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Magical House Protection: The Archaeology of Counter-Witchcraft

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Magical House Protection

The Archaeology of Counter-Witchcraft

Brian Hoggard

336 pages, 25 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-205-2 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2019)

ISBN  978-1-80073-021-2 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Not Yet Published (January 2021)

eISBN 978-1-78920-206-9 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Diving into Brian Hoggard’s Magical House Protection is a remarkable experience… [It] provides an immersive and fascinating read.” • Fortean Times

Magical House Protection is thus an excellent resource as well as an addition to debate, and so can be used as a launch-pad for work to extend knowledge of the subject.” • Folklore

“The cumulation of twenty years’ worth of research, Magical House Protection will bring increased attention a subject that—despite its great importance for understanding vernacular belief and practice in early modern and modern Britain—has often been overlooked. Its catalogue will be of great use for researchers exploring this topic in future, and for this contribution in particular it should be recommended.” • Reading Religion


Belief in magic and particularly the power of witchcraft was once a deep and enduring presence in popular culture; people created and concealed many objects to protect themselves from harmful magic. Detailed are the principal forms of magical house protection in Britain and beyond from the fourteenth century to the present day. Witch-bottles, dried cats, horse skulls, written charms, protection marks and concealed shoes were all used widely as methods of repelling, diverting or trapping negative energies. Many of these practices and symbols can be found around the globe, demonstrating the universal nature of efforts by people to protect themselves from witchcraft.

Brian Hoggard is an independent researcher who has been studying the archaeology of magical house protection for many years. He has a popular website at through which he receives reports and requests for advice about these objects from all over the world.

Subject: Archaeology History (General) Anthropology of Religion


List of illustrations

Chapter 1. Folklore, Witchcraft, Religion
Chapter 2. Witch-bottles
Chapter 3. Concealed Shoes
Chapter 4. Dried Cats
Chapter 5. Horse Skulls
Chapter 6. Written Charms
Chapter 7. Protection Marks
Chapter 8. Other Concealed Objects
Chapter 9. Evidence of Darkness
Chapter 10. Conclusions
Chapter 11. Case Studies



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