The Devil’s mark, also known as the Witch’s mark, was thought to be the initiating mark the Devil placed o the body, usually women, as a seal of their pledge of obedience and service to him. This was a predominant belief during the witch-hunt trials.
Usually the mark, blue or red, was believed made by the Devil’s claw raked their flesh, or by an ht iron. At times he left his mark by licking the body. The Devil supposedly branded witches at the end of the initiation rites, never held on nocturnal Sabbats.
The marks were concealed in secret places such as under eyelids, in armpits and body cavities. Such marks were considered proof that the person was a witch–all witches and sorcerers were considered to have at least one.
Persons accused of witchcraft in trials were thoroughly searched for such marks. Scars, birthmarks, natural blemishes, and insensitive patches of skin that failed to bleed qualified as Devil’s marks. Even though experts firmly held that natural blemishes and marks were clearly distinguishable from Satan’s mark, such was often not the case; victims’ protests that found marks on their bodies were natural were often ignored.
Records show that from torture victims confessed to having Devil’s marks. The women were stripped of their clothes in front of the inquisitors. They were shaven of all body hair so no mark could remain hidden. Pins, in the process of pricking, were driven deeply into scars, calluses, and thicken areas of the skin.
Often the pricking was less painful since it was done in front of a jeering crowd. Remember this was commissioned by the Church that upholds modesty. Frequently the Devil’s mark appeared if not at first; pins were driven into the body over and over again until an insensitive area finally was found. A.G.H.
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen.The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft. New York: Facts On File.1989. p. 99