A People Bewitched: Witchcraft and Magic in Nineteenth-Century Somerset
The belief in witchcraft and magic was widespread in nineteenth-century Somerset. Witches were blamed for causing the ill health and death of people and their animals. Those accused of witchcraft often found themselves being ostracised and beaten by their neighbours. Magical practitioners known as cunning-folk drove a thriving trade not only in curing the bewitched, but also in detecting lost property, inducing love, and predicting the future. Astrologers and fortune-tellers were also widely consulted.