Monday, January 23, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Witch: A Tale of Terror

Sam Harris is an author and neuroscientist most often known for his views on atheism and skepticism. Last year I read his book "The End of Faith" and rather enjoyed it. I was very pleased to see this year he had done a reading of selected sections of Charles Mackay's 1841 book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. I should add that book next to my reading list.

Harris has a breezy style to his reading, this book is an audio-book only release. I found that there was som much the resonated with today that I had to keep reminding myself that this book was actually published at the dawn of the Victorian-era and not our own.

Listening to this tale is a horror story, no doubts about it. I was trying to mentally keep track of all the people murdered as witches in the name of God or fear that I lost count close to a million. These are not "alternate facts" counts, but court records poured over by Mackay. As they say though, the murder of one is a tragedy the murder of millions is a statistic. So to make sure you don't loose sight of this horror Mackay, through Harris, reminds us that children some as young as 5, 9 and 10 were also burned at the stake because, someone, somewhere thought they might be a witch.

Thankfully, I had spent my summer reading the history of England, so the main players in the "Witch Craze" were well known to me.

I will not lie, the whole delusion has always sickened me and paid no small to my anti-theistic attitudes.

Harris does a great job of narration and in not letting his own point of view override the narrative. If you have ever read or heard his books in the past then his point of view is obvious. He mentions things in the Introduction and that is really it. Personally, I would have liked an Afterward too, but the Introduction covers it all.

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge

2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 3
Level: Initiate
Witches in this book: Millions or None
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: Too many innocents to count
Best RPG to Emulate it: Not really a good choice here. But I'd love to try some of this under WitchCraft.
Use in WotWQ: I got so many ideas on who the "Big Bad" really is going to be in this.
https://www.samharris.org/books/witch

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