People Who Still Believe In Witchcraft

Burning old women at the stake as witches is a pleasantry no longer indulged in, even in Salem, but belief in witchcraft is not altogether dead. Only a few months ago a woman in Jersey City had a neighbor haled to court on the charge of pretending to possess powers of evil and threatening to use them unless paid to desist. As the complainant had suffered a streak of bad luck, in spite of paying to ward it off, her belief in her friend, whom she called a witch, was cruelly shattered.

More recently a woman living near Butler, Penn., was accused of being a witch. Mrs. Laupaule Orber was the victim of this ancient superstition. She was charged by Mrs. Julia Kroner, a farmer’s wife, with having gone to the Kroner barn and “casting a spell” over a cow so as to prevent her giving milk. Mrs. Kroner openly made the charge of witchcraft in court, but the Judge refused to consider it other than one of disorderly conduct. On this ground Mrs. Orber was found guilty and fined $5.

Sadly, there are still parts of the world where accusations of witchcraft still hold legal weight. Saudi Arabia even has an Anti-Witchcraft Unit. (Am I the only one who thinks that would make a great CSI spinoff?)

PEOPLE WHO STILL BELIEVE IN WITCHCRAFT: Instances of a Superstition Recalling Bygone Days in Salem. (PDF)

From July 30, 1911

One response to “People Who Still Believe In Witchcraft”

  1. I found wire service blurbs appearing in several newspapers in May 1909 referring to the Laupaule Orber case. However I haven’t been able to find any other records (like censuses) that mention a Laupaule Orber or Julia Kroner living anywhere near Butler PA at the time. The wire service articles might actually have been a hoax that they fell for or even perpetrated.
    I was able to find census records with an Abel Spiva living in McDonough County, Illinois.
    On an interesting side note, the 10 Dec. 1911 Duluth News-Tribune ran a story “Queer Revival of Belief in Witchcraft” that plagiarized most of the wording of this article.


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