A Storm of Witchcraft

The Salem Trials and the American Experience

Author: Emerson W. Baker

Publisher: Pivotal Moments in American Hi

ISBN: 019989034X

Category: History

Page: 398

View: 3646


Presents an historical analysis of the Salem witch trials, examining the factors that may have led to the mass hysteria, including a possible occurrence of ergot poisoning, a frontier war in Maine, and local political rivalries.

The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft & Wicca, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, 2008

The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft & Wicca

Author: N.A

Publisher: Bukupedia


Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Page: 449

View: 6099


Centuries ago, the inquisitors and witch-hunters who executed witches as servants of the Devil believed they were doing a service to God and humanity. They envisioned a society free of witchcraft, which they viewed as heresy, a scourge, an evil and a blight. They would be astonished today to find that Witchcraft—with a capital W—has become one of the fastest-growing religions in Western culture. How did this 180-degree turn take place? The road from sorcery to spirituality is a colorful one, full of secrets, twists, rituals and compelling personalities. In its short half century as a religion, Witchcraft has a history rivaling that of any of the world’s great faiths in drama, intrigue, pathos and triumph. Witchcraft has taken its place in the ecumenical religious theater. Traditionally, witchcraft—with a small w—is a form of sorcery, concerned with spells and divination. The magical witch, the sorcerer witch, was not practicing a religion of witchcraft, but was practicing a magical art, passed down through families or taught by adepts. Witches have never enjoyed a good reputation. Almost universally since ancient times, witchcraft has been associated with malevolence and evil. Witches are thought to be up to no good, interested in wreaking havoc and bringing misery to others. Individuals who used the magical arts to divine and to heal often took great pains to call themselves something other than “witch.” In Christianity, witchcraft became interpreted as serving the Devil in his plan to subvert and destroy souls. A witch hysteria mounted in Europe, Britain and even the American colonies and was seized upon by the church as a way of eliminating rival religious sects, political enemies and social outcasts. From the 14th to 18th centuries, thousands of people—perhaps hundreds of thousands— were tortured, jailed, maimed and executed on charges of witchcraft. Many of them were innocent, framed by personal enemies or tortured into confessions. They told lurid stories of signing pacts with the Devil in blood, of being given demons in the form of animal familiars that would do their malevolent bidding and of attending horrid feasts called sabbats, where they would kiss the anus of the Devil and roast babies for a meal. None of these tales was ever substantiated by fact, but they served as sufficient evidence to condemn those who confessed to them. The accused also admitted to doing evil to their families, friends, neighbors, rivals and enemies. How much of that was true is uncertain. Folk magic practices were part of everyday life, and casting a spell against someone, especially to redress a wrong, was commonplace. Since most confessions were extracted under fear and torture, it is likely that a great deal of untruth and exaggeration spilled out. In the American colonies, the Puritans were obsessed with evil and believed the Devil had followed them across the ocean from England to destroy them. No wonder this paranoia erupted into witch hunts, including those in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, when the tales of hysterical girls were enough to send people to their deaths. The stigma upon witchcraft left by the Inquisition and witch hunts lingers to this day, perpetuated by lurid films S Introduction S xii The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca and novels of baby-eating hags and Satan worshipers gathered in candlelit circles intoning ominous chants. Witchcraft as a religion was born in Britain after World War II and came out of the closet when the anti-witchcraft laws there were repealed in 1953. It is argued that Gerald B. Gardner, the man who more or less invented the religion, should have chosen another term besides witchcraft for the mix of pagan, ceremonial magic and occult material he assembled. Perhaps witchcraft sounded secretive, exotic and forbidden. It certainly struck the right chord with the public, who suddenly could not get enough of witches. Gardner may not have envisioned a worldwide religious movement, but that is what unfolded, first with the export of Witchcraft to the United States, Canada and Europe, and then around the world. The “Gardner tradition,” as it became known, quickly mutated into offshoots. A spiritual tradition that reinvented pagan deities and rituals, combined with folk magic and ceremonial magic, proved to be what many people wanted. Alienated by the dry, crusty rituals and somber dogma of patriarchal mainstream Christianity and Judaism, people were hungry for a spirituality that was fresh and creative. Witchcraft— as well as reborn Paganism, reconstructions of pre-Christian and non-Christian traditions—offered just that, along with independence, autonomy, a connection to Nature and direct contact with the Divine. No need for meddling priests, ministers and clergy to guard the gates to the Godhead—or the afterlife. Another appeal was the top billing given to the feminine aspect of deity—the Goddess. And, sensuality was honored and celebrated, not punished. Witchcraft the religion, along with its Pagan cousins, flourished in the blooming New Age counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s and then took hold on the edges of mainstream society. In the years since its birth, Witchcraft has solidified some in uniform codes, values and core beliefs. But at heart it remains fluid, constantly evolving in practice and interpretation. Practitioners find Witchcraft empowering and believe it provides a powerful spiritual path on a par with all other mystical, spiritual and religious paths. Dozens and dozens of Witchcraft and Pagan traditions exist, and new ones are born all the time. Witchcraft and Paganism have survived the first tests of time. The movements took hold in the baby boom generation. Now, the children and grandchildren of those people are growing up Wiccan and Pagan, and new young people are attracted to the fold in increasing numbers. But there remains that pesky word witchcraft, which still evokes Satan, evil and black magic to many outsiders. For decades now, Witches have argued about whether or not Witch ought to be replaced with a term that doesn’t come with so much negative baggage. Some have adopted the terms Wicca and Wiccan to describe themselves and their religion and also to distinguish who they are and what they do from folk magic. Today, most Witches stand firm by the terms Witch and Witchcraft, believing that the public can and should be reeducated about both. They have made headway, for Witchcraft/Wiccan churches are recognized legally, Witch holidays have gained some official recognition, and, in the United States, Wiccan military veterans have won the right to have the pentacle, their religious symbol, placed on their tombstones. The different kinds and definitions of witchcraft present a challenge in putting together an encyclopedia. First, there is witchcraft the magical art, which deals with sorcery, spell-casting for good or ill, healing and divination. Then there is the Inquisition witchcraft, the alleged Devil worship. And then there is Witchcraft the religion. All three overlap, and all three are covered in this volume. Most of the topics deal with the history and evolution of witchcraft in the West, though there are entries of crosscultural interest. I have used a lower-case w to describe folk and Inquisition witches and witchcraft, and a capital W to refer to the modern religion. I have also used the terms Wicca and Wiccan for the modern religion. Likewise, a lowercase p in pagan and paganism are used for pre- and non-Christian references, while a capital P refers to modern religious traditions. Witchcraft the modern religion is considered a form of Paganism, but there are many forms of Paganism that are not Witchcraft. Topics include folklore, historical cases and events, biographies, descriptions of beliefs, rites and practices and related topics. For the third edition, I have added entries in all categories and have updated entries to reflect changes and developments. Students of the Salem witch hysteria will find individual biographies on the key victims. Witchcraft is a topic of enduring interest and study. In one respect, it peeks into a shadow side of the occult and the dark underbelly of human nature. In another respect, it opens into a realm of spiritual light. The church may never officially apologize for the Inquisition, which destroyed many people other than accused witches. Perhaps the success of Witchcraft the religion is karmic payback for a campaign of terror in the name of religion. —Rosemary Ellen Guiley

The Meaning of Witchcraft

Author: Gerald Brosseau Gardner,Gerald B. Gardner

Publisher: Weiser Books

ISBN: 9781578633098

Category: Body, Mind & Spirit

Page: 288

View: 6605


Thought to be the father of modern witchcraft, Gerald Gardner published The Meaning of Witchcraft in 1959, not long after laws punishing witches were repealed. It was the first sympathetic book written from the point of view of a practicing witch. The Meaning of Witchcraft is an invaluable source book for witches today. Chapters include: Witch's Memories and Beliefs, The Stone Age Origins of Witchcraft, Druidism and the Aryan Celts, Magic Thinking, Curious Beliefs about Witches, Signs and Symbols, The Black Mass, Some Allegations Examined. The Meaning of Witchcraft is a record of witches' roots-and a tribute to a founding pioneer with the courage to set that record straight.

Public Choice Economics and the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria

Author: Franklin G. Mixon, Jr.

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1137506350

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 121

View: 9470


Public Choice Economics and the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria provides an economics perspective on the witchcraft episode, and adds to the growing body of work analyzing prominent historical events using the tools of economics.

Four Centuries of Witch Beliefs (RLE Witchcraft)

Author: R. T. Davies

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136739971

Category: History

Page: 240

View: 409


Originally published in 1947, it is the essential purpose of this book to investigate attitudes of leading Elizabethan and Stuart statesmen, ask whether witchcraft was of any importance in seventeenth-century English history, or even influenced the Great Rebellion. The reader is placed in possession of the more pertinent passages from the arguments used to support or discredit belief in witchcraft.

Between Two Worlds

How the English Became Americans

Author: Malcolm Gaskill

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191653837

Category: History

Page: 480

View: 9633


Between Two Worlds is a story teeming with people on the move, making decisions, indulging or resisting their desires and dreams. In the seventeenth century a quarter of a million men, women, and children left England's shores for America. Some were explorers and merchants, others soldiers and missionaries; many were fugitives from poverty and persecution. All, in their own way, were adventurers, risking their lives and fortunes to make something of themselves overseas. They irrevocably changed the land and indigenous peoples they encountered - and their new world changed them. But that was only half the story. The plantations established from Maine to the Caribbean needed support at home, especially royal endorsement and money, which made adventurers of English monarchs and investors too. Attitudes to America were crucial, and evolved as the colonies grew in size, prosperity, and self-confidence. Meanwhile, for those who had crossed the ocean, America forced people to rethink the country in which they had been raised, and to which they remained attached after emigration. In tandem with new ideas about the New World, migrants pondered their English mother country's traditions and achievements, its problems and its uncertain future in an age of war and revolution. Using hundreds of letters, journals, reports, pamphlets and contemporary books, Between Two Worlds recreates this fascinating transatlantic history - one which has often been neglected or misunderstood on both sides of the Atlantic in the centuries since.

Salem Story

Reading the Witch Trials of 1692

Author: Bernard Rosenthal

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521558204

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 286

View: 9137


Salem Story engages the story of the Salem witch trials through an analysis of the surviving primary documentation and juxtaposes that against the way in which our culture has mythologized the events of 1692. Salem Story examines a variety of individual motives that converged to precipitate the witch hunt. The book also examines subsequent mythologies that emerged from the events of 1692. Of the many assumptions about the Salem Witch Trials, the most persistent one remains that they were precipitated by a circle of hysterical girls. Through an analysis of what actually happened, through reading the primary material, the emerging story shows a different picture, one where "hysteria" inappropriately describes the events and where accusing males as well as females participated in strategies of accusation and confession that followed a logical, rational pattern.

This Is a Thriller

An Episode Guide, History and Analysis of the Classic 1960s Television Series

Author: Alan Warren

Publisher: McFarland

ISBN: 9780786419692

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 215

View: 3476


The late 1950s and early 1960s were the golden years of horror television. Anthology series such as Way Out and Great Ghost Tales, along with certain episodes of Twilight Zone and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, were among the shows that consistently frightened a generation of television viewers. And perhaps the best of them all was Thriller, hosted by Boris Karloff. In Thriller the horror was gothic, with a darker, bleaker vision of life than its contemporaries. The show's origins and troubled history is first discussed here, followed by biographies of such key figures as producer William Frye, executive producer Hubbell Robinson, writers Robert Bloch and Donald S. Sanford, and Karloff. The episode guide covers all 67 installments, providing airdate, production credits, cast, plot synopses and critical evaluations.

Salem Possessed

Author: Paul Boyer

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674282663

Category: History

Page: 256

View: 6565


Tormented girls writhing in agony, stern judges meting out harsh verdicts, nineteen bodies swinging on Gallows Hill. The stark immediacy of what happened in 1692 has obscured the complex web of human passion which climaxed in the Salem witch trials From rich and varied sources—many neglected and unknown—Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum give us a picture of the people and events more intricate and more fascinating than any other in the massive literature. It is a story of powerful and deeply divided families and of a community determined to establish an independent identity—beset by restraints and opposition from without and factional conflicts from within—and a minister whose obsessions helped to bring this volatile mix to the flash point. Not simply a dramatic and isolated event, the Salem outbreak has wider implications for our understanding of developments central to the American experience: the disintegration of Puritanism, the pressures of land and population in New England towns, the problems besetting farmer and householder, the shifting role of the church, and the powerful impact of commercial capitalism.