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“Paltrie vermin, cats, mise, toads, and weasils”: witches, familiars, and human-animal interactions in the English witch trials

Parish, H. (2019) “Paltrie vermin, cats, mise, toads, and weasils”: witches, familiars, and human-animal interactions in the English witch trials. Religions, 10 (2). 134. ISSN 2077-1444

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/rel10020134

Abstract/Summary

This article explores the role played by the relationship between witch and familiar in the early modern witch trials. It positions animal familiars at the intersection of early modern belief in witchcraft and magic, examining demonologies, legal and trial records, and print pamphlets. Read together, these sources present a compelling account of human-animal interactions during the period of the witch trials, and shed light upon the complex beliefs that created the environment in which the image of the witch and her familiar took root. The animal familiar is positioned and discussed at the intersection of writing in history, anthropology, folklore, gender, engaging with the challenge articulated in this special issue to move away from mono-causal theories and explore connections between witchcraft, magic, and religion.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Early Modern Research Centre (EMRC)
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > History
ID Code:83204
Publisher:MDPI

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