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Nordingrå, maj 1675: en ångermanländsk socken i centrum för trolldomsprocesserna
Gotland University, Department of History.
2010 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Nordingrå, May 1675 : a parish of Ångermanland in the witch trials´ centre (English)
Abstract [en]

In May 1675, the local court in the northern Swedish parish of Nordingrå, which had approximately 1,000 inhabitants, held a preliminary investigation on 113 persons accused of witch-craft and superstition. For the majority of the 113, the main accusation was to have travelled to Blåkulla, a place where witches according to Swedish folklore participated in satanic festivities and rites led by the Devil himself. The preliminary investigation was held at the request of The Royal Witch-craft Commission. Nordingrå belonged to the province of Ångermanland, one of the Swedish provinces with the highest number of witch trials in the 1670s. The trials in Nordingrå have, more or less never been examined before, mainly due to the fact that no sentences or penalties were ever imposed.

The purpose of this paper is to examine social relations and social conflicts in Nordingrå with the records from the witch trial 1675 as the primary source. The theoretical background for the paper is Emmanuel Le Roy Laduries study of the Occitan village of Montaillou along with Hannah Arendts theory on the banality of evil.

One of the paper´s main conclusion is that the relations of power can be traced in the trials, but that they, on the other hand, become less significant the further the trials go. One reasonable interpretation of this fact is that the trials in Nordingrå reflects the tendence of juridical centralization in the 17th century.

The social conflicts in the parish are more obvious in the accusations of superstitions than in the accusations of travels to Blåkulla. For example the conclusion can be drawn that at least a number of inhabitants in Nordingrå had a religion on their own, which did not always match the orthodoxy of the Protestant church. At the same time the accusations of superstition do not play a particularly important role in the trials. The main impression of the trials is, on the contrary, that they do not follow a given pattern regarding who can be put on trial, except for the fact that most of the trialed were women. Against the accused, a number of at least 173 witnesses appeared, most of them children and young people under the age of 24. The witnesses in general did not only tell the court which crimes the accused witches had committed, but also which crimes they had committed themselves.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , p. 63
Keywords [en]
Witch trials, witch-craft
Keywords [sv]
Häxprocesser, trolldom, trolldomsprocesser, Ångermanland
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hgo:diva-343OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hgo-343DiVA, id: diva2:306469
Presentation
(English)
Uppsok
Humanities, Theology
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-04-29 Created: 2010-03-29 Last updated: 2013-07-01Bibliographically approved

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