This book provides a selection of studies on witchcraft and demonology by those involved in an interdisciplinary research group begun in Hungary thirty years ago. They examine urban and rural witchcraft conflicts from early modern times to the present, from a region hitherto rarely taken into consideration in witchcraft research. Special attention is given to healers, midwives, and cunning folk, including archaic sorcerer figures such as the taltos; whose ambivalent role is analysed in social, legal, medical and religious contexts. This volume examines how waves of persecution emerged and declined, and how witchcraft was decriminalised. Fascinating case-studies on vindictive witch-hunters, quarrelling neighbours, rivalling midwives, cunning shepherds, weather magician impostors, and exorcist Franciscan friars provide a colourful picture of Hungarian and Transylvanian folk beliefs and mythologies, as well as insights into historical and contemporary issues.
Gabor Klaniczay is Professor of Medieval Studies at the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. His research interests are in the history of medieval and early modern sainthood and witchcraft. His previous books include The Uses of Supernatural Power (1990) and Holy Rulers and Blessed Princesses (2002). He coedited with Eva Pocs a three volume series, `Demons, Spirits and Witches' (2005, 2006, 2008).
Eva Pocs is Professor Emeritus at the University of Pecs, Hungary. Her main areas of research are folk religion and folk beliefs, and witchcraft and demonology. Her previous publications include Fairies and Witches at the Boundary of South-Eastern and Central Europe (1989) and Between the Living and the Dead: A Perspective on Witches and Seers in the Early Modern Age (1998).