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stories and histories THE WITCHES ARE FLYING

The Witches are Flying
The Witches are Flying

It's a long-held tradition that witches fly around on brooms, dashing around and causing mayhem. But where did this idea originate?

It has its roots in domesticity. For centuries, brooms were associated with wives and maids, and so of course, when women began being accused of practicing witchcraft, people looked to what tools they kept and used often.

The earliest depictions of witches flying came in the mid-15th century, in religious manuscripts in France.

However, the first person to ever admit to using a broom to fly around on was a man, Guillaume Edelin. Edelin was a Frenchman who was tried for witchcraft in 1453 for criticising the churches' handling of witches. He had his confession tortured out of him and then he was sent to jail for the rest of his life.

There have also been theories that the idea of witches' brooms is linked into the ancient pagan rituals of "broom dancing", where pre-Christian peoples would dance with wooden poles, brooms and such, to encourage the gods to bless them with a fruitful harvest.

The hysteria surrounding the idea of witchery and the dark arts only increased over the years, and the myths and legends surrounding these women grew, including this one concerning flying brushes.

Although the tradition of witchcraft continues today in different forms, it's rare to see any witches on brooms in the skies. Although you might just see a few of them on an airplane.

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