A Popular History of Witchcraft

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Courier Corporation, 2006 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 276 pages
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The practice of black magic is as common in modern times as it was in medieval days or any other era, asserts the dean of occult writers, Montague Summers. A Roman Catholic priest and eminent scholar, Summers wrote several authoritative books on witchcraft, demonology, and vampirism. In this accessible work, he draws upon his considerable expertise to offer persuasive evidence that witchcraft is no mere historical question, but a lively factor in contemporary issues of politics and society.
"My aim throughout is to show how the profession and practice of witchcraft are the same always and in all places," Summers explains, "be it in some remote English village, in a quiet cathedral city, or in the hinterlands of Jamaica or Africa." Focusing on England and English witchcraft of the early twentieth century, this captivating volume explores covens, black masses, and the casting of spells for ordinary mischief as well as for elaborate plots.

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About the author (2006)

Heinrich Kramer ( 1430-1505) also known under the Latinized name Henricus Institoris, was a German churchman and inquisitor. Born in Selestat, Alsace, he joined the Dominican Order at an early age and while still a young man was appointed Prior of the Dominican house of his native town. At some date before 1474 he was appointed Inquisitor for the Tyrol, Salzburg, Bohemia and Moravia. His eloquence in the pulpit and tireless activity received recognition at Rome and he was the right-hand man of the Archbishop of Salzburg. By the time of the Bull Summis desiderantes of Pope Innocent VIII in 1484 he was already associated with Jacob Sprenger to make an inquisition for witches and sorcerers. In 1485 he drew up a treatise on witchcraft which was incorporated in the Malleus Maleficarum (literally "The hammer of malefactresses (wrongdoing women - i.e. witches)"). Kramer failed in his attempt to obtain endorsement for this work from the top theologians of the Inquisition at the Faculty of Cologne, and they condemned the book as recommending unethical and illegal procedures, as well as being inconsistent with Catholic doctrines of demonology. Kramer's claimed endorsement from four of the professors may have been forged. He was denounced by the Inquisition in 1490. In 1495 he was summoned to Venice to give public lectures, which were very popular. In 1500 he was empowered to proceed against the Waldensians and Picards. He died in Bohemia in 1505.

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