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A Family Matter: The Case of a Witch Family in an Eighteenth-Century Volhynian Town

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Belief in the inheritance of witchcraft abilities from generation to generation is common to many cultures. Early modern Ukraine was not an exception. A series of cases from Volhynian town of Vyzhva is discussed here to illustrate how reputation for malevolent witchcraft could be once shaped and then continued to adhere to a family line, and how small town community preserved a memory about witchcraft for many years. This story is juxtaposed to other stories about succession of magical abilities by such magic practitioners as soothsayers, healers, wise men, etc. for whom the “magic reputation” of their parents was important to justify and support their own activities in the eyes of their clients.

Affiliations: 1: National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy,


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