Researchers at the University of Exeter in the U.K. are studying the casting of spells from collections of literature from the 15th to 17th centuries to summon demons and “fairies” to uncover their secrets.
This period, starting in the late medieval times, saw the writing of many books giving instructions on how to perform sorcery and necromancy, and fairies played an important role.
Ph.D. candidate Samuel Gillis Hogan, 26, will begin trawling through ancient manuscripts in many of England’s libraries to find evidence and records of how people thought they could harness the power of “fairies” over the 300-year period, and what influence this had on people’s lives and culture. . .
“It shows much about beliefs at the time,” Hogan added. “By fully understanding these practices, we can often reconstruct how it was perfectly rational given contemporary beliefs. It’s easy to look down our noses at past or present cultures and dismiss them as ‘backwards’ or ‘primitive’, but intimately understanding these very different worldviews emphasizes that our own is simply one among many.”
Among the common theories about “fairies,” says Hogan, are that they were demoted angels, spirits of the dead, prehistoric human precursors and minor deities in pagan beliefs. He emphasizes that they were not always considered as virtuous, particularly as Puritanism grew after the Reformation in the 16th century. The spell books that will be studied to conjure fairies, demons and other spirits were used, he says, for both for noble and nefarious purposes. (Read more from “University Studies Conjuring Demons, ‘Fairies'” HERE)