A HANDBOOK ON WITCHES by Gillian Tindall


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Not to be confused (one trusts) with the Gillian of Bell, Book and Candle Miss Tindall has, nevertheless compiled an extremely interesting cook's tour of the cauldron set. That Old Black Magic just isn't what it used to be as the author demonstrates by tracing the history of witchcraft and the ""idea"" of the witch from the Biblical command ""Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"" to the last witchhunters on the English shores. The evidence seems to suggest that the practice of the Black Arts was a hang-over from prior, primitive faiths-paganism etc. The assumption also seems reasonable that the preponderance of witchcraft during the days of the Medieval Church was due in part to the fact that these ceremonies had finally been labeled and ostracized and part to the inconsistencies of a corrupt church. There are descriptions of the rites, ""devil worship,"" various oults, spells and incantations (some reproduced). The Lancashire Witches, Isobel Gowdie- ""The Complete Witch"", and their trials are examined and Miss Tindall offers competent theories on the origins of fairies, changelings, lycanthropy, etc. An always fascinating subject, as Television scriptmen have recently discovered, and Miss Tindall does it justice.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1965
Publisher: Atheneum