Apps, Lara, and Andrew Gow. “ Invisible Men: The Historian and the Male Witch.” In Male Witches in Early Modern Europe, 25–42. Manchester University Press, 2003. https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt155j84b.6.
Apps and Gow argue that there is an erasure of male witches from the historical narrative about witchcraft in academia, despite them making up 20-25% victimized by the witch hunts. They argue this is due to academias desire to create “tidy” links between femininity and witchcraft. However, by removing the men from the narrative they argue it actually creates a blindspot in the feminist arguements surrounding witchcraft. To showcase this gendering of witchcraft, they look at another scholar, Biddick’s utilization of Ginzburg’s work and how Biddick, removes Gizburgs language of “ male and female witches” to only focus on women. Apps and Gow recognize this erasure on Biddicks part may be unconscious, but it leaves a gap in her feminist framework. What makes this resource important is that in our research I think it’s important to look at the language we use as to not gender all witches a female, as it erases the struggles of the men who too went through prosecution. This article does not dismiss the social structures that women faced in this period, but instead argues that the dismissal of men as simply collateral damage is also counter productive. This resource relates to our thesis because it brings the perspective of the male witch into the equation, who are commonly overlooked. Additionally, it addressed the duality of the society and the religion of the time (good/evil, man/woman) as a reasoning of why women were prosecuted more than men rather than just viewing the “male witches” as an anomaly. This idea of duality, I feel can be a strong argument to explain why so many women were identified as witches, while not compromising our argument as ignoring the 20-25% of male witches.
Brochard, Thomas. 2015. “Scottish Witchcraft in a Regional and Northern European Context:
The Northern Highlands, 1563-1660 *.” Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 10 (1)
“Scottish Witchcraft in a Regional and Northern European Context” by Thomas Brochard discusses a different way to look at witchcraft across Europe. He argues that there is a more “flexible” way to look at the situations. Other factors such as geography, chronology, social norms, and the play of local courts versus national ones influenced how witchcraft was perceived in different places, using the Scottish Highlands as his sample. He gets his evidence from presbytery and kirk records, although there are not many for the Highlands, so there is missing data that he does not have and acknowledges. Brochard’s article is important for our project because it illustrates how there can be biases in the data being collected and gives good context and background on Scottish witch trials and what punishments were allocated to women. This article directly helps with our project in that it provides a good base for how the legal systems worked in Scotland and at what level punishments were given out and how that can affect the decision. We also have a possible research question about the role of geography in witch cases and this article specifically talks about the percentages of those represented geographically and their proportions nationally.
Goodare, Julian. 2002. “The Framework for Scottish Witch-Hunting in the 1590s.” The Scottish
Historical Review 81, no. 212: 240-50. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25529649.
Goodare corrects misconceptions about how the order revoking witchcraft commissions in Scotland on August 12, 1597 came about and demonstrates there isn’t sufficient evidence to link the panics of 1590-1591 to the 1597 act. He uses data from the central Justiciary Court’s book of adjournal and from other journals as his evidence to rebuke claims from both Christina Larner, who posits that the commissions of justiciary were related to 1591 committees, and her critics, who posit that 1592 held significance. This source is important because helps correct misconceptions about trial procedures, distributions, and incidences from 1590-1597, since many authors have claimed there is evidence for a linkage between 1591 or 1592 and 1597. This resource gives us background information about the scale of witch hunting from 1590-1597, and ultimately concludes that witch-hunting in the period of 1592-1596 was not as fervent as in 1590-1591 or 1597, knowledge that we can keep in mind when examining possible trends in witch hunting from 1590-1597.
Goodare, Julian. “The Scottish Witchcraft Act.” Church History 74, no. 1 (2005): 39-67.
“The Scottish Witchcraft Act”, discussed by Julian Goodare delves into the intricacies of the Scottish Witchcraft Act of 1563. The article’s main argument is how the formation of the act stemmed from Protestants denouncing Catholicism and the superstitions and relationships with the Devil the religion claimed and played in the formation of a witch. The church played the main role in the creation and implementation of the Scottish Witchcraft Act. Goodare references the Act itself as evidence along with other original documents and contemporary research done on the topic. This article is important in that it shows the connections witchcraft had with the church and gives insight into the creation and qualifications of Scottish witches. It also shows how the act, the accusations, and verdicts are humanized and more personal. This humanization of accusation and verdict decision, relates to many of the questions of our project in that the reasoning behind what verdict is given is questioned to be correlated with other objective factors. Knowing the history behind the act that was the cause of the Scottish witch hunts is important because it provides a new perspective to view the data and findings through.
Hutton, Ronald. “Witch-Hunting in Celtic Societies.” Past & Present, no. 212 (2011): 43–71. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23014785.
Hutton argues that to understand witchcraft beliefs and persecutions in Celtic societies, one must look at their distinct regional cultures and folklore. One of Hutton’s resources is the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft, which divides Scotland by the ‘Highland Line’ into the Highlands and the Lowlands, from this resource he discusses how geography impacted these locations perceptions not only of witchcraft but of fairies. Due to the geographic roughness of the Highlands people, and the association of fairies with nature and so on people in the Highlands feared fairies more than in the lowlands. Interestingly, this fear of fairies is not proportionally for these areas fear of witches, as the Lowlands viewed witchcraft as more heinous conducting more trials, while the Highlands overall didn’t view witchcraft as an inherent force of evil. This resource is important as for our research because it provides a geographic understanding of the region and the belief systems associated with them, and how these belief systems impacted the frequency of witch trials. This resource relate to our thesis because it focuses on a geographic understanding of witches as well as these regions historical folklore to understand the organization of their culture.
Larner, Christina. Enemies of God: The Witch-hunt in Scotland. Great Britain: Chatto & Windus Ltd, 1981.
In the book Enemies of God, the author Larner argues three themes: 1) witch-hunting emerged from the ruling class; 2) witchcraft is an all-encompassing idea to include all evil and the capacity and intention to inflict harm through supernatural methods; 3) witch-hunting, to an extent, is synonymous to woman-hunting due to the majority of the accused being female. Published in 1981, Larner includes an extensive bibliography list, citing primary (e.g., manuscripts of trials for witchcraft) and secondary sources, as well as maps prepared from the University of Glasgow. It also contains visual charts and graphs to support witch-hunt data, cases, and processes. This book is important because it provides comprehensive information on social structure and social control in Scotland; patterns of witch-hunting (numbers and origin, chronology, geography); focus on the relations between female gender and witches; and the belief system and its function in the legal realm. Emphasizing on the role of gender during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, witchcraft was sex-related and acted on the stereotype that witches are women, and all women could be considered a witch. In Scotland, the accused could be categorized under 4 heads: 1) those that accepted their witch status and found authority in the community for it; 2) those with fantasies of the Devil; 3) those who became persuaded of their crime during trial; 4) and those who were maintained their innocence til the end or surrendered from torture. A possible guided interest prompted from this resource are gender in relation to economic status or social structure and how that played a role in female/male accusations. The context would further inform our project and give us a guiding interest toward formulating a thesis or research question.
Levack, Brian P. 1980. “The Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1661-1662.” Journal of British Studies 20, no. 1: 90-108. https://doi.org/10.1086/385764.
Levack claims the main causes of the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1661-1662 are that Scottish courts regained control over witchcraft prosecution, John Kincaid and professional prickers created suspicion about accused witches creating pacts with the Devil, and the Earl of Haddington petitioned for the removal of witches who were engaging in malefices. To support his point, Levack analyzes the petition of the Earl of Haddington, which moved parliament to dedicate a commission to witches in Samuelston and helped catalyze the Great Witch Hunt, as well as citing other authors who have examined the history of Scottish witch hunts. Levack’s article is significant because at the time, the Great Scottish Witch Hunt hadn’t been studied or explained in detail, so it gives readers insight into why it began, why certain people became victims, and how it ended. This resource gives us historical context to one of the biggest witch hunts in Scottish history, so we can be more cognizant of any potential patterns in witch hunt data around 1661-1662. This article also can help us explain the geographical distribution of witch hunts in this time period, since specific locations such as the Lothians are mentioned as places where this witch hunt started.
Melville, R. D. 1905. “The Use and Forms of Judicial Torture in England and Scotland.” The Scottish Historical Review 2, no. 7: 225-48. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/25517609.pdf.
Melville finds that judicial torture in Scotland was more readily recognized by the law as a means of extracting information or as a way to punish and execute people, as opposed to in England, where torture was not routinely used. He draws from other articles that examine torture in Europe, even providing illustrations of some of the torture devices, and explains example trials from Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials in order to show the scale of torture implemented. Melville’s article is significant because torture is often brushed under the rug, but it was a very real tool used to extract information or torture accused people in Scotland. This article can help us understand motivations for torture in Scotland, who exerted control over it, and how certain types of torture were associated with different types of witch hunt cases.
Poole, Robert. “Polychronicon: Witchcraft History and Children: Interpreting England’s Biggest
Witch Trial, 1612.” Teaching History, no. 147 (2012): 36–37.
Poole argues that witchcraft in England existed in ways similar to other parts of Europe where large-scale top down witch hunts occurred, contrary to popular belief whereby England’s witchcraft cases were more of a by-product of village tensions amongst neighbours. He draws this from interpreting England’s biggest and most well-documented witch trial in 1612 based on the original book regarding Lancashire Witches as well as Shakespeare’s “Restless World, part 10: Toll and Trouble on James 1 and Witchcraft”. He illuminates a key feature of the case where children’s testimonies were allowed in the courts to be used as evidence in trials to prosecute witches, hence disproving that witchcraft in England was more than village tensions but instead, a systemic phenomenon. Although not in Scotland, the article supports our thesis by illustrating the King’s prominent impact on the witchhunt sentiment as the case was prosecuted based on King James 1’s guidelines, a king who used to rule Scotland.
Sneddon, Andrew. “Witchcraft Belief and Trials in Early Modern Ireland.” Irish Economic and Social History 39 (2012): 1–25. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24338815.
Sneddon looks at the distinction of the witchcraft trials in Ireland vs. other areas in Europe, and he argues that for “Catholic and Protestant Ireland the main social and political threat was not witches but the Gaelic-Irish”. In Ireland witches were not seen as malevolent beings, and utilized forms of agricultural magic. Sneddon uses Ronald Hutton’s Witch-Hunting in Celtic Societies, to look at the British and Gaelic Irishes classification of the “evil eye” to showcase the differences in beliefs the Irish had in comparison to other societies during this period. While both of these areas believed in the evil eye, the British viewed it as intentional malice of a witch, and the Irish viewed it as an unintentional action. By viewing it as unintentional, there is a reduction in accusations because it something that is not done with the intent to harm. This article is important because it showcases the differences in the Gaelic- Irish belief in regards to witchcraft, and because the Scottish Gaelic population branched from this society it provides literary comparison of the two areas. Furthermore, it alludes to how the presence of the English may of influenced witch hunting, in Scotland and why it was avoided for so long in Ireland. Lastly, it paints a different picture of witches. This article complements Hutton article because it provides even more context to understand the Gaelic Scottish in the Highlands and Islands, vs. those in the lowlands closer to England. With this article it possible to look at proximity to Ireland and proximity to England as methods to understand the large of amount of witch trials in these regions, because as shown from the earlier example Ireland and England beliefs differed in regard to witchcraft.
Swales, J. K., and Hugh V. McLachlan. “Witchcraft and the Status of Women: A Comment.” The British Journal of Sociology 30, no. 3 (1979): 349-58. doi:10.2307/589913.
The article “Witchcraft and the Status of Women: A Comment” by J.K. Swales and Hugh V. McLachlan discusses the witchcraft trials in England and other European countries, including Scotland. This comment argues against points brought up in an article by Alan Anderson and Raymond Gordon with the question of why females were mostly tried in witch trials. The argument presented by Anderson and Gordon is challenged by Swales and McLachlan and postures that religious practices, the stereotypical figure of women as witches, and women as scapegoats are reasons for the higher number of women tried as witches. Evidence is given to support postures about English witches leniency through Scottish data being compared to England’s. Court records from the years 1563-1727 on Scottish witch trials are used. This article is important because it helps contextualize witch hunts in Europe around the time that our data set is from. This article supports our project thesis in that a few of my group’s research questions refer to the higher proportion of women tried as witches than men and also the influence of England and other countries on witch accusations. There is also good statistical data provided that we can use to support some of our questions. It also provides some underlying groundwork for the reasoning behind witch trials. As this article is a comment on a different article, it may be more useful to go back and read the original article for more contextualization. (link to the original article: https://www.jstor.org/stable/589887?refreqid=excelsior%3A5ed73145b90760bba63fbb850e6d41f8&seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents).
Wallsgrove, Ruth. “Where We Get Our Information on the Witch-Hunts.” Off Our Backs 15, no.
7 (1985): 29–29. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25794666
The article analyzes literature and metadata on women’s resistance in Scottish society during the 16th century, arguing that there still lacks concrete evidence of whether any resistance even occurred. Wallgrove praises Christina Larner’s works and critiques the works of Barbara Ehrenreich, Deidre English and Mary Daly. Her article proposes the possibility of wishful thinking in their descriptions of the witches and their resistance in the movement as well as another possible limitation of their sources being too limited and outdated. In respect to our thesis, her work concludes there is not enough evidence to fully understand the witches’ behavior in terms of resistance against the accusations as of literature in 1985 and thus allows us to tread carefully in examining questions attempting to characterise Scottish women in this way.
Willumsen, Liv Helene. Witches of the North: Scotland and Finnmark. BRILL, 2013 :43-100.
Willumsen provides context of historical Scotland in chapters ‘Historical Background’
and ‘What Figures Can Tell’, highlighting important statistics such as the correlation between “panic years” to the number of witchcraft trials as well as shedding light on the political structures of historical Scotland, emphasising on years 1560-1707 – the phases of political instability, administration of the Privy Council and the Restoration Regime. He extracts data from primary witchcraft documents kept in the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh including court records from local and mixed central-local trials, as well as kirk session and presbytery minutes. Willumsen’s important arguments include the Privy Council’s close to monopoly position with regard to appointing commissions for trying witches in local courts, reinforcing the critical role of religion in the witch hunts and the influence of regional inquisitorial procedures on Scotland’s judicial system. In regards to our thesis, this book equips us with many numerical and written sources to further visualize the societal context of the issue.