I was reading about some of the “tests” that were conducted 300 years ago to determine whether or not one was a witch. Truly bizarre, frightening even, if one considers the notion of having them done on themselves.
In one test they would bind you and then throw you in the river to see if the water rejected you or not — confirming you to be a witch. Some (apparently innocent) people accidentally drowned this way.
In another, you were forced to say the Lord’s Prayer. Any misstep in that, due to nervousness or even poor language skills, confirmed the devil’s work. Even a perfect recitation however didn’t necessarily absolve you. It might show only that the devil was particularly crafty in your case, necessitating further tests.
In yet another test you were pricked and stabbed all over your body with specially designed needles. This was done in an effort to find your “witch’s marks” — the areas on your body that were immune to pain or bleeding.
There were entire books written about witch-hunting, outlining all the ways that one might discover a witch. It all seems pretty fantastic. Ludicrous. Freakish.
Times have changed however. Now it is actually GOOD to be a witch, according to a significant part of the population. One may now literally become a man or a woman, a baby, a dog, or even a building, based only on whim. No incantation required.
But really, it seems just about as stupid… doesn’t it.