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Witch of Endor

The Witch of Endor, according to the Hebrew Bible, was a witch, a woman with a familiar spirit, who called up the ghost of Samuel the prophet at the demand of King Saul of Israel. Saul chose to do so after he received no answer from God from dreams, prophets, or the Urim and Thummim[?]. The prophet's ghost angrily predicted Saul's downfall as king. The story is told in the book of 1 Samuel XXVIII.

Saul sinned further in consulting this woman; the practice of necromancy was forbidden by the Torah. Christian fundamentalists have debated the theological issues raised by this text, however. If you take the Bible literally, it would appear to affirm that it is or was possible for humans to summon the spirits of the blessed dead by magic. Some suggest that what the witch actually summoned was not the ghost of Samuel, but a demon taking his shape. Nothing in the Biblical text of the story suggests this interpretation, however.

External link:

Saul and the Witch of Endor (http://www.biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible?passage=1+Samuel+28&search=&version=KJV&language=english&optional.x=13&optional.y=13) (KJV)

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