Year 1324 in Ireland, in one of the most bizarre cases in the history of witch craft, this barrier collapsed as sorcery and rising religious concepts of the devil became inextricably entwined. The victim, Ireland’s first major witch, was neither helpless nor an aging crone, and desire for her property and power was certainly a significant motivation behind her trial. For lady Alice Kyteler was the wealthiest woman in Kilkenny when she was accused of being a witch. Her accuser, Bishop Richard de Ledrede, a Franciscan trained in France, was at the time less powerful than Lady Alice.
Among the charges brought against Lady Alice were that she denied Church allegiances, parodied religious ceremony, sacrificed animals, using the words ‘fi, fi, fi, amen’, creating powders and ointments containing worms, herbs, parts of dead men and unborn baby, and engaged in intimacies with a man who appeared as a cat and a black dog.
Even though she certainly was involved in practice of some sort of ritual magick, Lady Alice fought the charges repeatedly before finally seeking refuge in England. Unfortunately she left her maid Petronilla behind, and Petronilla was tortured until she admitted that her mistress was a sorceress of extraordinary talents and a participant in lavish nocturnal orgies.
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