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Davies, an authority on witches and the supernatural, reveals how witchcraft in post-Salem America was not just a matter of scary fire-side tales, Halloween legends, and superstitions: it continued to be a matter of life and death. If anything, witchcraft disputes multiplied as hundreds of thousands of immigrants poured into North America, people for whom witchcraft was still a heinous crime. Davies tells the story of countless murders and many other personal tragedies that resulted from accusations of witchcraft among European Americans-as well as in Native American and African American communities. He describes, for instance, the impact of this belief on Native Americans, as colonists-from Anglo-American settlers to Spanish missionaries-saw Indian medicine men as the Devil's agents, potent workers of malign magic. But Davies also reveals that seventeenth-century Iroquois--faced with decimating, mysterious diseases--accused Jesuits of being plague-spreading witches. Indeed, the book shows how different American groups shaped each other's languages and beliefs, sharing not only our positive cultural traits, but our fears and weaknesses as well.
America Bewitched is the first book to open a window on this fascinating topic, conjuring up new insights into popular American beliefs, the immigrant experience, racial attitudes, and the development of modern society.
"Owen Davies tells a fascinating tale that has never been told before with all the skills of a true craftsman. Its sheer breadth of coverage amazes from the start."
--Ronald Hutton, author of The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Pagan Witchcraft
"An extraordinary achievement... I was frankly staggered at the range of Davies's research."
--Professor H. C. Erik Midelfort, University of Virginia
2. Magic of a New Land
3. The Law
5. Dealing with Witches
6. Dealing with Witch Believers
8. Witch Killings Up Close
9. Times a'Changing Further Reading References Index