In Daemonology he explained techniques for finding evidence of witchcraft which he described as “a treason against God”. One technique was swimming suspected witches.
This was the King’s theory:
“So it appears that God hath appointed, for a supernatural sign of the monstrous impiety of the witches, that the water shall refuse to received them in her bosom, that have shaken off the sacred water of baptism…”
anyone sinking into the water was absolved of the crime of witchcraft, but was likely to drown; anyone floating would be considered a proven witch. Another technique the King recommended for discovering witches was to find a devil’s mark on the suspect’s body. It was thought that the devil sealed his compact with witches by giving them a mark of identification on the body which today would simply be seen as a scar or birthmark. In the 1600s such marks were considered the sure sign of a witch.
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