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Communicating with the Spirits

(Demons, Spirits, Witches, Volume I)

The editors:

Éva Pócs is professor at Janus Pannonius University, Pécs, Hungary, renowned scholar of historical anthropology, authority on folk beliefs in East Central Europe. Author of Between the Living and the Dead, published by CEU Press in 1998.

Gábor Klaniczay is professor at the Central European University, and at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. Taught and did research at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales and the Sorbonne in Paris, at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the Getty Center for Arts and the Humanities, Santa Monica etc.

Focuses on the problem of communication with the other world: the phenomenon of spirit possession and its changing historical interpretations, the imaginary schemes elaborated for giving accounts of the journeys to the other world, for communicating with the dead, and finally the historical archetypes of this kind of religious manifestation—trance prophecy, divination, and shamanism.

Recognized historians and ethnologists analyze the relationship, coexistence and conflicts of popular belief systems, Judeo-Christian mythology and demonology in medieval and modern Europe. The essays address links between rites and beliefs, folklore and literature; the legacy of various pre-Christian mythologies; the syncretic forms of ancient, medieval and modern belief- and rite-systems; "pure" examples from religious-ethnological research outside Europe to elucidate European problems.

"This volume offers essays dealing with demonic possession, visionary experiences, trance states, and shamanism... the volume effectively demonstrates the range of work being undertaken that can usefully brought together on topics of demonology, magic, superstition, and witchcraft." - Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft


List of Illustrations; Introduction; Part I Discernment of spirits and posession Nancy Caciola, Breath, Heart, Guts: The Body and Spirits in the Middle Ages; Renata Mikolajczyk, Non sunt nisi phantasiae et imaginationes: a Medieval Attempt at Explaining Demons; Moshe Sluhovsky, Discerning Spirits in Early Modern Europe; Sophie Houdard, Mystics or Visionaries? Discernment of Spirits in the First Part of the Seventeenth Century in France; Éva Pócs, Possession Phenomena, Possession-systems. Some East-Central European Examples; Part II Contacts with the Other World Wolfgang Behringer, How Waldensians Became Witches: Heretics and Their Journey to the Other World; Tok Thompson, Hosting the Dead: Thanotopic Aspects of the Irish Sidhe; Roberto Dapit, Visions of the Other World as Narrated in Contemporary Belief Legends from Resia Part III Divination, Shamanism Christa Tuczay, Trance Prophets and Diviners in the Middle Ages; Peter Buchholz, Shamanism in Medieval Scandinavian Literature; Rune Blix Hagen, The King, the Cat, and the Chaplain. King Christian IV’s Encounter with the Sami Shamans of Northern Norway and Northern Russia in 1599; List of Contributors; Index

302 pages
ISBN 978-963-7326-13-4 cloth $50.00 / €44.95 / £40.00

Demons, Spirits, Witches
Volume I Communicating with the Spirits 2005
Volume II Christian Demonology and Popular Mythology 2006
Volume III Witchcraft Mythologies and Persecutions 2008