«Return to Events ListingBrujeria: A History of Witchcraft and Sorcery In NM

New Mexican enduring beliefs in witchcraft and the ways of sorcerers during the Spanish Colonial and Mexican periods have been a life long fascination for State Historian Rob Martinez. As a graduate student at the University of New Mexico in the mid 1990s, while searching for a research topic for his Master’s thesis, a professor brought to Martinez’s attention an Inquisition case from the 1760s at Abiquiu about an outbreak of sorcery in that community. Martinez started researching deep into the topic of Spanish and Native American witch beliefs as well as steeping himself in the study of Church history in Spain, Mexico and New Mexico. Finally, when a colleague brought a copy of the Inquisition folios to Martinez from Mexico City, he began the long process of reading and using paleography to decipher the document. The result was a thesis titled Fray Juan Jose Toledo and the Devil in Spanish New Mexico. This presentation about brujería and hechicería, witchcraft and sorcery, examines the background and context for that case and many others. The talk also touches on why, even in current times, such beliefs still persist in New Mexico.

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