Maleficium (sorcery)

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Maleficium is a Latin term meaning "wrongdoing" or "mischief"[1] and is used to describe malevolent, dangerous, or harmful magic, "evildoing,"[2] or "malevolent sorcery."[3] In general, the term applies to any magical act intended to cause harm or death to people or property. Maleficium can involve the act of poisoning or drugging someone with Pharmakeia. It is often used in witchcraft and necromancy.

The term appears in several historically important texts, notably the Formicarius, and the Malleus Maleficarum.

The Knights Templar were also accused of maleficium. The Trial of the Knights Templar set a social standard for the popular belief in maleficium and witchcraft which contributed to the great European witch hunt.[4]

In modern Papua New Guinea and the Torres Strait area, it is called puripuri.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Notre Dame University (accessed December 6, 2008)
  2. ^ Stephens, Walter (2003). Demon Lovers: Witchcraft, Sex, and the Crisis of Belief. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 198. ISBN 978-0-226-77261-5. 
  3. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Online (accessed December 3, 2008)
  4. ^ Normal Cohn, Europe's Inner Demons
  5. ^ Revising the Mihalic Project, 26 Jan 2005