A curse is defined as “the invocation of supernatural power to inflict harm upon someone or something.” To be able to put a curse on someone or something was considered a basic skill for a witch. However the use of magic, or the suspected use of magic, also meant that thousands of people were brought to the authorities. Many were blamed in the English witch craft trials for someone else’s misfortune. The victims and the authorities would claim that the person must be a witch because they had put a curse on the person to cause their misfortune. This link is usually made when a suspected witch makes a threat to the victim who then suffers misfortune.
A curse didn’t have to be voiced, sometimes all a witch had to do to put a curse on someone or something by “ill-wishing” them and making a gesture such as spitting, pointing a finger or delivering a stare. Many people feared the power of a witchcraft curse and what it could do to them. Those who feared that a curse would be placed upon them would try and make up for any wrongdoing to the person by, for example, doing favors for them or giving them gifts.
Evidence shows that it would have been likely for witches, or suspected witches, to use this fear to their advantage. However this also meant that they could get in danger if the victim reported them to the authorities. Those who have claimed to be a victim of a witch’s curse have reported many different misfortunes. Many report that witches curses were the cause of many agonizing deaths through accident and illness. Others claim to have suffered less serious misfortune’s, for example, the vomiting of large amounts of strange objects such as stones, pieces of coal, pins, straw and buttons.
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