Legend of the Witches (1970) Movie Script

In the beginning
was the moon, Diana.
Sad, silent, alone she wandered.
The waves: her sighs
and tears of solitude.
She searched everywhere
for a companion,
but found only reflections
of herself.
Lonely, Diana desired a lover.
That desire became the dawn.
And from the dawn came the sun,
Lucifer, the God of Light.
The moon, Diana, and the sun,
Lucifer, loved each other.
The fruit of this love,
were the sky and the Earth,
water, and fire,
forests and plants,
birds, fishes, and animals.
This is the witches' legend
of creation.
Diana and Lucifer
also created man.
They gave him the world
and taught him to hunt,
kill, and be content
that he might better worship them.
To these powerful gods
man erected huge monuments
and temples of stone,
thousands of them,
aligned along the paths
of their gods across the sky.
To the gods,
for the chiefs, great warriors,
poets, musicians, and artists,
a stone was raised.
A stone which has given them
greater immortality than their gods.
Many of these groups of stones,
like Stonehenge,
were complex observatories,
predicting what once was thought
the unpredictable,
fickle wandering of their gods.
Man, now able to predict,
soon sought to control the gods.
They entrusted this control
to priests.
To choose these priests,
the witches, a name which comes
from the Anglo-Saxon word "Wicca",
meaning "wise",
hold a severe initiation ceremony.
Those already initiated
perform a ritual called
"Drawing Down of the Moon."
Since the Moon is a woman,
the chief of the witches,
is a priestess.
This ceremony calls down and concentrates
Diana's power in this priestess,
and through her,
the Circle and those dancing in it.
Away from the Circle,
the initiate, blindfolded,
is prepared for the Ordeals
which he must undergo
before becoming a witch.
- Michael.
- His name is called,
and he must follow,
regardless of where he is asked
to go or what he is asked to do.
This voice both serves as a guide,
and although he does not know it...
- Michael!
- ...to protect him from death.
On his way to the Circle...
...the initiate is to be made aware
through his own experience
of the four elements
which make up the universe.
- Water...
- Michael.
...air, earth, and fire.
The first is water.
As well as the elements,
the initiate
is made acutely aware of himself.
- Naked, blind...
- Michael!
he's confronted
with some of Man's basic fears.
Of nakedness, drowning,
falling, pain.
If he cannot master them
and himself,
he will be considered incapable
of wisdom and will not be initiated.
Fear of falling.
Fear of being lost.
- Entombed.
- Michael!
Fear of pain.
The pain borne, he is challenged...
and brought into the Circle.
Before being given any secrets,
the initiate is as bound
as he must keep those secrets.
He is presented to the gods
of the East, South, West, and North,
that they may approve him.
Symbolic whipping lets him understand
that from now, he is subject
to the discipline of the cult.
In spite of this, he is told,
"In other religions,
you would kneel..."
"...while I would tower above you."
"But in ours, we are taught
to be humble".
"It is we who kneel
to welcome you".
"As the knife is to man..."
"...so is the cup to woman".
"Let them be united in truth".
The sacred objects which he will be
taught to use, are presented.
The sword, with which
all magic circles are formed.
The white-handled knife,
with which all magic objects
are carved.
The sensor of incense.
The cords to bind,
and by knotting, to work magic.
Once again,
he is shown to the gods.
Now unbound, as a full initiate.
With dawn and the passing of Diana,
the ceremony comes to an end.
All traces obscured.
The cords that bound him, burnt.
The initiates are
taught the knowledge
reserved for their control of power
by the priests.
The magical properties
of natural objects.
The healing properties of herbs.
As well as healing,
some of those herbs were found
to induce trances and hallucinations.
Given to a trained witch priestess,
these trances and hallucinations
can be controlled.
The methods used to trigger off
the witch's powers of divination varied.
Animals and birds were also used.
The cock in this circle is watched,
and meaning is given
to the position and order
in which it pecks the grain.
Sacrifice to appease the gods,
and examination of the entrails
to forecast the future.
Into this blend of magical science
and religion came another.
Where it could not destroy
the previous beliefs,
Christianity adopted
physically and spiritually
the temples and rites
of the older religions.
Churches built on Pagan mounds.
Pagan stones in their walls.
The interiors and exteriors
of these churches
were covered with the extravagant,
beautiful whirls and knots
of pre-Christian imagination.
Sex, fertility,
and their attendant rites,
so important to the continuity
of life,
could not be banished
by the new religion,
however desirable
the promised rewards of death.
This small font has been made
from a pagan sacred stone.
Pagan symbols, gods and images
covered the new churches,
many of them carved on stones
which had once been worshipped outside.
One of the most extraordinary
of these converted stones
is this huge menhir
which has been carved
apparently with Christian symbols,
but only apparently.
Persecution made
the disguise necessary.
Note the prominent positions
of the sun and moon
on either side of the mother goddess
for whom the Virgin Mary
now substitutes.
The crossed swords on the left.
The ladder of progress
up to the sun, Lucifer.
The whip beside it.
All symbols of witchcraft,
not Christianity.
The Christian Church
also has its initiation ceremony,
which, in many of its aspects,
resembles those of older religions.
The initiates into
the Christian faith are baptised,
confirmed and given communion
in a single service.
Symbolic death by drowning,
followed by rebirth.
"I baptise you..."
"...in the name of the Father,
and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost".
"I baptise you..."
"...in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost".
The priest gives a candle.
"I give you this sign..."
"...to show that you have passed
from darkness to light".
"That henceforth you may shine as light
in the world to the glory of God".
"He has received you
by baptism into his church".
"We therefore welcome you
into the Lord's family..."
"...as fellow members
of the body of Christ".
"The cup of blessing which we bless..."
"...is it not a sharing of the blood
of Christ?"
"The bread which we break".
"Is it not a sharing
of the body of Christ?"
"The blood of Christ".
"The blood of Christ".
"The body of Christ".
"The body of Christ".
"The body of Christ".
"The blood of Christ".
"The blood of Christ".
"The blood of Christ".
"The blood of Christ".
"The blood of Christ".
Cannibalism, in primitive societies,
is not always motivated by hunger,
but through a desire to absorb
the qualities of those being eaten.
Christianity continued quietly,
slowly assimilating
and being assimilated by the people,
old and new religions,
mingling and tolerating,
until 1066 when William,
born of a witch,
symbol of Lucifer on his banner,
conquered and unified England
under a single ruler.
The Bayeux Tapestry, which tells
the story of this invasion,
shows how pervasive were
the old ideas.
An apparent cross on the shield
with its swirling arms
is a symbol of the sun, Lucifer.
Harold is made to swear
on two altars,
one Pagan, one Christian,
neither sufficient by itself.
Consultation with a witch priestess.
Astrological significance of a comet.
Many fertility figures.
Under William, the subtly dispersed,
but immensely influential
ecclesiastical power,
was faced with a mighty undisguised
Pagan temporal power.
The dynasty of the Plantagenet
was powerful enough
to be beyond the grasp of the church,
but among the people,
the church had more power.
Some of the old beliefs,
such as Robin Hood's witch coven,
12 merry men and a priestess,
Maid Marian, the Virgin Mary,
Mother Goddess, escaped into Legend.
But that other maid,
the maid of Orleans, Joan of Arc,
not disguising her beliefs
as a witch, was destroyed.
That the Pagan rulers nevertheless
feared the power of the church
is shown by the story
of how the order of the Knights
of the Garter was formed.
The Countess of Salisbury,
dancing with Edward III,
dropped her garter
which Edward swiftly picked up,
put around his own leg and said,
"Honi soit qui mal y pense",
"evil be to he who evil thinks".
But the garter is the insignia
of a witch.
Edward not only saved
the countess from the church.
He also created the order
of 13 knights,
with himself as their leader,
and for the Prince of Wales,
another 13.
On his cloak are 168 small garters
which, with the one on his own leg,
makes 13 times 13 covens.
Apart from the decorations
on churches
and magical ceremonies inside houses,
Pagan rites, witchcraft,
took place quite openly.
These were known as the Witches' Sabbath.
Witches were said to fly
to the Sabbath,
and used for this a flying ointment,
here being rubbed over a young woman.
Generally, deserted places were used,
but to these places
would come many hundreds of people.
Records say that for the four big
seasonal Sabbaths of the Year,
thousands would attend.
It must be remembered that witches were
the priests and priestesses
of a religion believed in and practised
by the whole population,
before the arrival of Christianity.
Like the two altars
in the Bayeux Tapestry,
some priests belonged
to both religions,
and there are accounts
of Christian priests
reprimanded for being at
a Witches' Sabbath.
The witches, who were later tortured
for it,
all confessed to the joy and pleasure.
they got at these meetings.
There would be dancing in circles,
musicians, a feast.
They would meet their friends,
and whole families would come.
The image of a witch
as being a toothless old woman
was just as likely to be a laughing child
or a beautiful young girl.
At some of the Sabbaths,
especially in spring,
with its natural connection with fertility
fertility rites took place,
and although, as admitted,
everyone enjoyed these rites,
their ritual intent does not warrant
the degrading description of sexual orgy.
When the persecution of the witches
grew more intense,
informers and chance witnesses
were killed.
Presiding over all these Sabbaths,
was their chief priest or devil,
depending on the point of religion.
He often wore a goat's mask, a symbol
of virility for the fertility rites.
As a finale to the Sabbath,
Christianity made much
of the infamous kiss
in which, as a sign of submission,
the new initiate was asked
to kiss the priest's behind.
Perhaps the intensity
of the attacks by the Christians
forced ever more stringent
and binding oaths of faith on the Pagans.
But if the Pagans
had some doubtful rites and qualities,
the repressive laws and ferocious tortures
practised on them by the Christians,
were even more barbaric.
Listen to what the official records,
meticulously kept...
say was done to a pregnant girl
suspected of being a witch.
The hangman binds the girl
and places her on the rack.
When she did not confess,
the torture was repeated.
He cut off her hair,
poured brandy over her head
and set light to it.
He placed sulphur in her armpits
and burned it.
Her hands with tied behind her.
She was hauled up to the ceiling
and suddenly dropped down.
This was repeated for two hours,
until the hangman
and his helpers went to lunch.
When they returned,
her feet and hands were
tied behind her back.
Brandy was poured over
her again and lit.
After this, she was again
placed on the rack.
A spiked board was placed
on her back
and she was again hauled up
to the ceiling.
The hangman
then whipped her with a horse whip.
All this was done on the first day,
in the Name of Christ.
This torture...
ending in death
for many hundreds of thousands
of initiated witches,
priests and priestesses
of the old religion,
or simply those
who believed in something other
than the dogmas of Christianity,
aroused an upsurge
of hate and desire for revenge.
Witch magic was directed
against the persecutors,
or sometimes
to put their victims out of misery
or before the victims could confess.
The Circle is cast,
purified, and an image is made
of the person who is to be killed.
A skewer or a nail is pierced
through the head of the image,
along the marrow or spine,
to the heel of the left foot.
Then from the head to the right foot.
The seven planetary metals are
made red-hot
and put into the water.
Herbs, sacred woods
and sperm are added.
This liquid of life is poured
into the image which is then sealed.
The priestess lies in the form
of a pentacle, her head to the South
and her feet to the North.
These are the directions
from which come the necessary powers.
A ritual conception
and birth of the image is performed.
The cord, coming from the mouth
of the priestess,
tied around the image
and the priest,
represents the umbilical cord
or the astral link between Heaven
and Earth.
The image is drowned.
Despite persecution,
and although often not recognised as such,
witchcraft beliefs are still
about today.
- A pocket full of posies...
- ...in children's games.
A-tishoo, a-tishoo,
we all fall down.
...in superstitions.
The horned God, symbolised
by the horseshoe, touching sacred wood.
A new Moon turning money.
Effects of the sun,
moon and planets on our lives.
In Cornwall, one of the last strongholds
of witchcraft,
is a museum whose collection shows
the persistent hold it has on people.
Letters such as this...
and images like this one...
are received by Cecil Williamson
from people who have been bewitched.
They ask for help,
which when he can, he gives.
He started his collection with these remains
of a famous witch in the Isle of Man.
They had been burnt with her
and buried with her for 300 years.
Her cauldron.
The pestle in which she ground
the magic powders.
The griddle on which with these tongs,
she placed the spells and charms to bake.
Boiling water from this kettle scalded
the potion she made for her many clients.
These are the remains
of the last witch to be executed in England.
The large nails, used to keep her
down in the grave, lie beside her.
In another part of the Museum,
are the modern witches and their instruments.
This witch, with her familiar,
a jackdaw,
lives and practises
in the New Forest.
Many of the objects used for altars,
casting spells and working magic,
come from all over the world,
India being a favourite source.
Rams' horns are always a recurrent theme:
here converted into miniature altars.
Musical instruments,
particularly bells, are often used.
The magic transmitted
on the waves of sound.
The ram again, surrounded
with all the paraphernalia of a Magic Circle.
The Witch's cradle.
On this, intoxicating fumes billowing up
from the burner underneath,
a witch is laid naked alone.
She waits for Lucifer,
an offering to him from her coven.
To seal their allegiance
to the cult at the end of a ceremony,
in this case a Black Mass,
the priest was obliged to have intercourse
with the female initiates.
Unable to cope with the numbers,
in the dim lighting
an artificial phallus was used.
Many witches
at their trials confessed
that the devil was cold
and painful.
One of the most fascinating sections
of the museum,
a monument to the intensity
of hate
and the recourse to witchcraft
for its implementation,
is this one, modern images.
Images of the hated victim.
Pins slowly and viciously stuck
into the limbs and parts
where pain is to be inflicted.
Baptism from the bottles
of holy water on either side
creates greater bondage
to the victim.
The figures can be made
from white wax,
obtainable at any chemist's or better,
the traditional beeswax and pitch.
Hair or nail clippings
from the victim,
like the holy water,
help the connection to the image.
Sometimes, organs from animals
are made to substitute for the victim.
These are pierced
and mutilated.
These images are of every shape
and size, realistic and symbolic.
A shoe with a knot of wool,
to trip up the owner.
A victim's glove stuffed
and pinned.
The bird sacrifice in this shoe
is intended to bring death.
This doll was knitted,
and with every stitch,
the victim's name was called aloud,
her photograph stuck on and pierced.
Someone who's suffered in hospital
wants revenge on their nurse.
A husband's mistress.
The women's branch of the Armed Forces
is a rich source of these images.
Photography has provided a modern way
of capturing the spirit of the victim,
yet still the old methods
of pinning and burning are used.
But magic and witchcraft today are far
from being confined to museums.
This is a Black Mass,
in which the place, form and vestments
of a Christian mass are used.
Hail, Lucifer,
from the abodes of night.
Pour forth thy store of Praise.
I lowly bend before thee,
I adore thee to the end.
With loving sacrifice
thy shrine adorned.
My lips are to thy feet.
My prayer upon the rising incense
smoke that borne
then descend to aid me,
who without thee, am lonely
and forlorn.
It must be
noted that in this ceremony
there is no crude desecration
of symbols.
Instead, they are transformed.
Lucifer is not the devil,
but the bringer of light.
"Bring light into our darkness,
O, Lord", is a Christian request.
Here, an expected difference
from the Christian mass takes place.
The female element
being so important to witchcraft,
a priestess is brought to the altar.
The Scarlet Woman brings the wine.
To Lucifer, the sun, the priestess of Diana,
the moon, is presented.
The rose, her blood,
the lily, her flesh.
Now worshipping Diana, the priest
adds his own life force to the blood.
Piercing the wafer,
now the body of Diana with his knife,
she is again presented to Lucifer.
The blood and flesh are brought away
from the Christian altar
to the witch's circle.
Psychic power,
conjured up by the mass,
is heightened
by the addition of sexual energy.
In some religions, thought to be
the most powerful, the most holy.
But does this power, this magic,
the practical claims of witchcraft,
have any reality other than
in the mind?
As part of a scientific investigation
into these claims,
this haunted house
has become the centre of operations.
I was going
into the big bedroom one day,
heard a rustle of silk
and looked out
and saw a nice old lady,
in a lovely red silk dress,
all hand-painted.
- A nice little old lady.
- Oh.
And I was all dumbstruck,
just to the right of the window.
But where she went after that, I don't know.
A girl, claiming
to be sensitive to these unknown forces,
is left alone
in the most haunted room.
Pictures have been hurled from the wall
and the furniture turned upside down.
Equipment to detect a whole spectrum
of known forces is brought inside.
One of the most common features
of haunting
is a sudden drop
in temperature and intense cold.
So, where this sensation has been felt,
sensitive thermometers are placed.
Another girl is to be left alone
in this bedroom.
Interestingly, as in witchcraft,
women play a major part.
More thermometers and other detectors
are installed in the room with her,
and connected
to recording instruments outside.
A ghost is supposed
to begin its walk from this room...
continue down this corridor...
up the stairs...
...finally arriving in the bedroom.
Some strange, inexplicable results
have been obtained and are being studied.
As well as collecting scientific data,
direct contact with spirits is sought.
With this redesigned Ouija board,
some extraordinary messages
have been spelled out.
Assuming the reality
of these events,
one of the most important things to do
is to find out which people are sensitive
to them and how why they are sensitive.
Tests have been devised using dice
and cards.
The subject tries to write down
which dice will come up,
or which card
the tester is looking at.
Their scores are kept
and compared with chance guessing.
Some scores have been so high,
that they cannot
be explained away by chance alone.
Some other, at present
unknown factor, is at work.
The metronome serves both to diminish
the effect of sudden distracting noises,
and also to give an undertow of rhythm.
Rhythm plays a large part
in magic.
The rhythm of sound, drums,
feet on the ground, voices,
the rhythm of light,
flickering of flames,
reflections in water,
the sun through trees...
These rhythms are isolated in the laboratory
and their effects on people studied.
This whirling spiral,
with or without sound,
produces on people a kind of trance state,
often observed in magic.
The dancer's going round
and round.
The stroboscope has
a similar effect
to the flickering of flames,
the fascination of fire.
Witches have
a ritual called scrying,
in which a member of the coven looks
into a mirror and sees the future.
"Hear you all, saints of
the true church of old-time..."
"...now essentially present..."
"...that of you we claim heirship".
"With you, we claim communion".
"From you, we claim benediction
in the name of Lucifer".
Modern witches combine old
and new techniques,
to get the scryer
into the right frame of mind.
Recorded music, projectors,
incense, robes, mystical passes,
These cords may be broken
by a child.
And these same cords,
duly twisted, may bind a giant.
"As this incense rises,
so let your praise of Lucifer".
"Hail, Lucifer".
"Then shall the winds
gather themselves together..."
"...and bear you up,
as it were a little heap of dust..."
"...in a sheet that has four corners".
"And they shall give it
to the guardian of the Abyss".
Totally naked, then totally enclosed.
Now again, totally naked,
the scryer is brought
to the stroboscope in the altar.
His senses are constantly switched
from one extreme to the other,
so that he may come to the mirror
with all normal preconceptions
swept from his mind.
Pass over this in silence,
for here is the initiate, enmeshed
in the power which fructifies the Earth.
The god imposes his law upon man.
"Pass through darkness,
Diana's midnight..."
"...to the light, Lucifer,
the sun."
"If you take but one step
in this path..."
"...you must arrive inevitably
at the end".
"This path is beyond life and death".