The Witch-Cult in Central Europe,


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The most brilliant minds [says Miss Murray], the keenest intellects, the greatest investigators were believers [in witchcraft]. Bodin, Lord Bacon, Raleigh, Boyle, Cudworth, Selden, Henry Moore, Sir Thomas Browne, Matthew Hale, Sir George Mackenzie, and many others, most of whom had heard the evidence at first hand.1

From this general approach it will be seen that the significance of racial endowment for the interpretation of behavior reactions tends to disappear. It is to be emphasized, however, that there are no proofs that the mind is of precisely the same quality in all races and populations, and no such claim is made by anthropologists. It is not improbable that there is a somewhat different distribution of special abilities, such as mathematics, music, etc. The most scientific approach to the problem is through mental testing, but the results of intelligence tests as applied to races and populations have always been negative. Positive results have, in fact, been reached by this method but it has always been clearly shown that these results have depended on the nature of the tests. That is, the tests employed have always measured mental ability plus a cultural factor, namely learning. There is thus no clear-cut evidence that differences in abilities exist per se, since it can always be shown that the variables mentality and culture have not been isolated by the tests.

For example, during the World War mental tests were given to 1,726,966 men of the draft army. Now the Alpha test devised for this purpose was influenced by the tests first devised for school children and applied also to the diagnosis of feeble-mindedness in criminals and institutional cases, the assumption being that an adult who could not pass a test suitable for a normal child of twelve was feeble-minded. But by this test as applied to the draft army it was found that it would be necessary to diagnose 47 per cent of the whites and 89 per cent of the negroes as feeble-minded. It now became plain that the tests had been to some extent measuring education. All the "illiterates"—negroes, Poles, Italians, etc.—graded low. The Polish and Italian immigrants were much nearer the negroes than the whites. A second test, called the Beta, was therefore prepared which attempted to eliminate the factor of learning, and by this very different results were reached. The literate negro graded slightly higher than the illiterate white, the literate emigrants graded far above the illiterate, etc. At the same time negroes as a whole remained below whites as a whole, and literate negroes below literate whites. On the other hand, the literate negroes of New York graded higher than the whites as a whole in certain isolated southern regions. But while the Beta test revealed in a surprising way the importance of cultural factors in intelligence it evidently did not succeed in eliminating them, and the results as between negroes and whites remain negative.

1Murray, M.A., n/an/an/an/a 10.


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Chicago: "The Witch-Cult in Central Europe,," The Witch-Cult in Central Europe, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. Thomas, William I. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937), Original Sources, accessed September 22, 2023,

MLA: . "The Witch-Cult in Central Europe,." The Witch-Cult in Central Europe,, in Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, edited by Thomas, William I., New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1937, Original Sources. 22 Sep. 2023.

Harvard: , 'The Witch-Cult in Central Europe,' in The Witch-Cult in Central Europe,. cited in 1937, Primitive Behavior: An Introduction to the Social Sciences, ed. , McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 22 September 2023, from