Mandeville, LA – “A real change however came with the Protestant revolt. Although, at this — one might almost say — sociological level, the alteration was not that great in Anglican or Lutheran regions (where rejection of the Catholic Liturgical heritage was similarly ambiguous), it tended to be in Calvinist areas. There, there was little question: whether in worship or calendar customs or folk beliefs, if it was not explicitly in the Bible, it was of the devil. Hence, in Quebec and Louisiana the lutins frolicked and easier-going Calvinist Dutch of the Hudson Valley saw their new home as thronging with such folk as ensorcelled Rip Van Winkle (his literary creator, Washington Irving, had drunk deep of the local legendry). But in Puritan New England, there was only Satan in the woods — and sometimes, as at Salem, Old Scratch might visit the settlements.
Another chasm opened up in society as a result of the new religion — and it extended to areas that retained their old ways. This was the division between high and folk culture, which had not existed before. Neither Chaucer nor Shakespeare scrupled to speak of magic and fairies; but until the late 18th century for reasons we shall notice presently, subsequent writers for an educated public would not do so. Class distinctions mankind has always had; but in the wake of Luther, these also came to involve world-views as well.
Europe’s educated classes, horrified by the religious bloodshed of the 16th and 17th centuries came slowly to lump religion of whatever kind with folk belief — and this affected even theologians and religious philosophers, who felt the need to justify spiritual beliefs in materialist terms, and minimalised to the best of their ability the wondrous and miraculous elements of their Faith. Out of this mix arose the Enlightenment, and eventually the Scientific and Industrial revolutions. From it too came the French and subsequent political revolutions, which in their haste to purge public life of all superstition (with which they lumped monarchy and nobility as well as the Church) committed mass murder on a scale unseen until bested by the far more enlightened folk of the 20th century.” [emphasis mine – MC] – Chalres Coulombe, Evening Isles Fantastical