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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent study from a Catholic perspective, 7 Feb 2007
Actually first published in 1926, this is an excellent general overview of witchcraft in its historical context. Summers was a Catholic priest and, as a result, he adhered to the point of view that magic, occultism and witchcraft are all dangerous and efficacious in producing evil. Whether we believe in the effects of magic or not is irrelevant to appreciate this study, for rather than waste space with scepticism it instead looks at the subject on its own merit. Whilst little evidence is actually offered in support of magic, many alleged incidents are related briefly which anyone with access to a large library could research further. Summers points out that whilst most magic can be explained away by illusion or deceit, there are still many cases which seem to have no explanation except a supernatural one (according to him).

There are seven chapters, which go into fair detail, including areas as diverse as exorcism (in which a full example text of which words to speak to cast out demons is included), to how the witch has been portrayed in plays and opera.

A very small portion of the text is in Latin and French, which is only sometimes translated into English. An excellent bibliography is included, which lists many books and early pamphlets in English, French, German and Latin. Overall, this is an excellent study which manages to be both diverse and detailed, and is also very interesting to read for an historical work. Definitely worth reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very intetesting Read, 28 April 2014
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This review is from: The History of Witchcraft and Demonology (Dover Occult) (Paperback)
This book about the history of demonology,I found to be very interestingBook good value for money.Would reccomend it to anyone with an interest in the occult
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traditional Perspectives upon Demonology & Witchcraft, 6 Nov 2011
By 
Nigel C. Jackson "SetheusPalingenius700" (Terre de Salvaesche) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The History of Witchcraft and Demonology (Dover Occult) (Paperback)
The peerless authority upon these dark subjects, the Reverend Montague Summers, brings his formidable powers of insight and scholarship to bear on the infernal mysteries of witchcraft, from the learned traditional perspective of Catholic Christianity in this dense and brilliant historical study which remains unsurpassed. No suavely rationalistic trifler or crass divagatory occultist, Montague Summers' work endures and remains perennially significant and welcome by the very fact that it revives the authentically mediaeval spiritual perspective and consequently affords no small insight into the 'shuddering horror and heart-sick dismay any sort of commerce between human beings and evil spirits, which is the very core and kernel of Witchcraft, excited throughout the whole of Christendom' during the pre-modern epoch.This treatise presents his profound researches into the demoniac pestilence of witchery and its flare-ups through the centuries and depicts the witch as he or she truly was, without gloss or apologetics - a pest, deviant and evil-liver whose malign sorceries were inspired by and effected via the infernal agencies of the Father of Lies, Satan-Lucifer, the ancient deceiver of mankind. It is certainly true that medieval witchcraft did retain certain memories and archaic vestiges of shamanism, visible in motifs such as aerial transvections and soul-flight, from remote Celtic and Teutonic antiquity, but cut off from their original context and from any superior spiritual principles these psychic residues had long been invaded and animated 'from below' by malefic and demonic powers and turned irrevocably to the service of evil, instruments then as now, of the veritable Counter-Initiation: thus one might see in the witches midnight sabbats a sinister mockery, counterfeiting and apeing of Christian spirituality and in common with the mediaeval carnivals it manifests a very real actualisation and exhaustion of the most inferior possibilities, negative dregs and psychic residues at the close of the cosmic cycle in a dark masquerade of chaotic inversion which is reflected in the disorder and dissolution of the age we live in - at the liminal sandhya-twilight the infra-psychic 'wandering influences' hold sway over a world turned upside-down, as demonic agencies seep through the 'cracks in the Great Wall' at the solsticial interstice at the end of the ages.(See Rene Guenon's writings upon the significance of carnivals for more enlightenment upon this area.) The relevance of Summers' judicious researches are, if anything, even more marked in our own day when the deceptions of these infernal potencies continue to find dupes and votaries amid the squalid purlieus of occultism, magic and sorcery. The witch has always belonged, as a 'haegtessa' or 'hagazussa' ('hedge-rider), to the demonic domain of the 'fence-demons' outside the boundary of the sacred enclosure or temenos, as an unclean denizen of the tenebrous, infernal and profane realm which the Gospel calls the 'outer darkness' lying beyond the 'Great Wall' which bounds and protects the Divine Order (Rta) of the central sacred 'Abode of Peace'and Immortality. The increasing incursion of these dark, kakodemonic influences at this terminal phase of the cycle in the Kaliyuga is far from coincidental but a genuine and disquieting 'sign of the times'. Summers deals with these subjects with his characteristic precision, depth and erudition, covering such topics as 'The Witch: Heretic and Anarchist', the diabolic and perverted parodies which form 'The Worship of the Witch', the subject of the trafficking with infra-human foulness and infra-psychic entities in 'Demons and Familiars'and an exhaustive chapter upon the Sabbat, a term which one should note was borrowed in evil mockery and derision from Judaeo-Christian tradition for as St Thomas Aquinas so truly said 'The Devil is the ape of God'. Diabolic possession, on the rise in our own times, is dealt with in a thorough manner and the final chapter constitutes an illuminating survey of the Witch-figure in the dramatic literature and plays of the late mediaeval era with its Mystery-Cycles and the masques and dramas of the Tudor periods upto the 17th century. A superb, clear-headed and sound history of the subject of witchcraft from a very great authority, Montague Summers' 'History of Witchcraft and Demonology' is a fine corrective to the masses of misinformation, misguidance and persiflage which prevail in regard of these knotty areas, and provides an essential resource for the traditional Catholic upon these complex and problematic subjects. A similar work written from a decidedly Anglo-Catholic angle, the 1941 book 'Witchcraft' by the Christian esoterist, poet and lay theologian Charles Williams, may be profitably studied in conjunction with Montague Summers' classic treatise.

Those interested in a more detailed, comprehensive consideration of these metaphysical issues surrounding witchcraft, viewed from the properly Traditional initiatic perspective, may appreciate my essay 'Hexentanz: The Sinister Masquerade of the Kaliyuga' published in the journal of Traditional Studies 'Oriens' Volume IX, Numbers 1-3 Winter 2012.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting, 8 Oct 2011
By 
Joe Anthos (folkestone UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The History of Witchcraft and Demonology (Dover Occult) (Paperback)
Well written making the subject very interesting if you like this subject, It is a good basic book for studies
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow,, montague does it well..., 14 Aug 2010
This review is from: The History of Witchcraft and Demonology (Dover Occult) (Paperback)
Full of detail and informative. It also gets a mention by Colin wilson in his book The Occult.
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4 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it was great!, 25 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Montaque summers is an excellent writerm and here tells me exactly what i wanted to know. Outlining almost verything on demons and Witchcraft.
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The History of Witchcraft and Demonology (Dover Occult)
The History of Witchcraft and Demonology (Dover Occult) by Montague Summers (Paperback - 26 Oct 2007)
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