Catalogue


America bewitched : the story of witchcraft after Salem /
Owen Davies.
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013.
description
viii, 289 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0199578710 (hbk.), 9780199578719 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013.
isbn
0199578710 (hbk.)
9780199578719 (hbk.)
catalogue key
8833560
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [269]-271) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2013-03-18:
Historian Davies (Magic: A Very Short Introduction) makes a strong case for the inefficacy of corporeal punishment in this tedious cultural history-despite the judges' intentions, the 1692 executions in Salem, Mass., of 19 individuals accused of witchcraft did little to inhibit its development and evolution. Drawing upon stories from colonial times to today, Davies explores a number of topics related to wizardry-such as how communities identified, dealt with, and legislated the supposed practice of sorcery-and he offers up an intriguing social taxonomy of witches: "outsider witches," he explains, were pegged as such because of "where they lived, how they lived, and what they looked like"; "long-term personal feuds and unresolved tensions" led to scurrilous accusations of witchery and what Davies terms "conflict witches"; and the "accidental" type were "simply in the wrong place at the wrong time... or did or said something completely innocently but which subsequent misfortune rendered suspicious with hindsight." Over the years, the stigma surrounding witchcraft has dissipated: in the 19th century, many people placed horseshoes above the threshold of their houses to ward off evil, but today, proponents of Wicca are regarded as "benign and sympathetic" pagans. It has some compelling moments, but Davies's wearying survey adds little to the study of occultism in America. 20 illus. Agent: Andrew Lownie, the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency Ltd. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Appeared in Choice on 2013-09-01:
Davies (Univ. of Hertfordshire, UK) offers a broad view of witchcraft, witches, and folk belief in the US from the witch mania at Salem to the modern era. He focuses on the witch beliefs of Native Americans, African Americans, and Americans of European origin, whose views of witches have been quite similar and have influenced the popular concept of "witch" in the US. Typically, the witch is a woman, a malicious figure who brings harm to humans or their crops, animals, or worldly possessions, but who also serves a useful purpose by providing an answer for unexplainable misfortunes. Davies offers a helpful typology for understanding his view of malicious witchcraft: the "outsider witch," the "conflict witch," and the "accidental witch." While the malicious witch has not disappeared, she has been joined by other witch types. For example, TV and Hollywood have produced the mischievous witch, the glamorous witch, and the teenage witch. There is also the "trick or treat" witch of Halloween. Davies includes a discussion of the origins of the Wicca religion and its relationship to ecofeminism. An informative, useful introduction to a fascinating aspect of American culture that clearly demonstrates that witch beliefs in the US did not end with Salem. Summing Up: Recommended. General and undergraduate libraries. L. B. Gimelli emeritus, Eastern Michigan University
Appeared in Library Journal on 2013-05-01:
In 1711 the Massachusetts Bay colony compensated the families of those persecuted as witches in the 1692 Salem trials, but Davies (social history, Univ. of Hertfordshire; The Haunted: A Social History of Ghosts) demonstrates that neither America's belief in witchcraft nor the attendant accusations, defamations, and even killings had ended. He combed newspaper stories from all over the country plus secondary sources to report innumerable cases exhibiting the lies, prejudice, superstition, lawsuits, and savagery continuing to surround the fear of witchcraft and suspicions of bewitchment well into the mid-20th century. Such suspicions were in effect caused by factors such as ethnic and racial prejudice; the movement of Native American folk remedies, healing rituals, and magical beliefs into mainstream culture; lack of knowledge about mental health and physical ailments; personal animosities; and paranoid reactions to bad luck and hard economic times. Davies presents a convincing argument that witchcraft troubles subsided after New Deal entitlements allowed Americans to rely on the government for support instead of blaming "witches" for economic problems and inexplicable difficulties. -VERDICT Completing the little-known history of witchcraft and our attitudes toward it long after Salem, this book will be particularly engaging for students of American folklore and witchcraft history, and to those interested in the continued interweaving of superstition into American culture.-Margaret Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Anyone who is interested in this subject will find this book an invaluable reference, and they will be entertained." --Alec Ryrie, Times Higher Education
Davies tells a highly original story, yet one that makes instant sense This is a vivid, arresting, insightful book, written with sympathy and human understanding. It extends Davies's reputation as an original thinker in the field, when so much work is derivative or merely illustrative of well-established ideas.
''Erudite and entertaining... beautifully produced" --Jad Adams, The Guardian
"For anyone interested in magical writing and publication, it's essential" --Steven Moore, Fortean Times
"Owen Davies tells a fascinating tale that has never been told before with all the skills of a true craftsman. Its sheer breadth of coverage amazes from the start." --Ronald Hutton, author ofThe Triumph of the Moon: A History of Pagan Witchcraft "An extraordinary achievement... I was frankly staggered at the range of Davies's research." --Professor H. C. Erik Midelfort, University of Virginia
"Owen Davies tells a fascinating tale that has never been told before with all the skills of a true craftsman. Its sheer breadth of coverage amazes from the start." --Ronald Hutton, author of The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Pagan Witchcraft "An extraordinary achievement... I was frankly staggered at the range of Davies's research." --Professor H. C. Erik Midelfort, University of Virginia "Davies tells a highly original story, yet one that makes instant sense... This is a vivid, arresting, insightful book, written with sympathy and human understanding. It extends Davies's reputation as an original thinker in the field, when so much work is derivative or merely illustrative of well-established ideas." --Malcolm Gaskill, Fortean Times
Review from other book by this author: "An amazing achievement, not just for its depth of research but its breadth, from Massachusetts to Martinique to Mauritius. It must become the classic work on the subject." --Ronald Hutton, author of The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Pagan Witchcraft
"Undoubtedly a necessary reference work for anyone with a serious interest in the history of magic" --Brian Gibbons, BBC History Magazine
"Undoubtedly an important contribution to the field...The range of research here is, frankly astonishing." --Steven Moore, Fortean Times
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, March 2013
Library Journal, May 2013
Choice, September 2013
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'America Bewitched' is a history of witchcraft in America - from the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the present day.
Long Description
America Bewitched is the first major history of witchcraft in America - from the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the present day. The infamous Salem trials are etched into the consciousness of modern America, the human toll a reminder of the dangers of intolerance and persecution. The refrain 'Remember Salem!' was invoked frequently over the ensuing centuries. As time passed, the trials became a milepost measuring the distance America had progressed from its colonial past, its victims now the righteous and their persecutors the shamed. Yet the story of witchcraft did not end as the American Enlightenment dawned - a new,long, and chilling chapter was about to begin.Witchcraft after Salem was not just a story of fire-side tales, legends, and superstitions: it continued to be a matter of life and death, souring the American dream for many. We know of more people killed as witches between 1692 and the 1950s than were executed before it. Witches were part of the story of the decimation of the Native Americans, the experience of slavery and emancipation, and the immigrant experience; they were embedded in the religious and social history of the country. Yetthe history of American witchcraft between the eighteenth and the twentieth century also tells a less traumatic story, one that shows how different cultures interacted and shaped each other's languages and beliefs. This is therefore much more than the tale of one persecuted community: it opens a fascinating window on the fears, prejudices, hopes, and dreams of the American people as their country rose from colony to superpower.
Long Description
America Bewtiched is the first major history of witchcraft in America - from the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the present day. The infamous Salem trials are etched into the consciousness of modern America, the human toll a reminder of the dangers of intolerance and persecution. The refrain 'Remember Salem!' was invoked frequently over the ensuing centuries. As time passed, the trials became a milepost measuring the distance America had progressed from its colonial past, its victims now the righteous and their persecutors the shamed. Yet the story of witchcraft did not end as the American Enlightenment dawned - a new,long, and chilling chapter was about to begin.Witchcraft after Salem was not just a story of fire-side tales, legends, and superstitions: it continued to be a matter of life and death, souring the American dream for many. We know of more people killed as witches between 1692 and the 1950s than were executed before it. Witches were part of the story of the decimation of the Native Americans, the experience of slavery and emancipation, and the immigrant experience; they were embedded in the religious and social history of the country. Yetthe history of American witchcraft between the eighteenth and the twentieth century also tells a less traumatic story, one that shows how different cultures interacted and shaped each other's languages and beliefs. This is therefore much more than the tale of one persecuted community: it opens a fascinating window on the fears, prejudices, hopes, and dreams of the American people as their country rose from colony to superpower.
Main Description
America Bewtiched is the first major history of witchcraft in America - from the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the present day. The infamous Salem trials are etched into the consciousness of modern America, the human toll a reminder of the dangers of intolerance and persecution. The refrain 'Remember Salem!' was invoked frequently over the ensuing centuries. As time passed, the trials became a milepost measuring the distance America had progressed from its colonial past, its victimsnow the righteous and their persecutors the shamed. Yet the story of witchcraft did not end as the American Enlightenment dawned - a new, long, and chilling chapter was about to begin. Witchcraft after Salem was not just a story of fire-side tales, legends, and superstitions: it continued to be a matter of life and death, souring the American dream for many. We know of more people killed as witches between 1692 and the 1950s than were executed before it. Witches were part of the story of thedecimation of the Native Americans, the experience of slavery and emancipation, and the immigrant experience; they were embedded in the religious and social history of the country. Yet the history of American witchcraft between the eighteenth and the twentieth century also tells a less traumatic story, one that shows how different cultures interacted and shaped each other's languages and beliefs. This is therefore much more than the tale of one persecuted community: it opens a fascinatingwindow on the fears, prejudices, hopes, and dreams of the American people as their country rose from colony to superpower.
Main Description
America Bewtiched is the first major history of witchcraft in America - from the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the present day. The infamous Salem trials are etched into the consciousness of modern America, the human toll a reminder of the dangers of intolerance and persecution. The refrain 'Remember Salem!' was invoked frequently over the ensuing centuries. As time passed, the trials became a milepost measuring the distanceAmerica had progressed from its colonial past, its victims now the righteous and their persecutors the shamed. Yet the story of witchcraft did not end as the American Enlightenment dawned - a new, long, and chilling chapter was about to begin.Witchcraft after Salem was not just a story of fire-side tales, legends, and superstitions: it continued to be a matter of life and death, souring the American dream for many. We know of more people killed as witches between 1692 and the 1950s than were executed before it. Witches were part of thestory of the decimation of the Native Americans, the experience of slavery and emancipation, and the immigrant experience; they were embedded in the religious and social history of the country. Yet the history of American witchcraft between the eighteenth and the twentieth century also tells a lesstraumatic story, one that shows how different cultures interacted and shaped each other's languages and beliefs. This is therefore much more than the tale of one persecuted community: it opens a fascinating window on the fears, prejudices, hopes, and dreams of the American people as their country rose from colony to superpower.
Main Description
The first major history of witchcraft in America - from the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the present day. As Owen Davies shows, witchcraft in nineteenth and twentieth century America was not just a story of fire-side tales, legends, and superstitions: it continued to be a matter of life and death, souring the American dream for many. This book explores the numerous murders and many personal tragedies that resulted from accusations of witchcraft in EuropeanAmerican, Native American and African American communities, providing revealing new insights into popular beliefs and fears, the immigrant experience, racial attitudes, and the development of modern American society more generally.
Main Description
The infamous Salem witch trials of 1692 are etched into the consciousness of America. Nineteen people executed, one tortured to death, four others perished in jail--the tragic toll of Salem remains a powerful symbol of the dangers of intolerance and persecution. As time passed, the trials were seen as a milepost measuring the distance America had progressed from its benighted past. Yet the story of witchcraft did not end in Salem. As Owen Davies shows inAmerica Bewitched,a new, long, and chilling chapter was about to begin. Davies, an authority on witches and the supernatural, reveals how witchcraft in post-Salem America was not just a matter of scary fire-side tales, Halloween legends, and superstitions: it continued to be a matter of life and death. If anything, witchcraft disputes multiplied as hundreds of thousands of immigrants poured into North America, people for whom witchcraft was still a heinous crime. Davies tells the story of countless murders and many other personal tragedies that resulted from accusations of witchcraft among European Americans-as well as in Native American and African American communities. He describes, for instance, the impact of this belief on Native Americans, as colonists-from Anglo-American settlers to Spanish missionaries-saw Indian medicine men as the Devil's agents, potent workers of malign magic. But Davies also reveals that seventeenth-century Iroquois-faced with decimating, mysterious diseases--accused Jesuits of being plague-spreading witches. Indeed, the book shows how different American groups shaped each other's languages and beliefs, sharing not only our positive cultural traits, but our fears and weaknesses as well. America Bewitchedis the first book to open a window on this fascinating topic, conjuring up new insights into popular American beliefs, the immigrant experience, racial attitudes, and the development of modern society.
Main Description
Witchcraft after Salemis the first major history of witchcraft in America - from the Salem witch trials of 1692 to the present day. The infamous Salem trials are etched into the consciousness of modern America, the human toll a reminder of the dangers of intolerance and persecution. The refrain 'Remember Salem!' was invoked frequently over the ensuing centuries. As time passed, the trials became a milepost measuring the distance America had progressed from its colonial past, its victims now the righteous and their persecutors the shamed. Yet the story of witchcraft did not end as the American Enlightenment dawned - a new, long, and chilling chapter was about to begin. Witchcraft after Salem was not just a story of fire-side tales, legends, and superstitions: it continued to be a matter of life and death, souring the American dream for many. We know of more people killed as witches between 1692 and the 1950s than were executed before it. Witches were part of the story of the decimation of the Native Americans, the experience of slavery and emancipation, and the immigrant experience; they were embedded in the religious and social history of the country. Yet the history of American witchcraft between the eighteenth and the twentieth century also tells a less traumatic story, one that shows how different cultures interacted and shaped each other's languages and beliefs. This is therefore much more than the tale of one persecuted community: it opens a fascinating window on the fears, prejudices, hopes, and dreams of the American people as their country rose from colony to superpower.
Table of Contents
List of Platesp. ix
Aftermathp. 1
Salem: never again?p. 2
The witchcraft of othersp. 3
Reporting witchcraftp. 10
Where to find witchcraftp. 17
A Five Points witchp. 19
Magic of a new landp. 22
Snakes and rootsp. 26
Witch ballsp. 32
What happened to the fairies?p. 37
They shoot witches don't they?p. 42
The lawp. 45
The squirep. 47
Fiasco in Fentressp. 49
Delaware witches bewarep. 51
What's in a name?p. 55
Dealing with slander German-stylep. 59
Popular understandingp. 62
Witchesp. 67
Three sorts of witchp. 69
Doing witchcraft: lizards, bags, and dollsp. 79
Witchcraft fantasiesp. 84
Skin shedding and shape-shiftingp. 88
The new witchesp. 90
Dealing with witchesp. 100
Pillow talkp. 102
Confronting the witchp. 104
The mitch must diep. 106
Attacking from a distancep. 109
Warding off witcheryp. 111
Written charmsp. 118
Catholic armouryp. 121
Bringing in the expertsp. 124
Dealing with witch believersp. 132
The other Salem witch trialsp. 136
Alaska: of barbers and gunboatsp. 141
The Pennsylvania problemp. 149
Insanityp. 159
Putting it to the testp. 163
Blame it on the rootsp. 168
Paranoia in the heatp. 171
A danger to the public: incarcerating witch believersp. 175
Witch killings up closep. 179
Beard-stroking and friendly words: witchcraft in Sullivan Countyp. 179
Big trouble at Booger Holep. 187
Solomon Hotema: Choctaw witch killerp. 194
Times A-changingp. 203
Reinventing witchcraftp. 208
Finding an American heritagep. 219
And so back to Salemp. 222
Endnotesp. 227
Further readingp. 269
Picture Acknowledgementsp. 273
Indexp. 275
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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