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Countess of Montesano. Lea the Huntress. Liare Lagaria. Lord Gaius Richter. A Respectable Matharyn Noble. Lord Hadrian of Ghaster. Duke of Ghastenhall.

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Lord Heironymous Thatch. Matharyn Court Wizard. Lord Thomas Havelyn. Lord Vastenus Barca. Mad Meinhard Mott. Mala Silentall. Shopkeeper of Mala's Bardic Wonders. Mana-Mitra and Amaratat. Planetars of Mitra. Marcel Wolfram. Master Mallory Hawthorn. A Powerful Matharyn Merchant. Mathias Richter. Maul and Clarion.

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Shopkeeper and owner of Mundo's Magnificent Magical Menagerie. Naburus, the Pit Fiend. Phaethysa of the Radiant Dawn. Solar of Mitra. Polydorus the Seer. High Wizard of the Daveryn. Posca the Merchant. Princess Bellinda. Princess Bellinda of Talingarde. Princess Sakura Yoshimune. Raiju the Exile. Swordmaster of the Balleryn School in Daveryn. Ryan Varning. Sakkarot Fire-Axe. Sole Member of the Avernian Knot. Samual Barhold. Sergeant Tomas Blackerly. Setia Swims-the-Sea-of-Stars. Shagoroth Night-Mane. Commander of the Bugbear Army.

Sir Balin. Sir Richard Thomasson Havelyn. Sir Valin Darian. Sister Marta Dian. The Slaves of the Ninth Knot. The Two Queens. Tallus Rackburn. Taranea of the Ghaele. Tasker Twelve-Knives. Ten Golddread. Teuthia Stormsinger. Unique Elder Kraken. Thane Zargun Arzen. Thane of Zhaanzen-Kryr. The Caretakers of Eiramanthus' Isle. Oreads and Gargoyles.

The Lord of Eagles. The Master of Serenity. It may have been included to suggest how the North Berwick witches were chastised with a rod before King james and the chief magistrate. Clockwise from the upper right, we see Pian attempting to remove the bewitchment from an amorous cow; Pian riding on an illuminated black horse behind a man clothed in a black cape and hat; the church at North Berwick; and a gallows. The cow refers to the story attributed to Fian that was borrowed from the Golden Ass of Appuleius.

At the right, a standing inquisitor asks questions while one seated at a desk records the man's confession. A woodcut from the late sixteenth century.

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With Royal Privlege. For the first twelve years of his life he was not permitted to participate in state affairs, but was kept for his own security in Sterling Castle, safe from the constantly bickering Scottish factions. Physically he was weak and sickly, a misfortune of health that played a significant part in his tendency in later life to achieve his purposes by manipulation and deceit rather than the bold exercise of power.

For the first six or seven years of his life he was unable to stand up or walk without aid. As a young man he developed a love for horseback riding, but it was necessary that he be tied on to his horse due to the weakness in his legs, and once when he fell into a body of water while out riding he nearly drowned because he was unable to help himself. Throughout his life he preferred to walk leaning on the shoulder of an attendant.

Weakness of body was in part compensated for by keenness of intellect. There seems little doubt that James was a coward. He fought against this tendency throughout his life, but it was his nature and he could never overcome it. In 1 5 82 he was kidnapped by a faction of Scottish nobles during the Raid of Ruthven. Although he was then old enough to shave, he was so terrified of his captors that he cried like a child. Sir Thomas Lyon, one of the men keeping him hostage, gruffly told the young king it were better 'bairns [children] should greet [cry] than bearded men.

The Marquis de Fontenay, French ambassador to the Scottish court during the early part of his reign, spoke of James as cowed by the violence around him. When in 1 5 87 his mother was executed by order of Elizabeth, he made little effort to prevent it. His personal appearance and manners were not attractive. He had a tendency to bluster and make promises he had no intention of ever fulfilling.

In dress he was slovenly and unclean. His physical caresses and frequent gifts to male favorites in his court gave rise to gossip that he was homosexual. All these tendencies were strongly despised by the English people when he ascended to the throne of England in 1 at the death of Elizabeth, but they swallowed their distaste and welcomed him in a practical spirit, as the only alternative to bitter civil war. Until this marriage, James had done his best to maintain a cordial relationship with both the Vatican and the royal family of Spain, but this choice of a bride left no question about his religious leanings.

It was there that James enjoyed his first night of connubial bliss with his fifteen-year-old bride. The trials of the North Berwick witches who received this title because they were supposed to congregate in the kirk, or church, at North Berwick near Edinburgh in the dead of night to meet with the Devil and concoct their plots took place mainly between the years and , although the fallout of the affair dragged on for years.

It marked a major turning point in the thinking of the young king. The charges against the accused included numerous attempts by magic on his life, and even one effort to kill the queen while she was on her voyage from Denmark to England. Undoubtedly he observed the torture of the accused, and heard the confessions wrung from their own agonized mouths.

As an intensely religious man, and as the leader of his nation in matters military, spiritual, and judicial, it would have been difficult for James to decline the role of Satan's chief adversary. He accepted it as a challenge and spent the better part of the next four decades trying to do it honor. His eyes were as a flame of fire , and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written that no man knew but he himself: And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

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And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. Can there be any doubt that James saw in the brave knight on the white horse with "many crowns" a reflection of himself? He viewed himself as a general in the army of Christ, "clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

James was a strong believer in the supernatural and the power of magic, but he ascribed all working of magic to the Devil. He did not recognize what Cornelius Agrippa called "natural magic," or what was sometimes termed "white magic," as a lawful activity. For James, there was no such thing as occult forces that could be used for benevolent purposes.

The supernatural must have terrified him at least as much as the political intimidations used by his Scottish nobles.

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In an effort to know his spiritual enemies as well as he knew his temporal foes, he made an extensive study of the available literature on the subj ects of magic, witchcraft, and demons. It is tempting to assume that his reading was wider than it was deep. In any case, James was hardly about to instruct his readers in the finer points of practical necromancy and witchcraft, regardless of how much theoretical knowledge he might himself possess.

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So keen was James on this matter that his reinterpretation of the witchcraft laws went to the House of Lords for consideration only eight days after the first sitting of parliament of his reign as the English king, and passed on first reading. The main difference between the law of Elizabeth and that of James concerned what should be the focus of the punishment. Under Elizabeth, those who practiced witchcraft and sorcery were subject to the most severe punishment only if they were found to have used these arts to commit murder or other injuries.

James wanted the practice of any form of magic punished severely, regardless of whether it was used to commit injuries to others, because he held all such practice to be trafficking with the Devil, whom he believed to be the source of the efficacy for all magic. James caused it to become a felony to invoke any evil spirit, or to have any dealings with an evil spirit. This meant that to keep a familiar spirit in the form of a cat, dog, rabbit, or other pet was punishable by death.

The Devil was thought to mark those with whom he made a pact. To be found to have a witch mark anywhere on the body was also enough evidence of consultation with an evil spirit to be punishable by death, hence the vigorous questioning by the courts about familiars, and the intensity of the search for the witch mark. On the matter of capital punishment for witchcraft, in England it was hanging, the same as for other more common felonies such as murder.

In Scotland, witchcraft was punished by burning, but the custom was to strangle the condemned witch at the stake before lighting the fire, and in this way to lessen the suffering of the witch. This was done as an act of mercy when the witch confessed to her supposed crimes, and did not recant the confession once the torture used to extract the confession had been halted. If the witch retracted the confession, the mercy of strangulation might be withdrawn and she might be burned alive, though this barbarity was uncommon. In practice, the English courts carried on much as they had before the passage of the witch statute of James in meting out the death penalty.

For example, even though it was a capital offence under the new law to dig up a corpse for use in magic, no one was ever put to death for this crime. There were exceptions. In 1 seven women were hanged at Chelmsford for entertaining evil spirits, which is to say, for keeping familiars. The Salem witch trials were carried out under the statute of James, which was not abolished until 1 During the early part of his reign as English monarch, James was as rabid in his prosecution of witchcraft as he had been while living in Scotland, but as the years passed, his fervor began to wane.

He was able to prove to his satisfaction that several of those who had accused others of witchcraft had been lying. While traveling north in 1 6 1 8 , James stopped at Leicester when six women were due to be hanged as witches on the evidence of a twelve-year-old boy, John Smith, who claimed that his convulsions were caused by their bewitchment of him. Nine other women had already been executed on the lad's testimony. James examined the boy and determined to his satisfaction that his fits were nothing but fraud.

The women were freed, and Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke , who had presided over their trial, was disgraced. Since James had personally witnessed cases of possession, he was difficult to fool. A woman was made to confess that she had taught the girl to simulate the fits so that she could charge money of those who came to watch her convulsions.

This and similar evidence of deception both enraged James and shook his confidence in his beliefs. It is asserted by some historians that James went so far in his later years as to completely repudiate the reality of witchcraft. This seems unlikely in view of the strength of these convictions, particularly since the intensity of his religious faith never wavered.

Montague Summers observed that there are only fifty cases of witches having been executed in England during the entire reign of King James. Summers wrote: "It would appear that the popular ideas concerning the holocausts in the reign of James the I are anything but historically exact, and instead of shuddering at the large numbers who perished, we may well be surprised that the executions in England were so few" Geography of Witchcraft, page 1 It is probable that the number of executions would have been much higher had James been able to freely work his will during the early part of his reign, but his personal crusade against witchcraft was in part inhibited by the conservative nature of English common law, which is slow to change its way of doing things, and perhaps also by the common sense of many of the judges.

One more incident must be related of James before we leave his life and proceed to a closer examination of the North Berwick affair. A young pig was for this purpose dressed in the clothing of a human baby. One of the ladies of the court played the part of its mother, and the Duchess of Buckingham assumed the role of midwife. The pig was baptized, and then chased out of the room.


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It may be assumed that James was in a very bad state at that point, perhaps not even conscious of his surroundings. Yet if he did retain any of his mental faculties, what must he have thought of the performance of what was clearly a blasphemous ritual of witchcraft for his personal benefit? History has not recorded his last thoughts, only the incredible irony of the performance of a magic ritual over the deathbed of a man who all his life was steadfast in his loathing and rejection of anything remotely connected with the art of magic.

Among the charges against the witches is that they tried to sink the ship carrying James to Denmark to meet with his future bride, and also the ship bringing Anne to England. The spy of Lord Burghley in Copenhagen wrote to him in a letter dated July 23 , 1 , that the admiral Peter Munk in Denmark "hathe caused five or six witches to be taken in Coupnahaven, upon suspicion that by their witche craft they had staied the Queen of Scottes voiage into Scotland, and sought to have staied likewise the King's retorne.

Eventually all were induced to confess to raising a storm to sink Anne's ship, and of having sent demons to climb the keel of the vessel and pull it under the waves. Concerning this tragedy of September, 1 , Sir James Melville wrote in his Memoirs, "She, being willing to mak diligence, wald not stay for the storm, to sail the ferry; when the vehement storm drave a ship upon the said boat, and drownit the gentlewoman and all the persons except twa.

For so long as James remained without an heir, Bothwell could make a plausible claim for the Scottish crown at his death, but once James married and had children, that claim was void. There is some evidence to support this theory of Bothwell's involvement with the North Berwick witches. In her confession, Agnes Sampson revealed that she had constructed a wax image of James, s ayi ng : "This is Kingjames the sext, ordonit to be consumed at the instance of a noble man Francis Erie Bodowell.

If such nocturnal meetings took place, they must have been executed with a mastery of stealth and guile since this considerable undertaking of manpower and resources passed unnoticed in the small, closely knit communities near the church, where the members of the coven lived. James despised Bothwell for his pretensions to the succession. In a speech to the Scottish parliament in 1 he denounced Bothwell and said of him that he was 'but a bastard and could claim no title to the crown" Margaret Murray, Witch-cult in Western Europe, page Though he felt contempt for this upstart, James was deathly afraid of him.

The terrified James tried to run and hide in his wife 's bedchamber, but the men who accompanied Bothwell blocked his path of escape and locked the door to prevent him from leaving before Bothwell had his say. James asked them their purpose : "Came they to seek his life? Let them take it-they would not get his soul" Murray, Witch-cult in Western Europe, page Although she had never been a healer before, she began to go to those who were sick or infirm to try to help them.

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Her neighbors took notice of this admirable charity when her efforts suddenly began to succeed with astonishing frequency. Rather than praise Duncan for her good works and count themselves fortunate to know her, they began to murmur behind her back that she must be accomplishing the miraculous cures with means that were other than natural.

He decided to question his maid as to where she had acquired the skill to work such amazing cures, and why she was in the habit lately of stealing out of his house to sleep elsewhere every other night. Did he have some affection for her that was not returned, and did he take this excuse to ferret out information about his imagined rival? Or was Seaton upset with her because he thought her night wanderings were bringing scandal upon his household? Whatever his original suspicions, her stubborn silence enraged him. He had her held down and applied a set of thumbscrews to her fingers in an effort to compel her to speak.

When she still did not answer to his satisfaction he bound her head and wrung it with a , rope, a popular form of torture in the sixteenth century. Duncan still refused to say what Seaton wanted her to say, so he decided to probe her for a witch mark, which was considered to be a sure sign of a witch. He found what he was looking for in the front of her throat, and this apparent evidence broke her will and induced her to confess that she was a witch, and that all her cures had been the work of Satan. Duncan was cast into prison, where she shortly began to name the names of her supposed accomplices in witchcraft.

They were not all of low station in life. Agnes Sampson, the key figure among the women accused who was known locally as the Wise Wife of Nether-Keith, was a mature, educated woman said to be grave in her manner and settled in her answers to her inquisitors. John Fian was a schoolmaster. These four appear to have been the leaders in the affair, or at least were nominated as its leaders by James and the magistrates, and were not in a position to decline the elevation.

As more individuals were implicated and questioned, two threads emerged. One was the standard fantastic tale of malicious acts of magic worked at the behest of the Devil against ordinary townsfolk in the region around Edinburgh. It is impossible to know how much truth is contained in either thread of the confessions. Since the confessions were extracted under torture , or threat of torture, not a word of them can be trusted. It may be useful to gain some notion of how local was the affair of the North Berwick witches. Most of the communities involved were on the same side of the Firth of Forth as Edinburgh and were within walking distance of each other.

The town of Tranent where the unfortunate Gilly Duncan was tortured by her master was about eight or nine miles from Edinburgh. Saltpans, where John Fian taught school, also sometimes called Saltpreston, was where Prestonpans is today, and some five or six miles from the city. The notorious North Berwick Kirk occupied a headland around twenty miles from Edinburgh. All these places are on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth.

The whole affair might be said to have occurred in the backyard of the king, which may be one reason he took so active an interest. The heart of the testimony concerned a sabbat meeting that took place in on Halloween at around midnight at the North Berwick Kirk.

Here the witches, drunk and merry after riding down the Firth on their sieves and dancing on the green outside the church to the sound of a Jew's harp played by Gilly Duncan, entered the church to convene with the Devil, who stood in the pulpit dressed in a black hat and black gown, surrounded by burning black candles. In Melville's Memoirs he is described as terrible in appearance, with a nose like the beak of an eagle, great burning eyes, hairy hands and legs, with claws upon his hands and feet like those of a griffon.

The Devil instructed them to dig up four corpses, two outside the church in the graveyard and two that had been buried inside the building in vaults. From the corpses they removed the joints of the fingers, toes, and knees, and divided the parts up between them. The Devil told them to let the joints dry, then powder them and use the powder in works of evil magic. His skin was described as being cold and as hard as iron. Many of its elements are mentioned in earlier confessions of those accused of witchcraft in different European nations, but the North Berwick Kirk sabbat is perhaps the most complete and well-rounded of the descriptions.

The judicial proceedings began in 1 and extended for three years to the trial of the Earl of Bothwell in August 1 There is some evidence that they dragged on even longer than this. In all some seventy persons were implicated. Murray also wrote that only four were ever tried Witch-cult in Western Europe, page Neither of these numbers is accurate.

There were various gradations of involvement. The execution of justice was capricious. A few of the accused fled to England, and the king instructed the same David Seaton who had started the whole affair to follow after them and recapture them. John Pian also escaped for a brief time, and tried to hide himself near his home in Saltpans, but was recaptured and was executed on Castle Hill in Edinburgh in january 1 59 1 , after the most terrible tortures that James could conceive to use upon him.

John Grierson, who had his name spoken aloud at the Halloween sabbat, died in prison. Agnes Sampson, who undoubtedly was a witch in the more conventional sense of one who predicts the future and makes magic charms, was strangled and then burned to ashes on Castle Hill. His strident address to the jury has been preserved, and is known as his Tolbooth speech, because it occurred at the Tolbooth building in Edinburgh where the law courts were located see Appendix C.

When Effie McCalyan discovered that her six lawyers were no help in her defense, she also tried the pregnancy ploy, but with less success than Barbara Napier. McCalyan was due to be burned alive on june 19, 1, but when she declared that she was with child, her execution was delayed.

There may have been a last-minute mitigation in the severity of her punishment, since contemporary records show that McCalyan was not burned alive , but was strangled first in the usual manner for executing witches. There can be little doubt, in view of the persecution of Bothwell by James, that the king firmly believed Bothwell to be the leader in the North Berwick affair.

On April 1 7, 1 59 1 , Bothwell confronted the king and his council and demanded to know what james intended to charge him with. Robert Bowes wrote of the meeting to Lord Burghley, "The King answered, with practice to have taken his life. Bothwell asked i f h e would lay any other matter than that only. The King said it sufficed, and willed him to clear himself thereof. In June he wrote to john Maitland: "Sen theire can na present tryall be hadd of the Erl Bothuell, I thinke best he praepaire him self to depairt uithin threttie or fourtie dayes, his absence to be na neirairhande nor Germanie or Italie.

The next year, in August, Bothwell was finally tried. Its influence was not finally lifted until the repeal of the witch statute of james in 1 73 6. In 1 5 89 James married Anne of Denmark by proxy. Hence when she sailed to Scotland she was already queen, though the marriage had not been consummated. James must have regarded this storm with suspicion even as he made the impetuous decision to sail to Oslo and remain with his new bride over the winter.

James himself may have been instrumental in initiating the great witchhunt that took place in Copenhagen in the summer of 1 , although by that time he was back in Edinburgh with Anne. Even though the ships that accompanied James and Anne sailed as a fleet, his ship was the only one that encountered contrary winds. They also ran into dense fog, but with the help of the English navy, they were safely guided into port without tragedy.

Magic was afoot, and was being worked against him specifically to prevent his union with Anne. Who would have a reason to want him to remain without a wife? Among the nobility of Scotland, no one held him in lower regard than the heroic warrior of the Border Marches, Francis, Earl of Bothwell. James viewed Bothwell with contempt because of his dubious birth and lack of refinement and learning.

He probably also envied Bothwell for his courage. The two men truly despised each other. It is quite possible that Bothwell had a reputation as a necromancer, whether merited or not, and this would only have served to confirm the suspicions of james. Sampson was indeed a witch. This is persuasively indicated by the content of the numerous accusations made against her. However, she was not a witch by the definition of james, who believed that all witches had made a pact with Satan to work evil, and who met with the Devil periodically for carnal unions. It is not unreasonable to speculate that Gilly Duncan's sudden skill in healing had been acquired through her friendship with Agnes Sampson.

Perhaps on some of the nights Duncan spent away from the residence of her master, she was studying the art of witchcraft from the elder Sampson. She must have been a gifted pupil, to judge by her success in healing her neighbors, but it was inevitable that the appearance of this gift, where none had been noticed to exist before, should give rise to rumors and gossip about her doings at night. If Gilly Duncan was an apprentice to magic, Agnes Sampson was its mistress. She was the first of the accused in the North Berwick affair to be extensively questioned, and the list of accusations against her is longer and more varied than against any other.

Sampson was a professional witch. She made her living not only as a midwife but as a healer and prognosticator. James became interested in the Sampson interrogation late in 1 Probably Sampson was asked if she had been responsible for the storms that hindered the union between the King and Queen, which must still have been a topic of conversation only a few months after the second storm. By this point, Sampson's will had been broken. Coupled with the ordeal of the witches' bridle she was made to wear to prevent her uttering charms, and the deprival of her sleep, these indignities rendered her willing to say anything at all in the hope of shortening her ordeal.

Sampson was a clever woman and vain about her abilities. James was astounded, and from then onward had no doubt as to the guilt of the accused. It is even possible that she did indeed possess some degree of psychic ability. Once he believed that she was telling the truth, the torture would stop. She probably had not employed either of these methods herself, but she would have had knowledge of them.


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  7. The confession of Agnes Sampson was the evidence James had been looking for that the storm that had almost taken the life of his wife, and the contrary wind that had delayed his voyage home, were the work of the Devil. As God's anointed upon the Earth, and as the living embodiment of the brave knight of Revelation, mounted upon the white horse, robed in white linen stained with the blood of the wicked, wearing many crowns, who used as his weapon the power of the word, James saw it as not only his duty, but his destiny, to confront Satan and triumph over him.

    That is why he involved himself personally in the interrogations and tortures of the accused. When he suggested to Sampson that her magic was directed against him, she was eager to agree as a way of stopping her torture. In the beginning only those of lower social standing were implicated. The letter came open during transit, and was read by many, and its contents found their way back to the King, who was left in no doubt concerning a connection between the accused witches and Bothwell. Near the end of 1 a courtier of limited importance named Richard Graham was taken into custody. Graham practiced some form of magic, though it would be the height of charity to call him a necromancer.

    He testified at his trial in 1 that once , in an attempt to impress him, Graham had shown him "a sticke with nickes in yt all wrapped about with lange haire eyther of a man or a woman, and said yt was an enchanted stick. Another time Graham tried to sell Bothwell a ring with a familiar spirit inside it. Bothwell paid scant attention to Graham, his stick, or his ring.

    Graham simply was not important enough to occupy the attention of the Earl. James was convinced that the more vigorously he persecuted those he viewed as the servants of the Devil, the less power the Devil would have to harm him or anything that was his. This included not only his wife and household but the entire nation of Scotland. By using the utmost severity against the accused witches, James was defending his realm against the power of Satan.

    John Fian, who figures so prominently in the tract News From Scotland, seems to have had very little to do with anything. There is no plausible evidence that he knew magic, or had ever practiced magic. In the sixteenth century anyone who could read and write, and who had much to do with books written in Latin or Greek, was apt to be suspected by the uneducated people around him of possessing forbidden knowledge.

    Sampson's magic, though extensive, was confined mostly to good works. The testimony that she used her arts to cause harm and death, having been extracted by torture , is worthless. Graham was a dabbler trying to impress his betters with his arcane knowledge. Gilly Duncan and Bothwell may or may not have had some slight acquaintance with magic. In my opinion, no significant evidence exists to show that there ever was a plot to kill King james, or that there was any form of organized witchcraft in the North Berwick area.

    The only devil in the affair wore the crown of Scotland. They meet and begin to talk about the "strange news" that is the only subject of conversation lately, the doings of witches. Many of his examples are drawn from the Bible. It involves complex circles, conjurations, numerous types of spiritual beings, and divine words of power.

    The second, the rudiments, is the study of the unlearned sorcerers and witches, and involves the manipulation of common words, herbs, and stones for the making of what Epistemon terms "unlawful charms" that operate without natural causes. Philomathes, the skeptic, objects that many of the practices that fall under these definitions have always been regarded as lawful and harmless, such as the practice of astrology.

    From this unlawful type of astrology spring many other pernicious forms of divination, such as palm reading and numerology, all of which he condemns on the grounds that foretelling the future by the planets and stars is forbidden in the Bible. The study of necromancy is said not in itself to be an offense, although it is perilous, but the use of magic circles and conjurations is always unlawful, in the opinion of Epistemon, since no one can be a student in a school without being subject to the master of that school, and the master of the school of magic is the Devil.

    Philomathes is a bit skeptical as to why a magician should give up the circles and other aspects of his art that allow him to rule and control demons, and instead voluntarily subject himself to the Devil's authority by means of a contract. The answer of Epistemon seems a bit weak on this point. He asserts that the conjuration of spirits by means of a magic circle is long and arduous, and that if the magician has omitted or spoiled even one detail in the process, he will immediately be seized by the Devil and carried away to hell, whereas if he enters into a pact with Satan, he can summon familiar spirits easily and safely to do his bidding for the term of the contract.

    The two enter into a discussion of what the pact with the Devil entails, and what benefits it provides, and of the different types of fallen angels. Epistemon denies that there are elemental spirits on the grounds that the fallen angels did not fall by gradations of weight, to be differentiated into the various elemental layers, but fell all together according to their nature , and wander the world as God's hangmen, ready to execute his wrath upon the wicked.

    The Devil is not to be trusted. Some of his revelations are true, the better to beguile humanity, but the rest are false. Philomathes asks why it is that whereas witches are universally condemned and persecuted, many states not only allow magicians to live untroubled, but rejoice in demonstrations of their skill. Epistemon counters with the argument that an evil custom should never be considered a good law.

    As to Moses working magic, he doubts that was ever the case, but suggests that if Moses did study or even practice the magic of Egypt, he did so before he was called upon by God. He asserts that magicians should be punished with exactly the same severity as witches. In Book Two of the work, Philomathes raises three objections to the existence of witchcraft. The second is that those who believe themselves to practice witchcraft are mentally ill and self-deluded. The third objection is that if witches really possessed all the powers that are claimed for them , there would be no godly person left alive on the face of the Earth.

    Epistemon agrees that many referred to in the Bible who used magic were necromancers and magicians, but asserts that others were witches, according to the vulgar definition of a witch being one controlled or ruled by the Devil. As to the objection that witches are afflicted with melancholy madness, he argues that they exhibit none of the symptoms of melancholy. The rich are motivated to practice sorcery by a desire for revenge against others, while the poor practice it in the hope that it will lead to the acquisition of money or goods. Then the Devil offers to remove all their difficulties if they follow his advice and do all he requires of them.

    So much for the first meeting. At the second encounter the Devil persuades the candidate to pledge service to him, then reveals himself to the witch, compels the witch to renounce God, and gives the witch a mark on some hidden part of the body where it will not be easily noticed. At the third meeting the Devil also begins to teach the new witch the art of witchcraft.

    The first consists mainly of meeting in groups to worship Satan.

    Invisibility is also possible in his view, by the Devil thickening the air to conceal the witch from sight. He also rejects the concept of the soul leaving the body, since surely this only occurs after death, and it is not in the Devil's power to restore the dead to life. Philomathes asks what the actions o f witches are directed against others. His friend interrupts him, asking why there are twenty female witches for every male witch.

    Is it ever lawful to seek out a witch for a cure to a disease that has been caused by witchcraft? Never lawful, Epistemon assures his friend; the only lawful remedy is prayer. If all men are subject to the evil effects of witchcraft, Philomathes asks how any man can be brave enough to punish them. His friend rather stiffly replies that we should not refrain from virtue merely because the way may be perilous; and in any case, no one is more protected against witchcraft than those who zealously prosecute witches. How can he be felt by witches if his body is of air, Philomathes wonders. As to whether others can see the Devil when he comes to witches in prison, Epistemon says sometimes yes, sometimes no.

    Epistemon puts it down to the gross ignorance of the papists, which caused God to punish them with night terrors, whereas in the present the error is one of arrogance, punished by God with an abounding of witchcraft. Epistemon explains that the first type received different names from the ancients depending on their works. Those that haunted houses were called lemures, or specters, but if they appeared in the form of a dead man to his friends, they were termed "shades of the dead.

    When they haunt an inhabited house , it is a sure sign that those who live there are ignorant of God's laws, or are wicked. Philomathes wants to know how such a spirit can enter a house the doors and windows of which are sealed. Donita K. Paul Goodreads Author. Janine Caldwell Goodreads Author. Andrew Peterson Goodreads Author.

    Elizabeth George Speare. Lois Walfrid Johnson. Catherine Marshall. Rachel Coker. Jonathan Rogers. Anne Holm. Brandilyn Collins Goodreads Author. Amy Clipston Goodreads Author. Sandra Byrd Goodreads Author. Stephanie Gallentine Goodreads Author. Nadine Brandes Goodreads Author. Amanda Bradburn Goodreads Author. Heather Dixon Wallwork. Cynthia T. Toney Goodreads Author. Leslea Wahl Goodreads Author.

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    Tabitha Caplinger Goodreads Author. Pearson Goodreads Author. Jody Hedlund Goodreads Author. Flagging a list will send it to the Goodreads Customer Care team for review. We take abuse seriously in our book lists. Only flag lists that clearly need our attention. As a general rule we do not censor any content on the site. The only content we will consider removing is spam, slanderous attacks on other members, or extremely offensive content eg.

    We will not remove any content for bad language alone, or for being critical of a book. Tags: christian , christian-only , clean , fiction , sarah-j-maas , young-adult. Jill books friends. Wayne 46 books friends. DeAnna Newsome 22 books friends. Amanda books friends. Steve 43 books friends. Keven books friends. Kat books friends. Kerry books 70 friends. Dec 10, AM. Why is The Hunger Games in this list? I don't know.

    The way that Goodreads Lists work, people can add whatever they want. There are several books on the list that shouldn't be. Dec 27, PM. Maybe they voted on according to content instead of Christian publishers or something Feb 10, AM. I mean, the girl who wrote Twilight is LDS yes. Mormons are Christian , but I wouldn't consider it a clean book.

    I had hoped people would vote based on content Mar 14, PM. Twilight is terrible! It is soooo not christian. Vampires are of the devil and hell. I would never want anyone to read it. Why is it on here? Apr 18, PM.