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Religio-cultural Shifts and the Elfin Casualities

By Carolyn Emerick

[Snip] Most of us who have more than a cursory knowledge of folklore understand that the popular notion of a “fairy” today is completely different than in earlier eras, and that the fae were often considered very dangerous, and even as evil beings by Church authorities. What I hadn’t realized, however, was that communing with fairies was an act that could get you accused of witchcraft during the witch trial era.

Emma Wilby is the obvious scholar of choice for this topic, and her work was cited in my above article. But, that project got me interested in delving deeper into this topic. I’m currently reading Popular Religion in Late Saxon England: Elf Charms in Context, by Karen Louise Jolly. She discusses an era a few hundred years prior to the major witch hunting period, but it’s important for anyone interested in the later witch trials because it explores the cultural tradition that Britain was moving out of during the later years of the Reformation and witch craze.

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