'Tis the season to be scary. At least, it is if you're into historic witch trials retold in real time. Richard Osmond, a medieval food historian, poet, and mushroom forager, is doing just that with his @witchcourt Twitter account. His tweets are grim and occasionally darkly funny retellings of historic witch trials. They look something like this.
Osmond tells BuzzFeed that he draws a lot of the information from historical records. "The demand for gore and morbid stories was the same in the 1500s and 1600s as it is today, so sensational accounts of the supposed doings of witches were very popular. There are lots of pamphlets and books documenting the accusations and trials of witches. I read through them, and untangle the stories, which are often told in quite confusing ways." He further tells Buzzfeed that his fascination with herbal remedies drew him to the accounts initially. "The witch trial docs didn’t turn out to contain a lot of information about herbal magic, but the few fragments they do have are incredibly vivid. For example, one witch allegedly made a powder to rot someone’s guts, make their teeth fall out and drive them mad. The three ingredients were the herbs dill and vervain picked from under snow, and her own fingernails, trimmed while sitting inside a chalk circle." For the rest of the interview, including a truly horrifying story about a witch conversion, click here.