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Every Witch Way But Right
Oops! The Church was wrong!

"During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after doing its duty in but a lazy and indolent way for 800 years, gathered up its halters, thumbscrews, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry."

--Mark Twain

via MachinesLikeUs

A terrific Mark Twain site is here. It was created by Rob Curley, a guy I heard speak at the last features editors convention. I like him -- he pretty much said the answer at papers was to kill all the executives. If they did -- or at least fired them -- papers would be more readable and my column would be in more of them.

Posted by aalkon at January 13, 2008 8:46 AM


I have always loved Mark Twain's wit!

The bible referred to here is the King Jame's version and I believe that the intent was to protect (Christian) doctors from (pagan) midwives' taking away their business.

I also read once that in order to wage war on England, one of the Kings of France raised money by seizing assets of 'witches' which were just clans who didn't agree with his war on England. (I'm sorry I don't have the full story as my brain is still waking up.)

Politics and Zealotry are a dangerous combination!

Posted by: alia at January 13, 2008 3:30 AM

It's usually the money, not the principle.

According to Marvin Harris, the reason pork is prohibited for Jews and Muslims is that it was a very land-intensive animal for the Middle East.

Harris' book: Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at January 13, 2008 8:11 AM

It would seem that Mark Twain was wrong, in addition to any church that you will ever mention. The late Dr. Margaret Murray traced Witchcraft's origins to Paleolithic times: 25,000 years ago. According to "Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft"(

Modern religions became dominant by silencing all of their dissenters. The slaughter has been mind boggling. But, just like anything else that comes to power through violence it will fail. This is why your idea about executives is not a good one. This is why communism failed. The constitution almost led to failure because it allowed for the violence that was slavery.

Posted by: William at January 13, 2008 11:03 AM

Is this the same idiot william from the suscide page?

If not you are still an idiot, if you are your 3 times the idiot I thiught you to be

Twain was refrencing the devil worshiping whichcraft hysteria not nature worship

FYI if you are a christian strike the 3 times idiot thing make it more like 20, go learn somthing about the faith you claim to believe, moron

Posted by: lujlp at January 13, 2008 7:44 PM

"devil worshiping wichcraft hysteria" is propaganda. You are not full of rational arguments, you are full of propaganda.

Posted by: William at January 14, 2008 8:37 AM

Uh, William, google "Salem Witch Trials."

Thanks for the comic relief. Or something.

Posted by: Amy Alkon Author Profile Page at January 14, 2008 8:40 AM

While you at it william google the Spanish Inquisition.

Normally I would assume the person would be smat enough, but in your case I'll me an exception.

While googleing the Spanish Inquisition ignore any links that mention Monty Python

Posted by: lujlp at January 14, 2008 9:50 AM

One more thing brainiac, exactly which institution and what policy am I endorsing with my 'propoganda'?

And how exactly is your enodrsing the wholesale slaughter of accused witches throught the centuries by any strech of the imagination "rational"

Posted by: lujlp at January 14, 2008 9:55 AM

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