Monday, October 19, 2015

Health benefits for those who stick to their knitting

(excerpted from The Sacramento Sammy Caiola -

As almost autumnal breezes rustle browning trees, a comfy couch by the hearth soon could become your regular after-work destination. But before you plop down, experts recommend you find a hand-based craft such as knitting or crocheting to keep spirits high during chilly times.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Sherlock HOlmes Book...New

We thought you might be interested in the only illustrated book that analyzes everything Sherlock Holmes, from the award-winning Big Ideas Simply Explained series.
Fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the hit film and TV shows starring Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch will love The Sherlock Holmes Book. It is packed with witty illustrations, clear graphics, and memorable quotes that make it the perfect Sherlock Holmes guide, covering every one of the world's greatest detective’s cases, from A Study in Scarlet to The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place, placing the stories in a wider context. Stories are accompanied by at-a-glance flowcharts that show how Holmes reaches his conclusions through deductive reasoning, and character guides provide handy reference for readers and an invaluable resource for fans

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Statue of Pendle Witch Alice Nutter to be commissioned

  • 15 November 2011

  • BBC News  From the section Lancashire

  • Roughlee sign
    Image caption Roughlee village is one of several in Lancashire with links to the Pendle witches
    A statue of a Lancashire woman accused of being a witch is to be placed in her former village to commemorate the 400th anniversary of her death.
    Alice Nutter was one of the Pendle witches, a group of women tried for murder by witchcraft in 1612.
    Her statue will sit in Roughlee, where she lived before being taken to Lancaster Castle for trial.
    Parish councillor James Starkie said the work would "raise awareness of the true story of the witches".
    The statue, which will be placed on Blacko Bar Road on ground donated by a descendant of Ms Nutter, is yet to be designed and the parish council has asked interested artists to get in touch.
    Strict guidelines have been set about what any sculptor should consider when designing it, including an insistence that the artwork "needs to celebrate a resident who was unfairly treated" and "should represent 1612".
    Mr Starkie said the piece, which must also include somewhere for people to sit, was "to commemorate the leaving of Roughlee village by a gentlewoman".
    The wonderful discovery of witches book
    Image caption An account of the Pendle witches was published at the time of their trials
    He said it was a chance to "move on" from her image as a witch.
    "Alice was slightly different [from the other women] - it was a case of her being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.
    The Pendle Trials were some of the most famous witch trials in English history and records show that Alice was perceived as different from the others being judged.
    She was wealthier than the rest and barely spoke at her trial, offering no plea or defence against the accusation of murdering Henry Mitton by witchcraft.
    She was found guilty and executed at Lancaster Castle on 20 August, 1612, for having bewitched to death "by devilish practices and hellish means".
    The statue of Alice Nutter is expected to be completed by April 2012 to be installed ahead of the 400th anniversary of her execution.

    'Witch's cottage' unearthed near Pendle Hill, Lancashire

    Engineers have said they were "stunned" to unearth a 17th Century cottage, complete with a cat skeleton, during a construction project in Lancashire.
    The cottage was discovered near Lower Black Moss reservoir in the village of Barley, in the shadow of Pendle Hill.
    Archaeologists brought in by United Utilities to survey the area found the building under a grass mound.
    Historians are now speculating that the well-preserved cottage could have belonged to one of the Pendle witches.
    The building contained a sealed room, with the bones of a cat bricked into the wall.
    It is believed the cat was buried alive to protect the cottage's inhabitants from evil spirits.

    'Tutankhamen's tomb'

    Carl Sanders, United Utilities' project manager, said: "It's not often you come across a fairytale cottage complete with witch's cat.
    "The building is in remarkable condition. You can walk through it and get a real sense that you're peering into the past.

    "Pendle Hill has a real aura about it, and it's hard not to be affected by the place.
    "Even before we discovered the building, there were lots of jokes from the lads about broomsticks and black cats. The find has really stunned us all."
    Simon Entwistle, an expert on the Pendle witches, said: "In terms of significance, it's like discovering Tutankhamen's tomb.
    "We are just a few months away from the 400th anniversary of the Pendle witch trials, and here we have an incredibly rare find, right in the heart of witching country. This could well be the famous Malkin Tower - which has been a source of speculation and rumour for centuries.
    "Cats feature prominently in folklore about witches. Whoever consigned this cat to such a horrible fate was clearly seeking protection from evil spirits."

    'Something special'

    United Utilities routinely brings in experts before turning the topsoil in areas believed to have archaeological significance.
    Frank Giecco, from NP Archaeology, who unearthed the building, said: "It's like discovering your own little Pompeii. We rarely get the opportunity to work with something so well preserved.
    The remains of the building
    Image caption The engineering project has been put on hold while archaeologists investigate the site
    "As soon as we started digging, we found the tops of doors, and knew we were on to something special.
    "The building is a microcosm for the rise and fall of this area, from the time of the Pendle witches to the industrial age. There are layers of local history right before your eyes."
    The engineering project has been put on hold while the archaeologists complete their investigation of the site.
    The building also contains a 19th Century kitchen range, still in its original position.
    Many artefacts from the building's latter years, such as Victorian crockery, a tin bath and a bedstead, were discovered around the site.


    The witch trial that made legal history

    By Frances Cronin BBC News

    In recent years children as young as three have given evidence in court cases, but in the past children under 14 were seen as unreliable witnesses. A notorious 17th Century witch trial changed that.
    Nine-year-old Jennet Device was an illegitimate beggar and would have been lost to history but for her role in one of the most disturbing trials on record.
    Jennet's evidence in the 1612 Pendle witch trial in Lancashire led to the execution of 10 people, including all of her own family.
    In England at that time paranoia was endemic. James l was on the throne, living in fear of a Catholic rebellion in the aftermath of Guy Fawkes' gun powder plot. The king had a reputation as an avid witch-hunter and wrote a book called Demonology.
    "It was a mandate for the British to fight witches," explains Prof Ronald Hutton from the University of Bristol.
    At the time Lancashire had a reputation for being full of trouble-makers and subversives. Jennet lived with her mother Elizabeth, her grandmother Demdike, older sister Alizon and brother James in the shadow of the Pendle hill. Villagers dubbed Demdike a "cunning woman".
    In March 1612, Alizon cursed a pedlar who would not give her any pins. The pedlar collapsed and his son reported it to an ambitious local magistrate, Roger Nowell.
    He interviewed Alizon, who confessed to bewitching the pedlar but also accused their neighbours, who the family were having a feud with, of bewitching and killing four people.
    The neighbours pointed the finger straight back at Demdike, accusing her of witchcraft.
    "Nowell was extremely zealous," says Prof Malcolm Gaskill from the University of East Anglia.
    "He sees his route to success in his career is to identify non-conformists, that could be Catholics or witches, and bring them to justice."
    He arrested Alizon, granny Demdike, as well as their neighbours Anne Whittle (also known as Chattox) and her daughter Anne Redferne.
    Jennet's mother then hosted a party on Good Friday, when all "good citizens" should have been in church. A local constable heard rumours of a meeting of witches, so arrested everyone present. The family also implicated others and all were accused of trying to plot to kill a man using witchcraft.
    Alice Nutter, from a respectable land-owning family, her sister-in-law, nephew and friend were among those arrested.
    "At that time they were a strong Catholic family. I think [Nowell] thought he would curry favour with the King and the powers that be if he was catching Catholics as well," says Colin Nutter, a descendant of Alice who still lives near the Pendle hill.
    "She was used as a pawn for his own ends really."
    In his book Demonology, James l wrote: "Children, women and liars can be witnesses over high treason against God." This influenced the justice system and led to Nowell using Jennet as his key witness.
    The clerk of the court, Thomas Potts, wrote a book of all the notes he made of the trial, which became a bestseller and spread the story far and wide.
    In The Wonderful Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster, Potts recounted how Jennet's mother Elizabeth screamed out when her daughter entered the court. Jennet demanded her mother be removed and then climbed on a table and calmly denounced her as a witch.
    Her convincing evidence was believed by the jury and after a two-day trial all her family and most of her neighbours were found guilty of causing death or harm by witchcraft.
    The day after they were hanged at Gallows Hill.
    But Jennet's influence went far beyond Lancashire. Thomas Potts' writings and Jennet's evidence were included in a reference handbook for magistrates, The Country Justice.
    The book was used by all magistrates, including those in the colonies in America, and led them to seek the testimony of children in trials of witchcraft.
    So at the notorious Salem witch trials in 1692, most of the evidence was given by children. Nineteen people were hanged.
    There had been earlier cases of children being witnesses in witch trials, but the law stated those under 14 were not credible witnesses because they could not be sworn under oath. Jennet's testimony changed all that.
    Today children of any age can be called to give evidence as their competence depends upon their understanding not their age.
    Ultimately though, Jennet fell victim to the very precedent she set herself in 1633.
    Twenty years after the trial she too was accused of witchcraft along with 16 others by 10-year-old Edmund Robinson.
    They were found guilty by a jury but the judges were not happy and it was referred to the Privy Council. England had become more sceptical over time and physical evidence was demanded.
    Edmund eventually admitted lying because of the stories he had heard about the Pendle witch trial.
    The last known record of Jennet Device was in 1636.
    Despite having been acquitted she was not allowed to leave Lancaster Castle until she had paid for her board for the time she had spent there on trial. For someone like Jennet, that could have been impossible.

    Sunday, October 4, 2015

    New title just published....

    My latest book, Out of the Cauldron, is now on Amazon as an ebook and a print version.

     Here's a blurb:

    “All witchcraft comes from (desires), which in women is insatiable…Wherefore for the sake of fulfilling their (desires) they consort even with devils.”

    There was a time in Europe when one could detect the sickening smell of roasted flesh throughout the countryside; when a ride through a town included dead bodies hanging from trees and scaffolds in the town square; a time when distrust and finger pointing were the staples of neighbors, siblings, and even a best friend; when screams of pain and torment could be heard above the cacophony of village life. This was a time when thousands of people, most of them women, were accused of witchcraft, of loving the Devil, of taking part in sabbats, of flying through the air on their broomsticks, of putting curses on those they didn't like, and of kidnapping babies from their cradles. The Catholic Church and men of power were the major contributors to this extermination; and with the addition of superstition and general ignorance, you had a perfect but tragic picture of one of the worst holocausts in history.
    Out of the Cauldron includes quotes from the Malleus Malificarum or the Witches Bible, one of the most important sources of information for witch-hunters, in addition to quotes from other important works including the Bible.

    The print version has more than 20 pictures of woodcuts from Medieval time, depicting the lives of the people at this time, however, the ebook version does not.

    If you read it, please leave me a review...thanks.

    Radiant II Art Course

    Hi, Art Lovers and Doers....just want to tell you about a wonderful online course in art journaling.  It will run until May 2016 and is chock full of lessons and videos from active multi-media artists.  Very excited to begin this course.  Will let you know from time to time what is happening.  Meanwhile go to the link and learn about this lovely person, Effy, and the incredible course she has designed.