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History Notes > Optional 8: Witch-craft and Witch-hunting in early modern Europe Notes

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REVISION NOTES: WITCHCRAFT: PSYCHOLOGY:

1. What does evidence from trials reveal about the psychology of accused and accusers?
The general utility of psychoanalysis in history:
- Humans = humans: can draw parallels between the way our minds work today and in the past.Situations just expressed in diff way: "Whereas the neuroses of our unpsychological modern days... appear disguised as organic illnesses, the neuroses of those early times emerge in demonological trappings" (Freud).
- Ultimately, search for same thing - safety and survival.In Haizmann case, Freud suggests that the reason why the affliction stopped when he entered the Order was because it meant that "both his internal struggle and his material need came to an end" (Freud). "He wanted all along simply to make his life secure" (Freud).
- Freud addresses criticism of too much focus on small details:Due to the nature of this as a "neurotic phantasy" (Freud), small details are highly relevant.E.g. from Freud's 'Psychopathology' - patient came up with number 426,718. 42 because of joke 'if your catarrh of the nose is treated by a doctor it lasts 42 days, if it is not treated it lasts 6 weeks'. All numbers 1-7 included except 3 and 5 because he had 6 brothers and sisters, and the 3rd and 5th were his enemies (he was youngest). 8 because he had often thought that if his father had lived longer, he would not have been the youngest. Hence can be interpreted as desire for 3 and 5 to die in place of father.Can help to fill gaps in understanding (see below).Can help to explain subtleties (see below). Ideas about father figures/gender roles:
- In some cases, the links to paternal ideas are clear.Particularly the Haizmann case.

- Case = Christoph Haizmann, a painter, who came to Mariazell on Sep 5th 1677 after staying at nearby town of Pottenbrunn and becoming seized by convulsions while in Church.
- Had apparently yielded to Devil 9 years earlier while facing hard times.

- Depicted appearances of Devil in paintings.
- Underwent period of penance and prayer. Devil then arrives on Sep 8 th in form of winged dragon, gave him back pact.
- Had written 2 pacts w/ Devil - one in black ink, one in blood.

- Abbot Franciscus testified that this appearance on the 8th did not happen in his eyes. Said Haizmann had rushed away from Fathers holding him into corner, and returned with the paper.
- Left to go to Vienna, fully well, shortly after. Then on Oct 11, fresh attacks of visions - e.g. once, legs paralysed.- Was psychologically affected, therefore can be well analysed.
- Devil first appeared to man as "an honest elderly citizen" (Freud).
- De Certeau takes Freud's analysis further by suggesting that the Brothers of Mercy perform the role of another father substitute for Haitzmann.
- Impose law of ascesis upon him, but at same time offer salvation.
- "Represents a life insurance policy... he finds a substitute for the nurturing father" (De Certeau). Can also see this in Regina Bartholome case:

- 1670: Regina Bartholome confesses to have lived with Devil as man and wife from age 16-21. Had twice-weekly trysts, ate pork, lung sausage, and beer. Devil dressed like nobleman.

- Had promised her money, she signed pact for 7 years.
- Had just begun sexual relationship with older man Michael Reidler, mother had just had affair with-

younger man - Regina's cousin - been publicly humiliated, lover fled and died 'of drink'. Regina took mother's place. New male presence entered house in form of Jacob Schwenreiter - new lodger, engaged to be married. Regina falls for. Had promised Schwenreiter to use trick she knew to get money from Jew. Fiancee came, Regina said that the Jew had had sex with Regina. Accusations failed to stick, Regina imprisoned. Publicly uttered desire to kill Schwenreiter's bride, ? trial.- Also believed herself to be Devil's daughter.

- Regina's images are "littered with Oedipal themes" (Roper).
- E.g. took mother's place, successfully fulfilled Oedipal desires, feels deserves to be punished.
- E.g. first lover, Reidler, worked as a prison overseer - paternal.
- E.g. Jacob Schwenreiter shared father's trade and even bed. His wife represented mother-figure.

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