Precis: Canibalism and Withcraft by Charles Zika

Cannibalism and witchcraft in early modern Europe: reading the visual images. Charles Zika.
The article ‘Cannibalism and witchcraft in early modern Europe: reading the visual images’ by Charles Zika explores the images of the cannibalistic witch in early modern Europe. He looks at how visual images created by print, a reasonably new technology, portrayed a demonised savage woman. In some of the portraits the witches killed and ate the children, others involved making potions. A famously and widely known example of this is the Brothers grim fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel. The article explains how a lot of the witch cases brought to trial showed how witches that ‘suck human blood’ (Zika, 1997, p.2), worship Satan and have sex with devils. They ‘also take part in banquets which includes the eating of young children.’ (Zika, 1997, p.2)   Zika closely studies images of witchcraft to support his Knowledge, Jacques De Gheyn’s ‘Four witches cooking body parts’ is an explicit image of cannibalism. Zika believes that images such as these are linked to anxieties about the New World; these images are typically of human flesh roasting on a spit. In the second half on the Sixteenth century the spit was replaced by the grill and body parts were starting to be illustrated cooking on a grill as shown in Theodore De Bry’s ‘Tupinamba grilling human body parts.’
From the early part of the sixteenth century to the latter we see a clear transition on cannibals from witches to the savage Amerindians. The Narrenfresser, popular within fifteenth century German culture, was the ‘fool who devoured other fools’. (Zika, 1997, p.17) The Holle of 1522 shows the Narrenfesser with the bottom half of a child hanging from his mouth.   The main point Zika makes is that the threat of the witch was that she could insinuate herself into everyday life, this is why the imagery was so popular in these centuries, from fear and the unknown.
Another image Zika looks at is by Frans Franken which depicts an...