Explore Scotland’s Witch Hunts With This Interactive Map

Photos.com/iStock via Getty Images
Photos.com/iStock via Getty Images

Ever wished that all the information on Scottish witch hunts was compiled into one convenient, interactive map that you could explore at your leisure? Your wish just came true, courtesy of some diligent researchers at the University of Edinburgh.

According to Smithsonian.com, the map combines data from a previous project called the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft with new findings from historical records, and covers 3141 cases of witchcraft from the 16th through the 18th centuries. For some cases, all we know is the alleged witch’s name and place of residence, but others contain a wealth of detail that sheds light on both the process of witch hunting and the rationale behind the persecution.

Scotland witch trials interactive map
University of Edinburgh

A few events fueled the rampant suspicion and prosecution of so-called witches during that time period. In 1563, the Scottish parliament passed an act that proclaimed witchcraft a capital offense. In the following decades, King James VI ardently encouraged witch-hunting, and even wrote a treatise advocating for strong prosecution of purported witches.

When you look at the cases themselves, many of the magical accusations are vague at best, and mixed in with relatively normal behavior. Isobel Young, for example, supposedly exhibited “odd magical characteristics,” along with “patterns of verbal and sometimes physical aggression.” And healer Janet Boyman was charged with “[appealing] to elvish spirits in hopes of curing a sick man,” and also gave birth to five children without feeling any pain.

Though some of the cases do involve male defendants, most of the victims were women, which historian Steven Katz attributes to “the enduring grotesque fears” of women’s “abilities to control men and thereby coerce, for their own ends, male-dominated Christian society.”

In addition to showing just how prevalent witch hunts were across Scotland, the map also serves as a way to spotlight these often overlooked stories of injustice.

“There is a very strong feeling out there that not enough has been done to inform people about the women who were accused of being witches in Scotland,” Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence at the University of Edinburgh, told The Scotsman. “Being able to plot these on a map really brings it home.”

Would you have qualified as a witch in the 1600s? Find out here.

[h/t Smithsonian.com]

Werner Doehner, the Last Survivor of the Hindenburg, Has Died at 90

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The Hindenburg disaster signaled the end of the Airship Era and the rise of Nazi Germany. As The New York Times reports, Werner G. Doehner, the last surviving passenger of the historic crash, died on November 8 at age 90.

Doehner was just 8 years old when he boarded the Hindenburg with his father, mother, brother, and sister in early May 1937. The family made up five of the 97 passengers and crew members who took the three-day flight from Germany to the United States.

In New Jersey, the German airship's voyage was cut short: It erupted into a ball of flame during its descent, an accident that likely resulted from static electricity igniting a hydrogen leak. Werner Doehner spent several months in a hospital with severe burns on his arms, legs, and face. His father and sister were among the 36 people who perished in the tragedy.

Doehner went on to live a long life. After the disaster, he returned with his surviving family to Mexico City, the place were he grew up. He continued to live there with his wife Elin and his son Bernie until 1984, when he moved to the United States with his family to work as an engineer for General Electric. Bernie Doehner shared that his father didn't like to talk about his memories of the Hindenburg disaster—though they did make a solemn visit to the site of the crash when Bernie was an adolescent.

Werner Doehner died of complications related to pneumonia earlier this month in Laconia, New Hampshire. He had been the youngest passenger on board the Hindeburg's final voyage, and at age 90, he was the last remaining survivor.

[h/t The New York Times]

61 Festive Facts About Thanksgiving

jenifoto/iStock via Getty Images
jenifoto/iStock via Getty Images

From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to back-to-back NFL games, there are certain Thanksgiving traditions that you’re probably familiar with, even if your own celebration doesn’t necessarily include them. But how much do you really know about the high-calorie holiday?

To give you a crash course on the history of Thanksgiving and everything we associate with it, WalletHub compiled stats from the U.S. Census Bureau, the American Farm Bureau Association, Harris Poll, and more into one illuminating infographic. Featured facts include the date Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday (October 3, 1863) and the percentage of Americans whose favorite dish is turkey (39 percent).

Not only is it interesting to learn how the majority of Americans celebrate the holiday, it also might make you feel better about how your own Thanksgiving usually unfolds. If you’re frantically calling the Butterball Turkey hotline for help on how to cook a giant bird, you’re not alone—the hotline answers more than 100,000 questions in November and December. And you’re in good company if your family forgoes the home-cooked meal altogether, too: 9 percent of Americans head to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner.

It’s also a great way to fill in the blanks of your Thanksgiving knowledge. You might know that the president ceremoniously pardons one lucky turkey every year, but do you know which president kicked off the peculiar practice? It was George H.W. Bush, in 1989.

Read on to discover the details of America’s most delicious holiday below, and find out why we eat certain foods on Thanksgiving here.


Source: WalletHub

[h/t WalletHub]