© Dot Connector Magazine

This article was first published in The Dot Connector Magazine, official publication of Sott.net.

When you think of Halloween, what is the first image that comes to mind?
I took a little informal poll among my friends, family and associates.
Guess what image came in first? Jack-o-lanterns! Bet you thought I was
going to say "witches". Well, I sure thought it would be witches, but
they only came in a close second!..

When I think of Halloween, i think of grade-school art projects where we
cut out silhouettes of witches to paste onto large yellow moons made of
construction paper. The witch was always on a broom with her black
dress flying in the wind, accompanied by a black cat sitting on the back
of the broom. I wondered even then how the cat managed to stay on and
why anybody would think that straddling a broomstick as a seat would be
even remotely comfortable.

But, there you have it: in a significant way, Halloween is
associated with witches, evil women who consort with the devil and do
evil things like caging lost children to fatten them up and eat them,
giving poisoned apples and setting up spinning wheels to poison
abandoned or hapless princesses who are only looking for true love.

The word 'witch' comes to us from the Old English wicca, which
was a masculine word meaning 'wizard'. The feminine version was wicce,
pronounced 'witch'. This came from Middle High German wicken , which meant to 'bewitch', and even older, from Old High German wīh
which meant 'holy'. The dictionary tells us that a witch is someone who
has malignant supernatural powers and practices spell casting with the
aid of a devil or familiar. It also refers to an ugly old woman, or a
beautiful young woman. The word 'witch' is an epithet for any woman who
isn't inclined to be a doormat, flung to the floor by any individual who
wants her to be subject to his or her will. Last of all, a witch is a
practitioner of Wicca.


Gerald Gardner.

is a British construct created by an amateur anthropologist named
Gerald Gardner who claimed to have had many interesting encounters and
experiences with the occult and paranormal throughout his life. At one
point, he claimed to have doctoral degrees from the Universities of
Singapore and Toulouse, which was a lie. He claimed that he was
initiated into a New Forest coven of witches which was the survival of a
pre-Christian pagan witch cult. This alleged ancient coven has been
shown by subsequent research to have been formed in the early 20th
century and its ideas were based mainly on folk magic and the theories
of Margaret Murray, so again, his honesty is rather suspect.

Gardner incorporated elements from Freemasonry, ceremonial magic, and
the imaginings of Aleister Crowley and others. Most of what one sees
when carefully examining these elements that combined to form modern
Wicca bears no relationship whatsoever to the ancient religions as they
can be discerned by deep study. Rather, these elements are likely more
influenced by taking the descriptions of the persecutors of witches
during the Inquisition as a guideline, instead of realizing that they
were the defamatory falsifications of psychopaths. It is more likely
that those accused of witchcraft during the witch persecutions were
following beliefs akin to those of the Cathars - dualism - or even
more ancient dualistic concepts. They also likely employed ancient
knowledge handed down from Paleolithic shamanic systems which had little
to nothing to do with 'ceremonial magic', spells or a 'liberal code of
morality'. Unfortunately, neither Gardner nor Crowley had access to
modern scientific archaeological studies from which one can actually
infer something about the abilities, beliefs and practices of our truly
remarkable ancestors.

My work is all about following the lines of Pagan/shamanistic ideas and
teachings back to the Ice Ages - the cave painters, the Northern
European origins - to find the most original, fundamental, common
foundation of all of them. The idea that there was a time when man was
directly in contact with the Ce­lestial Beings is at the root of many of
the myths of the Golden Age. Myths tell us of a time when the 'gods
withdrew' from man­kind. As a result of some 'happening', i.e., 'The
Fall', when the communications were broken off and the Celestial Beings
withdrew to the highest heavens.

But the myths also tell us that there were still certain people who were
able to 'ascend' and commune with the gods on behalf of their tribe or
family. Through them, contact was maintained with the 'guiding spirits'
of the group. The beliefs and practices of present day shamans are a
survival of a profoundly modified and even corrupted and degenerated
remnant of this archaic technology of concrete communications between
heaven and earth. This shamanism seems to have been born in Western
Europe with the arrival of Cro-Magnon man and the myths seem to have
been redacted repeatedly until we have numerous claims of occult secrets
of various sorts revived by this or that person, including Wicca. If
that is the case, then true 'witchcraft' is really shamanism, aka
Druidism, and even more, as we shall see. Mircea Eliade writes:

Recent researches have clearly brought out the 'shamanic' elements in
the religion of the Paleolithic hunters. Horst Kierchner has interpreted
the celebrated relief at Lascaux as a representation of a shamanic

... Finally, Karl J. Narr has reconsidered the problem of the 'origin'
and chronology of shamanism in his important study. He brings out the
influence of notions of fertility (Venus statuettes) on the religious
beliefs of the prehistoric North Asian hunters; but this influence did
not disrupt the Paleolithic tradition. ... It is in this
"Vorstellungswelt" that the roots of the bear ceremonialism of Asia and
North America lie. Soon afterward, probably about 25,000 BC, Europe
offers evidence for the earliest forms of shamanism (Lascaux) with the
plastic representations of the bird, the tutelary spirit, and ecstasy.

... What appears to be certain is the antiquity of 'shamanic' rituals
and symbols. It remains to be determined whether these documents brought
to light by prehistoric discoveries represent the first expressions of a
shamanism in statu nascendi or are merely the earliest documents today
available for an earlier religious complex, which, however, did not find
'plastic' manifestations (drawings, ritual objects, etc.) before the
period of Lascaux.


A female shaman from the Altai mountains.

It is indubitable that the celestial ascent of the shaman is a
survival, profoundly modified and sometimes degenerate, of this archaic
religious ideology centered on faith in a celestial Supreme Being and
belief in concrete communications between heaven and earth.

... The myths refer to more intimate relations between the Supreme
Beings and shamans; in particular, they tell of a First Shaman, sent to
earth by the Supreme Being or his surrogate to defend human beings
against diseases and evil spirits."

It was in the context of the 'withdrawal' of the 'Celestial Being' that
the meaning of the shaman's ecstatic experience changed. Formerly, the
activity was focused on communing with the god and obtaining benefits
for the tribe. The shift of the function of the shaman associated with
the withdrawal of the benevolent god/goddess was to 'battling with evil
spirits and disease'. This is a sharp reminder of the work of Jesus,
healing the sick and casting out demons - the shamanic exemplar 'after
the Fall'.

There was, it seems, another consequence of this 'shift'. Increasingly,
the descents into the 'underworld' and the relations with 'spirits' led
to their 'embodiment' or in the shaman's being 'possessed' by 'spirits'.
What is clear is that these were innovations, most of them recent. What
is particularly striking in the research of the historiographers of
myth, legend, shamanism, etc., is the discovery of the "influences from
the south, which appeared quite early and which altered both cosmology
and the mythology and techniques of ecstasy". Among these southern
influences were the contribution of Buddhism and Lamaism, added to the
Iranian and, in the last analysis, Mesopotamian influences that preceded

The initiatory schema of the shaman's ritual death and resurrection is
likewise an innovation, but one that goes back to much earlier times; in
any case, it cannot be ascribed to influences from the ancient Near
East. But the innovations introduced by the ancestor cult particularly
affected the structure of this initiatory schema. The very concept of
mystical death was altered by the many and various religious changes
effected by lunar mythologies, the cult of the dead, and the elaboration
of magical ideologies.

Hence we must conceive of Asiatic shamanism as an archaic technique of
ecstasy whose original underlying ideology - belief in a celestial
Supreme Being with whom it was possible to have direct relations by
ascending into the sky - was constantly being transformed by an
ongoing series of exotic contributions culminating in the invasion of

The phenomenology of the trance underwent many changes and corruptions,
due in large part to confusion as to the precise nature of ecstasy. Yet
all these innovations and corruptions did not succeed in eliminating the
possibility of the true shamanic ecstasy.

More than once we have discerned in the shamanic experience a 'nostalgia
for paradise' that suggests one of the oldest types of Christian
mystical experience. As for the 'inner light', which plays a part of the
first importance in Indian mysticism and metaphysics as well as in
Christian mystical theology, it is already documented in shamanism.

What seems to be most important about Central Asian shamanism in the
history of mysticism is the role the shaman plays in the defense of the
psychic integrity of the community. Shamans are pre-eminently the
anti-demonic champions; they combat not only demons and disease, but
also the black magicians. The shaman is the tireless slayer of demons
and dragons.

... It is clear that shamanism, as it is known, has declined from its
original unified and coherent system. One reason for thinking so is
that, while there are many local terms for a male shaman, there is only
one for a female shaman. Shamanism, it seems, was formerly a woman's
activity. In one Tartar dialect, utygan, the word for a woman-shaman,
also means 'bear'.

... The magico-religious value of intoxication for achieving ecstasy is
of Iranian origin. ... Concerning the original shamanic experience ...
narcotics are only a vulgar substitute for 'pure' trance.

The use of intoxicants is a recent innovation and points to a decadence
in shamanic technique. Narcotic intoxication is called on to provide an
imitation of a state that the shaman is no longer capable of attaining
otherwise. Decadence or vulgarization of a mystical technique - in
ancient and modern India, and indeed all through the East, we constantly
find this strange mixture of 'difficult ways' and 'easy ways' of
realizing mystical ecstasy or some other decisive experience." (Ibid.)

Now, let me make a point here. The religion of the Ice Age was so
satisfying to all the peoples of the Earth that it was stable for over
25,000 years, as is evidenced by the archaeological and historical data.
There were shamans, women, who engaged in ecstatic ascents which
brought benefits to the tribe and, later, defended the tribe against
negative influences. In short, it seems that Paganism, even Druidism,
was the original Christianity, and the original 'Christed Ones' were
women. Many researchers repeatedly point out that Christianity has pagan
roots. Well, yeah; more than anybody suspects. And if the lines of
research I have presented in my book, The Secret History of the World, are anything to go by, then the original 'witches' were Christs.

This, of course, leads us to wonder how can things get so turned around
that we actually end up believing the opposite of the truth in almost
every field of endeavor? We may turn away from mainstream religions that
we can see are false and contradictory, only to fall into the arms of
New Age religions that are not any better, being just another variation
on a control system designed to prevent us from accessing what is real.
It is going to be difficult for me to boil this down into the short
space I am given for this article, but I will do my best. Just keep in
mind that I am not going to be able to provide extensive quoted evidence
from primary sources, which is my general way of writing. If you wish
to know more, you can read my books which go into these matters in great
depth and detail.

The last day of October is a holiday that is said to be the ancient
Celtic celebration of the 'End of Summer', Samhain, Halloween, or All
Hallows Eve. As I mentioned at the beginning, many people think of
witches when you say the word 'Halloween'. One immediately wonders why
October 31st should be associated with witches and celebrated as the
'end of summer' when the Autumnal equinox, over a month earlier, is the
actual end of summer?

Therein lies the tale!

According to British historian Ronald Hutton, the festival of Samhain
celebrates the end of the 'lighter half' of the year and beginning of
the 'darker half' and is sometimes regarded as the Celtic New Year.
According to folklorist John Gregorson Campbell and archaeologist
Bettina Arnold, the ancient Celts believed that the curtain separating
this world from the Otherworld became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits
(both good and bad) to easily traverse the otherwise sturdy barrier.
They dealt with this by inviting the good spirits in - usually family
ancestors - and utilizing various techniques to ward off or scare away
any bad spirits. It is suggested that this is the origin of wearing
costumes disguising oneself as skeletons, ghosts, and goblins, the
principle being that if you looked horrible enough, you could even scare
away the devil himself!

Samhain was also the time when people in the old times took stock of
their food supplies, butchered cattle and pigs, and prepared grains and
other foodstuffs to put up for the winter.

Bonfires were an important part of the celebrations. Hearth fires were
put out, the bones of the slaughtered cattle were tossed into the
bonfire, and each home re-lit their hearth fire from the coals of the
bonfire. Sometimes two bonfires would be built so that people could pass
between them with their livestock for 'purification'. This practice may
be a survival of the times when the ancient tribes purified themselves
by burning alive: a) any members who were less than perfect so that the
tribe could be cleansed of sinful elements, or b) those members who were
actually perfect in some way and volunteered to be offered as a
sacrifice to appease the gods so the rest of the tribe could live in
peace for another year. This is, in fact, an interesting clue.

The name 'Halloween' is an old Scottish variant of 'All Hallows Eve', or
the night before All Hallows Day, or the Feast of All Saints. What is
interesting to observe here are the old customs regarding this day, and
especially the following two days, from around the world that were later
Christianized, but obviously represent something far more ancient.

In Portugal and Spain, offerings are made on All Saints Day. In Mexico,
All Saints coincides with the celebration of the Day of the Innocents,
part of the Day of the Dead honoring deceased children and infants. In
Portugal, children go door to door where they receive cakes, nuts and
pomegranates. The holiday focuses on family gatherings where prayers
for, and remembrance of, friends and family that are departed are the
focus. Traditions include building altars honoring the deceased,
feasting on sugar skulls (devouring death?), and the favorite foods and
beverages of the departed, decorating with marigolds and visiting graves
with these as gifts. Scholars trace the origins of the modern holiday
to indigenous observances dating back thousands of years and to an Aztec
festival dedicated to a goddess called Mictecacihuatl, the Queen of
Mictlan, or the underworld. It was believed that she was sacrificed as
an infant, and she is represented with a defleshed body, and her gaping
jaw swallows the stars during the day.


Mexican ‘day of the dead’ offerings, including sugar skulls.

In the Philippines, this day is called 'Undas', 'Todos los Santos' (literally 'All Saints'), and sometimes 'Araw ng mga Namayapa'
(approximately 'Day of the Deceased'). This day and the one before and
one after it are spent visiting the graves of deceased relatives, where
prayers and flowers are offered, candles are lit and the graves
themselves are cleaned, repaired and repainted. The practices are
similar in most European countries.

In Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many
Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain,
there are festivals and parades, and, at the end of the day, people
gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones. Similarly
themed celebrations appear in many Asian and African cultures.

These celebrations, which occur on November 1st and 2nd, and have
indigenous forms that the church assimilated, strike us as curious. It
seems that what is important is that they follow immediately on the heels of October 31st. One is compelled to ask why. What happened on October 31st that turned the following day into the Day of the Dead?

The symbols associated with Halloween formed over time and, just as the
medieval church assimilated the ancient death-themed images and
practices, many of the customs of contemporary times have assimilated
the medieval practices. In traditional Celtic Halloween festivals, large
turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces and placed in windows to
ward off evil spirits. The American tradition of carving pumpkins was
originally associated with harvest time in general, not becoming
specifically associated with Halloween until the mid-to-late 1800s.

While most Christians just think of Halloween as a secular holiday which
allows kids (and big kids!) to dress up in silly costumes, eat candy,
and generally make fun of everything that is normally scary in our
world, some other - mostly fundamentalist - Christians ascribe a
negative influence to the celebration because they feel it celebrates
paganism, the occult, or trivializes it so that their members are not
properly fearful of ghosts, demons and the devil. Jehovah's Witnesses do
not celebrate Halloween because they believe anything that originated
from a pagan holiday should not be celebrated by true Christians. This
is ironic considering what I have written above about original
Christianity. How did we get from there - true spirituality that
honored women, with women shamans that provided for the tribe - to
here, the modern-day Christian view of women as something barely human?

© cammeraydave / dreamstime

of those who follow Pagan ways consider the season to be a holy time of
year and, naturally, Wiccans feel that the whole holiday as it is
generally celebrated, is offensive because it associates witches with
the other list of 'evil spirits' that need to be warded off. They are
right about that, but most of what they consider 'Wicca' is as wrong as
Christianity is wrong.

This brings us back to the question this article hopes to answer: What
is the origin of Halloween, what does it really commemorate, and why are
witches associated with it?

The first point I would like to bring up is that I think, when we look
at Halloween, we are seeing something very ancient that is filtered
through many layers of interpretation. What is consistent throughout,
however, is the theme of easy traversal of the border between life and
death, leading mainly to death, which suggests that death on a massive
scale came on Halloween a very long time ago. Whatever it was, it was so
terrifying, so widespread, that cultures the world over have
commemorated it, and the days following it, in ways that appear to be
designed to ward it off, to prevent it from ever happening again. And
along the way, things happened that turned everything around so that
those individuals - real, holy, witches - who actually might be
capable of knowing such things, of ameliorating such terrors, became
identified with the cause of the death and destruction.

In the book, The Worship of the Dead, or the Origin and Nature of
Pagan Idolatry and Its Bearing Upon the Early History of Egypt and
, by John Garnier (1904, London: Chapman & Hall;
Chapter One, pages 3-11), the author writes that the modern-day
celebrations for the dead focused around All Hallows Eve, including the
following few days, originated to memorialize the people who died in the
Deluge brought by God on a wicked world. He bases this on Genesis 7:11.
He writes:

"There is hardly a nation or tribe in the world which does not possess a
tradition of the destruction of the human race by a flood; and the
details of these traditions are too exactly in accordance with each
other to permit the suggestion, which some have made, that they refer to
different local floods in each case.

The mythologies of all the ancient nations are interwoven with the
events of the Deluge and are explained by it, thereby proving that they
are all based on a common principle, and must have been derived from a
common source.

It is clear from these remarks that one or other of the two great events
in the history of the Deluge, namely, the commencement of the waters
and the beginning of their subsidence, were observed throughout the
ancient world, some nations observing one event and some the other.

It would also appear probable that the observance of this festival was
intimately connected with, and perhaps initiated, that worship of the
dead which, as we shall see, was the central principle of the ancient

The force of this argument is illustrated by the fact of the observance
of a great festival of the dead in commemoration of the event, not only
by nations more or less in communication with each other, but by others
widely separated, both by the ocean and by centuries of time.

This festival is, moreover, held by all on or about the very day on
which, according to the Mosaic account, the Deluge took place, viz. the
seventeenth day of the second month - the month nearly corresponding
with our November.

I don't know which of the many Jewish calendars he was using, but
Garnier's point was that holidays that bring honor to dead spirits are
un-Christian because they have pagan roots (never mind all the honoring
of dead saints and praying to them  - they were Christian before
they died, or so it is claimed) and because they are founded on
honoring the deaths of the wicked people who were justifiably destroyed
by God in Noah's Flood. This 'Christian' spin on all things Pagan is
why, apparently, Halloween has such an emphasis on demonic images,
ghosts, monsters, and gruesome things in general, because, as Garnier
points out, the flood meant the death of the hybrid children of demons,
the Nephilim (see Gen. 6:1-4, 13 and the Book of Enoch).

So, it seems to be just a conjecture made by a religious antiquarian of
olden times; nothing to see here. But, maybe not? Maybe Garnier was onto
something and didn't really know what it was?

Regarding the alleged Flood of Noah, we can say that at more than one
point in our known history civilizations and/or cultures have collapsed
and/or disappeared or been destroyed by no-one-knows-what. The Akkadian
Empire in Mesopotamia, the Old Kingdom in Egypt, the Early Bronze Age
civilization in Palestine, Anatolia and Greece, as well as the Indus
Valley civilization in India, the Hilmand civilization in Afghanistan
and the Hongshan in China, all fell into ruin at more or less the same
time. Not long afterward, in archaeological time (though the chronology
is a mess), destruction came to the Myceneans of Greece, the Hittites of
Anatolia, the Egyptian New Kingdom, Late Bronze Age Palestine, and the
Shang Dynasty of China.

Researchers in the fields of archaeology and history are baffled by the
lack of any direct archaeological or written explanations for the causes
(as opposed to the effects), though there is a rich body of myth and
folklore that very well might provide the answers if analyzed correctly.
Since the 'experts' in those fields have consigned myth to
superstition, while simultaneously believing that the historicized myths
incorporated into the Bible are history, they aren't getting very far
with their problem and usually ascribe the collapse of civilizations to
invasion and warfare on a gargantuan scale.


The palace at Knossos – the Minoan Empire mysteriously disappeared.

decades ago, certain natural scientists became intrigued by the problem
and, concentrating on the Bronze Age collapses listed above, they
realized that the range of evidence suggested natural causes rather than
human actions (invasion, warfare). So, they all started talking about
climate change, volcanic activity, and earthquakes. At present, these
types of explanations are actually included in some of the standard
historical accounts of the Bronze Age period, though many problems still
remain: no single explanation appeared to account for all the evidence.

Immanuel Velikovsky upset everyone by suggesting that the Exodus - but only
the Exodus - was caused by a bombardment of rocks, dust, carbons, and
so on, as a result of Venus running amok in the Solar System. He
collected an amazing assortment of myths and legends from around the
world that strongly suggested that some sort of global cataclysm was
being described, but when, where and how exactly it happened was rather
iffy. There were others who wrote and talked about these matters before
Velikovsky, including Ignatious Donnelly, who deserves an honorable
mention for ascribing the myths to the Great Flood of Noah which he
claimed was actually the destruction of Atlantis as described by Plato.
Whether or not there was an advanced civilization known as Atlantis is
not our concern here, but whether or not there was a flood, and when it
may have occurred, is.

In the late 1970s, British astronomers Victor Clube and Bill Napier of
Oxford University began investigating cometary impact as the ultimate
cause. In 1980, Nobel Prize winning physicist Luis Alvarez and his
colleagues published a paper in Science which argued that a
cosmic impact is what led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Alvarez's
paper had immense influence, though that influence acted in different
ways on the two sides of the Atlantic. In the US, there is the 'wishful
thinking' school which posits that only asteroid impacts are significant
and they are so rare that we don't have to worry. In Britain, further
research by astronomers Clube and Napier, Prof. Mark Bailey of the
Armagh Observatory, Duncan Steel of Spaceguard Australia, and Britain's
best known astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle, all led to their support of the
theory of cometary impact loosely termed the 'British School of Coherent

According to Clube and Napier, et al., in the same way that
Jupiter was struck repeatedly in 1994 by the million-megaton impacts of
the comet Shoemaker-Levy, so Earth was bombarded 13,000 years ago by the
fragments of a giant comet that broke up in the sky before the
terrified eyes of humanity. The multiple impacts on the rotating planet
caused tidal waves, raging fires, atomic bomb-like blasts, the mass
extinction of many prehistoric species such as the mammoth and
sabre-toothed tiger, most of humanity, and left the world in darkness
for months. (See: The Cosmic Serpent and The Cosmic Winter
by Clube and Napier. See also: "The Origin of the Universe and the
Origin of Religion", Anshen Transdisciplinary Lectureships in Art,
Science, and the Philosophy of Culture by Fred Hoyle.)

Some American scientists are joining the Coherent Catastrophism group.
Physicist Richard Firestone and geologists Allen West and Simon
Warwick-Smith write in their book, The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes (Bear & Co., 2006):

In 1990, Victor Clube, an astrophysicist, and Bill Napier, an
astronomer, published The Cosmic Winter, a book in which they describe
performing orbital analyses of several of the meteor showers that hit
Earth every year. Using sophisticated computer software, they carefully
looked backward for thousands of years, tracing the orbits of comets,
asteroids, and meteor showers until they uncovered something astounding.
Many meteor showers are related to one another, such as the Taurids,
Perseids, Piscids, and Orionids. In addition, some very large cosmic
objects are related: the comets Encke and Rudnicki, the asteroids
Oljato, Hephaistos, and about 100 others. Every one of those 100-plus cosmic bodies is at least a half-mile in diameter and some are miles wide. And what do they have in common? According to those scientists, every one is the offspring of the same massive comet that first entered our system less than 20,000 years ago! Clube and Napier calculated that, to account for all the debris they found strewn throughout our solar system, the original comet had to have been enormous.

Clube and Napier also calculated that, because of subtle changes in the
orbits of Earth and the remaining cosmic debris, Earth crosses through
the densest part of the giant comet clouds about every 2,000 to 4,000
years. When we look at climate and ice-core records, we can see that
pattern. For example, the iridium, helium-3, nitrate, ammonium, and
other key measurements seem to rise and fall in tandem, producing
noticeable peaks around 18,000, 16,000, 13,000, 9,000, 5,000, and 2,000
years ago. In that pattern of peaks every 2,000 to 4,000 years, we may be seeing the 'calling cards' of the returning mega-comet.

Fortunately, the oldest peaks were the heaviest bombardments, and things
have been getting quieter since then, as the remains of the comet break
up into even smaller pieces. The danger is not past, however. Some of
the remaining miles-wide pieces are big enough to do serious damage to
our cities, climate, and global economy. Clube and Napier (1984)
predicted that , in the year 2000 and continuing for 400 years,
Earth would enter another dangerous time in which the planet's changing
orbit would bring us into a potential collision course with the densest
parts of the clouds containing some very large debris
. Twenty
years after their prediction, we have just now moved into the danger
zone. It is a widely accepted fact that some of those large objects are
in Earth-crossing orbits at this very moment, and the only uncertainty
is whether they will miss us, as is most likely, or whether they will
crash into some part of our planet.

And so we see that this new type of 'natural disaster' is beginning to
be regarded by many scholars as the most probable single explanation for
widespread and simultaneous cultural collapses at various times in our
history. These ideas have been advanced largely by astronomers and
geologists, dendrochronologists, etc., and remain almost completely
unknown among archaeologists and historians, which significantly hampers
their efforts to explain what they may be seeing in the historical

The new theory posits trains of cometary debris which repeatedly
encounter the Earth. We know most of these trains as meteor showers -
tiny particles of cosmic material whose impact is insignificant.
Occasionally, however, in these trains of debris, there are chunks
measuring between one and several hundred meters in diameter. When these
either strike the Earth or explode in the atmosphere, there can be
catastrophic effects on our ecological system. Multi-megaton explosions
of fireballs can destroy natural and cultural features on the surface of
the Earth by means of tidal-wave floods (if the debris lands in the
sea), fire blasts and seismic damage leaving no crater as a trace, just
scorched and blasted earth. In the case of a significant bombardment, an
entire small country could be wiped out, completely vaporized.


Trees were knocked down and burned over hundreds of square km by the Tunguska meteoroid impact.

recent example, known as the Tunguska Event, occurred in 1908 over
Siberia, when a bolide exploded about 5 km above ground and completely
devastated an area of some 2,000 km² through fireball blasts. This
cosmic body, thought to have measured only 60 m across, had the impact
energy of about 20 to 40 megatons, and was equivalent to the explosion
of about 2,000 Hiroshima-size nuclear bombs, even though there was no
actual physical impact on the Earth. In other words, if there were
ancient, advanced civilizations, if they were destroyed by multiple
Tunguska-like events, it is no wonder there is no trace, or very little,
which is usually ascribed to 'anomaly'.

For years, the astronomical mainstream was highly critical of Clube and
Napier and their giant comet hypothesis. However, the impacts of comet
Shoemaker-Levy 9 on Jupiter in 1994 led to a rather rapid turnaround in
attitude. The comet, watched by the world's observatories, was seen to
split into 20 pieces and slam into different parts of the planet over a
period of several days. A similar event vis-à-vis our planet would have
been devastating, to understate the matter. In recent times, the
increasing numbers of fireballs and comets, the fact that Jupiter has
been impacted yet again and again just this year, suggests to us that
Victor Clube and Bill Napier are correct: we are in a very dangerous

In Rain of Iron and Ice by John Lewis, Professor of Planetary
Sciences at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Co-Director of the
NASA/University of Arizona Space Engineering Research Center, and
Commissioner of the Arizona State Space Commission, we learn that the
earth is regularly hit by extraterrestrial objects and many of the
impacting bodies explode in the atmosphere as happened in Tunguska,
leaving no craters or long-lasting visible evidence of a body from

These impacts or atmospheric explosions may produce earthquakes or
tsunamis without any witnesses being aware of the cause. After all, the
earth is 75% water, and any eye-witness to such an event would very
likely be fried and never tell about it, so we really have no way of
knowing if all the earthquakes on our planet are tectonic in nature or

In short, what the work of Lewis brings to the table is the idea that
some well-known historical earthquakes could very well have been impact
events. The dates that these researchers have given to events that can
be discerned in the scientific records are 12,800, 8,200, 5,200, and
4,200 BP ('years Before the Present'). These can be adjusted as more
precise dating methods are developed or applied.

The 12,800 B.P. event is the one of most interest because that is the
one which, apparently, nearly destroyed all life on earth. At the very
least, it destroyed the mega-fauna on all continents. Plato wrote about
the catastrophic destruction of Atlantis which occurred in a day and a
night about 11,600 years ago, which is pretty darn close. This event is
the topic Firestone, West and Warwick-Smith cover exhaustively in their
book The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes. They include a great
many Native American myths that describe the event side by side with
their own scientific work on the evidence.

As already mentioned, Clube and Napier identified the progenitor of the
Taurid complex as a giant comet that was thrown into a short-period
(about 3.3 year) orbit sometime in the last twenty to thirty thousand
years. The Taurid complex currently includes the Taurid meteor stream,
comet Encke, 'asteroids' such as 2101 Adonis and 2201 Oljato, and
enormous amounts of space dust. Asteroids in the Taurid complex appear
to have associated meteor showers, which means that many asteroids are
likely to be extinct comets. In other words, there can be more than just
some dust and snow in a comet - there can be a significant rocky core
and lots of poisonous gasses and chemicals as well.


The Taurids…

come now to the bit of evidence that may link between this comet
business and Halloween. As it happens, the end of June and the end of
October/beginning of November are the times when the Earth passes
through the Taurid stream. That means that the event that marked the
boundary between the Pleistocene and Holocene (present epoch) must have
occurred at the end of October. It was a day when the boundaries between
the living and the dead became very thin, because nearly every living
thing on this planet perished and the memory of this event has come down
to us in the 'End of Summer' commemoration we call Halloween, known in
the Bible as the Flood of Noah.

Where do the witches come in? Well, hang on, we are getting there. Clube and Napier write:

...Meteor streams are fossil evidence of past intersections with comet orbits... the major streams are of great antiquity...

The progenitor of comet Encke and the Taurids, supposing it to have been
about 20 km in diameter, would, at its closest approaches to the Earth,
have attained a magnitude -12, approaching that of the Moon and
sufficient to throw shadows at night. It would have appeared as an
intense yellow spot of light surrounded by a circular coma probably
larger than the full Moon, with a tail stretching across a large part of
the sky ... graduating from bluish white near the nucleus to a deep red
in colour... If the disintegration history revealed by the current
debris took place within the sight of men, then there would have been
occasions when subsidiary comets, perhaps even an array, would have been
observed. ... There would (be) greatly enhanced seasonal fireball
activity, rising to enormous levels at periodic intervals corresponding
to a strong commensurability between the orbital periods of Earth and
Encke; and the risk of Tunguska-like impacts would have been greatest.
In a periodic orbit, the close approaches would obviously have been
predictable. Indeed, if, at these close approaches, the Earth ran into
debris of the sort we have discussed, prediction would have been a
matter of urgency...

The author of Genesis (15:17) wrote: 'When the sun went down, and it was
dark, behold a smoking furnace and a burning lamp...' The description
appears to be that of a comet; but its representation is that of a
vision of God to Abraham. Or again, in 1 Chronicles (21:16): 'And David
lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord standing between the
earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out
over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in
sackcloth, fell upon their faces.' Once more the object is seen as a
divine being, and 'angel of the Lord', and a religious interpretation is
placed on a natural phenomenon. (Clube & Napier, 1982.)

Clube, Napier, Hoyle and others make a good case for the origins of
Judaism in celestial phenomena, later twisted and distorted by priests
into the superstition it is today. Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas
wrote a fascinating book, Uriel's Machine, about the megalithic
cultures wherein they propose that stone circles were constructed as
astronomical observatories that were not for the purpose of knowing when
to plant the corn, but rather to keep a watchful eye on errant comets.
They make a very good case.

The beginnings of Christianity may have been the result of similar cosmic encounters. Burton Mack writes:

"The story Josephus tells of the sixties is one of famine, social
unrest, institutional deterioration, bitter internal conflicts, class
warfare, banditry, insurrections, intrigues, betrayals, bloodshed, and
the scattering of Judeans throughout Palestine. ... There were wars,
rumors of wars for the better part of ten years, and Josephus reports
portents, including a brilliant daylight in the middle of the night!"
(Burton Mack, A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins, 1988,

Josephus gives several portents of the evil to befall Jerusalem and the
temple. He described a star resembling a sword, a comet that "continued a
whole year...", a light shining in the temple, a cow giving birth to a
lamb at the moment it was to be sacrificed in the Jerusalem Temple,
armies fighting in the sky, and a voice from the Holy of Holies
declaring, "We are departing" (Josephus, Jewish Wars, 6). (Obviously, the voice was apocryphal.)

Some of these portents are mentioned by other contemporary historians,
Tacitus for example. However, Tacitus, in book five of his Histories,
castigated the superstitious Jews for not recognizing and offering
expiations for the portents to avert the disasters. He put the
destruction of Jerusalem down to the stupidity or willful ignorance of
the Jews themselves in not offering the appropriate sacrifices.

In short, it very well may be that the eschatological writings in the
New Testament, the very formation of the Myth of Jesus, were based on
cometary events of the time, including a memory of the 'Star in the
East'. The destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem may very well have
been an 'act of God', as reported by Mark in his Gospel, though not
quite as true believers think it was.

© Jean-Christophe Benoist

Head of Constantine’s colossal statue.

This brings us, of course, to the transition: the imposition of Christianity on Europe by Constantine. Paul K. Davis writes:

"Constantine's victory gave him total control of the Western Roman
Empire, paving the way for Christianity as the dominant religion for the
Roman Empire and ultimately for Europe."

It is commonly stated that on the evening of 27 October, with the armies
preparing for battle, Constantine had a vision which led him to fight
under the protection of the Christian god. The details of that vision,
however, differ depending on the source reporting it.

Lactantius, an early Christian writer of the time in question, states
that, in the night before the battle, Constantine was commanded in a
dream to "delineate the heavenly sign on the shields of his soldiers"
(On the Deaths of the Persecutors, 44.5). He followed the commands of
his dream and marked the shields with a sign 'denoting Christ'.
Lactantius describes that sign as a 'staurogram', or a Latin cross with
its upper end rounded like a P. There is no certain evidence that
Constantine ever used that sign, opposed to the better known Chi-Rho
sign described by Eusebius, but it is certainly suggestive since it
would look a bit like a mushroom cloud.

New Scientist, (vol. 178, issue 2400, 21 June 2003, page 13)
reported the discovery of a meteorite impact crater dating from the
fourth or fifth century A.D. in the Apennines. The crater is now a
'seasonal lake', roughly circular, with a diameter of between 115 and
140 meters, which has a pronounced raised rim and no inlet or outlet and
is fed solely by rainfall. There are a dozen much smaller craters
nearby, such as would be created when a meteorite with a diameter of
some 10 meters shattered during entry into the atmosphere.

A team led by the Swedish geologist Jens Ormo believes the crater was
caused by a meteorite landing with a one-kiloton impact - equivalent
to a very small nuclear blast - and producing shock waves, earthquakes
and a mushroom cloud. Samples from the crater's rim have been
dated to the year 312, but small amounts of contamination with recent
material could account for a date significantly later than 312.

The legend of a falling star has been around in the Apennines since
Roman times, but the event that it describes has been a mystery. Other
accounts from the 4th century describe how barbarians stood at the gates
of the Roman Empire while a Christian movement threatened its stability
from within. The emperor Constantine saw an amazing vision in the sky,
converted to Christianity on the spot, and led his army to victory under
the sign of the cross. But what did he see?

Could the impact of a meteorite hitting the Italian Apennines, or a
Tunguska-like overhead cometary explosion, have been the sign in the sky
that encouraged the Emperor Constantine to invoke the Christian God in
his decisive battle in 312, when he defeated his fellow Emperor
Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge?

The conversion of the Emperor to Christianity certainly couldn't change
the beliefs and practices of most of his subjects. But he could - and
did - choose to grant favors and privileges to those whose faith he
had accepted. He built churches for them, exempted the priesthood from
civic duties and taxes, gave the bishops secular power over judicial
affairs, and made them judges against whom there was no appeal. Sounds
like how a Fascist regime takes over, does it not?

© Gernot Keller

What did Constantine see in the sky circa 312?

let's recap here: The god of the Jews leaped upon the stage of history
- probably as a cometary event that was memorialized as the plagues in
Egypt and recast as a heroic 'Exodus story'. Through his priests,
centuries after the event when the reality of the 'god' was forgotten,
this god promised his people something new and different - destruction
of everybody else on the planet who were nasty to them - and only
those who followed his rules carefully would survive and get to rule
everybody else. Notice that this did not necessarily mean resurrection -
it was to be a physical earthly kingdom with the Jews in top position.

Early Christianity had very distinct and novel ideas that were grafted
onto Judaism. Christianity, in turn, retained and passed on in a
virulent way certain ideals of Judaism which have produced the
foundation upon which our present culture is predicated.

The main template of christianity - received directly from Judaism -
is that of sin. The history of sin from that point to now is a story of
its triumph. Awareness of the nature of sin led to a growth industry in
agencies and techniques for dealing with it. These agencies became
centers of economic and military power, as they are today.

Christianity, promoting the ideals of Judaism under a thin veneer of the
'New Covenant', changed the ways in which men and women interacted with
one another. It changed the attitude to life's one certainty: death. It
changed the degree of freedom with which people could acceptably choose
what to think and believe.

Pagan cults also dealt with the issues of suffering and troubles. The
big difference was that, to the pagans, troubles fell on a person
because they may have failed to propitiate the appropriate god or
goddess. Suffering and troubles were a consequence of the actions of the
gods - who were surprisingly human-like and fickle - and were not a
personal, internal 'flaw' that damned the individual.

Another big difference between Pagan cults and Monotheistic cults was
that Pagans were not committed to revealed beliefs in the strong
Christian sense. In other words, faith was neither endorsed nor
encouraged. Pagans performed rites, but professed no creed or doctrine.
The rites included detailed rituals involving the offering of animal
victims to their gods, but there was nothing like the 'faith' of Judaism
or Christianity.

© Razvanjp / Dreamstime.com

Judaism and Christianity brought the concept of ‘sin’.

To be a 'follower of pagan religion', one did not have to accept the
philosophic theology, nor did he have to belong to a 'mystery cult'
where myth and ritual were closely entwined. These were just 'options'.
What the myths actually did was confirm man's constant awareness of the
potential anger of the gods, the uncertainties of Nature. Pausanias, a
Greek geographer of the 2nd century AD, did not accept the outlandish
stories of mythology. But there was one thing that Pausanias was sure
about: the tales of the past anger of a god which had manifested in famines and earthquakes and cataclysm. He reminds us of how fragile civilization is against the constant dangers of geology and the weather.

And so it was, to 'follow pagan religion' was essentially to accept this
tradition of the past anger of the gods expressed in the violence of
nature, and that the gods could be appeased. And it was
precisely this fear of nature itself - of the gods that expressed
themselves in the forces of nature - that caused the pagans to reject
the Jews and Christians for claiming that they were immune to such
things because their god had power over nature and would save them from

This brings us to another difference between the ancient myths and cults
and Judaism, Christianity and Islam: where the pagan cults offered
myths of their gods, Jews and Christians produced a recent, living history.
The pagan cults had 'mysteries' to which very few - if anyone at all
- had access. Monotheism offered a 'revelation' direct from God. Never
mind that the history consisted of the plagiarized myths of other
cultures that had been dressed in historical clothing as the 'History of

Pagans had been intolerant of the Jews and Christians whose religions
tolerated no gods but their own. The rising domination of Christianity
created a much sharper conflict between religions, and religious
intolerance - incepted by Christianity - became the norm, not the
exception. Christianity brought the open coercion of religious belief.
You could even say that, by the modern definition of a cult as a group
that uses manipulation and mind control to induce worship, Christianity
is the Mother of all Cults - in service to the misogynistic, fascist
ideals of Judaism.

The rising Christian hierarchy of the Dark Ages was quick to mobilize
military forces against believers in other gods and, most especially,
against other Christians who promoted less fascist systems of belief.
This probably included the original Christians and the original
teachings. One wonders, of course, about all the stories of Christian
martyrs. Is it possible that these were apocryphal stories of pagans who
resisted the imposition of Christianity with the details changed just a

Meanwhile, there was a third group of individuals during the transition
time: the pagan Platonists. There were two paths of Platonists: one
which taught that one could approach god only by contemplating their own
soul and knowing themselves; the other emphasized the beauty of the
world as the means by which one might know god. These two ideas became
the property of the educated man of the time, including Jews and early
Christians. However, it was among the intellectual Jews of Alexandria
that these ideas were given a subtle twist: a man could not know himself
and thereby know god, he must give up any idea of ever knowing himself
and resign himself to the 'grace' of god. God might choose a man and
apply grace, but man must never think he could choose god and achieve
grace. The Christian theologians took this idea and sculpted it to fit
their new ideas of Christ and Redemption.

Many pagan ideas were adopted into Christian theology, but the chief
difference was, as I have noted, the idea of sin being a personal thing,
a personal fault, a sort of 'scapegoat principle' writ on the human
soul. The pagans never considered it necessary to die with one's sins
forgiven, and the dramatic deathbed scenes of Christianity, with all the
praying for the afterlife of the individual, were novel and rapidly
spread. Pagans had prayed to the dead, Jews and Christians prayed for
them. Fearing their own inevitable fault and sinful nature, Christians
also prayed that the dead would intercede with god on their behalf.
Christians, like pagans, continued the practice of feasting and
celebrating death, with the added element of 'intercession' giving new
meaning to the event.

Further along, there was another event in the Pagan world of Europe that
helped bring Christianity to dominance in the West of Europe, and
brought another player onto the stage: Islam.

"It was a warm, clear afternoon in the capital. The bustle of
metropolitan commerce and tourism filled the streets. Small sailing
vessels dotted the sheltered waters within sight of the government
buildings, riding on a soft southerly breeze. The Sun sparkled on the
gentle swells and wakes, lending a luminous glow to the poppies and
tulips nodding in the parks along the water's edge. All was in order.

But suddenly, the sky brightened as if with a second, more brilliant
sun. A second set of shadows appeared; at first long and faint, they
shortened and sharpened rapidly. A strange hissing, humming sound seemed
to come from everywhere at once. Thousands craned their necks and
looked upwards, searching the sky for the new Sun. Above them a
tremendous white fireball blossomed, like the unfolding of a vast paper
flower, but now blindingly bright. For several seconds the fierce
fireball dominated the sky, shaming the Sun. The sky burned white-hot,
then slowly faded through yellow and orange to a glowering copper-red.
The awful hissing ceased. The onlookers, blinded by the flash, burned by
its searing heat, covered their eyes and cringed in terror. Occupants
of offices and apartments rushed to their windows, searching the sky for
the source of the brilliant flare that had lit their rooms. A great
blanket of turbulent, coppery cloud filled half the sky overhead. For a
dozen heartbeats the city was awestruck, numbed and silent.

Then, without warning, a tremendous blast smote the city, knocking
pedestrians to the ground. Shuttered doors and windows blew out; fences,
walls, and roofs groaned and cracked. A shock wave raced across the
city and its waterways, knocking sailboats flat in the water. A hot,
sulfurous wind like an open door into hell, the breath of a cosmic
ironmaker's furnace, pressed downward from the sky, filled with the
endless reverberation of invisible landslides. Then the hot breath
slowed and paused; the normal breeze resumed with renewed vigor, and
cool air blew across the city from the south. The sky overhead now faded
to dark gray, then to a portentous black. A turbulent black cloud like a
rumpled sheet seemed to descend from heaven. Fine black dust began to
fall, slowly, gently, suspended and swirled by the breeze. For an hour
or more the black dust fell, until, dissipated and dispersed by the
breeze, the cloud faded from view.

Many thought it was the end of the world..."

The above quote is a reconstruction of events in Constantinople, AD 472, extracted from Rain of Iron and Ice
(1996) by John S. Lewis. According to Dr. Lewis, whose fanciful
scenario of what it might be like to witness an overhead cometary
fragment explosion, our Earth actually experiences these types of events
rather often, even if somewhat irregularly. Explosions in the sky -
some of them enormous - have, according to him and many other
scientists, profoundly affected the history of humanity. One obvious
prospect is the great Antioch earthquake of AD 526 which was described
by John Malalas:

"...those caught in the earth beneath the buildings were incinerated and
sparks of fire appeared out of the air and burned everyone they struck
like lightning. The surface of the earth boiled and foundations of
buildings were struck by thunderbolts thrown up by the earthquakes and
were burned to ashes by fire... It was a tremendous and incredible
marvel with fire belching out rain, rain falling from tremendous
furnaces, flames dissolving into showers... As a result, Antioch became
desolate... In this terror up to 250,000 people perished." (E. Jeffreys,
M. Jeffreys and R. Scott. The Chronicle of John Malalas. 1986, Melbourne: Byzantina Australiensia, Australian Assoc. Byzantine Studies 4.)

Strangely, historians, as a group, don't speak about such things. But the evidence is mounting:

"Analysis of tree rings shows that in 540 AD in different parts of the
world, the climate changed. Temperatures dropped enough to hinder the
growth of trees as widely dispersed as northern Europe, Siberia, western
North America, and southern South America.

A search of historical records and mythical stories pointed to a
disastrous visitation from the sky during the same period, it is
claimed. There was one reference to a 'comet in Gaul so vast that the
whole sky seemed on fire' in 540-41.

According to legend, King Arthur died around this time, and Celtic myths
associated with Arthur hinted at bright sky Gods and bolts of fire.

In the 530s, an unusual meteor shower was recorded by both Mediterranean
and Chinese observers. Meteors are caused by the fine dust from comets
burning up in the atmosphere. Furthermore, a team of astronomers from
Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland published research in 1990 which
said the Earth would have been at risk from cometary bombardment between
the years 400 and 600 AD. ...

"Famine followed the crop failures, and hard on its heels bubonic plague that swept across Europe in the mid-6th century.

... At this time, the Roman emperor Justinian was attempting to
regenerate the decaying Roman empire. But the plan failed in 540 and was
followed by the Dark Ages and the rise of Islam." (Robert S. Boyd.
"Comets may have caused Earth's great empires to fall." Knight-Ridder Newspapers, August 17, 1999)

The change of the Western world from Pagan to monotheistic - Judaism,
Christianity, Islam - effectively changed how people viewed themselves
and their interactions with their reality. And we live today with the
fruits of those changes: war without end. Constantine's victory paved
the way for the recognition of Christianity by the Roman Empire and the
union of church and state that lasted for nearly 1,500 years and may, in
fact, still be strange bedfellows though they have pulled up the covers
to hide their relationship. An inscription quoting an ancient Hittite
king informs us that a great prince needs the priests to instill the
fear of the gods into the people so that they will do the will of the
king, and the religion needs the protection of the ruler to impose its
practice. So it has been for millennia. Astronomers Victor Clube and
Bill Napier write:


of two important historical comets taken from Lubienietski’s Universal
History of All Comets, 1681. The 1000 A.D. illustration shows a blazing
thunderbolt with a ‘long drawn out tail landing in open space’, having
‘fallen from a dragon-like comet with a horrendous tail’. The 1180 A.D.
comet was viewed with horror since it had the appearance of a winding
serpent with gaping jaws.

"...[W]ithin these last few
years, it has been found that there is a great swarm of cosmic debris
circulating in a potentially dangerous orbit, exactly intersecting the
Earth's orbit in June (and November) every few thousand years. More
surprisingly, perhaps, it has been found that the evidence for these facts was in the past deliberately concealed.
When the orbits exactly intersect, however, there is a greatly
increased chance of penetrating the core of the swarm, a correspondingly
enhanced flow of fireballs reaching the Earth, and a greatly raised
perception that the end of the world is nigh. This perception is liable
to arise at other times as well, whenever fresh debris is formed, but
deep penetrations occurred during the fourth millennium BC, again during
the first millennium BC, taking in at their close the time of Christ,
and will likely take place yet again during the millennium to come.

Christian religion began appropriately enough, therefore, with an
apocalyptic vision of the past... once the apparent danger had passed,
truth was converted to mythology in the hands of a revisionist church,
and such prior knowledge of the swarm as existed, which now comes to us
through the works of Plato and others, was later systematically

... The Christian vision of a permanent peace on Earth was by no means
universally accepted, and it was to undergo several stages of
'enlightenment' before it culminated with our present secular version of
history, to which science itself subscribes, perceiving little or no
danger from the sky. The lack of danger is an illusion, however, and the
long arm of an early Christian delusion still has its effect.

... The idea of a terrible sanction hanging over mankind is not, of
course, new. Armageddon has been widely feared in the past, and it was a
common belief that it would arrive with the present ­millennium...
Sometimes the proponents of such ideas escape to newfound new lands
where in due course they meet opposition of a homegrown kind. In the
United States, for example, despite freedom of speech, old traditions of
cosmic catastrophe have recurred from time to time, even in the present
century, only to be confronted by Pavlovian outrage from authorities.
That being the case, it is perhaps ironic that elections in the United
States are generally held in November, following the tradition of an
ancient convocation of tribes at that time of the year, which probably
had its roots in a real fear of world-end as the Earth coincided with
the swarm.

In Europe, the millennium was finally dispensed with when an official
'providential' view of the world was developed as a counter to ideas
sustained during the Reformation. Indeed, to hold anything like a
contrary view at this time became something of a heresy and those who
were given to rabble-rousing for fear of the millennium were roundly
condemned. To the extent that a cosmic winter and Armageddon have
aspects in common, therefore, authoritarian outrage is nothing new.

... Enlightenment, of course, builds on the providential view and treats
the cosmos as a harmless backdrop to human affairs, a view of the world
which Academe now often regards as its business to uphold and to which
the counter-reformed Church and State are only too glad to subscribe.
Indeed, it appears that repeated cosmic stress - supernatural
illuminations - have been deliberately programmed out of Christian
theology and modern science, arguably the two most influential
contributions of western civilization to the control and well-being of

As a result, we have now come to think of global catastrophe, whether
through nuclear war, ozone holes, the greenhouse effect of whatever, as a
prospect originating purely with ourselves; and because of this,
because we are faced with 'authorities' who never look higher than the
rooftops, the likely impact of the cosmos figures hardly at all in
national plans.


An image from ‘The Nuremburg Chronicles’, 1493.

A great illusion of cosmic security thus envelops mankind,
one that the 'establishment' of Church, State and Academe do nothing to
Persistence in such an illusion will do nothing to
alleviate the next Dark Age when it arrives. But it is easily shattered:
one simply has to look at the sky.

The outrage, then, springs from a singularly myopic stance which may now
place the human species a little higher than the ostrich, awaiting the
fate of the dinosaur." (Clube and Napier. The Cosmic Winter. 1990.)

An abundance of fireballs and repeated comet sightings apparently
excites a lot of 'eschatological activity' - predictions that the
world is going to end - that can lead to all kinds of social unrest
which is, as Clube points out, highly undesirable to the ruling elites.
After all, if people are thinking the world is going to end, they
generally blame it on their rulers for being so corrupt and evil. The
way they usually handle that sort of thing is to create an ostensible
enemy who is responsible for it all, get a war going that soothes
everyone's 'end of the world blues' and kills most of them in the
bargain. Clever, aren't they?

Victor Clube wrote a summary statement of conclusions based on his
Narrative Report on the Hazard to Civilization Due to Fireballs and
Comets, which he wrote under the sponsorship of the US Air Force and
Oxford Department of Physics (1996, just two years after comet
Shoemaker-Levy hit Jupiter), which includes the following:

"Every 5-10 generations or so, for about a generation, mankind is
subject to an increased risk of global insult through another kind of
cosmic agency." During these epochs, broadly coinciding with the Hundred
Years' War, the Reformation, the Thirty Years' War (including the
English Civil War), the French Revolutionary Period (including the
American War of Independence) and the mid-nineteenth century
Revolutionary crisis in Europe (including the American Civil War), the
various national authorities could do very little to restrain public
anxiety in the face of the perceived danger."

Every 5 to 10 generations? That's a pretty shocking statement. If it is
true, then why don't we know about this? Why don't historians know about
it? Why don't average people who learn history (one is told) in school
know about these things?

It is here that we are going to discover how witches came to be associated with Halloween.

© MOPIC / Dreamstime.com

Historical evidence for recent earth-changing comet impacts is profuse.

Hundred Years War covers the 116-year period from 1337 to 1453, the
Black Death 1347/48-1351, and then the Renaissance, 1400 to 1600. Some
really ugly stuff was going on back then. Dendrochronologist Mike
Baillie, has written a book asserting (with good evidence) that the
Black Death - one of the most deadly pandemics in human history, said
to have killed possibly two thirds of the entire population of Europe,
not to mention millions all over the planet - probably wasn't Bubonic
Plague but was rather Death by Comet(s).

Baillie has the scientific evidence to support his theory, and his
evidence actually supports - and is supported by - what the people
of the time were saying: earthquakes, comets, rains of death and fire,
corrupted atmosphere, and death on a scale that is almost unimaginable.
Most people nowadays are not really aware of what happened just 663
years ago. (Hmmm... The inquiring mind immediately wonders what might
happen when we hit 666 years after? That would be 2013...) There really
is quite sufficient data presented in Baillie's book to support the
theory that the Black Death was due to localized, multiple impacts by
comet debris - similar to the impacts on Jupiter by the fragments of
comet Shoemaker-Levy back in 1994. As to exactly how these deaths
occurred, there are a number of possibilities: earthquakes, floods
(tsunami), rains of fire, chemicals released by the high-energy
explosions in the atmosphere, including ammonium and hydrogen cyanide,
and possibly even comet-borne disease patho­gens. It is worth pausing a
moment to consider the numbers.

China, where the Black Death is said to have originated, lost around
half of its entire population (going from around 123 million to around
65 million). Recent research into European death tolls also suggests a
figure of 45% to 50% of the total European population dying during a
four-year period though the figure fluctuated from place to place (which
is a problem as we will see). In Mediterranean Europe - Italy, the
South of France and Spain - where the plague ran for about four years
consecutively, it was probably closer to 70-75% of the total population.
(In the US today that would be equivalent to reducing the ­population
from its current 305 million to 75 million in less than four years. That
would also amount to having to bury or dispose of around 225 million
corpses.) In Germany and Eng­land it was probably closer to 20%.
Northeastern Germany, Bohemia, Poland and Hungary are believed to have
suffered less for some reason (and there are a few theories which are
not entirely satisfactory).

There are no estimates available for Russia or the Balkans, so it seems
that they may have suffered little, if at all. Africa lost approximately
1/8th of its population (from around 80 million to 70 million). (These
figures actually highlight one of the problems that Baillie brings up:
the variability of death rates according to location.) Whatever the
death rate in any given location, the bottom line is that the Black
Death produced the largest death toll from any known pandemics in
recorded history and, as Baillie points out, nobody really knows what it


upheaval and terror at the time of the ‘black death’ and the ‘hundred
years war’. (Pieter Bruegel the Elder. “The Triumph of Death”, ca. 1562.
Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain.)

In Hazard to Civilization from Fireballs and Comets cited above, Victor Clube adds:

"Confronted on many occasions in the past by the prospect of world-end,
national elites have often found themselves having to suppress public
panic - only to discover, too late, that the usual means of control
commonly fail. Thus, an institutionalized science is expected to
withhold knowledge of the threat; a self-regulated press is expected to
make light of any disaster; while an institutionalized religion is
expected to oppose predestination and to secure such general belief in a
fundamentally benevolent deity as can be mustered.

... The Christian, Islamic and Judaic cultures have all moved since the
European Renaissance to adopt an unreasoning anti-apocalyptic stance,
apparently unaware of the burgeoning science of catastrophes. History,
it now seems, is repeating itself: it has taken the Space Age to revive
the Platonist voice of reason, but it emerges this time within a modern
anti-fundamentalist, anti-apocalyptic tradition over which governments
may, as before, be unable to exercise control... Cynics (or modern
sophists), in other words, would say that we do not need the celestial
threat to disguise Cold War intentions; rather we need the Cold War to
disguise celestial intentions!"

Turning to the full text of the report, on page 2, discussing potential impacting giant comet remnants, we read that "...
their presence is readily enough betrayed by the zodiacal dust, which
continues to accumulate in the ecliptic, and by the rather sudden
encounters which the Earth makes every other century or so, for several
decades... These encounters produce an overabundance of fireballs,
penetrating the Earth's atmosphere, implying both an increased
probability of bombardment by sub-kilometre debris and an increased risk
that the Earth will penetrate the core of a minor disintegration stream
à la Shoemaker-Levy.

The so-called 'Hundred Years War' was a conflict between France and
England, over claims by the English kings to the French throne. It was
punctuated by several brief and two lengthy periods of peace before it
finally ended in the expulsion of the English from France, with the
exception of the Calais Pale. We notice that this state of conflict was
already in motion about ten years before the Black Death fell on Europe.


A woodcut by Hans Glaser (1566) showing a strange celestial event in 1561 over Nuremberg.

one studies the history of the Black Death and the Hundred Years War
side by side, the thing that stands out is that whatever was going on
then, there were conscienceless people taking advantage of the situation
of confusion and terror. For example, we read the following:

This would be a war of devastation. Villages and crops were burned,
orchards were felled, livestock seized and residents harried. On
Edward's entry into France he spent a week torching Cambrai and its
environs. More than 1,000 villages were destroyed. France did what it
could in England, at the war's onset seamen ventured to the southeastern
coast of England to burn and ravage there. Much plunder was taken back
to England and the thought of acquiring ill-gotten gain enticed many to
support the war.

Cruelty abounded. After the city of Limoges was captured and burned,
Edward ordered the townsmen executed. Much of Artois, Brittany,
Normandy, Gascony and other provinces were reduced to desolation (circa
1355 to 1375) and France did the same to the provinces that sided with
England. Walled towns were safe during the early period of the war, but
churches, monasteries, villages and rural areas were ruined.

Truce and treaty were not observed. The 'Free Companies' went into
action, bandits of either English, French or hired mercenaries led by
captains that dominated large areas and levied tribute on towns,
villages and churches. They also seized women, took clergymen as
accountants and correspondents, children for servants and plundered.
(Edward P. Cheney. The Dawn of a New Era. 1250-1435. 1936.)

Albert A. Nofi and James F. Dunnigan tell us:

For the first few years of the war there wasn't much happening except
English raids into France and Flanders. Then, in the 1340s, England and
France took opposite sides in the long-running civil war over who should
be the duke of Brittany. In 1346 this resulted in a French invasion of
Gascony and the shattering French defeat at Crecy. The English then
rampaged through western France, until a truce was signed in 1354
(brought on by the devastation of the Plague, which hit France heavily
in 1347-48)

The truce didn't last. In 1355, the war began again. In 1356 another
major battle was fought at Poitiers and the French king was captured.
English raids continued until 1360, when another truce was signed.

One wonders if all this is not history written after the fact, placing
the blame of cometary destruction and social unrest on a 'hundred years
war'? As evidence to support this, it seems that the weather was going
crazy. Clube and Napier write:

One chronicler at least reports of the most immediate cause of the
plague in 1345 that 'between Cathay and Persia there rained a vast rain
of fire; falling in flakes like snow and burning up ­mountains and
plains and other lands, with men and women; and then arose vast masses
of smoke; and whosoever beheld this died within the space of half a
day...' There seems little doubt also that a worldwide cooling of the Earth
played a fundamental part in the process. The Arctic polar cap
extended, changing the cyclonic pattern and leading to a series of
disastrous harvests. These in turn led to widespread famine, death and social disruption.

In England and Scotland, there is a pattern of abandoned villages and farms, soaring wheat prices and falling populations.

In Eastern Europe there was a series of winters of unparalleled severity
and depth of snow. The chronicles of monasteries in Poland and Russia
tell of cannibalism, common graves overfilled with corpses, and
migrations to the west.

Even before the Black Death came, then, a human catastrophe of great
proportions was under way in late medieval times. Indeed, the cold snap
lasted well beyond the period of the ... plague. A number of such
fluctuations are to be found in the historical record, and there is good
evidence that these climatic stresses are connected not only with
famine but also with times of great social unrest, wars, revolution and
mass migrations. (Clube, The Cosmic Winter.)

It sounds surprisingly like our own era, does it not? There are
differences in detail and in scale, but the dynamics of a world gone
mad, incredible cruelty running rampant, and global climate fluctuations
are the same as we see before us now.

Calvinism was one of the developments that came out of this period. As
Clube notes, the Protestant reformation was partly due to the fact that
the powers of the time, the Catholic Church, had built their control
system based on the Aristotelian system of 'God is in his heaven and all will be right with the world if you are a good Christian'.
Obviously, they didn't want to talk about a cosmos run amok over which
their vaunted god had no control. And the fact that things were running
amok and the church ­couldn't do anything about it (not to mention the
corruption of the church that was evident to the masses) gave ammunition
to the Reformers who then were able to attract many followers just as
Christianity attracted Constantine at a time when the pagan gods did not
seem to be able to help in the face of cometary bombardment.

The Protestants thus were able to use the situation to their advantage,
suggesting that it was 'The End of Times' and that this was all part of
the plan and people would be saved if they would only come over to the
Protestant side.

Of course, once the Protestants had 'won their place', so to say, they
too had to establish authority and adopt the Aristotelian view! 'Now,
God is in his heaven and all will be right and there won't be any more
catastrophic disruptions as long as everybody goes to church, tithes,
and obeys the appointed authorities.'

This brings us to the topic of witch persecutions. From the early
decades of the fifteenth century until 1650, continental Europeans
executed between two and five hundred thousand witches (according to conservative estimates), more than 85 percent of them being women.
(Ben-Yehuda, 1985.) People of the time, and even later, really did
believe in the reality of witchcraft and evil demons. Men like Newton,
Bacon, Boyle, Locke and Hobbes firmly believed in the reality of evil
spirits and witches. As historian and religious scholar J. B. Russell

Tens of thousands of [witch] trials continued throughout Europe
generation after generation, while Leonardo painted, Pa­lest­rina
composed and Shakespeare wrote. (1977.)

Witchcraft and witches have existed throughout ­history though in a
context completely different from that which came to be understood
during the crusade against witches. The Old Testament pretty much
ignores the topic, except to report an encounter between King Saul and
the witch of Endor, and to include a law: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live".
But other than that, in a way that seems to bizarrely contradict that
law, stories of witches in the Bible are surprisingly neutral. There is
no conceptualization or elaboration of witches, devils, or any kind of
demonic world. The world of the Old Testament is, in fact, a world
surprisingly devoid of anything truly spiritual.

In ancient Greece and Rome, magic was used to produce rain,
prevent hail storms, drive away clouds, calm the winds, make the earth
bear fruit, increase wealth, cure the sick, and so on. It could also be
used against one's enemies to deprive them of those desirable effects.
These beliefs were widespread in the ancient world influenced by
Pythagoras and his Northern European Druidic training, and generally,
'good magic' was lawful and necessary, and 'bad magic' was condemned and
punished. The state even supported those who could purportedly do 'good
magic'. It depended on perspective whether you were a 'good magician'
or a 'bad' one. That's probably why the English condemned Joan of Arc
for being a witch and France turned around and canonized her.

The Graeco-Roman religious universe - the supernatural world - was
not divided into extreme good and extreme evil. It was occupied by every
shade and combination of all qualities exactly as existed in human
society. In this world, magic was simply an attempt to harness the power
of the Unseen, while religion occupied itself with respect and
gratitude to Nature and its representatives for results. In this way,
prayers and spells could be easily combined.

{{IMG|45582|witches17.jpg|large|left}The witch or sorcerer was a person
who had a method - a technology - that could be used to harness and
activate supernatural powers for her/himself or for others. She/he could
'control' the forces of nature. (At least, that is what they believed,
and who are we to say that the truly ancient shamanic technicians

So, two points are important here: 1) witchcraft/sorcery was a
technology, and 2) there was a definite distinction between good magic
and bad magic, and context was all-important.

After the disintegration of the Roman Empire and the rise of
Judeo-Christianity, many missionaries, on finding that the pagans had
their own spectrum of local deities and beliefs, often sought to convert
them by the simple expedient of canonizing the local gods so that the
native population could continue to worship them under the aegis of
Christianity. They became 'Christian saints' complete with invented
hagiographies (as I mentioned above, possibly most 'Christian Martyrs'
were actually pagans killed by the church). The old temples were
converted into churches so that the pagans would come to familiar places
of worship to hear mass and pray to their 'saints' just like always.
Magical practices were tolerated because it was felt that the people
would give them up naturally over time once they had become truly

Official church policy held that any belief in witchcraft was an illusion. In the famous, but mysterious, Canon episcopi, we find a few clues:

Some wicked women, perverted by the devil, seduced by illusions and
phantasms of demons, believe and profess themselves in the hours of
night, to ride upon certain beastes with Diana, the goddess of pagans,
and an innumerable multitude of women, and in the silence of the dead of
night to traverse great spaces of earth, and to obey her commands as of
their mistress, and to be summoned to her service on certain nights.
But I wish it were they alone who perished in their faithlessness and
did not draw many with them into the destruction of infidelity. For an
innumerable multitude, deceived by this false opinion, believe this to
be true, and so believing, wander from the right faith and are invalued
in the error of the pagans...

Wherefore the priests throughout their churches should preach with all
insistence ... that they know this to be false and, that such phantasms
are imposed and sent by the malignant spirit ... who deludes them in

Who is there who is not led out of himself in dreams, seeing such in sleeping which he never sees [when] waking?

... And who is so stupid and foolish as to think that all these things, which are only done in spirit, happen in the body?

It is therefore to be proclaimed publicly to all that whoever believes
such things ... has lost his faith. (Translated by Kors and Peters,
1972, pp. 29-31.)

The origin of this document, that Kors and Peters date to 1140, is not
clear. It has been attributed to an obscure meeting, the Council of
Anquira, held possibly in the 4th century. Al­though there is no record
of this council, the statement on witchcraft was adopted by later
canonists as official policy. What it does tell us is that there were,
apparently, worshippers of the Pagan Goddess Diana who had profound
experiences that were declared to be delusions brought on by the Devil.
Right here we see how the Goddess was replaced by Satan the deluder. It
is interesting to compare the description of what these ancient witches
were said to be doing with the activities of ancient Si­berian shamans.
One is also reminded of the Paleolithic cave paintings when reading, "in the hours of night, to ride upon certain beastes with Diana, the goddess of pagans..." This is a precious clue to the fact that the Paleolithic religion and its shamanic lines did survive for thousands of years.

In any event, for more than six centuries this was the official attitude
of the church toward witches - that it was an illusion or delusion or
just the product of dreams, and whoever was "so stupid and foolish" as to believe such fantastic tales was an infidel. That,
apparently, applied to monks, and priests, and the general public as
well. The important point here being that you had to believe in witches
to persecute them, and believing in them as real was against church

Taking into account the Black Death and the wars of the time killing off
so much of the male population, one might suppose that there was an
increase in unmarried women or women who had inherited estates when all
other family members had perished. In short, women were becoming
autonomous as a consequence. And certainly, women who had 'gifts' would
be more likely to survive such calamities than those who did not.

The details of exactly what happened may be forever lost to us thanks to
the cover-up of history instituted by Joseph Justus Scaliger in the
sixteenth century as has been suggested by Clube and revealed in some
detail by mathematician Anatoly Fomenko (though Fomenko does not take
catastrophic destruction of society into account). The best we can do is
to speculate.

The most spectacular 'witch' was Joan of Arc who was tried, condemned,
and burned in 1431. Her trial and execution can clearly be seen as
political, often a major, underlying motivation for such accusations.

It could be said that the witch persecutions were simply a reviving of
the Inquisition that had created similar rules for dealing with the
Cathars two hundred years earlier. In order to fully understand how
easily this attack on 'witches and sorcerers' could manifest legally and
socially, we need to take a quick look at the beginnings of the


Joan of Arc as depicted by Hermann Stilke (1803-1860).

people think of the inquisition as something that was started to
eliminate witches and Devil worship, and the word conjures images of the
rack and iron maidens and all kinds of bizarre and twisted torture
equipment. Sure, torture was a big part of the Inquisition, but not as
much as some people might think. You have to remember that the
Inquisition began during a period of history when human life was treated
so casually that cutting off noses or ears or hands, or gouging out
eyes was not unheard of as a legal punishment for minor crimes.

The Crusade against the Cathars led to years of brutal massacres,
destruction of the land, and some of the most horrible events ever to
bear witness of man's inhumanity to man. Toward the end, Pope Gregory IX
decided that it was only results that counted. He intended to wipe
Catharism from the face of the earth. He must have sat up at night to
create the bizarre system that was put into place to deal with heresy.

First, he created special Papal legates who were granted wide powers of
prosecution similar to what we have today in the De­partment of Homeland
Security, and sent them out all over Eu­rope. The men chosen for this
task were clearly psychopaths, and their mission was to spread terror
all over Europe.

Gregory staffed the Episcopal palaces of the South of France with
psychopathic bishops who offered a cash bounty to anyone who betrayed a
heretic. The inducements to betray one's neighbor were surely tempting
in the best of times. But in a time when starvation and destruction was
everywhere after more than 20 years of the rampaging of the Crusading
armies, it was well-nigh impossible to resist. The terms were that the
property confiscated from the heretic was divided between the informer,
the church and the crown. Naturally, in a land that was financially
devastated, where people were displaced and starving after years of
being battered by this same church and crown, there were a lot of
individuals offering up their neighbors for blood money. Sound familiar?

Robert le Bourgre, whose name means 'the bugger' (suggesting the
contempt in which he was held by the people), terrorized formerly
peaceful northern France. Another legate, Conrad of Marburg found
unsuspected heretics everywhere in the Rhine­land. Thousands were sent
to the stake, often on the same day that they were accused. Conrad rode
about on his mule with two assistants, bringing terror to every village
and town they approached. Apparently, even the regular clergy saw
through this nonsense and finally decided to do something about it. On
July 30, 1233, a Franciscan friar, driven to act in the name of justice,
intercepted Conrad and murdered him.

The pope had had enough. He turned to the Dominicans. In the spring of
1233, Papal inquisitors were appointed in Toulouse, Albi, and
Carcassonne. These inquisitors were succeeded in an unbroken line for
600 years.

Hundreds of people were summoned to testify before inquisitors. The
questions were repetitive, designed to plant doubt in the mind of the
person being interrogated as to what, exactly, the inquisitor knew, and
who had told him.

A person suspected of Cathar sympathies was not always informed of the
charges hanging over his head. If apprised of the danger, he had no
right to know who his accusers were, and if he dared to seek legal help,
his lawyer could be charged with abetting heresy.

Whatever the verdict of the inquisitor - who was prosecutor, judge and
jury - no appeal was allowed. Anyone could be held indefinitely in
prison for further questioning without cause of explanation. Nowadays,
we call them 'enemy combatants'.

The inquisition destroyed the bonds of trust which hold societies
together. Informing on one's neighbor became not only a duty, but a
necessary survival strategy.

For 100 years, the Inquisition was a fact on the ground of life in the
Languedoc. The arrival of an inquisitor in a town was the occasion for
demeaning displays of moral collapse.

In theory, of course, no one could be punished if no one talked because
the inquisitor could not act without a writ of denunciation, but in
practice, no community possessed the cohesion needed to combat the power
of a secret tribunal.

The same is true in America today. Everyone has been adequately
conditioned by watching 'reality TV' and 'Survivor', and they know the
rules: Do unto others before they do unto you.

And so it was in the Languedoc, the historical model for the 'witch'
persecutions, for what happened in Germany under Hitler, and for what is
happening in the world today vis-à-vis the 'War on Terror'.

Upon his arrival in a town, the inquisitor consulted with the local
clergy. All males over the age of 14 and females over the age of 12 were
required to make a profession of faith in the Catholic Church. Those
who didn't were the first to be questioned.

Then the inquisitor would give a speech in which he invited the people
to spend some days thinking very, very hard about their activities past,
present and future and to come forward in the following week to give
confidential depositions. After a seven day grace period, those who had
not denounced themselves would be issued a summons.

The punishments ranged from loss of property to loss of life. Aside from
the capital crime of being a Cathar, punishable offenses included
sheltering a Cathar or even failing to report any instance of heresy.

The real proof of genuine piety toward the Catholic Church was measured by the number of people the sinner was willing to betray.

It only took ten years for the Inquisition to go from being the work of a
few psychopathic fanatics to becoming a proficient bureaucracy that
lasted for 600 years. It employed hundreds of individuals who
interrogated thousands of people with such monotonous regularity that a
regular 'glossary' was established for the 'workers'.

Armed with a list of proposed offenses to be considered 'heretical' or
'supporting heretics', which included just knowing that a heretic had
crossed one's property and failing to report it, the Inquisition
proceeded to intimidate the population of Europe on a scale that was
impossible to imagine. The sheer numbers of people called to testify,
and re-called to testify again and again, was staggering. In a strange
twist of historical irony, the Cathars - who believed that the material
world was evil and irrelevant - inspired the codification of the
Police State.

A cross-referenced compendium of the confessions extracted from tens of
thousands of people was compiled, creating a map of the mental landscape
of the Languedoc. The more than five thousand transcripts of
interrogations that survive represent only a small fraction of the work
of the Inquisition.

{{IMG|45584|witches19.jpg|left}}Inquisitors' manuals were created to
serve as guides for the growing number of Papal courts in Europe. These
manuals reminded the inquisitors that they were in the business of
saving souls, but I think that the distinction was lost on those whose
lives were lost or ruined by the judgments of the Inquisition.

Languedoc was, essentially, the laboratory for repression. The
reputation of the Inquisition was enhanced by the talented Inquisitor of
Toulouse, Bernard Gui, who was the villain in Um­berto Eco's The Name of the Rose.

The Inquisitors persuaded a handful of captured Cathars to convert and
sell their testimony. Sicard de Lunel of Albi gave the friars an
exhaustive list of Cathar sympathizers, even fingering his own parents.
Anyone who had ever helped him in his life as a Cathar, whether they had
just given him a bed for the night, a bit of food, or even a jar of
honey, were hauled in to be punished, just on his word. He and several
others like him were lodged thereafter in a castle outside of Toulouse
in the medieval version of the 'witness protection program'. Sicard was
well paid for his perfidy and lived to a ripe old age. One wonders how
peaceful it was.

The use of torture was delicately referred to as 'putting the question'.
In the Languedoc, successive waves of highly trained inquisitors, aided
by informers and torturers, fired by the totalitarian creed of the
Catholic Church, with detailed manuals and expanding registers of
'intelligence', slowly but surely ground Catharism into oblivion.
Thousands of dramas of conscience ended in the dungeons or in fires
quenched with blood. By the end of the century, only the truly heroic
dared to say that this world was evil.

It was not a legal system, it was a system designed to create fear. This
250 years old Catholic system of terror was the system that was handily
available at the beginning of the witch persecutions, though,
curiously, the first persecutions were not ecclesiastical but rather

In 1397, a man named Stedelen was accused of being a witch in Simmental,
Switzerland, after the harvest had failed at his village. According to
his accusers, Stedelen used black magic to destroy the crops by
allegedly sacrificing a black rooster on the Sabbath at a crossroad and
placing a lizard under the doorway of a local church.

Peter von Greyerz, the judge, was a firm believer in witchcraft, which
he believed had been introduced in Simmental by a noble man called
Scavius in 1375. He was killed by his many enemies, but he had a
student, who according to Greyerz had been the tutor of Stedelen.

There was no real evidence presented, of course, but Stedelen had
allegedly become an expert on magic and supposedly learned to steal
manure, hay and such from others' fields by magic, create hail and
thunderstorms, make people and animals sterile, make horses crazy when
he touched their hooves, fly and terrify those who captured him. Greyerz
also accused Stedelen of having taken the milk from the cows of a
married couple in order to make the wife miscarry. After torture,
Stedelen confessed to summoning forth demons as part of a pact with the
Devil. His trial took place in a secular court following which he was
burned at the stake.

Greyerz believed that there was a satanic cult, whose members swore
themselves to the Devil and ate children at the churches at night. He
continued his persecutions and once tortured a woman to confirm this.

In 1415-1419, in the Duchy of Savoy, there was a civil-war between clans
of the nobility. Various noble families had rebelled against the Raron
family, and the masses were drawn into the conflict. This had gone on
for some time and, by 1428, the entire society in that area was in a
state of great tension. No one knows who came up with the idea that all
the troubles were due to witches, but on 7 August 1428, delegates from
seven districts in Valais demanded that the authorities investigate
alleged, unknown witches and sorcerers. Anyone denounced as a sorcerer
by more than three people was to be arrested. If they confessed, they
were to be burned at the stake as heretics, and if they did not confess,
they would be tortured until they did so. Also, those pointed out by
more than two of the judged sorcerers were to be arrested.


A fanciful interpretation of the Salem Witch Trials.

accusations, trials and executions were probably seen by other elite
individuals - or individuals who wished to become members of the elite
by seizing the property of those they resented or envied - as a handy
way to deal with many problems. The craze rapidly spread north into
Germany, then to France and Switzerland. The main accusations consisted

- flying through the air and plundering wine cellars;

- lycanthropy - to have killed cattle in the shapes of ­werewolves;

- to have made themselves invisible with herbs;

- to have cured sickness and paralysis caused by sorcery by giving it to someone else;

- to have abducted and eaten children;

- to have met Satan and learned magic from him;

- to have planned to deprive Christianity of its power over humanity.

From this list, we can surmise the kinds of troubles that the people
were suffering: starvation leading to theft and vandalism, destruction
of their livestock, widespread sickness, loss of children, and,
undoubtedly, even cannibalism. It was clearly a very difficult time.

One hundred years after the black death had de­stroyed about half of
Europe's population, the Hundred Years' War was coming to an end, things
were still very, very difficult, and in order to restore order and
control on the recovering society someone had to be blamed (definitely not cometary explosions). The problem was, of course, how to get around the Canon episcopi.
It was necessary to diminish this official church policy in order to
even have a 'witch craze'. So, the first attacks were made on the
validity of the document itself.

In 1450, Jean Vineti, inquisitor at Carcassone, identified witchcraft
with heresy, and in 1458, Nicholas Jacquier, inquisitor in France and
Bohemia, identified it as a new form of heresy - that is, contemporary witches were claimed to be different from the ones that the document was about.
In 1460, Visconti Giro­lamo, inquisitor professor, Provincial of
Lombardy, stated that the act of defending witchcraft (or witches) was
itself heresy.

Incremental steps were being made toward establishing an official
standard, but still, when Kramer and Sprenger (both members of the
Dominican Order and Inquisitors for the Catholic Church) wrote the Malleus Maleficarum
and submitted it to the University of Co­logne's Faculty of Theology on
May 9, 1487, seeking its endorsement, it was roundly condemned as
unethical and illegal. The Catholic Church banned the book in 1490,
placing it on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, and Kramer was
denounced by the Inquisition. It should be noted here that, in 1484,
Kramer had attempted a systematic persecution of witches in the region
of Tyrol which bombed dramatically. Kramer was thrown out of the
territory and dismissed by the local bishop as a "senile old man". According to historian of the church Diarmaid MacCulloch, writing the book was Kramer's act of self-justification and revenge.

The main thrust of the Malleus was to systematically refute the Canon episcopi
and to discredit those who expressed skepticism about the reality of
witchcraft, to claim that witches were more often women than men, and to
educate prosecutors on how to expose and convict them. Experts say that
the Malleus was based, in part, on the Formicarius by
Johannes Nider written about ten years earlier. Before Nider, magic was
thought to be performed by educated men who performed intricate

In Nider's Formicarius, the witch is described as illiterate
and female. Unfor­tunately, Johannes Gutenberg's printing press - a
product of the Renaissance - allowed the work to spread rapidly
throughout Europe. This crystallization is what resulted in the
beginning of the witch craze itself. The idea that any person could harm
another via magic simply by devoting themselves to the worship of Satan
- especially women who had been long-viewed as helpless and somewhat
less than human - was terrifying and shocking.

As the craze spread over Europe, literally hundreds of thousands of
women were burned at the stake. Children and even whole families were
sent to be burned. The historical sources are full of horrifying
descriptions of the tortures these poor people were subjected to. Entire
villages were exterminated. One account says that all of Germany was
covered with stakes and Ger­mans were entirely occupied with building
bonfires to burn the victims. One inquisitor is reported to have said: "I wish [the witches] had but one body, so that we could burn them all at once, in one fire!" (Hugh Trevor-Roper. The Crisis of the Seventeenth Cen­tury: Religion, the Reformation, and Social Change, and Other Essays. 1967, p. 152).

In the 1580s, the Catholic Counter-Reformation became dedicated witch
hunters also, going after Protestants, mainly. In France, most witches
happened to be Huguenot. In Protestant areas, most witches were
Catholic. It could be said that most cases of witch burnings were either
personal or political or both. One victim was a judge who was burned in
1628 for showing 'suspicious leniency'. As the craze spread, the
viciousness and barbarity of the attacks increased. The aforementioned
judge, a Dr. Haan, under torture, confessed to having seen five
burgomasters of Bamberg at the witches Sabbath, and they too were
executed. One of them, a Johannes Julius, under torture confessed that
he had renounced God, given himself to the Devil, and seen twenty-seven
of his colleagues at the Sabbath. But afterward, from prison, he
contrived to smuggle a letter out to his daughter, Veronica, giving a
full account of his trial. He wrote:

Now, my dearest child, you have here all my acts and confessions, for
which I must die. It is all falsehood and invention, so help me God...
They never cease to torture until one says something. If God sends no
means of bringing the truth to light, our whole kindred will be burnt.
(Trevor-Roper, 1967, p. 157.)

Protestants and Catholics accused each other, and the early decades of
the 1600s were infected by a veritable epidemic of demons! This lasted
until the end of the Thirty Years' War. It is said that if the
publication of the Malleus Maleficarum was the beginning of the terror, the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 was the end.

During this period, the distinction between good and bad magic vanished
and witchcraft became something purely evil and almost totally female.
The pluralistic conception of the supernatural world also vanished and
we were left with only a very good god who was, however, seemingly
impotent in the face of evil mankind in cahoots with a very evil devil.
Well, not exactly 'mankind', mostly 'woman-kind'.

In recent times, the Malleus has been examined critically,
though not by individuals with any awareness of the cosmic events of the
time. Nevertheless, what they have observed has a bearing on our
subject here. In his article, "Sexy Devils", Dale Keiger writes:

One evening 10 years ago, Walter Stephens was reading Malleus malificarum.
The Malleus, as scholars refer to it, would not be everyone's choice
for a late-night book. Usually translated as 'The Hammer of Witches', it
was first published in Germany in 1487 as a handbook for witch hunters
during the Inquisition. It is a chilling text - used for 300 years,
well into the Age of Reason - that justi­fies and details the
identification, apprehension, interrogation, and execution of people
accused of consorting with demons, signing pacts with the devil, and
performing maleficia, or harmful magic.

'It was 11 at night', Stephens recalls. 'My wife had gone to bed, and on
the first page (of the Malleus) was this weird sentence about people
who don't believe in witches and don't believe in demons: "Therefore
those err who say that there is no such thing as witchcraft, but that it
is purely imaginary, even although they do not believe that devils
exist except in the imagination of the ignorant and vulgar, and the
natural accidents which happen to man he wrongly attributes to some
supposed devil."'

That convoluted sentence dovetailed with a curious line Stephens knew from Il messaggiero, a
work from 1582 by the Italian poet Tor­quato Tasso: 'If magicians and
witches and the possessed exist, demons exist; but it cannot be doubted
that in every age specimens of the former three have been found; thus it
is unreasonable to doubt that demons are found in nature.'

Stephens, the Charles S. Singleton Professor of Italian Studies in the
Hopkins department of romance languages, is a literary critic, and he
sensed that something intriguing was going on beneath the text on the
page. Tasso, and especially the Malleus' author, a Do­mi­ni­can
theologian and inquisitor named Heinrich Kramer, had in their works
invested a striking amount of energy in refuting doubt about the
existence of demons. What was that about?

For the next eight years Stephens read every treatise he could find on
witchcraft, as well as accounts of interrogations, theological tracts,
and other works (his bibliography lists 154 primary and more than 200
secondary sources). Most of the 86 witchcraft treatises he cites had
been written in Western Europe in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries,
and one after another (including the Malleus) contain accounts of sexual
intercourse with satanic spirits. Why? Were the authors' remorseless
misogynists hell-bent on portraying women in the worst possible light?
Were they lurid, repressed celibates who got off by writing accounts of
demon sex? Stephens ­didn't think so; the texts, in his view, didn't
support that reading. Elsewhere in the Malleus he had found a key
reference to accused witches under torture as being 'expert witnesses to
the reality of carnal interaction between humans and demons'. These
guys are trying to construct proofs that demons exist, he thought.
They're trying to convince skeptics. And then he thought they're trying to convince themselves.

Stephens' thesis profoundly revises the conventional wisdom about
centuries of cruelty and injustice. The great European witch hunts, he
says, were the outgrowth of a severe crisis of faith. The men who wrote books like the Malleus, men who endorsed the torture and burning of tens of thousands of innocent people, desperately
needed to believe in witches, because if witches were real, then demons
were real, and if demons were real, then God was real. Not just real
but present and attentive
. Carefully read the works composed by the witchcraft authors, Stephens says, and you will see how
profoundly disturbed these educated, literate men were by their
accumulating suspicions that if God existed at all, He wasn't paying
much attention to the descendants of Adam

... The Church itself fractured, riven by massive organized
heresies, and by a schism that led to as many as three men
simultaneously laying claim to be the true pope.
How could a world created by a watchful, benevolent, and engaged God be such a mess? (Johns Hopkins Magazine, 2002; emphases mine.)

The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were a time when the forces of
nature ran amok, and the powers of the time needed to save face and keep
control: how was it that they, who overcame paganism by the promise
that their God could protect his believers from the forces of nature,
now were exposed as totally incompetent to do so? There was,
undoubtedly, a resurgence of Paganism and to prevent that it was
probably seen as ideal to blame the enemy - pagans - for destruction
that they had nothing to do with. Protestantism was on the rise, of
course, but its proponents did not see it as politic to go after the
Mother Church which still held a great deal of power, so some other sin-bearer had to be found.
At the end of the Hundred Years War and the Black Death, and the Thirty
Years War - all of which may have been periods of cometary
destruction on the earth - the Witch Per­secutions were utilized to
hush up completely any hint that the Earth was not securely hung in
space, and history and truth was suppressed with blood and burning human

Such persecutions were a means of controlling those who uttered
'heresies' against the 'providential' order of the universe established
by the Church and State, like pointing out that an increased number of
fireballs and comet sightings may very well suggest that the planet and
its inhabitants are in potential danger. This was the period of Galileo,
after all, and he was accused of being a 'heretic' for not supporting
the potency of God Al­mighty.


Spanish edition of the Malleus Maleficarum (1486) by inquisitor Heinrich Kramer.

point to note is that, before this period, witches were still
comprehended as beings that could use a technology to control the powers
of nature - shamanic; after this period, they were known as beings
that only channeled evil into the world because they were under
the control of the Evil One. They were all purely Satan's puppets and
no good could ever come from them. The Malleus Maleficarum specifically
mentions that "witchcraft is chiefly found in women because they are
more credulous and have poor memories", and because "witchcraft comes
from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable". (Sprenger and Kramer. Malleus Maleficarum. 1968, pp. 41-48.)

The political uses of these ideas should be obvious. Sprenger and Kramer, et al.,
came along and wrote books describing healthy, competent, intelligent
women as witches, and presto! Prob­lem solved. All the excess women (or
anybody, for that matter) can be gotten rid of; all the autonomous women
with property can be done away with and their property confiscated;
and, at the same time, the psychological control of men over women,
re-establishing the subservience of women to the Church, can be
accomplished in one fell swoop! (One also has to consider the
destruction of many genetic lines of powerful women - shamanic lines -
in this process, which has been ongoing, so it seems.)

One of the most distressing results of this change in attitude toward witches was the creation of witchcraft as a systematic anti-religion in the minds of its persecutors; it became the opposite of everything that Christianity - both Ca­tholic and Protestant - stood for. Witchcraft as an elaborated system of religion was unknown before the fifteenth century. (This is why modern-day reconstructions are not likely to be very accurate.) This
was a period in which a theory of supernatural demons was invented and
crystallized as an explanation for the evils that fell upon mankind.

How else to explain the Black Death which killed indiscriminately in
spite of the prayers and supplications of the priests of the Christian
church, both Catholic and Protestant?

It seems that the legends of gods fighting in the skies (the break-up of
a giant comet 13,000 years ago) were later corrupted into certain
Gnostic ideas such as the 'cosmic error'. Certainly, at a certain level,
there is duality, otherwise nothing would exist, but this Gnostic take
on things went way too far with these ideas. (See: The Other God by Stoyanov for a better understanding of Gnos­ticism, keeping in mind the work of Victor Clube and Bill Napier.)


'witch myth' was created in the late 1400s in reaction to the Black
Death - com­etary destruction on an almost unimaginable scale - and
this 'myth' consisted of a whole, coherent system of beliefs,
assumptions, rituals, and 'sacred texts' that had never existed until
this time and that were created by a couple of psychopathic accusers!
The Dominicans developed and popularized the conceptions of demonology
and witchcraft as a negative image of the so-called 'true faith', and
the Protestants were just as busy!

What all this means is that being a 'Witch' in the time of the witch
persecutions must have meant something more akin to following a dualist
belief system similar to the Cathars, being an observer of nature,
astronomy, speaking truth to power, really, more like how Burton Mack
described the early Jesus People. It probably also meant being able to
'see the unseen' in terms of cosmic, social and human energies, to 'walk
between worlds' as the Paleolithic shamans did, and to use these
abilities on behalf of other people. Perhaps the image of the witch
flying on her broom across the face of the full moon was actually a
corrupted ancient symbol of a comet with a tail personified as woman?

A comet came and nearly destroyed humanity at the end of October 13,000
years ago, and impacting debris from the same comet brought Judaism,
Christianity, Islam and, later, the imposition of Christianity on the
Western world. Later still, the same comet stream brought the Black
Death and the persecution of witches, both male and female. This
scape-goating was utilized to get rid of a lot of individuals who
threatened the status quo - the control over the masses - and that
included a great many strong, independent women. And so, today, we
associate witches with Halloween, the end of October, and the
anniversary of the destruction of nearly all life on Earth. It is just a
variation on the 'Eve ate the apple and brought about the fall in Eden'
story, created by psychopaths who hate women and all they stand for:
Creation, Nurturing and Service to Others.

Indeed. The calamities of that time - of any time - assault
religious faith. And anyone who talks about such calamities in a
reasonable and factual way as just what Nature does, and who backs it up
with scientific data, must be silenced because they threaten
the very foundation of Western Civilization: Judeo-Christianity, and
Uni­formitarianism, and Fascist control of humanity.

Laura Knight-Jadczyk is a seventh generation Floridian, a
historian/mystic and author of 13 books and many articles published in
print and on the internet. She is the founder of Sott.net and the
inspiration behind the Cassiopaean Experiment and the Eiriu Eolas
stress-reduction and rejuvenation program. She lives in France with her
husband, Polish physicist/mathematician, Arkadiusz Jadczyk, four
children, extended family, seven dogs and a cat.