Penis-stealing witches.

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The Middle Ages (5th-15th centuries, AD) were characterized by anti-intellectualism, cultural stagnation, and the predominance of magical thinking regarding the sciences and medicine. Not surprisingly, books were burned, education was discouraged, and the arts were basically banned.

It's during these times that belief in witchcraft became a dominant theme in understanding illness, disease, and mental health. Pretty much any problem you can think of was blamed on witches. And if a woman was accused of being a witch, there was no recourse - she would be typically be killed.

*As an aside, if you've never seen Monty Pythons and the Holy Grail, you should. The witch scene is at 16:30.*

It likely won't come as a shock, but people believed that witches would steal men’s penises. This belief is described in the 15th-century book Malleus Maleficarum, which is ostensibly about witch hunting.

A recent article in Broadly described this belief in more detail:

Witches Allegedly Stole Penises and Kept Them as Pets in the Middle Ages
by Callie Beusman
According to a 15th century guide to detecting and eradicating witchcraft, witches were capable of making penises vanish—and some even kept them in nests and fed them oats.
Since time immemorial, men have worried irrationally about perceived threats to their penises. Long before there was castration anxiety, there was something far more sinister: the myth of phallus-stealing witches who kept wriggling, dismembered members as pets.
The best-known description of this practice occurs in the Malleus Maleficarum, a 15th century witch hunting manual written by Heinrich Kramer. Historians typically regard it as a ludicrous and misogynistic text that nonetheless resulted in countless vicious murders of women accused of witchcraft; in The Salem Witch Trials Reader, Frances Hill describes it as "one of the most terrifying and obnoxious books ever written." The Malleus is rife with obvious anxieties about female sexual desire—as folklorist Moira Smith notes in her paper, Penis Theft in the Malleus Maleficarum, "Many of the crimes (maleficia) attributed to witches concerned sexuality: copulation with incubus devils, procuring abortions, causing sterility and stillbirth, and impeding sexual relations between husbands and wives."

Read the rest here: link.