" Is life like a game of chess?
Are our present moves important for future success?
I think so.
We paint our future with every present brush stroke.
Repetition of shapes.
Let nature guide us.
Nature is the great teacher.
Who is the principal?
Sometimes jokes are welcome.
Like the one about the kid who said:
"I enjoyed school.
It was just the principal of the thing."
Cooper, you may be fearless in this world. But there are other worlds. Worlds beyond life and death. Worlds beyond scientific reality.
Tell me more.
My people believe that the White Lodge is a place where the spirits that rule man and nature reside. There is also a legend of a place called the Black Lodge. The shadow self of the White Lodge. Legend says that every spirit must pass through there on the way to perfection.
There, you will meet your own shadow self.
My people call it The Dweller on the Threshold.
Dweller on the Threshold.
But it is said that if you confront the Black Lodge with imperfect courage, it will utterly annihilate your soul.
In this lecture, Professor Wrightson discusses witchcraft and magic. He begins with the context of magic beliefs in this period, introducing the "cunning folk" who had reputations as healers and were often consulted.
He then considers the specific problem of witchcraft, the use of magic to do harm, and its identification by the late medieval church as a form of anti-Christian cult. He examines the distinctive nature of both witchcraft beliefs and the history of witchcraft prosecution in England (as compared with both Scotland and continental Europe), outlining the typical circumstances of a witchcraft accusation and what these might suggest about the rise and fall of concern with witchcraft.
Finally he considers a number of unresolved problems in the history of witchcraft in England: the nature of the links between gender and witchcraft; the reasons behind the passage of the statutes defining witchcraft as a crime; and the exceptionally large number of trials conducted in the county of Essex.
The first act which was passed against it in 1542 made it a felony — any crime that was a felony carried the death penalty — made it a felony to practice witchcraft for unlawful purposes.
But that act was only on the statute book for five years; then it was repealed. After that there was actually no law against witchcraft for nearly twenty years.
Then in 1563 there was a new act. It was made a felony to invoke evil spirits and to — if they were invoked to cause the death of another, then execution was the punishment. Otherwise witches were to be imprisoned or put in the pillory and face death only for a second offense.
Then finally in 1604 came a third act. It elaborated on the 1563 act. It made it a felony to bewitch anyone to either their death or their injury. For lesser forms of sorcery people faced imprisonment and death for a second offense. But some elements of continental European ideas were beginning to creep in at last in to this third act.
For example, it was made a felony to dig up dead bodies for the purposes of practicing witchcraft. Exactly why they were concerned with that they don't explain, but that was one of the clauses of the act. It was also made a felony to consult with or to feed an evil spirit for any purpose.
No witches' sabbats at which witches met and feasted and danced with the devil and so forth. Very little sex with devils in English witchcraft trials, though that was a prominent feature in continental trials. English witches didn't fly. [Laughter] They didn't have much fun at all really. [Laughter] English witches did, however, have pets. They had imps and "familiars" as they were known, usually small animals, and they seem to have been part of popular beliefs in England, that a witch would have a familiar which could act on her behalf. Ursula Kemp, for example, was alleged to have had four familiars: two cats, a toad which was called Pygin, and a lamb which was called Tyffin.
Secondly, particular witchcraft prosecutions were rarely instigated from above in England. That's another important difference. There's no evidence that the authorities actually wanted a witch hunt.
One outstanding exception to this generalization was the activities in 1645 to '47 of a witch finder called Matthew Hopkins who operated in East Anglia and to all intents and purposes hired himself out as a consultant for the discovery of witches.