When King James of Scotland succeeded to the throne of England in 1603 he introduced even harsher statutes against those practising witchcraft. His act of 1604 made it a capital offence “to consult, covenant with, entertain, employ, feed, or reward any evil and wicked spirit, or to utter spells.” It meant that keeping a dog or cat could have serious consequences if you were suspected of witchcraft.
But even those not keeping an animal could still be found guilty of having a familiar. The judges might find a bee or a fly in the house which they would consider as the Devil’s agent.
King James was both fascinated and terrified of witchcraft. When King Of Scotland, he was convinced that witches had gone to sea in sieves and raised a storm to wreck his ship as he sailed to Norway for his bride. He personally supervised the harsh interrogation of some of the accused women of North Berwick and this experience led James to write his book Daemonology which was published in Edinburgh in 1597.
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