Rosemary Ellen Guiley,
The Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft
(Checkmark, 1999)

The Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft is an over-sized paperback containing 417 pages. Subjects relating to witchcraft are listed in alphabetical order with extensive information given. Usually these listings will conclude with suggested readings to help you get maximum information about your selected topic.

If it relates to witchcraft, whether in fable or fact, there is likely an entry for it in this book. The author does slant her writing toward the cultural side of witchcraft, with exhaustive information about the cultural changes that have occurred since the ancient times with the Craft.

There are biographical listings for all the major figures in witchcraft and lots of unknowns as well. In all, there are more than 500 listings and more than 100 illustrations. The artwork is fabulous! There are photographs, drawings, charts and gorgeous illustrations, both current and historical.

Although the size is aggravating when working at a desk, I still use this book frequently and always reach for it first when I have a question about witchcraft. It is one of my most treasured reference books for horror writing and I value it immensely!

I have several of Rosemary Ellen Guiley's 16 books and you will find others reviewed here. She is a thorough researcher with a knack for laying out a user-friendly reference book of superior quality. When applicable, she cites actual case histories, such as for the Lithobolia of New Hampshire, where she relates the case of demons throwing stones and moving objects at the home of George Walton in the late 1600s.

If you are looking for a pleasure read, you will certainly not be disappointed with this one. It will acquaint you with the witch folklore from around the world, along with the historical facts and eyewitness accounts, and is likely to cause a few nightmares and restless nights if you read it from cover-to-cover. It is one of the best deals on the market of value versus costs. If you write horror, this book should be within arm's reach of your desk!

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 22 March 2003

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