University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

'Bewitched in their privities': Medical Responses to Infertility Witchcraft in Early Modern England

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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Original languageEnglish
JournalSocietas Magica Newsletter
Publication statusPublished - 2012


For much of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries medical writers accepted
that both infertility and sexual dysfunction, which were intimately connected
disorders, in men and women could be caused by the devil and witchcraft.
Across the period there were only two published cases of infertility witchcraft
in England. Although this suggests that discussions about infertility
bewitchment were a mostly theoretical exercise, it is apparent that readers of
medical texts believed that witchcraft could be to blame for infertility and that
medical writers encouraged these readers to respond to this ailment with natural
remedies, alongside prayer. In particular, medical writers emphasised the
efficacy of aphrodisiacs in curing sterility of this nature

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