Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Daemons Are ForeverContacts and Exchanges in the Eurasian Pandemonium$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David Gordon White

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226692401

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226715063.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 16 January 2022

Medieval and Modern Child Abductions

Medieval and Modern Child Abductions

Chapter:
(p.85) 4 Medieval and Modern Child Abductions
Source:
Daemons Are Forever
Author(s):

David Gordon White

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226715063.003.0004

This richly illustrated chapter explores myths, folkways, and rituals involving the abduction of children, either in infancy or in utero, by female spirit beings, most often called “fairies” in Europe and mātṛs (“mothers”) or yakṣīs in India. In nearly all cases, these rites are performed or officiated by women. In Europe, it is thought that the abducted infant has been replaced in its cradle by an infant spirit being, called a changeling. In India, it is generally a fetus that is abducted and replaced in its mother’s womb, resulting in the birth of a sickly demon child. In both cases, protective fertility dæmons are called upon to aid in the recovery of the child. Attested with greatest frequency in western Europe (France, Belgium, England, Ireland, Wales) and western India (Rajasthan, Gujarat), rituals for the recovery of infant abductees generally comprise the following: the hanging of swaddling clothes at a dæmon’s forest shrine, in order to petition its intervention; the use of a cradle, basket or pouch as a ritual template for the return of the infant by its abductress; and the confirmation that the true infant has been returned by plunging it into the waters of a river.

Keywords:   fairies, changelings, tree shrines, cradles, women in religion, yakṣīs, goddesses, Catholicism, Buddhism, saints

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.