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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Last European Witch-Hunt Still Going On

Now this one makes me mad for all sorts of reasons:

It turns out that the last real witch-hunt in Europe was carried out in the 18th-Century by a secluded little village in Switzerland called Glarus. As it turns out, a young, very beautiful, woman, one Anna Goeldi, was hired as a houseworker by a wealthy homeowner, one Jacob Tschudi. Tschudi then laid her soundly and when he threatened to let her go, he was afraid that she woud reveal their tryst; at the time, adultery was a crime in Glarus.

So the rising political figure took to inserting pins in his children's food and blamed the events on the poor woman. An illiterate and uneducated girl, she was taken into custody and tortured into confessing to being a witch, although she vehemently denied all the charges before torture. Once the events were over and she had recovered somewhat, she recanted. She was then tortured again until she confessed and this time did not recant.

She was then led through the streets of the town, humiliated, and beheaded with a sword.

This was 1782, the Age of Enlightenment.

Now, some are calling to clear the victim's name, but others - in true Swiss form - refuse to confess, claiming they should not be held accountable for the actions of their ancestors.

Except that no one is actually asking them to personally be held accountable; all that is being asked is that the woman's sentence be dropped and her name cleared! No one is going to be put to death for killing the young woman, no one is going to be imprisoned, no one is going to be fined; they simply have to admit that the actual crime that occurred in 1782 in the streets of Glarus, Switzerland was murder.

Of course it isn't right and I'm certainly not condoning it, but I would be remiss if I didn't reiterate the fact that the "good and upright" citizens of Glarus tortured Anna Goeldi into confession - not once but twice. Maybe what's good for the goose isn't so bad for the gander?

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