Witches & Weather

This is an illustration of a famous English witch hunter, Matthew Hopkins. The creepy animals are ‘Imps’ or ‘Familiars,’ spirits/ embodiments of the devil that witches would send off to attack people and livestock! (Photo from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Hopkins)
Hi! I’m CJ Morrison, a rising junior at Haverford majoring in English/Anthro. Through the HCAH’s Student Research Assistantship Program, I’m helping out history professor Darin Hayton with his research on witchcraft and prodigious weather in early modern Europe, specifically England. I spend my days in the library reading trials and weather reports in Old English, which is both challenging and extremely entertaining. Here’s a taste of the type of texts I’ve been reading, with a funny quote (at least it was funny to me after reading hundreds of other trials!).

From eebo.chadwyck.com, see here: gateway.proquest.com/openurl?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2003&res_id=xri:eebo&rft_id=xri:eebo:image:110845:105
The past few weeks I’ve been accumulating sources for Professor Hayton’s class next semester, Geographies of Witchcraft and the Occult in Early Modern Europe. Recently, however, I’ve been researching one trial in particular about a French priest named Louis Gaufridi that was translated “faithfully” into English. After reading some scandalous books about the occult sciences, Gaufridi gave his soul to the devil and then bewitched and took advantage of several nuns, for which he was tortured and burned at the stake. I’m researching how the English translation frames its depiction of Catholicism in terms of excess and monstrosity in order to reinforce the English-Protestant identities of the readers. So, instead of conducting my usual Early English Books database digging, I’ve been reading some secondary sources about English/French relations and witch trials, with some background materials on English print culture. My research will serve as an mini-example for the projects his students will be working on next semester.

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