This 17th Century Scientific Illustrator Loved Butterflies Before It Was Cool

Perhaps your 7-year-old self dressed up as a butterfly for Halloween — no judgment, same here. Or maybe your 9-year-old self plastered her composition notebook full of butterfly stickers. Or, your 12-year-old self looked like she was in the middle of being attacked by an angry hoard of butterflies thanks to the barrettes, chokers and platforms beloved by tween girls in the ’90s.

If any of this rings true, allow me to take you on a journey through time, back before butterflies became the adorable emblems of feminine fashionability they are today — or at least, were in 1997. Let’s travel back to the 17th century when butterflies were certainly not trendy. In fact, many presumed the whimsical insects to be demonic.

“For some people, these creatures were the work of the Devil, and those who were interested in them were surely up to no good — why, they might even be witches, who must be put to death,” Boris Friedewald writes in

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