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Jourdemayne, the Witch of Eye

Jourdemayne was burned at Smithfield in London for witchcraft in 1441. Friend to the eminent and educated of her time, she was sought by many for her knowledge of dark matters.

Jourdemayne writes about …

... belief in the supernatural: what and why; where does it lead us? She also occasionally suffers from mission creep. Sorry.

I am editor of …

The Skeptic is the UK’s only regular magazine to take a critical-thinking and evidence-based approach to pseudo-science and the paranormal.

The latest issue:

Quotes & Testimonials

"Everyone's favourite skeptical witch, Jourdemayne, with superbly written thoughts on superstition, religion and the human condition"
Crispian Jago

"My two favourite bloggers ... are Petra Boynton and Jourdemayne ... Jourdemayne draws her insights from a different background: profound historical knowledge of the extraordinary things people have believed in. She then uses this to contextualise more contemporary matters."
Jack of Kent

"... the erudite and charming Jourdemayne ..."
Jack of Kent

"This is brilliant - must read"
('Priests, Pederasts & Privilege')
David Colquhoun

The Anglian Wolf Society

I support the work of The Anglian Wolf Society, which operates a sanctuary for wolves in North Bedfordshire. Its aims are to:

• educate and inform the public about wolves
• promote and support wolf conservation
• give people who would like to study or work with wolves the chance to do so

Please visit their site and donate if you can. You can even visit, and learn more about these wonderful and often misunderstood animals.

Previous Posts

I moved over to WordPress in September 2011, but have about two years’ worth of posts still over at Blogger. Here is a selection, arranged by subject:

Monsters & Folklore
Modern African Evangelicals and Witch Beliefs
Useful ways of Thinking About Stuff?
Religion Gone Squiffy?
Skepticism & Society
Politics & Religion

Monsters & Folklore

The Vampire of Venice (… and, incidentally, why vampires visit in the autumn)
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Matteo Borrini claims to have found a vampire in Venice … and I believe him. Here’s why.

‘Raped by Demons’ or ‘The Haunted Cheese Sandwich’
Saturday, 21 November 2009
Sleep paralysis has contributed massively to our canon of malign folklore. Here’s how.

My Yule (B)log
Thursday, 24 December 2009
Just in case all the Christmas symbolism is a mystery.

Conspiracies and Hitchhikers
Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Modern African Evangelicals and Witch Beliefs

Nigeria’s Witch Children
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Covering a child’s rights conference in Calabar, Nigeria on the subject of ‘Child Rights and Witchcraft’. Can our own ignominious history of witch hunts in Europe shed some light on the best interventions for modern Africa?

Uganda’s Child Sacrifices
Sunday, 10 January 2010
Revisiting the contemporary belief in child witchcraft in Africa after the investigative reports for the BBC by Tim Whewall.

England’s Child Witches
Sunday, 8 August 2010
After such deaths as Victoria Climbie’s, there is mounting evidence that some children in the UK are victims of contemporary belief in witchcraft. Is the present legislation sufficent to prevent abuse, or could we make more decisive measures to prevent their suffering?

Useful ways of Thinking About Stuff?

You Only Get Answers to the Questions You Ask
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Ask “how”, ask “why” – and you’ll get different results.

Theories: Splitting Linguistic Hairs and the Work of Anne Elk (Miss)
Saturday, 28 August 2010
Monty Python and the word “theory”.

Botox and Being
Saturday, 22 May 2010
To what extend does our being embodied define us and our experience of being?

Thoughts & Theology
Monday, 16 May 2011
Are humans predisposed to believe in God?

Religion Gone Squiffy?

Exorcism: Ancient & Modern
Sunday, 13 February 2011
A couple of examples of modern practice – and historical examples to demonstrate that this is not a harmless belief or ritual.

Sanity & Violence, or, What Happens in the Courts When Gods Outsource Smiting
Saturday, 28 May 2011
Two contrasting examples of religiously-inspired violence and their treatment in the courts.

Priests, Pederasts and Privilege
Sunday, 4 April 2010
After the paedophile scandals in the Catholic Church, is there still an attitude of dual track laws – one for the laymen, one for the clergy?

Lost in Translation
Sunday, 11 October 200
Issues with translating religious texts, including did god create the earth and how did circumcision become a Jewish ritual.

Skepticism & Society

Evidence-Based Job Seeking
Sunday, 12 December 2010
Should gorgeous women send a piccie in with a CV? Clue – no.

Prostitution Law Reform
Thursday, 2 December 2010
A guest post by Anthony Burn, lobbyist for prostitution law reform in NZ

Beware Teenage Boys Carrying Chihuahuas
Saturday, 13 March 2010
The most vicious dogs on the streets right now are pit-bulls, right? Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that …

Hilary Mantel & Teenage Mothers
Saturday, 6 March 2010
Why the teenage mother model works in some economies and not others

The Exotic Vendibles of New York & The Gangs of Southall
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Getting the city to enforce your intellectual property rights, and how Sikh elders have dealt with the religious obligation to bear arms.

‘Do You Believe in Dog?’ or ‘Scabies, Rabies and Babies’
Saturday, 23 January 2010
Religion has been blamed for influencing our attitudes to the animals we share the world with, but does religion simply codify the practical realities of a local economy?

The Sins of the Mothers
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Jewish identity has traditionally been passed through the female line, but are there cases where this clashes with modern attempts as gender-equal opportunities?

Politics & Religion

Bloomberg and the Bible
Saturday, 2 January 2010
Mayor Bloomberg’s Bible, and the role of religion in US politics.

Heart of Darkess
Sunday 14th August 2011
The summer riots of 2011


‘The Ignominious History of a Noble Profession’, or, ‘A Quorum of Quacks: Qualms re Quangos & Quasi-Qualifications’, or, ‘Boy, Do I Rock at Scrabble’
Saturday, 12 September 2009
Does the history ogf regulation of modern medicine give us insights onto how (and whether) to regulate alt-med?

The Changing Face of Anti-Vax
Sunday, 26 September 2010
Some vintage anti-vax leaflets from NYC, and a quick review of the history of resistance to vaccination.

Homeopathy & Witchcraft
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
Dr. Tom Dolphin reckons homeopathy is witchcraft. I’m no expert on homeopathy, but witchcraft, on the other hand …
What’s the difference between witchcraft and sorcery anyway?


Too Many Ghosts Spoil the Broth?
Saturday, 19 February 2011
There was a murmuring at QED 2011 that there was too much ‘paranormal’. But will we ever need to stop debunking it? With the help of Blackadder.

Trouser Removal & Underwear Inspection: Security for the Modern Traveller
Monday, 14 February 2011
Are authorities using our nervousness against us, to enact invasive security laws thay always wanted anyway?

Friday the Thirteenth
Friday, 13 August 2010
Why has Friday the thirteenth been regarded as unlucky?

Lucid Dreaming: the (Un)Official New Scientist Addendum
Friday, 18 June 2010
Lucid dreaming: what it is, and how to do it. Plus wolves.


Mrs. God
Monday, 21 March 2011
A quick review of the female element inherent in the Judaic god, and the BBC2 ‘Bible’s Buried Secrets’ episode presented by Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou which covers the subject.

Intelligence Squared: Stop Bashing Christians
Saturday, 20 November 2010
A review of the Intelligence Squared event which had Lord George Carey, Peter Hitchens, Howard Jacobson, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Matthew Parris and Dom Antony Sutch as speakers.

Grow Up, or Die
Saturday, 10 October 2009
Bill Maher’s ‘Religulous’.

Should we believe in belief?
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Thoughts on a short series in The Guardian.

Karen Armstrong: Should We Believe in Belief?
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Thoughts on Karen Armstrong’s contribution to the series.