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“Paltrie Vermin, Cats, Mise, Toads, and Weasils”: Witches, Familiars, and Human-Animal Interactions in the English Witch Trials

Department of History, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AH, UK
Religions 2019, 10(2), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020134
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Witchcraft, Demonology and Magic)
This article explores the role played by the relationship between witch and familiar in the early modern witch trials. It positions animal familiars at the intersection of early modern belief in witchcraft and magic, examining demonologies, legal and trial records, and print pamphlets. Read together, these sources present a compelling account of human-animal interactions during the period of the witch trials, and shed light upon the complex beliefs that created the environment in which the image of the witch and her familiar took root. The animal familiar is positioned and discussed at the intersection of writing in history, anthropology, folklore, gender, engaging with the challenge articulated in this special issue to move away from mono-causal theories and explore connections between witchcraft, magic, and religion. View Full-Text
Keywords: witchcraft; familiars; popular belief; animals; demonology; witch trials witchcraft; familiars; popular belief; animals; demonology; witch trials
MDPI and ACS Style

Parish, H. “Paltrie Vermin, Cats, Mise, Toads, and Weasils”: Witches, Familiars, and Human-Animal Interactions in the English Witch Trials. Religions 2019, 10, 134.

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