Inner Lives: Emotions, Identity and the Supernatural, 1700-1900

Project: Other

Project Details


Strand 1 Protecting the home and peace of mind: engaging with the material culture of domestic magic.

This will explore the psycho-folkloristics of the deposition and secretion of apotropaic objects in and around the home during the 18th-20th centuries in Britain. It will also explore how such practices migrated and adapted. The research will catalogue other forms of apotropaic devices and see if similar geographic patterns occur. The project will also explore what domestic apotropaic objects (e.g. concealed shoes, written charms, concealed cats) mean to contemporary finders and custodians – this can include issues such as the motivations and emotions that lead people to keep discovered apotropaic devices in situ, discard them, or choose to donate them to museums.

Strand 2 Inner anxieties and external threats: the pathologization of supernatural fears
In the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries some of the fears, beliefs and convictions that led people to secrete charms and apotropaics about their homes, outbuildings and land, also marked them out as having symptoms of insanity.

Hundreds of people were incarcerated in asylums, in part, on the basis of their apocalyptic millenarian views, their convictions of personal damnation, their claims to have received celestial communications, their delusions of satanic or spiritual persecution, and their ‘monomaniacal’ fear of witches.
Effective start/end date1/10/1530/09/18


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