History ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-17-2017


This project is an amalgamation of case studies, arguing that not only did the supernatural permeate every level of medieval society, but that its potential for analysis and interpretation is largely unexplored. These case studies include: an analysis of the Church Fathers works, including Tertullian’s De testimonio animae, Augustine of Hippo’s De cura pro mortuis gerenda, and Gregory the Great’s Dialogi, addressing the variation in these works’ theological ideas about the soul; an analysis of the works of Gregory of Tours (his Liber vitae Patrum and Historia Francorum), which reflect popular beliefs as opposed to those of the educated elite; an exploration of the genre of exempla during the high middle ages utilizing five ghost stories found in the Cistercian monk Caesarius of Heisterbach’s Dialogus miraculorum; a move into the late middle ages and beyond, examining some fifteenth-century exempla found in the margins of a manuscript from Byland Abbey, Yorkshire, their connection to the Danish ghost in Hamlet, and the oral and folkloric traditions that tie all of these sources together.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Michael A. Ryan

Second Committee Member

Timothy Graham

Third Committee Member

Sarah Davis-Secord




ghost, supernatural, cultural history, belief, religion, medieval

Document Type


Included in

History Commons