Old Folklore

Judith Devlin. The Superstitious Mind; French Peasants and the Supernatural in the 19th century. Yale, 1987.
This is perhaps an example of the 'old folklore' which relegates the study to geographically and temporally remote zones. Devlin sees 'superstitions’ as a psychological mechanism for dealing with the vagaries of life. Possession, prophecy, visions, fairies, etc. are discussed. Though Devlin suggests that she does not regard superstition as prima facie anti-rational, the accounts tend to assimilate such experiences to mental illness or inebriation, suffused with a 'how could they believe that’ feeling. It is much easier to patronise those who cannot answer back, yet performances like many discussed here in are still taking place in modern societies. There are insights however: the connection between La Sallette with its widespread 'Letters from Jesus’, and the contactee movement with 'letters from nowhere'.
  • Peter Rogerson, from Magonia 30, August 1988.

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