The exhibition “Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft” at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford examines the history of magic over eight centuries, and shows how our ancestors used magical thinking to cope with the unpredictable world around them. Nick Swarbrick reviews the exhibition and the subjects which it explores.
So, what is necromancy and what does it have to do with folklore? Come with me, and let’s enter the peculiar world of death divination…
Folk tales tell us how we live and keep our local history alive. They pass on the stories and knowledge that may never be written down.
In the great wealth of witch-related lore, the image of the persecuted local midwife is one of the most enduringly popular.
The concept of a witch, that is a practitioner of magic, has been part of western folklore for centuries, yet throughout that time it has been subject to continuous reinterpretations.