The witches of popular culture come in all different varieties. There are the truly scary witches, like the queen in Snow White and the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, the harmless witches, like Samantha from Bewitched and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and the mischievous witches, like Endora from Bewitched. To get in the spooky spirit just in time for Halloween, tell me which famous witch has you under a spell!
It's hard to believe that in this day and age, countless women around the world are being accused of something that sounds pretty medieval. According to the UN, women accused of being witches are persecuted and sometimes murdered around the world. Even children thought to be witches are being targeted, too. The UN estimates that this violence is impacting the lives of millions of people.
So where is this unbelievable violence taking place? It's happening in places from South Africa, to India, Nepal, and Papua New Guinea. In Nigeria, homeless children are driven out of towns because they are suspected of witchcraft. While different cultures hold diverse beliefs about witchcraft, UN experts believe that those suspected of having "supernatural" powers are typically targeted when a society faces rapid cultural or social change. In these cases, the vulnerable get the blame for the community's misfortunes.
Violence associated with witchcraft caught the attention of the UN because it's causing an international refugee problem. In addition to being victims of violence, the accused are often forcibly displaced or trafficked. Let's hope now that the widespread witch-hunting has gained international attention, something will be done to help these people.
A group in London plans to petition the British government for a posthumous pardon for the hundreds of people executed for witchcraft between the 16th and 18th centuries.
The head of Angels, a large costume shop in London, is leading the effort and said she believes it's time to put the associations about witches and Halloween to rest. The group has created a website to collect signatures for their petition and had about 200 signatures this morning.
Around 400 suspected witches were executed in England and some 4,000 in Scotland, according to the group that worked with a historian to research cases they hope will motivate the government to act.
The cases include a woman who offered cures in Essex, England in the 1500s, but was accused of having "uneven results," and a woman who was jailed for begging for food and then accused of having shaky hands that suggested she was "tormenting someone."
A Scottish group took a separate petition to the Scottish parliament last month.
It played up the gothic, witchy mood for Fall 08 perfectly and now it's all up for grabs--today, Luella has our heart pounding. Luella always offers feminine, smart separates, no matter how dramatic her runway show appears to be. We love that her vision is a unified and high fashion one, but that the individual pieces are quite wearable and long-lasting. Check out the entire Fall 09 Luella collection, right here.
What do haunted houses, tombstones, spider webs and ghosts all have in common? They are a few staples that make Halloween come to life and they're traditional! Show your tot that old is better when it comes to the festive October holiday by crafting costumes with recycled household products.
First up — a witch! Broom Hilda and the Wicked Witch of the West can be whipped up in no time with some careful consideration of mom's wardrobe, craft products and a cereal box!
To see how to craft your creation, read more
Burned at the stake isn't just an ancient expression. Nineteen people have just been arrested in Kenya in connection with the burning of 11 people accused of being witches — this week.
A police spokesman said those arrested may not have been involved in the killings but possibly incited the attacks. The victims accused of witchcraft — eight women and three men, were aged between 80 and 96 — and were burned to death in the western Kisii district.
The district has a history of similar attacks in the past. People suspected of engaging in witchcraft have been killed or ostracized before. This time, the gang had a list of the victims and sought them out individually. The attackers dragged those accused from their homes and burned them individually before setting their homes on fire. The victim's families are now in hiding, afraid for their lives.
The gang apparently found a notebook at a local primary school that looked to contained the minutes of a "witches" meeting" with details of who was going to be bewitched next, using this as motivation to fuel the attacks.