A Densely Populated Universe
This chapter examines beliefs about the spirit world in superstition literature. These include morally ambiguous fairies; spirit-partners, poltergeists, and ‘teasers’; humans entering the spirit-realm; and human beings as animals. The image of spirits and non-human intelligences appears through the superstition literature as through a distorting prism. Theologians feared that ordinary people believed in a universe with a complex, ambiguous, folkloric hidden side, where the writ of organized religion did not run. They feared people's belief in their power to contact that spiritual realm in defiance of the proscriptions and requirements of Christianity. From that point of view, people's beliefs in good spirits were as dangerous, if not more so, than their beliefs in hostile or evil spirits.
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