witchcraft

Stuffed doll in Edwardian-style black dress with stiletto through face, south Devon, England , 1909–13

The objects that sound witchiest on paper just look sad: Spellbound reviewed

27 October 2018 9:00 am

Just in front of me, visiting Spellbound at the Ashmolean last week, was a very rational boy of about seven…

Caught between fascism and witchcraft: All Among the Barley, by Melissa Harrison, reviewed

25 August 2018 9:00 am

All Among the Barley, Melissa Harrison’s third ‘nature novel’, centres on Wych Farm in the autumn of 1933, where the…

A woman on a ducking-stool, accused of witchcraft. Drowning would have proved her innocence

The roots of witchcraft

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Until the mid-1960s many historians believed witchcraft was a pre-Christian pagan fertility ritual, witches worshipping the Horned God, whose consort…

Francesca Simon’s dark novel The Monstrous Child tells the story of Hel, Queen of the Underworld — like Proserpina, only monstrous

Sinister summer reading for children

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Martin Stewart’s Riverkeep (Penguin, £7.99) has a list of books and writers on the cover: Moby-Dick, The Wizard of Oz,…

A journey through magic across three millennia

12 December 2015 9:00 am

With the briefest of introductions to each chapter, it is up to the reader to decide how they want to…

The city became cacophonous with bells: a detail of Claes Visscher’s famous early 17th-century panorama shows old London Bridge and some of the 114 church steeples that constantly tolled the death knells of plague victims

Shakespeare's London: where all the world really was a stage

26 September 2015 8:00 am

We don’t usually pay all that much attention, as James Shapiro points out, to the Jacobean Shakespeare. We’re in the…

Grimms’ fairy tales: the hardcore version

13 December 2014 9:00 am

Child murder, domestic slavery, abusive families, cannibalism and intergenerational hatred — what could be better for the festive fireside than…

Witch-hunting capitalism in Africa

5 October 2013 9:00 am

   Johannesburg  I stumbled upon a grand story the other day, thanks largely to my girlfriend Shmerah, who is doing…