The Judges’ Guide to Detention and Torture of Witches

~From the Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches) of 1487~

This is an excerpt from the text Malleus Maleficarum, which is considered to be the “handbook” for the persecution of witches used by male perpetrators of the misogynistic and bloodthirsty attempted extirpation that took place during the 16th and 17th centuries. Continue reading

Advertisements

Gallery of Bones

Scold’s Bridle

scoldsbridlegirls

The Scold’s Bridle, also known as “branks,” was a piece of equipment used to punish and oppress women in the fifteen and sixteen hundreds. The bridle was made of an iron frame that encased the head of the victim. At the front of this contraption, a bridle “bit” piece extended into the mouth, holding down the tongue with a spiked plate, rendering the victim mute. In effect, a scold’s bridle was a muzzle used on human females.

Chambers_1908_Branks

What type of crimes deserved such a punishment? Women were bridled for being “gossips,” “scolds,” “riotous,” “troublesome,” and even on suspicion of witchcraft.

800px-Scoldengravingalpha
1885 lithograph. Illustrates the use of a scold’s bridle in New England.
18th century scolds bridle
18th Century Scold’s Bridle from the Markisches Museum, Berlin