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Medieval Witchcraft P9 In some cases, the priests were genuinely concerned about the souls of the ‘witches’ and burnt them alive for their salvation. The case of Joan of Arc, who was later canonized as Saint Joan is one of the most glittering examples of such acts of papal fanaticism. She was branded as a heretic or a witch and burnt alive on stake.
England's most famous witch trial took place in Lancashire in 1612. Ten of the so-called Pendle Witches were hanged at Lancaster Castle after being deemed guilty of witchcraft. Their ghosts reputedly haunt the village of Newchurch which is where one of the witches is said to be buried.
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This 1643 woodcut shows a witch apparently surfing on a plank across the River Kennet at Newbury. Shot at by Parliamentarian soldiers, she reportedly caught and ate the musket balls, until finally being brought down. Witches, having rejected baptism (as the demonologists saw it) could not sink in water, which rejected them. Hence their ability to sail in sieves (News from Scotland), and the notorious swimming test promoted by the 1613 pamphlet, Witches Apprehended, Examined and Executed.