Witch Tale In The Shadow of the Constitution; Great Day Thursday


On This Date In History: In May 1787, an old woman in Philadelphia was grabbed and attacked by a group of people who cut her head in an ancient tradition of bleeding out any spells she may have cast. They thought she was a witch. In early July 1787, a big heat wave was going on in the city of Brotherly Love. Dogs and horses died. The fields were dry and tempers grew as hot as the weather. No word on whether anyone blamed global warming. At the same time, 55 men were gathered in Independence Hall arguing over the forming Constitution. If you look at the painting above, you will note the central figure is General Washington. Just about every painting you see will feature the Father of the Country prominently. That is because he is largely credited with holding the conventioneers together. Not by words but simply by his presence. His silent, strong leadership was what everyone looked toward to get them through the turmoil. Another person in Philadelphia did not have the General to save her.

The old woman who was tormented in early May was a German known as Korbmacher. During the heatwave, a little boy died. Some on the streets of Philadelphia chose to blame her and attacked her again On This Date in 1787. The Pennsylvania Evening Herald story read, “We are sorry to hear that the poor woman who suffered so much some time ago, under the imputation of being a witch, has again been attacked by an ignorant and inhuman mob. On Tuesday last she was carried through several of the streets, and was hooted and pelted as she passed along. A gentleman who interfered in her favour was greatly insulted, while those who recited the innumerable instances of her art, were listened to with curiousity and attention.”

Eight days later, Korbmacher, which means basket-maker, was dead. The newspapers wrote that they hoped justice would be done to those who had perpetrated such a beating on a person, let alone an old woman. Well, a trial did get underway as several people said they would testify against some of the alleged attackers. Three things are interesting about the trial. First was it was held just prior to Halloween also known as All Hallows Eve or Witches Eve. Second, there is no record of the results of the trial. The third, and perhaps most intriguing is the commentary about the innocence of Korbmacher from the bench by the judge:

“what! that a poor wretch whose sorrows and infirmities have sunk her eyes into her head, and whose features are streaked with the wrinkles of extreme old age, should therefore become an object of terror, and be endowed with the powers of witchcraft — it is an idle and absurd superstition! If, however, some damsels that I have seen, animated with the bloom of youth, and equipped with all the grace of beauty, if such women were indicted for the offence, the charge might receive some countenance, for they are indeed calculated to charm and bewitch us. But age and infirmity, though they deserve our compassion, have nothing in them that can alarm or fascinate our nature.”

So according to the judge…Korbmacher was innocent simply because of her age. Yet, if she had been young in the “bloom of youth” well then she may very well be guilty of being a witch because everyone knows that young women have a way of putting men under their spell!!! How’s that for justice. All of this on the same streets that were at the very time witness to the construction of the very document that governs justice for all for this great nation. It’s too bad that General Washington didn’t go for a stroll at the hour of Korbmacher’s demise…his presence alone could have done what the Constitution could not.

Louisville Weather: Enjoy your Thursday. It will be great. Warm but relatively low humidity. The front should continue to slide farther south as high pressure builds in. Now, as the high drifts to the east, we start to get a return flow and the humidity will increase. So, Friday will be hot and somewhat humid. Saturday will be very similar to what we had on Tuesday. It will be in the low 90’s with the heat index several degrees higher. Then a front comes down. There’s not a lot of dynamics to help fuel big t’storms but we didn’t have much on Tuesday either. What we will have will be a lot of low level potential energy. I suspect that we will see scattered t’storms late Saturday becoming more numerous as the front approaches in the overnight. Below is the SPC outlook for Saturday and they do not have enough to put out a severe threat. What will probably happen is a slight risk eventually get put out northwest of our viewing area where the front will be moving during the heat of the day. We will have to see how things will shake out. Here’s the SPC report, which looks a lot like the report from several days prior to Tuesday.

VALID 121200Z – 171200Z …SAT/DAY 4… UPPER TROUGH OVER THE UPPER MS VALLEY WILL AMPLIFY SEWD INTO THE GREAT LAKES AND UPPER OH VALLEY SATURDAY. ASSOCIATED COLD FRONT SHOULD EXTEND ROUGHLY FROM THE CENTRAL GREAT LAKES SWWD INTO THE CENTRAL PLAINS BY LATE AFTERNOON. DIRECTIONAL SHEAR AND MODERATE INSTABILITY SHOULD SUPPORT A BROAD AREA WITH A FEW SEVERE STORMS ALONG AND AHEAD OF THE FRONT. HOWEVER…MODEL VARIANCE ON FRONTAL POSITION/SURFACE CONVERGENCE AS WELL AS LESS DEFINITION TO LOCATION OF STRONGER FORCING PRECLUDES A 30% SEVERE THREAT AREA ATTM.

One Response

  1. Brilliant!

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