" Matthew Hopkins, for example "
Frontispiece from Matthew Hopkins' The Discovery of Witches (1647)
Matthew Hopkins (1620–1647) was an English Witchfinder General. Hopkins and his associate John Stearne executed 40% of the approximately 500 so-called witches killed in England. Public outrage forced him to retire in 1646.
" Sacrificing chickens to that Baron Saturday "
Baron Samedi, also known as Baron Saturday, is a Haitian voodoo loa (spirit) of the dead. He is especially powerful in the use of curses and black magic.
Baron Saturday also appears in Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Witches Abroad.
" a circlet of white metal "
In Revelation, the first Horseman rides a white horse and carries a crown. He was thought to be the Antichrist, or in some cases Christ.
In time, this first Horseman 'Conquest', was replaced by Pestilence. However, in Good Omens, Pollution has taken over ‘when Pestilence, muttering about penicillin, had retired in 1936”.
" No package, I'm afraid, Mister "
Death, the fourth and final Horseman of the Apocalypse, does not carry anything, but rides a pale horse and is followed by Hades. He is the only Horseman to be named in Revelation.
" Bell, book, and candle? "
The Excommunication of Robert the Pious. The officiants have just excommunicated Robert as per the ritual, and left the quenched candle behind. - Credit: Jean-Paul Laurens
In Roman Catholicism, the phrase Bell, Book and Candle
is used to indicate excommunication
of someone who has committed severe sin. The expression derives from the ritual where the Bishop reads the condemnation from the liturgical book, after which candles carried by 12 priests are thrown to the ground. A tolling bell was added to the ritual in 1190.