The Malleus Palinficarum

Courtesy of Katie Allison Granju, we learn that Sarah Palin was blessed by a man whose works include terrorizing a woman with a pet snake into leaving her home.  The comments over at Gawker are pretty hilarious.

In keeping with the theme for the evening, I would point out that, in the actual Malleus Maleficarum, you can read a long discussion on whether witches can actually make a man’s penis disappear or if they can only make it seem as if a man’s penis has disappeared.  Actual quote:

Peter’s member has been taken off, and he does not know whether it is by witchcraft or in some other way by the devil’s power, with the permission of God. Are there any ways of determining or distinguishing between these?

And you thought your day was difficult.


2 thoughts on “The Malleus Palinficarum

  1. Oh I do so hope a clever woman masquerading as a man is the source of this manipulation! I can just hear the mind at work: oh, they may discover that I am a woman. I know! These gullible joes will believe witches can do anything. I’ll tell them a story they can’t fail to swallow.

  2. Or what about poor Elena/Eleno de Céspedes, who was born a woman and lived happily as a woman until she gave birth, at which point, a penis emerged and she decided “Well, what the hell? I’m a man now. I guess I’ll be a doctor.” and so he became a doctor and got married and lived happily as a man until the Inquisition got a hold of him and his penis fell off and he was sent back to life as a woman?

    I bet she/he/then she again wished she/he/she had witchcraft to blame.

    There are two interesting facts to Eleno/Elena’s story, I think. One is that she seemed to take her gender switching as a matter of course, which I find thought-provoking in terms of how I understand gender. And second, her wife was spared the wrath of the Inquisition because, as a virgin when she married, she had no idea what an actual penis was like and therefore could not testify accurately as to whether Eleno had used some unnatural device with her (which would have made them both sodomites, in the old sense of the word).

    Elena/Eleno is my second favorite victim of the Inquisition, the first being the woman whose name escapes me at the moment who managed to throw her trial into turmoil because when asked if she was a witch, she immediately said “Of course.” Since the whole thing was predicated on there being some great show of proving a case against someone and getting a confession, they seemed not to know what exactly to do with her and she escaped with her life.

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