I came across The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch while browsing for a horror movie to stream on Apple TV. The image of the little girl with the snake face in the trailer had me interested. When I started it, I had low expectations because it reminded me of Obayashi’s House, which was a major disappointment for me.
The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch turned out to be excellent, and I highly recommend it. The supernatural aspects throughout the movie were clever plays on the protagonist’s childish imagination, and the movie’s narrative was captivating and rewarding in the end.
Yuasa, Noriaki. The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, Daiei, 1968.
Anna Göldin was the last to be sentenced in Europe as a witch. She died decapitated on 13 June 1782 in Glarus, Switzerland.
Forty-six years old, she worked as a maid for a renowned physicist, Johann Jakob Tschudi, a married man and the father of five girls. He accused her of putting needles in his daughter’s bowl of milk and bread after his daughter fell ill. The alleged witch ran away, but she was eventually imprisoned by the authorities and subjected to torture.
In her confession, she admitted to seeing the Devil in the form of a black dog, who presumably ordered her to mistreat the girl.
In 2006, a journalist uncovered previously unpublished evidence and the truth was revealed: Anna threatened to reveal that Johann Jakob Tschudi had been sexually attacking her. He accused her of witchcraft to shut her up. In 2008, the Swiss parliament found Anna Göldin not guilty of witchcraft.
Mother Shipton was a feared and highly regarded English prophetess of the 16th century. Born to a mother who was also suspected to be a witch, Mother Shipton was described as hideously ugly and disfigured—so much so that the locals called her “Hag Face” and believed her father to be the Devil.
Despite her unfortunate appearance, she was said to have been England’s greatest clairvoyant and was often compared to her male contemporary Nostradamus. According to legend, she had predicted the Spanish Armada, the Great Plague of London, the Great Fire of London, the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, and some even speculate, the Internet: “around the world thoughts shall fly in the twinkling of an eye.”
Mother Shipton did not die by fire or sword like so many accused witches before and after her. Instead, she died a peaceful death and is said to have been buried on unholy ground on the outer edges of York around 1561.
Scrying (also called crystal gazing, crystal seeing, seeing, or peeping) is the ancient act of divination for the purpose of clairvoyance. It is usually achieved by concentrating on or staring at an object having a shiny surface until a vision appears.
A formerly widespread tradition held that young women, gazing into a mirror in a darkened room (often on Halloween) could catch a glimpse of their future husband’s face in the mirror or a skull personifying Death, if their fate was to die before they married.
Visit Occult World: Scrying to learn more about this ancient art of divination, including how to do it yourself.