By W. Wyporska
This accomplished research examines Polish demonology in terms of witchcraft trials in Wielkopolska, revealing the witch as a strength for either stable and evil. It explores using witchcraft, the character of accusations and the function of gender.
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Additional info for Witchcraft in Early Modern Poland, 1500–1800
9 Harming, Healing and Harmony: From Wise Woman to Witch Definitions of witchcraft evolved throughout the period. The accusations made mainly against healers and cunning women in the sixteenth century targeted a broader range of suspects over the following centuries. According to trial records, witchcraft charges changed from accusations of healing and using ambiguous rituals to accusations of cavorting with the Devil and attending diabolic feasts, requiring only a confession as proof. In Kalisz in 158010 itinerant thieves Zofia of Lękno and Barbara of Radom were accused of witchcraft, tortured and subjected to swimming.
I have already known him for 15 years ... 37 Another aspect peculiar to Poland is the accusation of inflicting the kołtun, ‘matted hair’, which appears in the trial of Anna Ladzina. 38 The condition was blamed on witchcraft and popular belief maintained that if the hair were cut off, then the sufferer would go blind. The Sabbat The background for much of the witches’ perceived actions was often the nocturnal gathering at Łysa Góra, ‘Bald Mountain’, which became a key part of confessions from the mid-seventeenth century onwards.
103 The overriding concern must be that the claims made for witchcraft in Poland, as a whole, should be modified to reflect the selective nature of the database. 104 To put this into perspective, compared to Ostling’s 254 selected cases, Pilaszek has found 867 lay cases and this study, limited merely to Wielkopolska, is based on 225 cases (my own preliminary research yielded mentions of over 800 trials). 105 As a result, some of his extrapolations require disclaimers. 106 Pilaszek’s research found 142 men accused in the crown territories, and although her research includes slander cases, which his does not, this indicates a huge discrepancy.