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Between the Devil and the HostImagining Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland$
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Michael Ostling

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587902

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587902.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

A Winding Road to the Stake

A Winding Road to the Stake

(p.61) 3 A Winding Road to the Stake
Between the Devil and the Host

Michael Ostling

Oxford University Press

The road from suspicion to execution was neither short nor straight. A woman could be suspected for years without ever being accused, and once accused, she might not be convicted. This chapter traces the path from suspicion of witchcraft, through accusation, to village trials, town trials, dunking (the water ordeal), torture, appellate justice, intercession, verdict, sentencing, to execution. The chapter also examines the phenomenon of denunciation (accusations made under torture), and shows that this usually did not lead to chain-reaction trials or witch-panics because courts often could not compel denounced witches to stand before them.

Keywords:   road to the stake, appellate justice, suspicion, accusation, dunking, village trials, torture, execution, denunciation

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