all OF THEM WITCHES

Bego Anton

2017 - Ongoing

Basque Country, Spain

Surely there was no magical ointment or flying brooms, there were no dressed toads nor women who became a cat to fly to the Akelarres. And yet, this is the world that women accused of witchcraft described to the inquisitors when they made them confess by torture and threats.

The Witch-Hunt started in the Basque Country because of the existence of women who collected different plants and wild fruits aware of their healing properties. They were, therefore, healers. Also midwives, and, sometimes, soothsayers. They were independent and wise women very advanced for the time they lived in. For all these virtues, they ended up being victims of their neighbours, who found in them the explanation for their physical and moral evils. They were a threat to the Church, which saw its belief system threaten and answered by sending them to the stake. There was never any evidence of the existence of Akelarres or magical ointments and the wave of witches disappeared when people stopped taking about them after the 'Silence Edict'.

I started this project from a personal necessity to demystify and raise the story of these women who were unfairly persecuted. By giving them their real names and telling concrete personal stories, we make them come to life and be seen as the real women they were. I have researched the original documents written by the Spanish inquisitors where names and evidence is given, recreating those very concrete situations. They were accused of infanticide and then of eating those children in feasts full of filthy food, destroying harvests, causing storms, taking part in disgraceful orgies where everyone had sex with everyone (even with the Devil), making ointments with dead animals and plants to kill others or even having a personal toad that helped them metamorphose into any other animal and fly from the Basque Country to Terranova in the blink of an eye.

I have the feeling, even if things obviously change and everything evolves, that History repeats itself over and over again.

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