Wicked Arts: Witchcraft and Magic Trials in Southern Sweden, 1635-1754

Wicked Arts: Witchcraft and Magic Trials in Southern Sweden, 1635-1754

Wicked Arts: Witchcraft and Magic Trials in Southern Sweden, 1635-1754

Wicked Arts: Witchcraft and Magic Trials in Southern Sweden, 1635-1754

Synopsis

This study deals with witchcraft and magic in a legal, social and cultural context, with an interpretation based on an extensive body of Swedish sources comprising more than 350 cases involving 880 individuals. A majority of the trials took place during the 1700s. The prosecution of witches was characterized by leniency resulting only in a few death sentences; a majority of the cases were minor events concerning more often innocuous magic rather than the witches sabbath or maleficent witchcraft. By focusing on the few prosecutions of maleficent witchcraft, this study promotes a critical discussion of how social and cultural perceptions of local witchcraft were generated by the interactions in the legal process, providing us with new insights into early modern European witchcraft.
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