Tag: 16th century

Lives of the Necromancers: Silly cow

Lives of the Necromancers: Silly cow


northcote20portrait20-20col1More from Lives of the Necromancers (1834) by William Godwin. See Orpheus for an introduction to Godwin and the book.

John Fian

Although this anecdote is ridiculous, it comes from the late 16th century witch hunt period so it has a predictably brutal ending. John Fian was a young schoolmaster from Tranent, near Edinburgh. He was one of a number of unfortunate people tortured over accusations of witchcraft. Godwin writes that Fian was “tortured by means of a rope strongly twisted around his head, and by the boots.” The boots were actually cruder than they sound, usually just a kind of vice designed to crush the feet and lower legs. Even people who survived the torture were usually crippled.

“He told of a young girl, the sister of one of his scholars, with whom he had been deeply enamoured. He had proposed to the boy to bring him three hairs…

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Dragons and spheres and chimeras, Oh my!

Dragons and spheres and chimeras, Oh my!


Some lovely and surreal Renaissance images of marvels and unexplained phenomena, from Taschen’s The Book of Miracles.

page_va_book_of_miracles_2400_375a_1311061537_id_750233 Pew pew pew! Malevolent forces play Space Invaders with trembling Christian folk.

page_va_book_of_miracles_2400_371a_1311061537_id_750218 This happened to a friend of a friend. He went to the shops to get a paper and some milk, but he found the whole area blasted into desert, then he was gnawed by a dragon and he went to heaven. Ker-razy.

page_va_book_of_miracles_2400_343a_1311061536_id_750203 It’s raining icebergs and sort of lion mask things, Hallelujah.

page_va_book_of_miracles_2400_255a_1311061535_id_750173 Flying duck-eel-Muppet creatures wearing crowns, obviously. Eh, happens all time round our way.

page_va_book_of_miracles_2400_239a_1311061535_id_750158 Wow, such sky beams, very dazzle, many falling over towrs, much giant sea doge.

page_va_book_of_miracles_2400_185a_1311061535_id_750143 An alarmingly massive comet makes the towers and spires go all wonky again.

page_va_book_of_miracles_2400_181a_1311061534_id_750128 Nobody could deny her crimefighting prowess, but Donkey Lizard Bearded Arse Bird Leg Woman just wasn’t working as a superheroine name.

page_va_book_of_miracles_2400_047a_1311061534_id_750098 Don’t hate you those days where huge…

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