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Giovanna Bonanno (1713-1789.)

There is very little information about this woman- but what there is, makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

She was a well known witch. People went to her for spells and potions, but mostly for murder. That is how she made her living. Buyers actually believed that because the magic they sought was to kill through occult powers, it rendered them morally and legally blameless. Wives who wanted to eliminate husbands for cheating, wives who wanted to eliminate their husbands to be with a boyfriend, wives who wanted to eliminate their husbands’ girlfriends… they all came to Giovanna for her “mysterious vinegar.”

Her evil potion (which was most likely a concoction of arsenic derived from lotion used to kill lice) was said to “resolve all family conflicts.” It had no taste, and a natural scent with a hint of vinegar (GREAT marketing campaign.) Because it wasn’t possible to prove poison was used, courts convicted based on accusations. However, in this case, Giovanna confessed. She confessed to everything (but not the ingredients of her potion.)

When a woman named Maria Pitarra was delivering an order of poison for Giovanna, she realized that it was to be used on a friend’s son- and gave her friend a warning. It was this incident that ended up being her Giovanna’s demise. Witnesses and owners of apothecaries, that were selling her poison, we called to testify- she was convicted of sorcery, tortured and executed by hanging on July 30, 1789 in Palermo, Italy.

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