The world according to witches

     No cycling routes belonging to the Cyclist Association lead to the town of Mirsk. However, they run through the western part of Kamienicki Ridge, constituting part of the Mirsk Commune. But be careful! It seems that Jan Krzysztof Schwedler, a pastor, was not born accidentally, in Krobica, under the said ridge to the north of Świeradów Zdrój, in 1672. He wrote some 400 church hymns. These songs must have been perceived as a fairly good bogey for witches wandering through Kamienicki ridge, even for the devil, who was reported to have appeared in the village in 1613.
     I am pushing my bicycle from Krobica up to Sępia Góra (828 m). Many patients of Świeradów used to climb it. Who knows, maybe some miners from a nearby basin happened to go there to find a herbalist. After all, mining works were performed in the village. Tin deposits excavated in the 16th century in Gierczyn began to run out at the end of the same century, and from the 18th century onwards, the mining works were moved to nearby Krobica, adjacent to the basin, and to Przecznica, situated near Gierczyn, where cobalt deposits were also mined.
     Przecznica functioned for many years as a centre for witches. One of them was even burnt at the stake in Mirsk in 1593, but it was of no use, as several weeks later the mob saw her again in the forest. It looks like the people left Przecznica, Krobica, Kotlina, Gierczyn, Proszowa, and Kwieciszowice, not the witches. All these villages seem to disappear, "sink" in time and space, vanish in an invisible ether.
     I turn to the south at the level of Proszowa. After Tłoczyna (785 m) and before Kowalówka (888 m), I go down to Wolframowe Źródło (Wolfram Spring). As I have two hours left until nightfall, I am trying to find ruins of Pogańska Kaplica (Pagan Chapel), not afraid of meeting any witch. However, who knows if more witches wander at Rozdroże Izerskie (767 m), a pass that joins Wysoki and Kamienicki ridges? The crack of stones and the moan of wood can be heard on foggy, wet days between the excavation of the inactive "Stanisław" quartz mine, visible to the south, and "Ludwigsbaude", a former hostel at Droga Sudecka, which was a seat of a thriving sanatorium by the 1980s. Such is the world according to witches.
Sandra Nejranowska
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