Old book with keys

The Hammer of Witches: Malleus Maleficarum

The Inquisitors of the Catholic Church wrote a step by step manual to punish and murder witches

The Malleus Maleficarum or the Hammer of Witches was created in 1486 by H. Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, both members of the Dominican Order and Inquisitors of the Catholic Church. It was the inquisitorial instrument against witchcraft and heresies, enacted December 5th, 1486 by Pope Innocent VIII.

It was through this historic papal document that the church recognized the existence of witches and witchcraft, and granted permission for the practitioners of witchcraft to be persecuted and eliminated.

And so, opened to the bloody witch hunting that lasted centuries and was responsible for a genocide of women and men in all latitudes of the European continent, and even came to affect the early history of North America.

The Malleus Maleficarum sets the three key elements to the implementation of witchcraft: The existence of an evil witch, the aid of the devil in pursuit of the intentions of the witch and the permission of God so that such acts could occur. It is therefore a treaty on witchcraft (identifying the phenomenon, as well as discoursing on ways to suppress it) which is divided into three sections.

First section

The first section refutes the denial of the existence of witchcraft, arguing that it is a fact that although invisible but tangible and able to have clear effects on the lives of people. In this section, the existence of the devil and the whole demonic truth is expounded, saying that the demon has the power to make grand wonders, as well as stating that the witches are there to help the demons to achieve their actions.

Witch doing magic with leaves
The first section refutes the denial of the existence of witchcraft | Getty Images

Curiously, it is stated that the witches can only hold their black magic deeds, if aided by the Devil and with the permission of God. In this chapter, it is also clear that the most fertile power of the devil is sexuality.

So it is said that a woman is more likely to be a witch, because the devil tends to prefer to corrupt beautiful women who like the lasciviousness of sexual pleasure. The sexual addiction of beautiful women is thus the preferred door of the devil to enter this world and recruit his servants, namely: the witches.

Thus, women free and lascivious had sex with the devil, paying with their bodies their way into the kingdom of hell and making themselves witches, getting his supernatural power through lust. Citing the Malleus Maleficarum, so is written in this section: "the whole witchcraft is born of carnal lust, which in women [lascivious and addicted to the pleasure of the flesh] is insatiable."

Second section

The second section describes the way in which witchcraft exists, as well as remedies to fight it. The authors look on the practice of witchcraft through the analysis of specific cases.

This section gives special analyses to the supernatural powers of witches, as well as the existing techniques for recruiting new witches. Under this section, it is not the devil that recruits directly his servants on this world, but in stead are the witches who play this task for the Devil, or in the service of the devil.

Cating a spell
This section gives special analyses to the supernatural powers of witches | Getty Images

The techniques of recruitment summed itself in two strategies: The first one was doing things to run so poorly in the life of a woman, that she’s taken to consult a witch. By doing so, she falls in the hellish web of a witch, that it will seduce her victim either with the delights of lust, or with the fascination of the great powers of darkness, until the victim ends up freely accepting a demoniacal pact and also becomes a witch or a devil's servant.

The second one was introducing young and beautiful man or women (servants of the Devil or beautiful demons in human form) in the life of a woman in order to gradually make the victim to fall on carnal temptation, and subsequently to enter the path of darkness. 

Third Section

The third section is intended to assist the inquisitorial judges in their task of identifying witches and suppress the phenomenon of witchcraft. This section is the legal part of the treaty, namely:

Describes how to identify and acknowledge a witch. The accusatory arguments are clearly exposed as a practical consulting guide to the judges of the Holy Inquisition, giving them a step by step instructor's manual as far as the undertaking of a witch’s trial: from the time of collection of evidence for purposes of the formal complaint on witchcraft, to the methods of interrogation of the witnesses and witch, until the wording of the indictment and subsequent trial.