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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The eighteenth century Tremblers of Germany were among the Huguenots in the mountains of Cevennes. They had fled to the Cevennes under the continued persecution of Louis XIV. In their religious fervor they would enter ekstasis, reach an ecstatic state, and become seized with convulsions. They went into trance, spoke in tongues (glossolalia), communicated with spirits, and were able to heal the sick. The Tremblers gradually spread over most of Germany. In trance, they were insensitive to pain and impervious to the effects of jabs with pointed sticks and iron poles, or to having great weights laid on top of them. Men and especially children caught the contagion, though comparatively few women were affected. Trembling became so commong that they were called “The Tremblers of Cevennes.”

In Roman Catholic countries such seizures often occurred in convents, in churches where young girls were brought for first communion, and at “miracle shrines.” In Protestant countries they accompanied great religious excitement. In Cevennes they were attributed to the Spirit of the Almighty and not, as among the Catholics, to Satan.


Cleveland, Catherine C.: The Great Revival in the West 1797–1805. Gloucester: Peter Smith, 1959
Ennemoser, Joseph (tr. William Howitt): The History of Magic. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854
Shepard, Leslie A: Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. New York: Avon Books, 1978