|Witches with their Familiar Flying on Broomsticks.|
In the British Islands, it was believed that the Devil gave his witches a faithful demonic creature, often in the shape of a small animal (a black cat, dog, or toad, for example) that would advise the witch and assist in her evil doings. Also known as "imps" or "familiar spirits," these malicious creatures were different from the Devil himself, who often took the shape of a beast or a human, in European and early American traditions of witchcraft. It was thought that the witch's familiar would suck her blood for nourishment.
|(courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)||close window|