During the Roermond witch trials in the Spanish Netherlands, Kael Merrie, a Dutch woman, was accused of paralyzing a pig, preventing milk from being churned into butter, and making children sick. The Roermond witch trials, directed by Catholic Spaniards, were the largest of the Netherlands.
In historical witchcraft trials, a woman’s body would often be searched for a “witch’s mark” to prove her guilt – the mark the authorities were looking for was an extra teat or nipple used for suckling animal familiars and the Devil himself. Any kind of mole, wart, or discolouration of the skin could be declared a witch’s mark, as well as the naturally-occurring fleshy bumps beneath the tongue and between the folds of the labia. Small scars or wounds were also sometimes classed as incriminating, taken as proof of a witch’s attempt to evade discovery by cutting off her teat.
Image: Examination of a Witch – Tompkins Harrison Mattleson, 1853
“Breast-ripper, a weapon of torture specifically targeting women in the witch hunts, from the Palacio de la Inquisición in Cartagena, Colombia. This was one of the major American centers of the Spanish Inquisition in the Americas, along with Lima and Mexico City. (The Portuguese Inquisition had others in Brazil.) In the German witch hunts, the breast rippers were sometimes used in the public spectacle of witch executions, just before they burned the women at the stake”.