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Thread: Burchard's Strigae, the Witches' Sabbath and Shamanistic Cannibalism in Early Modern Europe

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    Burchard's Strigae, the Witches' Sabbath and Shamanistic Cannibalism in Early Modern Europe

    Burchard of Worms, the witches sabbath, and dark shamanism.

    https://www.academia.edu/9722775/Bur..._Modern_Europe

    Scholars have long recognized that when elite thinkers constructed the core stereotype of the witches’ sabbath (as it emerged, in various guises, in demonological manuals from the fifteenth century onward), they drew, in part, upon folkloric beliefs that had filtered into the elite sphere via both general cultural dissemination and the witch trials themselves. While research in this area is ongoing, to date it has crystallized into a thesis that seems to be accepted by most scholars: that from as early as the twelfth century many churchmen and demonologists fused folkloric ideas about beneficent nocturnal spirit hosts with folkloric beliefs about maleficent spirits and spirit hordes.

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    Catterick, are you familiar with the SS subgroup Karotekia (also sometimes Kartotekia, Kartothekia, Hexenkartothekia)? This was a unit within the SS which found and collected the spells of witches to try to use them as a psychic weapon.

    Semi factual description:

    The roots of the Karotechia are deep and varied. When the unit was officially created within the Ahnenerbe in 1939, it drew its members from within the Ahnenerbe, the disbanded Thule Gesellschaft, and a little known section of Archive Department VII of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA, Reich Security Central Office) called Sonderkommando-H.

    Created in 1935 under direct orders from Heinrich Himmler, Sonderkommando-H (for Hexen, German for witches) collected records of the Catholic Inquisition against witchcraft from libraries in Germany and Austria. These records were collated into the Hexenkartothek, a catalog of over 33,000 index cards, each providing the details of a victim of the witch trials.

    While most of the Hexenkartothek concentrated on witch trials in Germany, Sonderkommando-H researched cases from as far away as India and Mexico. The research of Sonderkommando-H was meant to provide propaganda that would justify an SS crackdown on the Catholic Church, as well as discover the ancient Germanic religion that Himmler believed had been eradicated by the Inquisition.

    The SS officers that collected the Hexenkartothek came to informally refer to themselves as the "Kartothekia," and what they discovered were arcane formulae and necromantic rituals. Enough was learned by Sonderkommando-H to create what some one hundred and fifty known witches, warlocks, and alchemists termed "the resuscitating of ye vital saylts."

    This formula, it has been claimed, was first successfully put to effect by SS-Hauptscharführer Dieter Scheel when his team resurrected 17th century sorceror Jurgen Tess. It was this incident that created a new department within the Ahnenerbe to exploit the occult in service to the Reich: the Karotechia (Card filers). Occult research had been conducted by various arms of the SS for quite some time before the creation of the Karotechia.

    In the Ahnenerbe, the Abteilung zur Überprüfung der Sogenannten Geheimwissenschaften (literally, Department for the Examination of Secret Sciences) had analysed the occult since 1933. Also since 1933, Karl Maria Wiligut and his 'Department for Pre and Early History' had been Himmler's premier occultist, a position that was undermined soon after the creation of the Karotechia.

    Suitable members of these organizations were drawn to the Karotechia, as were former members of the Thule Gesellschaft and scholars from regimes allied to Germany and occupied countries. More so than any other group researching the paranormal for their government during the Second World War, the Karotechia sought to exploit the occult to its fullest.

    With the full backing of the SS and the Third Reich, they searched the libraries and museums of Europe for arcane power. No avenue of study was left unexplored. The Karotechia was shielded from inquiry within and without by direct patronage of Himmler, who passed certain information on to Hitler. Members of the Karotechia were known by their initials in SS documents, and by their rune-names in internal correspondence, the names given upon induction into the unit.

    They were identified by the Sonnenrad runes worn on the lapels of their black Allgemeine-SS uniforms. This insignia and the men that wore it were equally feared and respected throughout the SS. The Karotechia never had a central headquarters, as each project maintained its own base of operations, reporting directly to Himmler. When the Karotechia was required to perform some ancient Germanic ritual for Himmler, they were called to the SS-order castle at Wewelsburg.

    However, the isolation and provincial boredom of the place meant that the Karotechia officers preferred to conduct their operations elsewhere. This also allowed them to operate with great independence. Never as successful as their reputation belied, the Karotechia did score a number impressive victories during the war. In particular was the discovery of a Gothic version of the supposedly fictitious 'Necronomicon' ('Al Azif') in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, in Paris, in the spring of 1944, which opened up several new projects to exploit its potential.

    Most of these projects ended in failure, causing great destruction, such as the incident at Burg Hohnstein near Nordhausen (often erroneously refered to as Naudabaum) in early 1945, where seven Karotechia officers and seventy-three support personnel were killed, and the castle destroyed during an abortive attempt to summon an extraterrestrial being called Azathoth.

    Burg Hohnstein is a one of the largest and best-preserved castle ruins in Germany and is located near Neustadt in the vicinity of Nordhausen in Thuringia. The castle is located on a high, rocky spur which today is covered in woods, about 1 km northeast of the village of Neustadt on the southern edge of the Harz mountains.

    This disaster lead to the final Karotechia operation of the war: 'Aktion Götterdämmerung', the attempt by the Karotechia to re-enact the Nordhausen disaster without aborting the sequence to summon Azathoth. 'Aktion Götterdämmerung', however, failed. Azathoth is the god of magic, arcane knowledge, balance, and foresight. He is known as the 'Uncaring', the 'Lord of All Magic', and the 'Archmage of the Deities'.

    All times and places are open to him, and he has visited many alternate realities and planes unknown to the wisest of sages, places even the Elder Evils avoid. His symbol is an eye in a pentagram or the arcane triad; usually this is worn as an amulet. Azathoth is usually portrayed as a middle aged man with white hair who wears purple robes decorated with golden runes. He is described as carrying the very first staff of the magi with him at all times.

    In addition, he knows every spell ever created and can travel to any time and dimension. He is the possessor of the only magical library that contains a copy of every potion, spell, and magic item in existence. Azathoth is honored with magical research and experimentation, with the burning of incense, the reading from books of arcane lore. Each creation of a new spell or magic item is celebrated (usually once a year, in the holiday known as Great Discovery). High-level followers of Azathoth make pilgrimages to other planes of existence. Prayers to Azathoth utilize florid and elaborate language, signifying great erudition, labored formality, and a robust vocabulary.

    © Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    Regardless of scientific veracity, I would have loved to have joined something like that. And you know it.

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    The real story is Himmler wanted an occult weapon. He had Karl Maria Willigut as his top psychic guy at the time but Willigut was a bit crazy, and old and going downhill. These five guys came along and told Himmler they could weaponize witch's spells. They began writing down every spell they could find on small cards and built a card library, a witch's card library or in German Hexenkartothekia, combining all three words into one. Finally, it became Karotekia. The five guys, all occultists, met here and there with no permanent headquarters. They all got runic rings and began calling each other by their runic nicknames. Eventually, they stumbled across the Spanish Inquisition records where the witches were made to talk using torture. The Spanish had all the spells and now the SS had them. Himmler became more and more excited and eventually fired Willigut and promoted Karotekia. The aim was one big spell, some sort of weapon to change the war. Well, of course it never happened. Either the spell didn't work or it backfired or whatever.

    There is a postscript. After the war as we all know, the SS survived. Within this survival group were the Karotekia members. By now these occultists were very strange and very feared by the regular SS. They remained a subgroup into modern times according to one source and remained feared.

    There is real evidence for them. There is a library which was recovered and is in Germany now awaiting someone to research this fascinating group. Maybe I can find the link.

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    Another name for this group was Sonderkommando H. "H" is for hexen, witches. The file is at the Bundesarchiv, Koblenz. More information can be found at German Wikipedia for German readers.

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexenkartothek

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