Witch hunt. How to detect a fake coin.

Medieval Europe was far from the most pleasant and
comfortable place.

According to the official version of the story, more than two hundred thousand people who lived in Germany, Sweden, France, Britain, and other countries were involved in terrible ordeals, the purpose of which was to reveal whether they were witches.

Witch hunters used absolutely wild methods to test women for their devotional practices. Some of these methods were as cruel as they were stupid because they left no chance for the suspects to survive. We suggest that you familiarize yourself with some of these methods.

In this issue, we offer an alternative view of the trials that women suspected of witchcraft were subjected to.

If in Russia, where the Inquisition was not exactly, the word “witch” came from the phrase “knowing mother”, then in Catholic Europe, women who were tortured and burned were not called “witches”, but “malefic”: from the word “malefic” “Pest”. Significantly, there are still the words “Beneficial” - a good income, and “simplicity” - a bad income. It is obvious that in the Middle Ages it was a question of metal alloys in general, and of coins in particular. And this is proved by the strange choice of torture methods that were used allegedly for living people.

We quote a description of one of these tests: it was necessary not to burn yourself, walking barefoot through burning plowshares (that is, metal parts of the plow), or hold a red-hot iron bar for several minutes without damaging your palms.

In the Middle Ages, an illustrative story was known on this subject: a woman was suspected of killing her husband. But she proves her innocence by keeping an iron bar red-hot. At the same time, the entire spectrum from the table of flowers of incandescence is clearly visible in the pictures depicting history. Based on which, you can see what temperature the bar was at the time of the test - the entire range - from dazzling white to light red in the center and dark brown on the other end of the bar. The picture clearly shows that a woman keeps not just hot, but a red-hot bar up to a temperature of 830-900 degrees Celsius. What for? Here is a rational explanation. A pure silver coin melts at a temperature of 960 degrees. And the iron, heated to this temperature, will not cause any harm to the real silver coin. And any alloy of silver with impurities below the 910th sample will begin to melt already at a temperature of 779 degrees Celsius.

The result is this: a hot iron test for a person is unrealistic. And for the coin of silver - the most it.

Another significant test was testing a woman for involvement in witchcraft - a method of piercing the skin with needles. It is puzzling that the flow of blood from the wound was considered a sign of the witch, and not vice versa. And what about the coins? Let's open the probamer's handbook, for example, the 1953 edition.

“Assay needles. When testing precious metals on a test stone, as a reference, test needles are used, which are alloys of platinum, gold and silver, or gold and silver of a certain sample, in various combinations of a certain composition. ” In addition, for testing of precious metals needles with impurities of copper are used.

On one of the engravings depicting the process of testing malic, we see hints that many needles were used in this process, or more precisely, 15. Another needle is in the hands of inspectors. That corresponds to 16 lots of pure silver, namely the current 999th sample of silver.

But why not directly portray the coin itself? The answer is obvious: do not give criminals information about the methods of checking precious coins, so that they do not interfere with the debugged system for detecting fakes. It always has been. The same is the case in our time: many ways of identifying counterfeits of money and jewelry are under the heading “for official use”.

The most famous test of the witches was as follows. The potential malefic was tied hand and foot and thrown into the water. If she pops up, then she is a pest. This method of identifying undesirable elements is perfectly applicable to the testing of precious coins. If the product is even a milligram lighter due to a cheaper alloy or inconspicuous grinding, it will pop up.

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