This is an interesting take on the Inquisition and the role of the Malleus Maleficarum at a blog titled “Diary of an Alien Life Form“. Whether or not you agree with it, the ideas presented make for some interesting conversation. It’s easy to forget that during the time of the Malleus Maleficarum and the Inquisition, so-called “learned people” were as convinced of their beliefs as modern day scientists are of theirs.
Between the 14th and 18th centuries, somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000 people on the European continent were tried and executed for witchcraft. Most of these people were burned alive in the public square of the nearest town, and most were also tortured before burning. Between 70% and 80% of all “witches” executed were women, but many men, children, and even animals were executed as well.
What is most strange about the witchcraft trials of medieval Europe is that, despite being studied in great detail by historians and scholars of many stripes and biases, no single persuasive explanation has emerged for why they took place.
What is also interesting is that medieval “witches” had much in common with today’s “abductees”, and the witch hunters also resemble some of today’s abduction “researchers” in surprisingly consistent ways.
Something fairly powerful has to be going on either inside the public imagination or out in the real world or both, in order to sustain nearly four centuries of torture, carnage, and religious persecution. The Church did not simply try and burn witches: It aggressively sought them out to try and burn them.
The infamous Malleus Maleficarum (compiled in 1486) is a detailed instructional Church manual on how to identify a witch and what to do when you find one. Professional witch hunters, employed by the Church, roamed the European countryside searching out witches and delivering them into the hands of Church inquisitors who usually ended up torturing and killing them to save their souls.
Although the Malleus isn’t a word-for-word precursor to Intruders or Missing Time, many elements are similar enough to warrant a closer look.