Two Roman Catholic inquisitors, Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, wrote a lengthy text that encompassed the church’s view of witchcraft and other demonic forces in 15th-century Europe. Their text, encouraged by the corrupt Pope Innocent VIII, was published around 1487 under the title, The Malleus Maleficarum. The infamous treatise served as the go-to guide for inquisitors and witch-hunters for several centuries.
In the book, the inquisitors wrote about their own experiences, as well as other stories that they heard from their fellow inquisition members. One of the recurring objects they found in supposed witchcraft spells and charms was a favorite culinary staple—the egg. Apparently, the churchmen (and the accused witches) believed that a chicken egg could be used to inflict a target with epilepsy.
The spell could supposedly be brought about in numerous ways. The inquisitors listed out only a few of these methods of delivery in part 2, question 1, chapter 12 of their text. According to them, cursing a victim with epilepsy could be achieved with as much ease as nefariously adding egg to a person’s food or drink. If a witch wanted to have a more dramatic flair, the spell could also apparently be done by breaking into a grave and leaving an egg with a dead body. Not all corpses were equal, though; the body of a witch would allegedly bring about the most powerful results.
Written by C. Keith Hansley.
Picture Attribution: (Egg basket [Public Domain] via maxpixel.net).
- The Malleus Maleficarum by Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, translated by Montague Summers (Dover Publications, 1971).