Thursday, January 10, 2008

Did the Malleus Maleficarum really exist?

Emphatically and unfortunately, yes.

You can buy a copy of the Malleus Maleficarum today on Amazon. At my website,, in the right hand column there is a running display of some particularly egregious quotes from the book (each time you refresh, a new one appears).

The authors, Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, wrote it to guide courts in their prosecution of witches. The book reads like a pseudo (and psycho) legal text, including questions to be put to these witches, and how to proceed based on what they report.

Freud would have a field day with the recurring sections on how women can make the male genitals either shrink or completely disappear.

The book is threaded through with anecdotes that break your heart. I’ll be writing about some of those, so please check back later (but not too soon. Blogging with a newborn is a tenuous undertaking!)

No comments: