Medieval Mystics' Lives
As Self-Medication for Childhood Abuse

Achieving Divine Experience as a "Reward"
for Damaged Personalities

By Jerrold Atlas, Ph.D.

". . . Frenken's mystics each attempted to achieve their desired transcendent knowledge,
albeit through perverse methods resulting from their horrid childhoods
-- they were merely attempting to create psychic homeostasis."

"The production of pain, bleeding, religious symbol scarification, self-flagellation
and wearing body-injuring garments all served the mystics' purpose of achieving
unity with the divine as a substitute for childhood psychic abuse,
of merging with an idealized Mother and as a defense
against normal sexual emotions."

"Whatever ecstasy they may have achieved was short­lived because it
never addressed a resolution of childhood trauma."

-- Jerrold Atlas, Ph.D.

In dealing with the latest Ralph Frenken gift of clear psychohistorical research on the lives of medieval mystics, I am more struck by the possibilities of integrating Frenken's research into understanding the medieval gestalt as well as the latest in psychohistorical research [Editor's Note: See The Evolution of Childhood, Personality Structure and Superego in Germany (1200 - 1700) ]. I also want to expand Frenken's analyses of these mystics into a more global recognition (by us and by earlier humans) of purpose and vision and self.

In a previous response to Frenken's research,1 I wrote:

What horror fills the diaries, journals, biographies and autobiographies we have found throughout history. The medieval world, in particular, inherited many of the worst features of previous civilizations that were only exacerbated by this persistently dysfunctional period.

Would that we could simply declare that early childhood abandonment (e.g., to relatives, craftsmen, church, colleagues as well as foster care) established psychic defense patterns in children conditioning the willingness of adult societies to harm others. That projection onto others of one's own unresolved abandoning-parent issues allowed these societies to viciously attack/destroy/forcibly deport [= abandonment reenactment]/annihilate [= seeking revenge through a "safe" substitute parricide/fratricide] those whom they had declared as their "enemies". That (and here I project forward in history) very same abandonment reenactment has encouraged modern-day mass deportations of hated resident aliens or, worse yet, ethnic annihilation.

Of course, this is all true but it is definitely not simple.

A marvelously courageous series of researchers have plowed this field for evidence of childrearing abuse patterns.2 Autobiographies and diaries opened to their scrutiny has yielded masses of often-reversed tales giving proof to endless childhood atrocities and miseries. Their contributions to this field of study are legendary because of the extreme difficulties of the work as well as the extreme displeasure they provoked among other scholars far too resistant to admit the preponderance of the evidence: childhood was an awful experience. Consider these aspects:

". . . the entire patriarchal structure of the West could not have existed without the foundation provided by the regular sexual abuse of little girls";3
". . . the sexual abuse of prepubescent boys and girls was common";4
". . . the incest barrier, like other aspects of good parenting, is a very late acquisition of mankind";5

Clearly, there was a universality of child abuse, usually inflicted by immature parents, built into the social fabric. It was molded into each society's fundamental essence, supported by accepted moral values and overlooked or embraced as "normal" by literature and religion. Thus, inserted into society's fabric in childrearing (the pun is intended), abandoning and intrusive and always abusive childhood encouraged group fantasies allowing war, depressions, social injustice and mass delusions -- to "stay 'sane' by being able to participate in group craziness rather than having to experience idiosyncratic craziness".6

One particular researcher, Ralph Frenken, has made the arduous yeoman's journey through minefields of German autobiographies. His focus has been on the parent-child relationship and resultant adult personalities as well as on single case reconstructions of childhoods (appearing elsewhere in this issue).7 Ostensibly designed to test and suggest possible refinements of deMause's psychogenic theory of childhood, Frenken's mass of material offers us more than explanatory outcomes. In them, Frenken has added to the growing body of evidence conclusively proving that childhood was bleak at best, normatively abysmal, horrifying in reality and its repetition served to make the human condition awful. While it is a tribute to the wonder of humanity that all of mankind's accomplishments loom so large, Frenken never forgets to add praise for whatever small success his subjects achieved in spite of their miserable childhoods. Few choose to venture into the morass of childhood for it is fraught with personal discomfort, collegial rebuke and frequent challenges to scholarly dispassion. Frenken's scholarly discipline surely served him well in cloaking him from the repeated pain evident in his sources.

I would emphasize here that we may also need to view all of Frenken's illustrative mystic lives as the medieval representation of something much larger and more fundamental -- we are each "the Indras of our own life" 8 What Joseph Campbell was referring to was that marvelous myth of the arrogant Indra (Lord Ruler of the World of Time, the reality in which humans find themselves) who began construction of the largest palace ever known. Suddenly, a blue-black handsome child appears who laughs at Indra's actions, calling them larger than anything done by all the previous Indras he has known. This awareness fixes the attention of Indra who then discovers that he is merely one of ever so many created worlds (from the opening and closing of the Brahman's eye) led by endless Indras that he is minute in the eternity of endless Indras and that he must absorb this lesson in humility in order to do the job for which he was created to the best of his ability.

Thus, each of us has a function to perform within the cosmic reality and mythological foundations for our culture and community. We work, achieve, love, create and encourage our families, support and contribute to our communities as well as try to never lose sight of our significant insignificance within.

Each of Frenken's mystics was trapped within their own history of abuse and psychological disturbance. Each functioned in their lives to the best of their ability -- they were, through their perverse behaviors, self-medicating. Each, because of their unique behaviors became sanctified by their contemporaries who saw their perversities as privileged expressions of divinity. Each, for their contemporaries and posterity, became the same as artists/shamans/priests throughout human history who kept the human mythology alive so that all could have a central unifying vision. Thus, we study their perverse lives for clues to the hidden cosmic messages behind myth as well as for the hidden psychological/psychoanalytical/ psychohistorical clues explaining human thoughts/actions.

The borderline frequently tests reality, flares between depression and rage, can be aggressive and destructive, experiences a wide variety of distressing neuroses and anxieties, may be sadistic (including to one's self), is often hateful of previously idealized objects and can engage in unremembered sexual perversion. All of these may reflect significant ego-weakness resulting from childhood abuse. Borderline mystics frequently engaged in flagellation/scarification/self-mutilation ---these are usually seen as self-destructive but I would suggest that they are examples of self-medication in search of divine experience. Margery Kempe's public falling to her knees and prolonged crying distinguished her sacredness, as did her visions of Jesus' toes -- they served to assure her "specialness" as she escaped from her husband and family through arduous spiritual journeys. The production of pain, bleeding, religious symbol scarification, self-flagellation and wearing body-injuring garments all served the mystics' purpose of achieving unity with the divine as a substitute for childhood psychic abuse, of merging with an idealized Mother and as a defense against normal sexual emotions.

There is a highly sexualized content to this self­ medication -- self-destruction of one's body allows a redirecting of sexual feelings into a more preferred divine experience. Thus, Catherine of Siena's bleeding/puss-drinking/ecstasy-with-Jesus or Christina of Retters' vaginal burning are also sexualized self-medication.

Narcissistic grandiosity allows overt displays of envy and contempt, destruction of previous idealized attachments, restlessness and boredom, inability to bond with anyone for long periods, frequent insulting of others (especially women, thereby hinting at significant traumatic maternal memories) and an overwhelming desire to somehow mend the traumatic childhood relationship with parent(s). All of the narcissists' actions are clearly self-medication to eliminate unresolved childhood anxieties. Butzbach's hatred of witches, self-righteousness and literary efforts allowed him to fill his contemporary society's "higher morality" role-self-medication was the result. Similarly, the actions of Platter/Ryff/von Weinsberg served self-medication needs allowing each to achieve temporary homeostasis -- a triumph over unresolved childhood trauma.

Each of Frenken's mystics achieved some degree of "being one with the transcendent", a unity with the divine. However, we should recognize that this wasn't successful self-medication so that they never quite achieved an understanding of what Campbell termed ''the mask of eternity'' (based on James Joyce's sense of epiphany as the understanding within oneself of the essence of divine energy). Indeed, the wonder humans have felt in all of the manifestations of the energy of divinity appears largely absent from their experiences. Whatever ecstasy they may have achieved was short­lived because it never addressed a resolution of childhood trauma. They were never at one with their own divinity -- they never even achieved any prolonged oneness with Jesus. Mystics' lives, self-torture and suffering were their chosen methods to minimize their childhood trauma by achieving some sense of divine unity.

I previously indicated that:

To be clear about the terminology we will be using, we understand that psychological problems result from repression or denial or forgetting feelings and events from traumatic and undigested experiences as well as "from ambivalent relations and complex emotional ties to important persons of one's own childhood".9 Lloyd deMause has identified six major childrearing modes (psychogenic theory): infanticidal; abandoning; ambivalent; intrusive; socializing; helping. The ambivalent mode appears in the later medieval period with parents injecting their children with strong erotic and aggressive projections, yet killing or abandoning them less than previously. Ambivalent parents used enemas, early beatings, swaddling and treated the child as a sexual object in order to control the child. The intrusive mode appears by the seventeenth century, its focus is on controlling the child who can only be loved if parents have established their complete control. Intrusive parents used early toilet training and repression of the child's sexuality as their primary devices for control, thereby frequently abandoning swaddling and wet-nursing, so that they allowed themselves to feel empathy for their children. "Adults delegate their unconscious wishes to the child and use guilt, mental discipline and humiliation to force the child to reach the adults' goals."10 In deMause's view, childhood evolution "is a series of closer involvements between adults and children, each advance tending to heal splitting, reduce projections and reversal, and increase empathy".11 Within this frame of reference we may proceed.

If we assume from mythic imagination that the whole earth was once a sacred place, then we are the keepers of this sacredness. For psychohisto­rians, it means that we can explore the fundamental imprinting of our thoughts and actions during our childhood. Thus, we can also explore human thoughts/actions through analyses of their childhood.

Continuing with this approach for a bit longer, Campbell urged us to understand that we have constructed our world view and explanatory myths for our own purpose(s), that these have become systematized by organized religions manipulating all to replicate their interpretations of these teachings forever. Thus, new ages produce new needs and concretized religions often resist the requisite change(s) necessary for the newer generations. As psychohistorians, we need to understand each period's understanding of itself as well as the underlying experiences creating these understandings -- childhood This should help us recognize that all people had a visible plane (the world and all of its energy) supporting the invisible plane (the transcendent we often term divinity) -- in other words, what we don't know supports what we do know.

Earliest and modern tales attempt to explain the separation between human and animal worlds -- a central element in earliest human societies because humans were separating from the hunter society belief that the animals were divine messengers requiring some appeasement for their life- sacrifice to humans. This supports the idea that life transcends physical existence and that these animals were also god-spirits greater than all of us. One should easily recognize that Christ-crucified is our modern representation of this same theory-Jesus is the "fruit of the tree", the "knowledge" proffered to humans to achieve some oneness with divinity (he died in his flesh to be born into his spirit, the body is merely the vehicle for the divinity within). Death is life (being is becoming and ending is being) is also clearly a hunter-gather mythology -- thus, one should lack fear and have the courage of life. We are viewing the originating myth here -- the myth of creation is a transcendent concept (unknowable, needing our ap­peasement and thanks) essential for humans to comfortably establish our raison d'etre and allows us to turn life into a mythological experience. Even the Jesus story includes the Gethsemane celebration of the passage to eternal life by having Jesus lead his disciples in dance before his arrest and crucifixion -- death is life.

Surely we all recognize that the ancient hunt was a ritual killing of divine messengers and human guilt-doing so needed one to be expunged through the use of rituals. Similarly, when we surpass our parents (psychologically killing them) we have also subsumed their feared powers and, - yet, we deny knowledge that we will be killed in turn by our progeny. The surpassing is our psychohistorical "fear of success" ("growth panic") which so frightens us that we engage in suicidal behaviors to destroy ourselves -- "splitting" or simply disengaging from what you know will happen (death is known but we usually deny it) allows us to do this.

How our ego process works is an important part of this analysis. Who we address as "thou" or "it" is a profound choice because the latter ("it") allows us to perform unconscionable acts against animals, environment, other genders and other humans. This ego selection is as profound as the burst of mytho-imagination found in early cave art (a topic frequently discussed at International Psychohistorical Association Conventions by colleague Robert-Louis Liris) -- psychohistorians recognize that these caves were womb-chambers allowing regression where one may celebrate existence, transcend everything and all known reality so that one may merge with what was termed "God" (the psychohistorical "Killer Mommy" concept). The form (the cave-wombs) is secondary, the primary message is the experiencing of transcendent/divine/creative powers within the dark womb (the psychohistorical "fusion confusion" or "merger with Mommy").

Both shamans-in-trance and us-in-sleep descend into mystical caves to experience the transcendent knowledge (that which we often cannot speak because we haven't words/feelings/ideas to do so). Hopefully, this discussion thread will enable us all to recognize that Frenken's mystics each attempted to achieve their desired transcendent knowledge, albeit through perverse methods resulting from their horrid childhoods -- they were merely attempting to create psychic homeostasis.

Frenken's reference to his mystics' hearing of inner voices is of such consequence because we want to know where these voices come from and what they represent. Using deMause's recent brain-biology writings (the mystics were incapable of realizing that these were their abusive parents' voices), the electrical firing in their early -- memory right brains couldn't reach or be absorbed/understood by the later -- developed left brain processing centers. These "chats" were both tortuous, replicating experiences for the mystics and exhilarating, sexually arousing moments of bliss. Is it any wonder that Frenken's descriptions fascinate us and arouse us (as much as these mystics)? In a Christian/Hindu sense, they were identifying with the Christ/Shiva within them -- metaphorical images are what move each person's experiencing of myth.

For most religions, knowledge of God is also ultimate death -- religiously aware individuals strive for the divine embrace knowing that this joy is also a precursor to blissful death.


I previously offered a larger vision of the medieval world against which readers could assess the tales of Frenken's mystics:

Violent social conflicts accompanied the cycle of dislocations and disasters. Famine, plague, war and royal tax increases made the most miserable part of the population recognize that their lives had become intolerable. A lower birth rate combined with a higher death rate, widespread malnutrition increased as life worsened and the plagues carved a wide swath of death. Endemic plagues produced a mentality of:

  • panic;
  • demoralization;
  • desertion of family and community;
  • incomprehensibility about the source or meaning of the horror;
  • the fantasy of poisoning;
  • a search for and labeling of scapegoats (Christian hysteria centered on pogroms against Jews);
  • the decimation of monastic communities (severely restricting their positive contributions to society's stability); and
  • eruptions of bizarre religious behavior (such as the extraordinarily ascetic Flagellants).

These social conflicts exacerbated underlying pathologies and heightened popular irrationalities so that negative behaviors became dominant and helped tear society apart. We should view this sundering as an impetus to construct something better, "restoring unity and social order to a fragmented and conflict-ridden society."12

That Christian piety had become central to views about the conditions of the masses can be seen in the language of the peasants and underclass complaints throughout post-plague Europe, for they appear to have been busy creating a "community of the faithful."13 They voiced the view that there was a higher purpose to society -- the care of the many. Clearly, natural disasters combined with man-made to proclaim a widespread failure of leadership on the part of the kings, church and nobles. Ironically, the labor shortage resulting from the massive deaths produced better work and life conditions, improved pay and conditions of serf obligations, a shift to a money economy and a decline in essential food prices.

Interestingly, there was also a significant transition taking place about the role(s) women were seeking to have in society. While most remained in assigned roles assuring them of salvation, inheritance and survival, others began to seek greater and enriched involvement in religion, business, power and sexuality. Mysticism, heightened sexuality, exorcisms and popular preaching opened doors for expanded women's roles. Women frequently became the majority by the mid-thirteenth century, controlled more wealth and sought education. Quite a number of women seeking non-marital independence and careers took up residence in begiuinages, particularly in northern Europe. That this and the other aspects of increasing women's rights did not last into the fifteenth century is the result of other conditions restricting economic and social power in society-it is also a result of men's discomfort with women's advances.

Hopefully, this will allow Frenken's mystics' experiences to have a place within our psychohistorical thinking-as he states it: "historically changing parental treatment of children therefore causes the change of object images and self-images. This means that personality structure changes historically." Seuse, Mechthild of Hackeborn, Christina of Retters, von Soest, Butzbach and others were so tormented by the inability to resolve their childhood abuse trauma that they split the trauma into embraced divine passion, treated themselves with self-abuse and hopefully achieved the momentary unity with a loving divinity they so desired. The neurotic mystics -- Platter, Ryff, von Weinsberg -- suffered from superego torture as a by­product of childhood abandonment or excessive demands for achievement or the absence of parental love. Each was a product of historically changing patterns of childhood.


Based on the understanding that nothing sacred can exist without group acceptance, psychohistorians recognize the necessity of also understanding the social fabric of the surrounding society -- we do this in the discussion below:

We can easily understand that we give expression to our dreams, to our myths, to our religion and to our lives. What we choose is a reflection of our direction, evolution, incorporation of childhood experiences and/or trauma. We give birth to the material of our existence -- it is a hide-and-seek within which we may sometimes go the "wrong" way. We see what we seek. We shape our view of reality and what it is that we are really about. We create our greater self also. Thus, thinking in terms of the sacred, we create all of its elements by the way we give expression to sacredness and sacred places. We establish our image -- but we may also only be uncovering what exists. Of course, it may all exist independent of us but we still give it our expression-the human dream is the root of the sacred. It is becoming increasingly apparent that all groups develop sacred space(s) to restage their shared birth fantasies -- rebirth space allows people to "cleanse themselves of fantasies of having been polluted by their mothers, usually through sacrifice."14 This may also be viewed in examining the medieval period.

All of this is by way of understanding that all societies construct their own sacred space, reinforced by a geographic locus (nation, city, church or central square), whose principal purpose is "expressing 'group cohesion' through 'public events'."15 Such was also the function of religions, cults and relics: "to consolidate and integrate commonly held norms and values."16 Similarly, we should understand sacred cloth and bones as the skin and bones of the sa­cred mother, to which we children cling.17 This is clearly a celebration of our mothers. Ceremonial rituals such as the Catholic Mass played upon the congregation's "psychological uncertainty about the status of the bread and wine" (a ritual dyadic opposition between the material and spiritual realities) to establish a sacred community of the faithful.18 The very elements of the Mass ritual have a hypnotic design allowing the individuality of the congregants to be transformed into a group oneness. "In the 'spiritual psychology" of the middle ages, communities of faith grew into sacred communities, later developing into 'civic consciousness'."19

Even the nature of local politics becomes a factor in understanding the construction of sacred space. This international trade enriched the manufacturing towns, the toll-collecting noble road builders, the robbers of the highways and the great nobles and kings who enforced trade orderliness in order to maximize their own revenues. This orderliness allowed the creation of more sacred space and we measure these successes or failures within the sacred spaces they constructed to glorify themselves. Sacred wealth was more unevenly distributed and this impacted in different ways on the power of developing nations. Those nations who were more successful frequently committed psychological suicide (through internal and external warfare) and that also served to destroy their sacred space -- the nation -- and delay the construction of even more sacred spaces -- the cathedrals.

Dedicated to God's majesty, cathedrals centered learning and art in a composite purpose: constructing a sacred space of perfection and order that could hopefully be repeated in contemporary life. These constructions were cooperative community actions reflecting the medieval modus operand; there was a coherent harmony underlying all of life and nature. This was a spiritual and social unity--it was the purity of sacred space. In this context, the medieval world allowed for the possibility of sacred oneness in everything -- art, politics, economics and daily life:

"'The pursuit of holiness was a search for forms of religious expression that were.. deeply bound up with piety'.20 Piety was 'the many manifestations of religious feeling and behavior that . . . revolve around two impulses. The first of these is the need for purity, for a feeling of spiritual perfection, which comes from separating oneself from material and carnal thoughts and acts.. The second component . . . is the feeling of reverence, the emotions of love, awe and fear that believers direct toward divinity and its attributes".21 Christians expected a quid pro quo for their piety -- prayers and church records are filled with expectations of material benefit. When the church or any of the many saints (deemed saintly because they appeared to have "transcended the sinfulness of ordinary existence"22) were called upon to act as intercessors, they were called to do so by the impulses of the faithful. Hence, the group constructs its expectations from the sacred.

These spaces concretized then current religious and esthetic concepts so we may explore them and interpret them within the social fabric. Building campaign records reveal the successes and failures of annual efforts to raise funds and this is reflected in materials used, quality of workmanship and the pace of construction. These huge spaces allowed the majesty of God to be enshrined, the pursuit of civic pride to be assured and the desired pathway to heaven to be opened. They also engaged the church community with law courts, schools, individualized. chapels, libraries and record-keeping spaces all reflecting twelfth-thirteenth century tendencies toward domestic order, privary and comfort. Yet, the concretization was frequently amended by constant alterations -- sometimes the result of frequent fires (wood and fabric burn so easily when exposed to countless unattended burning devotional candles) but more often a by-product of rapidly changing social customs and a desire by each new psychoclass to redefine themselves in their sacred spaces.

Simple people had no real understanding of the intellectual distinctions made by theorists -- for them, piety was spontaneous. It embraced their understanding of what was sacred. It meant some degree of spiritual perfection that they hoped they could call into their own lives.

What all of this should reveal is that sacredness is a social construct. For ordinary medieval Christians, certain saints, mystics and religious leaders best mirrored their system of acceptable values (see discussion below). These intercessors could, by virtue of their uniqueness (thus, being "special" in the group entitled one to also be representative of the group's value fantasies), accomplish the asked-for material benefits or solace. The saintly were used in the service of the group -- the same group that may have mocked them or feared them because of their peculiar lifestyles. Again, groups construct their own sacredness. Medieval Europe was busy reinventing itself through the massive construction of sacred spaces -- cathedrals, urban centers, castles and holy sites -- that were the "stars" in a "spiritual walkabout" designed to stimulate the economy as well as indi­vidual/group reverence for the divine unity in which they believed that they lived.


While Frenken focuses on discovering the mystics' childhood, we ought to be able to place their childhood within their contemporary context:

From the thirteenth century onward, greater focus in the miracle records was placed on the childhood of saints as well as on infancy and childhood for all. This has erroneously misdirected many into believing that childhood had improved:
The uncertain conditions prevalent in the fourteenth century appear to have enhanced concern for the safety of children in the face of the dangers lurking in the natural world, the perils of war, the high mortality rate of the plague years (particularly among minors), and the disrepair of Europe's physical substructure.. The sharp drop in population further heightened the desire to insure the survival of endangered infants and children.23
1250-1360 witnessed a significant drop in children per family (from 3 5 to 1.9),24 as well as a life expectancy decline which combined to maintain a reduced population rate until the sixteenth century:

Anxiety over the vulnerability of children, coupled with a belief in their innocence and purity, led to their prominent placement in religious processions, a growing number of visions of the Infant Jesus and of visions credited to children, and the celebration of the Feast of the Innocents.25

Canonization cases, miracle records and saints' lives are filled with tales of children helped, for, it would seem, "concern for the welfare of children had become public policy."26

This alleged growing concern for the survival of infants is claimed to have resulted from:

  • the new mendicant orders' belief that childhood innocence offered the best chance for acceptance of Christian teaching;
  • the growing urban charities' special focus on the care of orphans and poor children;
  • the severity of plague death among the child population making so few children available to each community (this idea would appear to be based on the notion that absence makes the heart grow fonder);
  • a decline in lifestyle, death and hygiene which particularly impacted children's survival expectations.
The failure to have one surviving child assuring family and inheritance continuity was met by anger toward wives -- a grand gesture of displacement. A fetal mortality was rivaled by infant mortality--postnatal diseases and loss of appetite were listed as the highest causes. Superstition, magic and herbal remedies were popularly combined to assist in the relief of infant problems while some herbal remedies worked, most herbal and all of the other remedies did not. Saints noted for their child assistance efforts were routinely invoked -- again, with a variety of success attributed to the saints that, most probably, belonged to natural causes. Infant and child mortality had a more serious side within the scope of religion, for it denied access to Christ in heaven to the unbaptized child's soul; it also had a more serious practical side for it eliminated support for parents in their old age and seriously complicated inheritance issues (see discussion below).

Miraculous child revivals or rescue strengthened the unity of the medieval communities. Their huge number also reveals the significant life threat to children (especially rural) from drowning and falls. The majority of miracle record child accidents deal with near-drowning (boys twice more prone to this than girls) in "wells, ponds, lakes, ditches, marshes, streams, pits, cesspools, dams, springs, vats of wine, beer and water, threshing pits, canals, sewers, baths and floods" -- in short, in any body of water.27 Burning occurred in "ovens, boiling oil or porridge, hearths, fires and lightning storms."28

Children frequently fell from "overturned boats, towers, benches, steps, ladders, bridges and open windows" and (as if this wasn't enough) children were injured by "falling trees, knives, falling bricks, collapsing walls, spindles, run­away carriages and mill machinery;" there were also "poisonous roots, dog bites, marauding wolves, snakes, spiders and horses."29 Children were frequently injured, killed, sexually abused and taken for ransom in the increasingly fourteenth century war habit of victimizing civilians.

This stands in paradoxical contravention of the above noted heightened care and concern for the welfare of children -- it would be better understood as the defense processes of splitting or ambivalence. "Angry, abusive parents may produce angry, abusive children not just by the example they set but by the injuries they inflict;"30 therefore our paradoxical contravention may more accurately reflect the reality of medieval childrearing. Assumptions that children were more dear because there were so few of them are not support­cd by reliable evidence.31 Pretending that concern for children had risen to the level of public policy contradicts statistical realities and the evidence noted above. Children, then as now, remain the convenient target for abuse.

"We were not allowed to refuse [to eat] . . .Whoever refused. . .did not get anything to eat. Our parents said: 'you do not have any appetite today'. These principles were for our own good and they had a good influence on our lives. We learned to accept and to bear everything.. Effeminacy and spoiling were not the results of this education."32

"These reproaches could easily become a tyranny full of projective reactions: children should feel the same privations as their parents had felt in their childhood. The child was full of projected unfulfilled oral wishes of its parents, so its own oral wishes had to be strictly controlled by the parents."33

"Clothing was a big field for projective reactions: many parents either clothed their children too warmly or too scantily (for hardening). . . clothing and hairstyle was prescribed by adults. . . Movement . . . in the upper middie classes and elite . . . [dealt with] the restriction of the child's freedom of movement."34

Suffocation in bed led the list of home injuries and was particularly connected to prevalent parental drunkenness (and the unconscious turning over onto the small child lying next to the drunken parent). Of further hazard to the child's life was working at an early age as well as neglect and abandonment as the frequent outlook for children, especially of the lower classes. Higher class children didn't have it much better, however, and had the problems of strangulation or drowning while in the care of their nurse, inadequate or nonexistent rescue efforts /because of fear of legal penalties for touching their bodies before the coroner's arrival), misjudged physical ability (being expected to do more than they were really capable of doing) and simple parental neglect. Most accidents occurred while children were able to move about unsupervised (1 - to 7 years), from late March to early October (because of the frequency of child labor and outdoor activities) and after 3 o'clock.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is easily diagnosed in many medieval autobiographies, diaries and elsewhere. So much so that we should better understand this as a fundamental factor influencing medieval lives:

"The existence of persecutory alters, organized parts of the personality that are hostile to and punish the host personality, are quite common in medieval literature. What is not often appreciated is that these persecutory alters are not simple introjections of perpetrators of abuse. Rather, they more often begin their existence after traumatic events in early childhood as protectors and only later on turn into persecutors. . .

After the traumatic event has occurred, the child sets up a part of his or her personality as a protector that prevents the child from ever having to experience the trauma again. The alter sees to it that every action of the child is monitored so that the situation that led to the trauma isn't repeated -- the child being convinced that he or she is responsible for whatever is done to him or her. In severe traumas, this means, in essence, that the child has to be careful not to grow, explore, need or desire too much, lest they bring on the dreaded traumatic event or rejection. The protector starts using persecutory behavior toward the host personality when the child starts getting more freedom and opportunity to grow, individuate and get satisfaction. Usually this is in puberty, when the persecutor fears that sexual behavior will mean loss of control over the host and a repetition of the traumatic situation. From puberty on, the protector turns into an active persecutor."35

"Violence among children and legal public violence have a close relationship".36 Certainly, the frequency of medieval public violence could not be lost upon its traumatized children -- public executions, burnings, hangings, beatings, flagellation were seared into the child's mind along with the fear of demons, witches and assorted frightening creatures. Add to this the frequency of public abuse of animals and the lessons of violence and abuse become concretized in a dysfunctional society.37
These analyses should make one want to revise all of those allegations of happy medieval childhood, caring families and concern for the welfare of children made by many recent historians. This recent historical "schol­arship" has focused on establishing a myth of childhood and family during the middle ages, despite the huge store of evidence deMause and others have offered to the contrary.


Since Frenken's research on mystics also occurs within the framework of a period of profoundly attractive popularity of religion within all aspects of daily life, I previously described this popular religion:

One aspect of the medieval world not to be overlooked is the concept of community, a spirit of collective identity that overarched all activities in the thousands of new towns springing up all over Europe. Their focus was in their marketplaces, their commercial activities, their competitive struggle to gain significant portions of the wildly expanding wealth in the tenth-thirteenth centuries. Add to this the fact that they were pioneers, blazing their own paths through the medieval anti-commercial morass and we better understand their "fierce independence, internal wars and externals wars".38

. . . It was also an age for an explosion of religious revival. The few dedicated souls willing to live isolated, ascetic, ritualized existences drew the admiration of many. Cults of saints and their relics surprised the monks by the increasing generosity of the lay audiences and this new wealth endowed the religious communities. They quickly became dependent upon this popular interest and centered their activities -- religious and construction of more or improved sacred space -- on attracting more popular support. Thus, the age of popular religion was born. Although St. Francis and St. Dominic surely must be cited for their thirteenth century genius in combining the contemplative life with a pastoral missionary zeal, this was already in place long before. The practical earlier monastic, functioning daily among the people, laboring in the streets, fields and homes with their contemporaries, was already engaged in popular religion.

I would be remiss if I didn't emphasize the fact that much of the move toward popular religion. was a result of the rampant child abuse of the period. All too frequently, unwanted children were abandoned to the monasteries as oblates. Although many historians have erroneously written about the marvelous generosity of these medieval parents in demonstrating their love of God's majesty by donating their children, psychohistorians know better. Clearly unwanted, these children were simply abandoned to the cast of fate within the walls of monasteries where they were sodomized, raped, abused and victimized throughout their early lives.

The fortunate economic improvement of the twelfth-fourteenth centuries reduced the number of abandonments to the monasteries and saw the rise of a corresponding growth of voluntary religious life (religion-as-vocation). Mid-eleventh century papal-led religious reform (Leo IX) grew into twelfth century papal-led popular religion (Gregory VII). It was a social revolution that also served to expand the papal authority over secular rulers -- thus, the source of the conflict for power also serves as a signpost for psychohistorical research. Since we know that no historical change occurs without preceding childrearing changes, we better understand the reduction in abandonments. Let me also note herein that this should not be taken as a marvelous improvement in the lives of children. Indeed, they were still subjected to lives of incredible abuse, torture and assorted evils but now increasingly done under the umbrella of an intrusive manner (with the psychological control of the child's mind and spirit).

Somewhat paradoxically, this popular religion combined the bourgeois competitive spirit with anti-clerical rage and personal devotion. This new psychoclass vigorously opposed the guardian of the old ways, the local bishop, as well as all others opposing their newer vision of an interactive church (by the way, this included the Pope who was also a medieval-style local noble enforcing antiquated restrictive laws). Popular religion was also ready to do battle, to prove one's worth to God through daily struggles. Into this arena came the crusading spirit. Although discussed extensively elsewhere,39 the notion of a "holy war" was merely a signpost indicating that, for this new psychoclass, there was a willingness to test one's mettle in God's service -- if the enemy was declared "evil", then we must be declared "just" and "good".

Preaching grew increasingly popular from the mid-eleventh century onward and fed the popular religious frenzy. Indeed, heaven became an increasingly crowded locale thenceforth with all the newly emancipated souls gaining entrance. Popular religion made God more loving, caring and (should we say it?) more human. No longer did most take the express train to hell, purgatory had been popularized and became a convenient way-station on the road to eventual heavenly entrance. Purgatory purged one of one's frailties, allowing the church and popular preachers to exploit the human desire to atone for one's relatives by offering "rescue" for a fee. Indeed, religious life was complex and varied by socio-economic factors, geographic distance from the Mediterranean and individual stages of childhood and subsequent development.

Twelfth century Waldo of Lyon (1179 appearance before the Third Lateran Council in Rome) evangelized to the poor, rejected efforts to reconstruct his mission within church teachings and, ultimately, began the earliest Protestant WaIdensians -- certainly, this is one aspect of popular religion. The medieval construction of sacred space, previously described, "disguise the hidden world of the heretic, the blasphemer, the dropout and the pagan."40 They also served to advance the pecuniary interests of the bourgeoisie who delighted in the increased business for their hotels, stores, souvenirs and food. No one was allowed to interfere in this pursuit of wealth: errant preachers advocating renunciation of worldliness and worldly goods might be bemusedly tolerated but those advocating destruction of the "unholy" commerce surrounding sacred places (or the sacred places themselves, such as the ideas of early twelfth century Peter of Bruis in Toulouse) were often publicly murdered. Popular preachers were often dissenters with a gift for words that moved audiences. The twelfth-fifteenth centuries encouraged a variety of lifestyles, intellectual opinions and disputation (especially about the accepted order of life and religion). Preachers were frequently well-educated contrarians, either rejecting religious orthodoxy because it was orthodox or because of conflicting theory:
"Judgment and penance and the fear of hell were dominant in the 10th and 11th centuries; in the 12th and 13th a new spirit takes over, the preaching of the good Christian life and of practical morality to lay men and women whose destiny is by no means so gloomy as before."41

Blasphemy then should be better seen as 'shock therapy", clearly confrontational and an artful debate tactic. That it aroused the adoration and action of large numbers made it so dangerous in an age of increasing transition.

Popular religion appealed to the intellectual non-believer desiring reconvincing and conversion -it was a plea for someone to "show me the way". Unfortunately, the church response was, frequently, increasing intolerant authority. This could not satisfy popular confusion over religious doctrines -- Cathar dualism wherein only the spiritual mattered (thereby denying church teachings about the role of Jesus) appealed to many as did their lives of poverty and simplicity, the sacraments confused many, purgatory was understood as a new and confusing idea (indeed, to the Cathar, hell was in this life) while church worldliness and possessions seemed to violate oaths of poverty (and, anyway, when did ordinary people ever really understand the mysteries of religion?). Even a doctrine as simple as baptism produced varieties of techniques for doing it -- touching, annointing, spraying, dunking and near-drowning -- and varied explanations for what it cleansed one of. Given the huge infant mortality of the time, previously discussed, baptism was done earlier and earlier in a very public manner -- possibly as a popular church effort to afford soul-protection to those about to die and to their grieving parents. "The dead played a very active part in the religious sentiment of the late Middle Ages."42

If we recognize the central Christian focus as the Bible, then absence of reading skills poses the question of how ordinary people could know its words. Priests and preachers filled this gap with their sermons and lessons, popular prayer chants recited biblical passages and the semi-learned discussed biblical lore with their fellows. Vernacular translations were often condemned by the church for their inaccuracies as well as feared for their success in arousing the masses. Sacred spaces served a didactic purpose in that the sacred stones were covered with sacred art illustrating biblical tales -- man constructs the sacred to house the sacred lore he chooses to know. Hosts of interpreters guided the visitors through the complexities of sophisticated art representation just as was done in the miracle and mystery plays of the time. That the Bible-as-story aroused popular interest is well known; joined with medieval narrative art and didactic translation, the Bible focus increasingly centered on literal meaning and could we not see this as a foundation for later Reformation urges?

. . . The apparent violence of nature may reflect medieval Europe's declining infrastructure. What twelfth-fourteenth century scholastics had conceptualized as a rational universe created for people's benefit "led to the consequent desacralization of nature and permitted its exploitation in order to serve human needs."43 Fourteenth. century natural catastrophes redirected this view into punishment for people's excessive pride. The 1303 and 1306/7 freezing of the Baltic combined with tornadoes, droughts and floods to heighten awareness of the power of natural destruction long before the plagues arrived. Brutal life returned (as the historical records endlessly confirm) as people suffered recurrent famine and minimal governmental efforts to assist those suffering.44

Mythic fear of nature transformed all of nature's places into danger zones filled with horrid creatures and Satan's minions, into battlegrounds between those animals symbolizing good and evil. Yet, "despite the despair and hopelessness with which many were gripped, faith in the restorative power of God remained."45 Depopulation accelerated a decline in food production, created food shortages in the cities, increased mortality, decreased care of the roads and bridges necessary for what transport remained and profoundly altered psychic outlook. "Macabre themes in art, the obsession with Death, and the sense of solitude, 'orphanization', abandonment and melancholy . . . suggest a traumatic change in consciousness."46 Indeed, saintly miracles increasingly display the domination of saints over the perils of nature and inanimate objects.47

There was also the flood of preachers throughout Europe frightening everyone with images of the evil awaiting them at nature's gates -- this added to the popular belief that only salvation could shield them from danger. Anxieties (fundamental unconscious fears) flooded what little rational thinking there was and stirred a renewed popular piety (see previous discussion):

The human spirit cannot sustain such imaginative torments without any relief, and beside the accumulated horror of the great dooms there flourished two modes of escape. First of all, the inexorable judge was also the Jesus of mercy, and numerous human aids to remission existed or were devised.48
Indulgences and remissions reveal the need of the tormented for some escape from the horror lying before them -- even the church architecture and art conspired to bring them daily reminders of the Last Judgment. Even the purgatory invention of the eleventh-twelfth centuries offered everyone the possibility of penance after death rather than a direct ride to hell. Purgatory implied God's understanding of human imperfection so that it became a place to absolve those ultimately deemed able to enter heaven -- a sacred redemption space whose transitory nature allowed popular religion the opportunity to latch on to the chance it offered them to relieve their relatives' guilt as well as their own guilt.49

All of this allows us to examine the place of mystics and saints within the group's mentality because we have recognized that these unique individuals are also functioning in the group's service.


Somehow, we must differentiate between the fantasy and the reality for the world of sainthood but the issue is complex -- which is which? Was reaching out for spiritual perfection reality or a search for the ideal, the fantasized perfection of dreams? Were those reaching out for the advantage that proximity to these saints might bring reality (either corrupt, in the negative sense, or truly devotional, in the positive) or another search for the ideal, the fantasized perfection of dreams? These saintly figures lived their lives in the hope of transcending the material for the spiritual:

"The saint is one who takes literally the invitation to follow Christ and to seek perfection. Saints were dutiful sons and daughters of Mother Church, at times even her saviors, but their spiritual hunger could not be satiated by the everyday nourishment offered by the sacraments, the routine of the monastery, or the ministrations of the priests. Saintly piety was personal, direct, unworldly and extraordinary."50

Expanding on this, I stated that:

Society embraced these saints as ego-ideals and their relics were elevated to magnificent spiritual power for truly deserving supplicants. How else can we explain the frenzied attacking of saints' bodies at funerals with the hope of carrying away a piece of that holy person? How else do we explain the ornamenting of these pieces within expensive, elaborate reliquaries sanctified in special sacred places and worshipped by hundreds of thousands forever after? How do we explain the paradox of these material-denying individuals becoming the nexus of materially rewarding cult worship? The saintly had rejected worldliness and now served as the dispensers of worldly rewards. In it all, implicit for us to observe, was the increased distancing between god and man that now required the intercession of someone who had achieved incredible personal piety:

". . . the cult was a collective enterprise in which the community joined in supplication and celebration of a holy person who consented to share hard-won spiritual graces with ordinary sinners. Thus cultic piety was collective, vicarious, material and pragmatic. . . .The saint partook of both the humanity of the many and the perfection of the One and thus satisfied the diadic logic of the medieval mind."51

At the same moment as cult followers embraced their saints to reward their human desires, we should not forget that the saintly also served to imbue weaker human beings with elements of their goodness. While a quid pro quo was an essential element in this cultic system, saintly individualism, self-denial and material rejection were lessons not easily lost. Of course, this same individual strength of life was now perversely twisted into collective community thinking and glorified the material.

To see the larger vista, we are reminded that medieval parents (some of whom were beginning to consider the larger implications and rewards from family life and saw children as guardians of the parents' old age) were frequently unkind to saintly beginnings within their own children. Perversely, they didn't want a saint when they could have a worker, profit-producer and marriage-eligible caretaker for their dotage. That young girls of seven chose to reject sexuality and the negatively seen married life should serve to remind us of the absence of improved childhood. Stated theories about "a time when parental goals and childhood aspirations were generally in harmony",52 "that medieval people recognized childhood as a stage of life, that parents loved their children as children",53 or that "they failed to comprehend that children had special attributes and needs",54 fly in the face of Ende's, Scheck's, deMause's and Frenken's incontrovertible primary evidence to the contrary.

Consider this puzzling catalog of the alleged medieval parent-child relationship:

"Beginning in the late twelfth century, however, childhood religious aspirations more often came into conflict with parental wishes. The very intensity of such conflicts showed not only that a great deal of domestic emotion was involved but also that there was much at stake. . . .The thirteenth century initiated a period in which the family was especially likely to be the theater both of spiritual growth and of conflict. The expansion of worldly options attractive to parents and of religious alternatives appealing to children multiplied occasions for tension and disagreement. . . . In threatening to repudiate their parents, saints held the weapon to which their fathers and mothers ultimately yielded."55

Clearly missing from this catalog is the more accurate analysis that years of psychohistorical research has uncovered: childhood was a terrible time, fraught with danger and abuse and death; for example:
". . . I ran with great velocity against the lock of the door that I almost hung there with my forehead. . .56 ". . . that I as a little child slept with her in the absence of her husband".57

We shouldn't hold any thought that escape into the arms of an idealized Mother Church didn't appear far more preferable than ordinary home life. Children have always been in conflict with parental wishes, frequently correctly so because their inner resolve called for them to pursue what they felt chosen to do. Indeed, the catalog of domestic emotions described above reveals more of the disharmonious family than that of one where children were recognized for their uniqueness. Finally, what kind of harmonious family appears from the idea that repudiation would bring parents to yield to their children's wishes?


How can we use this medieval childhood information to expand our awareness of historical motivations? The first step is to recognize the reality of childhood trauma and its effect on adult lives (both individually and collectively as a group) in order to assess its impact on adult behaviors, thoughts and actions.

History has been playing in deMause's "sandbox" of trauma repetition. Individuals/groups wallowed in their repeated traumas and practiced collective craziness in order to achieve some homeostasis in their lives. The medieval flagellant, ascetic, public penitent and probably many witches and saints shared an element of individual idiosyncracy that should have branded them as outcast or led to their public punishment. However, their idiosyncratic behaviors were acceptable to their collectively crazy contemporaries -- indeed, their behaviors were seen as uniquely spiritual and were judged to be sacred.

This same collective craziness allowed the targeting of jews as "enemies" during the Crusades (after all, they were definitely more convenient than the faraway Muslims and they had been Christianity's designated "murderers of Jesus" for over a thousand years) and widespread pogroms spontaneously erupted all over Europe -- Speyer's synagogue and mikvah [ritual bath] serve today as eloquent reminders of these atrocities. The righteous Crusaders practiced collective insanity when they broke into Jerusalem's barricaded Church of the Holy Sepulchre and massacred the masses of Jews, Christians and other friendly people who had sought safety from the Muslims within its walls (again, alternate enemies serve the collective craziness when the enemy has disappeared). Random murder of Jews, Gypsies and other delegated "deviants" abound during the medieval period as collective craziness erupted in dysfunctional behaviors. Nationalism's growth during the later Middle Ages/Renaissance/ Reformation eras allowed further enormous collective insanity through economic competition and wars to destroy one's designated enemy (e.g., The Hundred Years' War, War of the Roses, War of the Austrian Succession, Thirty Years' War).

Naked hatred of those seen as "others" aroused the dysfunctional twentieth century fascists to polarize popular support by annihilating Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals, deviants and the mentally challenged. It is only in the incredible numbers of those slaughtered in the Holocaust that we can see a consequential difference from William of Tyre's amazing description of the crusader psychological violence upon the walled-in Antioch defenders when they launched hundreds of Turkish severed heads over the walls or from Timur the Turkoman's violence-filled mountain of 10,000 severed heads.

These were not accidental imbalances in the human spirit. They were the simple result of so much unresolved childhood trauma. Where no healthy resolution is offered or encouraged by society, abandoning parents create a repetition compulsion to project one's sense of inadequacy onto others. Deporting millions, segregating the outcasts into collection points (e.g., ghetto or concentration camp), reeducating the collective group to see these chosen many as the designated "enemy", denouncing the fundamental humanity of those chosen enemies and then torturing or murdering them --these are the predictable results.

It is no surprise that childhood studies arouse the outrage of many scholars and laymen. The unresolved traumas of many scholars simply refuse to recognize the importance of child abuse. They overlook such clear evidence as:

"It was considered the duty of relatives, not the public, to take care of children. But the children were nevertheless abandoned.. The orphanages themselves were workhouses. Children had to do piece work, and tortures awaited those who were not able to do their piece. Nearly all children survived with scabies, their hands and feet became crippled, or they did not survive at all."58

. . . children were sold as servants, and four-year-olds were forced to sweep narrow chimneys, forced into it by needle pricks, by punishment with burning straw, or by beating. Those who did not have to work. . were in the streets begging. In 1832, in the district of Leipzig. . .2181 beggars were counted, of which 1,040 were children.. [Infant mortality] in Prussia (1861-1870) it was 21.1 percent, and in Bavaria (1867-1869) 57.8 percent. . . while in France [17.8], Sweden, England [14.9] and Wales [14.9] infant mortality radically decreased."59

"Well", they say dismissively, "everyone was abused so that can't signify anything". Or, "we've all had childhoods so that can't be too important". Or, "why bother with that ugly stuff?" Or, as if this is the final dismissal, "You're being reductionistic". For so many scholars, there's safety in avoiding this human tragedy -- that's why they bury themselves in minutiae and endless statistical analyses without overarching consequence.

Once again, I offer Frenken prolonged applause for his yeoman efforts at proving the historicity of the influence of childhood.

Jerrold Atlas PhD is Vice President of the International University of Altdorf, past president of the International Psychohistorical Association, Director of the Center for Psychohistorical Studies, Editor of TAPESTRY: The Journal of Historical Motivations and the Social Fabric, Contributing Editor of The Journal of Psychohistory, Associate Director of the Institute for Psychohistory, Chair of the Historical Motivations Congresses in Europe, author of Was in Deutschland Passieren Wird. . .das Unbewusste der Deutschen [What Will Happen in Germany: The Unconscious of the Germans] (1992: ECON, Dusseldorf) and a hypnotherapist in private practice.


1. Atlas (2000). "The Terrible 'Rewards' of Medieval Childhood: Abandonment, Abuse, Torture and Death or Traumatized Lives, Denial, Projection onto Others, Dysfunction and Violence." The Journal of psychohistory 27/1, 276-301.
2. Ende (1980); Frenken (1997 & 2000); Raphael Scheck (1987). "Childhood in German Autobiographical Writings, 1740-1820", The Journal of Psychohistory, 15/1, 391-422; Lloyd deMause (1987). "Schreber and the History of Childhood", The Journal of Psychohistory, 15/1, 423-430; Brett Kahr (1999). "The History of Sexuality: From Ancient Polymorphous Perversity to Modern Genital Love", The Journal of Psychohistory, 26/4, 764-778; Ralph Frenken (1999). "Child Witches in Renaissance Germany", The Journal of Psychohistory, 26/4, 864-867.
3. deMause (1987), 424.
4. Ibid., 425.
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid., 428.
7. Frenken (1997), 1.
8. Joseph Campbell (1988). The Power of Myth. New York: Doubleday.
9. Scheck (1997), 393.
10. Ibid., 397 and citing Lloyd deMause (1982). Foundations of psychohistory (Creative Roots, NY), 62 & 134.
11. deMause(1982), 136.
12 Michael Goodich (1995). Violence and Miracle in the Fourteenth Century (U. of Chicago, Chicago), 22.
13. Ibid, 150.
14. Nancy Jay (1992). Throughout Your Generations Forever: Sacrifice, Religion and Paternity (U. Of Chicago, Chicago), xiii, 26-27 and 114-115; deMause, personal correspondence.
15. Ibid, 150.
16. Ibid, 23.
17. Annette B. Weiner (1992). Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping-While-Giving (U. of California, Berkeley), 59.
18. G. Ronald Murphy (1979). "A Ceremonial Ritual: The Mass" in Eugene G. D'Aquili et al, The Spectrum of Ritual: A Biogenetic Structural Analysis (Columbia U., NY), 319.
19. Goodich (1995), 151-154.
20. Donald Weinstein and Rudolph M. Bell (1982). Saints and Society: The Two Worlds of Western Chnstendom, 1000-1700 (U. of Chicago Press, Chicago), 4. 21. Ibid., 4-5.
22. Ibid.
23. Goodich (1995), 86; see also Goodich (1988). "Miracles and Disbelief in the Late Middle Ages", Medlaevistik, 23-38; ------(1982). Vita perfecta: The Ideal of sainthood in the Thirteenth Century Monographien zur Geschichte des Mittelalters 25 (Stuttgart); -----(1989). From Birth to Old Age: The Life Cycle in Medieval European Thought, 1250- 1350 (Latham, MD).
24. Ibid., citing A. Higounet-Nadal (1982). "Les Facteurs de Croissance de Ia Ville Perigueux", Annales de Demographie Historique, 19; T. H. Hollingsworth (1969). Historical Demography (London), 375-388; John Hatchet (1977). Plague, Population, and the Economy: 1348-1530 (London), 26-29.
25. Ibid. citing Goodich (1992). "II Fanciulo come Fuicro di Miracoli e Potere Spirituale (XIII e XIV secolo)", in A. Paravicini-Bagliani & A. Vauchez (Eds.), Potere Carismatici e Informale (Palermo), 38-57; William Christian (1981). Apparitions in Late Medieval and Renaisssance Spain (Princeton), 216-219 on children as visionaries.
26. Ibid.
27. Ibid. 92.
28. Ibid.
29. Ibid.
30. Carol Tavis (1989). Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion, 3rd ed. (Touchstone, NY), 75.
31. Frenken (1999).
32. Scheck (1987), 402.
33. Ibid.
34. Ibid., 403.
35. Frenken (1997), 395.
36. Scheck (1987), 414.
37. Deborah Tanzer, private correspondence.
38. Rosalind & Christopher Brooke (1984/1996). Popular Religion in the Middle Ages: Western Forope 1000-1300 (Barnes & Noble, NY), 48.
39. See Jerrold Atlas (1990) "A Psychohistorical View of Crusade Origins." The Journal of Psychohistory, 17/4, 412-416.
40.Brooke (1984/1996), 63.
41. Ibid., 124.
42. Ibid., 110.
43. Goodich (1995), 103 and citing John Passmore (1974). Man's Responsibilily for Nature (London); Ian G. Barbour (1980). Technology, Environment, and Human Values (NY); Keith Thomas (1983). Man and the Natural World (Hammondsworth), 22ff; Jacques Le Goff (1988) [Arthur Goldhammer, Tr.]. The Medieval Imagination (Chicago), 47-59 on wilderness.
44. Ibid., citing Jean Delumeau (1978). La Peur en Occident (XIVe-XVIIIe siecles): Une Cite Assiegee (Paris) on fear of natural catastrophe in the later middle ages.
45. Ibid, x.
46. Ibid., 106 citing Millard Meiss (1951). Painting in Florence and Siena after the Black Death (Princeton).
47. Ibid., citing Conrad of Jungingen (minister-general of the Teutonic Knights) account noting that Dorothy of Montau had rescued him many times in his battles with the Lithuanians near Vilna (ancient Polotsk) in 1394.
48. Brooke (1984/1996), 153.
49. Ibid., 147.
50. Weinstein & Bell (1982), 239.
51. Ibid., 240.
52. Ibid., 242.
53. Ibid., 241.
54. Ibid., 242.
55. Ibid., 242-243.
56. Frenken (1997), 399-310 describes late-seventeenth century music theorist and writer, Johann Beer, whose life typified erratic abandonment practices (abandoned to grandmother/aunt at four or five because he was blamed tor his younger brothers' poisoning, father's later angry argument with sister led to return to parents' house; thus, he was emotionally far from his parents, was witness to/victim of many accidents and consoled only by God).
57. Frenken (2000), 228-271, describes the late-fifteenth century itinerant scholar/ monk/poet/mystic Butzbach's extreme aggression toward women derived from childhood sexual fantasies.
58. Ibid., 251-252 describing eighteenth-nineteenth century German child abandonment.
59. Ibid., 252.

The paper originally appeared in the The Journal of Psychohistory: Fall 2003, 31,2: 145-169.

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