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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 1, March 2017

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Peter Grandbois
Granville, Ohio, USA


Flies in Summer

"The air is not so full of flies in summer as it is at all times of invisible devils."
                                               — Robert Burton

The definition of "possession" meaning possessed by a devil or demon is relatively recent, first appearing in 1580. Witch hunts were not medieval phenomena eclipsed by the rise of science and reason but rather a renaissance practice sponsored by science and so called "reason." The height of these hunts coincided with the establishment of the Royal Society of London in 1660. Because mental illness was seen as an occupation of the body by an outside force, treatment focused on ridding the body of these evil spirits through purging, sweating, vomiting, bloodletting, and, in the most severe cases, destroying the body outright to save the soul. In one such case, a man who believed he was possessed by a wolf had all his limbs chopped off to release him from the occupying spirit. He died as a result.

The spider unwinds
all those trembling selves beneath
a broken window

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