Dining with the Devil

During the peak of witchcraft hysteria in Europe, the British Isles were far behind in their prosecuting. While most other countries were creating torture chambers and burning anyone who might have had the smallest possibility of being a witch - the British were staying much more calm, cool, and collected. As usual.

Ireland, Scotland, and England developed an understanding of witchcraft pretty late in the game. The absence of having a Catholic Pope or Inquisition breathing down their neck probably helped, as well as their more reasonable sense of Sabbath's. Rather than assuming that the Sabbath's were witches killing children, having orgies, and practicing cannibalism, they thought of Sabbath's more as "dining with the devil." And they literally meant eating dinner with the devil.

Those who did get prosecuted for being a witch had the luxury of having significantly more mild and restrained trials than anywhere else. In England specifically, the intention of practiced witchcraft mattered and there had to be more proof than just simple word of mouth. The English and Irish also gave men and women the curtesy of not burning them death. The Irish seemed to be even more tolerating of witchcraft than the English. The Irish were hesitant to accuse witches and prosecute them due to the conflict between and Gaelic and English laws. And the fact that they had no interest in being told what to do by the English. Ireland is known for their strong fairy culture which is also contributes to their tolerance.

Scotland was the main exception of witchcraft trials in The British Isles. A contributing factor of Scottish paranoia was when King James VI and his wife were coming home from Denmark and got caught in the midst of a sea storm. This storm left them stuck for weeks in Norway where all the Norwegians swore up and down it was due to witchcraft. This caused King James to get extremely paranoid about everything related to witchcraft and caused a panic throughout Scotland.

They were the only country who chose to burn witches at the stake when they were convicted. The local magistrates of Scotland were pushed to prosecute witches whenever possible - which resulted in three times the amount of witches being prosecuted in Scotland compared to Ireland and England. Of the 2,000 executions, the vast majority happened from 1620-80.

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