The Weird Sisters’ Prophecy

First Witch:
When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Second Witch:
When the hurly-burly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.

Third Witch
:
That will be ere the set of sun.

MacBeth-3Witches

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth, Act I, scene i, c. 1605.

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The White Witch of Narnia

My favourite character in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the White Witch right from the start. I first read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a pre-teen, and I remember trudging through the first few chapters, until I got to the ice queen. Once she was introduced, I couldn’t read faster, and I remember reading through it quicker than I had read any other books at that time. This experience of loving a book because of an intriguing, elegant and plot-motivating character definitely taught me that reading books is amazing and unlike anything else!

 

Book
Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Geoffrey Bles, 1950.

Film
Adamson, Andrew. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, 2005.

HALLOWE’EN TIME!

Woo hoo — it’s finally Hallowe’en season, my favourite time of year! The smell of autumn leaves on cool mornings with ghosts, witches and skeletons hanging off porches and fences in the neighbourhood. Sigh. Couldn’t get better.

My favourite magazine Rue Morgue is celebrating its 20th Hallowe’en issue and published a great collection of essays on witches, horror books and films, and more. So, I guess, yeah, it could get better. I have been reading Rue Morgue for about a year or two now, and the newest issue features many more articles and reviews on horror books, fiction and non-fiction. I love it! It’s also got its regular meat of horror gore and film, which only makes it more enjoyable.

If you haven’t yet, definitely check it out! Happy Hallowe’en!

Rue Morgue #178 Sep/Oct Halloween Special Issue 2017

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Famous Witch: Catherine Monvoisin, aka La Voisin

(Paris vers 1640-Paris 1680).

Fille de M. Deshayes et épouse d’Antoine Monvoisin, elle était à la fois sage-femme, avorteuse, devineresse et sorcière. Consultée par des personnes de haut rang, elle fut compromise dans l’affaire des Poisons, condamnée par la Chambre ardente et brûlée vive (22 février 1680).

– from Larousse

Catherine Monvoisin (maiden name Catherine Deshayes, and popularly known as “La Voisin”), was a French sorceress, who was one of the chief personages in the infamous “affaire des poisons” which disgraced the reign of Louis XIV.

Her husband, Monvoisin, was an unsuccessful jeweller, and she took to practising divination techniques such as chiromancy and face-reading in order to retrieve her and her husband’s fortunes. She gradually added the practice of witchcraft, in which she had the help of a renegade priest, Etienne Guibourg, whose part was the celebration of the “black mass,” a parody of the Christian mass.

La Voisin was eventually caught up in the Poison Affair (“L’affaire des poisons”), a murder scandal in France during the reign of King Louis XIV which launched a period of hysterical pursuit of murder suspects, during which a number of prominent people and members of the aristocracy were implicated and sentenced for poisoning and witchcraft.

The furor began in 1675 after the trial of Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite d’Aubray, the Marquise de Brinvilliers, who was forced to confess to poisoning her father and siblings. She was sentenced to death and, after torture with the water cure (being forced to drink sixteen pints of water), was beheaded and burned at the stake. This case drew attention to a number of other mysterious deaths, and many fortune-tellers and alchemists suspected of selling not only divinations, séances and aphrodisiacs, but also “inheritance powders” (i.e. poison), were rounded up and tried.

La Voisin’s testimony implicated a number of important individuals in the French court, particularly the king’s mistress, the Marquise de Montespan, who she claimed had bought aphrodisiacs and performed black masses with her in order to gain the king’s favour. La Voisin was convicted of witchcraft and poisoning and was burned in public on the Place de Grève in the centre of Paris in 1680.

– from Witchcraft and Witches

catherine-monvoisin

Horror Cinema: Suspiria

Movie review
Dario Argento’s Suspiria

I watched my first Italian horror movie last night. I began with Suspiria. The soundtrack was the highlight of the movie. The music made the simplest of scenes terrifying, and reminded me of Kubrick’s The Shining. It was obvious to me that Kubrick liked this movie, and I discovered that he is not nearly as original as I had thought. The deaths throughout Suspiria were satisfyingly gory, and the plot about a coven of witches was just good enough to keep the gore moving while not bogging the narrative down with explanations. This movie is one of a trilogy about witches by director Dario Argento. I’m looking forward to seeing the other two, Inferno and The Mother of Tears.