Profile image
By A Bad Witch's Blog
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Thomas Waters on Cursed Britain: Witchcraft History

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

I was really lucky to get a ticket to hear historian Thomas Waters talking about Cursed Britain at London Fortean Society last week, as tickets sold out fast. His look at the history of witchcraft and black magic in modern times was fascinating. It was based on the meticulous research behind his new book, gathered over 15 years of academic work.

Thomas started by saying that witchcraft has been important in Britain throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and is growing in popularity now. His particular focus is the dark side of witchcraft, rather than modern pagan practices. He said that, generally, an investigation into cursing by witchcraft starts with the victim – the person who believes they are cursed. The witch hunters – whether they are cunning folk or others offering a witch-busting service – come in later.

It usually begins with someone having a tough time. Perhaps they lose their job, then their partner might fall ill and other misfortunes follow. They can’t earn money; doctors can’t find a cure; nothing goes right for them. It is quite possible that the person didn’t believe in witchcraft until bad things started to happen to them, but mundane solutions fail.

Then, someone suggests they might be cursed. This puts the idea in their heads and they start to look for a possible curser – and a healer. Belief is the most important part – believing that you have been cursed, and that you can be cured. It is possibly the power of the placebo effect, which continues to be a controversial subject. Belief that a cure will work can help it along the way. Also, belief that you have been cursed can actually make you feel ill. In 1942 an American doctor coined the term ‘Voodoo Death’ for the idea that believing you were cursed could damage your health.

Thomas Rowlandson’s cartoon (pictured at the top), dates from the early 19th century and is a satire on cunning men of the era. It shows someone getting scammed. People who believe they have been cursed are at risk of being scammed out of their money by charlatans.

Suspected witches have also been attacked in England in recent centuries. In the Suffolk village of Wickham Skeith, in the early 1800s, a poor man called Isaac Stebbings was persecuted by local residents because they believed he was a witch. He voluntarily agreed to be swum – thrown into a pond to see if he sunk or floated – with the idea that if he sunk he was innocent. The entire village, accompanied by a local policeman, watched the affair. Sadly, he floated, despite spending hours in the water and being close to death. The local parson rescued him, but Isaac continued to be persecuted by villagers for years.

After the 1830s, the police became more professional and sought to bring the force of the law against both witch persecutors and those who offered magical services. The reason for the decline of magic from the mid 1800s to the mid 20th century is more because the police made efforts to arrest people doing it, than because of an increase in scientific thought or rationality. Polls since the 1950s show an increasing belief in the supernatural.

Thomas ended his talk by saying that the re-enchantment of the world is happening. He asked: “What should we do about it?”

You can view Cursed Britain by Thomas Waters on Amazon. He is also giving other talks in London.

On Thursday 3 October, he is giving a lecture entitled Warlocks, Grey-witches, and Cunning-women at Treadwell’s Bookshop, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury London, WC1E 7BS. Tickets are £10. You can book online at

On Wednesday 23 October; he is repeating his Cursed Britain talk with London Fortean Society at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL. Tickets are £6. You can find the details here:

The top picture shows Humbugging, or Raising the Devil by Thomas Rowlandson. It is shared under Creative Commons via the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

To read more posts like this visit A Bad Witch’s Blog at


Support BeforeitsNews by trying our natural health products! Join our affiliate program
Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at

Get our Free Ebook, "Suppressed Health Secrets"  with  Natural Cures THEY don't want you to know!

APeX - Far superior to colloidal silver!  Destroys Viruses, Bacteria, Pathogens with Oxygen plus Silver!Supreme Fulvic - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!
Ultimate Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.
MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!  
Organic Hemp Extract (CBD) - Full Spectrum high CBD (3300mg) hemp extract eases stiff joints, relieves stress and more!
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.

Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

FINAL WARNING!   Diseases are EXPLODING!  Watch this Video about APeX and You'll THROW AWAY Your Colloidal Silver!   APeX destroys Viruses, Bacteria and other Pathogens with the power of Oxygen PLUS Silver!  Nobody else has a product like THIS!   See why the inventor hasn't been sick in 16 years and why you'll never hear about it on the FAKE NEWS!  Get some now and tell your friends about it too so we can reach more people!  

APeX Interview - Superior to Colloidal Silver from Lee Canady on Vimeo.

Learn about APeX Here and Get the 50 Page Report in PDF format.   Call us at 888-809-8385 to order by phone.

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.