In Plain Sight
A Brief History of the Inquisition
In the waning years of the 15th century, the supernaturals were engaged in many confrontations with the Inquisition; just as it had been for the past 300 years. The populations of every supernatural community had been negatively affected by the internecine conflicts. Many supernatural communities could not replace lives lost to such confrontations as quickly as could humans. The Inquisition was gaining ground; while the supernatural creatures were losing it. Such a state of affairs might have continued for several more centuries were it not for one man.
In August of 1484 Pope Sixtus IV died and Giovanni Battista Cybo succeeded him becoming Pope Innocent VIII. Pope Innocent VIII was a human supremacist. He believed that the Earth was the dominion of man; given them by God. He believed that witches and supernatural creatures were the creations of the fallen angel Lucifer; who intended to use these creatures to usurp man’s dominion over Earth. He blamed the supernaturals for the freezing weather, the failing of crops, and the rise of crime that would define what historians call the Little Ice Age. In December of the same year he became Pope, he issued a papal decree authorizing the Inquisition to use whatever means necessary to rid the world of the supernaturals. The Pope tasked two Dominican monks, Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer with carrying out the inquisition, and ordained Tomás de Torquemada as the Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition. His decree gave the three of them carte blanche to prosecute the Inquisition.
Less than three years later the Malleus Maleficarum was published by Kramer and Sprenger. This book was to become the defining handbook on identifying and combating supernatural threats. The papal decree granting the inquisition authority to combat the supernatural is used as the preface of the book stating up front the inquisition’s mission. Der Hexenhammer, or the Hammer of Witches as the book was known was divided into three sections.
Section I made the case that Lucifer and the hosts of Hell exist and that the supernaturals exist to make Lucifer’s desires manifest on Earth. This section details tales of forbidden liaisons between humans and supernaturals resulting in fiendish half-breed servants of Hell which could walk among men undetected.
Section II details the actions of the supernaturals and how they recruit gullible humans into the embrace of their Hellish master. It goes into great detail about the powers and abilities of supernatural creatures and how to protect oneself; or aid those affected by such fell powers.
Section III details the legal procedures that are to be followed in combating and prosecuting the supernatural. Step by step directions are given for investigating rumors of the supernatural, apprehending supernaturals, interrogating the supernaturals (torture was frequently used to acquire a confession), convening tribunals for trial of supernaturals; to be followed by official charging of the supernatural, and finally execution.
This handbook quickly spread throughout Europe; thanks in part to the invention of the printing press. The text remains the handbook used by the modern Inquisition to combat the supernatural. Though it has seen over thirty editions; its text has remained virtually unchanged from the original words of Kramer and Sprenger.
After the Grand Convocation of 1499, the supernaturals vanished. Sprenger had been murdered 6 years earlier. Kramer fell out of favor with the Inquisition due to his assertions about the supernatural in the Malleus Maleficarum, but still retained much standing and continued his fight against the supernaturals that he was sure were still around. Hundreds of thousands of people would still be killed as witches over the next two hundred years.
The fire dimmed in the heart of the Inquisition during the 18th century; however, it did not die out. It continued to smolder in the hearts of those who had been victims of the supernaturals or whose ancestors had. The duties of many Inquisitors were a hereditary obligation passed down to an Inquisitor’s descendants.
Over the intervening years the Inquisition learned what had become of their ancient enemies. They learned about the Veil and slowly pieced together that it somehow hid the supernaturals from their sight. The Inquisition found renewed purpose and began to seek out and recruit those with the ability to see through the Veil. Despite this new knowledge, the membership of the Inquisition continued to shrink. It is estimated that the number of active Inquisitors dropped to around 3500 members; however many countries still maintained secret cells of Inquisitors. These Inquisitors remained vigilant, seeking out and combating the supernaturals wherever they were found.
The Modern Inquisition
The modern age brought with it a resurgence of interest in the supernatural. This alarmed the Inquisition greatly and they have ratcheted up recruitment. They draw new members from the three big organized religions of the world, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. They are especially interested in people who can see through the Veil. They keep watch for such individuals and move in quickly to recruit them to their cause.
Despite drawing recruits from organized religions, the Inquisition is no longer wholly a religious order. Though many cells still have ties to the Office for the Defense of the Faith (which is still predominantly overseen by members of the Dominican Order); it has almost as many secular cells which have no contact with the church at all. One thing common to all these cells is the belief that Earth belongs to humankind, not the supernaturals. The Church does not condone the activities of these “Inquisitional Cults” but neither does it condemn them. The Church is less concerned with the methodology and more concerned with results. As long as these cults are operating outside Church authority; the Church has complete and total deniability. It comes down hard on such cells that draw undue attention to the Inquisition.