I write about ghosts, but sometimes I write about witches.
While historians once claimed the estimated death toll for people (mostly women) convicted and executed for the charge of witchcraft over the centuries was in the millions, recent studies have brought those numbers down to about 60,000 with 80% being women. While not in the millions, it’s still chilling.
One of those infamous Witch Judges—the one whose ruling set the foundation for the Salem Witch trials—was Sir Matthew Hale, a 17th century jurist. As a judge he had two innocent women executed after he charged them with witchcraft. How do I know they were innocent? Because there are no such things as witches.
While people today may claim to be witches, the witches Matthew Hale went after were the ones he believed were in league with the devil, cast spells, and could visit people in their dreams. (Or as Danielle of Haunting Danielle calls it, dream hop.)
How did Hale help set the foundation for the horrifying Salem witch trials? They used his legal opinion which recommended allowing spectral evidence. That’s basically when the witness says they had a “dream” about the accused cursing them.
I suspect if one looks up misogynist in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Hale. He condoned marital rape, basically claimed the husband owned his wife’s body. Hale also encouraged husbands to beat their wives. He said they needed it.
Why am I bringing up Sir Matthew Hale? It’s because our SCOTUS seems to think his legal opinion has value.
The “eminent common-law” authorities cited in the SCOTUS recent draft to overturn Roe VS Wade includes Hale. They are using the opinions of some 17th Century misogynist who participated in witch trials to help justify their ruling. Seriously? Is this where our supreme court is headed?
The fact Hale openly based his legal opinions on his religious beliefs should be enough for our SCOTUS to toss out anything Hale had to say. After all, isn’t our First Amendment supposed to keep the church out of our government? I guess not. Not with this court.
Those two women Hale had executed—during the trial he reminded the jurors that witches existed—the Bible told him so. It’s also his interpretation of the Bible that led him to condone marital rape and encourage beating of wives.
I find it appalling that when justifying their ruling, the SCOTUS majority believed it acceptable invoking the opinions of someone who not only based his legal opinions on his religious beliefs, but someone who clearly hated women.
Oh, I forgot to mention, and this has nothing to do with witches. But the draft had another disturbing passage that jumped out at me.
“…the domestic supply of infants relinquished at birth or within the first month of life and available to be adopted had become virtually nonexistent.”
My first response, WTF? Are newborn infants now a commodity? And do they seriously expect women who don’t want a baby to act as brood mare and supply the shortage? Sounds a little like human trafficking to me. I don’t know why they included that bit of information in the report unless they do believe vulnerable women, such as those brutalized, traumatized, and pregnant from rape, can now be forced to fill this shortage. Like I said, sounds like human trafficking to me.
Considering we have over 400,000 children currently in foster care, shouldn’t we be getting them adopted?
Rather than looking for who leaked this chilling brief, I think we need to have a closer look at what our justices are basing their rulings on. From this brief, it seems they find it appropriate to use someone who clearly loathed women and who was willing to execute a woman because her neighbor had a bad dream about her.