhouse. And THIS, my friends, was the evidence that convicted poor Agnes. Toads, butter, dogs, horns, a child’s word.

Two days after the trial, Agnes was executed. In her final words- she said she had prayed often, but always in Latin because Satan forbid her to pray in English.

I think everyone involved ate some liberty cap mushrooms.

Big Easy Bloodbath

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DauphineSt

716 Dauphine St in New Orleans has quite a gruesome past. It was built in 1836 by plantation owner Jean Baptiste LaPrete. He was forced to rent the place when times got tough. The tenant claimed to be a Turkish Sultan and went by the name Prince Suleyman. LaPrete was happy a royal family was moving in. He acquired the house for his “large family of many wives, children, and servants.” After moving in to the mansion, Suleyman covered all the windows, padlocked the front doors, and had armed guards placed around the entrances.

The so-called Sultan kept a harem of many women- and- unfortunately, young boys. Rumors flew around the neighborhood and it was speculated that the Sultan was kidnapping locals to serve as sex slaves and that he had gone mad from opiates.

A neighbor, out on a stroll, happened to pass by the house and noticed blood dripping from the balcony above. When the police arrived, they found body parts all over the property. All the women, children and guards were beheaded- total bloodbath. The Sultan had been buried alive in the courtyard- but oddly enough- he was dressed in Muslim funeral attire. hmmm.

Pirates were blamed for the murders. They discovered that Prince Suleyman was a fraud- possibly the brother of a real Sultan that escaped his country to avoid being killed and being arrested for stealing his brother’s money. Most likely, the real Sultan’s assassins finally caught up with him.

Those that have lived in the house have reported seeing the Sultans’ apparition, hearing the sounds of body parts hitting the floor and smelling incense.

You can see an old real estate listing for the property- which has 9 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and is 7057 square feet. It sold for $2 million last year. http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/716-Dauphine-St-New-Orleans-LA-70116/73783720_zpid/

I wonder if the new owners know the history. yikes.

La Dame Verte

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Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 6.26.12 PM The Chateau de Brissac is located in the Loire River Valley of France. It was built sometime in the 11th century. The Duke of Brissac bought the castle in the 15th century. It is the tallest castle in France and is currently open to overnight guests and tours. Lurking in the halls to this day (but mostly the chapel) is the La Dame Verte. In 1462, Jacques de Brézé was set to marry Charlotte de Valois, King Louis XI’s half sister (she was, in fact, the recognized, but illegitimate daughter of Charles VII and his mistress Agnes Sorel.) It was a politically motivated, arranged marriage. But it was NOT a love connection. Jacques preferred to go hunting and do all the outdoorsy stuff, whereas Charlotte- growing up in the haughty french courts was accustomed to a more sophisticated lifestyle. On May 31, 1477, Jacques returned from a day out in the woods- dined with his wife and went to his room. In the middle of the night, a servant woke him to say that Charlotte was “prey to reckless lust.” Upon running into his wife’s bedroom- he did indeed find her with another man. Jacques stabbed both of them to death (over 100 times with a sword. ouch.) Her ghost remained at the castle and is always seen in a green dress- what’s even creepier is that witnesses claim she appears to have gaping holes where her eyes and nose should be. YIKES. There are also reports of loud moaning and the sounds of a woman brushing her hair. Some have even see her ghost trying to remove a sword from her chest. Well- to finish up the story, King Louis XI was furious and had Jacques imprisoned for his crimes. Jacques’ son Luois de Brézé eventually took ownership of the castle and married Diane de Poitiers (another famous mistress.) You can book your stay at the Chateau de Brissac here: http://www.chateau-brissac.fr/2006/english3.htm

raising hell

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Scan 6

Urbain Grandier (1590-1634) was a French Catholic priest. He was burned at the stake after an event dubbed the “Loudun Possessions.”

Urbain was very outspoken against Clerical Celibacy- even wrote a book about it. He had a reputation of being a bit of a ladies man (thorn birds?) and in 1632 a group of nuns accused him of bewitching them and sending a demon called Asmodai. Asmodai, or Asmodeus, is the King of the Nine Hells, and sometimes known as one of the 7 princes of Hell- he is the prince of Lust, twisting his victims’ sexual desires. The nuns all claimed to have lusty thoughts and dreams, thanks to  Grandier. Methinks the nuns were drinking some Turnera Aphrodisiaca Tea (or being pressured by Mother Superior who was either attracted to or disgusted by Father Casanova.)

The philanderer priest made some powerful enemies when he pissed off Cardinal Richelieu (Chief Minister of France) and Mother Superior, Sister Jeanne of the Angels (heh.) They had him brought up on charges of witchcraft and even introduced a document that was supposedly signed by Grandier and all the demons he did business with. This document was deemed as a Diabolical Pact, and it is thought he signed this under extreme torture. It is an impressive piece of art written backwards in Latin and containing several mysterious signatures and symbols.

He was found guilty and sentenced to be burned- but not without going through the “extraordinary question” which was essentially water torture. For “Ordinary Question” the accused had 8 pints of water forced into the stomach- with the “Extraordinary Question” it was 16 pints. The latter was only used when the person was going to be immediately killed afterwards. Wow.

You can see the “diabolical pact” here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urbain_Grandier#mediaviewer/File:UrbainPact2.jpg

paralyzed pigs are no joke.

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Roermond_Kael

There isn’t a lot of info out there on Kael Merrie, but you can find a bit more on the Roermond Witch Trial. Technically, the trial started in 1613, however, there were quite a few documented cases that took place before that.

In the 1500s many men and women (mostly women) were accused of various crimes and tried as witches. The process was sketchy in the Netherlands at the time. People could accuse you- but unless they had four or five witnesses to back-up the claim, you would only be banished.

Kael was suspected of witchcraft in 1581. They blamed her for a few tragedies in town: a paralyzed pig, a sick child, someone with a cow who’s milk could not be churned… you know, the usual gossip fuel (what?!?!) She denied the charges, but was banished from her home and sent packing. On her way out of town, Spanish mercenaries took justice into their own hands and drown her in the Maas River. This was common practice- even for women whom the charges were dismissed!

During the Trial of 1613, 64 people were burned to death on Galgeberg Hill. This was the largest witch hunt in the Netherlands and it was most likely fueled by religious turmoil and widespread plague.

the devil inside

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AnnelieseMichel

This story is incredibly disturbing.

Anneliese Michel was born in Bavaria in 1952. She was raised in a strict catholic household by her parents and 3 sisters. At the age of 16, she suffered a severe convulsion and was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy. Despite occasional stints in a psychiatric hospital, she attended the University of Wurzburg- fellow classmates described her as withdrawn and deeply religious.

At the age of 20, she became intolerant of religious items- crucifixes, holy water, and began hearing voices and seeing “devil faces.” Anneliese and her family were convinced she was possessed by the devil and begged the church to perform an exorcism.

For a period of 10 month, 2 priests performed the ancient practice of exorcism on the poor girl for up to four hours a day, two days a week. They stopped all medical care and relied on only the priests, who were ordered to do the ritual in secret.

She died in 1976 from malnutrition and dehydration, and both her parents and the two priests were charged and convicted of manslaughter.

The incredibly disturbing portion of this story are the tapes. Audio recordings were made of Anneliese during portions of the exorcism. I don’t recommend listening if you’re easily frightened. But if you think you can handle it (I had a very hard time with this) you can listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr-IdHU3A5M

Also disturbing- the amount of postmortem photos of poor Anneliese. Again, don’t do a google search on this unless you can handle really gruesome visuals.

The movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose is loosely based on her story.

 

Who’s for dinner?

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MumaPadurii1

In Romanian folklore- the story of Muma Padurii is very similar to the story of Hansel & Gretel. Muma is a very ugly old woman who lives in the forest and boils children alive. It is also very comparable to the slavic Baba Yaga stories- which I’m guessing, has the purpose of scaring children so they have endless nightmares about being baked or boiled (ok, maybe that’s just me. Seriously… who thought Hansel and Gretel was a good bedtime story? WHO?)

Muma, whose name translates to “mother of the forrest” appears in many stories as a guardian of the trees. She is a shape-shifter, appearing as a beautiful woman- then an old woman with skin made of tree bark. She steals children, torments mothers who gave birth out of wedlock, and if you steal her magic twig for kindling- your house will burn down.

There is also a demonic entity called Martolea in Romanian mythology. Mortolea is also a shapeshifter that lives in the mountains and punishes women for working on Tuesday evenings (what?) Martolea demans that Tuesdays are a holy day and forbids “women’s chores” on that day. She kills by ripping, and hanging guts on walls, or taking their children.

Yet another Romanian evil entity- Joimarita- who just punishes lazy children on Thursdays.

The Romanians don’t mess around.

Baba Yaga, who’s story is very similar, is a deformed old woman who flies around the forrest in a mortar wielding a pestle (wouldn’t a broom be easier?). She is a “fearsome witch with iron teeth and bony legs.” But unlike Muma- Baba is not harmful to the pure of heart.

I’d like to read more about all of these folklore witches and the origins of the stories – but I’m afraid I will never, ever, ever fall asleep again. I already jump into my bed from six feet out (thanks Poltergeist clown.)

 

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