Kern interviewed on national radio

Passey, Emily

History professor Edmund Kern was featured on the nationally syndicated radio show “Viewpoints” Sunday. Kern spoke about the history of superstitions and the history of Halloween.
Kern is actually something of an expert in this field. He specializes in religious culture in Early Modern Europe, namely witchcraft. Because of his knowledge of early instances of witchcraft and witchcraft trials, Kern says, he has become interested in modern-day occurrences of the occult: Halloween, superstitions, and Wiccans, for example. On the Lawrence website, he is listed as an academic expert in this field, and thus radio shows and other media looking for a great Halloween forerunner often ask Kern. Kern says he has done dozens of newspaper and radio interviews, and even TV appearances on this same topic.
On “Viewpoints,” Kern also spoke about the modern-day regeneration of interest in paganism. He believes it is modern spirituality looking back on its pre-Christian roots. Kern says that no single tradition of paganism can be traced throughout history, but rather that people come back to it when they find they are dissatisfied with Christianity.
Kern says that the history of religious culture is a large field, and that he is one of several hundred scholars with a primary interest in witchcraft. Halloween, however, draws more folklorists than historians.
October is Kern’s busiest month with interviews and appearances, but he says he is also often sought out when Friday the 13th rolls around. Perhaps more strangely, people have even been interested in his thoughts on the pagan aspects of Easter. Kern has written a book on Harry Potter as well, entitled “The Wisdom of Harry Potter: What our Favorite Hero Teaches Us About Moral Choices,” which he also addresses in interviews, especially during the release of new books or movies.

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