Murray, Margaret A(lice) (1863-1963)

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Murray, Margaret A(lice) (1863-1963)

British archaeologist whose writings on witchcraft played a prominent part in the modern witchcraft revival. She was born in Calcutta, India, July 13, 1863. She later moved to England and entered University College, London (1894) where she was subsequently a Fellow of University College (D.Lit., F.S.A. (Scot.), F.R.A.I.), and by 1899 became a junior lecturer on Egyptology. She retired in 1935. She participated in excavations in Egypt (1902-4), Malta (1921-24), Hertfordshire, England (1925), Minorca (1930-31), Petra (1937), and Tell Ajjul, South Palestine (1938). During her long career, which included a tenure as president of the Folklore Society, London (1953-55), she published a number of valuable works on archaeology, but is better remembered for her controversial books on witchcraft.

In The Witch Cult in Western Europe (1921), Murray proposed the idea that witchcraft was a pre-Christian religion in its own right, rather than a heretical deviation from established Christianity. The book had a great influence on Gerald B. Gardner (1884-1964), pioneer of the modern witchcraft revival. Murray in turn contributed an introduction to Gardner's book Witchcraft Today (1954). She also wrote two other books on witchcraft: The God of the Witches (1931) and The Divine King in England (1954). She died November 13, 1963, soon after her hundredth birthday.


Murray, Margaret A. My First Hundred Years. London: William Kimber, 1963.

Rose, Elliot. A Razor for a Goat. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1964.

Valiente, Doreen. An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1973.

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Murray, Margaret A(lice) (1863-1963)

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