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28 October 2014

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You are in: Guernsey > History > Folklore > Guernsey's sorcerers


Where the witches hung out.

Guernsey's sorcerers

Witchcraft is said to abound in the island. Both black and white witches are said to practice in Guernsey.

The white witches were said to use the craft solely for the benefit of other people.

They also claimed to help other islanders break curses and spells put on them by black witches.

The black witches were said to practice ritual witchcraft. They held assemblies and covens to summon demons and devils.

The black witches were said to be led by an unknown person, who often disguised himself as an animal.

Although the leader changed, it was always known as the Devil.

Reports say they usually disguised themselves as cats and goats.

Guernsey witches were said to be more clever than their English counterparts.

Rather than riding around on "clumsy" broomsticks, they preferred just to use their invisible fairy wings!

The Catioroc

The headland beteen L'Eree and Perelle has had a long association with witchcraft.

Known as the Catioroc, it's believed to be the meeting place for the islands witches and wizards.

The island's spell casters were said to meet there on a Friday night after dark, which was known then as "le Sabbat des Sorciers".

It is said that many of Guernsey's oldest and best known families have associations with sorciers.

Some were even said to be sorciers by inheritance.

Many years ago there was a priory on Lihou Island which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Guernsey's witches were said to be irratated by it and dreaded it. They often moved to Rocquaine if the force from the priory disrupted their spells.

Witches and wizards were also said to meet at Les Eturs, four times weekly and at the Longfrie crossroads.

The end of the witches

In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII, declared that witchcraft was heresy and a war was declared against the witches and wizards.

Anyone suspected of being a witch or wizard was persecuted and often tortured into making confessions.

Convicted criminals and young children could give evidence and any lawyer who supported the person accused was often marked as suspect.

Anyone convicted was then burnt alive at the bottom of Tower Hill in St Peter Port.

In an 80 year period from 1560 to 1640, 44 people were burnt at the stake and 35 were banished from the island for life.

It's said these methods drove many of the witches even further underground and meant the island's sorciers stopped writing down their art.

last updated: 03/04/2008 at 16:10
created: 21/07/2004

You are in: Guernsey > History > Folklore > Guernsey's sorcerers

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