Bonzol, Judith (History Department, University of Sydney)
Parergon, Volume 26, Number 1, (2009)
In early modern England both ordinary and learned people believed that certain kinds of illness might be the result of maleficium (harmful magic) or demonic possession. While belief in witchcraft and demons may have declined somewhat during the course of the seventeenth century, it remained acceptable to attribute certain forms of disease to the Devil, particularly certain types of mental illness. But complex social factors were also at play. A detailed study of the medical involvement in the possession of Anne Gunter, beginning in 1604, reveals that community and family influences were particularly crucial to the medical diagnosis of diabolical afflictions.