Saturday 5 March 2022

Coronavirus streets in Manchester - LXII

No power of witchcraft

I have always been fascinated by the whole charade behind identifying that someone is a witch and the means by which the suspected are interrogated and forced to confess under the pain of death that they practice witchcraft, after which they were almost always put to death in the most horrific and gruesome manner.

It makes you wonder how someone who apparently has mastery of the dark arts can just at accusation and threat of untrammelled menace would suddenly be helpless and incapable of defending themselves. Their accusers having nothing but power and manufactured conviction that they are right, and they can rid the community of evil by the propensity of wickedness.

They can’t be that helpless

In my view, if anyone were indeed a witch, whether child or adult, the very least one should expect is something magical challenging the faculties like just disappearing from the midst of their accusers at the minimum or if they were that inclined, they put the fear of real witchcraft in the hearts of the mob usually led by religious or community leaders seeking to bolster their political status by finding unusual and individualistic people to victimise.

Just imagine, a witch in the heat of being pursued smiting one of two of her attackers with blindness or causing fire to consume one of them. For instance, someone with the mastery of martial art when cornered would hardly crumble into a heap of helplessness, they’ll fight back probably breaking a few bones even if they eventually get captured. This is just a matter of muscle in the physical, not to talk of the metaphysical and paranormal that is associated with witchcraft. I am not convinced many of those accused had any idea of what witchcraft was about, they have just been helpless victims of tyranny.

Strange places in Manchester

Which got me thinking of another fascinating setup, in the back streets of the parish of Manchester into the Hundred of Salford (I love old English placenames) as I walked from Ancoats to the centre of Cheetham to do some shopping for ethnic goods. Avoiding the main roads apart from when I had to cross them, I was soon cutting through St Michael's Flags and Angel Meadow Park into NOMA (North Manchester) where architectural monstrosities sway in the skyline.

A rather secluded part of old industrial Manchester had a working brewery taking me back to my teenage years when my first job was in a brewery, along with clothing manufacturer factories bearing names of South Asian provenance and let one not suggest they might be sweatshops. Then I was in Strangeways (it has history), dominated by Her Majesty’s Prison where twice in the week past, I saw someone drive through the gates in a Mercedes Benz car, they must be paying good money there as it was just too early in the morning for the person to be a visitor. Anyway, I look away.

A plague of drones

Up on the walls, were surveillance cameras with screen wipers and then signs indicating this was a ‘no drone’ zone. I guess with one drone, that might present a helpless witch scenario. I can remember which of the recent Olympic games opening ceremonies I watched where thousands of drones were deployed in a light show. My vivid imagination considering a swarm of drones hovering over a prison controlled from so far away that the drones were using Artificial Intelligence to maintain proximity with each other and if one or a few were taken out, they massed into new attacking formations.

This again, not even to deliver contraband to the prison but to get everyone agitated. Who would do such a thing? This is more the stuff of thriller films than anything else. That was my though process on the matter of witchcraft, one would expect a witch to summon the equivalent of an amazing mixed martial arts practitioner controlling with the mind a swarm of drones able to defend themselves from immediate physical danger and create enough of a distraction to escape capture.

Now, where was I? Walking up New Bury Road to get to Great Cheetham East Street. Suffice it to say, apart from the lady at the checkout in the shop, I was the only other one wearing a face mask.

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