You see, certain scholars have, over the last three decades or so, attempted to rewrite history by systematically promulgating a completely false image of the victims of the Witch persecution that gripped Europe during the 15th - 18th centuries. According to this scholarly clique, the victims of the Witch-hunts were targeted only because they were genuinely believed to be malevolent practitioners of harmful magic. Even more specifically, those who were put on trial as Witches were most definitely not, according to this revisionist theory, practitioners of divination, healing and other forms of beneficial magic.
In the specific case of Katharina Kepler we are able to clearly see just how wrong-headed this conflation of Witchcraft with malefic magic really is. For the historical record tells us plainly that Katharina Kepler was a practitioner of magical healing. She was indeed, as her son Johannes himself freely admitted, a sharp-tongued, stubborn, and all around difficult person. But the fact is that far from shunning her, her neighbors sought her out for her cures, which involved herbal potions and magical incantations.
However, the "magical malpractice" scenario is only one possible explanation for how a healer such as Kepler could find herself accused of Witchcraft. Another, and arguably more parsimonious, explanation is simply that Katharina Kepler was suspected of being a Witch precisely because of her reputation as a magical healer. Either way, though, there is no doubt that here we have yet another case of a magical healer who fell prey to the Witch-hunters, as was the case with Geillis Duncan and Agnes Sampson in Scotland in 1590-1 (as discussed in the previous post).
Further reading on the case of Katharina Kepler:
- Kepler's Witch, James A. Connor, Harper Collins, 2005
- Kepler, Max Caspar, 1948
- Witch Hunts in Europe and America: An Encyclopedia, By William E. Burns, 2003 (link)
- Der Hexenprozeß gegen Katharina Kepler, Berthold Sutter, 1979
- Historical Trials, A Selection, Sir John MacDonnel, 1931 (link)