"what we are engaged in here would be considered witchcraft, and is a capital offence against the edicts of Church and State."
Burning of 'witches' in Switzerland
Public DomainBurning of 'witches' in Switzerland - Credit: wikimedia commons

At this point in history, witchcraft was considered an evil practice, where people talked to demons and entered into pacts with the devil. Witchcraft was punishable by law; those found guilty would be hanged or burned alive. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, fear of witches was strong, and witch-hunts were carried out to find and eliminate the culprits. Anyone could be accused, from those carrying out occult practices like John Dee to those whose herbal remedies were a little too effective! Things that were radical and new, or simply not understood, were often labelled devilry or witchcraft, like Bruno’s special memory techniques, mentioned later in the story. What Bruno, Dee and Kelley are engaged in here is extremely dangerous.