The Phantom World
The Benedictine monk and biblical scholar Antoine Augustin Calmet (1672-1757) published this work in 1746; it was translated into English in 1850 by Henry Christmas (1811-68). It examines a wide selection of supernatural tales and beliefs from across Europe. Taking the stance of a scientific enquirer, Calmet sought to understand the truth behind stories of good and bad angels, vampires, witchcraft, possession by demons, and the dead who come back to life. He compiled accounts of the supernatural from official reports, newspapers, eyewitness accounts and travel writing, and this two-volume anthology of his collected data analyses the material, noting problems and inconsistencies. Volume 1 investigates the appearance of good and bad angels, magic among the Greeks and Romans, sorcerers and witches, and possession by demons. Covering a vast repertory of legends, the work paints a vivid picture of the beliefs entertained in an ostensibly Christian era.