Saturday, April 2, 2011

School children petition to clear the names of witches

By Kris Bradley
Domestic Witchery Examiner

Children in the German village of Rüthen (population 5,360), recently submitted a petition to their city council to have “witches” from the village’s past declared innocent.  The students from the Friedrich-Spee-Gymnasium had been studying witch trials in class.  They stated in the petition that if Rüthen cleared the people of charges the accused would “regain their human dignity.”
The school’s namesake, Friedrich Spee was a Jesuit priest who fought to defend those accused of witchcraft.  He has been considered by many to be the first to argue that torture is not the way to illicit the truth from someone being questioned.  He was quoted as saying, "Often I have thought that the only reason we are all not wizards is due to the fact we have not all been tortured.”
Between 1573 and 1660 169 men, women and children were all convicted of witchcraft in Rüthen.  At least 79 of them were sentenced to death.  One man, Freunnd Happen was accused of sorcery.  The city council unanimously approved the petition, making Rüthen the first municipality in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia to clear a group of witchcraft charges.

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