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Open AccessArticle

Angels or Demons? Interactions and Borrowings between Folk Traditions, Religion and Demonology in Early Modern Italian Witchcraft Trials

Independent Scholar, Leeds LS27 8JW, UK
Religions 2019, 10(5), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10050326
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 8 May 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Witchcraft, Demonology and Magic)
In 1638 Caterina di Francesco, from the town of Siena (Tuscany), was accused by the Roman Inquisition of invoking the devil through a spell called “the white angel spell” or “the spell of the carafe” (incantesimo della caraffa). She was interrogated, tortured and kept in and out of prison for nine years. Despite the accusations of the witnesses being focused on her practice of love magic, specifically her ability to bind men to “other” women rather than their wives and to help the disgruntled wives to have their husbands back with the use of a baptised magnet, the Inquisition focused its attention on her practice of the white angel spell, a divination spell to find lost or stolen objects with the help of shadows seen inside the carafe. This was a well-known spell not only among all levels of Italian lay society but also well known to the Inquisition, so much so that the 17th-century Inquisition manual Prattica per Procedere nelle Cause del Sant’Officio lists this spell among the sortilegij qualificati: Those spells presenting serious heretical elements. Using archival sources, this article will examine the effects of borrowed concepts between the theological/elite and folk witchcraft traditions within a specific case-study. View Full-Text
Keywords: Witchcraft; inquisition; spells; love magic; divination; sorcery Witchcraft; inquisition; spells; love magic; divination; sorcery
MDPI and ACS Style

Moretti, D. Angels or Demons? Interactions and Borrowings between Folk Traditions, Religion and Demonology in Early Modern Italian Witchcraft Trials. Religions 2019, 10, 326.

AMA Style

Moretti D. Angels or Demons? Interactions and Borrowings between Folk Traditions, Religion and Demonology in Early Modern Italian Witchcraft Trials. Religions. 2019; 10(5):326.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Moretti, Debora. 2019. "Angels or Demons? Interactions and Borrowings between Folk Traditions, Religion and Demonology in Early Modern Italian Witchcraft Trials" Religions 10, no. 5: 326.

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