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Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night (Studies in Early Modern German History) [Paperback]

Wolfgang Behringer , H. C. Erik Midelfort
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

30 Sep 1998 Studies in Early Modern German History
Shaman of Oberstdorf tells the fascinating story of a sixteenth-century mountain village caught in a panic of its own making. Four hundred years ago the Bavarian alpine town of Oberstdorf, surrounded by the towering peaks of the Vorarlberg, was awash in legends and rumors of prophets and healers, of spirits and specters, of witches and soothsayers. The book focuses on the life of a horse wrangler named Chonrad Stoeckhlin [1549-1587], whose extraordinary visions of the afterlife and enthusiastic practice of the occult eventually led to his death-and to the death of a number of village women-for crimes of witchcraft. Wolfgang Behringer is one of the premier historians of German witchcraft, not only because of his mastery of the subject at the regional level, but because he also writes movingly, forcefully, and with an eye for the telling anecdote.


Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press (30 Sep 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813918537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813918532
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,484,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

This story is better documented, more sophisticated in interpretation, and in some respects better told than that of the Italian miller, Menocchio, that Carlo Ginzburg presents in his justly famous The Cheese and the Worms. Behringer is the premier historian of the witchcraft panic in this part of Germany and has a vast command of local knowledge that enables him to cotextualize this gripping story in an extemely concrete and colorful way.--Thomas A. Brady, Jr., University of California, Berkeley

About the Author

Wolfgang Behringer teaches at the University of Munich and the University of Bonn and is the author of numerous books on German history and witchcraft.H.C. Erik Midelfort is Julian Bishko Professor of History at the University of Virginia and the author of Mad Princes of Renaissance Germany [Virginia].

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting glimpse of 16th century life 26 Mar 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The horse wrangler Chonrad Stoeckhlin was burned after accusations of witchcraft in 1587. Taking this as his starting point, the author discusses withcraft, local history, pre-christian religion and more. Much more! And that may be my main objection to this book: The reader gets intriguing bits of information that merrits books on their own.
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shaman of Oberstdorf 27 Mar 2001
By Rune Hagen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Chonrad Stoeckhlin, a stall boy (and the main character of this book), made an agreement with his good friend, the oxherd Jacob Walch, in 1578. According to this agreement, he who died first would return to tell about life in the hereafter. And no more than a few days after the pact was agreed upon, Jacob suddenly died. He kept to his word with his friend though and appeared before Chonrad five whole times. Since I have no intentions to ruin the reader's experience, I will not divulge what Jacob had to tell about life in the hereafter or how Chonrad reacted to what he heard. But after some years the judicial authorities took notice of the stall boy's strange and suspicious tales about contacts with the other world. And in 1587 the stall boy from the Bavarian alpine town of Oberstdorf was executed for witchcraft. Stoeckhlin had to answer 146 various questions during the legal proceedings. Based upon the profuse 1586 sources, the German historian expands his story to delve into topics such as fortune telling, shamanism, witch sabbaths, and the interplay between popular and learned culture. This is a fascinating book, even though Behringer occasionally has a tendency to waver some distance from Chonrad's story. But, certainly, the stall boy story from Oberstdorf is fascinating reading and a work of eminent scholarship.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chonrad,... you really need to zip it. 10 April 2012
By MOTIONBOMBER - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Micro-history, translated from German; Wolfgang Behringer's Shaman of Oberstdorf is a wee bit academically winded, yet fascinating regardless. One thing struck me most: 16th century German Alpine villages were absolutely not the place to be making metaphysical/out-of-body claims. Try Behringer's Witchcraft Persecutions in Bavaria: Popular Magic, Religious Zealotry and Reason of State in Early Modern Europe (Past and Present Publications) for an excellent and unrivaled overview.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting glimpse of 16th century life 26 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The horse wrangler Chonrad Stoeckhlin was burned after accusations of witchcraft in 1587. Taking this as his starting point, the author discusses withcraft, local history, pre-christian religion and more. Much more! And that may be my main objection to this book: The reader gets intriguing bits of information that merrits books on their own.
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