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Maarten Janssen, 2014-
|Autor(es)||Antónia de Oliveira|
|Destinatário(s)||Inquisição de Lisboa|
Private letter from Antónia de Oliveira, married to Gaspar de Cerqueira, sargeant of the King's servants company, to the Lisbon Inquisition.
The author lists several behaviors by Vicência de Faria to demonstrate that she is guilty of witchcraft.
The Inquisition archives contain, apart from the around 40 thousand individual proceedings ("processos"), a collection of scattered charges, for which the Inquisition "Promotor" had to decide whether or not to prosecute. Complaints, confessions, letters by the commissioners or about different stages of each proceedings are some of the document types that can be found in these books. This letter has been kept among such documentation.
«This woman, I've known her for almost four years. Presenting herself as a matchmaker, she has declared herself a witch, and said she had taken a lot of medicine in this land, therefore she knew about witchcraft, and she told me she took black goat's heads to boil together with other evil things, as a way to attract people from very faraway places. She has her feet on the ground and her eyes are focused: as soon as the person moves away, she is picked up for witchcraft. She told me she did this. She measures the stairs and the doors with ribbons and she tears them apart for the spells. She brings souls from the other life, with devotion, to tell her what's to come. She told me she had done this.She takes the altar stone and she insistis on more spells and she gives them to drink, so that they will give it to her. She told me she did this and, if necessary, she would do the same to me. She shows devotion to forbidden saints, such as St. Daniel and St. Erasmo, with evil letters, three small oil lamps lit, naked, without nightgown, with her hair loosen over her back, making curtsies around the house. And she opens the window very late at night, saying evil words to the churchyard or the belfry that she sees. I saw her doing this once at her house. She takes a broomstick and dresses it like a woman and she throws it down the stairs, late at night, saying evil words and she closes the door. And, in the morning, she finds it upstairs. She told me she did this. She looks for chicken in the dumps, dead with spells, to the boiling cauldrons. She told me she did this. Someone stole me a hand towel. She told me she would do something, in my presence, to guess who had taken it. She took a sieve with a pair of scissors in the sieve's hole and an evil letter under the sieve and she shuffled it with words. I saw it myself. I indicate as witnesses Gaspar de Cerqueira, my husband, who assisted in this house a few years ago. Filipa Lobata de Bulhães (she lives in the house of Catarina Nobre, in Horta Seca) She also assists at the house of Ms. Brites, widow, who was married to Cavaco. The navy physician, Lopo Dias da Cunha (who went to Tangier). Francisco Antunes (he lives in his farm, near Nossa Senhora dos Olivais). He is out. He'll return two weeks from now. Maria d'Oliveira, a weaver at her house, assists Vicência de Faria. Gaspar, a mulatto boy, the seargent's servant, Bento Misiel (he lives in Chão do Loreto). Maria de Faria (she's got a tent at the king's chapel), her cousin. Inês de Lião, a physician's wife (who now lives at Jogo da Pela) who wrote her the evil letters, for she told me so. Her mother and sister, accomplices in these things, all three involved in this. The sister's name is Estácia da Silva. She lives with her mother. She is in Carvoeira. Her name is Luísa da Silva.»
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