Ckeck the Malleus Maleficarum -- the reason heads were shaved is because
the whole body was usually shaved based on the fear that charms of
witchcraft would be hidden in the hair. This is discussed at length in the
Malleus. Of course, the title of the famous witch tract already indicates
that "witch" was assume to be feminine and I can't recall a case in which
the same precautions regarding the hair were also undertaken in trials
involving the relatively few men executed for witchcraft. (I can't
remember but I don't think that Urbain Grandier was shaved. There are
several books on his case so you might want to look into that.
Stephen Mark Carey
Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Campus Box 1104
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
On Mon, 4 Dec 2000, Dixon L. wrote:
> Dear All
> Can anybody throw any light on the practice of shaving the heads of women
> who were burned following inquisitorial processes?
> Was it common practice? If so, what was its significance? I assume men
> didn't have their heads shaved. Any bibliographical hints?
> Thank you