Witches and witchcraft, whether you acknowledge this or not, permeates American pop culture from movies ("Practical Magic"), to songs ("Black Magic"), to tonight's witching holiday.
We can hardly talk about Halloween or witches without discussing the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600s.
In the name of religion and gossip, the people of Salem accused close to 100 people and executive more than 20. The hunts were residual of the hunts in France and England where hundreds (some say thousands) of innocent people were killed and tortured for witchery.
Hunting witches was an easy occupation -- the symptoms of a witch applied to most anyone.
See if any of these symptoms can apply to you: Occasionally speaking to yourself; pains in your stomach (cramping); moodiness; the presence of a mole or birthmark on your body (it was believed that imps and demos nursed from these); occasionally missing a church service; occasional dancing; reading books other than the Bible; not praying aloud in the presence of others; butter or bread goes bad quicker than expected (no joke)?
If you made the wrong person mad, it only took a slip of the tongue or some slight gossiping to set the witch hunt hounds on your trail. After you are accused, there is nothing you can do short of leaving the country in the middle of the night to escape death.
Your position or status in life afforded you no leniencies either. In Salem, Mass., the Salem prosecutors, which included judges, reverends and farmers, jailed, tried or executed pregnant women, though they would not execute them until after they gave birth (the baby was considered innocent); children (a 4-year-old girl); mothers, fathers, men and women.
If the accused lived to execution, they suffered hanging., However, many died in uninhabitable jails.
Refusing to plea or fighting the accusation was futile, too. Giles Corey was pressed to death -- they placed a board on him and piled stones on the board while asking him to plead innocent or guilty. Giles refused to plead or to give names of other possible witches; eventually, the weight of the stones crushed him to death. Ah, the good 'ole days?
Originally, witches were believed to be both men and women. However, through the help of sexism and Hollywood, it is women who are primarily deemed witches now and men are called wizards.
Tonight is Halloween and we are sure to see many witches ranging in age from barely a year to pretty much as old as you want. Tonight, it is the witches who will be hunting ... hunting for candy (insert Vincent Price laugh or eye roll here)!
By the way, did anyone get the reference in the title? It is October, which is the World Series of baseball.
Ernie Banks, long-time Chicago Cub, loved the game so much that he would rather play a doubleheader than a single game.
Ernie's famous catch phrase was, "It's a beautiful day for the ball game. Let's play two!"