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July 16, 1983 - Image 2

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Michigan Daily, 1983-07-16

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Page 2 - The Michigan Daily - Saturday, July 16, 1983
Ghosts, witches
inhabit library
in occult exhibit

By MARC COHEN
People today may not believe in
ghosts, witches, and devils, but for
colonial Americans the existence of
supernatural beings was a fact of life.
Visitors to the Clements Library can
see evidence of this in the library's
current exhibition, entitled "Spirits
Among Us: America and the Super-
natural," a collection of manuscripts
and artifacts dealing with the occult
that date from the late 1500's to the Civil
War.
"THE BELIEF in a spirit world was
mainstream in colonial America," said
manuscript curator Galen Wilson, who
organized the exhibit.
Wilson began to assemble the
library's own examples of early
American fascination with the super-
natural when the library acquired an
arrest warrant for two women accused
of witchcraft during the Salem, Mass.
trials.
The Salem witchcraft trials were a
product of religious hysteria, and
religion figures prominently in many
items in the collection. Early American
interest in the supernatural was a
result of strong Christian beliefs and
literal interpretations of the Bible,
Wilson said.
WHILE MANY of the exhibits detail
the existence and appearance of Satan,
others show how the early American in-
terests in the supernatural later bran-
ched out to other areas of the occult.
Some used the Bible to practice
numerology, or the use of numbers to
give advice or predict events. Prac-
titioners would often derive the
meaning of a number from the Bible,
such as the traditional association of
the number "666" with the devil.

One display centers on a large poster
proclaiming that the world would end in
1843, according to numbers in the Bible,
while another showcases a textbook of a
wandering teacher who mixed num-
berology in with reading, writing, and
arithmetic as part of his daily lesson.
OTHER pictures and manuscripts
deal with attempts to contact the spirit
world. One display features an eerie
photo of President Abraham Lincoln's
wife Mary, with Abe's ghostly image
peering over her shoulder - Lincoln's
wife firmly believed that she could con-
tact the dead, and held a White House
seance to reach her son Willie, who died
as a child.
Like several of the displays, the photo
is probably doctored - the
photographer who took Mary Lincoln's
portrait never claimed it was Abraham
Lincoln's ghost in the background of the
phto. But said he isn't ready to dismiss
all of the beliefs of early Americans as
mere superstition.
"A lot of what is in the exhibition is
patently phony, but just because some
people abuse the spirit world doesn't
mean it doesn't exist," Wilson said.
BROWSER CIEL Schnapik, who was,
drawn to the exhibit by an interest in
the supernatural, agreed that not all the
exhibits are just products of early
American superstition. "It's a curious
mix of what is obvious hocus-pocus and
touching on something that is real and
extrasensory," she said.
The exhibit will continue until August
1.

TODAY
Muzak haters
ACHORUS OF OPPOSITION HAS PUT Muzak on permanent hold on
phone lines at the University of Virginia. The recorded music service
was added to the school's telephone system last summer so callers placed on
hold would not think they had been disconnected, said Charles Hudgins,
assistant vice president for computing and communications. But he said he
got more than 200 complaints about it, including one from the College of Arts
and Science faculty members, who passed a resolution that Muzak was too
undignified for the university. "I had one professor who told me he thought
this was the most difficult crisis the university had faced in 20 years,"
Hudgins said. If anyone complains about the lack of Muzak, Hudgins said,
"I'm going to start singing. That might convince them."
HAPPENINGS
SATURDAY
Highlight
Ypsilanti s Depot Town will be celebrating Boomer Days, a community
celebration honoring the hobos and tramps who travel the rails, today and
Sunday.
Films
AAFC - Fame, 7 & 9:30 p.m., MLB 3.
Cinema Guild - The Man Who Fell To Earth, 7 & 9:30 p.m., Lorch Hall.
Cinema Two - Body Heat, 7:30 & 9:45, Angell Aud. A.
Classic Film Theatre - Take The Money And Run, 7:25 & 10:45 p.m., The
Hot Rock, 9p.m., Michigan Theater.
Performances
Student Theatre Arts Complex - "Chapter Two," 7:30 p.m., Michigan
Union Ballroom.
Meetings
Ann Arbor Club -2 p.m., 1433 Mason Hall.
Women's Aglow Fellowship of Ann Arbor - 9:30 a.m., Holiday Inn-West,
2900 Jackson Road.
SUNDAY
Films
Cinema Guild - Treasure Island, 7 & 9 p.m., Lrch.
CFT - The Wizard of Oz, 5, 7, & 9 p.m., Michigan Theater.
Performances
School of Music - David Heinzman, organ recital, 81p.m., Hill Auditorium.
Miscellaneous
Ann Arbor Bicycle League - Sunday breakfast rides, 8 a.m., Farmer's
Market.
MONDAY
Performances
School of Music - Lori Keyne, organ recital,81p.m., Hill Auditorium.
School of Music - Carillon Recital, 7 p.m., Burton Tower.
MeetingS,
Tae Kwon Do Club - 6p.m., outside, behind IM Building.
Ann Arbor Support Group for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee -
7:30 p.m., 3081E. Williams.
Christian Science Organization - 7:15 p.m., Room D, Michigan League.

4

The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCIII, No. 23-S
Saturday, July 16, 1983

(ISSN 0745-967X)
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