A Demon-Haunted Land: Witches, Wonder Doctors, and the Ghosts of the Past in Post-WWII Germany

A Demon-Haunted Land: Witches, Wonder Doctors, and the Ghosts of the Past in Post-WWII Germany

A revelatory counterhistory of postwar Germany, not as a reborn democracy but as a nation convulsed by apocalyptic visions, witchcraft fears, and supernatural obsessions

In the aftermath of World War II, a succession of mass supernatural events swept through war-torn Germany. A messianic faith healer rose to extraordinary fame; enormous crowds traveled to witness apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Most strikingly, scores of people accused their neighbors of witchcraft, and found themselves in turn hauled into court in turn on charges of defamation, assault, and even murder.

While many histories emphasize Germany's rapid transition from genocidal dictatorship to liberal democracy, A Demon-Haunted Land places in full view the toxic mistrust and spiritual malaise that unfolded alongside the economic miracle. Drawing on previously unpublished archival materials, acclaimed historian Monica Black argues that the surge of supernatural obsessions stemmed from the unspoken guilt and shame of a nation remarkably silent about what was euphemistically called "the most recent past." This shadow history irrevocably changes our view of postwar Germany, revealing the cost of trying to bury a horrific legacy.

Title:A Demon-Haunted Land: Witches, Wonder Doctors, and the Ghosts of the Past in Post-WWII Germany
ISBN:9781250225672
Format Type:

    A Demon-Haunted Land: Witches, Wonder Doctors, and the Ghosts of the Past in Post-WWII Germany Reviews

  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    Interesting and well-researched, but not what I was expecting based on the title. It’s more a look at faith healers in post-WWII Germany. The trauma of the war and a collective guilt and fear of div...

  • Amber

    I enjoyed this! It was definitely different than what I originally had expected but was really good. It amazes me the lengths and what people would go through to get past WWII. It was kind of a differ...

  • Kristine

    A Demon-Haunted Land by Monica Black is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-November.Defamatory allegations of witchcraft and supernatural events taken to court in Germany between 1947-1965, due...

  • Ionia

    #ADemonHauntedLand #NetGalleyThis book was absolutely fascinating from beginning to end. Occasionally during my research of WWII, I enjoy looking at the periods before and after the war. This book giv...

  • Molly Huff

    This book was fascinating, haunting, and utterly unforgettable. I will not forget this book in a hurry, and it has become an essential addition to my nonfiction collection. An excellent example of "li...

  • Tracy Griffin

    This was interesting! I truly enjoyed this. I'm wondering if anymore nonfiction is similar to A Demon-Haunted Land?...

  • Zandt McCue

    A Demon-Haunted Land is short, dense, and not at all what I expected it to be. Post-WWII Germany has a lot of internal struggles going on. We're not taught in school about what happened when the war w...

  • David

    More a biography of the mystic Bruno Gröning than a catchall of German marginal personalities of the immediate post-war period. Black's reading of Gröning is more vulgar freudo-marxist/cultural mate...

  • Zeb Kantrowitz

    Black explores the place of witch-craft accusations in the pre- and post- second world war Germany.The central part of Germany (especially Bavaria) have been hotbeds for witches and demons. It has bee...

  • Helliondeadwoman

    A fascinating look at what post war Germans were thinking and feeling, it's interesting to think that they would manifest such deep beliefs after such a traumatic time. Faith healers and witch craft s...