Connect with us

History

In Medieval Times, Weighing Scales Are Used to Weigh Suspected Witches

Will you pass the Heksenwaag witch weigh-in?

Back in the Medieval Ages, goods for trade and sale that entered different markets across Europe were weighed in weigh houses to determine the tax levied upon them. Traders weren’t the only ones required to have their products weighed, however.

In the Netherlands, weigh houses also had another purpose.

To weigh witches.

Source: JW.Org

Back in the olden days when so-called witches were persecuted and burned at stake, the Netherlands held trials where supposed practitioners of witchcraft got dragged into weigh houses to determine how heavy they were.

Such as in this depiction of the famous witch trial in Oudewater.

Authorities reasoned that witches needed to be lightweight enough to fly on brooms. And many a witch trail was rigged according to the discrimination of the times, sending thousands of innocent people to death.

Usually by burning them at the stake.

These witch weighing scales, called Heksenwaag, were prevalent in the Netherlands during this period.

One town in particular, Oudewater, didn’t put too much stock in sorcery and witchcraft. They believed instead in a fair weighing process, which save the life of many a suspected witch.

In fact, it is said Charles V granted Oudewater the privilege of weighing suspected witchcraft practitioners, and to issue certificates to those found to be of normal weight.

Once in 1545, Charles V held doubts about a witch weighing in a Dutch village where a woman accused of witchcraft was found to be too light. He ordered a second weighing at Oudewater where the woman weighed in at 100 pounds.

Apparently too heavy to fly a broom, her fair weighing saved her life.

Thus, Oudewater received praises from Charles V for a fair and equitable weighing, and he granted the town the privilege of issuing certificates for normal weight.

Needless to say, no one at Oudewater was ever convicted of witchcraft.

This was during the time when witch-hating ran rampant, and a single weak rumor was enough to send a suspect to a rigged trial without any substantial witnesses or evidence. Death usually followed.

Not so in Oudewater.

Today, this picturesque town is a tourist attraction, and its Heksenwaag is a museum piece where visitors flock to each year.

Solid hardwood, like they used to make them in the olden days.

Tourists can weigh themselves on the ancient oak weighing scale.

And even get certificates declaring them too heavy to be witches.

Just like in Medieval times.

Related

History

The Lost World of St. Kilda, an Isolated Island Where People Survived by Eating Birds

4,000 years worth of “never retreat, never surrender.”

By

Somewhere off the west coast of Scotland is a tiny, remote island considered the most far-away portion of the British Isles. It is virtually uninhabitable; an island of jagged granite boulders, tall cliffs and a hostile climate. It’s called St. Kilda, and until the early 20th century, its hardy residents eked out a difficult existence, sustained mainly by eating birds.

The remote archipelago was inhabited for about 4,000 years. The only settlement, the Village Bay, was located on the largest island Hirta. The windswept island was unsuitable for farming but the islanders did grow a small amount of barley, oats, and potatoes. However, the strong winds and saltwater would usually damage the crops.

The wind blows so hard, that trees refused to grow on this island.

...

Continue Reading

History

Iceberg Not the Real Cause of Titanic Sinking, New Evidence Suggests

More than a century after the Titanic sank, we are still able to shed new light on the events of that fateful night.

The Titanic is the subject of so many documentaries, books, stories, and even movies. History buffs, nautical experts, and Titanic enthusiasts all agree that the Titanic tragedy was caused by its collision with an iceberg, alongside the extreme shortage of lifeboats that could have saved more people on board.

The sinking of the Titanic may be one of the most famous nautical tragedies, with so many depictions in literature, movies, and in pop culture.

Source: Wikimedia

This is common knowledge, given all the things we know about the Titanic, but prepare to set aside everything you thought you knew about the Titanic because new evidence suggests that it may not have been the iceberg that ultimately caused the Titanic to sink!...

Continue Reading

History

The Pointless Reason Behind Vanuatu’s Million Dollar Point

By

Vanuatu is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean that offers an extravagant scuba diving experience for tourists. One of the most popular diving spots is the Million Dollar Point located off the coast of Espirito Santo. Aside from different kinds of fish and coral formations, a vast number of military equipment can be found underwater. Though one may think that it is eerie to find jeeps, bulldozers, trucks, fork lifts, tractors, and boxes of clothing and food there, the reason behind the huge dump is mostly amusing than scary.

A diver posing on a WWII military equipment.

During World War II, the island of Espirito Santo became a primary military supply and support base for Americans. It also became the headquarters for major navy and army units in the Pacific. At the end of the war, the American government thought that shipping back all the military equipment from the island would be too costly. ...

Continue Reading