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Journal > Volumes > 50 (2019) / 4 (Winter)
The Witch and the Weather: Fear of Weather Magic in German Sixteenth-Century Neue Zeitungen
Abaigéal Warfield
University of Adelaide

Since the 1990s, there has been much scholarly interest in the correlation between the Little Ice Age and witchcraft prosecutions in early modern Germany. This connection warrants further attention, however, as bad weather did not simply lead to witchcraft prosecutions. Fear of witches and weather magic was at all times culturally constructed. But how was this fear cultivated? Influenced by the current field of emotions history, this article examines how fear of witches was constructed in early modern German news reports, specifically in the genre of Neue Zeitungen, non-periodical reports printed following notable events. It investigates how witches came to be represented as responsible for the crime of weather magic during the final decades of the sixteenth century, a period that also witnessed sharp climatic deterioration. It shows how this media genre helped to generate and condition fear of weather magic and, in turn, witches.

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