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Interview - Owen Davies

Updated: Jul 30, 2018

After today's interview with Professor Owen Davies at the University of Hertfordshire, I walked back to the car feeling, well, this intense sense of hope.

Sure, we talked about early modern witch trials, fear and biases, murder and maiming, and the usual normally depressing things. But we also talked about the role of magical beliefs in different societies during different time periods, about how people are fascinating and complex, about how our behaviors are only inscrutable from the outside and from great distances. And about how, most of the time, people do and believe certain things for very concrete, sensible reasons, shaped by that individual's world view.

Hmm... sound a little like some of the curious things happening in online social networks? Maybe just a little bit.

Owen's research considers the histories of magical beliefs very broadly from Grimoires: A History of Magic Books to Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History to -- well, there's a lot. Visit his Amazon page.

But Familiar Shapes. There are days when I feel like this documentary is a giant, sprawling, multi-headed beastie. Here I am, trying to teach it to sit and stay -- the basics -- but it keeps trying to up and eat me. Infuriating.

But today, just for a moment, that beastie sat. It only lasted a few seconds, but it sat.

And then a squirrel ran by and, well, you now how those things go.

Addendum: I'm a little behind in posts, including my interviews with Vikki Carr, Judith Hewitt, and Peter Hewitt, co-managers of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Those are coming soon!

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