The Superstitions of Witchcraft

Howard Williams

The Superstitions of Witchcraft, by Howard

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Title: The Superstitions of Witchcraft
Author: Howard Williams

Release Date: October 1, 2007 [eBook #22822]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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Transcriber's notes
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A list of corrections is included at the end of the book.

SUPERSTITIONS OF WITCHCRAFT.
London Printed by Spottiswoode and Co. New-Street Square
THE SUPERSTITIONS OF WITCHCRAFT.
by
HOWARD WILLIAMS, M.A.
St. John's College, Cambridge.
'Somnia, terrores magicos, miracula, sagas, Nocturnos lemures, portentaque Thessala rides?'

London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green. 1865.

PREFACE.
'THE SUPERSTITIONS OF WITCHCRAFT' is designed to exhibit a consecutive review of the characteristic forms and facts of a creed which (if at present apparently dead, or at least harmless, in Christendom) in the seventeenth century was a living and lively faith, and caused thousands of victims to be sent to the torture-chamber, to the stake, and to the scaffold. At this day, the remembrance of its superhuman art, in its different manifestations, is immortalised in the every-day language of the peoples of Europe.
* * * * *
The belief in Witchcraft is, indeed, in its full development and most fearful results, modern still more than medi?val, Christian still more than Pagan, and Protestant not less than Catholic.

CONTENTS.
PART I.
CHAPTER I.
The Origin, Prevalence, and Variety of Superstition--The Belief in Witchcraft the most horrid Form of Superstition--Most flourishing in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries--The Sentiments of Addison, Blackstone, and the Lawyers of the Eighteenth Century upon the Subject--Chaldean and Persian Magic--Jewish Witchcraft--Its important Influence on Christian and Modern Belief--Greek Pharmacy and Sorcery--Early Roman Laws against Conjuration and Magic Charms--Crimes perpetrated, under the Empire, in connection with Sorceric Practices--The general Persecution for Magic under Valentinian and Valens--German and Scandinavian Sag?--Essential Difference between Eastern and Western Sorcery--The probable Origin of the general Belief in an Evil Principle PAGE 3
PART II.
CHAPTER I.
Compromise between the New and the Old Faiths--Witchcraft under the Early Church--The Sentiments of the Fathers and the Decrees of Councils--Platonic Influences--Historical, Physiological, and Accidental Causes of the Attribution of Witchcraft to the Female Sex--Opinions of the Fathers and other Writers--The Witch-Compact 47
CHAPTER II.
Charlemagne's Severity--Anglo-Saxon Superstition--Norman and Arabic Magic--Influence of Arabic Science--Mohammedan Belief in Magic--Rabbinical Learning--Roger Bacon--The Persecution of the Templars--Alice Kyteler 63
CHAPTER III.
Witchcraft and Heresy purposely confounded by the Church--Medi?val Science closely connected with Magic and Sorcery--Ignorance of Physiology the Cause of many of the Popular Prejudices--Jeanne d'Arc--Duchess of Gloucester--Jane Shore--Persecution at Arras 84
PART III.
CHAPTER I.
The Bull of Innocent VIII.--A new Incentive to the vigorous Prosecution of Witchcraft--The 'Malleus Maleficarum'--Its Criminal Code--Numerous Executions at the Commencement of the Sixteenth Century--Examination of Christian Demonology--Various Opinions of the Nature of Demons--General Belief in the Intercourse of Demons and other non-human Beings with Mankind 101
CHAPTER II.
Three Sorts of Witches--Various Modes of Witchcraft--Manner of Witch-Travelling--The Sabbaths--Anathemas of the Popes against the Crime--Bull of Adrian VI.--Cotemporary Testimony to the Severity of the Persecutions--Necessary Triumph of the Orthodox Party--Germany most subject to the Superstition--Acts of Parliament of Henry VIII. against Witchcraft--Elizabeth Barton--The Act of 1562--Executions under Queen Elizabeth's Government--Case of Witchcraft narrated by Reginald Scot 126
CHAPTER III.
The 'Discoverie of Witchcraft,' published 1584--Wier's 'De Pr?stigiis D?monum,' &c.--Naud¨¦--Jean Bodin--His 'De la D¨¦monomanie des Sorciers,' published at Paris, 1580--His Authority--Nider--Witch-case at Warboys--Evidence adduced at the Trial--Remarkable as being the Origin of the Institution of an Annual Sermon at Huntingdon 144
CHAPTER IV.
Astrology in Antiquity--Modern Astrology and Alchymy--Torralvo--Adventures of Dr. Dee and Edward Kelly--Prospero and Comus, Types respectively of the Theurgic and Goetic Arts--Magicians on the Stage in the Sixteenth Century--Occult Science in Southern Europe--Causes of the inevitable Mistakes of the pre-Scientific Ages 157
CHAPTER V.
Sorcery in Southern Europe--Cause of the Retention of the Demonological Creed among the Protestant Sects--Calvinists the most Fanatical of the Reformed Churches--Witch-Creed sanctioned in the Authorised Version of the Sacred Scriptures--The Witch-Act of 1604--James VI.'s 'Demonologie'--Lycanthropy and Executions in France--The French Provincial Parliaments active in passing Laws against the various Witch-practices--Witchcraft in the Pyrenees--Commission of Inquiry appointed--Its Results--Demonology in Spain 168
CHAPTER VI.
'Possession' in France in the Seventeenth Century--Urbain Grandier and the Convent of Loudun--Exorcism at Aix--Ecstatic Phenomena--Madeleine Bavent--Her cruel Persecution--Catholic and Protestant Witchcraft in Germany--Luther's Demonological Fears and Experiences--Originated in his exceptional Position and in the extraordinary Circumstances of his Life and Times--Witch-burning at Bamburg and at W¨¹rzburg 186
CHAPTER VII.
Scotland one of the most Superstitious Countries in Europe--Scott's Relation of the Barbarities perpetrated in the Witch-trials under the Auspices of James VI.--The Fate of Agnes Sampson, Euphane MacCalzean, &c.--Irrational Conduct of the Courts
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