Mark Twain on Witches


“During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after doing its duty in but a lazy and indolent way for 800 years, gathered up its halters, thumbscrews, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry.”


Mark TwainBible Teaching and Religious Practice

I found this quote while reading about the early history of persecution against witches.

Unfortunately, I found way to much horrific information while reading “The Horrors of the Church and its Holy Inquisition” on the Bibliotecapleyades website. No one knows for sure how many people have died as a result of centuries of witch-hunts. There is a section at the bottom of the above listed web page that lists all the known “witches” who were hanged, burned alive, or otherwise murdered over several centuries up to the 1990s.

Witches by Hans Baldung Grien (Woodcut, 1508)

Witches by Hans Baldung Grien (Woodcut, 1508)


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