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Episode 138: Foresight


Humanity has grown over the millennia by passing on knowledge through teachings and guides. Even today, how-to books are best-sellers, and people are more hungry than ever to learn and grow. But some lessons aren’t worth passing on, and in a few cases, they’ve even been incredibly destructive.


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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
They were afraid that everything would be lost their community in north western China along the silk road was under threat from a neighbouring group, so they go third, there most valuable possessions and wild them up inside a cave and then a thousand years pass by in nineteen hundred, a monk was exploring that very same cave when he encountered the hidden treasure, but it wasn't gold or precious gems that he stumbled upon. No, this hoard was a collection of over forty thousand schools and documents. A secret library that archaeologist today refer to as
the cave of a thousand buddhas among the seemingly endless collection of ancient scrolls was a document that is known today as the diamond sutra. It was printed in the year, Sixty eight, according to the text on the documents making it the oldest printed and dated book in the world. But it's all the earliest example of one of the most common genre throughout history. It is a how to guide. We like to teach things it's how we pass along our knowledge to the next generation and how We grow as individuals, whether we're switching fashions in the middle of a career or a young student to his learning things. For the first time, how to guides can transform lives and open up worlds of possibility. But everything useful has a darker underbelly tools can be misused. Weapons designed for dean can be turned on helpless people and books can contain just as much evil as they can good and few
we can hold a candle to the Molly, a smell of current, a guide book written in fourteen eighty, seven to help authorities identify and exterminates people accused of being witches instruction guides to help us create. But when it came to book, like the Malea smell of a car em. All they typically built panic, fear and superstition, superstition that we still cling to today and if the historic will record is any indication. It also manage to build something else, at least for a time. A mass hysteria hell bent on destruction, I'm Erin Monkey- and this is lower.
historical, which trials are something that most of us are aware of. In Amerika, we probably connect most. Play to the Salem trials, the infamous events that took place in Colonial Massachusetts in one thousand six hundred and ninety two, when that wildfire of panic had finally burned out, twenty innocent people have been executed and another five had died in jail awaiting trial Of course, Europe in England had their own, which trials that took the lives of thousands more, but what we rarely do is stop and asked the obvious question why? Why, specifically, were those people accused and tried and so often killed? What brought the panic to their doorstep? The answers, though, Our frustratingly simple, the most common traits shared among which trial victims is a list of characteristics that should stand out to any of us, primarily the acute
where women who had drawn attention to themselves either through their actions or some kind of physical or mental disability, and they often lived alone with no family too supports or protect them, and what were the accused of in most cases while the most common claim was that these individuals had maliciously lashed out against their neighbors, causing them illness, loss and even death. spend any amount of time. Reading about the Salem trials and you'll see a number of testimonies where people claim to be attacked and beaten by evil forces that they attributed to their neighbour and the courts believe them. One great example of this is Joan write a midwife who lived and worked in Colonial Virginia in one thousand six hundred and twenty six, she was accused of being a witch Simple reason that she was left handed her neighbours acute, sure of causing a servant girl to dance and of predicting a number of death. they even blamed a powerful storm on her because it destroyed their crops. Whether or not she was executed, though, was never recorded.
And then there is the other level of accusation that fits in neatly with our Halloween folk lore of witches early on in the history of these which trials the focus was actually on the witches involvement with ferries and ghosts and all sorts of supernatural creatures. It was only after Christianity spread throughout Europe and became part of their cultural foundation that the fairies were swapped out for something more threatening and believe it The devil himself later on that grew into claims of packs, with the double or illicit relationships with him and his minions, and Finally, the third most common accusation was that of treason. This isn't of those ideas that dips back further into the past. Then Christianity, where some people believe that a which could be hired to have someone else, curse to death, others, accuse them of offering predictions about royalty, typically to help one of the parties involved. We can see this on display in Shakespeare's Macbeth, when the three witches predict MC bats rise to the
Grown and then, of course, his demise, oh an interesting side note. For a long time, people have further to the three witches in a story as the weird sisters were, the oldest manuscripts call them something else and fans of super natural will love it. Shakespeare referred to them as the wayward sisters. In the end, though, all of these claims were crafted with one goal in mind: execution, and this is an area where people today make a lot of mistakes. Thanks to Hollywood, films and DEC, of television. We assume that all witches were burned at the stake, but that simply not the case. The victims the Salem trials were hanged. That is except for Giles Corey, who was crushed the death beneath the pile of stones, the different in method of execution. Honestly came down to the type of Christianity involved, the specific crimes and the country where the trials took place. The punishment had the fifth
I am, however, imaginary that crime might have been so it varied from place to place, but when it was over just about every accused, which was refused burial on concept, it'd grounds, of course, centuries of folk, lore and pop culture have changed our perceptions and the stories that we tell today witches are the protagonists of children's books and fast see movies, and there is a nearly endless array of interpretation of them. Some people today will tell you that judges are neutral figures, while others still see them as a force of darkness. That needs defeated. Most of us, though, probably think of them is characters and L, Frank Baum, novel, the wonderful wizard of OZ or its nineteen. Thirty nine film adaptation, but whether we ve seen the movie or not. Most of us have heard the advice that Glinda the good which passed on to Dorothy, that there's no place like home, but truth, as we all know, is much
danger than fiction and a whole lot more nuanced, because when it comes to historic, which trials, it seems that there is no place like Scotland, I Think I would be stating the obvious if I said that historians love records, a paper trail helps document social trends, or nailed down specific people and events to a particular time when it comes to pre medieval Scottish, which trials, though that's probably the biggest obstacle to painting a complete picture, the documents just aren't there. There are names, of course, stories of early individuals who are tried and executed for witchcraft centuries ago and In thirty seven lady glands was accused of using charms against King James, the fifth who responded.
By burning her at the stake, but her crime was treason, not witchcraft. So it's not remembered as the first witchcraft execution know that honor. To some one else. A woman named JANET Bowman, but her worry is also plagued by that frustrating lack of documents, so her early life is still a mystery to historians, the best gases. She was born in the early fifteen forties because by the late fifteen sixties, she was a married woman JANET and her husband, William Steel, lived on cow Gate, a well. Edinburgh Street located South EAST of the castle they didn't have. children. As far as I can tell, and we're not sure What Williams occupation was, but JANET herself worked as a healer. It was a calling that she discovered through her own pain,
It said the JANET suffered from a mysterious illness that had plagued her four years, which finally drove her to seek out a local, healer, Nay Maggie DEN home. Maggie instructed JANET to join her at the foot of Arthur seat of Volcanic hill, just east of Edinburgh Castle, where she would perform a ritual designed to heal her an apparently it worked. It wasn't subtle either. It said that the ritual caused the sky above them to rumble like a thunderstorm and the very mountain. They stood beside heaved and shook as if an earthquake had rocked it when it was over, though JANET was healed and also so moved by Maggie's power that she asked to apprentice with her and Maggie. Thankfully agreed in a few years JANET was a popular healer known throughout the city. As a woman who could get results as her reputation, spread more and more clients found their way to her home and one of those clients was the wife of a local blacksmith named Alan Water, stone,
thanks to the social norms of the time and poor documentation, we don't know what her name was, but its fully apparent that she was concerned for her husband's health. In fact, she feared that he was dying, so she begged JANET boy meant to help him when JANET agreed. She gave a blacksmith the same instructions that her teacher Maggie had given to her meet me at the foot of Arthur Seat and She got to work. Janet first told the man to remove his shirts and then summoned a spirit to examine it for her cheek upon the names of the Father, the sun, king, Arthur and Queen Elsbeth, and demanded the Spirit tell her how to heal her patient. In response, the Spirit told her to give you're back to the man who is supposed to wash it in a stream that flowed south, then after he was done with that, his wife was supposed to lead, the wet shirt on their bed as if he was lain there himself. That's where the plan broke down now, instead of following,
JANET's instructions, the blacksmiths wife hung the shirt and a doorway most likely because it was a better place to dry, wet clothing. But breaking rules always comes with consequences. That night, it said that a powerful wind pounded against the outside of the blacksmiths house, knocking dishes from their shelves and toppling furniture. Janet arrive, the next to scold the wife and then sent the blacksmith off to the same south running stream to start the ritual all over again, and this time they say it worked. As you can imagine, stories like this help spread JANET's name around the city, a healer who could command the spirits? Who could do things few others? What even attempt As far as they were concerned, she was a wonder worker, although they probably ignored the stories of her failures in the process. In fact, that same
Psmith returned three years later, with a new case of the same illness, it was so serious that he feared that he would die at any moment. His wife beg JANET to help again, but the healer explained that she couldn't help this time. They had approached her on all hollows Eve nights. In this spirit and ferries were busy with other matters, the blacksmith died the next day, but the adoring public focused on JANET's successful cases. She was the person you called if you needed something done that sat just a little outside the natural world. She was like a number of healers at the time something of a superstar. Also sat in a precarious position, because, while she was certainly famous for her deeds,
Her name had become synonymous with something that was increasingly taboo to even speak about something that would come back to haunt her. In the end, JANET women, they said, was a witch The thing got JANET into trouble was that she branched out sure her healing needed spoken about with massive air quotes, and it was drenched in supernatural elements like spirits and ferries, but it was still need a rapid up in a tiny little bundle under the heading of healing arts, which made it a lot. Less controversial by things got complicated when she veered into prophecy territory. Remember.
Some of the most ancient stories about witches were deeply tied to prophesy something. We see echoes of inmates baths, wayward sisters plus there were all the political elements to think about, while healing was a win win situation for just about everyone involved. Prophecy always favoured one party over another good old Macbeth could tell us all about that she had actually been dabbling in prophecy for a while, although it usually stay clear of the upper echelons of society, one recorded instance. Actually involved the widow of the dead blacksmith. It seemed the jail. it was never really able to rid herself of that relationship. So when widow laughter's stone needed help, it was JANET she reached out to the widow head actually remarried, and now the new couple had welcome their first child into the world like a lot of women throughout history, though this new child, a sun, was struggling to latch on and breastfeed
actually, the mother was distraught, and so she went to JANET for help with her desperate situation, but it didn't and well JANET, arrived and quickly. beside the boy was destined to die, regardless of what they did to help him, because of that JANET refused to try and the baby died a few days peter- and I mention this story because in a twist of irony, it would be another case involving a baby that would draw her toward her end. in fifteen. Sixty eight JANET received a summons from two powerful scottish nobleman, Sir William Stew, to answer Archibald Napier, it seems These two men had some plans, they were putting together and they wanted JANET's helped to make it all happened, and those plans revolved around the tumult was royal drama that had been playing out around them in July of Previous year, scottish queen Mary was forced to abdicate, the throne passing the key
to her thirteen months old Son James, while Mary fled south to seek help from her powerful cousin. Queen Elizabeth, the first of England, Little James, was placed into the care of nurse maids, while his power was temporarily placed into the hands of a region's. Is uncle the first earl of me, James Stuart, but it wasn't a wonderful life. It was clear from the very beginning that Uncle James had his eyes set on the crown and Baby James was in danger, but the former queen Mary, Her son baby James still had plenty of supporters in the country they just now to find a way to remove uncle James from the picture that's where Sir William Answer Archibald came into the picture they had already consulted the witch from Norway who claimed that the regent would survive. It wasn't the answer they wanted, though, so they went. Looking for a second opinion from JANET Buoyant, the local superstar. Surprisingly, JANET predicted the death of Uncle James. What happened next is a bit fuzzy thanks to a lack of proper
documents to build a complete picture. But we know that Uncle James was assassinated and that his death put a spotlight on all the political tension that had been boiling below the surface, a spotlight that eventually expose JANET's prophecy about his death and remember. There was very little difference in the minds of sixteenth century scottish folks between prophesied, something and attacking someone with a curse. Because of this confusion, Janice minor role in the plot, was seen as proof of some supernatural power. If she hadn't been viewed as a which, before this was the moment that seal the deal. Janet was arrested in fifteen seventy and charged with a multitude of crimes. Other witchcraft, sorcery and making deals with fairies was the all of them to somehow managed to slip out of town now and headed west to the coasts of West to Glasgow, but she wouldn't be safer ever she was eventually tracked down and fifteen seventy two and taken into custody and then dragged back to Edinburgh for her
I shall end look the knee jerk reaction to superstition that we see here isn't necessarily a surprise if you ve heard enough stories of accused witches, mostly women, usually practitioners of some atypical skill set and almost always socially difference then you probably saw JANET's demise coming from a mile away. But what is surprising is that, despite all the horrific stories of which trial torture, that we have on record, JANET's imprisonment seems to have been violence free, no, that does it get any less unjust, but it does show a small glimmer of humanity in a process that was so very good at dehumanizing whole spots of people in the though. Janet's fate was the same as thousands of innocent victims all across Europe. After a brief trial, she was found guilty of things
is that science would never have been able to prove and then sentenced to death without a single hope for redemption. On December 29th, the one thousand five hundred and seventy two a fire was lit at JANET's feet. However, brief in trouble that might have been those flames mark the end of her story and with it for life, we are very good at burning. What we dont understand, whether it's an internet flight war or the genocide of an entire culture. History has shown time and time again just how good humans are at lashing out at the different and the misunderstood. Among us.
Comes to the ancient superstitions of the scottish people. It's easy to see how that sort of social battlefield was right for bloodshed between the spirits and ferries and even the christian Devil. There was so much to do afraid of and whenever someone claim to work with them or to use their power, it wasn't difficult to take one step further and assume that they were a threat. At the time of JANET Boyfriends, trial and execution. The mallet smell of a quorum was less than a century old. But in that short time that how to guide written by Heinrich Chrome, known in English as the hammer of witches it already levelled a heavy blow which trials had popped up all across Europe and the english countryside, and they would sadly continue in fact, Scotland's darkest days were ahead of them a man. Eventually sit on the throne, who held a powerful obsession with rooting witchcraft out of his kingdom, thanks in part to a mysterious storm that separated him from his new bride, a store
that her adviser is blamed squarely on, which is missing. Married an daughter of King Frederick, the second of Denmark by proxy. That meant that each of them had a ceremony in their own country, with a legal representative standing in for the missing partner less than two weeks Later, though, an attempted to sail to Scotland to be united with her new husband when a freak storm forced her ship to seek shelter in Norway. The king, us Allen Rush to meet her there, boarding a ship and leading a fleet across the waves, and he made it but when he and I were ready to leave for Scotland, another storm blew in preventing them from setting sail, and it was there, while trapped in Norway, that this king was exposed to radical ideas about which is how to spot them and how to hunt them. It was a passion and knowledge that he eventually brought back to Scotland, with him alone, with writing his own how to guide for witch hunts that he called demon Ology he person,
He presided over the tragic North Barrack trials of fifteen ninety an event seen by many as the moment when brutal Germanic, which trial methods were injected deep into scottish culture. In a twist of fate, this king was James. the Son of Queen Mary, who had been forced to give up her throne. Very same James, who had been watched over by a predatory uncle and who had sat at the centre of a political firestorm that had literally consumed JANET Bowman's life The irony in their story is more than bitter a what and who had been asked to help save the life of a baby. King was paid for her efforts with a fiery death, and it was the very success
that plot that allow James to grow up where the crown in elevate which trials to a new horrific level JANET women might be an all, but forgotten figure in the crowded halls of history. But without her, the most vicious which hunting king in Scotland's history might never have worn a crown and all but there's something else, it seems that King James is passion and life were so influential that elements of his story and which trial propaganda worm actually used to craft one of the most beloved in powerful, plays ever written. lay that involves the prediction by witches of one man's rise to the Scottish thrown the tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare,
It would be easy to walk away from today story thinking that King James, the sixth of Scotland, was the only ruler to attack witchcraft with violent passion, but that would be wrong in fact, there's a story from England that predates JANET women by a few decades and it's a powerful one in its own way. Stick around after this brief sponsor break. To hear about it. This episode was made possible by stamps dot come if you're, a small business owner you're busy enough as it is. You have time to deal with the hassle of going to the post office with stamps dot com. You can skip the trip and never waste Other dollar or minutes stamps that come with you print official postage right from your Peter, so you can spend less time at the Post office and, more time running your business simply put stamps that come. saves time, money and stress for more. Twenty years. Stamps dot com has been indispensable for over one million businesses. Given you act
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James the Sixth of Scotland, was a king obsessed with witchcraft by historical record. Pretty much makes that impossible to dispute this was I so paranoid about potential plots to remove him from the throne that he used witch hunts as an outlet for his fear. It said that he actively participate, it in the brutal torture of accused witches even had journeymen, who disagreed with him thrown in prison according to Most historians. He was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people. The man who felt it was his place to label other people, as monsters turned out to be the biggest one of them all go figure, but Jane the sixth who would also rule over England as James, the first was an outlier, most english monarchs preferred to let the local courts handle accusations of witchcraft most but not all the notable exception to that rule was king, Henry. The eighth, and one story in particular illustrates just how different up a ruler he was.
On Easter Day in fifteen twenty five, a nineteen year old woman named Elizabeth Barton, fell ill, I say ill, but what I really mean is that the people around her believe that she sick, you see Elizabeth claimed that she was having visions sent to her by God. Ten of these visions. As far as we can tell sent Around the new but growing tension between the ancient Roman catholic Church and the people of England, Elizabeth believed that it was impaired, for England to stay within the catholic church and began to travel and speak about the issue, and she drew quite a following course. Whenever someone stands out from the crowd and draws attention, the authorities have a tendency to jump in and make a fuss and that's exactly what various leaders in England did: a camera and was formed and when it was over, they had all decided in favour of Elizabeth Barton. Her mission to keep England inside the Catholic church was deemed a positive thing
and, as a result, she was welcomed into the Priory of Canterbury as a nun, and they also gave her especial title. The holy made of Kent one thousand five hundred and twenty seven King Henry. The eighth requested his infamous annulment from the Pope, but was turned down. Now you can imagine, and with history, to provide a bit of helpful hindsight this didn't sit well with All of a sudden, the catholic church was his enemy and all who supported it were included in that generalization and that included Alyssa, Barton, and then Elizabeth made a mistake and fifteen thirty two she prophesied that of Henry went through with his plans to know his marriage and remarry another woman. He would die a short while later and she took it one step further too. Claiming that God had shown her another vision. This one can meaning Henry's place in Hell. It wasn't pretty Elizabeth had crossed the line
she had done the very same thing. Janet boy would do in Scotland. For decades later, she had prophesied the death of ruler, something that many people equated to witchcraft and Fair many including Henry himself, viewed it as an act of treason. But there was a problem. Elizabeth was incredibly popular with the general public. An entire year would go by without any repercussions for her actions that were in that Henry had given up or that Elizabeth had somehow received the pardon or his grace no Henry. Only wanted enough time to build his case when he came for her, you wanted to do so with every gun blazing so to speak, rumors were created about how promiscuous Elizabeth was and that she was unstable, mentally neighbour, classic labels in the history of witchcraft. So
I'm not sure if she was even shocked to hear them herself. Despite being false, though they took root and spread, because many people both then and now can't tell the difference between destructive weeds and useful crops, In fifteen thirty, three Elizabeth in five of her closest supporters were arrested under threat of torture. She was forced to confess that she had fabricated all of her prophecies about the king. They were kept at Newgate prison in London for months, under charges of which craft and treason after the winter, was over, though their execution date was set, but April 20th of one thousand five hundred and thirty, four Elizabeth Barton and her supporters were led out of newgate to are the Tyburn gallows located close to where the marble arch stands today and then, with a crowd gathered to watch it all they were hanged. Elizabeth was
just twenty eight years old, the aftermath, as you might imagine, was a bit messy king Henry, the eighth declared himself, the official head of the church of England and by the end of the year, England separation from the Catholic church was come eat. Elizabeth body was buried, a grey Friars church near by, but her head was removed from her body Henry had a play, on a spike and then set up at the London Bridge as far as I can tell she was the only woman in history to receive that treatment. All we're standing up to a king.
This episode of Lore was written and produced by me. Erin monkey with research by Alexander steed and music by Chad. Lawson lore is Much more than just a podcast there's a book series available and bookstores and online and two seasons of a television show on Amazon. Prime video check them both out. If you want more lore in your life, I also make two other podcast and make his cabinet of curiosity and on, and I think you'd enjoy both each Explores other areas of our dark history, ranging from bite sized episodes to season long dimes into a single topic, and you can more about both of those shows and everything else going on over in one central place: Thou world of lore dotcom slash now, and
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-12.