| Halloween haunt: 10 Weird Facts About Witches!

10 Weird Facts About Witches ~ Sean Hutchinson, Mental Floss.

IMAGE CREDIT:

The practice of witchcraft is deeply rooted in history, and has—excuse the joke—conjured up some very interesting myths. Here are a few facts.

1. MOST WITCHES WEREN’T BURNED AT THE STAKE.

 

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The common image of a witch’s execution shows a large group of hysteric people surrounding the guilty person on a burning pyre—but immolation was not the primary means of execution used for those accused of witchcraft. During the Salem Witch Trials, no one was burned to death; all of the accused that pled their cases and were found guilty during the Trials in 1692 were hanged. In fact, no one found guilty of witchcraft was ever executed by burning in the American colonies—immolation wasn’t permissible by English law. But one person was pressed to death by large stones: Giles Corey, a man who refused to plead guilty or not guilty for charges of witchcraft during the Trials. The court found Corey guilty despite staying mute by using the French legal precedent of “peine forte et dure.” Corey is the only person in US history to be pressed to death by court order.

2. WITCH HUNTS DIDN’T SPECIFICALLY TARGET WOMEN.

 

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Historically-rooted misogyny led many to believe that women were somehow more susceptible to the dark arts or temptation by the Devil, and therefore more likely to be witches. For instance, the Laws of Alfred, written by King of Wessex Alfred the Great in AD 893, specified witchcraft as an expressly female activity. But men practiced, too,and were called many different names, including a wizard, a warlock, or a sorcerer.

Countless women and men were indiscriminately persecuted for witchcraft throughout history. During the Trier Witch Trials in Germany, which lasted from 1581 to 1593, a total of 368 people were executed—and many of the victims were leading male figures of the cities and surrounding villages, including judges, councilors, priests, and deans of colleges. In the Würzburg Witch Trial, which stretched from 1626 to 1631, 157 men, women, and children were burned at the stake for such random reasons as allegedly humming songs with the Devil to being a vagrant unable to give an explanation as to why they were passing through the town of Würzburg.

3. NOT ALL WITCHES WERE BAD.

 

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Even though we’ve got that common image of an evil witch—a warty old woman dressed all in black, riding a broomstick, with a pointy hat—anybody familiar with The Wizard of Oz knows that there can be good witches too! Glinda the good witch was a representation of the benevolent half of witchcraft, known as white magic. Historically, practitioners of white magic were known as white witches, and they were more folk healers than devious people out for double, double toil and trouble. However, writer C.S. Lewis reversed the notion for The Chronicles of Narnia saga, making one of the main antagonists the icy and evil White Witch.

4. PEOPLE COULD BE CONVICTED OF WITCHCRAFT WITHOUT ANY SOLID EVIDENCE.

 

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During the Salem Witch Trials, most of the legally-recognized evidence used against those accused of witchcraft amounted to spectral evidence, or “witness testimony that the accused person’s spirit or spectral shape appeared to him/her witness in a dream at the time the accused person’s physical body was at another location,” which was accepted “on the basis that the devil and his minions were powerful enough to send their spirits, or specters, to pure, religious people in order to lead them astray.” Other evidence used against them were so-called “Witch’s Marks” on their skin that allegedly proved they had made pacts with the devil. Contemporary research suggests these marks were possibly small ordinary lesions or supernumerary nipples.

5. WE DON’T KNOW WHERE THE WORD “WITCH” CAME FROM.

All the etymology geeks out there may or may not be surprised to know that the word “witch” is of indeterminate origin. The closest and most obvious possible origin is the Old English word wicce, which means “female sorceress,” and is the basic linguistic root for the modern day pagan religion, Wicca. Another more specific possibility is a split meaning coming from the Old English wigle, meaning “divination” and wih, meaning “idol,” both coming from the Proto-Germanic word wikkjaz, which means “necromancer,” or “one who wakes the dead.”

6. PEOPLE WROTE ENTIRE BOOKS DEDICATED TO WITCH HUNTING.

 

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In the 15th century, witchcraft was of grave concern to a lot of people, and major pieces of literature were written about witches. The most famous was the Malleus Maleficarum, a legal and theological document that became the de facto handbook on how to deal with witches and witchcraft, and spurred the nascent hysteria caused by witch-hunting in Europe that would last well into the 18th century. The book was written by two clergyman of the Dominican Order—Jakob Sprenger, the dean of the University of Cologne, and Heinrich Kramer, a theology professor at the University of Salzburg—and used Exodus 22:18, “You shall not permit a sorceress to live,” as its basis to detect and persecute any and all witches.

Even people as important as kings got in on the action. James I of England’s 1597 book, Daemonologiewas a treatise that threw his support behind the importance of the practice of witch hunting. James himself even presided over the 1590 North Berwick Witch Trials when he believed a devious Earl plotted to overthrow the then-King of Scotland with the help of a coven.

7. A POPE ONCE CONFIRMED THAT WITCHES EXIST.

 

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The Catholic Church saw witchcraft as a threat to all of its followers. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued a papal bull titled “Summis desiderantes affectibus” (“Desiring with supreme ardor”) that recognized the existence of witches, saying, “many persons of both sexes, heedless of their own salvation and forsaking the Catholic faith, give themselves over to devils male and female,” and that they “afflict and torture with dire pains and anguish, both internal and external, these men, women, cattle, flocks, herds, and animals, and hinder men from begetting and women from conceiving, and prevent all consummation of marriage; that, moreover, they deny with sacrilegious lips the faith they received in holy baptism; and that, at the instigation of the enemy of mankind, they do not fear to commit and perpetrate many other abominable offences and crimes, at the risk of their own souls, to the insult of the divine majesty and to the pernicious example and scandal of multitudes.” The papal bull effectively gave Kramer and Sprenger—the writers of the Malleus Maleficarum—the God-given authority to begin their Inquisition.

8. LAWS ABOUT WITCHCRAFT WERE IN PLACE IN THE MID-20TH CENTURY.

Technically, England’s Witchcraft Act of 1735 was still official and on the books until 1951, when it was replaced with the Fraudulent Mediums Act. The language of the original Act wasn’t about persecuting witches per se, but rather made it illegal for people to claim that others were witches. Yet being legally convicted meant that you purported to have the powers of a witch—and in fact, a woman named Jane Rebecca Yorke was found guilty in 1944 under the law, though she was convicted mostly because she was defrauding people with bogus séances.

9. WITCHES PROBABLY DIDN’T WEAR POINTY HATS.

 

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The origin of the association of the broad-brimmed, pointy hat with witches is murky at best. One school of thought is that it is based on the peaked cap Jews were required to wear after a 1215 decree by Pope Innocent III. Rampant anti-Semitism soon caused folks to associate heretics, pagans, and demons with wearers of the so-called Judenhat. In the early 1700s, the image was co-opted by artists who immortalized the image in paintings of the old hag in the witch’s hat we know today.

10. WITCHES REALLY DID “FLY” ON BROOKSTICKS, IN A WAY.

 

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The origins of the broom as a witch’s preferred mode of transportation is … pretty weird. People who practiced witchcraft experimented with herbs and potions in rituals that may have used the mandrake plant. Mandrake contains scopolamine and atropine, two alkaloids that cause feelings of euphoria in low doses and hallucinations in higher doses.

The rituals—performed in the nude—called for the participants to rub an herbal ointment containing the mandrake on their foreheads, wrists, hands, and feet as well as on a staff that they would “ride.” The friction of the ointment-coated staff on the witches’, uh, lady parts would absorb the ointment into their system and cause a floating sensation—and their description of that feeling is what perpetuated the symbol of the witch flying on a broomstick.

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Halloween From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

| Here are the top 10 American corporations profiting from Egypt’s military!

Here are the top 10 American corporations profiting from Egypt’s military ~ GlobalPost.

The US government gives Egypt $1.3 billion a year. Egypt then uses that money to buy weapons from US corporations.

The irony is thick: Obama calls on Egypt’s interim government to stop its bloody crackdown on protesters, but continues to give it $1.3 billion a year in military aid.

For decades, Egypt has been one of the largest recipients of US foreign military aid, receiving everything from F-16s to teargas grenades.

So who are the companies reaping the benefits?

The list below were the 10 biggest US Defense contracts involving direct military aid to Egypt from 2009 to 2011, according to The Institute for Southern Studies.

See the table at the bottom of the page for full details of the contracts.


1. Lockheed Martin

Amount: $259 million


USAF F-16C. Wikimedia Commons

In 2010, Lockheed Martin provided Egypt with 20 F-16s as well as night vision sensor systems for Apache helicopters. Lockheed Martin is the biggest beneficiary of US government defense contracts — receiving a record $36 billion in 2008.

Globally, Lockheed Martin is one of the largest defense contractors. Seventy-four percent of its revenues come from military sales.



2. DRS Technologies

Amount: $65.7 million


Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr Creative Commons.

The US Army contracted this US-operated, Italian-owned military services company to provide vehicles, surveillance hardware and other resources to Egypt in December 2010.



3. L-3 Communication Ocean Systems

Amount: $31.3 million


Courtesy: L3 Communications

L3 Communications provided the Egyptian government with a $24.7 million sonar system and military imaging equipment.



4. Deloitte Consulting

Amount: $28.1 million


Tim Boyle/Getty Images/span>

Deloitte, the world’s second largest professional services firm, won a $28.1 million Navy contract to provide planning and support for Egyptian aircraft programs.


5. Boeing

Amount: $22.8 million


An Egyptian army Apache helicopter flies over a crowd of pro-military demonstrators in Tahrir Square in Cairo on July 26, 2013. (Ed Giles/AFP/Getty Images)

While most people know Boeing for it’s commercial flights, it is also the second largest defense contractor in the world.

Boeing won a $22.5 million Army contract in 2010 to provide Egypt with 10 Apache helicopters. The Aerospace also received a contract to provide logistics support to Egypt.


6. Raytheon

Amount: $31.6 million


In 2010, Raytheon gave the Egyptian military 264 moths of Hawk missile systems training. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)

The world’s largest guided missiles provider gave Egypt and Turkey 178 STINGER missiles, missile launch systems and 264 months of technical support for the Hawk missile system.



7. AgustaWestland

Amount: $17.3 million


An Apache helicopter flies over a crowd of protesters in Cairo on July 26, 2013. (Ed Giles/Getty Image)

AgustaWestland — also owned by the same Italian company that operates DRS Technologies — secured a contract to provide helicopter maintenance for the Egyptian government.



8. US Motor Works

Amount: $14.5 million


An Armored Personnel Carrier stationed on a street in Cairo on July 4, 2013. (Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images)

US Motor Works landed a $14.5 million contract in 2009 to provide engines and spare parts for the Egyptian Armament Authority.



9. Goodrich Corp.

Amount: $10.8 million


(Koen Verheijden/AFP/Getty Images)

The US Air Force and Goodrich brokered a $10.8 million contract to obtain and distribute reconnaissance systems for the F-16 jets the Egyptian Air Force uses.


10. Columbia Group

Amount: $10.6 million


A Knox class frigate, with the flag of Egyptian Navy. Wikimedia Commons

Columbia Group provides $10.6 million-worth of unmanned vehicle systems, along with technical training, to the Egyptian Navy.

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| Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief: Iconic folk hero in American, Aboriginal and Canadian history!

| Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief: Iconic folk hero in American, Aboriginal and Canadian history!

“Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.


Seek to make your life long and of service to your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.


Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.


If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.
Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.


When your time comes to die,
be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time
to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”

~ Tecumseh,

(1768-1813) Shawnee Chief

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