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Between the Devil and the Host – Imagining Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Between the Devil and the Host: Imagining Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland

Michael Ostling


Witches are imaginary creatures. But in Poland as in Europe and its colonies in the early modern period, people imagined their neighbours to be witches, with tragic results. This book tells the story of the imagined Polish witches, showing how ordinary peasant women got caught in webs of suspicion and accusation, finally confessing under torture to the most heinous crimes. Through a close reading of accusations and confessions, the book also shows how witches imagined themselves and their own religious lives. Paradoxically, the tales they tell of infanticide and host desecration reveal to us a ... More

Keywords: early modern Poland, imaginary creatures, witchcraft, witch trials, diabolical sex, peasant women, Catholic piety, folk cosmology, Eucharist, house demons

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199587902
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587902.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael Ostling, author
Assistant Professor, Philosophy and Religion Department, Central Michigan University