Exceptions

There were a few books written during "The Burning Times" that were somewhat sympathetic toward Witches. They were:

De Praestigiis Daemonum   —   written by Johann Wier in 1563. He said that Witches were subject to delusions, and their intended victims (who were assumed to be the victims of negative magick) simply got sick from ordinary causes. While this was not a very flattering view of Witches, it does stand for the proposition that they didn't do any real harm.

Discoverie of Witchcraft   —   written by Reginald Scot in 1584. Scot stated that Witchcraft was accomplished by conjuror's tricks (or by the use of poisons) and not by supernatural means. He did believe in the existence of "evil spirits," but said that Witches weren't able to command them (again, making the assumption that the purpose of spells is always harmful).

Cautio Criminalis (Precautions for Prosecutors)   —   written by Friedrich Von Spee in 1631. This treatise exposed the church/state terrorism against the innocent.


Even during the Burning Times, not everyone was in favor of the persecutions.   Among the voices of dissent was that of a prominent 17th-Century Massachusetts minister named Samuel Willard.



Want to read some writings about witchcraft that date back to the Burning Times?   Click here (an off-site link).

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