The hysterical witch hunt spread in 1590 from Europe to Britain. James VI. From Scotland, later James I of England, was the principal royal witch hunter. He even published Daemonology (literally the science of demons) to ignite the passion of the witch hunters. James described witchcraft as "high treason against God," which meant that all kinds of horrors were justified in order to obtain confessions from the defendants.  Many of the principles that determined the witch trials in Salem a century later were burned in the flames of perhaps 4,000 witches who were executed in the relatively small country of Scotland.
It seemed as if almost any statement or evidence, absurd as it may be, could be used to condemn those that are perceived as unpleasant in society. The following are the ten most disbelieving reasons to be condemned as a witch and sentenced to death.
0 Guilty by levitation
We begin our witch hunt in the small village of Milton in Bedfordshire, the year is 1613. Two horses pulling a cart with corn were frightened on the road by a black pig. The sow is said to be whirling around in the street, and the horses are racing off. The servants succeeded in catching and calming the animals, but on their return the same happened! The sow later entered the house where Mother and Mary Sutton lived. The gossip spread quickly and reached the landowner Enger. His 7-year-old son took it upon himself to throw stones at Mary, whom she called a witch. Days later the boy died.
Enger accused Mary and her mother and decided to prove their guilt by swimming. First, she was dipped in the dam with a rope around her waist and only slightly sank. Unhappy with it, they put their thumbs to the opposite big toes and swam them a second time. She sprang around as if caught in a whirlpool and floated  – proving that she was indeed a witch. When we turn a woman into a wheel, she has to turn like a wheel! Mother and Mary were found guilty of witchcraft and hanged on April 7, 1613.
Agnes Sampson was a respected healer and midwife. But in 1592 she became involved in the witch hunt of North Berwick. The return journey of James VI. His new Danish wife suffered from storms. These were attributed too much witchcraft and conspiracy with the devil to assassinate the king.
Torture and sleep deprivation were used to extract the confession. Sampson was held captive with an instrument called a witch's bridle: four prongs were placed in his mouth and then attached to a wall-mounted device.  Agnes was one of about 70 people who had been witchcraft. (Anyone who has braces can understand that they say something to stop them.) She was strangled to death and her body was burned.
8 A Child's Testimony
Imagine, the next time your child hates you for limiting the Xbox time, if they have the power to sentence you to their death. This is exactly how 1012 people in Pendle, Lancashire, experienced their fate in 1612. Jennet Device lived with her mother Elizabeth, grandmother Demike, older sister Alizon and her brother James. Demike liked the villagers not least for their unfortunate appearance of one eye, one eye looking in different directions. When Alizon cursed a peddler, who then collapsed, many eager fingers pointed at her and Demike.
Jennet Device entered the court where her grandmother Demike and sister Alizon were accused of witchcraft. Her mother Elizabeth yelled at Jennet and brought the little girl to tears. Jennet demanded the removal of her mother. Then she got on the table and gave a calm and convincing testimony. "My mother is a witch and I know she is true. I saw her ghost in the shape of a brown dog she called Ball. 
The court believed her and condemned her entire family and many of the neighbors to death by witchcraft. The day after they were hanged at Gallows Hill.
7 Witchfinder General
A heart is engraved on a window of Tuesday Market Place # 17, Kings Lynn. This is the place where Margaret Read's heart struck the wall after being blown out of her chest at the moment of death by burning. The heart then made its way to the nearby river Ouse and sank amidst the wild bubbling water. Margaret had been convicted as a witch.
About sixty years later, in the same part of East Anglia, Matthew Hopkins, the witchfinder general,  was paid by witches for cleaning up the cities. In addition to torture and sleep disorders, Hopkins also used a spike to test scars or nipples to see if they were immune to pain. This would indicate that the person had nursed the devil. However, the test was grossly unfair as the 3-inch needle was actually retracted under pressure into the spring-loaded handle. How ironic that a heartless charlatan received £ 20 (at a time when the workers' average wage was 2 pence) for condemning the poor – we would not allow that today, right?
We all judge people by the nature of their pet, and some owners even look like their pets. But what if your pet is a black cat called Rutterkin, could that kind of familiar give you the label to be a witch? And so the witches of Belvoir were sentenced in 1690 for working with family members.
Joan Flower and her two daughters Margaret and Philippa worked at Belvoir Castle until Margaret was released for theft. Not long after, the whole family fell ill and Earl Heinrich's eldest son died. The count and the countess were convinced the three women were guilty and sent them to Lincoln Prison. Joan did not confess and demanded that bread and butter be brought so that she would suffocate if she were not innocent. After a sip, she fell dead! At this point, her daughters quickly became witchcraft with incantations and the familiar Rutterkin. They were convicted and hanged.  We suggest a dog for your next pet!
5 Vicious Kiss
On a cold night in Cork, Ireland, an old woman named Florence Newton asked for a piece of bread from John Pyne. She was rejected and sent home by maid Mary Longdon. A while later, Florence picked up laundry with a bucket of laundry, threw the bucket off her head, and kissed her violently. She said, "Maria, I beg you, leave you and I'm a friend. because I can not bear you any evil will. 
Soon thereafter, Maria experienced seizures and trance, vomiting even needles, pins, horse nails, wool and straw. Newton was tried for witchcraft. One of the tests she had to do was to recite the Lord's Prayer for which she was struggling. Her prison guard Davy Jones helped her learn the prayer, and in gratitude she kissed his hand. Davy died a few weeks later and cursed the kiss.
The records of the result are lost, but it is likely that she was sentenced to death.
4 The Lord's Prayer Can not Be Recited
The last witch to be sentenced to death in England in 1712 was Jane Wenham, the witch of Walkern. Once again, the inability to recite the Lord's Prayer was exploited against them. She allegedly struggled to say the words "forgive us our guilt" and "do not tempt us" during her interrogation.  Their prosecutors stabbed them with a needle to the head, but instead of drawing blood only a watery liquid was produced. This was a sure sign of guilt.
Attitudes began to change, and Judge John Powell was particularly skeptical of reports of witchcraft. He sympathized with the old woman and dismissed allegations of flying by claiming that there is no law against it. The jury still found Jane guilty of the witchcraft that was the death sentence. However, Powell suspended the verdict, and over time Jane may have received a royal pardon from Queen Anne herself.
3 Condemned by Roof Tile
If you thought you had heard the most absurd tests of witchcraft, how about a roof tile condemnation? It was 1586 in Faversham, Kent, when Sarah Cook's daughter Jane became ill. She was instructed to remove a tile from the woman's roof, which she suspected was her responsibility. This tile should be placed in the fire where it "sparkles and flies around the cradle". The worried mother took a slide from her neighbor, Joan Cason, and the ritual turned out to be positive. To further aggravate her guilt, Joan's visit to her child's health led to catastrophic consequences. Jane died just hours after she had looked Joan in the face.
The jury in their trial tried to show leniency by acquitting them of murder and convicting them only of conjuring spirits. However, one attending lawyer denied the charge of summoning ghosts and Joan was still hanged three days later.  Should not the roofers have been accused of using inferior bricks?
2 Too brave is a woman
Janet Forsyth was a woman with a talent for predicting the weather. But in 1627 this would not be a glamorous television career! One morning, after a premonition, she asked her sweetheart Benjamin Garrioch not to go to sea. However, the fisherman set off despite their warning. A dense fog rose and everyone was lost. Janet was branded a witch and spent her days becoming increasingly isolated.
Years later, a ship off Westray was discovered in trouble. Janet gathered the village for support to help them, but they were more interested in the ship breaking and leaving its cargo on the beach. Undeterred, Janet steered her small boat with one hand to help the ship and bring it to the safety of Pierowall Bay.  This act of courage sealed their fate, it was inconceivable that a mere woman could be capable of such an act. The story was sentenced to death for witchcraft and has one last turn. On the day of the execution, the dungeon she was in was empty. The romantic conclusion is that her lover, thinking lost, had actually invaded the navy. He had returned just in time to allow her to escape.
1 Reverse Writing
The passion for persecuting witches left Wales far behind and their courts were so full of criminals that the persecution of witches was considered a luxury. In total there were five executions in Wales for witchcraft.  The first of these was Gwen Ferch Ellis in 1594. Gwen was a woman with a reputation for healing, but could she use her powers for the sick as well? If she had kept to herself, she probably would have gone unnoticed.
Her mistake was crossing social boundaries. The crime she took to court left a spell, a poem written backwards, in the salon of one of the local lords. It was seen as a sign of harming the household. She had a chance to escape, but was relentless that she had not done anything wrong. Many of the people whose charms had helped testify against them. She was found guilty and hanged.
An aspiring writer currently working on a first novel. Lives in Shrewsbury, England.