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  1. #1
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    Article on "Witchcraft" in Scotland

    A CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) show called "As It Happens" has posted articles about this as background to a radio article they are broadcasting.

    https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens...raft-1.5271625

    Thought folks here might find it interesting.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Canadian Sinclair.

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  3. #2
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    She lived and died in tough times, with ignorance and hearsay from others at that time not helping one bit and we will never know the full story. Sometimes, I think its best to leave things alone. Different times, different standards.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  4. #3
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    Learn from history ... or repeat it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    Sometimes, I think its best to leave things alone. Different times, different standards.
    In general, history can provide a good mirror to examine our own society. Lilias Adie confessed to some truly impossible crimes (such as carnal relations with the devil), because she was repeatedly interrogated while sleep deprived.

    I just did a Google search (sleep deprivation police interrogation) and found numerous recent articles discussing how lack of sleep can result in false confessions. And if a society was routinely using sleep deprivation as an enhanced interrogation technique, it might call into question the validity of of the confessions they obtained.
    Trying to look good on a budget.

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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    She lived and died in tough times.... Different times, different standards.
    Yes, she did and they were, but history does repeat itself and we must learn as we evolve. Karl R referred to history as a mirror; it is that, and more than that. It is our sole opportunity to travel into the past, to study and learn from all that our forebears lived through, and to enable our steps forward to be always with a light on that knowledge. Without that knowledge/experience/understanding we are bound to repeat exceptionally blind follow-the-leader experiences of our ancestors.

    History, of course, is in the eye of the beholder and we have many historians to learn from. My advice, as an historian: take none to be the absolute truth, except those told by tellers with vested interests in the falsehoods they, themselves, promulgate. Theirs will always be the truth for their purposes . We must take care that those are not the ones we move forward as 'history' for future generations.

    The history of Scotland is rife with half-truths and semi-truths. Layered on top (or under) those we have the myths carried beyond our lands and shores by generation-after-generation of emigres to such an extent that they bear no resemblance to reality, or history.

    --

    Rant over On the subject of witchcraft, a couple of relevant books from my library you may be interested in: 'Witch Hunt' by Isabel Adam; and 'The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology' by Rossel Hope Robbins.

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  8. #5
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    I am sorry Rex and Karl to differ with you. How many more skeletons do historians need to examine ? Surely they have seen enough skeletons now to know that we eat more sugar now than they did 250 years ago. I am afraid that I am not convinced about learning much that is useful in history either. Interesting though it may be.

    One only needs to look at the appalling antics of Hitler’s and Stalin’s regimes, the dreadful goings on in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia and the desperate cruelty of ISIS and all that---and more---- happened in yours and mine’s( not sure about your age Karl) lifetime! I certainly question how much has been learnt from the past.

    As you rightly say what really happened 200 years ago is often based on facts that were unreliable then and have been adjusted ever since. Even with the considerable reliable evidence of what really happened since 1939 I see, depressing though it is, scant evidence that the human race in general has learnt anything useful from history about mans behaviour to their fellow human beings.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 8th September 19 at 03:36 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    One only needs to look at the appalling antics of Hitler’s and Stalin’s regimes, the dreadful goings on in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia and the desperate cruelty of ISIS and all that---and more---- happened in yours and mine’s( not sure about your age Karl) lifetime! I certainly question how much has been learnt from the past.
    Getting into the nuance of what you just said. I agree that far too little has been learned by studying history. Much more could be learned from studying history ... if only people bothered to compare the painful lessons of the past to the present day. And if the information is never presented to people, then nobody can learn from it.

    As an example, here's a quote from an article I just read:
    "Nationalism is an intense form of patriotism or loyalty to one’s country. Nationalists exaggerate the value or importance of their homeland, placing its interests over and above those of other countries. Nationalism was a prominent force in [time period] and a significant cause of [event]. Many [people] – particularly citizens of the so-called Great Powers,
    [list of great powers] – were convinced their nation occupied a position of cultural, economic and military supremacy. Politicians, diplomats and royals contributed to this mindset with inflammatory remarks and rhetoric. Nationalist sentiment was also prevalent in press reporting and popular culture. The pages of many newspapers were filled with nationalist rhetoric and provocative stories, such as rumours about rival nations and their evil intentions. Nationalist ideas could also be found in literature, music, theatre and art."
    This paragraph could apply to many periods in history. It could apply to today. If you are actually curious what time frame, which countries, and what event the paragraph was referring to, here is the link to the article I quoted.

    Tying this back to the "appalling antics" you referred to ... how many of those were connected to nationalism? (German nationalism, Khmer nationalism, Hutu nationalism, Tutsi nationalism, Bosnian nationalism, Serbian nationalism, Croat nationalism, religious nationalism,...)

    Currently, there appear to be significant nationalist movements in most of the "great powers" of our time. Of the supporters of those movements, how many have studied the (historical) impact of nationalism? Or if we want to tie this back to the original article on witchcraft, how many have studied the (historical) impact of fear-mongering?

    History provides us the ability to learn from other people's mistakes. But only if we choose to.
    Last edited by Karl R; 8th September 19 at 08:43 PM.
    Trying to look good on a budget.

  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    One only needs to look at the appalling antics of Hitlerís and Stalinís regimes, the dreadful goings on in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia and the desperate cruelty of ISIS and all that---and more---- happened in yours and mineís( not sure about your age Karl) lifetime! I certainly question how much has been learnt from the past.
    But that makes the point, doesn't it, Jock? The study of the past enables us to choose for our future from the many paths open to us. They have all been walked before. Read the map by studying the footprints of those who passed before us. Look at who they were (and became), what they did (the good or the damage) and move forward with that knowledge. To counter your Hitler and Stalin, I propose Ghandi, Mandela, King....

    But back to Scottish witches -- historical . In 1597 our unusual King James VI/I published 'Demonology' and a witch craze swept Aberdeen, burning 24 men and women for: dancing with the devil, using ligature to cause married men to be untrue to their wives, souring milk, giving away bent pennies tied in cloth, or bewitching animals.

    Perhaps we learned from that terrible period and moved onwards. Of course we did . We experienced those ignorant days and crossed the Atlantic, where 100 years later, we burned people at the stake for similar crimes. So your point must be taken, too. When we ever learn?

    But we try, Jock, we really do; and we did really learn from these centuries-apart occurrences. We learned that theocracy is not a way forward. Ah (I hear you ask): how well did we really learn that lesson, and for what period of time will we pay attention? You and I won't be here to hear the answer. That's just fine because all we can really do is ask the questions and point the way, based on history.

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  12. #8
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    Karl and Rex.

    I have read both of your posts more than once to make sure that I really understand what you have said and they are great replies. You both raise very good points of which from an academic point of view are hard to argue against.

    Nationalism, religion, starvation and perhaps greed are the four driving forces of most, if not all, of the troubles past and present and history does teach us from the comfort of a class room, or our armchairs, the appalling results of those situations of that there is no doubt. My point is, that in spite of the good intentions of academics and good thinking people their voices are drowned out by the practicalities of the situations that evolves. We can go round in circles from the comfort of home discussing these points and even agree one way or another on most of them, but in the end history does and will repeat itself in spite of the grand and no doubt eminently sensible words, of historians.

    All the above does sound really defeatist and depressing and it is, but that is the practical human inevitability of repeating past mistakes. That does not mean that we should ignore what is going on around us, or not try to avert calamitous situations if we can. After all, history tells us that we must at the very least, make the effort so to do.

    Now I am off fishing for a few days!
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 9th September 19 at 03:14 AM. Reason: delayed by flat tyre!
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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