martes, diciembre 21, 2010

The woman as witch in the Inquisition's imaginary

Witches were accused, among other things, of copulating with the devil, causing male impotence, causing the penis to disappear and of stealing men's penises - the latter crimes no doubt exemplify male fears of castration.

And what, then, is to be thought of those witches who in this way sometimes collect male organs in great numbers, as many as twenty or thirty members together, and put them in a bird's nest, or shut them up in a box, where they move themselves like living members, and eat oats and corn, as has been seen by many and is a matter of common report?

- (Malleus Maleficarum, 1484). Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger.


The confessions of witches to absurd crimes, such as stealing men's penises and having intercourse with the devil, would have added further to popular mythology about the depraved and monstrous nature of woman's sexual appetites. Witches were also forced to 'confess' the minute details of their sexual acts with the devil, including information about the size of his member, its texture and shape.

- The monstrous feminine. Film, feminism and psychoanalysis. Barbara Creed. 1993.

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