Extraordinary Popular Delusions


“The trial of this offence must not be conducted like other crimes. Whoever adheres to the ordinary
course of justice perverts the spirit of the law, both Divine and human. He who is accused of sorcery
should never be acquitted unless the malice of the prosecutor be clearer than the sun; for it is so difficult to bring full proof of this secret crime, that out of a million of witches not one would be convicted if the usual course were followed!”

An extract from the section on the Witch mania which gripped the western world in the 17th century. Spot any echoes in the modern day? Like the common use of Torture and Rendition? Or the plea to throw away Habeas Corpus and lock up certain individuals just on suspicion?

Social psychosis is alive and well. If you want to know the nitty gritty gruesome details of what went on during the days of Witch-hunting, or the South Sea Bubble, or how early hypnotists were believed to be manipulating biological magnetism? and so on… this is the book for you.

A truly enlightening collection of well documented tales of the follies of mankind which helps to put today’s insanities in perspective.

A friend lent me his copy of and I’m still wading through it as we speak. I’ve just discovered that – because it so old (first published 1841)- it is now in the Public Domain and we can consult it online. This, in turn, means I can stop highlighting great swathes of my friend’s copy and create my own offline store of quotes to use.

I’d still recommend buying (or borrowing) a copy of the book because – at 720 pages – it’s a bit much to read online!


About Harry Stottle
Refugee from the Stumbleupon Blogicide of October 2011 Here you will find my "kneejerk" responses to the world and what I happen to bump into. For my more detailed considerations and proposals, please visit my website or my previous main blogging site.

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