Why is it essential to study verbal magic from witch trials?

Pp. 113-127

  • Emese Ilyefalvi
Keywords: witch trials, Hungary, charms, rituals, early modern witchcraft


analysed data about charm practices from witch trials. It is diversified and a very rich mass of material. It is more important than generalities is that while acquiring additional details of early modern charm practice, due to the characteristics of this source type, we also get an insight into the beliefs underlying charms, as well as the social, personal and contextual use and strategies of talking about these beliefs. The goal of this paper had been to show why it is indispensable from the point of view of charm research to study the source documents of witchcraft persecution.

Author Biography

Emese Ilyefalvi

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6677-5843

e-mail address: ilyefalvi.emese@btk.elte.hu

Emese Ilyefalvi studied folkloristics, religious studies and philology at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. She worked from 2013 to 2018 as a junior research fellow in the “East–West” Research Project (“Vernacular religion on the boundary of Eastern and Western Christianity: continuity, changes and interactions” ERC project No 324214). Within the framework of this project, she published a new Hungarian charm collection in 2014 co-authored with Éva Pócs and the Digital Database of Hungarian Verbal Charms in 2018. (See: http://raolvasasok.boszorkanykorok.hu/) She finished her PhD Thesis in 2019 about the theoretical, methodological and technical questions of computational folkloristics. She published several articles in Hungarian and international journals (Ethnographia, Replika, Incantatio) on these topics. She was a visiting scholar in Vienna (Collegium Hungaricum Wien), in Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam) and in Edmonton (University of Alberta, Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies.) Since 2013, she has been giving lectures and seminars related to her research at Eötvös Loránd University and the University of Pécs. At present, she is an assistant professor at the Department of Folkloristics (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary) and a research fellow at MTA–ELTE Lendület Historical Folkloristics Research Group.