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[ Article crossposted from alt.atheism.satire ]
[ Author was Gene M. Kasmar ]
[ Posted on Sat, 11 May 1996 08:02:40 -0500 ]
EUNUCHS IN BIBLE #9
EMASCULATION DURING THE WITCH HUNTS
During the great European Witch-hunts of the twelfth through
eighteenth centuries, males were concerned that witches had special
powers for imposing emasculation upon selected targets. The handbook
used as the encyclopedia of witch hunting was the MALLEUS MALEFICARUM
(Witches Hammer) by the Dominican Inquisitors Kramer and Sprenger,
which addressed this very real concern. The treatise was commissioned
by Pope Innocent VIII in 1486, and printed in numerous editions.
It seriously warned that "...witches collect male organs in great
numbers, as many as twenty or thirty members together, and put them in
a birds nest, or shut them up in a box, where they move themselves like
living members, and eat oats and corn...". A witch told a afflicted
male "...to climb a certain tree, and that he might take which he liked
out of a nest in which there were several members. And when he tried to
take a big one, the witch said: You must not take that one...because it
belongs to the parish priest."!
The Church, together with the Protestant sects, used this manual
as the basis to safeguard male hegemony, and to persecute mostly women
suspected of witchcraft. Some estimates have pointed to over a million
suspected witches being executed over a five hundred year period.
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