Illustration of an authentic case of witchcraft. (Glanvill, 1681)
For many Christians the existence of demons and witches was taken as read. Even scientists such as Isaac Newton believed in the existence of the spirit world. Anglican clergyman and scientist Joseph Glanvill collected evidence of authentic cases of spirit activity in order to support his religious views against sceptics.
In his published work Glanvill describes harmless tricks that should not be regarded as diabolic including “lanterns lit with special flames to make all the women present appear naked, and reveal those parts which nature tells us should remain concealed”.
Illustration of a magic lantern by its inventor, Athanasius Kircher. (Kircher, 1667)