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witchcraft in the western Netherlands, 1850–1925
Willem de Blécourt

Towards the end of the nineteenth century The Hague newspapers reported that in a village between Gouda and Rotterdam a child was bewitched. The parents consulted an unwitcher who advised that they boil a live black chicken. This would draw the witch to the house of the bewitched. That evening, as the spell was enacted, it so happened that an old woman walked by. She was pulled inside and forced to

in Witchcraft Continued
Open Access (free)
black magic and bogeymen in Northern Ireland, 1973–74
Richard Jenkins

of rumours by the police, churchmen or the newspaper itself (which, of course, provided another opportunity to repeat the rumours), 8 editorial comment of various kinds, 9 reports of sermons dealing with the matter, 10 religious advertisements and church notices mentioning these subjects, 11 and readers’ letters. 12 Worth mentioning in their own right, as quite distinct from the ‘over ground

in Witchcraft Continued
mid-Victorian stories and beliefs
Susan Hoyle

else, from believing some narratives rather than others, but it does discourage a stereotyped privileging of one narrative over another. The best source for the study of Victorian witchcraft is newspapers. The reports in the local press of what were usually if erroneously called ‘witchcraft trials’ are often our only indicator of the depth and range of such practices and beliefs. With nice irony, as witchcraft-belief declined

in Witchcraft Continued
medical pluralism and the search for hegemony
Enrique Perdiguero

sources As the editors of this volume have already highlighted in some of their work, two key sources for understanding the role of magical healing during the period are folklore surveys and newspapers, though their use is fraught with problems. 11 The following discussion is based largely on the first of these two sources, with care being taken to ensure that the folkloric material used was collected in the period concerned. 12

in Witchcraft Continued
Open Access (free)
Beyond the witch trials
Owen Davies and Willem de Blécourt

mentalities and social control. At another level, the eighteenth century saw an increasing popular access to and engagement with printed material. While the extent of the growth of literacy during the Enlightenment is a matter of considerable debate, there is no doubt that there was a publishing boom, and that it was partly inspired by a popular thirst for literary knowledge. The rise of such printed formats as periodicals and newspapers have been seen as instrumental in the spread of enlightened knowledge across society. Yet as the work by Sabine Doering-Manteuffel and

in Beyond the witch trials
Sabine Doering-Manteuffel and Stephan Bachter

control and govern nature. The dominance of theological world-views ceded considerable ground to secular intellectual concepts. Latin disappeared as the language of elite discourse. Increased educational provision provided access to sources of knowledge that were previously unattainable to all but a few. A market for books and newspapers, for journals and weeklies developed rapidly.1 More and more people lower down the social scale became increasingly involved in a literary culture. Accordingly, the ‘common’ people began to learn from their history. They were taught new

in Beyond the witch trials
The discourse of spirits in Enlightenment Bristol
Jonathan Barry

, Richard Giles. The girls suffered tormenting fits, saw visions, had crooked pins stuck into them, and became the mouthpieces of a diabolic spirit. Giles also fell ill and died. The family suspected witchcraft, and resorted to a cunning-woman for an eventual cure, but for one section of the Bristol intelligentsia with Methodist leanings the case was one of direct satanic possession and was to be dealt with through prayer. The three main sources are the diaries of a Bristol accountant named William Dyer, a series of newspaper letters during early 1762 and a narrative

in Beyond the witch trials
Owen Davies

remained ‘some vestiges of this credulity, it will be undermined by this disclosure: newspapers and time will do the rest’. 13 In 1911, Charles Lancelin, a prolific author on the subject of the occult, posed the question, ‘At the present time, do country folk still believe in witchcraft?’ The answer was, ‘Yes – in various degrees’. 14 It was not so much the belief in witchcraft which annoyed Lancelin but the activities of those

in Witchcraft Continued
Nils Freytag

Catholic Church. Nevertheless, the leadership of the diocese did possess several instruments with which to react to religious deviations and miraculous incidents. For example, secret investigations of odd occurrences and miraculous manifestations were conducted – ‘at first quietly and without causing a stir’ as Church sources repeated time and again. 24 Public investigations ran the risk of attracting the attention of the newspapers, which the church

in Witchcraft Continued
Open Access (free)
witchcraft continued
Willem de Blécourt and Owen Davies

to equate them with the women, and to a lesser extent men, who were accused of causing harm to their neighbours by spells or mere body language. We can also consider another contemporary usage of the term ‘witchcraft’ signifying ritual black magic, as in the newspaper reports that form the basis of Richard Jenkins’s contribution to this volume. This takes the harmful aspect of traditional accusatory witchcraft and

in Witchcraft Continued