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Blå Jungfrun The Witchcraft Island

In the spring of 2014, a team of archaeologists started their fieldwork on Blå Jungfrun (blue virgin or blue maiden), an island off the east coast of Sweden. The results are astonishing and reveal extensive human activities on the island in the Mesolithic Stone Age. According to a centuries-old legend, witches gather every Easter on the island to worship the devil himself. Curses have also been associated with the island. For instance, those who remove a rock from the site are said to endure a lifetime of bad luck.

Blå Jungfrun is situated in the Kalmar Strait, between the mainland province of Småland and the island province of Öland. The island plays an important role in Swedish folklore, where it is viewed as an evil and magical place. The name Blå Jungfrun was originally used by sailors to avoid provoking the evil spirits who dwelt on the island. According to a widespread belief, by Olaus Magnus in 1555, witches meet there each Maundy Thursday. 

Evidence that it has long been associated with satanic rituals has recently been confirmed when archaeologists discovered "distinct ritual features" in two caves.

One cave contains a man-made hollow fireplace which measures just 2.3ft. Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay, an archaeologist with Kalmar County Museum, said, "We believe the hollow is man-made and that the fireplace has been used in connection to hammering out the hollow, probably [on] several occasions.

"The entrance to the cave is very narrow, and you have to squeeze your way in. [However] once you're inside, only half of the cave is covered and you can actually stand above the cave and look down into it, almost like a theatre or a stage below."

Another cave contained tools such as a hammerstone, which was found close to an area that was designated to grind up materials. "[It] could have been used to place something in, perhaps as part of some form of offering, like an altar," Papmehl-Dufay continued.

People who travelled to the island may have practiced various rituals inside the two caves, archaeologists say.

In between the two caves, the archaeologists discovered a small rock shelter, just 20 by 26 feet (6 by 8 meters), that contained stone tools and seal remains. Radiocarbon dating indicates people consumed the seals around 9,000 years ago.


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