CLIO 7 (1) - page 50

keep old traditions prevented any real progression
in achieving and acquiring this knowledge. As a
result, superstitions prevailed in Jura much longer
than other surrounding areas, and witchcraft was
used to provide peasants with explanations of the
many happening she in Jura, but it can be said that,
unlike in much of theWestern world, witchcraft
seemed somewhat advantageous and served as an
informal justice system.
Whether witchcraft was actively practiced
is another story, but the mere belief that it may be
practiced is said to have had an effective impact
on the lives of the villagers. The belief that a witch
may be clairvoyant enough to detect a wrong do-
ing, no matter how's stealthily carried out, was usu-
ally said to be enough to deter someone from doing
crime. And should an offender commit a crime, the
fear and apprehension experienced by the 'criminal'
would make themmore vulnerable to misfortune.
Any sort of misfortune befalling the criminal would
be considered as a retaliatory hex by a suspected
'witch'. After research, the most common reason
for these misfortunes was because farm life was
primitive and since technology failed to progress ,
Jura villagers always brought about accidents and
unexplained health problems, crop failures and
failures in livestock was lent to a 'punishment by
witchcraft' explanation.
The question arises whether it would it be
right to link witchcraft and crimelessness in the Jura
mountains, whilst simultaneously in otherWestern
countries, the mere theory of witchcraft led to the
scapegoating of minorities and mass execution of
harmless innocents. While the belief in witchcraft
being used as 'justice magic' could be a plausible ar-
gument, on the contrary, there are examples where
witchcraft and high crime rates coexist, like in some
islands, on the western Pacific coast. Although
there may be a link between witchcraft and crime-
lessness, it may not be the only factor; after re-
search, it can be argued that the peasants' passivity
could also be explained by the fact that, for a long
time, it appears that the Franconians were treated
as, essentially, the 'underdogs'. For many centuries,
it seemed the peasants were under the rule of the
Bamberg archbishops, who ruled and owned a con-
siderable amount, if not all, of the Jura mountains,
and the archbishops were not afraid to execute for
wrongdoing, with or without trial as they had done
so in the 16th and 17th century, with Prince-Bishop
Johann Georg II being responsible for the burning of
a minimum of 600 people. Circumstances of owner-
ship and authority have conditioned many genera-
tions of tradition loving peasants, that only
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