Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vi-vii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-7

By successive stages folklorists have moved away from the idea that folklore is a body of old-fashioned leftovers from some shadowy pagan past which still survives among some special group called the "folk." They recognize too that, like every other body of knowledge from physics...

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1. Belief and Disbelief

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pp. 9-38

It is common nowadays to think that belief in the operation of supernatural forces is declining in the developed world. Historians and psychologists have hastened to assure us that "for the most part, the dead have little status or power in modern society" (Blauner 1966, 390), that "the social...

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2. Contact with the Dead

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pp. 39-76

In this chapter, I turn from an examination of the competing cultures of belief and disbelief to focus primarily on the believers' discourse. I want to discuss three related concepts— life after death, visitations, and ghosts— as represented in the memorates the Manchester women shared with me. ...

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3. Witnesses, Bereavement, and the Sense of Presence

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pp. 77-114

In the previous chapter we saw that the Manchester women believed dead family members might witness their distress and come to their rescue in times of crisis. Occasionally the witness would approach the foot of the bed at night; more often they were experienced as being "with"...

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4. From Private Experience to Public Performance: Supernatural Experience as Narrative

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pp. 115-138

The women whose stories appear in this book relied very extensively on narratives to put over their point of view and evaluate their experiences. The framework of the Leicester study was overtly narrative, but the women in the Manchester study were never directly asked to tell a story. ...

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5. "Alas, Poor Ghost!";: Case Studies in the History of Ghosts and Visitations

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pp. 139-172

As Pierre Le Loyer wrote in the sixteenth century, the supernatural "is the topic that people most readily discuss and on which they linger the longest because of the abundance of the examples, the subject being fine and pleasing and the discussion the least tedious that can be found"...

Appendices

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pp. 173-198

Notes

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pp. 199-205

References Cited

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pp. 207-220

Index [Includes Back Cover]

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pp. 221-223