In the 1430s, a small group of writers in Central Europe – church inquisitors, theologians, lay magistrates and even one historian – began to describe horrific assemblies where witches gathered and worshiped demons, had orgies, ate murdered babies and performed other abominable acts. Whether any of these authors ever met each other is unclear, but they all described groups of witches supposedly active in a zone around the western Alps.
The reason for this development may have been purely practical. Church inquisitors, active against religious heretics since the 13th century, and some secular courts were looking to expand their jurisdictions. Having a new and particularly horrible crime to prosecute might have struck them as useful.
I just translated a number of these early texts for a forthcoming book and was struck by how worried the authors were about readers not believing them. One fretted that his accounts would be “disparaged” by those who “think themselves learned.” Another feared that “simple folk” would refuse to believe the “fragile sex” would engage in such terrible practices.
Trial records show it was a hard sell. Most people remained concerned with harmful magic – witches causing illness or withering crops. They didn’t much care about secret satanic gatherings.
Here’s the interesting thing for me about all this. And the reason why I think it’s an important topic, okay. And that is we have things flying over our military bases and places where we’re conducting military exercises, and we don’t know what it is, and it isn’t ours. So that’s the legitimate question to ask. I would say that, frankly, that if it’s something outside from outside this planet, that might actually be better than the fact that we’ve seen some technological leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians or some other adversary that allows them to conduct this sort of activity. But the bottom line is, there are things flying over your military bases, and you don’t know what they are, because they’re not yours. And they exhibit potentially technologies that you don’t have at your own disposal. That to me is a national security risk and one that we should be looking into. And so that’s the premise I begin with.
Is this Canada’s first “mask murder”?
Those who keep up with coronavirus-related news in the US probably remember an incident that transpired a few months ago where a security guard at a Family Dollar store in Michigan was shot and killed after asking a customer to put on a mask. But a similar incident that occurred more than a month later, where police shot and killed a man after he refused to wear his mask, got much less attention outside of the local press.
Well, this week, Canada one of its first samples of mask-related violence when police shot and killed a man in Ontario after he refused to put on a mask.
According to the CBC, Ontario’s police watchdog unit is investigating an incident where two officers shot and killed a 73-year-old man in Haliburton County on Wednesday morning. Right before the killing, the man had refused to wear a mask and allegedly assaulted a grocery store employee before driving off, according to a statement from the Ontario police that leaves out most of the details about how the shooting transpired.
Initially, police were called to a Valu-Mart in Minden, Ontario, just after 8am local time, according to OPP Sgt. Jason Folz, who spoke with the CBC.
When the suspect left the scene after officers arrived, police refrained from trying to stop him after he drove off “in the interest of public safety”. Instead, they took down his license plate, and showed up at his house later.
Two officers later visited the man at his home in Minden on Indian Point Road, the SIU said.
Outside the home, an unspecified “interaction” ensued, and two police officers fired their guns at the man. The Ontario Police SIU (the unit that handles press) said that after the shooting, the officers called in “additional resources”, which were brought to the area near Eagle Lake, by the village of Haliburton.
The shooting victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead a couple of hours later. Officers recovered a pistol and a semi-automatic rifle from the scene, but it’s not clear whether the man had brandished them at the police, or whether he was unarmed during the encounter.
As of Friday, investigators have thoroughly searched the scene, and an autopsy report is expected (though the findings aren’t really in doubt).
But if the man attacked the officers first, why didn’t they just say that?