This is what they’re saying about our lot in church:
“His Majesty King James has made it a sacred duty to identify and eradicate all witchcraft, sorcery and enchantment as quickly as possible. While there has always been a need to guard against the satanic powers of the witch, it is my sad duty to inform you that there are still those who walk among us who have been seduced by the Evil One. These are not simple cunning folk we speak of – they are, in fact, demon worshipers!
We are talking about the wild women who use magic and spells instead of prayer, who consort with the powers of evil, pretending to heal and do good. Well rest assured that Thy God doth drive them out before thee, that they might be recognized and defeated. God commands that all practitioners of the black arts be put to death, for the Bible states Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
Though we have won several recent battles against Satan, all the learned men agree that the witches of England are still multiplying. The reason for this is the prior leniency of judges and the irrational arguments of sceptics. We know that the Prince of Darkness is hell bent on recovering his lost empire, and that every night these creatures – these hags – anoint themselves with devil’s grease made from the boiled fat of murdered infants. Then they slip under cracks, up chimneys, through keyholes and, mounted on broomsticks or spindles, travel to wicked sabbats throughout the land.
Signs of bewitchment include sickness, child loss, and finding reptiles, flies, and cockroaches in your houses. Look for marks on the body where the witch gives suckle to diabolical familiar spirits. Prick these warts and teats, they cause no pain and neither will a drop of blood be shed, for witches are made of wood and that is why they float on water. They are unable to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Remember, my fellow Christians, to disbelieve in the existence of witches is the greatest heresy. This dangerous scepticism must be stilted, and those who defend the evildoers are equally guilty. So when we go from hence let us be vigilant and prepared. May the Lord God guide us in our duties. Amen.”
(Blackest of Magic)
“If you’re feelin’ lost and fussin’ o’er the best path to take,
follow the first animal ye spot
(be it a hare, bird, cat, insect or mouse).
When it fades from view follow the next creature that crosses your path.
Then the next. And the next. And so on, ’til they lead
to where your destiny lies.
Look with faithful eyes and you’ll soon see
what answer doth await thee!”
In our hearts we are two:
sound and rotten – bonny and ugly.
The left foot may lead us to evil –
The right foot may take us to good –
Each soul must choose its own path.
Most folk don’t know much about my best mate, Kate Hewitt. Everyone round here calls her Mouldheel’s Wife as she’s wed to John Hewitt of Colne. He’s a weaver in Waterside – a slippery knave, and not much to look at either. I know he bulks out his cloth with tallow. You can tell from the shine, even afore the mould starts growing. And each time there’s an official complaint they’ve to pack up shop and move on.
For a while they lived here, in Barley. It was years ago, when all our bairns were just scraps. That’s when Kate came and asked me to cure her rabbits. She raises them like chickens until they’re firm and plump and then wrings their necks for market. But that year summat made the whole bunch sick, and it was a couple of weeks afore I worked out a cure. Then she was that glad I’d saved the kits, she invited our lot to supper – treated us more decent than anyone outside of the clan ever had – and we became friends.
When me and Ali were arrested, Lizzie invited Kate (and her neighbor Alice Gray) to the Good Friday gathering at Malkin Tower, to see if they’d any suggestions for getting us free. They came on Alice’s ponies, which is likely why she was asked along in the first place. I don’t know much about Goodwife Gray, except for the rumor a while back that she fell out with some lot at Folds Farm and was accused of putting their young lass in hanck. Now I’m told both women have been arrested, I’ll warrant on account of some old scores that needed settling.
I hope they put Kate in the Well Tower so we can find out what’s been going on out there. It won’t seem quite so grim if my mate’s in here with us too.
In the beginning of all things
wisdom and knowledge were with the hill.
The traditions of the Goddess are handed down from mother to daughter.
We never pray against a soul – but if we’ve aught against folk
then we ourselves take vengeance!
Picture: Gerard van Honthorst