Friday, October 29, 2021

Witch Burning

Click to the right to advance the comic. This reminds me of the self-defeating tests for witchcraft. You know, throw her into the lake, and if she floats, she's guilty and we'll burn her. If she sinks, she's innocent, but dead. Except in the trial shown above, the accuser gets to go along for the ride. This comic is from Patrick Cheng at CatTrigger Comics. (via Geeks Are Sexy)

1 comment:

Bicycle Bill said...

Almost as good as the burning of Agnes Nutter as described in the book "Good Omens" (by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett) —

A howling mob, reduced to utter fury by her habit of going around being intelligent and curing people, arrived at her house one April evening to find her sitting with her coat on, waiting for them.

"Ye're tardie," she said to them.  "I shoulde have beene aflame ten minutes since."

Then she got up and hobbled slowly through the suddenly silent crowd,out of the cottage, and to the bonfire that had been hastily thrown together on the village green.  Legend says that she climbed awkwardly onto the pyre and thrust her arms around the stake behind her.

"Tye yt well," she said to the astonished witchfinder.  And then, as the villagers sidled toward the pyre, she raised her handsome head in the firelight and said, "Gather ye ryte close, goode people.  Come close untyl the fire near scorch ye, for I charge ye that alle must see how thee last true wytch in England dies.  For wytch I am, for soe I am judged, yette I knoe not what my true Cryme may be. And therefore let myne deathe be a messuage to the worlde.  Gather ye ryte close, I saye, and marke well the fate of alle who meddle with suche as theye do none understande."

And, apparently, she smiled and looked up at the sky over the village and added, "That goes for you as welle, yowe daft old foole."

And after that strange blasphemy she said no more.  She let them gag her, and stood imperiously as the torches were put to the dry wood.

The crowd grew nearer, one or two of its members a little uncertain as to whether they'd done the right thing, now they came to think about it.

Thirty seconds later an explosion took out the village green, scythed the valley clean of every living thing, and was seen as far away as Halifax.

There was much subsequent debate as to whether this had been sent by God or by Satan, but a note later found in Agnes Nutter's cottage indicated that any divine or devilish intervention had been materially helped by the contents of Agnes's petticoats, wherein she had with some foresight concealed eighty pounds of gunpowder and forty pounds of roofing nails.