Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pendle

Two women standing arm-in arm, one dressed in a long black gown and a black pointed hat.
I have to admit to be a little under-informed when it comes to matters occult. The announcement regarding the find of a witches cottage in Pendle this week took me by surprise ... mainly because I had never heard of Pendle nor its famous association with witchcraft. A quick look at wikopdedia soon had me up to speed ... my first thought when reading about the trials and subsequent executions was 'how sad.' Some were most probably the victims of hysteria. Also, I do not believe in the death penalty. And I rather suspect that these so called witches were either deluding themselves or deliberately deceiving others into thinking they could do magic for their own ends.

However, those who thought themselves 'witches' or portrayed themselves as such would have been morally guilty of the crimes  for which they were executed. Those who thought they had powers and tried to use them were guilty in the same way a person who points a gun and pulls the trigger only to discover the gun is empty is morally guilty of the crime they intended. And those who were only pretending not only were deliberately trying to terrify people for money or power, but they knew knew what they were doing was against the law of the land, carrying severe penalties, up to and including death ... as did those who really believed.  Both groups received justice according to the reckoning of the times they lived in.

The past really is a different country!

I think the best we can do for those who suffered, either innocently or not so innocently, is learn the importance of learning from past mistakes and trying to mete out justice as fairly as we can ... and perhaps be very slow to hand out punishments which, if we are later proved wrong, we can do nothing to correct.

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