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The Supernatural: A Global History: Home

Guide to exploring various manifestations of, and encounters with, the supernatural across time and in many parts of the world.

Suggested Search Terms - Try these in the catalog or the databases


   Jewish astrology

   Maya astrology

   Tantric astrology




   --New Jersey

   --New Zealand

   --Northwest, Pacific

   --United States

   --West Virginia

   Massachusetts--Dover--History--20th century


   Folk literature

   Folk music

   Geographical myths


   Intercultural communication in folklore


   Symbolism in folklore

   Traditional medicine

   Urban folklore


   --Appalacian Region, Southern


History of British Folklore

New Age movement

Occult, The or Occultism




   Haunted places

   Islamic occultism










   --Korea (South)

Snake cults (Holiness churches)

   Handling of Snakes (Holiness Churches)

   Serpent handling (Holiness Churches)



   Guides (Spiritualism)


   Literature and spiritualism

   Ouija board


   Spirit photography

   Spiritual healing and spiritualism



   Ghouls and orges

      --Europe, Central





   Lesbian vampires



   Trials (Witchcraft)




 *Using the search term "magic" alone will mostly yield results about magic tricks and magicians, not magic as it is thought to be practiced by witches or occultists.


HISTORY 499 "The Supernatural: A Global History" Professor Monica Black

Interpreting signs, miracles, dreams, and visions; encounters with spirits of the dead, witches, goblins, and werewolves; the practices of shamanism, magic, the seance, and the laying on of hands: in this seminar, we will explore various manifestations of and encounters with the supernatural across time and around the globe. Our work together in the course will focus on a number of crucial questions. How have supernatural phenomena been interpreted and understood in various historical cultures? Through what practices have people drawn on - or sought to ameliorate - the power of the supernatural? How have people distinguished religion from magic, and knowledge from superstition, in different historical cultures? Does the term "supernatural" even make sense—and if so, what does it mean? Is it meaningful only in “Western” societies or does it have broader applications? How can folklore and fantasy, which have often been excluded as legitimate sources for knowing about past societies, actually help us understand a great deal about those societies? And perhaps most important, what has been the effect of supernatural experiences and beliefs on history in a wider sense? Visionary cults, portents, demons and exorcism, witchcraft, ghost stories, magic, snake handling - these topics and many, many others are open to you as possible themes for research papers.

About This Guide

History and Medieval Studies Librarian

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Shaina Anderson
Hodges Library
Subjects: History

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