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 [En attente de traduction] Zugarramurdi Witches - A TRADUIRE

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Date d'inscription : 14/04/2010

MessageSujet: [En attente de traduction] Zugarramurdi Witches - A TRADUIRE   Dim 18 Avr - 11:21

Zugarramurdi Witches

As part of their efforts to stem
public hysteria over witches and sorcerers (see sorcery),
Spanish inquisitors conducted mass trials of accused
witches in the Basque village of Zugarramurdi from June
10 to November 8, 1610. For all the hue and cry mounted
by the local folk and the lurid testimony given at the
lengthy trials, only six persons went to the stake.
Zugarramurdi, a Navarre town on the border of the
Labourd region, where the infamous witch-hunter Pierre
de Lancre was scouring the countryside for witches, provided
a rich setting for superstitious villagers. Nearby was
a large, subterranean cave, cut through by a river called
the Infernukeorreka, or “stream of Hell,” a perfect place
for witches to gather and practice their alleged cult of Satan
and various pagan rites.
The Supreme Inquisition appointed Don Juan Valle
Alvarado as inquisitor in charge of the investigation at
Zugarramurdi. Alvarado spent several months gathering
testimony, which cast suspicion of witchcraft crimes
upon nearly 300 persons, not counting children. The testimony
of wild diabolical activities was accepted without
question. Alvarado determined that 40 of the suspects
were obviously guilty. He had them arrested and taken to
Logrono for trial before three judges.
According to the testimony given at the trials, the
Zugarramurdi witches were organized in a hierarchy. At
the top were senior sorcerers and witches, followed by
second-grade initiates who served as tutors of novices.
First-grade initiates were responsible for making poisons
and casting spells. Child recruits included those under
the age of five who were taken to sabbats by force; those
from age five or six up who were induced to attend sabbats
with false promises or goodies; older novices who
were preparing to renounce Christianity; and neophytes
who had made their renunciation. The entire lot of them
were said to worship an ugly, gargoylelike Devi l.
Detailed descriptions were given of renunciation ceremonies.
The novice was presented to the Devil and formally
renounced God, the Blessed Virgin, the saints, baptism
Zugarramurdi Witches 405
and confirmation, parents and godparents, Christianity
and all those who follow it. The novice kissed the Devil’s
hind end (see kiss of shame). The Devil marked the novice
with his claw, drawing blood, which was caught in a
bowl or cup, and also marked the novice in the pupil of
the eye with a shape of a toad (see Devi l’s mark).
The novice, now an initiate, was bound over as a slave
to a master or mistress, who was paid in silver by the
Devil. According to testimony, the silver vanished if not
spent within 24 hours (see money). The initiate was given
a toad as his or her fa milia r, which had been tended by
a master or mistress, and instructions for evildoing. After
a satisfactory trial period, the initiate was given complete
control of the toad and was allowed to make poisons.
Child recruits were bound over to instructors and
given many toads to care for.
The witches were said to meet every Friday night and
to hold special masses on the night before major Christian
holy days. On these occasions, the Devil preached
The Zugarramurdi witches also were accused of the
usual maleficia attributed to witches elsewhere:
Metamorphosis. They changed into animals in order to
frighten and hurt others.
Spells. They sabotaged flourishing crops with powders
and poisons made from snakes, lizards, toads, newts,
slugs, snails and puffballs. The witches metamorphosed
into animals and, led by the Devil, sprinkled their poisons
over the crops while intoning, “Powder, powder, ruin everything,”
or “Let all [or half] be lost with the exception
of anything that belongs to me.” These spells usually were
cast during an early autumn southerly wind called sorguin
aizia or “the wind of the witches.” The witches also
raised storms (see storm rai sing) to destroy crops. They
allegedly poisoned animals and murdered human beings
by administering poisonous powder or ointments which
caused people to become ill and die.
Vampirism. Villagers claimed witches stole children out
of their beds at night, carried them off and consumed
their blood and flesh. Some cases of vampirism of adults
also were given at court.
Of the 40 accused witches, 18 confessed and tearfully
asked for mercy, and were reconciled with the church. Six
were burned at the stake, including Maria Zozaya, an elderly
woman who was said to be one of the senior witches.
Five of the accused died during the trials; effigies of
them were burned along with the six who were executed.
The remaining 11 presumably were not convicted.
Further reading:
Henningsen, Gustav. The Witches’ Advocate: Basque Witchcraft
& the Spanish Inquisition. Reno: University of Nevada
Press, 1980.
406 Zugarramurdi Witches
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