The Discovery of Witches: A Study of Master Matthew Hopkins, commonly call'd Witch finder Generall (Paperback)
Occult historian and scholar Montague Summers offers his narration of The Discovery of Witches, an essay written by the notorious witch hunter Matthew Hopkins.
Working in the 1640s, Hopkins was the driving force behind the execution of more than a hundred alleged witches. The Discovery of Witches was designed as a guide to finding, interrogating and executing suspected witches. Various marks upon the body are mentioned as devilish, while tests of witchcraft such as swimming - whereby a woman was forcibly immersed in water - were devised as a means of determining a person's affinity to illicit magic.
Summers offers an extensive introductive commentary, describing characteristics of various cases found in historic court records from Medieval times onward. Both male and female individuals were accused of possessing magical powers, and were hauled before local magistrates or barons to face punishment. On some occasions, maladies suffered by locals or livestock were attributed to destructive curses placed by the purported magic user. Such cases were frequent until the early 18th century, when laws involving illicit wizardry and witching were removed from England's statutes.