Irregular Healers Dutch

– Duivelbanners in de Noordelijke Friese Wouden, 1860-1930, Volkskundig bulletin 14 (1988): 159-187.
Summary: Witchdoctors in the northern ‘Friese Wouden ’, 1860-1930.
Witchdoctors (cunning or wise men; dutch: ‘duivelbanners’) played an important role in witchcraft tradition. To emphasize their position and to trace possible changes, the popularity of witchdoctors in the north-eastern part of the province of Frisia during the period 1860-1930 is examined and compared with the popularity of other non-official healers in the same area.
Legend texts (i.e. , personal narratives about superstition) proved a valuable source, but for chronological purposes in particular their contents had to be augmented with information provided by newspaper articles and death certificates. After considering the quantitative, spatial, temporal and socio-cultural aspects of the popularity of these witchdoctors, three categories are discerned: local, regional and supra-regional popularity. It appears that the ranges of influence of the various witchdoctors in
these three categories were separated in space and time. The high popularity of (sporadically witchcraft curing) unofficial healers from the beginning of the twentieth century onwards forms a smooth transition from the popularity of supra-regional witchdoctors in the second half of the nineteenth century. Strictly local witchdoctors were the last to disappear and their successors (often relations) mainly restricted themselves to curing non-witchcraft inflicted diseases.
An explanation for these changes, as well as for the choices of individual clients, is only hinted at. Future research on the socio-cultural background of the clients might shed more light on the matter.

– Specialistes in geluk: Waarzegsters in Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe en Overijssel in de 19e en het begin van de 20e eeuw, Etnofoor 2 (1989): 71-90.

– De breukebomen in Yde, Volkscultuur; tijdschrift over tradities en tijdsverschijnselen 7.2 (1990): 22-35.

– Bezetters en andere genezers. Een bijdrage tot de geschiedenis van de gezondheidszorg in Drenthe, Nieuwe Drentse volksalmanak. Historisch jaarboek voor Drenthe 107 (1990): 46-65.

– Het Staphorster boertje. De geneeskundige praktijk van Peter Stegeman (1840-1922), Volkskundig bulletin 17 (1991): 171-194.
scan of Actieblad edition.
Summary. The ‘Staphorster boertje ’. The medical practice of Peter Stegeman (1840-1922).
Within Durch medical and even socio-cultural history, systematic research into unlicensed medical practitioners . – by some considered miracle workers (‘wonderdokters’), by others called quacks – has been severly neglected. This monographic essay about the rumours and reception of one of the most famous practitioners from around 1900 is meant to supply a (partial) remedy for this historiographical weakness. Based mainly on numerous newspaper articles and a few criminal records, it looks at the popularity, prosecution (or lack of it), and prescriptions of a medical entrepeneur. The reasons for this man’s renown are sought in the components of communication with his clientele. The ‘boertje’ (according to his solicitor the diminutive of Boerhaave) diagnosed his patients by looking at them and listening to their stories. He refrained from touching them and did not use medical jargon. Nor did he want payment for his advice, though he did ask a small compensation for his medicines. Couched in the analysis of his actions and agenda there is a critique of folk medicine, which is exhibited as a medical political category.

– De mythe van de genezeres, Medische Antropologie. Tijdschrift over gezondheid en cultuur 3 (1991): 108-121.
Summary. The myth of the female healer.
It is often assumed that female healers were common in the European past. These ‘wise women’ , who allegedly had a large knowledge of herbs and were experienced in midwifery, are said to have been exterminated by the witchhunts. The author argues that this claim should be regarded as a myth. Systematic historical research into female healers in Europe has hardly been carried out yet and studies on European witchhunts show that ‘wise women’ and midwives are rarely found among the victims.

– Op zoek naar genezeressen. Waarzegsters in Noordoost-Nederland, Medische Antropologie. Tijdschrift over gezondheid en cultuur 4 (1992): 56-69.
Summary. In search of female healers: fortune tellers in the northeastern pan of the Netherlands.
At first sight it looks as if during the ninetheenth century there were hardly any women in the northeastern part of the Netherlands who publicly practiced as healers. That impression is created by the present medical view which separates the somatic from the psychic and social. However, by studying the tradition of female fortune-tellers (the seventeenth-century equivalents of female healers), one discovers that female healers did not disappear but changed their. activities. That change was probably linked to a change in the medical market towards the end of the eighteenth century which led to a greater emphasis on the use of medicines.

– Cunning women, from healers to fortune tellers, in: Hans Binneveld & Rudolf Dekker (eds), Curing and Insuring. Essays on Illness in Past Times: the Netherlands, Belgium, England end Italy, 16th-20th centuries. Hilversum (1993), Verloren: 43-55.

– Irreguliere genezers, 1865-1920, Gewina. Tijdschrift voor de geschiedenis der geneeskunde, natuurwetenschappen, wiskunde en techniek 16 (1993): 107-110.

– Sequah in Amsterdam. Over de invloed van reclame op een medische markt. Focaal 21 (1993): 131-172.

– Irreguliere genezers in de stad Groningen in de tweede helft van de negentiende eeuw, Gronings Historisch Jaarboek (1994): 126-141.

– De Godsgezant. Over de populariteit van een irreguliere genezer. Groniek. Historisch tijdschrift 131 (1995): 198-208.


– De afstand tot de ander. Onbevoegde genezers op het Groningse platteland, tweede helft negentiende eeuw, in: Frank Huisman & Catrien Santing (red.), Medische geschiedenis in regionaal perspectief: Groningen 1500-1900. Rotterdam (1997), Erasmus Publishing: 161-178.

– Experts in tegenslag. Waarzeggers in de randstad, begin twintigste eeuw, in: Marijke Gijswijt-Hofstra & Florike Egmond (red.), Of bidden helpt? Tegenslag en cultuur in Europa, circa 1500-2000. Amsterdam (1997), Amsterdam University Press: 135-149.

– Kaartlegsters, helderzienden en afdrijfsters: stedelijke genezeressen in het begin van de twintigste eeuw, in: Rineke van Daalen & Marijke Gijswijt-Hofstra (red.), Gezond en wel. Vrouwen en de zorg voor gezondheid in de twintigste eeuw. Amsterdam (1998), Amsterdam University Press: 175-188.

– Illegale genezers en neppatiënten. Over de aantrekkingskracht van onorthodoxe vormen van geneeskunde rond 1900, Tijdschrift voor Sociale Geschiedenis 25 (1999): 425-442.

– Prosecution and Popularity: the Case of the Dutch Sequah, 1891-1893, in: John Woodsward & Robert Jütte (eds), Coping with Sickness: Medicine, Law and Human Rights – Historical; Perspectives. Sheffield (2000), European Association for the History of Medicine and Health Publications: 75-89.
This is the English version of De Godsgezant.

– De macht van de vrouwelijke hand. De feminisering van het magnetisme rond 1900, De negentiende eeuw 25 (2001): 147-158.

This research covered the whole of the Netherlands. The material of the Northern provinces is largely published and so is that of the women healers (see Het Amazonenleger). The unpublished documents include material on irregular veterinarians, as well as the itinery of Sequah.