Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children
Author: Ross E. Cheit
Publisher: Oxford University Press
In the 1980s, a series of child sex abuse cases rocked the United States. The most famous case was the 1984 McMartin preschool case, but there were a number of others as well. By the latter part of the decade, the assumption was widespread that child sex abuse had become a serious problem in America. Yet within a few years, the concern about it died down considerably. The failure to convict anyone in the McMartin case and a widely publicized appellate decision in New Jersey that freed an accused molester had turned the dominant narrative on its head. In the early 1990s, a new narrative with remarkable staying power emerged: the child sex abuse cases were symptomatic of a 'moral panic' that had produced a witch hunt. A central claim in this new witch hunt narrative was that the children who testified were not reliable and easily swayed by prosecutorial suggestion. In time, the notion that child sex abuse was a product of sensationalized over-reporting and far less endemic than originally thought became the new common sense. But did the new witch hunt narrative accurately represent reality? As Ross Cheit demonstrates in his exhaustive account of child sex abuse cases in the past two and a half decades, purveyors of the witch hunt narrative never did the hard work of examining court records in the many cases that reached the courts throughout the nation. Instead, they treated a couple of cases as representative and concluded that the issue was blown far out of proportion. Drawing on years of research into cases in a number of states, Cheit shows that the issue had not been blown out of proportion at all. In fact, child sex abuse convictions were regular occurrences, and the crime occurred far more frequently than conventional wisdom would have us believe. Cheit's aim is not to simply prove the narrative wrong, however. He also shows how a narrative based on empirically thin evidence became a theory with real social force, and how that theory stood at odds with a far more grim reality. The belief that the charge of child sex abuse was typically a hoax also left us unprepared to deal with the far greater scandal of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, which, incidentally, has served to substantiate Cheit's thesis about the pervasiveness of the problem. In sum, The Witch-Hunt Narrative is a magisterial and empirically powerful account of the social dynamics that led to the denial of widespread human tragedy.
The European Witch-Hunt seeks to explain why thousands of people, mostly lower-class women, were deliberately tortured and killed in the name of religion and morality during three centuries of intermittent witch-hunting throughout Europe and North America. Combining perspectives from history, sociology, psychology and other disciplines, this book provides a comprehensive account of witch-hunting in early modern Europe. Julian Goodare sets out an original interpretation of witch-hunting as an episode of ideologically-driven persecution by the ‘godly state’ in the era of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. Full weight is also given to the context of village social relationships, and there is a detailed analysis of gender issues. Witch-hunting was a legal operation, and the courts’ rationale for interrogation under torture is explained. Panicking local elites, rather than central governments, were at the forefront of witch-hunting. Further chapters explore folk beliefs about legendary witches, and intellectuals’ beliefs about a secret conspiracy of witches in league with the Devil. Witch-hunting eventually declined when the ideological pressure to combat the Devil’s allies slackened. A final chapter sets witch-hunting in the context of other episodes of modern persecution. This book is the ideal resource for students exploring the history of witch-hunting. Its level of detail and use of social theory also make it important for scholars and researchers.
Persecution and Punishment from the Inquisition Through the Salem Trials
Author: Brian Alexander Pavlac
This comprehensive resource explores the evolution of western attitudes towards religion, politics, and the supernatural, which intersected to spawn the notorious witch hunts in Europe and the New World.
In the village of Bisipara in eastern India, an anthropologist is witness to a drama when a young girl takes a fever and quickly dies. The villagers find Susilla's death suspicious and fear that she was possessed. Holding an investigation to find someone to blame, they carry out a hurried inquiry because the stage must be cleared for the annual celebration of the birthday of the god Sri Ramchandro. However, they eventually agree on the identity of a culprit an extract from him a large fine. F.G. Bailey, who was doing fieldwork in Bisipara in the 1950's, tells what it was like to be living there during this witch-hunt. As his narrative unfolds, we sense the very texture of the villagers lives—their caste relationships, occupations, kinship networks, and religious practices. We become familiar with the sites, sounds, and smells of Bisipara and with many of the village men and women and we learn their ideas of health and disease, their practice of medicine and burial customs, their ways of resolving discord. The author's commentary opens the curtain on a larger and more complicated scene. It portrays a community in the process of change: from one aspect, the offender is seen as a heroic individual who has broken from the chains of the past, a dissenter standing up for his rights against an entrenched and conservative establishment. From the opposite point of view he is a troublemaker who rejects the moral order on which society and the good life depend, a man who has trespassed outside his proper domain. From Bailey's neutral perspective, the offenders conduct threaten those in power; their determined and successful effort to punish him was an attempt to protect their own privileged position. In doing so, of course, they could say that they were defending the moral order of their community. Bailey moves easily between field notes and memory as he takes a new look at his first impressions and reflects on what he has learned. His elegant book is a powerful reassessment of anthropology's most enduring themes and debates which will imprint on the reader's mind a vivid image of a place and its people.
Describes the witch hunt that took place in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1692, detailing the story of Kate Branch, a seventeen-year-old afflicted by strange visions and given to wails of pain and fright, who accused several women of bewitching her.
A Traveler's Guide to the Power and Persecution of the Witch
Author: Kristen J. Sollee
Publisher: Weiser Books
Category: Body, Mind & Spirit
“A transcendent travelogue with a wickedly delicious, feminist twist,” writes Pam Grossman (author of Waking the Witch)—Witch Hunt is a captivating guide to the historic witch hunts and how their legacy continues to impact us today.” Traveling through cities and sites across Italy, France, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Kristen J. Sollée—a second-generation witch herself—explores the witch as a figure of female power and persecution. By infusing an adventurous first-person narrative with extensive research and imaginative historical fiction, Witch Hunt captures the magic of travel to make an often-overlooked period of history come alive. Between the 15th-17th centuries, a confluence of political, economic, and religious factors inspired witch hysteria to ignite like wildfire across Europe, and, later, parts of America. At the heart of the witch hunts were often dangerous misconceptions about femininity and female sexuality, and women were disproportionately punished as a result. Today, this lineage of oppression remains an important reference point through which we can contemplate women’s rights—and human rights—in the Western world and beyond. Witch Hunt isn’t only an exploration of the horrors of history, but also uncovers how the archetype of the witch has been rehabilitated. For witches are not just haunting figures of the past; the witch is also a liberatory icon and identity of the present.
Jeremy and the Witches' Medallion will take its readers back to the medieval England during one of the most well-known witch-hunts in history. While combining modern day narrative and medieval times, there is magic, witchcraft, talking animals and English history to take a reader on a thrilling adventure that they will never forget.
Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts
Author: Carol Tavris
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
A NEW EDITION UPDATED IN 2020 • Why is it so hard to say "I made a mistake" — and really believe it? When we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right—a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong. Backed by decades of research, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-justification—how it works, the damage it can cause, and how we can overcome it. Extensively updated, this third edition has many recent and revealing examples, including the application of dissonance theory to divisive social issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement and he said/she said claims. It also features a new chapter that illuminates how cognitive dissonance is playing a role in the currently polarized political scene, changing the nation’s values and putting democracy itself at risk. “Every page sparkles with sharp insight and keen observation. Mistakes were made—but not in this book!” —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness “A revelatory study of how lovers, lawyers, doctors, politicians—and all of us—pull the wool over our own eyes . . . Reading it, we recognize the behavior of our leaders, our loved ones, and—if we’re honest—ourselves, and some of the more perplexing mysteries of human nature begin to seem a little clearer.” —Francine Prose, O, The Oprah Magazine
Remembering, Forgetting, and the Science of False Memory
Author: Dr Julia Shaw
Publisher: Random House
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER 'Truly fascinating.' Steve Wright, BBC Radio 2 - Have you ever forgotten the name of someone you’ve met dozens of times? - Or discovered that your memory of an important event was completely different from everyone else’s? - Or vividly recalled being in a particular place at a particular time, only to discover later that you couldn’t possibly have been? We rely on our memories every day of our lives. They make us who we are. And yet the truth is, they are far from being the accurate record of the past we like to think they are. In The Memory Illusion, forensic psychologist and memory expert Dr Julia Shaw draws on the latest research to show why our memories so often play tricks on us – and how, if we understand their fallibility, we can actually improve their accuracy. The result is an exploration of our minds that both fascinating and unnerving, and that will make you question how much you can ever truly know about yourself. Think you have a good memory? Think again. 'A spryly paced, fun, sometimes frightening exploration of how we remember – and why everyone remembers things that never truly happened.' Pacific Standard
Beyond the witch trials provides an important collection of essays on the nature of witchcraft and magic in European society during the Enlightenment. The book is innovative not only because it pushes forward the study of witchcraft into the eighteenth century, but because it provides the reader with a challenging variety of different approaches and sources of information. The essays, which cover England, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Scotland, Finland and Sweden, examine the experience of and attitudes towards witchcraft from both above and below. While they demonstrate the continued widespread fear of witches amongst the masses, they also provide a corrective to the notion that intellectual society lost interest in the question of witchcraft. While witchcraft prosecutions were comparatively rare by the mid-eighteenth century, the intellectual debate did no disappear; it either became more private or refocused on such issues as possession. The contributors come from different academic disciplines, and by borrowing from literary theory, archaeology and folklore they move beyond the usual historical perspectives and sources. They emphasise the importance of studying such themes as the aftermath of witch trials, the continued role of cunning-folk in society, and the nature of the witchcraft discourse in different social contexts. This book will be essential reading for those interested in the decline of the European witch trials and the continued importance of witchcraft and magic during the Enlightenment. More generally it will appeal to those with a lively interest in the cultural history of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This is the first of a two-volume set of books looking at the phenomenon of witchcraft, magic and the occult in Europe since the seventeenth century.
Gender Warriors: Reading Contemporary Urban Fantasy offers classroom-ready original essays demonstrating how representations of gender and the kick-ass female urban fantasy warrior have unraveled and reinforced gender and genre expectations and tropes, making it a valuable text for any course.
James VI's Demonology and the North Berwick Witches
Author: Lawrence Normand
Publisher: Liverpool University Press
From 1590 to 1596, Scotland saw its first major witch-hunt. This book examines the political, demonological and cultural forces which shaped the North Berwick witchcraft case, and provides edited texts of the accounts of the trials of these witches.
Contemporary media depictions of famine disaster display a striking prevalence female images. The Feminization of Famine is a unique study of the tradition of female representations in famine literature, from nineteenth-century accounts of the Irish famine to the present day. It examines the many novels and short stories written about the Irish famine over the last 150 years, from the novels of William Carleton, Anthony Trollope and Maria Edgeworth through to the writings of Liam O'Flaherty and John Banville. These literary works are read in the context of a rich variety of other sources, including contemporary eyewitness accounts of the 'Great Irish Famine', women's memoirs and journalistic writings, and famine historiography.The recurring motifs used to depict famine are highlighted - the prevalence of images of mother and child, the scrutiny of women's starved bodies, efforts to express the 'inexpressible'. The author investigates the effect of famine representations and their crucial role in shaping viewers' and readers' interpretations of the famine.The Feminization of Famine provides a significant critique of how famine has been represented and suggests important parallels with the current presentation of emergency and disaster.
Along the coast of Fife, in villages like Culross and Pittenweem, historical markers and pamphlets now include the fact that some women were executed as witches within these burghs. Still the reality of what happened the night that Janet Cornfoot was lynched in the harbour is hard to grasp as one sits in the harbour of Pittenweem watching the fishing boats unload their catch and the pleasure boats rising with the tide. How could people do this to an old woman? Why was no-one ever brought to justice? And why would anyone defend such a lynching?
The author shares two decades of archival research to explore the backdrop of the Salem witchcraft trials, introducing readers to the rigors and terrors of seventeenth-century American life in Salem, Massachusetts.
A Modern-Day Witch Hunt The Untold Story Behind the McMartin Phenomenon: the Longest, Most Expensive Criminal Case in U.S. History
Author: Matthew Leroy
Category: True Crime
THEY MUST BE MONSTERS is a true story-the untold story-about a place in time, a small community overwhelmed by forces beyond its control, a fateful encounter with history that was never reconciled-until now