23 January, 1361The year is 1361 A.D. My name is Cassandra Sheldon. And I am a witch. No, I am not ashamed of myself, whatever the muggles say. I am traveling across Northern Europe encouraging the women folk in the wizarding world to stay strong and not give up hope. This is not new to us. Witch hunts have been going on for centuries now. If we cannot fight it, we have to learn to live with it.I have never been caught. Maybe it is because I’m always careful of the way I dress and carry myself around muggles. The important thing is to be as normal and nonchalant as possible, without giving away your magic identity. What is even more important is to not look nervous or jittery however scared or guilty the muggles make you feel. And NEVER draw your wand at the slightest provocation. That ALWAYS gives you away, and once they take your wand away, you are left powerless. All this knowledge and awareness hasn’t come to me overnight. I have heard stories. Scary stories. Some of them are not even fit to be retold.
15 March, 1361So far, I was only concerned about women folk in our wizarding world. Over the last few days, I have come to know of the other side of it. And the sad part is things are worse in the muggle world. For hundreds of years, muggles have been wary of witchcraft and magic being present. They constantly fear both the unknown and the so-called Occult. The view they hold of witchcraft is that it is sinful and wrong. Average muggles deem witchcraft as wrong, evil and life-threatening. In fact, witchcraft is blamed for bad things that happen in daily activities, such as farming failures or a sudden unexplained death. Witch-hunts and burnings have become a usual sight here. Sadly, despite being determined to catch witches, these muggles are not very good at identifying magic. Once in a while, they do successfully catch a real witch and attempt to burn them. But most of the time, they foolishly end up prosecuting one of their own. In the last couple of centuries, tens of thousands of innocent muggle women and hundreds of unlucky witches have lost their lives to this unnecessary cause.
21 August, 1362I have been in Belgium for the last one month. Muggles over here strictly define the terms witch to mean a person who had sold their soul to the devil. According to them, a witch has the power to harm her fellow people or muggles by giving up her soul’s salvation. The interrogation of suspected witches is almost always conducted under torture. It is often so painful that the “accused” is more than willing to confess anything, just to escape the pain. The most common punishment is death, by burning at the stakes. Most convicted witches are older women, but some younger men and women were also charged and convicted in the past decade. One interesting (hilarious even, I must confess) aspect of all this has been this particular witch here who goes by the name of Wendelin the Weird. I had the opportunity to meet her and I made her recount some of her many “adventures”. She claims that she allowed herself to be caught 46 times in various disguises by witch-hunters, who tried to burn her at the stake. With the use of aFlame-Freezing Charm, however, theflamesare rendered harmless, creating only a gentle tickling sensation which Wendelin enjoys. For her performance, she pretends to shriek in pain. It gets funnier though. She was only burnt about 13 times as Wendelin the Weird, according to local newspaper reports and disguised as someone else for the other 33 times!
22 August, 1362Oh dear, she did it again! I had the unique privilege of witnessing a Wendelin the Weird witch burning live today. “FORTY SEVEN AND COUNTING!” she yelled to the heavens in excitement when the muggles surrounded her. This witch has got some spunk, I tell you.
Today was the 3rd week of HoM. We discussed about a few early British wizarding villages. These villages came up when muggles started to grow fear towards magic and began to turn hostile, the wizarding community moved out and started their own wizarding villages and settlements to stay close to each other. Professor Maddox told us about three very famous Wizarding villages – Hogsmeade (which is just outside our school), Godric’s Hollow and the Mould-on-the-Wold.
Hogsmeade is the only non-magical community in Britain. Situated just outside our school in the Northwest. They say most of the buildings are of medieval architecture. Third years and up are allowed to visit Hogsmeade on occasional weekends. I can’t wait to go there next year! I have heard a lot about the Hog’s Head and the Three Broomsticks.
Godric’s Hollow is of course famous because of the people who once lived here – Godric Gryffindor, the Peverell brothers, the Dumbledores, the Potters and Bathilda Bagshot. It is also famous for two incidents that took place in this village – the three-way duel between the Dumbledore brothers and Gellert Grindelwald in 1899, which killed Ariana Dumbledore, and the first downfall of Lord Voldemort in 1981.
The Mould-on-the-Wold was found in the 18th century. It may not be as famous as the other two wizarding villages in Britain, it is most recognized as the childhood home of Albus Dumbledore. It is where Percival Dumbledore attacked three muggle children for ill-treating her daughter, Ariana. It ultimately resulted in Percival being sent to the wizarding prison, Azkaban, for performing magic on muggles.
Continue to HOM 201 Journal : Part II.