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Witchcraft, Lycanthropy, Drugs and Disease

An Anthropological Study of the European Witch-Hunts- Second Printing

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Homayun Sidky

Long before the political mass-murders witnessed in the present century, western Europe experienced another kind of holocaust – the witch-hunts of the early modern period. Condemned of flying through the air, changing into animals, and worshipping the Devil, over a hundred thousand people were brutally tortured, systematically maimed and burned alive. Why did these persecutions take place? Was it superstition, irrationality, or mass delusion that led to the witch-hunts? This study seeks explanations in the tangible actions of human actors and their worldly circumstances. The approach taken is anthropological; inferences are grounded on a wide spectrum of variables, ranging from the political and ideological practices used to mystify earthly affairs, to the logical structure of witch-beliefs, torture technology, and the role of psychotropic drugs and epidemic diseases.

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Bibliography Abrahams, Israel 1985 Jewish Life in the Middle Ages. Atheneum, NY: Temple. Acha, Pedro N ., and Boris Szyfres 1980 Zoonoses and Communicable Diseases Common to Man And Animals. Washington, D.C.: Pan American Health Organization. Allen, A. 1979 "Toads: The Biochemistry of the Witches' Cauldron." History Today 29:265-268. Ames, F. 1985 "Brain Dysfunction in Detainees." In Detention and Security Legislation in South Africa: Proceedings of a Conference Held at the University of Natal, September 1982, A. N. Bell and R. MacKie, eds. Durban, South Africa: University of Natal, Centre for Adult Education. Pp. 85-88. Anglo, Sydney 1977a "Evident Authority and Authoritative Evidence: The Malleus Maleficarum." In The Damned Art: Essays in the Literature of Witchcraft, Sydney Anglo, ed. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Pp. 1-31. 1977b "Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft: Skepticism, and Sadduceeism." In The Damned Art: Essays in the Literature of Witchcraft, Sydney Anglo, ed. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Pp. 106-139. 270 WITCHCRAFT, LYCANTHROPY, DRUGSAND DISEASE Anonymous c. 1450 Errores Gazariorum .... Savoy. c. 1630 Malleus Judicum .... n.p. Arens, W. 1979 The Man-Eating Myth: Anthropology and Anthropophagy. New York: Oxford University Press. Aubin, Nicholas 1693 Cruels effets de la vengeance du Cardinal de Richelie ou histoire des diables de Loudun. Amsterdam: Etienne Roger. 1703 (English translation) The cheats and illusions of Romish priests and exorcists. Discover' d in the history of the devils of Lou dun [being an account of the pretended possession of the Ursuline nuns and of the condemnation and punishment of Urban Grandier a...

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