America Bewitched: The Story of Witchcraft After Salem by Owen Davies
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Author Owen Davies has written several good books in on magical and pagan subject . His work is both scholarly and objective . The book is entertaining and easy to read. His points are supported by stories and case examples.
Since the witch burnings in the British colony Salem, Massachusetts close to the present day witches or suspected witches were persecuted in one form or another . Several laws were on the books that called for the penalizing of suspected witches. While in post Salem America they were not necessarily killed they could still face flogging , jail time and the stockade.
After a bit of time legalized persecution of witches seemed to cease but suspected witches could still be victimized by vigilante and mob actions . At this point it became needed for the law to prosecute those who tormented suspected witches. Such vigilantes could be sued , jailed and even sentenced to death when a murder was involved.
Some might find it hard to believe that people were so afraid of witches during the late 1800's and early 1900's that they would be willing to go to such measures . All the races that lived in America ;Native American, African American and white European had a vision of witches as evil doers and bringers of bad luck. It also meant death for the witch.
In the 1950's the wheels of history would turn and the view of the witch would change. Coming out with a debatable historiography Gerald Gardner would explain that witches were a hold over if a pagan religion which worshipped a goddess and god. There wirks were if good . Wicca would come to America via the witch Sybil Leek. Wicca would be adopted by America and be changed by feminism and and environmentalism. Now witchcraft and Wucca are an accepted part of the American landscape.
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