Monday, July 14, 2003

Tips for Young Witch Hunters

5. Faint heart ne'er won true confession.

But if neither threats nor such promises will induce her to confess the truth, then the officers must proceed with the sentence, and she must by examined, not in any new or exquisite manner, but in the usual way, lightly or heavily according as the nature of her crimes demands. And while she is being questioned about each several point, let her be often and frequently exposed to torture, beginning with the more gentle of them; for the Judge should not be too hasty to proceed to the graver kind. And while this is being done, let the Notary write all down, how she is tortured and what questions are asked and how she answers.

And note that, if she confesses under torture, she should then be taken to another place and questioned anew, so that she does not confess only under the stress of torture.

The next step of the Judge should be that, if after being fittingly tortured she refuses to confess the truth, he should have other engines of torture brought before her, and tell her that she will have to endure these if she does not confess. If then she is not induced by terror to confess, the torture must be continued on the second or third day, but not repeated at that present time unless there should be some fresh indication of its probable success.

The Malleus Maleficarum, Part III., Second Head, Question XIV: Of the Method of Sentencing the Accused to be Questioned: and How she must be Questioned on the First Day; and Whether she may be Promised her Life. The Ninth Action

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