Mirror of Literature,  11 (1828), 391–93.

Popular Superstitions. Witchcraft



Regular Feature, Essay


Magic, Superstition, Education, Progress, Religion, Medical Practitioners

    Asserts that 'though the "march of mind" is making sad inroads on the "wisdom of our ancestors," yet [...] a belief in witchcraft still prevails amongst the peasantry of our native country to a considerable extent'. Nevertheless maintains that the 'progress of intellect in the human race towards perfection, during the last century, has certainly been much more rapid than could have been expected', and that 'philosophy' has broken the power of superstition. Traces the history of witchcraft. Observes that formerly 'the most eminent men and philosophers (Sir Thomas Browne for instance) were not proof against the prevailing opinions'. (391) Relates that in 1634 the reprieved Pendle witches were sent to London, where they were 'viewed and examined by his majesty's physicians and surgeons' (392).

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