Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Back to the Pendle witch trial

Nowadays children can be used to give evidence in court, they are judged on their understanding not their age. But in the past children younger than 14 were seen as unreliable witnesses and could not be sworn under oath, the Pendle witch trial changed this.

I’ve talked and researched the Pendle witch trial in previous posts but here I will look more into 9 year old Jennet Device and leading up to the trial and execution. At the time of the event Lancashire had a reputation for trouble-makers; surrounding villages even described the grandmother Demdike as a "Cunning woman"

After Alizon confessed to bewitching the pedlar she also accused their neighbours of murdering people with witchcraft, this then backfired and the neighbours Anne redferne and her mother Chattox accused Demdike of using witchcraft. This lead to all of the people accused being arrested and put on trial.

This is where Jennet Device was called to court to give information on her own mother and family. It is said that her mother screamed and pleaded at her when she entered the court room. Young Jennet then climbed on top of a table and said her family were guilty of using witchcraft. She had condemned her own family to death, the next day they were hanged at Gallows hill. It’s a mystery why Jennet sent her own family to death, but people say she was too young to understand what was going on, all the people and the pressure of the court room saying her own mother killed a man with witchcraft she could just be agreeing scared for herself without realising the consequences. or she could have been a bit of an outcast of the family, information on her father is not clear she could have some sort of resentment to her family, personally I don’t think she meant to send her family to death. She’s young scared and pressured into something she doesn’t fully understand.

It is said that Jennet was later accused of being a witch herself around 20 years later by a 10 year old boy called Edmund Robinson. Laws had changed then, courts needed more evidence. Eventually Edmund confessed to lying because he has heard stories about Jennet and her past of the Pendle witch trial. 

1. BBC News (2011) The witch trial that made legal history. Retrieved from

Were the burning times as bad as they sound?

Everyone's heard about the times when 'Witches' could legally be executed, but was it actually as bad as it sounds? Some claims state that around 9 million! People were killed in the names of 'Witch Hunts' although the accuracy of this number some claim is not correct, some scholars estimate the executions to around 200,000.

It’s said that once the professional witch hunters emerged, people whose job was to actually seek out witches in communities, bumped up the execution numbers on their records. It’s claimed this was done to keep the population afraid of witches, it’s a much more frightening to number witches in a mass number, then maybe one or two harmless women in a small town. Because the records are only from witch hunters people can only guess to the correct number of people executed, missing document and records and the fact there is a lot of misinformation significantly lowers the number.

1. (N/A) Were the Burning Times as Bad as They Sound? Retrieved from

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Pendle witches

I am now focusing in on a specific event of the Pendle witches, the trail of England’s most famous witch trial. This year is the 400Th anniversary of one of the most famous and well documented episodes of English history. 

This incident started from a passerby at a roadside and a beggar, this then escalated into accusations and eventually lead to 10 executions. So called ‘Witches’ were usually the poorest of the community, they were social outcasts, some had physical deformities or mental handicaps, these people got by life by begging, casting spells and cursing. 

Unlike other trials the Pendle witches actually believed in their powers of witchcraft, and actually confessed to using witchcraft to harm others such as the passerby at the roadside.
This famous trial still influences current events to date, there are various programmes and things linked to the Pendle witch trials. There is a free workshop, talk’s exhibitions in Lancashire about the witches and there also is a new walking trail. There are poems and even busses around Manchester about the witches. Even the Spooks book series is influenced and based around the events of the Pendle witches.

1. Lancashire 400 witches (2012) What is lancashire witches 400. Retrieved from
2. (N/A) The Pendle Witches - Follow the Trail of England's Most Famous Witch Trial. Retrieved from
3. BBC News (2012) Working with the witches. Retrieved from

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Creating authentic experience's

In today's lecture were looked at experiences and authenticity and how this is used in the world around us. We looked at a lecture by Joseph Pine who talks about this and uses examples such as Disney. He goes on to say how these create experiences, he says that Disney is a fake real, its fake in what they say, its not really a 'magical land' so its not true to itself but its real in the emotions and experiences that people get when they visit Disney land, witch gives them an 'authentic experience' each authentic experience differs from person to person but most children go to Disney thinking of a magical experience and they will get a 'magical experiance' because of the surroundings and the environment which is 'fake'

We then looked how this could be applied to games. Games aren't real and they don't claim to be, gamers except this and immerse themselves within that 'fake world' and create there own experiences from that game weather the game designers intended it or not. Example if the game designers create a visually appealing and mechanically well thought out game that suits that person who is playing the game they should have a great experience, something they will truly remember and even possibly share there experience. If the game designers didn't touch up bugs or glitches with the game then the gamer will most likely have a negative response of experience, although this varies again sometimes this can create an epic experience where the gamers could find it almost comical and take something away from the game that the game designers didn't intentionally want to happen.

We were then asked a series of questions related about our own experiences of playing games, what was one of our favourite moments playing a game? how did it make us feel? and why?

My response was when i played Fallout 3, i thought about at the beginning where you are contained in small space, then shortly after you are revealed to a vast open wasteland where you can literary just go where you choose. Now i thought that was pretty epic and introduced many emotions such as freedom, relief, excitement as whats out there, but i though of another part of the game that was much more memorable to me. As you wonder throughout the game you find yourself alone a lot of the time, being attacked when your not expecting it and with no one around for you to speak to or have much emotional attachment to. So when you come across the Dog companion in the game you have a great sense of loneliness, but then because you have a companion that changes, you are no longer alone you have someone to watch your back and help each other out. You also begin to grow attached to these companions you don't want them to get hurt in combat or killed so more emotions get introduced. Again these are my experiences, these vary from person to person, another person might of just left the dog and didn't want someone following you around or something in your way but i felt a companion was a great part to fight the loneliness of scouring the wasteland for ammo and supplies.

As a games designer these 'authentic experiences' can be introduced witch significantly improve game-play, it gives the player new feelings, emotions and choices with the game and makes them feel more immersed. Experiences are a powerful approach to making a game, in whatever way some type of experience and emotion will come from any game weather its boredom, anger, confusion or pure joy and happiness. Again it is a hard thing to judge because each and every person has different opinions and different views to what makes them enjoy games.

1. TED. Joseph Pine (2004) What consumers want. retrieved from

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Here i looked into modern day 'Whitch hunts' such as the McCarthysim event that happened around the time period of the 1950' where he used politics to create pure terror of Communism during his time. 

Joseph McCarthy was born on November in 1908, at the age of fourteen he dropped out of grade school but later returned to finish his studies in 1928, enabling him to attend Marguette University. During this period he began his journey to be one of the lest qualified, most corrupt politicians of his time. After receiving his Law degree at university he worked among some unsuccessful law practises and also took part in gambling along the way.
To encourage his political career, Joseph quit his job as a circuit court judge and joined the marines during World War II. After the short career in the military he then ran as a Republican candidate for the Wisconsin Senate seat. This is where he used propaganda and accusations against his opponent, Robet La follete, to try and promote his of political campaign. After damaging Roberts reputation by claiming he hadn't enlisted in the military during the war, which enables McCarthy to win the election and become senator.

As re-election became close McCarthy made sure he would have Political success even though his first term was unimpressive. Here he even resorted to corruption. A man called Edmund Walsh suggested a crusade against so-called communist subversives. McCarthy agreed and took advantage of peoples terror against communism. He later claimed he had a list of 205 people in the state of department who were known members of the American communist party in 1950. The American public went crazy with the idea of communists living within United States, this roared for the investigation of the underground agitators. These people were in fact not all communists some were proven to merely be alcoholics or sexual deviants. McCarthy didn't care he relentlessly pushed through and became the chairman of the Government Committee on operations of the relentlessly questioning numerous government departments and the panic arising from the witch-hunts and fear of communism became known as McCarthyism. McCarthy continued to accuse several innocent citizens purely to benefit himself.

McCarthy's downfall began in October 1953 when he started the investigate "communist infiltration into the military" this was the final straw for then president Dwight D. Eisenhower, who realised that McCarthy needed to be stopped. The army retaliated, sending information about McCarthy and advisers abusing congressional privileges to known critics of McCarthy. Reporters and other critics jumped on the band waggon and published unflattering articles about McCarthy and his methods of the supposed communists in America.

Through the televised investigations into the United States army and reporters, the nation began to realise that Joseph McCarthy was "Evil and unmatched in malice". McCarthy lost his position of chairmanship of the Government Committee on operations of the senate, The media also became disinterested in his communist allegations leaving McCarthy virtually stripped of his powers. The lasting effects of McCarthy's era symbolised the pure terror of communism during the time due to the Cold War, Although it came to an end in a few short years, it attributed to the growing dissension between the soviets and the united states.
1. The Cold War Museum.  Joyce Oh and Amanda Latham (N/A) Senator Joseph McCarthy, McCarthyism, and The Witch Hunt. Retrieved from
2. Socialism today. Arthur Miller. (2000) The psychology of the witch-hunt. Retrieved from

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Gamification lecture

Today's lecture was focused around Gamification and why it is so important and how its used today and the possibilities of the future. Gamification basically means making a game out of something to make an activity or task more fun or to feel some sort of achievement from doing something they would usually hate.A good example of this are things such as loyalty cards, at petrol stations, supermarkets, restaurants and even by travelling abroad.  By incorporating some sort of reward scheme it make people feel like they need to aim for something, by going to a certain petrol station can use a loyalty card, the more they go and use that petrol station they will get a discount or they have points that will add up so they can use it on something else like shopping. Jesse Schell has a speech on Gamification and how the future can possibly go with this idea. He talks about how literally everything will have games to influence people, watching the tv playing mini games to get bonuses, recycling to get bonuses and points to reduce tax etc. he goes into depth about the possibility of everything and he comes to a conclusion that because everything is monitored and tracked.. will we become better people? will we look at things in a different way?
Another speech was looked at was by Kane Mcgonigal, a games design who makes online games. She talked about how online game could influence people to face real life situations and change the world. Shes goes on to talk how many gamers play online games and how many hours a week they do this for. She then goes on to talk about why people play online games, because they get a sense of achievement and sense of doing something good that they couldn't normally do or are afraid to do in the real world, and then talks about how these people could change the world if they somehow could get that sense of achievement and rewards like they did in a game. All very interesting ideas, and definitely starts discussions for how Gamification can affect the future but also how it can improve the future and make changes that matter to the world.

After the lecture the class got into groups and the task we were given was to think of Gamification could be used now. We began to look at resources such  as Waste, Fuel and Electric and possible ways to reduce the wasting these resources. So we looked at how we could reward people for cutting down on their electric, or cutting down on fuel and ways to save waste. One example we developed was how we could save on electric. We looked at having a top up system where people add funds for that month, if they didn't use all that electric over that month and saved some then this would rollover onto next month but also they would get a bonus which would accumulate over the year for rewards such Solar panels or wall insulation as this would reduce costs of electric and gas bills even further. Again this idea needs to worked upon so people of all ages would be interested in helping reduce bills and not just the 'bill payer'  such as using visual representations of your virtual house, if your efficient and saving recources then your virtual house would look nice and clean. if you aren't efficient then your virtual world would look bad and kids could see his want to improve there virtual world by turning of lights, power switches etc.

1. Mcgonigal, J, (2011) Reality is broken: why games make us better and how they can change the world. New York, NY: Penguin Press
2. TED. (2010) Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world. Retrieved from
3.Schell, J. (2008) The Art of Games Design: A book on lenses. Boca Raton, FL CRC Press

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Research into whitchcraft in england

The first record of a witch being burned at the stake in the British isles was in 1324, although there was no law against witchcraft in England until 1542 and that law was repealed in 1547. In 1563 and new law against witchcraft was passed. this could have happened because of the witch craze in Europe at the time, in 1566 a 63 year old woman named Agnes was sentenced to death for bewitching a man to death.

The last witch executed in England was in 1682, where women were hanged, the death penalty of witches in England was then abolished in 1736. Estimates of witches sentenced to death are at about 400, around 90 percent of those sentenced were women.

Although executions of witchcraft have long disappeared from the world, cursing, hexing and causing death by witchcraft still remains powerful and offencive in may nations. Even today i think curses and hexing is still feared, weather people believe in it or not. There are still cults of witchcraft in the world although small and hidden. I think politics and the use of new laws increases fear among people (This applies to anything). if the government implement a new law then most people will abide by these laws, and this increases fear and spread of the superstition of witches. Another factor i think causes fear among people is the unknown, and the fear of what if?


1.Library. (N/A) Witchcraft in England The Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries. Retrieved from
2. SummerLands, Jenny Gibbons (N/A) Stage #9: Sentencing and Execution. Retrieved from