Author and historical consultant on witchcraft and magic


Marion Gibson, author and consultant on the history of witchcraft and magic

‘Thirteen witch trials are brought vividly to life in Gibson’s wide-ranging book’- Daily Mail

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Academic books

Rediscovering Renaissance Witchcraft (London: Routledge, 2017)

Witchcraft: The Basics (London: Routledge, 2017)

Imagining the Pagan Past: Gods and Goddesses in Literature and History since the Dark Ages. (London and New York: Routledge, 2013)

Witchcraft Myths in American Culture (New York: Routledge, 2007)

Possession, Puritanism and Print: Darrell, Harsnett, Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Exorcism Controversy (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2006)

Reading Witchcraft: Stories of Early English Witches (London and New York: Routledge, 1999)


Review of Witchcraft: A History in 13 Trials by Laura Kounine, TLS

“Gibson charts how the meanings of the witch were created in demonological theory in medieval Europe, then exported across the globe, retaining some broad features – to do with heresy, subversion and transgression – while also melding with local folklores, conflicts and fears. She includes witch trials of men, but her emphasis is on histories of female persecution: women who were “too visible”. “Witches were”, she argues, “predominantly women regarded as politically subversive, religiously heretical, medically unqualified, socially disorderly and sexually immoral.”

Review of Witchcraft: A History in 13 Trials by Jessie Childs The Times

“Helena Scheuberin was a confident woman in the prime of her life in 1480s Innsbruck when Heinrich Kramer came to town. He was a church official looking for witches, but Helena refused to be cowed. She called him a “lousy monk” and said she hoped he’d catch the falling sickness. This made her a target. A spurned lover was unearthed and the brother of another rejected suitor who had died soon after dining with her. A hearing followed under papal authority. “Were you a virgin at the time of your marriage?” Kramer asked his witch. Helena kept quiet and returned after a recess with a lawyer who ran rings round the lousy monk. The case was dismissed. Helena walked free. Kramer left town.”

Review of Book of the Week, Witchcraft: A History in 13 Trials by Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Daily Mail

“I’ve always wondered where Shakespeare got his cauldron recipes from. It turns out they were inspired by real-life Scottish witch trials. In 1590 (16 years before Macbeth was written), two Scottish women, Gillie Duncan and Anny Sampson, were accused of witchcraft by a paranoid James VI of Scotland.

King James and his queen, Anne of Denmark, were convinced witches had tried to murder them with sea storms on their voyage home from Denmark. Safely landed, James grew more certain that enemies at his own court were employing witches to depose him. He decided to catch a few of them and to try them himself in a national show trial in Holyrood House.”

Review of The Witches of St Osyth by David Aaronovitch, The Times

“In March 1582 Ursley Kempe and Elizabeth Bennett, two women from the small Essex village of St Osyth, were taken from prison to the public gallows in Chelmsford and hanged for the crime of witchcraft. Today, Marion Gibson tells us, the gallows site “lies by the busy interchange of the A1060 and A1016. A contemporary map suggests that the execution spot is near the Primrose Hill housing development.” So that’s something for new residents to think about as they move their furniture in.

Kempe and Bennett, although the only ones executed, were among 14 people in the area around St Osyth who were arraigned for witchcraft that year in a localised witch-hunt. Several others, including one man, died in prison.”

Trials of the Witchy Women, Witchcraft: A History in 13 Trials by New Yorker

“In 1532, when the Constitutio Criminalis Carolina became the law of the Holy Roman Empire, it specified that witchcraft was a serious crime, punishable by execution by fire. The Carolina was often cited in the European witch trials that followed, with crazes peaking in the second half of the sixteenth century, and again in the early decades of the seventeenth century. In Germany alone, twenty-five thousand people were executed. The Carolina is sometimes called the basis for these witch hunts, but it can also be seen as an attempt to tame them. Previously, trials could proceed on the allegations of only one accuser; the new set of laws required two. The accusers had to be deemed credible, and they could not be paid or of evil repute. There also had to be sufficient indication of sorcery for the accused to be tortured.”

Contact Marion

via her agents for information on her availability for historical consulting and writing opportunities