Saturday, October 19, 2013

13 Days of Halloween: Witches

Moon Magic...#moon #glow #clouds

One of the many things the four of us have in common is our love of all things Halloween.  Since we love Halloween so much we decided to explore all the things that make up Halloween legends. Our first topic is Witches.
Iris Pross
12:12 AM (6 hours ago)
Although witch trials began in Europe in the early 1300s, the very mention of witch trials has 
become synonymous with Salem, Massachusetts. So many stories have been told about the incident 
that occurred between 1692 and 1693 that it would be difficult to encounter any one person who would 
not have heard or learned what happened in those months and the number of people that died after 
being accused of witchcraft. Even Hollywood had it’s own sensationalized version told in The Crucible starring
 Winona Ryder as one of the afflicted young women. Let’s separate fact from fiction if we can.

It all began in January of 1692 the first two young girls became ill. They suffered from fits and fevers that once examined by a physician were attributed to bewitchment. Modern day conjecture states that the young girls were in all likelihood suffering from Epilepsy or mental illness, not suffering form any sort of bewitchment. However, when asked who had caused this to happen to them, the young girls mentioned three names; Sarah Good, a local homeless beggar woman who did not “fit in” with the colony’s Puritan ideals, Sarah Osbourn, and a slave woman named Tituba. The three women were quickly arrested on charges of witchcraft.

With the arrests of these women, the trials should have been over. Instead all the arrests seem to do was give license to others to point fingers at anyone they had a dispute with the accusation of witchcraft. Hundreds were accused and arrested in the months that followed. Including John Procter, whose only crime seemed to be his public disbelief that the young girls were being honest. He referred to them as scam artists. Not only was Procter accused and arrested but also so were the other members of his home, including his pregnant wife and children.

Approximately 200 colonists were accused of witchcraft. Of those 200 accused, 24 lost their lives and never tasted freedom again. The first suspected witch to be executed was Bridgette Bishop who was hung on Gallows Hill. 19 more followed Ms. Bishop into death at Gallow’s Hill, 4 died while imprisoned and yet 1 more, Giles Corey, was pressed to death with large boulders. Even pets were not safe. Two dogs also suffered similar fates. The trials did no end until the Governor’s wife was accused of witchcraft.

Over time, the 24 that lost their lives have had their names cleared, but the Salem Witch trials stand, as an example of mass hysteria at it’s worse

Jennifer Wedmore
2:25 PM (16 hours ago)

Ten Legends of Witches
 Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII, served as queen of England in the 1530s. She was executed on charges of incest, witchcraft, adultery and conspiracy against the king.
1.Anne Boleyn 1507-1536 - Ann was the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. Her own husband accused her of witchcraft sighting her sixth finger (a common witches mark in those days) and the fact that she could not bear children. She was beheaded.
2. The Bell Witch  This is the most famous and reportedly true account of a haunting. Though from what I read it doesn't seem to be a haunting so much as a helpful spirit lol.

3.Wiccademous - The Infamous Floridian Witch
Some of the beliefs circulating the Amelia Island area state that Wiccademous lost her life due to her craft practices and is supposedly buried in a part of the woods, behind the Fernandino High School.  Ha ha, a way to keep kids in line??

4.Baba Yaga

  • Baba Yaga is a legendary witch who was said to have flown around the forests in a mortar and pestle ( not a broomstick). Legend says she loved to roast children for dinner and serve them to her neighbors. 

  • HMM mortal and pestle.. interesting lol

    5. Laurie Cabot: 1960s-  Not a legend but cool

  • She is known as the Official Witch of Salem and claims to be an ordained High Priestess descended from Celtic ancestry. She has been a practicing Witch for more than forty years. Some may know her for starting the Cabot Tradition of the Science of Witchcraft and the Witches’ League for Public Awareness (WLPA), an organization that tries to correct many misconceptions about Witchcraft.

  • Everyone needs some public awareness... I have heard of these groups havent you?

    6 Even witches in Native American Culture- Pukjinskwes appears most often in Wabanaki folklore as a sort of bogey-woman who steals Indian babies and raises them as her own
    7. Circe:
    daughter of the sun, was a sorceress best known for her ability to turn men into animals with her magic wand. The daughter of Perse and Helios, and whose daughter is Aega (goddess of the sun) she is remembered for her encounter with Odysseus and his men, and renowned for her knowledge of magic and poisonous herbs.

    8. Katharina HenotGermany’s first female postmaster, was tried for witchcraft in Cologne in 1627. In the middle of one of Cologne’s cold winters, a nun at the local convent accused Katharina of causing illness and death among the nuns and the archbishop arrested Henot based on the nun’s suspicions. During her imprisonment Henot was tortured but never confessed to anything.
    Despite her brother’s attempts to prove her innocence, she was sentenced to be burned alive in May. Her exoneration was not attained until just this year. As of June 28th, 2012, the City Council of Cologne has cleared Henot’s name as well as the other victims of the Cologne witch trials because they believed the executions were the result of political conspiracies.
    Truly Sad, amazing that in 2012 they proved her innocence
    9. Marie Laveau  1794?-1881 and 1827-1897 - The most renowned voodoo queen in North America was actually a mother and daughter. Their appeal was their magical powers, control both lovers and enemies, and sex. Marie, the first, was an extremely powerful women who increased her powers using all of the secrets she was told. Marie, the second,  was feared more than her mother and often inspired subservience.
    Personally I think Marie Laveau is one of the most famous
    10. Salem Witch Trials
    Tituba was the name of a young Native American woman who was the first to be accused and admitted to witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. 

    Witches in TV/Movies

    Witches have been portrayed for many years in various ways.  Some look old, scary, and wart ridden, others look like every day people.  Here is a list of 10 of my favorite TV/Movie witches:
    1.     Practical Magic (1998):  How can you go wrong with Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stockard Channing and Dianne West.
    ·         Sally and Gillian Owens have always known they were different. Raised by their aunts after their parents' death, the sisters grew up in a household that was anything but typical--their aunts fed them chocolate cake for breakfast and taught them the uses of practical magic. But the invocation of the Owens' sorcery also carries a price--some call it a curse: the men they fall in love with are doomed to an untimely death. Now adult women with very different personalities, the quiet Sally and the fiery Gillian must use all of their powers to fight the family curse and a swarm of supernatural forces that threatens the lives of all the Owens women.
    And how can we forget them all dancing and singing to "Coconut" by Harry Nilsson
    2.     The Witches of Eastwick (1987):  Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Serendon, and Michelle Pfeiffer: 
    ·         Three single women in a picturesque village have their wishes granted - at a cost - when a mysterious and flamboyant man arrives in their lives.
    This was one of my favorite movies; you can’t go wrong with this cast!!
    3.     The Wizard of Oz (1939):  Need I say more.  Everyone remembers the Wicked Witch of the WestMargaret Hamilton made a great witch :: :: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

    ·         Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.
    Though I have to admit after reading Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, I have empathy for Elphaba.
    4.     Charmed (1998-2006): Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, Brian Krause, Rose McGowan, Dorian Gregory, Shannon Doherty and Julian McMahon
    ·         Three sisters discover their destiny - to battle against the forces of evil, using their witchcraft. They are the Charmed Ones.
    My family watched this show all the time, we still watch the reruns.  Still cry on some no matter how many times we have seen them too!

    5.     Hocus Pocus (1993): Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy.
    ·         After 300 years, three sister witches are resurrected in Salem Massachusetts on Halloween night, and it us up to two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat to put an end to the witches reign of terror once and for all.
    You can’t go wrong with a Disney movie.  They makes their witches scary and normal looking at the same time.  Plus its Bette Midler how can you go wrong??
    6.     Halloweentown (1998): Debbie Reynolds, Judith Hoag, Kimberly J. Brown
    ·         Marnie, Dylan, and Sophie Piper have their first out of many adventures! On Halloween, while Marnie is arguing with her mother Gwen, the kids' grandmother Aggie comes to visit. Aggie wants to start Marnie's witch training before her 13th birthday or Marnie will lose her powers forever. But there is another reason for Aggie's visit. Something dark & evil is growing in Halloweentown & Aggie wants help to defeat it. While Aggie & Gwen are arguing, Aggie uses magic which Marnie observes. After Aggie leaves to return to Halloweentown, Marnie, Dylan and, unknown to Marnie and Dylan, Sophie follow her onto the return bus. Soon afterwards, Gwen follows the children to Halloweentown. While there, Aggie & Gwen are attacked by the dark force in a movie theater. Marnie, Dylan & Sophie race to get the ingredients to activate Merlin's Wand to stop the evil.
    Just an awesome movie for kids and adults alike.  Its Disney again so you know you are going to get a good story and wholesome entertainment at the same time.  Plus they made a bunch of sequels and I love em all.
    7.     Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996-2003): Melissa Joan Hart, Caroline Rhea, Beth Broderick
    ·         A sixteen-year-old high-school student finds out she's a witch.
    This show was awesome.  It’s got the teenage issues you face in high school, figuring who you are, friends, falling in love then you combine hiding being a witch.  Plus it had a talking cat!!
    8.     The Worst Witch (1986):  Tim Curry, Diana Rigg, and Charlotte Rae.
    ·         Mildred is one of the young girls at a prestigious witch academy. She can't seem to do anything right and is picked on by classmates and teachers. The headmistress of the school, Miss Cackle, has an evil twin sister (Agatha) who plans to destroy the school. Can Mildred foil the plan before the Grand Wizard (Tim Curry) comes to the Academy for the Halloween celebration you'll never forget?!!
    This was by far one of my favorite movies growing up.  It has Tim Curry who is just freaking EPIC, it’s just got everything.  It’s in my opinion a truly timeless movie!
    9.     Bewitched (1964-1972): Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Dick Sargent
    ·         A witch married to an ordinary man cannot resist using her magic powers to solve the problems her family faces.
    It’s Bewitched….enough said!!
    And last  but not least I would be seriously remiss without adding this one my list…

    10.   The Harry Potter Movies (2001-2011) : everyone knows who was in this movie
    ·         Unless you have lived under a rock for the last 15 years or so you know all about this series and their epic awesomeness.  You also know why it was a must to be included. Hermione Granger is one kick butt witch!!


    Witches in Books
     Witches like other popular paranormal characters have been around for as long as there have been people telling stories. But unlike the scary evil ugly beings that the rest of the world associates with witches, romance readers know that witches can be hot sexy and yes funny. 
    If you are thinking of checking out the latest trend here are some authors you just might want to add to your e-reader. 
    First thing I think of when I think of witches in romance is Lauren Dane's Witches' Knot series. The minute I read this book I fell in love with the characters. The Witches Knot features the Chavez family  where all of the women are born with inherent gifts of power.   This was the first book I ever read by Ms Dane and I became a fan instantly. 
    Then of course I also think of the awesome Christine Feehan who with The Drake sisters Seven sisters interacting, all magical and capable of extraordinary things.  I of course like millions love her vampires but also love her witch series as well.
    Anya Bast is also another favorite author who comes to mind that writes witches that you cannot get enough of. In her Witches Elemental series   centered around The Coven. The governing body of witches. 
    Even Nora Roberts has written a few series featuring witches including one of my personal favorites The Three Sisters Island where the descendents of the three witches must break a curse.   And of course the Donovan series.  Ms Roberts is getting ready to release a new series the first of which is called Dark Witch. I can't wait to read it.
    Vickie Lewis Thompson also has a very funny series featuring Dorcas and Ambrose who are banished to a small town in Indiana. These matchmaking witches bring mortals together. This was hysterical.  
    Author Cat Devon just released her newest addition to her Entity series The Entity Who Came for Christmas: A Holiday Novella (Entity Series) where a witch and a vampire hunter come together and has been downloaded to my e-reader as we speak. 
    I also cannot be neglectful in forgetting to mention Cheryl Dragon's Witch series from Changeling Press.  I love these books which not only do you get witches but a menage as well. What could be better? 
    Maggie Shayne even though she is known for her vampires also has a witch series titled The Immortal Witches where the witches will wait forever to be with their mate. 

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