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Added Tue, 15/12/2020
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"The Witches "(dat. "Häxan") is a 1922 silent film. The picture is a popular science presentation illustrating the ideas of the inhabitants of the Middle Ages about witches and witchcraft. It contains many references to thematic literature and painting. At the end of the film, the author comes to the conclusion that many signs of witchcraft in women would be explained by his contemporaries as "hysteria".

The film consists of 7 parts. some of them are purely documentary, others are purely game or combine elements of both genres. when creating the film, all the special effects available at that time were used: overprints, models, jump transitions, time-lapse shooting, makeup and prosthetics.

Since ancient times, people tried to explain incomprehensible phenomena to them by the intervention of evil and good higher forces, so people's faith in God and the devil appeared. In the Middle Ages, the mass craze for witch-hunting reached its peak - being old and scary or young and beautiful was considered sufficient grounds for accusations of witchcraft and collusion with the Devil.

The film shows the historical roots and superstitions associated with witchcraft, from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Based in part on Christensen's own study of the Malleus Maleficarum , a 15th-century German manual for inquisitors, the film offers a glimpse that such a witch hunt may have originated from a misunderstanding of illness and mental illness that sparked mass hysteria.

Phenomena in artwork: Spirits

In the film there are game inserts, which show the spirits of hell as they were represented by the inhabitants of the Middle Ages. The main one is the Devil himself, who lives in a castle on a cloud and personally deals with the temptation of the righteous, as well as participates in the coven of witches and directs their actions. At night, he comes to women, sends them evil thoughts and strangles them in their sleep. The author of the film says that in his time in such stories, the place of the Devil is occupied by actors, doctors and other personalities known to the victim, who appear to her in dreams. It is worth noting that in the modern world, this role is often played by brownies and aliens.

The film also shows other hell's spawn-devils, devils, as well as the Devil's children, who are born by one of the witches.

Phenomena in artwork: Witchcraft

The film retells medieval ideas about witches and witchcraft. According to popular beliefs at that time, witches were women who made a deal with the Devil and received supernatural abilities from him. So, they could cast damage on people and animals, perform unnatural actions with ordinary objects (for example, milking an axe), turn into animals (for example, in the form of cats, hooliganism on the altar, while devils are watching at the entrance of the church). Witches could prepare magical potions that had various effects (mostly causing attraction or passion in the person who drank them). People believed that witches were able to summon thunder with a bucket of water, as well as terminate the pregnancy of married ladies by tying knots on a rope at their beds.

Witches could fly on broomsticks, for this they needed to be rubbed with a special witchcraft ointment. Witches flew mainly to sabbaths, where they sacrificed unbaptized babies, danced naked and indulged in pleasures with the fiends of hell, desecrated shrines and kissed the Devil's ass.

The spirits of some (especially distinguished) witches in their dreams could come out of their bodies and travel to the Devil's castle, where he rewarded them for their service. in the morning, they were back in their bodies.

it was believed that at the sabbath, the devil places marks on the backs of witches with his fingers, and these areas become insensitive to touch. Often the very presence of such areas on a woman's back was sufficient reason to accuse her of witchcraft.

The inquisitors believed that if a witch's life was threatened, the Devil would come to save her. Therefore, for example, one of the methods of inquiry was drowning: a bound woman was thrown into the water, and if she somehow miraculously survived, she was recognized as a witch and burned at the stake (and if not, then her righteous soul went to heaven, and there it was better than on earth).

Phenomena in artwork: Ghost

The spirits of some (especially distinguished) witches in their dreams could come out of their bodies and travel to the Devil's castle, where he rewarded them for their service. In the morning, they were back in their bodies.

Phenomena in artwork: The evil eye, curses and corruption

According to the belief of the inhabitants of the Middle Ages, the ability to impose damage on people and animals was obtained by a witch, having concluded a contract with the Devil. At the same time, any deviation in human health and behavior could be taken as a sign of imposed damage.

In order to verify the presence of damage, a special ritual was performed: a vessel with molten lead was driven over the body of the "victim", after which it was poured into a vat of water. The decision was made on the basis of the shape of a lead block that had cooled in water. Often, the first woman who unexpectedly met the "victim" or her relatives after the ritual was taken for the witch who cast the spell.

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