According to the stories, the Beselare witches lived in the 17th and 18th centuries. This is a time when the municipality is remote and the journey to Roeselare (8 km) easily takes two hours. The route passes through forests and swamps. The lack of streetlights adds to the unsafe, unknown and mysterious atmosphere.
It was not until around 1920 that the first doctor came to the municipality, leaving residents to rely on themselves before that. Daily life at the time is marked by great lingering fear of war, looting and hunger. Residents fear ghosts, devils, divine punishments and other dark forces. In case of illness or childbirth, they depend on a maternity wife or herbalist.
When something goes wrong, the family and community look towards the herbalists. Their suspicion, fear and superstitiousness often cause these women to be considered witches. They are seen as emissaries of the devil who choose to make as many people suffer as possible.