02 November 2012

The Weight of Witches and Warlocks

We made our first foray to the Walled City, yesterday. It is a beautifully preserved section of Cartagena which dates back to the colonial period. Several (most, in fact) of Cartagena's  museums are there, one of which, the Museo Historico de Cartagena, occupies what was once the Palacio de la Inquisition. Though today, most of the grounds have been given over to more humane historical pursuits (the Cartagena Historical Society holds their meetings there), the Sala de Tormentos and the adjoining C├ámara de Tormentos house a few of the devices used during the Inquisition to Interrogate presumed witches and their conspirators.
Most of the explanatory signage is in Spanish. However, a couple of informational plaques are in English (only, oddly), including this one titled "The Weight of Witches and Warlocks". It enumerates the questions put to alleged witches in the 17th century during interrogations. (So as to not make presumptions regarding the intentions of the translator, I have copied the questions exactly as they appear on the plaque.)

1. Since when have you been a witch?
2. Why did you become a witch?
3. How did you become a witch and what happened on that occasion?
4. Whom did you choose as your partner?
5. What is his/her name?
6. What is your name of your master amongst the evil spirits?
7. Which is the oath that you have had to render to him?
8. How and under what terms have you done it?
9. What fingers did you have to rise?
10. Where did you celebrate your wedding?
11. What demons and people attended your wedding?
12. What foods did you eat?
13. How was it served on the table?
14. Were you also sitting down at the table?
15. What kind of music was played? What were the dances? Did you not dance?
16. Who was assigned as your partner at the ceremony?
17. What mark did your partner make you on your body?
18. What evils have you caused? To whom and How?
19. Why did you cause this evil?
20. How can it be remedied?
21. What kind of herbs, potions and other means, can be used to cure that curse?
22. To which children have cast the spell of the "evil eye" and why have you done it?
23. What animals have you killed or put under a curse? And why have you done it?
24. Who are your associates for/in evil?
25. Why does the devil strike you blows at night?
26. How you compose/prepare your ointment or witches' brew?
27. How can you fly through the air?
28. What words do you pronounce when you fly?
29. Are you flying so fast?
30. Who has taught you to fly?
31. What worms and caterpillars/slugs have you created?
32. What do you use to make these harmful/noxious animals (worms and caterpillars/slugs) and how are they created?
33. Has put the devil a bow/ribbon on/to your curses/oaths?

According to an article on examiner.com, the accused were also put on a scale to see if they weighed an appropriate amount, whence the title of the plaque.



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