Witches and witchcraft have existed for thousands of years. The word itself is derived from Wicca, meaning “the wise one”. Witches have always been reckoned a demonic apparition. Many people believe that witches did exist, although we cannot be sure if they were the servants of Satan, or simply misunderstood outcasts. Many witches have been burned throughout history. Thousands of people, mostly women, were executed after being accused of black magic women.
Catherine Monvoisin (also called La Voisin) was the wife of a French jeweler and became well-known thanks to the premonitions she had had since she was a child. After her husband’s business had become bankrupt, she expanded her field of expertise from palmistry to selling love poisons, potions, and even abortion drugs. Her clients were many noblemen, princesses, and countesses. She was arrested in 1680, under the accusation of witchcraft and were burned at the stake at Place de Grieve, near Paris. After her death, her daughter revealed a series of secrets, including a plot to poison the king.
Agnes Sampson was a healer and midwife in Scotland at the end of the 16th century. In 1590, she attended a witches’ Sabbath hosted by Satan on Halloween night. Sampson then summoned a great storm over the North Sea, aiming to sink the ship of Queen Anne (spouse of King James VI of England), who was sailing in towards Scotland. Everything did not exactly go as planned, but the queen decided to abandon the trip. After that, when the king himself was sailing on the North Sea, a violent storm summoned by the same Agnes Sampson broke out. The midwife was accused to have initiated the first witch hunt craze in history. In the same year, she was burnt as the first victim of the North Berwick Witch Trials and was considered a black magic woman.
Alice Kyteler was a well-off Irish moneylender whose husbands had the unlucky habit of dying too soon and leaving her all their fortune. When her fourth husband passed away with a strange illness, his children began to suspect something fishy. Alice was believed of having poisoned her husbands and sacrificed animals to Satan. People began to be curious with her rituals, which used clothes from unbaptized children and hair from the buttocks. Nonetheless, it seems strange when items like spells and mysterious powders were found in her home. Alice was tried for witchcraft in 1324. She was the first black magic woman ever to be accused on Irish land. However, she marvelously disappeared the night before the execution and never to be seen again.