By Claude Lecouteux

An exploration of the various kinds of the traditional fantasy of the Wild Hunt and its impact in pagan and early Christian Europe

• Recounts the myriad adaptations of this legend, from the Cursed Huntsman and King Herla to phantom armies and enormous processions of sinners and demons

• Explains how this trust used to be a vital part of the pagan worldview and was once therefore hired through the church to unfold Christian doctrine

• finds how the key societies of medieval Europe reenacted those ghostly processions for soul commute and prophecies of coming near near dying

Once upon a time a phenomenon existed in medieval Europe that consistently fueled neighborhood lore: through the lengthy wintry weather nights a wierd and unknown troop will be heard passing outdoor over the land or during the air. somebody stuck unexpectedly within the open fields or depths of the woods could see a strange procession of demons, giants, hounds, girls of the evening, squaddies, and knights, a few coated in blood and others sporting their heads underneath their hands. This used to be the Wild or Infernal Hunt, the host of the damned, the phantom military of the night--a subject that also conjures up poets, writers, and painters to this present day. Millennia older than Christianity, this pagan trust used to be hired via the church to unfold their doctrine, with the shapeshifters' and giants of the pagan nightly processions turning into sinners led by way of demons searching out unwary souls so as to add to their retinues. fantasy or legend, it represents a trust that has deep roots in Europe, fairly Celtic and Scandinavian international locations.

The first pupil to totally research this fable in every one of its myriad varieties, Claude Lecouteux strips away the Christian gloss and indicates how the Wild Hunt was once a vital part of the pagan worldview and the constitution in their societies. also, he appears at how mystery societies of medieval Europe reenacted those ghostly processions via cult rituals culminating in masquerades and carnival-like cavalcades usually linked to astral doubles, visions of the afterlife, trust in a number of souls, and prophecies of imminent demise. He unearths how the approximately limitless adaptations of this fantasy are a nonetheless residing, evolving culture that gives us a window into the realm within which our ancestors lived.

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