On Witches, Sorcery, Ghosts, Apparitions & Demonic Activity

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Subsections

On Demonic Possession

On Exorcism

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Order of Contents

Reformed Works
Other Works
Works Skeptical of
History of
Historiography of
On Ghosts & Apparitions
Bibliography

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Reformed Works

1600’s

Perkins, William – A Discourse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft, so far forth as it is Revealed in the Scriptures & Manifest by True Experience  (Cambridge, 1610)  IA  ToC

Bernard, Richard – A Guide to Grand-Jury Men, Divided into Two Books: in the first, is the Author’s Best Advice to them what to do before they bring in a billa vera [legal indictment] in cases of witchcraft, with a Christian Direction to such as are too much given upon every cross to think themselves bewitched. In the second, is a treatise touching witches good & bad, how they may be known, evicted, condemned, with many particulars tending thereunto  (London, 1627)  GB  265 pp.

Bernard (1568–1641) was an English puritan, conforming clergyman, also notable for his writings against separatists and Independency.

Wikipedia, ‘A Guide to Grand-Jury Men’:  “…on the legal aspects of witchcraft and how those participating in the trials may be deceived by deceit and counterfeited accounts. It further elaborates on how many natural ills can be taken as bewitchment. Bernard gives advice on how to determine an actual account of witchcraft from that of a false accusation and even more, the signs one should seek to determine if a man is truly bewitched or suffering from a natural sickness.

The dissertation was written to help reform the laws on witchcraft, to educate the men commissioned to seek out, investigate and prosecute instances of witchcraft, and as a guide to witchfinding with a combination of scientific analysis and theological understanding that was not previously used.”

Mather, Cotton – Memorable Providences, Relating to Witchcrafts & Possessions: A Faithful Account of Many Wonderful & Surprising Things that Have Befallen Several Bewitched & Possessed Persons in New-England  (Boston, 1689)  GB

Mather was a New England puritan.  The New England Salem witch trials would occur a few years later in 1692-1693.

Baxter, Richard – The Certainty of the Worlds of Spirits &, Consequently, of the Immortality of Souls, of the Malice & Misery of the Devils & the Damned: & of the Blessedness of the Justified, fully Evinced by the Unquestionable Histories of Apparitions, Operations, Witchcrafts, Voices, etc.  (London, 1691)

Cotton, John & Increase Mather – The Wonders of the Invisible World: being an Account of the Trials of Several Witches Lately Executed in New England: to which is Added: A Farther Account of the Trials of the New-England Witches  (Boston, 1693)  ToC

The Salem witch trials occured in New England in 1692-1693.  More than two hundred people were accused. Thirty were found guilty, nineteen of whom were executed by hanging (fourteen women and five men). One other man, Giles Corey, was pressed to death for refusing to plead, and at least five people died in jail.

It was the deadliest prosecution of witches in the history of colonial North America (though it hardly compared to what had previously occured in Europe within decades before). Only fourteen other women and two men had been executed in Massachusetts and Connecticut during the 17th century.

Mather, Increase – Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits Personating Men, Witchcrafts, Infallible Proofs of Guilt in such as are Accused with that Crime.  All Considered According to the Scriptures, History, Experience & the Judgment of Many Learned Men  (Boston, 1693)  67 pp.

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Other Works

1500’s

King James – Demonology: in Form of a Dialogue, Divided into Three Books  (1599; Gutenberg EBook, 2008)  100 pp.

King James (1566–1625) was king of Scotland as James VI from 1567 and king of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns in 1603 until his death in 1625.

On this work see Wikipedia, ‘Daemonologie’ and Lecky, History of Rationalism, ch. 1, pp. 104-105.  See also Wikipedia on ‘Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597’.

Wikipedia:  “In writing the book, King James was heavily influenced by his personal involvement in the North Berwick witch trials from 1590. Following the execution of a notorious sorcerer in the year 1591, the news of the trials was narrated in a news pamphlet titled ‘Newes from Scotland’ and was included as the final chapter of the text…  James begins the book:

‘The feareful abounding at this time in this country, of these detestable slaves of the Devil, the Witches or enchanters, has moved me (beloved reader) to dispatch in post, this following treatise of mine (…) to resolve the doubting (…) both that such assaults of Satan are most certainly practised, and that the instrument thereof merits most severely to be punished.'”

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1700’s

Anon. – Complete History of Magic, Sorcery & Witchcraft, Containing 1. the Most Authentic & Best Attested Relations of Magicians, Sorcerers, Witches, Apparitions, Spectres, Ghosts, Demons…  4. A Full Confutation of All the Arguments that have ever been Produced Against the Belief of Apparitions, Witches, etc. with a Judgment Concerning Spirits, by the Late, Learned, Mr. John Locke  (London, 1715), vol. 1  185 pp.  IA  ToC

Boulton, Robert – The Possibility & Reality of Magick, Sorcery & Witchcraft Demostrated, or a Vindication of a Complete History of Magic, Sorcery & Witchcraft, in Answer to Dr. Hutchinson’s Historical Essay…  (London, 1722)  205 pp.  ToC

Boulton (fl. 1697–1724) was an English physician and author of a number of works on the medical and kindred sciences.

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1800’s

Beecher, Charles

A Review of the ‘Spiritual Manifestations’, Read Before the Congregational Association of Ney York & Brooklyn  (NY: 1853)  75 pp.

Beecher (1815–1900) was a congregationalist and presbyterian minister born in Connecticut who was an abolitionist, a prolific author, and also convicted of heresy.  He was the son of Lyman Beecher (an abolitionist congregationalist preacher), brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) and the brother of Henry Ward Beecher (a renowned congregationalist minister).  

C. Beecher self-identifies as a Christian spiritualist in the book below, and lists the 8 tenets of that ‘movement’ on pp. 14-15.  The accounts in these two works appear to largely come from a handful of spiritualist newspapers in America current to that time, which had risen in popularity with the ‘movement’.

This shorter work is a review of the phenomenon of spiritual manifestations, not a review of the later book that he wrote below.

Spiritual Manifestations  (Boston, 1879)

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French

Bodin, Jean – Of the Demon-mania of Witches  (1581/1593)  470 pp.

Bodin (c. 1530–1596) was a French, Romanist jurist and political philosopher, member of the Parlement of Paris and professor of law in Toulouse. He is best known for his theory of sovereignty; he was also an influential writer on demonology.

This work came in the trail of Wier’s work, and was set in contrast to it.  See the discussion of Lecky on Bodin and this work in History of Rationalism (1910), ch. 1, pp. 87-91.

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Works Skeptical of

1500’s

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius – Three Books of Occult Philosophy  Buy  (1531/33; Chicago, 1898)  Latin

Agrippa (1486-1535) was a German polymath, physician, legal scholar, soldier, theologian, and occult writer. He is considered one of the most influential occultists of the early modern period. His book on the occult Three Books of Occult Philosophy was published in 1533, but was condemned as heretical by the inquisitor of Cologne. His work drew heavily upon the influences of Kabbalah, Hermeticism and neo-Platonism.  Jan Wier, below, was his disciple.

Calvin had regarded Agrippa as a chief contemner of the Gospel (Lecky).

Agrippa’s work is a storehouse of documentation and info for sorcery, etc. through history and in the classical world.  The work itself is for a certain sorcery, though later in life he may have recanted all belief in such (this is disputed).

“Agrippa’s study of occult philosophy, [has been] acknowledged as a significant contribution to the Renaissance philosophical discussion concerning the powers of ritual magic and its relationship with religion.

The three books deal with Elemental, Celestial and Intellectual magic. The books outline the four elements, astrology, kabbalah, numbers, angels, God’s names, the virtues and relationships with each other as well as methods of utilizing these relationships and laws in medicine, scrying, alchemy, ceremonies, origins of what are from the Hebrew, Greek, and Chaldean context.

These arguments were common amongst other hermetic philosophers at the time and before. In fact, Agrippa’s interpretation of magic is similar to the authors Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and Johann Reuchlin’s synthesis of magic and religion and emphasize an exploration of nature. Unlike many grimoires of the time, before and past, these books are more scholarly and intellectual than mysterious and foreboding. These books are often read as authoritative by those interested in the occult even today.” – Internet Archive

Wier, Jan

On Witchcraft: An Abridged Translation of Johann Weyer’s De Praestigiis Daemonum [On the Sleights of Demons]  Ref  (Basil, 1568; Pegasus Press, 1998)  330 pp.  Latin  755 pp.  No ToC

Wier (1515-1588) was a Dutch physician, occultist and demonologist, disciple and follower of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa.  See Wikipedia on ‘De praestigiis daemonum’.

Wikipedia: “Weyer published his major works on demons, magic, and witchcraft, in which he applied a skeptical medical view to reported wonders and supposed examples of magic or witchcraft…

Nevertheless, while he defended the idea that the Devil’s power was not as strong as claimed by the orthodox Christian churches in De Praestigiis Daemonum, he defended also the idea that demons did have power and could appear before people who called upon them, creating illusions; but he commonly referred to magicians and not to witches when speaking about people who could create illusions, saying they were heretics who were using the Devil’s power to do it, and when speaking on witches, he used the term mentally ill

Weyer’s appeal for clemency for those accused of the crime of witchcraft was opposed later in the sixteenth century by the Swiss physician Thomas Erastus, the French legal theorist Jean Bodin and King James VI of Scotland.”

In Latin

A Book on Witches…  (Basil, 1577)

Scott, Reginald – Wherein the Lewd Dealing of Witches & Witchmongers is Notably Detected, the Knavery of Conjurors, the Impiety of Inchantors, the Folly of Soothsayers, the Impudent Falsehood of Cousenors, the Infidelity of atheists, the pestilent practises of Pythonists, the curiosity of figurecasters, the vanity of dreamers, the beggerly art of Alcumystry, The abomination of idolatry, the horrible art of poisoning, the virtue and power of natural magic, and all the conveyances of Legierdemaine and juggling are deciphered: and many other things opened…  Hereunto is added a treatise upon the nature and substance of spirits and devils  (1584; [London] 1651)  IA  HTML  The original title page quotes 1 Jn. 4:1, “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God…”

Wikipedia:  “The Discoverie of Witchcraft is a partially sceptical book…  intended as an exposé of early Modern witchcraft.  It contains a small section intended to show how the public was fooled by charlatans, which is considered the first published material on illusionary or stage magic.  Scot believed that the prosecution of those [merely] accused [and that insufficiently] of witchcraft was irrational and un-Christian, and he held the Roman Church responsible. Popular belief held that all obtainable copies were burned on the accession of James I in 1603…

Scott enumerates 212 authors whose works in Latin he had consulted, and twenty-three authors who wrote in English…  He set himself to prove that the belief in witchcraft and magic was rejected by reason and by religion and that spiritualistic manifestations were wilful impostures or illusions due to mental disturbance in the observers. His aim was to prevent the persecution of poor, aged, and simple persons, who were popularly credited with being witches. The maintenance of the superstition he blamed largely on the Roman Catholic Church…  Of Cornelius Agrippa and Johann Weyer, author of De Præstigiis Demonum (Basle, 1566), whose views he adopted, he spoke with respect…

His volume became an exhaustive encyclopædia of contemporary beliefs about witchcraft, spirits, alchemy, magic, and legerdemain [sleight of hand], as well as attracting widespread attention to his scepticism on witchcraft.  William Shakespeare drew from his study of Scot’s book hints for his picture of the witches in Macbeth…

William Perkins sought to refute Scot, and was joined by the powerful James VI of Scotland in his Dæmonologie (1597), referring to the opinions of Scot as ‘damnable’.  John Rainolds in Censura Librorum Apocryphorum (1611), Richard Bernard in Guide to Grand Jurymen (1627), Joseph Glanvill in Philosophical Considerations touching Witches and Witchcraft (1666), and Meric Casaubon in Credulity and Uncredulity (1668) continued the attack on Scot’s position.

Scot found contemporary support in the influential Samuel Harsnet [d. 1631], and his views continued to be defended later by Thomas Ady, Candle in the Dark: Or, A Treatise concerning the Nature of Witches and Witchcraft (1656), and by John Webster in The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft (1677)…”

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1600’s

Bekker, Balthasar – The World Bewitched, or, An Examination of the Common Opinions Concerning Spirits, their Nature, Power, Administration & Operations, as also the Effects Men are able to Produce by their Communication: divided into 4 Parts  (1695)  Original Dutch was 1691

van Mastricht argued against Bekker in Theoretical-Pratical Theology, vol. 3, bk. 3, ch. 8.  See Ragusa’s article above.  See also Hagenbach, A Text Book of the History of Doctrines, section 265, pp. 341-43, especially note 6.

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1700’s

Hutchinson, Francis – An Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft, with Observations upon Matters of Fact, tending to Clear the Texts of the Sacred Scriptures, & Confute the Vulgar Errors About that Point  (London, 1718)  315 pp.  ToC  The 1720 ed. omits, ‘A Defence of the Compassionate Address to Papists’.

Hutchinson (1660–1739) was an Anglican clergyman when he wrote this influential book seeking to debunk witchcraft prosecutions.  He subsequently was made a bishop in Northern Ireland.

Wikipedia:  “Sometime before 1692, Hutchinson became a minister and perpetual curate at St. James parish in Bury St. Edmunds and this may have led to an interest in researching the infamous [Bury St. Edmunds witch] trials that had occurred there.  In 1700, a skeptical book about the 1692 Salem witch trials by Robert Calef was printed in London and in his own book Hutchinson praises and recommends Calef’s work…

By 1706, Hutchinson was passing around a draft of a book that would come to be called An Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft but was discouraged by influential friends from publishing…  A few years later a book appeared by Richard Boulton which Hutchinson detested, and this seem to have finally galled him into publishing his book in 1718.

It was a lengthy work carefully and patiently deconstructing and dissecting witch-hunting and the witchcraft prosecutions in East Anglia and other parts of England, as well as New England, and ‘applied a consciously rational approach to the phenomenon.’  Historian Wallace Notestein, writing in 1911, ends a similar survey in 1718 ‘because that year marked the publication of Francis Hutchinson’s notable attack.’  Notestein calls it ‘epoch-making’…  Bostridge does not diminish the importance of Hutchinson’s book, but presents the vote to repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1735 as politically complex event and not a foregone conclusion.”

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The History of

The Whole of History

Articles

White, Andrew Dickson – A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom  2 vols. in 1  (NY: 1898)

Ch. 11, ‘From ‘The Prince of the Power of the Air’ to Meteorology’

Ch. 12, ‘From Magic to Chemistry & Physics’

White (1832–1918) was a state senator, U.S. diplomat, a bibliophile, a professor of history and the first president of Cornell University (an Ivy League school in New York).

He was one of the founders of the conflict thesis, which states that science and religion have historically been in conflict with each other.  White was on the side of science in that ‘conflict’.  This theory is widely rejected among contemporary historians of science.

Wikipedia – ‘European Witchcraft’

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Books

Summers, Montague

A Popular History of Witchcraft  (London, 1937)  300 pp.

The History of Witchcraft  (London, 1994)  380 pp.  IA

Montague (1880-1948) was an English author and self-styled clergyman. He is known primarily for his scholarly work on the English drama of the 17th century, as well as for his idiosyncratic studies on witchcraft, vampires, and werewolves, in all of which he professed to believe. He was responsible for the first English translation, published in 1928, of the 15th-century witch hunter’s manual, the Malleus Maleficarum.

Hunt, Bernice Kohn – Out of the Cauldron; a Short History of Witchcraft  (1974)  130 pp.  IA

Ruickbie, Leo – Witchcraft Out of the Shadows: a Complete History  (London, 2004)  288 pp.

Martin, Lois – The History of Witchcraft  (Pocket Essentials, 2007)  145 pp.  IA

ed. Davies, Owen – The Oxford Illustrated History of Witchcraft & Magic  (Oxford, 2017)

Dillinger, Johannes – The Routledge History of Witchcraft  Pre  (Routledge, 2020)

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Multi-Volume Sets

Colquhoun, J.C. – An History of Magic, Witchcraft & Animal Magnetism, vol. 1, 2  (London, 1851)  There is no table of contents.

Lea, Henry Charles – Materials Toward a History of Witchcraft, vol. 1, 2, 3  (NY: Thomas Yoseloff, 1957), vol. 1  490 pp.  ToC  Academic & extensive.

eds. Ankarloo & Clark – Witchcraft & Magic in Europe, 6 vols.  (London, 1999–2002)

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Encyclopedias

1900’s

Guiley, Rosemary – The Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft  (Facts on File, 1999)  436 pp.

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2000’s

ed. Burns, William E. – Witch Hunts in Europe & America: An Encyclopedia  Pre  (Greenwood Press, 2003)

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Multi-Volume Encyclopedia

ed. Golden, Richard – Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Western Tradition, vol. 1 (A-D), 2 (E-J), 3, 4  (Santa Barbara, CA, 2006)

“…an authoritative four-volume encyclopedia of witchcraft with entries by scholars from twenty-eight countries.” – Brain Levack

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Anthology of Primary Sources

ed. Levack, Brian P. – The Witchcraft Sourcebook  (London, 2004).

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Early Church through the 1700’s

Article

Lecky, William E.H. – ch. 1, ‘The Declining Sense of the Miraculous. On Magic & Witchcraft’  in History of the Rise & Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe  2 vols in 1  (Longmans, Green, 1910), vol. 1

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Anthology of Primary Sources

eds. Kors & Peters – European Witchcraft 400–1700  2nd ed.  (Philadelphia, PA, 2003)

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Early Church through the Middle Ages

Lea, Henry Charles – Chs. 6, ‘Sorecery & Occult Arts’ & 7, ‘Witchcraft’  in A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages  (NY: 1888), vol. 3, bk. 3

“Dr. Lea’s elaborate work is the leading modern treatment of the subject and is accepted as an authority.” – Philip Schaff

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Middle Ages to Present

eds. Barry, Daives & Usborne – Cultures of Witchcraft in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present: Essays in Honour of Willem de Blecourt  Pre  (Palgrave, 2018)

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1100-1700

Book

Kors & Peters – Witchcraft in Europe, 1100-1700: a Documentary History  (Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1972)  390 pp.

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1200’s – 1700’s

Article

Wikipedia – ‘Witch Trials in the Early Modern Period’

Includes around 18 further pages on witch trials by region and nation

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Book

Decker, Rainer – Witchcraft & the Papacy: An Account Drawing on the Formerly Secret Records of the Roman Inquisition  Ref  (Univ. of Virginia Press, 2008)  262 pp.

“When Rainer Decker was researching a sensational seventeenth-century German witchcraft trial, he discovered, much to his surprise, that in this case the papacy functioned as a force of skepticism and restraint. His curiosity piqued, he tried unsuccessfully to gain access to a secret Vatican archive housing the records of the Roman Inquisition that had been sealed to outsiders from its sixteenth-century beginnings. In 1996 Decker was one of the first of a small group of scholars allowed access…

Witchcraft and the Papacy is based on these newly available materials and traces the role of the papacy in witchcraft prosecutions from medieval times to the eighteenth century. Decker found that although the medieval church did lay the foundation for witch hunts of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, the postmedieval papacy, and the Roman and Spanish Inquisitions, played the same kind of skeptical, restraining role during the height of the witch-hunting frenzy in Germany and elsewhere in Europe…  Witchcraft and the Papacy overturns a large body of scholarship…”

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1200’s – Early-1500’s

Schaff, Philip – Ch. 7, ‘Heresy & Witchcraft’, sections 57 & 59  in History of the Christian Church  (1910), vol. 6, the 6th Period of Church History.  Excellent bibliography

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1300’s – 1900’s

eds. Gijswijt-Hofstra & Frijhoff – Witchcraft in the Netherlands from the Fourteenth to the Twentieth Centuries  (Rotterdam, 1991)

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1400’s – 1700’s

Article

Levack, Brian P. – ‘Introduction’  in ed. Brian Levack, The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America  (Oxford, 2013)  Excellent bibliographic information.

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Books

1900’s

eds. Ankarloo & Henningsen – Early Modern European Witchcraft: Centres & Peripheries  (Oxford, 1991)  490 pp.

eds. Barry, Hester & Roberts – Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Studies in Culture & Belief  Pre  (Cambridge, 1996)

“Using Keith Thomas’ Religion and the Decline of Magic as a starting point, the contributors explore the changes of the last twenty-five years in the understanding of early modern witchcraft, and suggest new approaches, especially concerning the cultural dimensions of the subject.  Witchcraft cases must be understood as power struggles, over gender and ideology as well as social relationships, with a crucial role played by alternative representations…

The essays are European in scope, with examples from Germany, France and the Spanish expansion into the New World, as well as a strong core of English material.”

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2000’s

Swan, Claudia – Art, Science & Witchcraft in Early Modern Holland: Jacques de Gheyn II (1565-1629)  Pre  (Cambridge, 2005)

ed. Levack, Brian – Witchcraft in Continental Europe, vol. 2  Pre  (Routledge, 2013)  Has a chapter on the Northern (Reformed) Netherlands.

ed. Levack, Brian – The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America  Ref  Pre  (Oxford, 2013)

Abstract: “The purpose of this book is threefold. The first objective is to summarize the current state of knowledge in the field of witchcraft studies. The second objective is to identify the most important historical literature that has been produced on the subject, to discuss the different ways scholars have approached the subject and comment on the controversies to which the subject has given rise. The third objective is to propose new ways of looking at the topic or suggest avenues for further research. A general discussion of witch beliefs and witchcraft prosecutions is also presented.”

Vervoort, Renilde – Bruegel’s Witches. Witchcraft Images in the Low Countries between 1450 and 1700  PhD dissertation  (Van de Wiele Publishing, 2015)  135 pp.

This work includes the very important introductory chapter by Dries Vanysacker, ‘Prosecutions for Sorcery and Witchcraft in Europe’, pp. 11-17, which gives a general and statistical survey and account of the progress and development of witchcraft prosecutions in Europe and the Netherlands.

Abstract:  “Bruegel’s [c. 1525–1530 – 1569] images of witches are among the most influential and most widely distributed since the middle of the 16th century.  Bruegel codified and articulated the ‘cumulative theory of witchcraft’— the warrant for the most destructive ‘epidemic’ phase of the great European witch-hunts in the 17th century.  The idea of the ´cumulative theory of witchcraft’ and the rise of witch-hunting is a complex topic. It spread slowly and asymmetrically across Europe from its earliest 15th century origins in the southern and eastern French-speaking areas of Europe (Savoy, Valais, Lyon). Traditional Canon law prohibited belief in witchcraft and magic. This had to be overcome. Relying on folkloric and ancient beliefs and fears, the authors of demonological treatises – lawmakers, inquisitors and theologists – promoted new ideas about devil-worshipping witches, a new evil that had to be eradicated. While ‘translating’ the devil-worshipping witch into images that people could understand (the treatises were written in Latin in Bruegel’s time), we sometimes see proof of the underlying folkloric beliefs, which must have been more commonplace still during the 16th century.

Bruegel introduced the chimney as the exit point for night flights and placed the cauldron witches used to brew their wicked ointments and magical concoctions on the domestic hearth. Even the black cat was part of his witch image, so recognisable for us today. Indeed, he shaped with his engravings both early modern and later archetypes and understandings of who witches are. Bruegel chose to continue the tradition of depicting witches flying on brooms through the night skies to their diabolical assemblies, while earlier artists had deemed many other objects suitable. After Bruegel, the broom became the only mode of transportation…”

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1500’s – 1700’s

Articles

Gijswijt-Hofstra, Marijke – ‘The European Witchcraft Debate & the Dutch Variant’  Ref  Social History, vol. 15, No. 2 (May, 1990), pp. 181-194

Bever, Edward – ‘Witchcraft Prosecutions & the Decline of Magic’  The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol. 40, No. 2, The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Autumn, 2009), pp. 263-293

Wikipedia – ‘Witchcraft Acts’

Includes discussions of the major withcraft acts in England and Scotland, namely in: 1542, 1563, 1604, 1649, 1735.

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Books

Notestein, Wallace – A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558-1718  (American Historical Association, 1911)  442 pp.  ToC  a Prize Essay

Klaits, Joseph – Servants of Satan: the Age of the Witch Hunts  (Indiana Univ. Press, 1985)  225 pp.

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Anthology of Primary Sources

ed. Gibson, Marion, – Witchcraft & Society in England & America, 1550–1750  (Ithaca, NY, 2003)

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Multi-Volume Set

eds. Sharpe, Gibson, Gaskill & Elmer – English Witchcraft, 1560–1736, 6 vols.  (London, 2003)

“…a six-volume edition of English pamphlets and demonological treatises spanning the years 1520–1736.” – Brian Levack

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1500’s-1600’s

Article

Ragusa, Daniel – ‘Beginning with Scripture, Ending with Worship: An Analysis of Petrus van Mastricht’s Polemic against Balthasar Bekker’  in ed. Adriaan Neele, Petrus van Mastricht (1630-1706): Text, Context & Interpretation  (V&R, 2020)

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Books

Fix, Andrew – Fallen Angels: Balthasar Bekker, Spirit Belief & Confessionalism in the Seventeenth Century Dutch Republic  Pre  (Springer, 1999)

Almond, Philip C. – England’s First Demonologist:  Reginald Scott & The Discoverie of Witchcraft  Pre  (I.B. Tauris, 2011)

Borman, Tracy – Witches: James I & the English Witch Hunts  (2014)  325 pp.

eds. Harmes, Marcus & Victoria Bladen – Supernatural & Secular Power in Early Modern England  Pre  (Routledge, 2015)  Includes a chapter on Ludwig Lavater.

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1600’s – 1700’s

ed. Davies & Blecourt – Beyond the Witch Trials: Witchcraft & Magic in Enlightenment Europe  (Manchester Univ. Press, 2004)

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On New England & the Salem Witchcraft Trials (1692-93)

Articles

1800’s

Moore, George H. – Notes on the History of Witchcraft in Massachusettes  (Worcester, MA: Hamilton, 1883)  31 pp.

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1900’s

Burr, George Lincoln – New England’s Place in the History of Witchcraft  (1911)  48 pp.

van Buren Perley, Martin – A Short History of the Salem Village Witchcraft Trials, Illustrated by a Verbatim Report of the Trial of Mrs. Elizabeth Howe  (Salem, Mass., 1911)  90 pp.

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2000’s

History.com Editors – ‘Salem Witch Trials’

“Though the respected minister Cotton Mather had warned of the dubious value of spectral evidence (or testimony about dreams and visions), his concerns went largely unheeded during the Salem witch trials. Increase Mather, president of Harvard College (and Cotton’s father) later joined his son in urging that the standards of evidence for witchcraft must be equal to those for any other crime, concluding that “It would better that ten suspected witches may escape than one innocent person be condemned.” Amid waning public support for the trials, Governor Phips dissolved the Court of Oyer and Terminer in October and mandated that its successor disregard spectral evidence. Trials continued with dwindling intensity until early 1693, and by that May Phips had pardoned and released all those in prison on witchcraft charges.

In January 1697, the Massachusetts General Court declared a day of fasting for the tragedy of the Salem witch trials; the court later deemed the trials unlawful, and the leading justice Samuel Sewall publicly apologized for his role in the process. The damage to the community lingered, however, even after Massachusetts Colony passed legislation restoring the good names of the condemned and providing financial restitution to their heirs in 1711.”

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Books

1800’s

Upham, Charles

Lectures on Witchcraft: Comprising a History of the Delusion in Salem, in 1692  (Boston: Carter, 1831)  290 pp.

Salem Witchcraft: with an Account of Salem Village, & a History of Opinions on Witchcraft & Kindred Subjects, vol. 1, 2  (Boston, 1867)  ToC

Here is a Review (1872) by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Mudge, Zachariah Atwell – Witch Hill: a History of Salem Witchcraft, including Illustrative Sketches of Persons & Places  (NY: 1870)  315 pp.

Goodell, Abner Cheney – Further Notes on the History of Witchcraft in Massachusetts: Containing Additional Evidence of the Passage of the Act of 1711 for Reversing the Attainders of the Witches…  (Cambridge, 1884)

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1900’s

Tomlinson, Richard G. – Witchcraft Trials of Connecticut: the First Comprehensive, Documented History of Witchcraft Trials in Colonial Connecticut  (1978)  90 pp.

Trask, Richard B. – “The devil hath been raised”: a Documentary History of the Salem Village Witchcraft Outbreak of March 1692  (Danvers Historical Society, 1992)  185 pp.  IA

Fremon, David – The Salem Witchcraft Trials in American History  (Enslow, 1999)  130 pp.

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1900’s

eds. Ankarloo & Clark – The Twentieth Century  beign vol. 6 of Witchcraft & Magic in Europe, 6 vols.  (London, 1999–2002)

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On the Historiography of Witchcraft

eds. Barry & Davies – Palgrave Advances in Witchcraft Historiography (Basingstoke, 2007)

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On Ghosts & Apparitions

1500’s

Vermigli

The Sandomierz Consensus  1570

in ed. Dennison, Reformed Confessions, 3.252

Ch. 26, ‘On the Need of Believers [Bodies in Burial], on Work or Care for the Dead, on Purgatory & on the Appearances of Ghosts’

“Regarding the appearances of ghosts and the souls of the dead, which it might seem, sometimes show themselves to the living, asking them for help so that they might be delivered, we understand such apparitions to be a game and deception of people by Satan, who can even turn himself into an angel of light so that he might lead our faith into doubt, or, as it were, destroy it.

We also know that in the old law God forbade seeking truth from the dead, and He does not want us to have any dealings with the spirits of the dead.  Therefore, the comfortable rich man who was given over to torment, as the Gospel declares, was not allowed to have a messenger for his brothers, but he was told, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them listen.  For if they do not listen to the prophets and Moses, then even if someone from the dead were to come to them, they will not believe him’ (Lk. 16:29,31).”

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1600’s

Mather, Increase – ‘A Disquisition Concerning Angelical Apparitions, in Answer to a Case of Conscience, showing that Daemons oft appear like Angels of Light, & what is the best and only way to prevent deception by them, All considered, according to the Scripture, Reason, Experience and approved History’  in Angelographia, or A Discourse Concerning the Nature & Power of the Holy Angels…  (Boston, 1696)

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Bibliographies

Bumstead, George – Occult Works. A Catalogue of an Extraordinary…  Collection of 600 Works on Alchemy, Astrology, Magic, Necromancy, Sorcery & Witchcraft, Diaboloical Possession & Exorcism, Apparitions, Ghosts…  in Various Languages, on Sale…  (London, 1852)

Notestein, Wallace – A History of Witchcraft in England from 1558-1718  (American Historical Association, 1911)

Appendix A, ‘Pamphlet Literature’, pp. 345-382

Appendix C, ‘List of Cases of Witchcraft, 1558-1718, with References to Sources & Literature’, pp. 384-420

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Related Pages