Communicating with the Spirits

(Demons, Spirits, Witches, Volume I)
$90.00 / €79.00 / £71.00
Publication date: 
302 pages

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.

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

List of Illustrations
Introduction by Éva Pócs and Gábor Klaniczay

Part I. Discernment of Spirits and Possession
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 Seventeenth Century 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 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

"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."