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A late eighteenth-century Dutch witch doctor and his clients
Willem de Blécourt

opinion met with increasing approval. In Drenthe, as in other provinces of the Netherlands, it was the local elite, consisting of schoolteachers, physicians and ministers, who joined in battle against ‘superstition’ or ‘misbelief ’. They constituted an echelon of the Society for the Public Welfare, who had already held a competition in 1798 to eradicate the ‘prejudices about Divinations, as well as those about Charming of Devils, Witchcrafts and Hauntings’.1 In this chapter I want to not just proceed beyond the witch trials, but also beyond superstition. For witchcraft

in Beyond the witch trials
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Witchcraft and the symbolics of hierarchy in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Finland
Raisa Maria Toivo

the prime cause of witchcraft accusations in research. As far as a local community and its social dynamics are concerned, social conflict and competition are obviously important. Yet settling for such an explanation runs the risk of belittling the belief in witchcraft and simplifying it as a scapegoat for something supposedly more rational. To illustrate this point, we can look in more detail at the events surrounding Agata and her prosecutions. An inverted hierarchy and the world of negation Agata Pekantytär had lived in the village for a long time. She had been

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

hands of those who were not so much concerned with philosophical knowledge of the world as with their own immediate applicable benefits.51 In the shadows cast by the light of the Enlightenment, the transmission of magical knowledge was easier than ever before, and its impact far-reaching, with ripples reaching us today in the form of the current popularity of esoteric literature. Not surprisingly, the spread of occult literature was viewed as unwelcome competition by religious authorities. When, in the 1920s, a Munich occult bookshop had advertisements sent out to

in Beyond the witch trials