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Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night


Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Shaman of Oberstdorf tellsthe fascinating story of a sixteenth-century mountain village caught in a panic ofits own making. Four hundred years ago the Bavarian alpine town of Oberstdorf, surrounded by the towering peaks of the Vorarlberg, was awash in legends and rumorsof prophets and healers, of spirits and specters, of witches and soothsayers. Thebook focuses on the life of a horse wrangler named Chonrad Stoeckhlin 1549-1587], whose extraordinary visions of the afterlife and enthusiastic practice of the occulteventually led to his death--and to the death of a number of village women--forcrimes of witchcraft.

In addition to recountingStoeckhlin's tale, this book examines the larger world of alpine myths concerningghosts and other spirits of the night, documenting how these myths have been abusedby German political movements over the years. As an introduction to modern Germanwitchcraft research, as a study of the local impact of the Counter Reformation, andas a historical investigation into popular culture, Behringer's book has theadvantage of telling a compelling individual story amidst larger discussions ofpeasant raptures, magical healing, and unfamiliar alpine notions such as thefurious army, the wild hunt, popular bonfire festivals, and eerie echoes ofpagan Wotan.

Wolfgang Behringer is one fo thepremier historians of German witchcraft, not only because of his mastery of thesubject at the regional level, but because he also writes movingly, forcefully, andwith an eye for the telling anecdote. Reminiscent of such classics asThe Cheese and the Worms and TheReturn of Martin Guerre, Shaman ofOberstdorf is an unforgettable look at early modern Germanfolklore and culture.

Book News Annotation:

Tells the story of a late 16th-century horse wrangler whose extraordinary visions of the afterlife and enthusiastic practice of the occult led to his execution for crimes of witchcraft. Behringer, who specializes in German witchcraft, also examines the larger world of alpine myths about ghosts and other spirits of the dark. First published as Chonrad Stoeckhlin und die Nachtschar: Eine Geschichte aus der fruhen Neuzeit by R. Piper, Munich, in 1994. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Midelfort, H. C. Erik
Midelfort, H. C. Erik
Midelfort, Erik H. C.
Behringer, Wolfgang
University of Virginia Press
Europe - Germany
World History-Germany
Publication Date:
9.05x6.05x.61 in. .74 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Renaissance
History and Social Science » World History » Germany » General

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Product details 224 pages University Press of Virginia - English 9780813918532 Reviews:
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