Endor, Woman of
Endor, Woman of(religion, spiritualism, and occult)
In the Bible there is reference to the Woman of Endor, visited by Saul (I Samuel 28). She is described as “a woman that hath a familiar spirit.” In other words, a spirit guide or guardian angel. The woman is a Spiritualist medium (not a witch, as is the common misconception). Endor is a small hamlet on the northern slope of a hill, four miles south of Mount Tabor. When Saul meets with her—despite the fact that he tried to get rid of all such mediums—the woman describes exactly what she sees clairvoyantly. She says, “I saw gods ascending out of the earth. An old man cometh up and he is covered with a mantle.” This turns out to be Samuel and Saul is able to speak with him, through the agencies of the medium. Saul went to consult this medium on the eve of the battle of Bilboa, because he was afraid of the massed armies of the Philistines. The woman immediately recognized him, despite his disguise, but Saul assured her he would cause her no harm.
In the King James translation of the Bible, James heads the chapter, “Saul, having destroyed all the witches, and now in his fear forsaken of God, seeketh to a witch …” Yet nowhere in the actual passages is the word “witch” used. The woman is simply described as having a “familiar spirit,” and there is no description of her, of her age, or her house. Yet later writers continue to refer to her as a witch and depict her as an old hag living in a hovel. Indeed, Montague Summers, a supposed authority on witchcraft, says, “In a paroxysm of rage and fear the haggard crone turned to him (Saul) and shrieked out: ‘Why hast thou deceived me?’” This is pure imagination on the part of Summers.
Reginald Scott, as early as 1584, doubted the existence of witches and suggested that Saul actually saw nothing but “an illusion or cozenage.”