'The misery of the poor girls ... ' : exploring a case of collective bewitchment in Lier, 1602-03'The misery of the poor girls ... ' : exploring a case of collective bewitchment in Lier, 1602-03
Faculty of Arts. History
Centre for Urban History
Parergon / Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. - Sydney
30(2013):2, p. 81-108
University of Antwerp
In 1602-03 eight girls at a boarding school in Lier fell ill with a strange disease, thereby paving the way for accusations of witchcraft. The voluminous records of the resulting witch trial document the events in question as well as people's reactions to them. A careful reading of the source materials suggests that the evolution of the crisis from a single, unremarkable fainting spell to a spectacular and stereotypical case of collective convulsions resulted from the mutual interactions between the behaviour of the afflicted girls and the interpretation process and remedying actions it elicited.