Witchcraft in Forgottonia – Episode 2: The Influence of England & Colonial America


We continue our series about the social & cultural history of witchcraft based on the book “Witchcraft in Illinois” by folklorist Michael Kleen (check out Michael’s bio below). Please note, this series definitely does not intend to endorse a belief in magic or the occult. Our primary purpose is to simply apply some historical skills to this topic and share some interesting info that we find along the way (skills like QUESTIONING, SOURCING, CORROBORATING, CONTEXTUALIZING, & forming ARGUMENTS, etc.).

Before exploring more stories of witchcraft in IL history, we think it’s important to lay some foundation about how we got here. Examining the English culture that believed in supernatural forces while also acting to prevent them (most notably in Salem), will ultimately help us better understand how these practices were brought and adopted in western Illinois.


  • 17th-century English Cultural Beliefs (and the crazy story of Joan Peterson)
  • Why English settlers became SKEPTICAL about witches (the arrival of SCIENCE)


About the Author

To learn more about this topic, check out the book “WITCHCRAFT in IL” by MICHAEL KLEEN. Michael Kleen is a writer, historian, and folklorist from Illinois. He has an M.A. in History from Eastern Illinois University and an M.S. in Education from Western Illinois University. He is best known for his work about Illinois folklore, but he is also a freelance columnist and speaker on politics and popular culture. Michael has written several books, including Haunting Illinois: A Tourist’s Guide to the Weird and Wild Places of the Prairie State, Paranormal Illinois, and Tales of Coles County. He is also the founder and proprietor of Black Oak Media, an independent publishing company.

Links to Other episodes of Witchcraft in Forgottonia

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