Burchard’s strigae, the Witches’ Sabbath, and Shamanistic Cannibalism in Early Modern Europe, by Emma Wilby (2013)

Title: Burchard’s strigae, the Witches’ Sabbath, and Shamanistic Cannibalism in Early Modern Europe

Description (extract): “Scholars have long recognized that when elite thinkers constructed the core stereotype of the witches’ sabbath (as it emerged, in various guises, in demonological manuals from the fifteenth century onward), they drew, in part, upon folkloric beliefs that had filtered into the elite sphere via both general cultural dissemination and the witch trials themselves. While research in this area is ongoing, to date it has crystallized into a thesis that seems to be accepted by most scholars: that from as early as the twelfth century many churchmen and demonologists fused folkloric ideas about beneficent nocturnal spirit hosts with folkloric beliefs about maleficent spirits and spirit hordes. This ‘‘sabbath-conflation’’ thesis, as we term it here, is underpinned by three early passages, all of which, owing to their importance, have often been quoted by historians of witchcraft.”

Author(s): Emma Wilby

Journal: Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft

Date: 2013

Pages: 33

Keywords:  witchcraft ; witch ; witch trials ; shamanism ; witches’ sabbath ; demonology ; superstition ; folklore ; early modern ; Burchard of Worms ; John of Salisbury ; cannibalism

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