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Mysteries>* Secrets 



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Author of 

“The Mystery and Lure of Perfume”, etc. 


What a never-failing storehouse of 
interest is magic! Here lurk the ghosts 
of old-time druids, of Chaldean priests, 
of famous oracles. The ancient world 
was ruled by magic—-men could do 

nothing, say nothing, without con¬ 

sulting the omens or the crystal-—for 
the “evil eye” was watching over all. 
The magicians’ power lay in the deep¬ 
est secrecy—-they guarded their learn¬ 
ing jealously. The mystery of powerful 
drugs, of cabalistic signs, of demons— 
banshees, jinns, vampires—all this was 
passed on from father to son by word 
of mouth, or was entrusted to manu¬ 
scripts deep-hidden in the fastnesses 
of some temple. Mr. Thompson has 
delved into long-forgotten records, 
translations of Assyrian and Baby¬ 
lonian cuneiforms, crumbling Egyptian 
papyri. And his book is packed with 
weird and interesting lore—-of 
magic in every age, in every 
country, from the days of 
the old mythology 
down to the very ^ ~ 

present. %pO®DU 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2018 with funding from 
Wellcome Library 








From a wood engraving by Hans Baldung Grier . 

XVI century, 



Ph iladelphia 






Made and Printed in Great Britain bv 
Hazell, Watson &> Viney Ld. London and Aylesbury 

“ Shew me the secrets of the magical art and sciences and the 
sacred operation of hidden mysteries.” 

Manuscript of the XVI century. 


M AGIC is a subject that has ever been of profound 
interest to mankind. The immense amount of 
literature concerning its pra&ice throughout the 
world shows the powerful and lasting influence it has 
exercised upon the human race from the early ages. 

The subject is so vast and far-reaching, that it is little 
to be wondered at that no complete history of it has, as 
yet, been attempted, and many fields are even now Still 

In the following pages will be found a brief survey 
of the magical practices that prevailed among various 
early peoples in different parts of the world, and it will 
be seen that the same fundamental principles underlay 
their beliefs in the occult. 

It is apparent that the same ideas were common among 
races lying far apart, and that similar practices were 
performed in connexion with magical rites. 

Research among the ancient records of the Assyrians 
reveals that the clay or wax figure, and the knotted thread, 
were employed in magic over three thousand years ago, 
and that the belief in the power of the cc evil eye ” was 
common to EaSt and WeSt. 

It will be seen, by comparison, that certain charms 

used by races of widely differing religions are often 

• • 


substantially the same in meaning and in the nature of 
their application. 

Before the era of printing, the mysteries and secrets of 
magic were closely guarded and were only revealed in 
manuscripts ; it is from an examination of these docu¬ 
ments, that have come down to us, that we are able 
to gain some knowledge of the mysterious operations of 
the practitioners of magic and the methods they em¬ 

A careful Study of some of these records shows that 
the so-called magician possessed a knowledge of power¬ 
ful drugs, capable of producing hallucinations of such 
a nature as would account for many of the Stories of 
spirits and apparitions. 

The ceremonies that accompanied the performance of 
magical rites, and the descriptions of instruments and 
materials employed in connexion with them, have been 
compiled from contemporary records and are given in 

The book, however, does not pretend to be either 
a complete or an exhaustive account of the various 
branches of magic, but is simply an outline and a 
slight contribution to the history of the subject. 

Cordial thanks are due to Mr R. Campbell Thompson 
for kind permission to quote from his translations of 
the Assyrian magical texts, and to the Rev Montague 
Summers, Mr J. R. F. Thompson and Mr M. H. 
Spielmann for their valued assistance. 










MYSTERIES ...... 24 






















WITCHES’ OINTMENTS . . . . *133 



GOATS” . . . . . . .137 


DIVINATION ....... I42 











MAGICAL NUMBERS . . . . . 176 


MAGICAL TALISMANS . . . . . l8l 


MAGICAL RINGS . . . . . 187 


MAGIC IN JEWELS . . . . . .196 


LOVE AND MAGIC ...... 203 






FIFTEENTH CENTURY. . . . . 21 5 







SEVEN IMAGES” . . . . 241 





AND CURSES ...... 262 




• • 





magic in Shakespeare’s plays . . .287 



BROOM . . . . . . .298 



TIMES ....... 304 

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . • 3 1 5 

INDEX . . . . . . 317 












BLOOD ....... 


7 ° 






















OF SOLOMON ....... 64 

Solomon’s seal . . . . . . .67 

TEN NAMES OF GOD ...... 69 

HEBREW LIGATURE . . . . . -73 







WITCHES IN FLIGHT . . . . . .122 




MUST BE SET IN PURE GOLD ” . . . 15 2 

magician’s SPADE AND CRYSTAL . . . .153 


MAGIC CIRCLE . . . . . . -159 

MAGIC CIRCLE . . . . . . . 160 



USING IT . . . . . . .164 






CERTAIN DISEASES . . . . . .182 


WEARER HEALTH” . . . . . .183 


SEALS OF THE PLANETS . . . . . .189 


simon forman’s magic ring . . . . 195 

MAGICAL JEWEL . . . . . . 197 

king Solomon’s apple, with magical characters . 209 

“a character for love” ..... 214 


PENTACLES . ....... 227 




OF SPIRITS ....... 247 





VARIOUS SIGNS ON PAGES 186, 233, 234, 235, 238, 255, ZJI 





M AGIC has been described as the pretended art 
of influencing the course of events, and of 
producing marvellous physical phenomena, by 
methods which were supposed to owe their efficacy to 
their power of compelling the intervention of super¬ 
natural beings, or of bringing into operation some occult 
force of nature. The fundamental purpose of magic was 
therefore in opposition to the laws and principles of 
natural phenomena. 

It has exercised a profound influence upon mankind 
throughout the ages, and has either formed part of the 
religion of a country, as in Babylonia and Egypt, or has 
been carried on in conjunction with it. 

The roots of the belief in magic, as with super¬ 
stition, seem to be grounded in fear, for man has ever 
dreaded the unknown. 

Hegel remarks concerning what he calls the “ Religion 
of Nature, 5 ’ or fear of the powers of Nature—of the sun, 
of thunderstorms and other natural phenomena—it was 
not the fear that might be called religious fear, for that 
has its seat in freedom. The fear of God is a different 
fear from that of the natural forces. 

The prieSt-magician in ancient times, by claiming to 
be able to control the powers of the unseen deities, thus 
worked on the fears and imagination of the people. 


The inStinft of mystery, common to mankind among 
civilized and uncivilized communities, appears to have 
arisen primarily from ignorance or limitation of know¬ 
ledge and fear of the unknown future. 

These faculties men of greater intelligence than their 
fellows soon recognized, and turned belief in the 
mysterious to their own account. 

As the practice of magic meant interference with the 
regular operations of Nature, the magician had first to 
appeal to some deity and propitiate it by prayers, offerings 
and perfumes that would render his appeal acceptable, 
and then call in the aid of supernatural powers, good 
or evil. 

Some authorities are of the opinion that magic was 
the primary form of religion ; that it has existed among 
all peoples and at every period, and that faith in magic 
is probably older than a belief in spirits. 

The whole doCtrine of magic, according to Wiedmann, 
formed not a part of superstition, but an essential con¬ 
stituent of religious faith, which to a great extent rested 
dire&ly on magic and always remained closely bound up 
with it. 

On the other hand, Frazer observes, that in the 
evolution of thought, magic, as representing a lower 
intellectual Stratum, has probably everywhere preceded 

It has also been suggested that in man’s emotional 
response to his environment, in his interpretation in the 
terms of personality of the objefts which encumbered 
his attention, and in their investiture by him with 
potentiality, we have the common root of magic and 



The praftice of magic involved certain rites which 
may be regarded as traditional a<fls that embodied the 
idea of a wonder-working power, but magical rites not 
forming part of an organized cult came to be regarded 
by the society concerned as illicit. 

“ There is but one mythical idea at the back of all 
rites,” says Wundt; that is, “ the idea of the soul, and 
from it are generated three forms of cult—magic, 
fetishism and totemism.” 

Thus magic in its primary form consisted in the sup¬ 
posed direft a&ion of soul on soul, as where the “ evil 
eye ” is dreaded. The secondary form consisted in 
supposed aftion from a distance, when the soul influence 
made itself felt by means of a symbol. 

As time went on, those of higher and wiser intelligence 
no doubt came to perceive that magical rites, ceremonies 
and incantations did not really produce the efle&s they 
were supposed to; and so gradually there came a 
separation in the belief. The ignorant Still clung to 
superstition and faith in magical powers, while the more 
intelledual saw the hand of a power greater than that of 
man, and began to see his dependence on a God above 

Robertson Smith States that, it was the community, 
and not the individual, that was sure of the permanent 
and unfailing help of its deity, so much so, that, in 
purely personal concerns, the ancients were apt to turn 
to magical superstitions. Thus man had no right to 
enter into private relations with supernatural powers 
that might help him at the expense of the community to 
which he belonged. 

Frazer considers that the principles of thought on 



which magic is based are : first, that like produces like, 
which he calls imitative magic, from which the magician 
assumed that he could produce any efFeft he desired by 
imitating it; secondly, that magic is contagious, from 
which he inferred that whatever he did to a material 
objeft, would affeft equally the person with whom the 
objeft had once been in contaft, whether it formed part 
of his body or not. 

In praftice, the two branches are often combined, to 
which he gives the name of sympathetic magic, since 
both assume that things aft on each other at a distance 
through secret sympathy. 

The attempt to injure or destroy an enemy by insert¬ 
ing nails into his image in the belief that juSt as the 
image suffers so does the man, and that when it perishes 
he muSt die, is an instance of one of the earliest forms of 
imitative magic. 

It was practised by the ancient Babylonians, Egypt¬ 
ians, Hindus and other races at a remote period, con¬ 
tinued throughout the Middle Ages, and is employed 
among the magical praftices of many barbaric races at 
the present day. 

The same form of charm was also praftised for a more 
benevolent purpose, to gain the love or affeftion of 
a person. As the wax figure melted before a fire, so 
the heart of the individual desired was supposed to be 
softened and his love obtained. 

Contagious magic is shown in the magical sympathy 
which was believed to exist between a person and any 
portion of his body, such as the hair, teeth or nails. 

The idea that whoever gained possession of such 
things may work his will upon the person from whom 



they were taken, at any distance, is one of considerable 

The old custom of placing an extracted tooth in a 
hole where it could be found by a rat or mouse, in the 
hope that, through sympathy, the person’s other teeth 
might acquire the same excellence as those of the rodent, 
probably originated in this belief. On the other hand, 
an extrafted tooth was sometimes thrown on the fire so 
that no one should find and keep it and so work magical 
power on the person to whom it originally belonged. 

Another example of contagious magic is evidenced 
in the ancient belief that there is a connexion between a 
wounded person and the weapon that caused the wound, 
and that what may be done to the agent will correspond¬ 
ingly affeft the injury. 

Pliny says : “ If you have wounded a man and are sorry 
for it, you have only to spit on the hand that gave the 
wound and the pain of the sufferer will cease.” 

Francis Bacon thus alludes to this belief: “ It is con¬ 
stantly received and avouched, that the anointing of the 
weapon which maketh the wound will heal the wound 

This praffice was revived in the seventeenth century by 
Sir Kenelm Digby, whom Dr Walter Charlton describes 
as “ a noble person, who hath built up his reason to so 
transcendent a height of knowledge, as may seem not 
much beneath the State of man in innocence.” 

His theory, “ touching the cure of wounds by the 
powder of sympathy,” was delivered at great length be¬ 
fore an assembly of nobles and learned men at Mont¬ 

Digby’s “ Sympathetic Powder,” which was applied 



to the weapon that caused the wound, consisted of 
copper sulphate in powder, prepared when the sun 
entered the sign of Leo. 

It is probable that the professional magician was 
originally one who, in the course of the evolution of 
society by birth. Study and pra&ice, acquired a powerful 
influence over his fellows. The prieSt by similar means, 
or by prayer and fasting, obtained the favour of the 
imaginary personages believed to influence or control 
the affairs of men, and thus the union of the prieSt- 
magician was probably fundamental. The magician 
always supplicated a power greater than his own, thus 
the help of the gods was invoked by incantation, and so 
magic and religion were again associated. 

From the primitive rock carvings found in the Trois 
Freres cave near St Girons, Ari£ge, in France, there is 
some evidence of the praftice of magic by prehistoric 
man. There Breuil discovered in a little chamber at the 
end of a long cave, the walls of which are covered with 
engravings on the rock, the figure of a man, masked, 
with antlers, as a Stag with a tail, which dominated 
all the others. 

“ Close by this figure and equally prominent in the 
chamber below, is a kind of natural pulpit accessible 
from behind, whence it is thought the magician or 
sorcerer officiated/’ 

If such was the case, the dim and mysterious sur¬ 
roundings of the cave muSt have helped to influence the 
minds of those who witnessed his proceedings. 

With reference to the use of a Stag’s hide in this 
figure, it is interesting to note the Story of the witch of 
Berkeley in the early part of the twelfth century, related 


by William of Malmesbury. He States, that when dying, 
she begged the monks and her children who were with 
her, “ to sew her body in the hide of a Stag, then place 
it in a Stone coffin and fasten in the covering with lead 
and iron, so that her body might be secured from the 
hands of the demons.” 

In Egypt the magician claimed the power of com- 


At the Trois Fibres Cave, France (after Breuil). 

pelling the highest gods to do his will, and in India the 
great triune deity, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, was subj eft 
to the spells of the sorcerers. 

“ The rites celebrated on special occasions,” says 
Oldenberg, “ are complete models of magic of every 
kind, and in every case the forms of magic bear the 
Stamp of the greatest antiquity.” 

Even witchcraft formed part of the religion, and 
penetrated and became intimately blended with the 



holiest Vedic rites. The Samavidhana Brahmana is in 
reality a handbook of incantations and sorcery. 

tc In ancient Egypt,” States Maspero, “ the faithful who 
desired to obtain some favour from a deity had no 
chance of succeeding except by laying hands on the god, 
and this arreSt could only be effeRed by means of a 
certain number of rites, sacrifices, prayers and chants, 
which the god himself had revealed and which obliged 
him to do what was demanded of him.” 

The belief that the priest owing to his office possesses 
a certain power to put a spell on an offender, or—as 
termed in Ireland—“ to put a curse upon him,” survives 
till the present day. 

“ Magic as the enemy of an organized cult or the social 
organization as a whole,” says Robertson Smith, “ came 
to be worked in dark and secret places and grew by 
adoption of degraded and scattered rites from various 
cults.” Thus we shall find that later and in the Middle 
Ages it imitated religious ritual to the verge of the 

Religion, on the other hand, developed an ethical 
conception of the Godhead, in which the affion of mere 
power is gradually converted into that of a power that 
makes for righteousness. 

Having thus briefly considered the theories advanced 
by various authorities on the genesis of magic, it will 
be of interest to Study its development and its practice 
among the early civilizations. 




T HE belief in certain supernatural beings of 
diminutive size, but of charming appearance and 
with generally a benevolent influence, is common 
among various races and peoples. 

In the Far East they have formed part of romance and 
Story from early times and, according to an ancient 
Hindu tradition, they inhabited the earth before the 
creation of man. 

In Persia the peris countera&ed the malevolent 
influences of the divs and lived in enchanted palaces 
and caStles. 

In Europe the superstition is generally ascribed to the 
Celtic races, while the Gothic people introduced the elves 
and gnomes, the more malignant types of spirits. 

In the poetical mythology of southern Europe they 
appear in the early Middle Ages, and are alluded to in 
the romantic Stories of Italy, Spain and France. In 
ancient Erin, the belief in fairies was general, and their 
appearance is described as being <c beautiful miniatures 
of human beings.” 

The fairies and their king and queen appear in early 
mythology, and later on, as Diana and her nymphs. 
Oberon is alluded to in the early French romances, 



in which he is described as a “ tiny creature of great 
beauty, wearing a jewelled crown, and a horn which 
when he blew set all dancing.’’ Their power of making 
themselves invisible when they wished was typical. 

Joan of Arc was charged with frequenting the tree 
and fountain near Dompre, which was the reputed haunt 
of fairies, and with joining in their dances and accepting 
their aid in the cause of delivering her country. 

In the Middle Ages fairies were frequently associated 
with charges of witchcraft, as in the case of Ann Jefferies, 
who was said to have been fed for six months by “ a 
small sort of hairy people called fairies.” According 
to her Statement, “ Six small people, all in green clothes, 
came suddenly over the garden wall one day, when she 
was knitting Stockings,” in a garden at St Teath in Corn¬ 
wall. They threw her into convulsions but endowed 
her with extraordinary powers of healing the sick, which 
eventually led to her being haled before the magistrates 
and committed to Bodmin Gaol for witchcraft. The 
Scottish fairies were not so amiable in charafter from 
accounts given by Scott. They are described as being 
“ diminutive in form, and were to be found in the 
interior of green hills, on the surface of which, the rings 
which mark their moonlight dances may often be seen. 
They are clad in green, heath-brown or grey and are 
fond of riding invisible horses and occasionally real ones 
whom they force to a great speed.” 

The idea of a fairy king and queen is made use of by 
Chaucer, who alludes to the Queen and her land in the 
“ Rime of St Thopas ” and, in the “ Wife of Bathes 
Tale,” as holding her Court with great splendour in the 
time of King Arthur. In the “ Merchante’s Tale ” 


the spirits of evil are mentioned as presiding over the 

“ Proserpine and all her fayrie.” 

Allusion is also made to 

“ Pluto, that is king of fayrie.” 

Oberon is first mentioned in a play written in 1594 
entitled “ The Scottishe Story of James the Fourth slain 
at Flodden, intermixed with a pleasant Comedie pre¬ 
sented by Oberon, King of the Fairies.” 

According to Reginald Scot: “ Fairies do principally 
inhabit the mountains and caverns of the earth, whose 
nature is to make Strange apparitions on the earth, in 
meadows and in mountains, being like men and women, 
souldiers, kings and ladyes, children and horsemen, 
cloathed in green, to which purpose, they do in the night 
Steal hempen Stalks from the fields where they grow, to 
convert them into horses as the Story goes. 

“ Such jocund and facetious spirits are sayd to sport 
themselves in the night, by tumbling and fooling with 
servants and shepherds in country houses, pinching 
them black and blue and leaving bread, butter, and cheese 
sometimes with them, which if they refuse to eat, some 
mischief shall undoubtedly befall them by means of the 

John Webster, another early writer, says : “ In a few 
ages paSt, when Popish ignorance did abound, there 
were in discourse nothing more common (which is 
yet continued among the common people) than of the 
apparition of certain creatures which they call fayries ; 
that were of little Stature and when seen would soon 
vanish and disappear.” 



In his opinion, “ fairies are pigmy creatures which 
really exist in the world, and are and may be Still in 
islands and mountains that are inhabited, and that they 
are not real demons. But that either they were truly of 
human race, endowed with the use of reason and speech, 
or, at least, that they were some kind of little apes 
or satyres, having their secret recesses and holes in the 

Some magicians claimed to be able to summon a fairy 
at will and, in a manuscript of the fifteenth century in the 
Ashmolean Colle&ion, the following method is said 
to be “ An excellent way to get a Fayrie.” iC First get a 
broad square chriStall or Venus glasse, in length and 
breadth 3 inches : then lay that glasse or chryStall in the 
blood of a white Henne, 3 Wednesdays or 3 Fridays, then 
take it out and wash it with Holy Water and fumigate it. 
Then take 3 hazel Sticks or wands of a years growth, 
peel them fayre and white and make them so long as you 
write the spirits or fayries which you call 3 times on every 
Sticke, being made flatt on one side. Then bury them 
under some hill, whereas you suppose fayres haunt, the 
Wednesday before you call her, and the Friday following, 
take them up and call her at 8, 3, and 10 of the clock 
which be good planets and hours, but when you call, be 
of cleane life and turn thy face towards the eaSt, and when 
you have her, bind her to that Stone or glasse.” 

The conception of fairies apparently differed according 
to the character of people and country. They seized on 
the poet’s fancy, and in Shakespeare’s time we have a 
reflection of the common belief in fairies in several of his 

Above all, they captured the imagination of children 



and have survived in Story and the drama to the present 

The good fairy and the bad fairy of the old-fashioned 
pantomime are the perpetuation, for children, of the 
fairies of olden times, and as long as the plays of Shake¬ 
speare live, the mischievous Puck, Robin Goodfellow and 
their kind will delight the hearts of everyone. 

The elf was another small spirit that was supposed to 
inhabit the hills and mountains, and was believed to 
have some approach to human wisdom, being skilled in 
the mechanical arts. Elves appear to have had their origin 
in Scandinavian mythology in the form of the Bergelfen. 

To them Olaus Magnus attributes the “ fairy rings ” 
we now know to be due to a species of fungus. In 
Scotland, triangular flints are called “ elf arrows,” 
from the belief that the elves shoot them at cattle which, 
although their skin remains unbroken, at once fall down 
and die, or recover from their convulsion by being 
touched with the “ elf arrow ” by which they have been 
hit, or by drinking the water in which it has been dipped. 

The term “ elf-locks,” applied to matted hair, comes 
from the idea that the elves might bring misfortune. 
Shakespeare alludes to it in “ Romeo and Juliet ” in the 
lines : 

“ This is that very Mab 
That plats the manes of horses in the night; 

And bakes the elf-locks in foul sluttish hairs, 

Which once entangled much misfortune bodes.” 

Among other freakish afts attributed to elves is that of 
changing children in their cradles and substituting beings 
of their own kind instead, called elfin children. The 
knights of Spenser’s “ Court of Faerie ” were all thus 


born. Stories of this kind are common in Scotland, 
Ireland and in the Isle of Man. 

Waldron, in his “ Description of the Isle of Man,” thus 
describes an elfin changeling whom he visited. He says : 
“ Nothing under heaven could have a more beautiful 
face, but although between 5 and 6 years old and seem¬ 
ingly healthy, he was so far from being able to walk 
or Stand, that he could not so much as move any one 
joint. His limbs were vastly long for his age but smaller 
than an infant of six months, his complexion was per¬ 
fectly delicate and he had the finest hair in the world ; 
he never spoke nor cried, ate scarcely anything, and was 
very seldom seen to smile, but if any one called him 
Fairy-Elf, he would frown and fix his eyes so earnestly 
on those who said it, as if he would look them through.” 

One method of procuring the restoration of the Stolen 
child was to roaSt the suppositious infant on live embers. 

The elf home, according to the prose “ Edda,” is in 
the celestial regions and is the abode of the elves of fight, 
while the elves of darkness five under the earth. 

All the Teutonic nations held these beliefs and the 
romances of chivalry abound with them. In some 
parts of Germany the peasants believe that elves come 
and fie on those they find sleeping on their backs and 
thus produce nightmare. Nightmare has long been 
thought to have been produced by malevolent spirits 
like the incubi, hence the custom of hanging a horseshoe 
over the bed to drive them away. 

“ Familiar spirits,” says Le Loyer, “ were those who 
came at Stated times and could not only converse but were 
visible in various forms they assumed. The Greeks 
called them Paredrii.” 


Socrates is said to have had an attendant spirit of this 
kind, and Sertorius claimed to have trained to obey his 
call, a white fawn which he said was the gift of Diana, who 
thus conveyed to him her revelations. 

The Story of Mohammed’s pigeon—which was said to 
represent the angel Gabriel—that appeared to whisper 
in his ear was a similar myth. 

Scott considered the Scottish brownie to be a descend¬ 
ant of the “ familiars ” of the ancients and it was typical 
of the brownie, that whatever work he performed, he 
would take no reward. 

The black dog of Cornelius Agrippa, which always 
accompanied him, is a later Story of this kind. 

It was believed that “ familiars ” could be bound or 
imprisoned in magical figures and rings, in which the 
magicians of the school of Salamanca and Toledo and 
those of Italy made traffic. 

Heywood says : “ Every magician and witch have a 
familiar spirit given to attend them which are sometimes 
visible in the form of a dog or cat. . . . These kinds of 
familiar spirits are suche as are kept in rings hallowed, 
viols, boxes and caskets.” 

PhiloStratus States : “ Apollonius Tyaneus was never 
without one, and Johannes Jodocus Rosa a citizen 
of Cortacensia, every fifth day, had conference with 
the spirit enclosed in his ring, who he looked upon 
as a counseller and direftor of his affairs. ... It 
learnt him the cure and remedy of all griefs and diseases, 
insomuch that he had the reputation of a learned and 
excellent physician. At length being accused of sorcery 
at Arnhem in Guelderland, he was proscribed, and in the 
year 1548 the Chancellor caused his ring to be layd on an 


anvil in the public market, and with an iron hammer 
beaten to pieces.” 

Paracelsus was believed to carry a “ familiar in a 
Stone set in the hilt of his sword, and he never laid the 
weapon down but placed it by his side in bed. He 
would often get up in the night and Strike it violently 
against the floor.” 

The witch’s “ familiar ” usually took the shape of a 
black cat or toad that followed her about, sat on her 
chair and with which she had converse. 

Butler thus alludes to the Stories of cc familiars ” that 
were supposed to reside in Stones, in the following lines in 
cc Hudibras ”: 

“ BombaStus kept a devil’s bird 
Shut in the pummel of his sword, 

That taught him all the cunning pranks 
Of paSt and future mountebanks. 

Kelly did all his feats upon 
The Devil’s looking-glass, a Stone, 

Where, playing with him at bo-peep, 

He solv’d all problems ne’er so deep. 

Agrippa kept a Stygian pug, 

I’ th’ garb and habit of a dog. 

That was his tutor, and the cur 
Read to th’ occult philosopher.” 

The banshee, the supernatural being so common in 
the legends and Stories of the Celtic races, was the warn¬ 
ing spirit that attached itself to certain families and clans. 

It was generally believed to be the spirit of a woman 
whose destinies had become linked, by some accident, 
with those of the family she followed. She was some¬ 
times young, but usually very old with long, ragged 
locks flowing over her shoulders. She is described as 


being attired in loose, white garments, and her duty was 
to warn the family she attended of approaching death 
or misfortune, by a peculiarly mournful wail at night, 
<c resembling the melancholy sough of the wind but hav¬ 
ing the sound of a human voice, which could be heard 
at a great distance. She was rarely visible and only to 
those whom she attended.” 

The banshee is mentioned in several of the old Irish 
ballads, as in the following : 

“ ’Twas the banshee’s lonely wailing. 

Well I knew the voice of death, 

In the night wind slowly sailing 
O’er the bleak and gloomy heath.” 

Many of the ancient families of Ireland had their banshee 
and, to some, the phantom is Still said to appear before 
the death of any near relative. 

The warning spirit is not confined to Ireland, and 
similar apparitions are said to appear to families in Italy 
and Germany. 

Scott records several instances in Scotland, and says 
that the family of Tullochgorm was haunted by a female 
whose left arm and hand were covered with hair. 

An apparition is supposed to haunt Spedlins CaStle 
near Loch Maben, which is said to be the ghoSt of a 
prisoner once confined in a dungeon who was Starved 
to death. Its visits became so frequent that a clergyman 
was called in to exorcize it. He used an ancient Bible 
as the medium, and after twenty-four hours, according 
to the Story, he was able to confine it to a part of the 
caStle, but its shrieks and groans were Still heard. Some 
years afterwards, the Bible was taken away to be rebound 
c 17 


and at once the spectre renewed its manifestations, which 
did not cease until the volume had been returned to its 
place in the caStle. 

The genius or jinn is supposed to be the spirit who 
attends an individual from the time of his birth, but 
is more frequently to be met with in the legends of the 
EaSt than in those of Western races. 

They were spirits of an inferior kind, and were the 
companions or guardians of men, who prompted them 
to good a&ions or otherwise, for the jinns of the EaSt 
were both good and evil spirits. Those acknowledged 
by the Arabs differed from those of the Persians. The 
genii of “ The Arabian Nights ” were the divs of 
Indian legends adapted by the Persians to their romances. 

The jinns appear to have been the descendants of the 
divs or d£vat£s of Hindu mythology, and were con¬ 
sidered as spiritual agents or superhuman beings. They 
were represented by the Arabs as corporeal beings, 
hairy and sometimes of animal shape. They could 
assume human form, and had the power of disappearing 
and then appearing in another place. They were be¬ 
lieved to live underground, and could therefore affedl 
the earth with evil. On this account the husbandman 
would sprinkle new ploughland with the blood of a 
peace-offering to appease them. 

The Persian div was more of the chara&er and con¬ 
ception of a devil of the Middle Ages and might be 
either male or female. 

The males, according to Persian tradition, were 
entrusted with the ruling of the world for 7000 years 
anterior to the creation of Adam. They were believed 
to be able to assume various forms, especially that of a 



serpent, and are often thus represented in drawings 
illustrating the early Persian romances. 

The divs or daivers of the Hindus were supposed to 
inhabit a world called Daiver—Logum—and are usually 
represented in the Hindu romances as engaged in com¬ 
bating the giants. They formed a numerous host and are 
divided into many classes. 

The word “ devil ” is supposed to have been derived 
from the Persian “ div.” The Hebrew word translated 
in the Old Testament means “ hairy ones ” applied to 

ParkhurSt says: “ It is not unlikely that the Christians 
borrowed their goat-like conception of the devil with 
tail, horns and cloven feet from the representations of 

Sir Thomas Browne remarks, that the Rabbins 
believed the devil to appear most frequently in the form 
of a goat, as that animal was the emblem of the sin 
offering and is the emblem of sinful men at the last 

The Eastern races represented their devil with horns 
and a tail, and often with deformed heads and faces on 
certain parts of the body, such as are depifted in many 
piftures of the Middle Ages. In colour, he is painted a 
blackish-red or brown and black, while Satan was painted 
green. At a later period he is sometimes depi&ed as a 
black cat, but in witchcraft ceremonial he is generally 
described as a great he-goat or ram. 

The incubus was the spirit to which nightmare was 
attributed and was supposed to impose itself on the 
sleeper in the dead of night, and give rise to terrible 
dreams until the viftim could shake it off. Keysler 



States, that Nachmar is derived from Mair, an old 
woman, because the spirit appears to press upon the 
breaSt and impede the adion of the lungs. The English 
and Dutch words coincide with the German, but the 
Swedes use Mara alone. There is a tradition in some 
countries, that “ nightmare is associated with the weird 
women who were not only in the habit of riding on 
men but also on horses, and to keep them out of the 
Stables the peasants used to write the pentalpha on the 
Stable doors in consecrated chalk on Walpurgis Night.” 
The horseshoe was employed for the same purpose, 
and at the present day in some parts of the country, a 
decorated horseshoe is hung over the bed to prevent a 
visitation of nightmare. 

“ Incubi and Succubi,” says an old writer, “ are devils 
taking often times to that end the shape and likeness 
sometimes of men, and sometimes women and commit 
the greatest abominations. St AuguStine said that the 
satyrs and fauns were incubi.” 

The word “ incubus ” is perpetuated and used to-day 
to describe a burden it is difficult to throw off. 

Vampires have fired the imagination of humanity for 
centuries, and the fad that certain animals are capable 
of sucking human blood gave some credence to their 
existence. They are described by ancient writers as, 
“ persons who rise from their graves in the night and suck 
the blood of the living and then return to their graves. 55 

The fad that after the death of certain persons, their 
relatives were often observed to grow pale and thin, 
gave some colour to this belief. 

Hungary, in particular, has been the origin of many 
stories of vampirism and various theories have been 


suggested to account for the curious and weird tales that 
have been told of their exploits. In case of a sus¬ 
pected vampire, the body was disinterred, and if it was 
found to be fresh and full of blood the accusation was 
declared to be true. To put an end to its activities a 
sharp Stake was driven through the heart and the body 
was then burnt. 

In some places, judiciary proceedings were taken 
againSt the gruesome speCtres, and the exhumed bodies 
were examined for the marks of depravity, which con¬ 
sisted chiefly in the flexibility of the limbs and fluidity 
of the blood. 

At length it began to dawn on the minds of the more 
intelligent that the so-called vampires were persons who 
had probably been buried alive. Of the many Stories 
related of vampires, one recorded in the “ Lettres 
Juives,” 1738, which is attested by two officers of the 
Emperor’s troops at Graditz who were eye-witnesses, 
may be taken as an example. 

“ In the beginning of September 1738, a man aged 62, 
died at the village of Kisilova near Graditz. Three days 
after he was buried, he appeared at night to his son and 
demanded food, which the son gave him and he dis¬ 
appeared. The next day the son told the neighbours 
what had happened. The following night but one, the 
father appeared again with the same request. The next 
night the son was found dead in his bed, and five or six 
persons took ill and died in the village in a few days. 
A report was made to the tribunal at Belgrade and two 
officers and an executioner were sent to investigate 
the matter. 

“ They opened the graves of those who had been dead 



six weeks, and when they came to the body of the old 
man they found his eyes open and of good colour, and 
with natural respiration, from which they concluded that 
he was a vampire. The executioner then drove a Stake 
into his heart and the body was burnt to ashes.” 

In the account of another case in the village of Liebaea, 
it is said that the vampire was caught by a peasant who 
watched from the top of the church tower. He felled 
the vampire with a blow on his head and then decapitated 
him with a hatchet. 

Such were the Stories of vampires that were believed 
as late as the eighteenth century. 

Tournefort States, in 1717, that, in the Archipelago, 
the people of the islands firmly believe that those excom¬ 
municated by the Greek Church preserved their bodies 
entire and from putrefaftion after death. He was 
present at the exhumation, impalement and burning of 
a supposed vampire in the island of Mycone, who was 
said to have broken the bones and drained the veins 
of half the inhabitants of the island. 

The goblin, or Robin Goodfellow, was said to be a 
freakish spirit who although he frightened people was 
not an enemy of mankind. Though Shakespeare 
includes him among the fairy followers of Oberon, he 
was more of the phantom type. 

“ Hobgoblins or these kind of spirits,” says a writer 
of the seventeenth century, “are more familiar and 
dome§tical than the others, and abide in one place more 
than another, so that some never depart from some 
particular house, making sundry noises, rumours, mocker¬ 
ies, gawds and jeSts, without doing any harm, and some 
have heard them play on gitterns and Jew’s harps, and 


ring bells and make answer to those that call them, and 
speak with certain signs, laughters and merry gestures 
so that they be feared not at all.” 

The Scottish bogle was a similar frolicsome spirit who 
delighted more in playing tricks than doing harm. 

Drayton alludes to Puck whom he says “ most men call 
hobgoblin,” The antics attributed to the goblins are 
similar to the manifestations of the poltergeist through 
whose agency obje&s were said to be hurled across a 
room, crockery smashed, jugs lifted from the table 
and the contents poured on the floor, and knives, forks 
and spoons projefted through space as if by unseen 

2 3 



M AGIC was intimately connefted with the origin 
of all mythology and also with the ancient creeds 
of philosophy. 

ZoroaSter or ZarathuStra, the founder of what is 
called the Magian religion, is supposed to have lived 
about 1500 b.c., but according to the Zend-AveSta—in 
which his name is mentioned—he probably flourished at 
a much earlier period. 

The fundamental principles of the religion he founded, 
the doftrines of which are described in the Zend-AveSta, 
teach that the world is the centre of the conflift between 
two great powers, good and evil, and that the good 
principle is eternal and will finally prevail over the bad. 

ZoroaSter is said to have been the originator of the 
Magi, but the religion he founded eventually degenerated 
into an idolatrous form of fire worship. 

The Magi, who are believed to have been a distinfl: 
caste of the Medians, can be traced back to about 
591 b.c., and were known as the magicians or wise men. 
They were the disseminators of the wisdom of Zoroaster, 
and were flourishing at the period when Cyrus founded 
the new Persian Empire. They appear to have been an 
order divided into various classes, and became renowned 
for their skill in divining dreams, closely linked with 



which was the Study of astrology—in which they 

They professed a profound knowledge of the mysteries 
of Divination, and for that purpose met and consulted 
in their temples. They claimed to be searchers after 
Truth, for that alone, they claimed, “ could make man 
like God, whose body resembled light and whose soul 
or spirit resembled Truth.” They condemned all 
images and worshipped the sky as representative of the 
Deity. According to Herodotus, they addressed the 
heavenly bodies and elements and sacrificed to the Sun, 
Moon, Earth, Fire, Water and the Winds. 

Both in Egypt and in Greece, it is Sated that the 
sacerdotal fraternity, or association of the initiated 
formed by the mysteries, had generally an important 
influence on State affairs, and in Persia they are said to 
have acquired a complete political ascendancy. The 
sacred religious philosophy and science were in their 
hands and they were healers of the sick in body and in 
mind. About 500 b.c. they were fiercely persecuted 
and many emigrated to Cappadocia and to India. It 
is probable that the migration of the Magi towards the 
WeSt was the cause of the spread of the influence of 
magic to Greece and Arabia. The Biblical references 
to the Wise Men of the EaSt, and their Study and 
knowledge of the Stars, are well known and corroborate 
these Statements. 

The worship of the mysterious Cabiri has been traced 
to the Phoenicians and goes back to a remote period. 

The mysteries of Eleusis and of Bacchus are of a 
comparatively recent date compared with these ancient 
prehistoric rites. 



Some thought that the Cabiri were descended from 
Thoth and Hermes TrismegiStus, but Herodotus calls 
them the “ Sons of Vulcan, and Jupiter is often named 
as their father/’ Other early writers consider that they 
were the ministers of the gods who were deified at their 

It is Stated that the worship of the Cabiri originated in 
Egypt and that the Temple of Memphis w~as consecrated 
to them. In ancient Rome they were apparently 
regarded as the household gods of the people. 

The island of Lemnos was notable for the worship 
of the Cabiri, and Vulcan, as represented by fire; and, 
there, mystical rites were performed over which they 
presided. The coins of the island sometimes bore the 
head of Vulcan, or a Cabirus with the pireus, hammer 
and tongs. 

The mysteries of the Cabiric worship were celebrated 
also at Thebes and especially at the Isle of Samothrace. 

They are said to have taken place at night. The 
candidate for initiation was crowned with a garland of 
olives, and wore a purple band round the loins. He 
was prepared by sacred ceremonies, probably hypnotic, 
and was seated on a brilliantly lighted throne, around 
which the other initiates danced in a myStic measure. 
The general idea represented in these ceremonies, was 
the passage through death to a higher life; and, while 
the outer senses were held in the thrall of hypnotism, 
it is supposed that revelations were made to the priests. 

In the mysterious art of foretelling and the beginnings 
of prophecy, the Oracles played an important part, and 
among these the Oracle of Delphi was celebrated. 

According to tradition, it originated with fumes that 


were found issuing from a cave discovered by Coretas, 
a shepherd. There is no evidence to show whether 
these were of natural origin or not; but the Story 
continues that, on approaching it, the shepherd was seized 
with ecstasy and uttered words which were deemed to be 

A tripod was erefted over the source, and a girl was 
chosen to become the medium of the responses, which 
were believed to be oracular. A bower of laurel 
branches was built over it, and later came the marble 
temple and priesthood of Delphi where the Pythoness 
was seated on her throne. The Oracle is said to have 
prepared herself by drinking from the sacred fountain— 
the water from which was reserved for her only—by 
chewing a laurel leaf and encircling her brow with a 
laurel crown. 

The person who wished to consult the Oracle had first 
to offer a victim, and then, having written a question, to 
hand it to the Pythoness before she ascended the golden 

The Oracle of Delphi is said to have spoken only during 
one month in the year and, at first, only on the seventh 
day of that month—which was deemed the birthday of 

The Oracle of Jupiter Ammon and the locality in 
which it was situated are alike disputed. The temple is 
described by Lucan and other classical writers. The 
image of the god was carried abroad by the priests, and 
is said to have responded not by speech but by nodding. 
The prieSts themselves often expressed ignorance of their 
deity’s meaning, and the replies therefore generally left 
the questioner in considerable uncertainty. 




The Oracle of Jupiter Dodona is said to have issued 
from a tree, recorded by some as an oak and by others 
as a beech. Bells and copper basins were suspended 
from the branches, and clanged and tinkled at the 
slightest breath of wind. A fountain of Strange and 
mysterious virtue issued near the grove, and was said 
to have the power of relighting a glowing torch after it 
had been extinguished. 

The Oracle of Jupiter Trophonius is described 
by Pausanias. Trophonius was regarded as the moSt 
skilful architeft of his day, and tradition States that he 
was swallowed up by an earthquake in the cave which 
afterwards became prophetic. According to Pausanias, 
a deputation from a neighbouring district, where famine 
was rampant, went to consult the Oracle, which they 
could not find until they followed the flight of a swarm 
of bees. The inquirer was obliged to descend into a 
cave, where he remained for a certain number of days 
while he made the propitiatory offerings to the Oracle. 
An intricate ceremonial followed and the entrails of the 
viftims were inspected in order to learn whether Tropho¬ 
nius was in a fit humour to be consulted or not. The 
responses were said to be given sometimes in a vision, 
and at others by words. There was only a single instance 
of anyone who descended to the cave failing to return, 
and that one deserved his fate, for his objeft was to 
discover treasure, and not to consult the Oracle. “ I 
write,” says Pausanias, “ not only from hearsay but 
from what I have seen occur to others, and which I 
myself experienced when I went to consult Trophonius.” 

The Oracles of Delos and Branchis also had a high 
reputation. The responses were given by a prieStess, 


three days after consultation, and who then sat on an 
axle or bar with a charming-rod in her hand, inhaling 
the Steam from a hot spring. Offerings and ceremonies 
were necessary to render the inspiration effectual, in¬ 
cluding baths, faSting and solitude. 

At Clarus, near Colophon, was the Oracle of the 
Clarian Apollo, which was delivered by a prieSt selefled 
for the moSt part from a Milesian family, who prophesied 
after drinking the water which gushed forth from a 
spring and was believed to give insight into futurity. 
The water was only allowed to be drunk after arduous 
spiritual exercises. 

The Egyptian Oracles were also famous, and that at 
Amphiaraus, near Thebes, was perhaps the most re¬ 
nowned. Oracular dreams were supposed to visit those 
who slept on the skins of rams that had been sacrificed 
and the prieSts were the interpreters. No rite was per¬ 
formed in the fountain belonging to this establishment, 
nor was it used for lustrations, but its waters were an un¬ 
failing source of profit. All who were satisfied with the 
Oracle’s prescription threw a piece of gold into the 
consecrated spring before their departure. 

Auguries exercised a powerful influence on the minds 
of communities in early times. The Augurs are thought 
by some to have originated in Etruria (though it is 
possible that they go back to a much earlier period), 
and were four in number. 

Although originally of the patrician class, at a later 
period the plebeians had representatives in the College, 
and the number of Augurs was increased to nine. On 
their first institution they were probably chosen from the 
College of PrieSts, but their eleftion underwent several 



modifications. Cicero States that, in the early days of the 
Republic, it was customary to send six sons of the most 
eminent patricians to Etruria to be educated in the 
discipline of Augury, by means of which they were able to 
penetrate the mysteries of the future. It was a priest¬ 
hood that continued for life, and so great was its dignity 
that no crime, however atrocious and however clearly 
proved, could lead to deprivation. The chief Augur 
was called the magi Her collegii , and the duties of the 
priesthood enjoined the public interpretation of the 
sovereign will of Jove, to attend to signs and auspices 
and to anticipate the anger of the gods. Among other 
duties, they had to superintend sacrifices and to de¬ 
clare what vi&ims, rites and prayers were necessary for 
expiation. The ceremonies at magisterial elections were 
referred to their judgment, and they could invalidate or 
confirm the appointments not only of minor officials, 
but also of prastors, consuls and even dictators. Peace 
or war was resolved upon, according to their responses, 
and they exercised a control over the public mind which 
was without appeal. 

The costume of an Augur consisted of a robe Striped 
with purple or scarlet, or a double cloak and a cap of 
conical shape. He carried a smooth Staff, the head of 
which was curved like an episcopal crosier. This 
Staff was his special badge. Its use was to mark out 
and distribute the several parts of the visible heaven 
into different houses, and to assign precise imaginary 
limits to the quarters which he referred to right and 

So arrayed, the Augur would proceed to some elevated 
spot, and, having sacrificed, he either himself uttered a 


prayer or repeated the prescribed formulary. According 
to some authors, he turned his face to the eaft so that 
the south was on his right and the north on his left. He 
then divided the heavens into four parts, named the 
Weft Antica, the Eaft Poftica, the North Siniftra and the 
South Dextra. With eyes intent upon the sky, and 
amid the solemn silence of the crowd that surrounded 
him, he waited until some bird appeared, carefully noting 
down the spot from which it rose, the course it took, 
its upward or downward flight and the point at which 
it disappeared. It was not enough that a single augury 
should be seen, it was necessary to confirm it. If on 
passing from the hill or elevated spot, after the reception 
of an augury, the prieft came to any water, he would 
ftoop down and take some in the palm of his hand, and 
pray that the augury might continue firm, as water was 
supposed to interfere with its efficacy. 

Such appears to have been the earlieft form of augury, 
as practised by the Romans. The procedure differed 
among other peoples. The Persians and Greeks appear 
to have made auguries from thunder and lightning ; 
others judged from the flight of birds. Thus, if an eagle 
were seen on outftretched wings, it predicted prosperity ; 
cranes, if they were diverted from their flight and turned 
backward by a ftorm, were regarded as a sign of woe to 
mariners; swallows were regarded as precursors of 
misfortune. Auguries were also derived from animals, 
and even swarms of bees and locufts were regarded for 
this purpose. 

Omens for good and ill, when once believed in, had 
a ftrong effedf on the mind. Birds played an important 
part in the auguries, and crows in particular ; they were 



sometimes a good omen, but when seen plucking their 
own feathers they portended ill. 

The Greeks regarded a sneeze in the morning as an 
omen that the business of the day would be bad ; if it 
occurred at noon, the omen was a fortunate one; if a 
person were to sneeze after dinner, a dish had to be 
brought back and taSted to avert misfortune that other¬ 
wise was believed to be certain. 

3 2 



W E owe our knowledge of the magical praftices 
and demonology of the Assyrians and Babylon¬ 
ians to the clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform of 
the time of Assurbanipal which have been translated 
by R. Campbell Thompson and others. They are 
believed to be copies of others of a much earlier period, 
and which probably dated back six or seven thousand 

These ancient records show the general belief in magic 
and the part it played in the life of the people. 

From the Story of Gilgamish which has come down to 
us, it is evident that they practised sorcery and prognosti¬ 
cation. Gilgamish appealed to the god Nergal to restore 
his friend Ea-bani to him, and the god opened the earth 
and the utakku or speCtre of Ea-bani rose up. As they 
believed that disease was caused by the entrance of 
demons into the body, it is natural that magic should 
enter into their treatment of the sick. 

The objeCt of the magical texts was to enable the 
prieSt-magician to control or exorcize the demons, or 
to counteract their malign influence. To do this it was 
important that the evil spirit which affeCted the sick 
person should be mentioned by name, so that we find 
in the tablets long lists of the names of demons or evil 

D 33 


spirits, such as the ghoSts of the dead who wandered 
over the earth. 

To heal his suffering, the sick man had recourse to the 
magician who by his knowledge of magical words, 
incantations and prayers could invoke the aid of the great 
gods to gain control of the demon. Frequent mention 
is made in the incantations of the fumigation, which 
shows the importance attached to this rite, as for example: 

“ Come, my sorceress or enchantress. 

Over a nulukhkha-plant shalt thou recite, 

Upon the fumigation bowl which is at the head of the bed 
shalt thou place it, and with an upper garment shalt thou 
envelop the bed.” 

This was accompanied by offerings of various kinds, 
mention being made of honey, butter, dates, garlic, 
corn-flowers, plants, pieces of wood, palm spathes, sheep¬ 
skin, wool and fragments of gold and precious Stones. 
These were generally destroyed by fire, indicating the 
sympathetic connexion between the deStruftion of the 
ban and that of the objeft. 

In the magical ceremonial of the Babylonians the 
recital of the incantation was generally accompanied by 
the burning of incense. Thus : 

“ A censer of incense before the god --shalt thou set,” 

which is the formula usually employed. 

After the formula, in which the suppliant Stated his 
name, mention is often made of “ Prayers of the lifting 
of the hand ” which accompanied the performance of 
certain rites and ceremonies, when a prayer was delivered 
after an eclipse of the moon. 

The rite of the “ knotted cord ” frequently accom¬ 
panied the “ Prayers of the lifting of the hand, 5 ’ and 



when the priest-magician loosened the knot certain words 
were to be uttered. The god or goddess muSt then 
be propitiated by gifts, before the suppliant made his 
appeal, the altar being loaded with the offerings and the 
censers lighted before the words of the incantation could 
take effeft. 

The following text of a prayer to Tasmitu is an instance 
of the formula employed : 

“ I- S on of-whose god is-whose goddess is- 

In the evil of an eclipse of the moon- 

May the sickness of my body be torn away ; may groaning of my 
flesh be consumed ! 

May the consumption of my muscles be removed ! 

May the poisons that are upon me be loosened ! ” 

In the pradfice of magic three things were essential in 
exorcism. First, the “ word of power ” by means of 
which the magician invoked divine or supernatural aid; 
secondly, the name or descripdon of the person or 
demon he was working against; thirdly, charms, amulets 
or figures of wax or clay to help him, and sometimes 
hair or nail parings were employed, At a later period 
magical names were used as the “ words of power.” 1 

The Assyrians had a special demonology and believed 
that the soul could return to earth after the death of the 
body. They recognized several diStindf classes of spirits, 
including the disembodied human soul which wandered 
over the face of the earth ; those which were regarded as 
partly human and partly demon, and the demons or 

The sorcerer was called the “ Raiser of the departed 

1<f The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia,” by R. Campbeh 
Thompson, M.A. London, 1903. 



spirit,” while the magician’s art appears to have been 
chiefly praftised in the form of sympathetic magic or 
the transferring of a spiritual power into some objeft 
under his control. 

The moSt primitive form employed was the wax or 
clay figure previously mentioned. After this had been 
modelled in the likeness of an enemy with incantations, 
nails or thorns were Stuck into it, or it was allowed to 
melt before a fire so that the human counterpart might 
suffer similar torment. 

The prevalence of this praftice in antiquity is remark¬ 

The Egyptians employed it at a very early period and 
the Jews probably adopted it from them. An allusion 
to it occurs in the following text: 

“ If thou wisheSt to cause anyone to perish, take clay 
from two river banks and make an image therewith, 
write upon it the man’s name, then take 7 Stalks from 7 
date trees and make a bow with horse hair; set up the 
image in a convenient place. Stretch thy bow, shoot the 
Stalks at it and with every one say the prescribed words, 
adding £ Destroyed be-son of --.’ ” 

The image or figure was also used in the inverse way 
and was employed by a sick man to drive out a disease- 
demon that possessed him. A figure of the ailing one was 
made in wax, clay or dough, and with the proper charms 
the magician tried to induce the demon to leave the body 
of the sick man and enter his counterpart. 

When an Assyrian thought himself bewitched or laid 
under a spell, he would seek a magician and beseech 
him for counter charms and incantations against the 
person who had bewitched him. 



If a man was attacked by a ghoSt, he had to be anointed 
with various substances so that the “ hand of the ghoSt ” 
should be removed. There are several methods recorded 
in the texts for “ laying a ghoSt,” and the following 
is one for “ the ghoSt that walks at night and comes to the 

“ When a dead man appeareth unto a living man— 
thou shalt make a figure of clay and write his name on 
the left side with a stylus ; thou shalt put it into a 
gazelle’s horn and its face—and in the shade of a caper 
bush or in the shade of a thorn bush, thou shalt dig 
a hole and bury it.” 

The demons or spirits of evil were those generally 
dealt with by the magician, and many incantations are 
recorded that were to be employed to counteract their 

One of these, called Alu, was believed to hide in 
caverns and ruins and deserted buildings, which even 
at that early period appear to have been regarded as the 
haunt of ghoSts. He is described as being “ horrible in 
appearance, half human and sometimes without mouth, 
ears or limbs.” 

Another was Lilu, Lilitu or Ardat Lili, who is thought 
to be the Lilith of Hebrew traditions, and whose name 
is frequently mentioned in the Rabbinical legends. She 
appears to have been the restless spirit of a woman, half 
human, who wandered over the earth. 

The association of ruined and deserted buildings with 
ghoSts and speClres appears to have been universal and 
is met with in legends and Stories from the earliest times. 

It is thus referred to in an Assyrian text: 

“ O thou that dwelleth in ruins, get thee to thy ruins.” 



During the ceremonial, the Babylonian magician some¬ 
times sprinkled water over a person who was believed 
to be possessed by an evil spirit, thus symbolizing the 
cleansing of the man from the spell. Meteoric iron, 
which was regarded as a gift from the gods, was used 
as a charm or amulet. 

“ Take thou the potent meteorite of heaven. 

Which by the roar of its awful might removeth all evils. 

Place the tamarisk 

The mighty weapon.” 

A branch of tamarisk was carried by the magician 
in his hand during the exorcism, probably because it 
was believed to contain the emanation of the tree-spirit 
which was supposed to live in the sacred tamarisk tree. 
It was thought to be all-powerful over the evil demons 
that inhabited the trees, as the following text shows : 

<£ These evil ones will be put to flight. 

The tamarisk the powerful weapon of Anu 
In my hands I hold.” 

The tamarisk was cut with certain ceremonies with a 
golden axe and silver knife according to a Babylonian 
incantation : 

“ Let a wise and cunning coppersmith 
Take an axe of gold (?) and a silver pruning knife 
Unto a grove undefiled ; 

(Let him carve) a hulduppi of tamarisk, 

Touch it with the axe.” 

Water was employed in exorcism, as instanced in 
the text: 

“ I am the sorcerer, prieSt of (Ea), 

I am the magician of Eridu. 

When I sprinkle the water of Ea on the sick man, 

When I subdue the sick man ...” 



Further allusions to the use of fire and water are made 
in another text as follows : 

“ Perform the incantation of Eridu, 

Bring unto him a censer and a torch. 

With the purest water wash him 

And cleanse and purify the king, the son of his god. 

Evil spirit, evil demon, evil ghoSt, evil devil, 

Evil god, evil fiend, 

Into the (house) may they not enter,” 

The use of the mystical number seven had both a good 
and evil significance, and there are many references to it 
in the Assyrian magical texts : thus, in an incantation : 

“ By the seven gates of the earth maySt thou be exorcized. 

By the seven bolts of the earth maySt thou be exorcized.” 

Then there were the “ seven evil spirits 55 that wrought 
mischief on the earth : 

“ Those seven evil gods, death dealing without fear. 

Those seven evil gods rushing on like a flood.” 

AgainSt them this incantation was to be said : 

“ Seven gods of the broad earth. 

Seven robber gods are they, 

Seven gods of night, Seven evil gods. Seven evil demons. 
Seven evil demons of oppression, Seven in heaven and 
seven on earth.” 

They apparently belonged to the class of inhuman 
spirits and are thus described in another Assyrian text: 

“ They creep like a snake on their bellies. 

They make the chamber to Stink like mice. 

They give tongue like a pack of hounds.” 

It was they who rode on the Storm clouds bringing 



devastation in their train, and they brought tempests, 
hurricanes, unreSt and disorder into the world. 

“ These seven are the messengers of Anu the king, 
Bearing gloom from city to city ; 

Tempests that furiously scour the heavens. 

Dense clouds that over the sky bring gloom/’ 

In the book of the Revelation it is Beliar who sends 
seven spirits against man and the seven angels who 
brought the seven plagues. A further allusion to this 
number occurs in an Assyrian poem : 

“ Seven gods of might. 

Seven evil gods, 

Seven evil demons. 

Seven evil demons of oppression, 

Seven in earth and seven in heaven— 

Seven are they, Seven are they ! 

In the ocean deep. Seven are they ! ” 

At a later period the seven spirits are again mentioned 
in Syriac magic thus : 

“ Evil are they, Evil are they. 

Seven are they. Seven are they. 

Twice Seven are they.” 

Namtaru, the plague god of the Assyrians, seems to 
have been of the half-human and half-supernatural 
type, and there was also Ura, another demon that 
brought plague and pestilence. In an incantation 
addressed to the god, the prieSt-magician is airefted 
to make a figure of the person suffering, in dough, so 
that the plague god may be induced to leave the man 
he is tormenting and enter the image. It begins : 



“ O Plague god that devoureth the land like fire. 

Plague god that attacketh the man like fever. 

Plague god that roameth like the wind over the desert, 
Plague god that seizeth on the man like an evil thing.” 

Another method of expelling the plague demon is 
thus direded : 

“ Lay a sprig of mashtakal on his heart. 

With the water perform the incantation of Eridu, 

Bring unto him a censer, a torch, 

That the plague demon that refteth in the body of man, 
Like the water, may trickle away. 

• • • • • * 

Pull off a piece of clay from the deep, 

Fashion a figure of his bodily form and 
Place it on the loins of the sick man by night; 

At dawn make the atonement for his body. 

Perform the incantation of Eridu, 

Turn his face to the weft, 

That the evil plague demon which hath seized upon him 
may vanish away from him.” 

The Assyrians hung clay amulets over the doors 
of their dwellings to proted them from spirits that 
worked evil and harm, and in the British Museum there 
are two tablets inscribed with the legend of Ura the 
plague demon, which were probably used to prevent 
his entrance into the house. 

The “ evil eye 55 was a source of terror to the 
Assyrians, and frequent references are made to it in 
the incantations. 

One of these reads : 

“ The roving evil eye hath looked on the neighbourhood and 
vanished afar.” 



And another: 

C£ Thou man, son of his god. 

The eye which hath looked upon thee for harm. 

The eye which hath looked upon thee for evil.’ , 

The belief Still persists in Palestine that the “ evil 
eye ” can throw down a house, break a plough, cause 
sickness and even destroy a person, an animal or a plant. 
Charms in the shape of an eye are carried on the person, 
camels are protefted by hanging a holed-Stone around 
their necks, and horses by fastening blue beads on their 
manes and tails. 

The use of a knotted cord as a charm woven by a 
“ wise woman ” is thus alluded to : 

“ Hath seated the wise woman on a couch. 

That she may spin white and black wool into a double cord, 

A Strong cord, a mighty cord, a twi-coloured cord on a spindle, 
A cord to overcome the Ban.” 

After performing the incantation of Eridu, a “ three¬ 
fold cord on which twice seven knots were tied ” and 
fastened round the head, was believed to cure headache. 
For persons suffering from ophthalmia, a black-and-white 
cord on which “ twice seven knots were tied,” while 
repeating the incantation, was said to relieve them of 
their trouble. The idea of the magician was thus to 
compel the demon to leave the body and enter into 
something which would give him control over it and 
which he could destroy. 

Certain odours were believed to have an attraction 
for demons and the smell of newly-shed blood delighted 
devils or the odour of burnt fat attrafted evil spirits. 
Devils could be expelled by a repulsive odour, while 

4 * 


good spirits were propitiated by sweet-smelling per¬ 

A general incantation, potent against evil spirits 
that afflift man and cause disease, reads as follows : 

“ Sickness of the head, of the teeth, of the heart, heartache. 
Sickness of the eye, fever, poison, 

Evil spirit, evil demon, evil ghoSt, evil devil, evil god, evil fiend, 
Hag demon, ghoul, robber sprite, 

Phantom of night, night wraith, handmaiden of the phantom. 
Evil pestilence, noisome fever, baneful sickness. 

Pain, sorcery or any evil, 

Headache, shivering, 

Evil spell, witchcraft, sorcery. 

Enchantment and all evil, 

From the house go forth 

Unto the man, the son of his god come not into. 

Get thee hence 1 ” 

Love charms were sometimes made from the brain 
of the hoopoe mixed into a cake, or a magic wick 
was formed inscribed with invocations and burnt in 
a lamp. The bones of a frog if buried for seven days 
and then exhumed would when thrown into water 
indicate love or hate. If they sank it indicated hate; 
if they floated they were believed to signify love. 

The demons were believed to dwell in the underworld 
of the god Bel, whence they came forth to sei2e on man 
or work evil in his house if they could gain entrance. 
The following charm hung over the door was supposed 
to drive them away : 

“ Fleabane (pyrethrum) on the lintel of the door I have hung, 

St John’s wort, caper and wheat ears, 

On the latch I have hung 
With a halter as a roving ass.” 



The peasants in the diStrift of the Landes in France 
Still hang crosses of St John’s wort over the doors of 
their cottages to keep away evil spirits. 

The custom of taboo which is Still believed in and 
practised by barbaric races exercised a powerful influence 
in ancient times. 

The idea had a twofold a&ion, first in the primary 
danger to the person who originally incurs the taboo 
by his aftion ; and secondly, the contagious ban to which 
anyone may become liable from communication with 
a tabooed person or thing belonging to them. 

The penalty for the violation of a taboo was either 
civil or religious. The religious penalty inflifted by 
the offended spirits usually took the form of some 
disease, and the offender died owing to the emissary 
having entered into him and devoured his vitals. 

There were taboos on the dead, on women in certain 
conditions and other prohibited things. Among the 
Israelites all who were unclean through the dead were 
put outside the camp. 

There was a special taboo on kings and certain afts 
from which the king muSt abstain. Thus, on certain 
days of the month, he muSt not change his raiment, 
neither ride forth in his chariot nor lay his hand on the 

From these ancient records of the Babylonians and 
Assyrians we know that the belief in the “ evil eye ” 
existed among them, and that the wax figure or image 
was employed in their magical ceremonies over five 
thousand years ago. 

From a Stamp or seal recently excavated at Ur of the 
Chaldees, we now have evidence that there was a cultural 



connexion between Mesopotamia and India in the 
early Sumerian period before 3000 b.c. 

Thus many of the magical praftices of these ancient 
peoples were carried to the Far East; they survived 
among the Jews and in Syria, and later became part of 
the magic practised in Europe. 




T HE earliest records of magic among the ancient 
Egyptians show that it was recognized and practised 
as far back as the fourth dynasty. With them, 
as among the Babylonians, magic began with the gods, 
the great workers of wonders. Thus some of their 
greatest deities were associated with magic, like Thoth 
who endowed men with wisdom and learning, and 
Isis who worked enchantments and spells. 

“ From the Egyptian point of view,” says Gardiner, 
“ there was no such thing as religion, there was only 
hike , the nearest English equivalent of which is magical 

They believed that magic emanated from the gods. 
Thoth was considered the moSt powerful magician and 
from him arose the fame of Hermes TrismegiStus. 
Horus was credited with magical powers, and Isis was 
regarded as a great enchantress, as evidenced in the 
following incantation: 

“ O Isis great enchantress, free me, release me from 
all evil red things, from the fever of the god and the 
fever of the goddess. From death, and death from 
pain, and the pain that comes over me; as thou hast 
freed, as thou haSt released thy son Horus, whilst I 
enter into the fire and go forth from the water.” 



In the Story of the healing of a child who had been 
bitten by a scorpion, by Isis, the goddess cries : 

“ Come to me, Come to me ! for my word is a talis¬ 
man which beareth life. I will do away the evil by means 
of the word of my mouth which my father hath taught 

In order to bring back the spirit of the child to its 
body, she lays her hands upon him and says : 

“ Come Tefen, appear upon the ground, depart hence, come not 
nigh ! ” 

Come poison of Befen, appear upon the ground. 

I am Isis, the goddess, the lady of words of power, who doeth 
deeds of magic, the words of whose voice are charms. 

Obey me, O every reptile that Stingeth and fall down headlong ! 

O poison of (MeStet) MeStetef, mount not upwards ! 

O poison of Petet and Thetet, draw up nigh, 

O Metet, fall down headlong.” 

Isis then uttered certain words of the charm which 
had been given to her by the god Sebin in order to keep 
poison away from her, and said, “ Turn away, get away, 
retreat, O poison ! ” 

According to a papyrus written in the time of Ameno- 
phis III over 1000 years after the reign of Cheops, “ some 
rites were found at nightfall in the forecourt of the 
Temple of Coptos as a secret of this goddess (Isis) by 
a leflor of that fane ; the earth was in darkness, but the 
moon shone upon this book illuminating it on every 

The pyramid texts of Unas State, that a book with 
words of magical power was buried with him, about 
3500 B.C. 

The Egyptians aimed at being able to command their 



deities to work for them and to appear at desire. These 
results were to be obtained by the use of certain words or 
formulas uttered by a trained man who praftised magic, or 
the words were inscribed on papyrus or precious Stones 
and carried on the person. This pradice became so 
general, that it is little wonder the Egyptians at a very 
early period came to be regarded as a nation of magicians. 

Moses apparently acquired his knowledge of magical 
practices from the Egyptians, as it is recorded in the 
Old Testament that he was “ learned in all the wisdom 
of the Egyptians and mighty in words and in deeds.” 
The Story of the brazen serpent, and the power to control 
and dired the movements of such venomous reptiles, are 
ads that were doubtless known to the Egyptians in those 
days. Lane mentions, that the native magicians he met 
with had a method of hypnotizing a viper by compressing 
its head and making it appear like a rod. 

A papyrus of the Ptolemaic period records the Story 
of a prince called Setnau Kha-em-uaSt, who was learned 
in magic and the powers of amulets and talismans and 
had a library of magical books. One day when he was 
talking, one of the king’s wise men laughed at his 
remarks, and Setnau said, “ If thou wouldSt read a book 
possessed of magical powers, come with me and I will 
show it to thee. The book was written by Thoth him¬ 
self, and in it there are two formulas. The recital of 
the first will enchant (bewitch) heaven, earth, hell, sea 
and mountains, and by it thou shalt see all the birds, 
reptiles and fish, for its power will bring the fish to the 
top of the water. The second will enable a man, if he 
be in the tomb, to take the form which he had upon 



Later on, Setnau set out with his brother to seek the 
book, which was said to be in the tomb of Ptah-nefer- 
ka at Memphis. 

On their arrival, Setnau recited some words over the 
tomb and the earth opened, and they went down to the 
place and found the book. 

The tomb was brilliantly illuminated by the light from 
the book, and they saw Ptah-nefer-ka and his wife and 
their son. Setnau said he had 
come to take away the book, 
but Ahura the wife, begged 
him not to do so, and related 
the terrible misfortunes that 
had happened since it had been 
in their possession. On Setnau 
pressing his request, Ptah- 
nefer-ka proposed that they 
should play a game of draughts 
and the winner should have the 
book. Setnau won, and by 
means of his talismans flew up a magical figure 

to heaven with the book in his <Pr °” a 
grasp. These ancient legends 

are interesting, as they point to the assumption that 
there were books on magic, now unknown, written at a 
period of remote antiquity. 

Like the Egyptian magicians, both Moses and Aaron 
employed a rod to perform their wonders, as it is recorded 
that when Moses Stretched out his rod, there was “ hail 
and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous,” and also 
when the locuSts came at his command. 

The Egyptians had an all-prevailing faith in magic. 

E 49 


It exerted a powerful influence over the life of the 
people, and was invoked in all questions of life, death, 
love, hatred, health and disease. It was closely inter¬ 
woven with both religion and medicine and was so 
practised by the priests in the temples. 

Disease was believed to be caused by evil spirits that 
entered the body, and to effeft a cure they had to be 
expelled. Thus magic formed part of their medical 
treatment, and the sick came or were brought to the 
temples to be healed either by incantations, drugs or 

The priest-magician had first to discover the nature 
of the disease and the name of the possessing demon, 
after which, he exercised his magic functions to rid the 
patient of the intruder. 

“ He who treats the sick muSt be expert in magic, 
learned in the proper incantations and know how to make 
amulets to control disease.” He used physical as well 
as psychical therapeutics. There were invocations and 
impressive ritual, all of which would probably have their 
effects in cases of psycho-neurosis. 

Incubation sleep in the temples was resorted to in some 
diseases, suggestive intimations being given by the deity 
during natural or drug-produced dreams, and interpreted 
by the prieSt-magician. Suggestions received during 
dreams were found to have achieved their purpose, when 
the sufferer woke and declared himself healed by the 

Magical rites could apparently be performed at any 
time, but certain rules had to be observed and the 
magician was enjoined always to Stand with his “ face 
to the eaSt.” In one spell it is mentioned that it had 


to be recited “ at eventide, when the sun was setting,” 
and in another, seven knots were to be tied, one in the 
morning, another in the evening, and so on, until the 
seven knots were complete. 

It was regarded as essential that the priest-magician 
should be pure in life, and secrecy in his practices was 
imperative. There are warnings in connexion with 
them, that “ certain things were not to be looked at.” 

The Egyptian medical papyri abound with incanta¬ 
tions, but a difference is made between the incantation 
and the remedy, and apparently the physician might be 
a layman while the magician was a prieSt. 

The drugs themselves were supposed to possess 
magical power, as evidenced in the following from the 
Papyrus Ebers : 

“ The magic of Horus is victorious in the remedy.” 

“ The physician practised his art by the book, 
mechanically, while the prieSt a<ffed through religious 
feeling,” says Maspero. 

There does not appear to have been any common 
word for magician, but the “ ledtor prieSt ” is specially 
mentioned as being empowered to perform cures, as 
having discovered incantations, and as one endowed 
with prophecy. 

The employment of images and figures played an im¬ 
portant part in Egyptian magic. These figures were not 
immediately potent in themselves, but had to be charged 
with magical power, and so the oral rite was first recited 
over them to ensure their efficacy. Sometimes drawings 
on papyrus or other material were similarly treated, or 
the figures of the gods invoked were inscribed on the 

5 * 


patient’s hand and licked off. Magical charms or 
amulets were generally attached to the person, as con¬ 
tact was considered necessary in order to make them 
effective. Spells were sometimes fastened to the left 
foot, but the neck was usually chosen for the amulets, 
and the String on which they were suspended was 
generally tied with seven magical knots. 

The idea that drawings of deities, after “ words of 
power ” had been recited over them, would have magical 
effefts is instanced in the “ Book of the Dead,” which was 
to be said after the deceased person had been cleansed 
and purified. The text reads : “ When he is arrayed in 
apparel and is shod with white leather sandals, and his 
eyes have been painted with antimony, and his body 
has been anointed with ANTI unguent, and when he 
hath made offerings of oxen and birds and incense, and 
cakes and ale, and garden herbs. And behold thou 
shalt paint a pi&ure of what shall happen in the Hall of 
Maati upon a new tile, moulded from earth upon which 
neither a pig nor any other animal hath trodden, and if 
thou writeSt upon it this chapter, the deceased shall 
flourish and his children shall flourish, and his name 
shall never fall into oblivion.” 

The Egyptians believed that it was possible to transfer 
to a wax or clay figure of a man, woman or animal the 
soul of the being it represented, together with its 
qualities and attributes ; and this form of magic was 
praftised from the fourth to the twentieth dynasty. 

One of the earliest records of the praftice is related 
in the WeStcar papyrus of an event which happened in the 
time of Neb-ka, who reigned about 3830 b.c. 

While this king was visiting one of his high officials 

5 * 


named Aba-aner, the wife of the latter fell desperately in 
love with one of the king’s soldiers. Aba-aner, on being 
informed of his wife’s infatuation, took a quantity of 
wax and made a model of a crocodile seven spans long; 
then reciting magical words over it said, “ When the 
man cometh down to bathe in my waters thou shalt seize 
him.” He then told his servant, when the soldier came 
to bathe, to caSt the crocodile into the water after him. 
This was done and the wax crocodile Straightway turned 
into a living crocodile seven cubits long (about 12 feet) 
and seized upon the man and dragged him down under 
the water. For seven days, according to the Story, 
the man remained in the depth of the water. 

On the seventh day Aba-aner went out to walk with 
the king, and invited him to come and see a wonderful 
thing that had happened to a man. On coming to the 
water, Aba-aner adjured the crocodile saying, “ Bring 
hither the man,” and the crocodile came out of the water 
bringing the man with him. Aba-aner took it up and 
it at once became a wax crocodile again. Then he told 
the king of the unfaithfulness of his wife with the soldier 
whom the crocodile had brought out of the water, where¬ 
upon the king said, “ Take that which is thine and be¬ 
gone,” and immediately the crocodile seized the man 
and sprang into the water and disappeared. 

This curious Story is interesting, as it shows that wax 
figures were used for magical purposes in Egypt at least 
5 000 years ago, and probably even before that early period. 

Another allusion to this method of working magic 
occurs in an account of a conspiracy against Rameses 
III, King of Egypt, ca. 1200 b.c. Not content with 
fomenting a revolt among the soldiers and a revolu- 



tion among the people, a high official called Hui went 
to some person who had access to the Royal library, 
and got from him a book on magic with recipes for 
working magic, from which he is said to have obtained 
“ Divine Power,” and through it was able to cast spells. 
He made figures of men in wax, and amulets inscribed 
with “ words of power ” to provoke love, and intro¬ 
duced them into the Royal Palace. Hui is said to have 
found means of carrying out “ horrible things and all 
the wickedness which his heart could imagine by his 
magic.” He made gods of wax and figures of men, 
which would cause the persons whom they represented 
to become paralysed and helpless. From this narrative 
it would appear that books on magic existed in the 
Royal Library of Rameses III. 

More than one of the Kings of Egypt practised magic 
and, among them, the most famous according to tradi¬ 
tion was Neftanebus, the last native king of Egypt, 
who reigned about 358 b.c. 

He is said to have been profoundly learned in astrology, 
in the interpretation of omens, in casting horoscopes 
and in magical practices. It is recorded that he was 
able “ to rule all kings by his magical powers,” and by 
means of a bowl of water, in which he placed wax 
models of the ships and men of his enemies, he destroyed 
their power. Having put the models of his own 
ships and men on the water, he would place those 
representing his enemies opposite to them; then, 
having robed himself in an Egyptian prophet’s cloak, 
he would take an ebony wand, and pronounce “ words 
of power ” and invoke the gods to come to his aid. 

After this, we are told, “the figures of the men in 



wax would come to life, and the ships begin to engage 
in battle. He contrived that the models representing 
his own navy should vanquish the enemy and sink 
their ships to the bottom of the bowl, as did his real 
ships sink the enemy’s vessels on the sea. Thus Nec- 
tanebus fought his battles by aid of magical art.” 

He is also credited with the knowledge of being able 
to cause dreams, by extracting the juice of certain herbs, 
which he poured over the wax figure of the person who 
was to dream. 

According to Abu-Shaker, an Arab of the thirteenth 
century, Aristotle presented Alexander the Great with 
several wax figures nailed down in a box that was 
fastened by a chain, which was never to leave his hand. 
He was to take the box wherever he went and recite 
certain formulas over it, when he took it up or put it 
down. The figures were intended to represent the 
enemies likely to be opposed to him. Some of them 
had lead swords and others spears or bows, and were 
laid face downwards in the box. 

This curious Story of a military talisman is interesting, 
especially in connexion with that related of Neftanebus. 

The image or figure also plays a part in many Egyptian 
charms, and the following, to enable a person to receive 
an oracular revelation in a dream, is thus recorded in 
an early papyrus : 

“ Take of the inner leaves of laurel 28, and virgin 
earth and wormwood seeds, flour, and the herb cyno- 
cephalium; and I have heard from a certain Hera- 
cleopolite that he takes of the leaves of an olive tree 
lately sprouted 28. It is carried by a chaSte boy and 
ground up with the materials and mixed with the white 



of an ibis’s egg. And take the image of the cloaked 
Hermes and let Hermes hold the herald’s wand, and 
write the spell upon a sheet of hieratic paper or on the 
windpipe of a goose, and insert it into the figure for 
the purpose of inflation. When you wish for an 
oracular response, take the paper and write the spell 
upon it, and having cut off a hair from your head, wrap 
it up in the paper and tie it with a Phoenician knot, 
and place it outside an olive branch and put it at the 
feet of the image. Let the figure lie in a shrine of lime- 
wood, and when you wish for an oracular response, 
place the shrine with the god at your head and invoke, 
offering frankincense upon an altar, and some earth from 
a place where corn grows, and one lump of sal ammoniac. 
Let it lie at your head and lie down to sleep.” 

In the magical papyri translated by Chabas there are 
several formulas recorded for preservation from attacks 
of sea and river monsters, of which the following is 
an example : 

“ Hail, Lord of the gods ! Drive away from me the 
lions of the country of Meru [Meroe ?] and the croco¬ 
diles which come forth from the river, and the bite of 
all poisonous reptiles which crawl forth from their 
holes. Get thee back O crocodile Mak, thou son of 
Set. Move not by means of thy tail! Work not thy 
legs and feet! Open not thy mouth ! Let the water 
which is before thee turn into a consuming fire, O thou 
whom the 37 gods did make, and whom the serpent 
Ra did put in chains. O thou who waSt fettered with 
links of iron before the boat of Ra. Get thee back O 
crocodile Mak, thou son of Set.” 

This charm was to be pronounced over the figure 



of the god Amen painted on clay. The god was to 
have four rams’ heads upon one neck, under his feet 
was to be a figure of the crocodile Male, and on the 
right and left were to be the dog-headed apes. 

The Gnostics and other sefls probably adopted their 
magical names from the Egyptians, from the time of the 
Ptolemies to the end of the Roman period between 
150 b.c. to a.d. 200. 

Perfumes and incense played an important part in 
the ritual and embalmment and were employed by the 
Egyptians in their magical ceremonies. According to 
an address to the deceased, translated by Maspero, 
“ The perfume of Arabia hath been brought to thee, 
to make perfed thy smell through the scent of the god. 
Here are brought to thee liquids which have come 

forth from Ra to make perfect-thy smell in the Hall 

[of judgment]. 

“ O sweet-smelling soul of the great god, thou dost 
contain such a sweet odour that thy face shall neither 
change nor perish. Thy members shall become young 
in Arabia, and thy soul shall appear over thy body in 
Ta-neter [the Divine land].” 

The prieSt or embalmer was then to take a vase of 
liquid which contained ten perfumes, and smear the 
body with it from head to foot, taking care to anoint 
the head thoroughly. 

The perfume was believed to have the power to 
make the members of the body perfeft. 

The deceased is then told that the liquid is secret, 
and that it is an emanation from the gods Shu and Seb, 
and that the resin of Phoenicia and the bitumen of 
Bybeos will make his burial perfeft. 



Among the objefts presented to the deceased, per¬ 
fumes and unguents played a prominent part, and to 
certain oils, magical properties have been attributed by 
the Egyptians from very early times. Oils were and 
are Still largely used to soften the skin, to heal wounds 
and to relieve pain in the limbs. 

Many of the charms employed in the Middle Ages 
can be traced to Egyptian sources, such as the following, 
“ to see visions and cause dreams,” which is given in a 
manuscript of the sixteenth century. 

“ Make a drawing of Besa (Bes) on your left hand, 
and envelop your hand in a Strip of black cloth that has 
been consecrated to Isis, and lie down to sleep without 
speaking a word, even to answer a question. Wind 
the remainder of the cloth round your neck. 

“ The ink with which you write must be composed 
of the blood of a cow, the blood of a white dove (fresh), 
frankincense, myrrh, black ink, cinnabar, mulberry 
juice, rain water, and the juices of wormwood and 
vetch. With this write your petition before the setting 
sun (saying), c Send the truthful seer out of the holy 
shrine, I beseech thee, Lampsuer, Sumarta, Baribas, 
Dardalam, Iorlex. O Lord, send the sacred deity 
Anuth Anuth, Salbana, Chambre, Breith, now, now, 
quickly, quickly. Come in this very night/ ” 

The Egyptians practised the art of casting nativities 
and drawing horoscopes. Budge assigns to Egypt the 
birthplace of the horoscope, and in a Greek papyrus 
in the British Museum there is an allusion made to the 
art of astrology, which “ the ancient Egyptians with 
their laborious devotion to the art had discovered and 
handed down to posterity.” 


Neftanebus used a tablet made of gold and silver 
and acacia-wood, to which was fitted three belts. Upon 


the outer one was Zeus with the 36 decans, on the 
second the 12 signs of the Zodiac, and on the third the 
sun and the moon. He placed the tablet on a tripod, 



and then from a small box emptied on it models of 

7 Stars that were in the belts, and put into the middle 

8 precious Stones. 

“ These he arranged in the places wherein he supposed 
the planets which they represented would be at the 
time of the birth of Olympias, and then told her fortune 
from them/’ 

Amulets and talismans may be said to have had 
their home in ancient Egypt and were extensively 
employed by the Egyptians both by the living and for 
the dead. One of their moSt remarkable magical Stones, 
known as the Metternich Stele, was excavated at Alex¬ 
andria in 1828 and dates from about the fourth 
century b.c. 

It is thought to have been used as a talisman or amu¬ 
let for a building. On it are representations of some of 
the great gods of Egypt, demons, monsters and texts of 
magical formulas and magical names. In the centre is a 
figure of Horus Standing upon two crocodiles. Above 
is the head of Bes and on either side figures of Horus 
Ra Standing on a serpent, Osiris in the form of a 
hawk, Isis on a serpent and Nekhebet in the form of a 

Thoth is also represented Standing upon a coiled 
serpent, and Uatchet in the form of a serpent is Standing 
on a papyrus sceptre. 

It is further interesting to note that the name of 
Ne&anebus the magician-king is also inscribed on this 




T HE Jewish traditions conne&ed with magic are of 
historical importance, as it has been found that 
many of the rites pra&ised down to the Middle 
Ages had their origin in these sources. 

In the Pentateuch, the references concerning magic, 
sorcery and witchcraft are chiefly connected with Egypt, 
from which it may be assumed that the knowledge of the 
Jews was acquired from that country during the 

According to a Samaritan legend, the two Egyptian 
magicians who unsuccessfully withstood Moses were 
named Jannes and Jambres, and the sorcerer who 
predifted his birth was called Palti. It further attributes 
the origin of witchcraft and sorcery to the 44 Book of 
Signs ” which was given to Adam before he left Paradise, 
but which in Jewish tradition is called the 44 Book of 
Adam ” or the 44 Book of Raziel,” a title that survives 
in a book of the Kabbala. 

A Story in the 44 Book of Enoch ” says, 44 The art of 
witchcraft was communicated to man by two angels who 
had forfeited all rights to the happiness of heaven, and 
their names were Uzza and Azael. It was the latter who 
taught women the art of witchcraft and the use of cos¬ 
metics.” There is also an ancient Egyptian tradition, 



ascribing the origin of the magical arts to the teaching 
of an angel who had fallen in love with a woman. 

In the “ Book of Tobit,” the Story is related of how 
the angel Raphael sought, by means of fumigation, to 
counteraft the work of a demon who had fallen in love 
with Sarah. The spirit thus exorcized, called Ash- 
modasus, afterwards became recognized as “ the king 
of the powers of evil.” 

Many of these names survived and are mentioned in 
the books of magic that have come down in manuscript 
form to the present day. 

To obtain the assistance of spirits, the Jewish 
magicians employed fumigations, gifts and sacrifices. 
Maimonides says, “ The gift most acceptable to the evil 
spirits was blood, and the magician muSt partake of the 
blood, thus sharing the food of the evil spirits, so as to 
become their associate. The perfume of the fumigation 
was very acceptable to these spirits.” Then there was the 
lighting of candles, the use of a knife with a black handle, 
philtres served in glass bowls and other ceremonies 
employed in propitiation. 

The magician possessed the secret of the mysterious 
names given to the evil spirits, without which he could 
not gain their help. These were among the secrets that 
at first were not committed to writing. It was through 
the names of the spirits that Balaam was able to work his 
magic. He was considered a great magician, and is 
said to have taught the daughters of Moab to praftise 
sorcery and witchcraft. 

The practice of magic was enveloped in the greatest 
mystery, and the books of the magicians were regarded 
as inviolable secrets and were only accessible to adepts. 



The magician often used bowls with conjurations 
written upon them for the purpose of making his in¬ 
cantations, which made them more effective. These 
conjurations often consisted of the names of demons and 
spirits in his service. 

Although the Jews were Stri&ly forbidden to practise 
magic, and the Rabbis decreed that the penalty was 
Stoning to death, operations were performed in the Holy 
Name, and were sanctioned when carried out by angelic 
and not by evil powers. This imaginary division in the 
magical arts continued throughout the Middle Ages ; 
for, while the so-called black magic was prohibited, 
what was termed white or good magic, performed 
through the agencies of good spirits, was regarded as 

Early Hebrew records of conjuration are rare, but the 
following is one translated by Gaster : 

44 Take bdellium [crystal] and write upon it with olive 
oil, Aungil , and take a boy seven years old and anoint his 
hand from the top of the thumb to the end of the finger, 
and put the bdellium into his hand in the anointed place, 
and seize his hand, and you shall sit upon a three-legged 
Stool, and put the boy between your loins so that his ear 
shall be against your mouth, and you shall turn your face 
towards the sun and say in his ear, c Aungil , I adjure thee 
in the name of Lord God, God of Truth, God keeper 
of the hosts, Alpha , AIDU, that thou shalt send from the 
three angels.’ Then the boy will see a (figure) like (that 
of) a man and say (the charm) twice more and he will see 
two (figures) and the boy shall say unto them, 4 Your 
coming be in peace,’ and then tell the boy to ask of 
them that which you wish. If they will not answer him, 



the boy shall adjure them and say, c Kaspar , Kelei ,’ Bimar 
(or) Bleiteisar , the master and I adjure (you) with a second 
adjuration, that you tell me that thing or who has com¬ 
mitted that theft.” 

Similar conjurations are to be found in the manu¬ 
scripts of the “ Key of Solomon,” and this method of 


(Drawn by P. Smart, 1699.) 

employing a boy as a medium was used byCaglioStro 
as late as the eighteenth century. 

The magical powers attributed to King Solomon 
appear to have arisen about the time of his building of 
the Temple. 

Tradition assigns to him the authorship of certain 
works which, written in manuscript under various titles 


about the sixteenth century, are Still extant. They are 
known as “ The Clavicle or Key of Solomon,” “ The 
Worke of Solomon the Wise,” or “ The Key of 
Solomon the King,” and will be dealt with more fully 
later on. 

The introductions to these books vary, and some which 
are undoubtedly apochryphal are very curious. One 
States, that “ Solomon possessed knowledge inspired by 
the wise teachings of an angel, and when he was near the 
end of his days he left to his son Roboam a testament, 
containing all the wisdom he had possessed. The 
Rabbins called this testament the ‘ Clavicle or Key of 
Solomon,’ which they caused to be engraved on (pieces 
of) the bark of trees, while the Pentacles were inscribed 
in Hebrew characters on copper, so that they might be 
carefully preserved in the Temple. 

“ This Testament was in ancient times translated from 
Hebrew into Latin by Rabbi Abognazar (probably Aben 
Ezra), who transported it with him into the town of 
Arles in Provence, where the ancient Hebrew Clavicle 
fell into the hands of the Archbishop of Arles, after the 
deStruCiion of the Jews in that city, who from the Latin 
translated it into the vulgar tongue.” 

Another States, “ The book was sent to Solomon by a 
Prince of Babylon by name Sameton, while the two wise 
men who brought it were Kamazan and Zazant. It was 
the first book after Adam written in Chaldean and after¬ 
wards translated into Hebrew.” 

The prologue of another manuscript begins, “ Secret 
of all Secrets of all crafts magicall of Nigromancy, as 
Ptolomei the most wisest philosopher in Greece doth 


It is said to have been revealed to Solomon by an 
“ Angell of God ” in a dream. “ The angel Raziell 
appeared to him in his sleep and he inscribed a secret 
work.” He adjures his son Roboam to have a casket 
of ivory made for it, and when he shall depart to cast 
it into his sepulchre so it may not come into the 
handling of fools. 

“ When the sepulchre had stood a long time, certain 
philosophers of Babylon that were his scholars, when 
restoring the tomb, removed the casket. They could 
not understand its words, but Ptolemy, a Grecian, prayed 
that he should be able to interpret the secrets, and an 
angel appeared and gave him light to read the clavicle, 
and he rejoiced with gladness, and read Solomon’s works 
and made clear the profound and obscure secrets of this 

The Story of the ivory casket is repeated in another 
codex, with the addition of the Statement that “ a 
Babylonian philosopher called Iohe Grevis decyphered 
it and revealed it through an angel.” 

Josephus mentions that Solomon left some works on 
Magic, and in the Talmud, reference is made to “ the 
princes or rulers over all shining objefts and crystal,” 
which probably indicates the use of the latter in magical 

Authorities are somewhat vague, and vary in their 
definitions of the meaning of the mysterious Kab- 
bala or Qabalah. 

It is Stated, by one, to be the secret traditional know¬ 
ledge handed down from generation to generation by 
word of mouth. 

Another says, it was “ the esoteric Jewish do&rine 



which was handed down by oral transmission and is 
nearly allied to tradition.” 

The Kabbala was apparently divided into many parts, 
a great portion being a mystical dodrine giving the inner 
occult meaning of the Jewish sacred writings. 

It is contended that all faiths and beliefs are but the 
echoes conveyed, in 
an allegorical and 
symbolical form, of 
some original race 
concerning which all 
traces are lost. The 
secrets known to the 
priests of Egypt 
which were regarded 
as sacred were not 
committed to writing 
and so have been 

Mathers States, that 
“ the Kabbala was 
first taught by God 
himself to a seled 
company of angels, 
who after the fall 
communicated the 
dodrine to man. From Adam it passed to Noah, then to 
Abraham who took it to Egypt, and so the Egyptians 
and some races of the EaSt obtained a knowledge of it. 
Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, was 
hrSt initiated in the land of his birth, and became proficient 
in it during his wanderings in the wilderness, and received 



instruction in it from one of the angels. By the aid 
of this mysterious science, he was enabled to solve the 
difficulties which arose with the Israelites. He initiated 
the seventy elders, and they again transmitted it down 
to David and Solomon, who were the most deeply 
learned in the Kabbala. No one, however, dared to 
write it down, till Schimeon Ben Jochai, who lived at 
the time of the destruction of the second Temple. After 
his death, his son Rabbi Eleazar and Rabbi Abba collated 
Simon Ben Jochai’s treatises, and out of these composed 
the work called ZHR, Zohar (splendour) which is the 
great Storehouse of Kabbalism.” 

“ The term £ unwritten Kabbala ? is applied to certain 
knowledge which is never entrusted to writing, while 
the practical Kabbala deals with talismanic and cere¬ 
monial magic.” 

Josephus records how he saw Eleazar draw out an 
evil demon by holding a ring under the nose of a 
possessed man, under the seal of which was one of the 
roots recommended by Solomon. 

Another writer says, “ The Kabbala was a system of 
religious philosophy which has exercised a great in¬ 
fluence on the Jews and many philosophers from the 
fourteenth to the seventeenth century. 

“ The ZHR or Zohar contains several books including 
the 4 Siphra Dtzenioutha ’ or c Concealed Book of 
MyStery/ a treatise called the e House of Elohim/ the 
book of the Revolutions of souls, c Asch Metzareph/ 
or Purifying Fire, is chiefly alchemical, while the 
‘ House of Elohim ’ treats of angels, demons and spirits.” 

These three books are said to have been originally 
written in Chaldean and Hebrew text. “ The name of 


the deity, Jehovah,” says Mathers, “ is in Hebrew 
IHVH, and the true pronunciation of it is known to 
very few. It is a most secret arcanum and is a secret 
of secrets. Therefore, when a devout Jew comes to 

(Drawn by P. Smart, 1699.) 

it when reading the scripture, he makes a short pause 
or substitutes for it the name Adonai, Adni Lord. 

“ The prince of the demons is Samael Smal, who is 
the angel of poison and death. IHVH, the Tetra- 
grammaton, is the greatest trinity, and Adni is the 
Queen whose Christian assumption is the Virgin.” 



“ The Jewish idea of a mystical name of God,” says 
another writer, “ rests upon the interpretation of the 
Tetragrammaton or the word IHVH that Stands for 
God in the Hebrew text which from ancient times the 
prieSts first, and then the people, refrained from pro¬ 
nouncing in the way it was written.” A substitute 
was found for it so as to avoid a possible profanation 
of the sacred name. 

The names Adonai, Eloai, found frequently in magical 
formulas, are also derived through the Hebrew. The 
IAO, the three vowels also met with, were intended 
to represent JAH, one of the Hebrew names for God. 

The frequent allusions to magic and its practitioners 
in the Bible show how widely its influence extended 
among Eastern races. In the Old and New Testaments 
there are mention of magicians, sorcerers, astrologers, 
soothsayers, seers or interpreters of dreams, diviners, 
observers of the times (monthly prognosticators), en¬ 
chanters, witches, charmers, consulters with familiar 
spirits, wizards and necromancers. Besides these there 
were the Chaldeans, who were called before the King 
of Babylon, and the Magi or Wise Men. 

Sorcery in the time of Moses was forbidden, as Stated 
in Deuteronomy xviii. io-ii : “ These things are an 
abomination unto the Lord and are forbidden.” 

Wizards or witches and those who had a familiar 
spirit, are mentioned in Leviticus xx. 27 : “A man or 
woman that hath a familiar spirit or that is a wizard 
shall be Stoned to death.” 

Manasseh is Stated to have been one who “ observed 
times, used enchantments and witchcraft and dealt with 
a familiar spirit and with wizards ” (2 Chron. xxxiii. 6). 


From an MS. of the XV century. British Museum. 

From an MS. of the XV century. British Museum. 


Isaiah refers to wizards that “ peep and mutter.” 
“ Thy voice shall be as one that has a familiar spirit 
out of the ground,” and “ thy speech shall whisper 
out of the duSt.” One must infer from these allusions 
that the spirit was supposed to speak out of the earth. 

In the account of Saul’s visit to the witch of Endor, 
there is corroboration of this suggestion. “ Seek me a 
woman that hath a familiar spirit,” and he said to the 
woman of Endor, “ Divine unto me by the familiar 
spirit.” The woman knew that the praftice was for¬ 
bidden and thought it was a trap. 

Saul apparently saw nothing himself, as he asked her 
for a description of what she saw. That the voice 
came from the ground is evident from the text, as “ he 
Stooped with his face to the ground,” and eventually 
collapsed from fright (Sam. xxviii. 7-19). 

There is mention of a “ mistress of witchcrafts ” in 
Nahum iii. 4, and divining with rods, for which the 
Moabites and Medes were famed, is thus alluded to by 
Hosea iv. 12: 

“My people ask counsel at their Stocks, and their 
Staff (rod) declareth unto them.” 

“ They sacrifice and burn incense upon the hills under 
oaks and poplars and elms because the shadow is good.” 

That the offering of incense was believed to give 
pleasure to the deity is evidenced from the Lord’s 
command to Moses, where among the penalties of 
transgression are found the words, “ I will not smell the 
savour of your sweet odours.” 

In the New Testament there are references to three 
sorcerers, first of whom was Simon, who had bewitched 
the people of Samaria and continued with Philip after 

7 1 


he became a Christian and believed, “ wondering and 
beholding the miracles he wrought.” Then there was 
Elymas, and Bar-jesus, “ a certain sorcerer, a Jew of 
the Isle of Paphos.” 

From the account of the damsel from, whom Paul 
cast out an evil spirit, she was probably a medium, for 
“ she brought her master much gain through her divina¬ 
tion” (Afts xvi. 16). 

The a&s of the ApoStles were imitated by vagabond 
or travelling Exorcists who professed to cast out evil 
spirits, such as the seven sons of one Scera, a Jewish 
chief of the priests, who attempted to expel a demon, 
that “ leaped upon them and overcame them ” (Afts 
xix. 1-6). 

Ephesus at the time of the ApoStles appears to have 
been a centre for magical praftitioners, who abounded 
in the city. 

That there must have been large libraries of works 
on magic in the city is evident from the Statement, that 
many who practised curious arts brought their books, 
some of which even at that time were thought to be 
valuable, being worth 50,000 pieces of silver, and they 
were publicly burnt (Afts xix. 19). 

A loss to posterity which it is impossible to estimate. 

Jewish magic was held in high esteem by both the 
Greeks and the Romans, and the Arabs absorbed their 

During the Middle Ages, the belief that many Jews 
possessed occult powers persisted, and in the EaSt 
invocations and prayers often accompanied the ad¬ 
ministrations of medicine as praftised by the “ Gab- 
betes,” elderly men who sometimes attended the sick. 

7 2 


The phylafteries Still worn by Jews at certain parts 
of their ritual are believed to aft as a proteftion against 
evil influences. The amuletic ligatures with magical 



From an MS. of the XV century. The symbols are to be written on the ligature. Top 
row, on the fore part, and bottom row, on the hinder part. 

inscriptions probably had their origin in the same 
custom. The Jews, in Syria to-day. Still praftise some 
of their ancient magical ceremonies with fumigations, 
offerings and lighted candles. 




W HAT little is known of the pra&ice of magic 
in early Greece may be said to begin with 
Homer, in whose mythological Stories frequent 
mention is made of magicians. The Telchines, Da&yli 
and Korybantes in their semi-divine power had a 
knowledge of the magical arts. The Telchines knew 
all the secrets of Nature, the Daftyli were masters of 
music and the art of healing, and imparted their know¬ 
ledge to Orpheus, Pythagoras and others, while Pro¬ 
metheus, Melampus, Agamedes, Circe and Medea were 
all accounted great magicians. 

The Story of Circe, who lived in the mysterious sea 
and enticed wandering seamen by her charms, and 
brewed magic philtres to turn men into swine, is well 

Medea appears to have been more inclined to sorcery ; 
and terror and fascination were inspired by her very 
presence and look. 

She was mistress of magic herbs and could beStow 
youth and invulnerability, calm Storms and even “ call 
down the moon,” a famous love-charm that is said to 
have emanated from Thessaly, which at the time of 
Aristophanes was the country of magicians and witches. 
The magic herbs of Thessaly were supposed to have 



sprung from the spot where Medea lost her box of 
charms, as she flew over the land with her winged 

The potions and salves attributed to these magicians 
appear to have been used as the media for exercising 
their powers. Thus Circe’s salve brought her vi&ims 
back to human form, while that given by Medea would 
render its user invulnerable to his foes. 

Aphrodite gave Phaon a salve which procured him 
youth and beauty, and Pamphila a box filled with little 
caskets each containing a special salve for producing 
magical effects of transformation. The use of philtres 
to provoke love is very often mentioned and appears to 
have been a common praftice in early Greece. 

The Story of the magic wand employed by Athene and 
Hermes shows that some knowledge of the magic of the 
Babylonians and Egyptians had penetrated into Greece. 

The influence of Chaldean and Persian magic becomes 
apparent about the fourth century before the Christian 
era, when OSthanes, who recorded all the secrets of magic 
of his time, was said to have initiated Democritus, the 
Greek alchemist, in the art. To him is also attri¬ 
buted the first book on medical magic. 

The Greek magician was believed to derive his powers 
from a close acquaintance with the forces of Nature, 
although magic was regarded as a gift and attributed to 
some accident of birth or special privilege. It was 
associated with anything abnormal: thus a person 
with the ‘ c evil eye ” was accounted a magician; the 
ventriloquist and hump-backed people, and those born 
with a caul, were believed to have the gift of prophecy. 

Demons and spirits were regarded as the cause of evil, 



as among other races, and it was with them the magician 
had to deal. 

Like the Babylonians, the Greeks believed that the 
spirits of the dead who wandered over the earth were the 
cause of trouble to mankind. The gods were invoked 
for aid, and Hecate, the mighty goddess of magic, was 
called upon for help and believed to have universal 

The magician had to observe certain special rules and 
to know how to perform the necessary rites and cere¬ 
monies, of which some record has survived. 

To prepare himself, it was essential that he should first 
be pure and clean, bathing at Stated intervals and be 
anointed at certain times with oil. He had to avoid 
certain foods, especially fish, and pradise chastity and 

“ His robes muSt be flowing, without knots or fasten¬ 
ing of any kind, and be made of linen, either all white 
or white with purple Streamers. Above all he muSt 
have faith in the accomplishment of his rites.” 

The time at which the rites were to be performed was 
important and depended on the god to be invoked ; thus 
for Hecate, the hour of sunset or a few minutes before 
sunrise were regarded as most favourable, and the best 
time was juSt at the new or full moon. 

The position of the planets and Stars did not become 
important until a later period, when astrology began to 
exercise its influence on the Greek magical pradices. 

Graveyards or cross-roads were regarded as the moSt 
suitable places for carrying out the rites. 

Hubert thus describes the ceremonial and apparatus 
employed by the Greek magician. 

7 ^ 


The moSt important implement was the wand, without 
which no magician was completely equipped. Lamps, 
basins of water, keys for symbolic use, cymbals, threads 
of various colours, portions of a dead person, the 
rhombus or witch’s-wheel—by the spinning of which 
the individual over whom one wished to gain ascendancy 
was influenced—were all necessary in carrying out the 
magical rites and formed part of the magician’s equip¬ 

When casting spells, it was not necessary for the 
persons on whom they were imposed to be near. His 
or her place could be taken by a symbolical substitute 
in the form of a figure, into which needles were Stuck 
according to the extent of the spell. 

These figures, which were modelled in clay or wax, 
were sometimes made hollow so that written incantations 
could be placed within the bodies. Eusebius mentions 
an image of Hecate composed of powdered lizards and 
the root of rue, but the body of a bird and a sprig of 
rue or myrtle might also be used in the same way. It 
was necessary, however, to inscribe the figure with the 
name of the person whom it was intended to represent, 
and to specify every part in which the viftim was to suffer. 

Magical hymns and litanies were sometimes chanted to 
ensure the presence of an appropriate spirit. 

The power of incantations was supposed to be in¬ 
creased by frequent repetition, and so in the course of 
time the words themselves became to be thought magical. 
By the arrangement and grouping of letters, especially 
when formed into certain shapes, they were believed to 
be made more effe&ive ; while magical alphabets and 
certain sacred inks were said to enhance the power of 



written spells and charms. In like manner, certain 
numbers became associated with magic. Odd numbers 
were considered significant, such as three, and multiples 
of that number were regarded as sacred to Hecate. 

Sacrificial offerings were sometimes made during the 
rites, the offering chosen being that mo£t acceptable to the 
god invoked. 

Wine, honey, milk, perfumes, meal, certain cakes, a 
cock to Hermes and a white dove to Aphrodite, were 
usually employed. 

The remains of the sacrifice or offerings had to be dis¬ 
posed of ceremonially, and were generally deposited on 
some prescribed spot sacred to the deity to whom they 
had been offered. 

They were sometimes laid at the cross-roads with the 
objeft of placating Hecate, the terrible goddess of the 
underworld. These offerings were called “ Hecate’s 
suppers,” and were intended to appease the wrath of 
the goddess, and the ghosts of those in the underworld 
who were unable to re$t and compassed evil on earth. 

In one of the Grasco-Egyptian papyri on magic found 
at Thebes and now preserved at Leyden, formulas are 
recorded “ to provoke love,” “ to produce dreams ” and 
for “ consulting a divinity.” A recipe is also given 
for making a ring having the property of causing every 
enterprise to succeed. In another in the British Museum, 
the following method is recorded of finding a thief: 

“ Take a crysolite vessell and put water in it and the 
herb cynocephalium and dipping in it a branch of laurel 
sprinkle each person with the water. Take a tripod 
and place it on an altar of earth. Offer myrrh and 
frankincense and frog’s tongue, and taking some un- 


salted wheat meal and goat’s cheese, give to each one 8 
drachms of meal and 8 drachms of cheese, pronouncing 
the spell, and write this name and place it beneath the 
tripod, ‘ LORD IAO, Light bearer, give up the thief 
whom I seek.’ If any of these swallow not what is 
given him—he is the thief.” 

In another Greek papyrus, direflions are given for 

(From a Greek vase, ca. 200 B.c.) 

driving out a demon from a man by pronouncing <c the 
name ” and fumigating his nostrils with bitumen and 
sulphur, no doubt with the idea that the obnoxious 
odour would cause the evil spirit to depart. 

Of the many love charms used by the Greeks that 
known as “ Drawing down the Moon ” is perhaps the 
mo£t interesting. It is mentioned in Aristophanes and 
by several later writers, and is said to be praftised in 
some parts of Greece at the present day. 



It is described in Lucian in the Story of the love-sick 
youth Glaukias. The condition of Glaukias, owing to 
his love for Chrysis, became so serious that the services 
of the great Hypoborean magician were sought, who 
decided that it was necessary to “ Draw down the Moon/ 5 
a never-failing charm for unrequited love. Hecate and 
her attendant ghoSts were invoked, and the moon came 
down, and the magician made a figure of clay which he 
told to go and fetch Chrysis. Soon after, Chrysis 
rushed to the house of Glaukias, her love kindled, and 
she flung her arms round the youth. 

Two other methods of inducing love may be quoted, 
which are interesting on account of the use of wax 
figures in the charms. 

In the first, the man is direfted to make the figure of a 
dog in wax mixed with gum and pitch, 8 fingers long, 
and write certain “ words of power ” over the region 
of the ribs. A tablet is then to be inscribed with “ words 
of power ” and on this the figure of the dog is to be 
placed and the whole put on a tripod. 

The man is then to recite the “ words of power ” 
written on the dog’s side and the names on the tablet. 
Should the dog then snarl or snap, the lover will not 
gain the objeff of his affeffions, but if he barks she will 
come to him. 

In the second method the lover is to make two wax 
figures, one in the form of Ares and the other of the 
woman. The latter is to be in a kneeling position with 
her hands tied behind her, and the male figure placed 
Standing over her with a sword at her throat. On the 
limbs of the woman are to be written the names of 
demons and then thirteen bronze needles are to be 


Stuck into her limbs, the man reciting the words, “ I 
pierce (mentioning the limb) that she may think of me.” 
Certain words must then be written on a metal plate and 
tied to the wax figures with a String containing 365 knots, 
and then both of them are to be buried in the grave of 
someone who has died young, or one who has met with 
a violent death. An incantation must then be recited to 
the infernal gods, and when all is carried out the lover 
will obtain his desire. 

The Greeks sometimes practised divination by water 
and a mirror, when the image of what was to happen 
was said to be reflected on the water. They also had a 
method of divining by filling certain round vessels with 
water about which were placed lighted torches. They 
then invoked a demon, praying in a low voice and asked 
the question they wished to solve. 

The magical pra&ices of the Romans were chiefly 
derived from Greek sources, which will be gathered 
from descriptions of the magicians and sorcerers that 
have come down to us. 

The first mention of Roman magic is in the law of the 
“ Twelve Tables,” which forbids the transference by 
magic of the crops growing in one field to the land of 
another. The Etruscans and Sabines in particular 
were famed for their magical powers, and the former are 
said to have been able to call up the dead, cause rain to 
fall and to be able to discover hidden springs. 

The simplest form of malefic magic deeply rooted 
in the Romans and. which survives in Italy to the present 
day was the “ evil eye,” which was believed to be 
equally powerful in working evil on persons, health 
and property. 




To combat this influence, charms of various kinds were 
universally employed, a favourite one being a model of the 
phallus, which took many forms, fashioned in gold, silver 
or bronze. These were worn by men,women and children. 

Many of the Roman writers allude to the praftice of 
magic and sorcery, and Virgil has left a detailed descrip¬ 
tion of a sorceress and her assistant in his eighth eclogue, 
as well as her method of working a love-charm. 

The assistant is directed to burn vervain and frank¬ 
incense, which is followed by a solemn chant, said 
to possess great powers, and to be capable of “ Calling 
down the Moon,” or making the cold-blooded snake 
burst in the field. An image of the one whose love is 
sought is then ordered to be thrice bound round with 
fillets of three colours, while the words, “ Thus I bind 
the fillets of Venus,” are recited, and the figure is then 
carried round the altar. 

An image of clay and one of wax are placed before the 
same fire, and, as the figure of clay hardens, so the 
heart of the one whose love is sought hardens likewise, 
or, as the image of wax softens, so the heart is made 
tender. A sacred cake is then to be broken over the 
image and crackling laurels burnt before it. 

The sorceress bruises poisonous herbs of resistless 
power gathered in the kingdom of Pontus ; herbs which 
enabled him who took them to turn himself into a 
hungry wolf prowling amidst the forests, to call up 
ghoSts from the grave, and to translate the ripened 
harvest from the field where it grew to the lands of 
another. The ashes of these herbs were to be cast 
over her head into the running Stream, while she must 
not look behind her. 



Horace tells us of a witch’s incantation where 
Canidia and three assistants are assembled in order to 
work a charm, by means of which a youth named Varus, 
for whom Canidia had conceived a passion, may be 
compelled to reciprocate her affe&ions. 

Canidia, with the locks of her dishevelled hair twined 
round with venomous and deadly serpents, orders the 
wild fig tree and the funeral cypress to be rooted up 
from the sepulchres on which they grow, and these 
together with the eggs of a toad smeared with blood, 
feathers of a screech-owl, various herbs gathered in 
Thessaly and bones torn from the jaws of a famished 
dog, to be burnt in flames fed with perfumes from 

One assistant, whose hair Stands Stiff and ered like 
the quills of the sea-hedgehog or the bristles of a 
hunted boar, sprinkles the ground with drops from the 
Avernus, while another who is reputed to have the 
power of conjuring the Stars and moon down from 
heaven assists her. The third digs a hole with a 
spade into which Varus is to be plunged naked up to 
his chin, so the charm may be completed. 

Lucian gives an account of a journey he took with 
the magician Mithrobarzanes, and says, “ Passing over 
the Euphrates we came to a wild-wooded sunless place, 
the magician going first. We then dug a pit and 
slaughtered a sheep and sprinkled the blood all about 
the pit. In the meantime, the magician, holding a 
lighted torch, cried out loudly, invoking all kinds of 
demons, the avengers, the furies, noflurnal Hecate and 
the lofty Proserpine, mixing up with his invocations 
certain barbarous and unintelligible polysyllables.” 



Love-philtres were sold in Rome chiefly by the old 
women and others who dealt in abortifacients, and the 
poculum amatorium appears to have been in great and 
constant demand. In the time of the first Emperors 
they became used to such an extent, that a decree was 
promulgated under the Roman criminal law, whereby 
love-philtres were deemed as poison, and the punishment 
infli&ed on those discovered using them was very 

Judging from the substances employed in compound¬ 
ing them, it is not to be wondered at that they were 
deemed poisonous. Hairs from a wolf’s tail, the bones 
from the left side of a toad which had been eaten by 
ants, pigeon’s blood, skeletons of snakes, bippomanes, 
or a piece of flesh found in the head of a newly-foaled 
colt, and the entrails of various animals were among 
some of the least disgusting of the ingredients used for 
this purpose. 

Pliny States : “ If a neSt of young swallows is placed 
in a box and buried, on being dug up after a few days, 
it will be found that some of the birds have died with 
their beaks closed, while others have died as if gasping 
for breath.” The latter were used for exciting love 
and the former for producing the opposite effeft. 




A LTHOUGH the early Celtic deities were said 
to exercise the magical arts, the Druids appear 
to have been the first adepts to pratise it among 
the Celts. They were the magician-prieSts and healers, 
and had a considerable knowledge of the properties of 

The men were accounted the greatest magicians, but 
women also played an important part in their mysterious 
rites, and the “ spells of women ” were dreaded by the 

The Druids claimed extraordinary magical powers 
by means of which they were able to rule the elements, 
cause the sea to cover the land, change day into night 
and create Storms. They lived in Strict abstinence, 
preserved profound secrecy concerning their mysteries, 
and only admitted novices after prolonged initiation. 
They built no temples, but performed the rites and 
ceremonies of their religion on dolmens, or in the 
glades of woods and forests. They taught that the 
souls of ancestors watched over children and that pro¬ 
tecting genii overshadowed trees and Stones. 

They held the moon in great veneration, arranging 
all their festivals to follow the day dedicated to it, and 
sought its presence at their ceremonies, so that its rays 



might be invoked. They also consulted its phases on 
all important occasions. 

They generally accompanied the armies in time of 
war and claimed to be able to heal the wounded by 
magical power on the battlefield. They were said to 
be able to make themselves invisible at will and assume 
any shape. 

The prieStesses of Sena took the form of birds, and 
the “ Children of Ler ” became swans through the 
arts of their Stepmother, the daughter of the god Bodb 
Derg. They appear to have praftised hypnotism, as 
it is said they could cc make persons motionless, and 
cause them to reveal secrets ” when in that State. 

They also claimed to be able to induce a magical sleep 
by means of music from Dagdas’ harp, which first 
caused mirth, then tears and afterwards sleep. They 
also produced sleep by means of a draught they concofted 
called the “ drink of oblivion,” which they probably 
made from some narcotic herbs with which they were 
doubtless familiar. 

To cause a man or woman to waste away and die, they 
modelled a figure of the person and Stuck pins or thorns 
into it or placed it in running water. The practice of 
making an image called the “ corp creadh,” for this 
purpose, survived in Ireland for centuries afterwards. 
Stones took a prominent part in the rites of the Druids, 
and their magical Stones were believed to have the 
power of producing wind or rain ; while certain pebbles 
when dipped in water were supposed to have curative 
properties in the case of men and animals. 

All the details of ritual, the chanting of Runes, the 
prayers and the offering of sacrifices, were carried out 


by the Druids as the mediators between the gods and 
men. They praftised divination by examining the 
entrails of the sacrificial offerings, and by the manner 
in which the blood flowed from wounds in the limbs 
after death. Their aid was sought to foresee the 
future, and they sometimes predicted from the Streams 
and wells. 

Among the signs found on their sacred Stones is 
the pentagon, which shows they muSt have had some 
communication with the EaSt, probably through the 

The Druids used a magic wand and carried a branch 
of mountain-ash in their hands to ward off evil spirits. 

They were renowned for their medical skill and their 
knowledge of the virtues of herbs, many of which they 
gathered with solemn ritual. Thus, when cutting the 
mistletoe, which they regarded as sacred, it was necessary 
that the Druid should be clothed in white, that his feet 
should be bare, and that he should offer a sacrifice at a 
special time, and in a special way, and cut the 
bough with a golden sickle. 

Verbena they regarded with great reverence and 
gathered it with a peculiar ritual, and it formed one of 
the ingredients in the mystical cauldron of Ceridwen. 

The faft that their rites were carried on in secluded 
forest glades and consecrated groves—where their 
sacrifices were also made—no doubt added much to their 

Although Christianity destroyed the Druids, the Celtic 
saints continued to perform magical or miraculous 
afts and many of the Druidic superstitions remained.! 

According to an Arab tradition, magic or sihr, which 



means “ to produce illusion on the eyes,” was revealed 
by two angels in Babel, named Harut and Marut, who 
instructed mankind in the art. 

The sihr showed how to separate a man from his 
wife, and, on the other hand, directed how love could 
be provoked. 

When a miracle was deemed a sihr, it was regarded 
as an optical delusion or due to an illicit dealing with 

The praCtice of magic was forbidden by the Arabs 
under the penalty of death, and it was held that one 
convicted of sorcery should not even be allowed to 

Jinns were, however, recognized, and their concep¬ 
tion appears to have influenced the imagination of the 
poets and writers of romance. They are to be met 
with in most of the old traditional Stories, many of which 
are embodied in “ The Arabian Nights.” 

In the latter, the magician is often described as a 
Moor, which gives colour to the suggestion that the 
magical arts were to a great extent communicated to 
the Arabs by other races, and were probably introduced 
by Moors and Jews from other countries. 

In the life of Mohammed, an instance is recorded in 
which magic played a part. He was at one time attacked 
with a sickness which was said to have been caused by 
a malevolent Jew, who obtained some hair from the 
prophet’s comb, which he hid with another objeCt in a 
well, the article hidden being said to be a String in which 
was tied several knots, by means of which he worked 
his magic to Mohammed’s ill. 

The Prophet apparently sanctioned the use of magical 



prayers to counteract the “ evil eye ” and snake poison, 
also in the treatment of disease, as verses from the Koran 
were and are Still believed to be effective in relieving 
various bodily ills. 

The Arabs practised cryStal-gazing, and to foretell 
future events divination was made from the entrails 
of slaughtered animals. Sortilege was carried out with 
pebbles or nuts, auguries from the movements of birds 
and animals, geomancy with sand and divination with 
letters. The inspection of the shoulder-blade of a 
dead animal, together with the lines on it caused by 
the formation of the bone, were said by the Arabs 
to foretell if the year would be a good or a bad one. 

In TurkeStan, to-day, live coals are placed on the 
shoulder-blade of a sheep, and from the cracks, colour 
and the parts that fall away, good or bad luck is 
foretold. Insome cases the jinns also were supposed 
to inspire divination. 

The use of the magic mirror—which was made of 
metal or glass with a polished surface—for seeing spirits, 
was known to the Arabs at an early period. The image 
was said to appear in a cloud or vapour floating between 
the medium used and the gazer’s eye, and not in the 
mirror itself. Khalif Mansur possessed a mirror which 
was said to ru$t in the event of meeting an enemy. 
Ink and water were also employed for a similar purpose. 

According to an Arab writer on auguries, “ when 
mountain beaSts and birds leave their places it presages 
a severe winter, loud croaking of frogs foretells plague, 
loud hooting of an owl near a house where there is 
sickness presages the person’s recovery and loud breath¬ 
ing presages loss of money.” 



The Arabs believed that certain names were endowed 
with magic power, and if written on a piece of parch¬ 
ment, then Steeped in water and the water drunk, they 
would cure various ailments. 

To cause love, a maiden is directed to put certain 
written seals in a vessel of water from which the desired 
youth is to drink, and, says the writer, “ he will love 
thee with a Strong love.” 

Small pieces of cornelian shaped as arrow-heads were 
worn as charms in the form of necklaces as a protection 
from danger, an ancient custom adopted from the 
Assyrians, who threaded three cornelians on a hair of 
a dog and a lion for the same purpose. 

Another early belief common among the Arabs, 
which was probably derived from the Assyrians, was, 
that the soul of a murdered man mu St be nailed down; 
if not, it would rise from the ground where his blood was 
shed. A new nail which has never been used before 
was therefore driven into the ground at the spot where 
the murder was committed, a custom described as 
“nailing down the ghoSt.” 

Egyptians suffering from headache will drive a nail 
into a wall to-day, or into the old south gate, in Cairo, 
with the idea of nailing down the demon that causes the 

In a book on sorcery called “ The Goal of the Sage,” 
written by Maslamah in Madrid, in 1008, astrology is 
an important faCtor. Mars is said, by the author, to 
have the power of attraction for natural science, surgery, 
toothdrawing, the gall, heat, hatred, bitter taStes and 
divers other things. To the sign of the Ram belonged 
the face, the ear, yellow and red, and animals with 


cloven hooves. The days of the week besides their 
planetary assignation were associated with certain 
angels : Monday with Gabriel, Thursday with Israfil, 
Saturday with ‘Azra’Il, and Wednesday with Michael, 
which gives the idea of a Jewish origin. “ Those who 
desire the services of the planets should bow down to 
them and address them by their names in Arabic, Greek, 
Indian or Yunani.” 

The magical beliefs of the Slav races have survived 
in the folk-lore of the northern countries of Europe. 

In Russia, the sorcerer lived in solitude. He had 
learnt his magical formulas from the fairies, the wood- 
spirits or the goblins. He handed down his secrets 
to his youngest child. 

He was said to have physical marks through which 
he could be known, and these included “ a troubled 
eye, a grey face and a husky voice.” The incantations 
were pronounced facing the eaSt on Midsummer Day. 
Spoken charms were often employed, and believed to 
have great power. One to keep a man from Strong 
drink, was to take a worm from an empty wine cask, 
dry it and Steep it in wine, then recite the following : 
“ Lord of the sea depths, carry the mettlesome heart of 
thy servant out of the shifting sands, the burning 
Stones ; breed in him a winged brood.” 

Some of the magical practices of the northern Teutons 
may be traced to the Finns who acquired fame in magic. 

The magic utterance and the magic rune were used 
to cure disease, as a defence from enemies, a protection 
from Storm and tempest, and to inspire love. Amulets 
and ligatures were also frequently used; and to protect 
the dead, belemites, amber rings and Stone arrow-heads 

9 1 


were often placed in the graves. Ligatures of medicinal 
herbs were tied round the head or limbs for healing 

Among the Slavs, the praCtice of magic for evil 
purposes was forbidden. Later, in the sixteenth century 
the penalties for practising magic and soothsaying were 
certain fines, yet in the Hamburg criminal code the 
punishment for malefic magic was death by fire, and the 
persecution of witches began about this period. 

Among the Germans the gods were consulted by 
means of the lot, and the priest-magician carried a magic 
wand engraved with symbols while pronouncing the 

The magic spells of the Teutons consisted chiefly 
of formulas uttered to ensure protection and bring good 
fortune. They believed that magical eflefts could be 
direCtiy produced by the spoken word, hence the fre¬ 
quent use of the spell or utterance in their practices. 

Many of these became Christianized during the Middle 
Ages, and the names of Christ, Mary and the ApoStles 
were introduced in place of the pagan deities. Adjura¬ 
tions against disease were numerous and these survived 
in monastic times in the form of exorcisms. 




I N India, magic has been practised from a very- 
early period, especially by certain caStes. The 
Yogis, in particular, claim to hold the material 
world in fee by the magical powers they have acquired, 
and even profess to have discovered the secret of the 
transmutation of metals, which according to one of 
their traditions they knew in the thirteenth century. 
This is embodied in the Story of Yogi Dina Nath, who, 
when passing a money-changer’s shop one day, noticed 
a boy with a pile of copper coins. He asked for alms, 
but the lad said the coins belonged to his father, and 
offered the Yogi some of his own food. The Yogi, 
impressed by his honesty and generosity, prayed to 
Vishnu for power to reward the boy, and telling him 
to gather all the copper he could find, proceeded to 
melt it down, at the same time reciting some charms 
and sprinkling it with magic powder, which changed the 
copper into gold. The Brahmins also have considerable 
lore in which magic plays a prominent part and are 
said to possess secret books of figures and myStic symbols. 
Magical rites form part of most of their ceremonies 
from birth to death. Thus, to ensure safe and easy 
delivery of a child and to determine the sex, the Cheru- 
man in Madras employ devil-drivers who seat the woman 



in front of a tent with a coco-nut palm flower on her 
knees. When cut open the fruits are supposed to predict 
the child’s sex, the birth of twins, and the expectation 
of the life or death of the infant. 

In the marriage ceremonies, at the beginning of the 
wedding, the Bedar scatter rice and grain (dhal) on some 
white ant earth near five pots filled with water. By the 
time all the ceremonies are concluded, the seeds have 
sprouted, and are cut by the bride and bridegroom and 
thrown into the village well to ensure fertility. Seeds 
and grain enter largely into the charms connected with 
marriage, and an Idaiyan man and woman will sow nine 
kinds of grain in seven trays and watch the result, the 
symbolism of the seed and its fertility being regarded 
as an assurance of the future of their married life. 

A magical rite of resuscitation of the dead is practised 
by the Dasaris, a class of priests who minister to Sudras 
in Madras. 

When a Dasari is offended, he will sometimes revenge 
himself by self-mutilation or by cutting off his own hand. 
The news is carried to his caSte fellows, and they get 
together and display their magical powers by frying 
fish, which come to life again on being put into water, 
by joining limes together that have been sliced in half, 
and by bringing the suicide to life. 

The use of charms to avert evil and harm is very 
common in most parts of India. They are usually 
composed of natural substances, such as a piece of some 
tree which is supposed to be inhabited by a jinn. 

The Bark Har (Celtis caucasia ) is believed to possess 
magical properties, and the one who cuts it down becomes 
ill and loses all his hair. Its juice causes blisters and 



it is thought to be dangerous even to sit under its 

In order to drive out demons from women, the 
Hindus take three different-coloured threads of silk 
or cotton and form gunda , which means to tie twenty- 
one or twenty-two knots on it. The Moollas in making 
each knot read an incantation and blow upon it. When 
finished, it is fastened to the neck or the upper part 
of the arm of the person possessed, with the idea that 
the demon may be transferred by the power of the 
magician to the knotted thread, which is then cut off 
and thrown away. 

Magical squares of figures are used for various pur¬ 
poses. One, which totals 90 lengthways, is used as a 
charm to cure quartan fever; another, totalling 100 
every way, is believed to increase milk in cows ; while 
a third, that totals 130 every way, when worn round the 
neck is said to give one power over any person, and a 
square totalling 15 each way will bring good luck to 
the wearer. 

An ancient formula for conjuring a Blr or demon 
was to “ FaSt the whole of a ninth lunar day falling on 
a Friday, and in the evening take sweet rice milk. At 
8 p.m. don red clothes, perfumed, and make a circle 
of red lead on the ground. Sit in its centre with 4 
cardamoms, some catechu, betel nuts and 8 cloves. 
Light a lamp fed with clarified butter and say, c In¬ 
cantation can break down the Stars, 5 5000 times, and a 
demon will be at your service. 55 

The Muslims are believers in magic but condemn 
that which depends on the aid of Satan or evil jinns. 
Enchantment is regarded as a branch of magic and is 



permissible if practised with the help of a good jinn, 
although the results may be disastrous, and it may even 
cause death or paralysis and other terrible afflictions. 

As a protection against such enchantments, talismans 
written in mysterious characters in the form of seals 
are engraved on metal and carried on the person. 

Among the followers of the various religions, there 
appears to be a universal belief in the existence of spirits 
which are believed to throng the air, the earth, the sky, 
the trees, and the magical practices so common in India 
probably had their inception in this belief. 

Witchcraft appears to be intimately blended with the 
Vedic rites in which religion and magic are closely 
combined. In the Rigveda, the hymns, the earliest 
writings of which it consists, are chiefly addressed to 
various gods ; but, in the Atharvaveda, magic is the 
essential feature, and the work is mainly a collection of 
spells and ceremonies aiming at the welfare of the 
magician or the injury of his enemies. 

The Vedic literature is important, as it represents 
aspeCts of magic practised 3000 years ago. From it we 
learn that the sacrificial prieSt was also a magician, but 
alliance with evil spirits or the use of magic for malevo¬ 
lent purposes or injury was not approved. Asceticism, 
fafting, abstinence and silence were practised, as they 
were believed to confer power. Magical rites were 
largely associated with sacrificial ceremonies which were 
carried out in lonely places. The locations that were 
generally selected for the purpose, viz. a burial ground, 
cross-roads, a solitary house or hut in a forest, were 
adopted later by Western races. 

The magician had to face the south, which was 


supposed to be the abode of the demons, or in other 
rites to move from left to right following the course of 
the sun, but occasionally the dire&ion was reversed. 
The demons were said to appear sometimes in human 
shape, generally deformed, but they might also appear 
in the form of animals or birds. Even the magician 
might assume an animal form if he wished to injure 
his enemies, and the Rigveda alludes to certain magicians 
who flew about like birds at night. Evil spirits were 
mo$t active at night, especially during a new moon, and 
sought to attack the magician who had undergone 
consecration. They were said to frequent places where 
four roads met, and entered a man generally by his 
mouth. They would devour his flesh, suck his marrow, 
drink his blood, and cause disease, madness and loss of 

Evil spirits were especially dangerous at the time of 
birth, marriage and death. They could do harm to a 
man’s property, his cattle and his crops, hence the 
importance placed upon casting spells as preventive 

Contagious magic is evidenced in the belief that the 
power of lightning remained in a splinter of wood from 
a tree that had been Struck. The skins of animals were 
believed to be able to communicate the power of the 
animal to man, and he who seated himself on the skin 
of a he-goat was said to acquire abundance, on the hide 
of a bull, fertility; on that of a tiger, courage and 
invincible power. 

Abstention from food was practised to prevent hostile 
demons from attacking the body. A special kind of 
faSting was the avoidance of a particular variety of 

H 97 


food; thus a newly married pair were enjoined to 
avoid all salted and pungent dishes during the first 
three days after their marriage. 

Charms and amulets composed of various kinds of 
wood and other substances were carried for preventing 
evil influences, or to bring good fortune, and were 
called god-born or the gift of god to man. A spell on 
the KuStha plant was invoked to abate fever and another 
operation on a herb to destroy snake poison. 

An ointment is mentioned in one hymn, which is 
associated with the following spell: 

“ From him over whose every limb and every joint 
thou passeSt, O Salve, thou dost as a mighty interpreter 
drive away disease.” 

The curative properties of water are thus referred 
to in another spell: 

“ The waters verily are healing, the waters chase 
away disease, the waters cure all ailments, may they 
prepare a remedy for thee.” 

Fire was regarded as being one of the most effe&ive 
methods of driving away demons and the effefts of 
sorcery. The god of fire was thus invoked : 

“ Burn, O Agni, against the sorcerers and the allies 
of the demons.” 

In the birth-chamber, a “ Lying-in fire ” was lighted 
with small grains mixed with muStard seed, as a 
fumigation to drive off evil spirits. A brand lighted 
at both ends was borne by the prieSt round the funeral 
offering; and, during the ritual, another brand was 
taken from the southern fire and laid down pointing 
south, so as to drive away all demons. 

Lead was believed to possess magical power and it 


was used to counteract the evil influences of demons 
and sorcerers. 

Injurious substances were removed by “ wiping them 
off with lead,” and the passing of a piece of lead over 
the face after an evil dream was said to prevent any 
after-effe&s that otherwise might occur. At a Royal 
inauguration, the King was anointed with a mixture of 
butter, honey, rain-water and other substances to which 
magic was attributed, with the idea that they would 
communicate their power to him. 

Of the magical powers attributed to various woods 
from which amulets were made, a piece of liquorice 
root, tied to the little finger with thread coloured with 
lac, was used by a bridegroom to secure the love of his 
bride, and a charm fashioned from the Parna tree was 
worn to Strengthen Royal power. 

In Vedic magic we again come across the use of the 
clay or wax figure in various operations. Thus, to 
destroy an enemy, a figure of clay was made and the 
spot over the heart was pierced with an arrow ; or his 
death might be caused by making an image of wax and 
melting it over a fire, or by burning a chameleon repre¬ 
senting him. 

Soldiers, elephants and horses were modelled in dough 
and sacrificed piece by piece in order to destroy an 
enemy’s army. 

To exterminate worms, twenty-one roots of the 
Usira plant were burnt, while the words, “ I split with 
the Stone the head of all worms male and female ; I 
burn their faces with fire,” were pronounced by the 

Divination was practised from the flight or cry of 



animals and birds, especially those of the wolf, hyena, 
the owl, crow and vulture. In one of the Sutras the 
owl is thus addressed : 

“ Flying round the village from left to right, portend 
to us luck, O owl! ” 

Spells were accompanied with rites, or spoken alone, 
and curses were placed or caSt on individuals by invoking 
the gods, and spells could also be used to counteract 
the effeCt of the latter. 

The following is a spell of this kind from the Athar- 
vaveda : 

“ Avoid us, O curse, as a burning fire, a lake, 

Strike him that curses us as the lightning of Heaven the tree.” 

It will be noticed that many of the practices instanced 
in Vedic magic were similar to those employed in 
Europe at a later period. 

The practice and belief in magic by the Chinese goes 
back to a period of unknown antiquity and it Still forms 
a powerful faCtor in the life of the people. 

The cleverness of the Chinese in legerdemain or 
sleight-of-hand shows a natural inStinCt for what is now 
called conjuring. Their literature on magic is enormous, 
and one can only mention briefly some of their practices 
connected with the art which appear to be of native 

The sorcerer or wizard, as far as can be gathered, was 
originally known as Wu, a name which was applied 
both to male and female practitioners. They apparently 
held recognized positions as diviners or exorcists and 
were entrusted with certain court and public ceremonials. 
They professed to be able to conjure spirits of the 
dead, chanted magical formulas and foretold the future, 


As Confucian culture advanced they were succeeded 
by the TaoiSts, who according to tradition date from 
centuries before the Christian era. 

The dancing of witches formed part of the ritual 
observed on the occasion of the official rain-making 
sacrifices, and as early as 947 b.c. there is a tradition 
that King Mu used magic music on his flute to put an 
end to a great drought. 

The aid of the magician or wizard was sought to 
bring about the fulfilment of wishes and desires as 
early as the fourth century. The “ Pao Po-tzu,” a book 
on magic, said to have been written by the wizard Ko 
Hung, contains a description of how to use the magic 
mirror to deteft the presence of evil spirits. 

A feature of Chinese magic is the large number of 
trees, plants and herbs believed to possess occult pro¬ 
perties and which are employed in their magical 
praftices. The willow is used as a rain charm during 
periods of drought in Shansi, and at such times willow 
wreaths are worn by the people on their brows. Peach 
twigs and blossoms are credited with magical powers, 
and a wand cut from a peach tree is used by the pro¬ 
fessional Wu when exorcizing spirits. 

Taoism claims to be of native origin and is said to 
be founded on the “ Tao-Teh King,” a book ascribed 
by tradition to Lao-tse, an early contemporary of 
Confucius, who flourished about 604 b.c. Tao was 
believed to be the principle of all existence, and “ the 
heart of all knowledge.” The founder of the Taoism 
of the present day is said to have been Chang Tao- 
ling, who lived about a.d. 34. It is apparently chiefly 
a mass of magic and superstition in which divination 



plays the leading part. For this purpose the dried 
Stalks of a grass called Shih-ts’ao which grows on the 
grave of Confucius is highly valued. It is carefully 
gathered and made into packets, and is believed to have 
absorbed some of the spiritual efficacy from the sacred 
soil in which it has grown. 

Divination by means of tortoiseshell and the dried 
Stalks of plants is of great antiquity in China, and it is 
said it was by these methods “ the early sage kings made 
the people believe in seasons and days, revere spiritual 
beings and Stand in awe of their laws and orders.” 
Astrology, cheiromancy, automatic-writing and clair¬ 
voyance were all known and have been praftised by the 
Chinese from an early period. 

They placed certain plants over their doors to prevent 
the entrance of evil spirits and bring good luck, juSt 
as the peasants in some parts of Europe do to-day. 

They entwine red threads in their children’s hair 
to proteft them from the demons that bring disease, 
and Stitch buttons, bearing representations of certain 
deities and sages, as charms on their clothing. From 
ancient times they have also practised the method of 
making a figure of wax or clay in the image of a person, 
and Sticking pins into it should they wish to work evil 
upon him. 

An illustration of this occurs in a romantic Story 
told of the great artist Ku K’ai-chih, who flourished in 
the fourth century and was a believer in the power of 
magic. Finding that the girl he loved spurned his 
attentions, he drew a portrait of her, and when it was 
finished, Stuck a thorn into the pifture over the region 
of the heart. The girl, who had no knowledge of what 


he had done, was at the same time Stricken with a pain 
in the same spot, and when Ku K’ai-chih went to visit 
her afterwards, she did not turn him away. When he 
returned to his house he at once withdrew the thorn 
from the picture, and the pain in the damsel’s heart 
is said to have immediately disappeared, but her love 
for him remained. 

The magical rituals of the Japanese are believed to 
date from about the eighth century, although many of 
their traditions have probably come down from a much 
earlier period. They are gathered in their “ Engishiki,” 
which was written about the tenth century. 

It is Stated in these records, that the prieSt-magician 
accompanied his incantations and formuke by mys¬ 
terious rites which were supposed to make them more 
powerful and effective. The earliest rites appear to 
have been connected with the harvest, and were carried 
out every year at seed time. Offerings were made of 
a white horse, a white pig or a white cock. Thus in 
a record of the ninth century, Mi-toshi No Kami, the 
god of the August harvest, had caSt his curse on the rice 
fields, but the divinities obtained from him by the gift 
of these white animals the secret of a magical 
process, which enabled them to save the imperilled 

From the VUIth ritual called the “ Luck-bringer of 
the Great Palace,” it appears that the celestial, magical, 
protective words to ward off all calamities from the 
Palace were a kind of spoken charm. In the IXth 
ritual a description is given of a company of prieSts and 
veStals who go through the Palace in all directions, from 
the great Hall of Audience to the bathing rooms, the 



veStals sprinkling rice and sake, while the priests hang 
precious Stones on the four corners of the rooms. The 
rice was to ward off evil spirits, being a custom that was 
frequently practised in Japanese magic. 

Rice was scattered inside the room in which a child 
was about to be born, and, in the divination performed 
at the cross-roads, a boundary line was sometimes 
Strewn with rice, so that the words spoken by the first 
person who passed by and crossed it might be taken 
as an oracle. The precious Stones were believed to 
proteft the occupants of the rooms from evil 

Throughout Japanese magic, jewels and sparkling 
Stones played an important part. Those of a red colour, 
in particular, “ caused the dark threats of the invisible 
everywhere to retire before their brightness.” 

In the Xth ritual, called the “ Ritual of the Great 
Purification,” many rites are included. It begins by 
Stating, that it is the Emperor who deigns to purify 
and wash away the offences committed. 

The Emperor was regarded as superior to the 
gods invoked and the right of absolution was invested 
in him. 

One of the offences condemned was the praftice of 
witchcraft against a neighbour's animals. It is further 
Stated that, “ when the high priest recites the Celestial 
ritual, it is so powerful that the gods of heaven and 
earth approach to listen and all offences will disappear.” 
A number of magical formulas are included in the 
XXVIIth ritual, and mention is made of a descendant 
of Ame-No-Hoho, one of the celestial ambassadors 
to earth, “ who brings to the Emperor divine 


treasures consisting of sixty jewels, white, red and 

They are thus described : “ The white are the great 
auguSt white hairs to which your majesty will reach. 
The red jewels are the auguSt healthful ruddy coun¬ 
tenance. The green are the harmonious fitness which 
the auguSt Emperor will establish far and wide. Each 
jewel conferring a power corresponding to its colour.” 

Ancient Shinto is said to be a religion in which the 
magical element Still prevails over the religious sentiment, 
and its rituals are addressed to magician-gods by 
magician-prieSts and encircled in magical rites. 
“ Therefore,” says M. Revon, “ magic is at the base 
of the natural cult of the Japanese.” 

An interesting tradition in which native sorcery plays 
a part is given in the <c Kojiki.” “ The deity of the 
Idzushi, the country of the sacred Stones, had a daughter, 
whose name was the Deity Maiden of Idzushi, whom 
eighty deities wished to marry but none could do so. 
Among her suitors were two brothers, the elder of 
whom was called c Youth-of-the-glow-on-the-autumn- 
mountains 5 and the younger named c Youth-of-the- 

“ The elder said to his brother, c Though I beg for 
the Maiden of Idzushi, I cannot obtain her in marriage ; 
wilt thou be able to obtain her ? ’ 

“ He replied, ‘ I will easily obtain her.’ 

“ Then the elder brother said, e If thou shalt obtain 
this maiden, I will take off my upper and lower garments 
and distil liquor in a jar of my own height, and prepare 
all the things of the mountains and of the rivers in pay¬ 
ment of the wager.’ 

io 5 


“ Then the younger brother told his mother every¬ 
thing* Forthwith the mother took wistaria fibre, and 
wove and sewed in one night an upper and a lower 
garment, and made a bow and arrows and clothed him 
in these garments, and made him take the bow and 
arrows to the maiden’s house, where both his apparel 
and the bows and arrows were turned into wistaria 
blossoms, and he hung them up in the maiden’s private 
bower. When the Maiden of Idzushi, thinking the 
blossoms Strange, brought them forth, he followed behind 
her into the house and forthwith wedded her. So she 
gave him birth to one child. Then he spoke to the 
elder brother saying, c I have obtained the Maiden of 
Idzushi,’ and the elder brother was vexed that he should 
have wedded her and would not pay his wager. When 
the younger brother complained to his mother, in her 
anger with her elder child, she took a one-jointed 
bamboo from an island in the River Idzushi, and made a 
basket with eight holes, and took Stones from the 
river, and mixing them with brine, wrapped them in 
the leaves of the bamboo and caused this curse to be 
spoken, ‘ Like unto the becoming green of these 
bamboo leaves do thou become green and wither.’ 
Again, ‘ Like unto the flowing and ebbing of this 
brine do thou flow and ebb.’ Again, £ Like unto 
the sinking of these Stones do thou sink and be 

<c Then she placed the basket over the smoke. There¬ 
fore the elder brother dried up and withered and sickened, 
and lay prostrate for the space of eight years.” 

There is a widespread belief among the Japanese 
that a mysterious connexion exists between the life of 


man and the flowing and ebbing of the sea. So, accord¬ 
ing to the legend, the fate of the elder brother was 
connefted with the ebbing of the tide, for it is said, 
“ When the sea is flowing in, one is born and becomes 
Strong ; and, when it is ebbing, one loses energy, falls 
ill and dies.” 




N ECROMANCY, negromancy, or necyomancy, 
as it was originally termed, was that branch 
of the magical arts which professed to reveal 
future events by means of communication with the 

Although it belonged to the class called evil or 
black magic, its pra&ice was apparently tolerated if good 
angels and not devils were invoked for the purpose. 

In ancient times it was understood to mean a descent 
into Hades to consult the dead concerning the living. 

There are many references to this practice in the 
mythological Stories of the Greeks and it is men¬ 
tioned by Homer and Virgil. Lucian relates a legend 
of the hero Menippus, who had recourse to a Magus, 
who was a disciple and successor of ZoroaSter, having 
heard that he possessed spells and incantations by 
which the portals of Hades could be unlocked. He 
was also said to be able to invoke and afterwards dismiss 
the spirit of any dead person whom he pleased to 
summon, and by his aid therefore the opinion of Teiresias 
might be obtained. With this objeft Menippus under¬ 
took an expedition to Babylon, and lodged under the 
roof of this Chaldean, “ a man of notable wisdom and 
profound skill, a diviner, venerable for his hoary locks 


and flowing beard.” His name, Mithrobarzanes, 
avouched his necromantic pretensions, and after much 
solicitation and promises of lavish reward, Menippus 
is said to have obtained his objeft. 

In the Talmud, magic is divided into three classes. 
The first includes all evil enchantments, magical cures, 
the citation of evil spirits and the calling forth of the 
dead through the aid of demons, for all of which, like 
idolatry, the punishment was death. 

The second includes those magical practices which 
are carried on by the aid of evil spirits, and the third 
includes astrology and all intercourse with the lower 

In attempting to define the meaning of the names 
applied to the various branches of magic, it is in¬ 
teresting first to consider the explanations given by 
writers who Jived in the Middle Ages. 

In the thirteenth century necromancers were called 
jugulors, from which we may assume they were often 
regarded with suspicion and the praftice of necro¬ 
mancy was forbidden by the Church. 

According to an account written in a fifteenth-century 
manuscript the Papal Conclave came to the following 
conclusions : 

“ The help which the Lord hath given his people 
is now through magic and negromancy turned into the 
damnation of all people, for even the magicians them¬ 
selves being intoxicated and blinded by the devil and 
contrary to the order of Christ’s Church, transgress 
the commandant of God which doth say, thou shalt 
not tempt the Lord thy God but him only shalt thou 
serve. Negromancers denying the sacrifice due unto 



God, and in tempting him, hath done sacrifice unto 
devils and abused his name in calling of them contrary 
to the profession made at their baptism. Hath also 
brought all people through these marvellous illusions 
and drawing the ignorant into damnation of soul and 

“ Pluck up and utterly destroy this deadly root and 
all the followers of this art.” 

Another writer of the same period States : 

“ Necromancy was used in old times by faithful and 
unfaithful. It constrains the devils and makes them 
perform, obey and accomplish their commands. 

“ It may be exercised in two ways : 

“ First, the natural, which may be wrought through 
things whose virtue and property is natural to do them, 
as herbs, plants and Stones, the planets and heavenly 
influences. This art is lawful. 

“ Secondly, the other kind of necromancy is that 
which is praftised through the help and favour of the 
devil, which hath been long exercised in the world. Of 
this the Holy Scriptures testify, speaking of the magicians 
of Pharaoh who contended with Moses and Aaron, and 
in the New Testament making mention of Simon Magus 
rebuked by St Peter. The devils may be forced and 
constrained by the good angels, and this is because of 
the grace which the one loSt and the other yet retains. 

“ None can use or exercise the art of necromancy 
unless he first make an agreement or expressed covenant 
with the devil. . . . Some devils are preferred as prin¬ 
cipals to command the rest and the inferior devils are 
subjefl unto these which are of mighty force to execute 
that wickedness. 



From Barrett's ‘ Magus ' 


“ Wicked demons are divided into nine degrees or 
orders, as the good angels are divided into nine orders 
or hierarchies. 

“ The first are called Psoudothei or false gods who 
would be worshipped as gods, as that demon who said 
to Christ, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. The 
prince of these is Beelzebub. 

“ The second are the Mendariorum or spirits of 
lying. Their prince is that spirit Python. This kind 
of spirit deceive by their oracles, divinations and pre¬ 

“ The third are the Iniquitatis or the vessels of anger, 
and are the inventors of all wicked arts. The prince of 
them is Belial. 

“ The fourth are the Revengers of wickedness and 
their prince is Asmodeus. 

“ The fifth are the PreStigiators who imitate miracles 
and serve the magic and maleficks and seduce people 
in their miracles. 

“ Their prince is Satan. 

“ Sixth are the Arial powers who mix themselves 
with thunders and lightnings, corrupting the air, bringing 
pestilence and other evils. Their prince is Merizim, 
a south demon, raging and furious, whom Paul 
calls, in the Ephesians, c a prince of the power of 
the air.’ 

“ The seventh are the Furies, the sowers of mischief 
and discords, wars and destruction. Their prince is 
called Apollyon, in Hebrew Abaddon, who destroys 
and lays waSte. 

“ The eighth are the Criminators, whose prince is 
AStaroth. He is the calumniator. 



“ Ninth are the Temptors, and all bad genii. Their 
prince is Mammon, interpreted covetousness. 5 ’ 

There are many traditions concerning the covenants 
or pads made with the devil in exchange for certain 
powers, renewed youth and other desired attainments, 
many of which are no doubt fabulous, but there are some 
transcripts to be found in manuscripts purporting to 
be copies of these curious documents. 

Pads with the devil were said to be always signed by 
the executor with his blood as being the mod sacred 

In a pad recorded in the seventeenth century, the 
signatory agrees, “ To deny God being the Creator of 
all things. To blaspheme the three Saints and the Holy 
Trinity. To trample underfoot all the myderies of 
the redemption, and to spit on the face of the Virgin* 
and all the saints. To abhor the name of Chridian 
and renounce Chridianity, baptism, and the commenda¬ 
tions of the Church and the sacraments. To sacrifice 
to the devil, make a pad for the adoration of him, pay 
him homage of fidelity, dedicate innocent children to 
him, and recognize him as Creator.” 

Another reads : 

“ Je . . . renonce a tous les biens tant spirituels que 
corporels qui me pourraient edre conferez de la part 
de Dieu, de la Vierge Marie et de tous les sainds du 
Paradis, pareillement de mon patron saint Jean Bap tide, 
saint Pierre, saint Paul et saint Francois et de me donner 
de corps et d 5 me a Lucifer icy present avec tous les 
biens que je feray a jamais ; excepte la valeur du sacre- 
ment pour le regard de ceux qui le recevront. 

cc Et ainsi le signe et attede.” 



In the library at Upsala there is preserved a written 
pad made by one Daniel Salthenius who sold himself to 
the devil. 

The methods, rites and ritual employed by necroman¬ 
cers are fully described in the books of ceremonial which 
will be dealt with later. 

A sorcerer was said to be one who practised the 
arts of magic and witchcraft, and who had acquired 
a supernatural knowledge by the use of enchantments 
which gave him command over evil spirits. 

The sorcerer made no pad with the evil one, which 
distinguished him from the necromancer. 

The objed of the sorcerer was therefore to constrain 
some evil spirit to appear, so that he might question him, 
the evocation being carried on with mysterious rites 
and ceremonies. 

In order to carry this out he had first to fix upon a 
place proper for such a purpose, which might either 
be a cave or vault draped with black hangings and 
lighted by a magical torch ; or it might be among the 
ruins of an ancient caStle or abbey, a churchyard or any 
other solemn place, between the hours of twelve and one 
in the morning, either when the moon shone brightly 
or when the elements were disturbed with Storms of 
thunder, lightning, wind and rain. When a proper 
time and place were seleded, a magic circle was to be 
drawn, within which the sorcerer and his associate were 
to Stand. A piece of ground was chosen nine feet square, 
at the full extent of which parallel lines were drawn, 
one within the other, containing crosses and triangles, 
close to which was formed the first or outer circle. 
About six inches within this a second circle was described, 



(From a drawing in an MS., XIV century, in the British Museum.) 



(From a drawing in an MS., XIV century, in the British Museum.) 



having within it another square corresponding to the 
first, the centre of which was the seat or spot where the 
master and his associate were to Stand. 

The ground having thus been prepared and the circle 
completed, the sorcerer was not, at the peril of his life, 
to depart until he had completely dismissed the spirit. 

Great importance was attached to the discharging of 
the spirit after the ceremony was finished, and after he 
had answered all the demands made upon him. 

44 The magician muSt wait patiently until he has 
passed through all the terrible forms which announced 
his coming, and only when the last shriek has died 
away, and every trace of fire and brimstone has dis¬ 
appeared, may he leave the circle and depart home in 
safety,” says a writer of the sixteenth century. 

A picturesque account of a visit to the house of a 
sorcerer in Paris, in the seventeenth century, is thus 
recorded by an old French writer : 

4 4 On the ceiling and in the corners were divers un¬ 
clean animals, which seemed to be Still alive, here the 
serpent crawling and writhing, there the bat with its 
membraneous wings, there the toad with eyes of brilliant 
yet sinister beauty ; and there the skeleton of some oddly 
formed fish. The room Still further contained the 
furnace, the alembics, and all the preparations and the 
instruments of the sorcerer. On the right, on the left, 
in every direction lay Strangely formed or grotesque 
phials and vases and books, closed or half open, por¬ 
traits in wax and some symbolical images ; and amidst 
this Strange collection Stood a brazier from whence arose 
a bluish flame which revealed the figure of the sorcerer. 

44 A long loose and trailing black robe enveloped his 



tall figure; in his left hand he held a book and in his 
right a divining wand. 

“ The constellations, the sun and the moon shone upon 
his broad cheSt, on his head he wore a sort of turban, 
and his shoes were long and narrowed off to a slightly 
curving point. 

“ His countenance was not destitute of a certain 
grave dignity; his gaze was fixed and contemplative, 
and a thick beard descended to Ids cheSt. 

“ Making an imperative gesture he waved me back, 
and then the flame in the brazier redoubled its intensity ; 
a thick smoke arose in cloudy whirls and speedily filled 
the whole room. For a moment the magician seemed 
to be invoking a familiar demon, and then suddenly in 
the centre of the brazier arose a phantasmagoric appari¬ 

There was hardly a more terrible accusation one person 
could bring against another during the Middle Ages, 
than that of charging him with practising sorcery. 

In 1324 Robert Marshall of Leicester and John 
Notingham were indifted for conspiring to kill the King, 
the two Despensers, the Prior and two other officials of 
Coventry, by magic arts. Marshall, who turned King’s 
evidence, said that certain citizens came to John 
Notingham as a man skilled in “ nigromancy,” and bar¬ 
gained with him for the death of the persons named, 
paying a certain sum down, and giving him seven pounds 
of wax. With the wax, Notingham and Marshall made 
seven images, six being of the proposed vi&ims and 
the other of Richard de Sowe, who was selected for 
experimental purposes. The work was carried out 
with the closest secrecy in an old, deserted house not 


far from Coventry, and when the images were ready 
the sorcerer bade Marshall thruSt a leaden bodkin 
into the head of the figure that represented Richard 
de Sowe, and the next day sent him to the house of 
the said Richard, whom he found raving mad ; Master 
John then removed the bodkin from the head of the image 
and thruSt it into the heart, and within three days Richard 
died. Notingham died in prison before the case was 
finished, and Robert Marshall in the end came to the 



T HE belief in witchcraft as known in mediaeval times 
was probably derived from the wild mythology of 
the northern races. 

The Hebrew word mekaseepah literally means one 
who makes spells, amulets, poisons and incantations, and 
corresponds to the Latin venefica. It is probable there¬ 
fore that the name “ witch ” mentioned in the Bible had a 
different meaning to that applied to it in later times. 

As Scott points out, “ There is not a word in scripture 
of a contract of subje&ion to a diabolic power, no 
infernal stamp or sign of such a fatal league, no revellings 
of Satan and his hags and no infliftion of disease or 
misfortune upon good men.” 

On the other hand, during the Christian era and 
through the Middle Ages, the name came to be applied 
to one (either male or female) who was believed to be 
able to perform some operation beyond human power 
by the agency of evil spirits, such as working evil upon 
the life and fortunes of other people, and casting spells 
on human beings and cattle. 

The witch was said to acquire these powers by making 
a bond or compaft, sealed with her blood, between her¬ 
self and the devil. 

By the terms of the bond it was understood that she 
renounced the sacraments of the Christian religion, and 


after a term of years or for the rest of her life devoted 
her soul to the powers of evil where it was beyond 

“ Witches,” says Sir Walter Scott, “ were generally 
old, blear-eyed, wrinkled dames, ugly and crippled, 
frequently papists, and sometimes atheists ; of cross- 
grained tempers and cynical dispositions. They were 
often poisoners and generally mono-maniacs. Epilepsy 
and all diseases not understood by the physicians were 
set down to the influence of witches. They were said 
to make two covenants with the devil, one public and 
one private. Then the novices were presented to 
the devil in person, and inStrufted to renounce the 
Christian faith, tread on the Cross, break the faSts, 
joining hands with Satan, paying him homage and 
yielding him body and souk Some witches sold them¬ 
selves for a term of years, and some for ever; then 
they kissed the devil, and signed their bond with 
blood, and a banquet ended the meeting, their dances 
being accompanied with shouts of ‘ Ha, ha! devil, 
devil! Dance here, dance here! Play here, play 
here I Sabbath, sabbath. 5 Before they departed, the 
devil was said to give them philtres and amulets.” 

“ Concerning witches,” says a writer of a manuscript 
of the sixteenth century, “ these haggs are a lineage and 
kind of people expressly agreed with the devil, holding 
and obeying him as their sovereign and master, and 
suffering themselves to be marked by him, which mark 
they bear on one of their eyes, fashioned like a toad’s foot, 
by which they know one another, for they have among 
themselves great companies and fraternities, making 
often general meetings, which they pollute with all 

ll 9 


filthyness, abominable villainies and infernal ceremonies, 
and do homage to the devil who most commonly ap- 
peareth to them in the figure of a great Ram goat.” 

Although a good deal of nonsense has been written 
concerning the witches’ meetings, there is some evidence 
to show that these abnormal women did have secret 
meetings at night in out-of-the-way places, where they 

performed mysterious 
rites and ceremonies 
which probably con¬ 
cluded with an orgy. 

An interesting de¬ 
scription of a witches’ 
Sabbath is recorded 
by Alonso de CaStro 
in a manuscript of the 
sixteenth century. He 
was a learned man of 
Spain and a Franciscan, 
who had a friend who 
was a sorcerer, with 
whom he went to a 
witches’ Sabbath, under the pretence that he wished to 
make a covenant with the devil. 

It was a dark night when the sorcerer took him 
out of the town into the country, and they walked 
together through certain valleys and woods, until they 
reached a plain field enclosed round with mountains. 
Here they found a great number of people, men and 
women, who went up and down in great mirth and 
received him as a novice with gladness, assuring him that 
there was no greater happiness in the world. 


(From a woodcut, XV century.) 





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“ In the midst of the field a throne was built very 
sumptuously, on which Stood a great and mighty Ram 
goat to whom at a certain hour of the night they all 
went to do reverence. 

“ The reverence and homage which they do unto him, 
is by turning their shoulders and bowing down their 
heads as low as they can. He which is newly as- 
sumpted into this brotherhood doth first with words 
wicked and abominable, blaspheme and renounce all 
the holy points and mysteries, vowing unto the devil his 
faithful service for ever with many other execrable 
ceremonies, vows and oaths, which being accomplished, 
they mingle themselves together and many devils with 
them in likeness of young gentlemen and beautiful 
dames without shame or respeft.” 

CaStro goes on to say: “ There are certain oyles 
and oyntments with which they anoynt themselves, 
which deprive them of their right sense, making them 
imagine they are transformed into birds or beaSts, de¬ 
ceiving not only themselves with this error, but often¬ 
times the eyes of others, for the devil and other en¬ 
chanters so dazzle and deceive our sight, turning and 
transforming men into beaSts to the seeming of those 
which behold them, though in truth it was nothing 
so, but the sorcerers think themselves in their imagina¬ 
tion to be transposed. Sometimes they anoynt them¬ 
selves with other oyntments whose operation maketh 
them think they are like fowls and can fly in the 

This account written by a man of intelligence and a 
seeker after truth in his time, goes to show that the 
supposed magic worked by witches was largely due to 

J 2 I 


imagination and deception, no doubt aided by certain 
drugs the properties of which they understood. 

De Lancre gives the following description of the 
devil presiding at a Sabbath or meeting of witches : 

“ He is seated on a black chair, with a crown of black 
horns, two horns on the back of his neck, and one on 
the forehead which sheds light on the assembly; the 

hair bristling, the face pale and 
exhibiting signs of uneasiness, 
the eyes round, large and fully 
opened, inflamed and hideous, 
with a goat’s beard. The 
neck and reSt of the body 
deformed, and in the shape 
of a goat; the hands and feet 
of a human being.” 

The oath to the demon had 
to be pronounced in the 
centre of a circle traced on the 
ground, accompanied by the 
offer of some pledge, such as 
the garment of the novitiate. 

The edge of the circle was 
supposed to establish a mark 
which the demon could not cross. Heavy perfumes, 
such as vervain, with burning incense and lighted 
tapers, always formed part of the ceremonial. The 
smoking brazier, which entered largely into the 
ritual, was believed to aft on the demons, and was 
constantly fed with all kinds of those vegetable and 
animal substances that would produce the most smoke. 

The presence of toads or familiars, which were some- 


times dressed up by the witches in scarlet velvet 
with little bells, is mentioned in connexion with the 

In the Basque provinces, the toad played an important 
part in witchcraft, and when a novice was presented at 
the Sabbath for the first time, a toad was given into the 
care of her introducer, until she had completed her 
noviciate and was considered fit to receive it into her 
keeping. It was dressed in a little sack with a cowl, 
through which the head passed, and open under the 
belly, where it was tied with a band that served as a 
girdle. This dress was generally made of green or black 
cloth, or velvet. The toad was to be treated with the 
greatest care and to be fed and caressed by its owner. 

The fumes from the narcotic plants used, such as 
belladonna, stramonium and hemlock, would probably 
produce a State of semi-Stupor and so influence the 
imagination of the scared spectators that they might 
easily fancy that they saw the writhing forms of spirits 
in the air. 

One method of casting a spell on a person employed 
by witches was by means of the wax or clay image. 
The figure of the intended victim had to be modelled 
with great secrecy. This having been done, a swallow 
was killed and the heart placed under the right arm of 
the image and the liver under the left. The effigy was 
next pricked all over with new needles, each prick being 
accompanied by an incantation and terrible imprecations 
against the viftim. 

Sometimes the figure was moulded in earth taken 
from a graveyard mixed with powdered human bones. 
Certain magical signs were then inscribed upon it which 



were believed in time to cause the death of the 

In the British Museum there is an interesting manu¬ 
script entitled “ A discourse of Witchcraft, as it was 
a&ed in the family of Mr Edward Fairfax of FuyStone, 
York, 1621." 

In the manuscript, Mr Fairfax gives an account of 
how his two daughters, Helen, aged twenty-one, and 
Elizabeth, aged seven, and a child called Maude Jeffrey, 
were bewitched by six witches who are named. 

One was “ Margaret Waite, a widow, whose familiar 
was a deformed thing with many feet, black of colour, 
rough with hair and the bigness of a cat.” Another 
was “ Jennit Dible, a very old widow and a reputed 
witch for many years, whose familiar was a white cat 
spotted with black.” He observes that, “ Satan maketh 
use of ye mass priests, confirming their s upposed holiness 
by conjuring and by casting forth devils where they 
never entered.” 

On O&ober 28th, 1621, Helen was found lying on 
the floor in a deadly trance, and remained unconscious 
for a considerable time. For several days in succession 
she had these trances, which could not be accounted for. 
On November 3rd at break of day, she called out loudly, 
“ Oh, I am poisoned,” and told her mother that “ a 
white cat had been long upon her and drawn her breath.” 
They endeavoured to persuade her it was a dream, but 
on the 14th she again awoke the household and said 
she had “ found a black dog by her bedside.” 

Her sister Elizabeth had similar seizures and it was 
concluded they had been bewitched, and suspicion fell 
on the old women in the village who were believed to 

From the bairfax MS. 1621. British Museum. 


work witchcraft. They were arrested, and after they 
had been brought to trial, the girls are said to have 

The manuscript is illustrated by many curious draw¬ 
ings, in black and white, of the witches implicated, and 
a variety of weird and curious animals, birds, and other 
Strange apparitions, said to have been seen by the girls, 
together with some of the familiars. 

The witch’s familiar, which was constantly with her, 
was supposed to take the shape of a cat, dog or a great 
toad, and so the black cat became associated with magic 
and witchcraft. 

The weasel has also been associated with witchcraft 
from early times, and Apuleius in “ The Golden Ass ” 
mentions a practice of the witches of Thessaly, of cutting 
or biting off the ears of the dead in order to use them 
as ingredients in their mysterious compounds. 

Thelyphron relates, how he kept watch over a body 
for about half the night, and then received a visit from 
a witch in the form of a weasel who Stared at him with 
“ a confidence unusual in so small an animal.” 

A familiar is said to have once been dissefted by the 
famous physician Dr. William Harvey, the discoverer of 
the circulation of the blood. 

The Story is related by NoteStein thus : 

“ About 1685, a Justice of the Peace in south-weSt 
England wrote a letter, in which he said that he once 
asked Dr Harvey his opinion of witchcraft. 

“ Harvey replied, that he believed there was no such 
thing and recounted a Story of a visit he made to a reputed 
witch, when he was at Newmarket with Charles I.” 

The woman lived in a lonely house on the borders 



of the heath. Harvey told her that he was a wizard 
and had come to converse with her on the common 
trade. The woman believed him, because as Harvey 
said, “ You know I have a very magical face.” Harvey 
then asked to see the witch’s familiar, whereupon the 
woman brought out a dish of milk, made a chuckling 
noise and a toad came out from under a cheSt and 
drank some milk. 

The witch was persuaded to go out and get some ale 
half a mile away, and while she was absent Harvey cut 
up the toad and found the milk inside. He came to 
the conclusion that “ it differed noways from other 
toades,” but that the old woman, having tamed it, had 
come to believe that it contained the spirit of her 

On her return, the old woman “ flew like a tigress ” 
at Harvey, and would not be pacified with money, so 
that he was obliged to tell her that he was the King’s 
physician sent to discover if she was a witch, and in 
case she were, to have her apprehended, and so he took 
his departure. 

The beginning of the fifteenth century saw the com¬ 
mencement of an epidemic of witchcraft and persecution 
throughout Europe which continued until near the close 
of the seventeenth century. It was not until witchcraft 
was placed by the Church under the head of heresies, 
that witches were rigorously prosecuted. 

The first Papal Bull against witchcraft was that of 
Gregory IX in 1233, and in 1484 Pope Innocent VIII 
promulgated his celebrated Bull against various practices 
of sorcery and witchcraft, and introduced the terrible 
Courts Extraordinary, presided over by three Sorcery 

From the Fairfax MS., 1621. British Museum. 


Inquisitors, which spread consternation in Germany 
and other parts of Europe. In this Bull sorcery and 
heresy were confounded together, while liberty and 
life itself were no longer safe to anyone under the 
Tribunal. Pope Alexander VI renewed the Bull against 
witchcraft, but the number of witches suddenly appeared 
to increase ; spies, informers and exorcists multiplied 
also, and the rack was in constant use to extort con¬ 
fession, while the fires were kept burning for those 
whom the torture had driven to confession. 

In three months during the year 1515, 500 witches 
were burnt in Geneva alone ; a thousand were con¬ 
demned in the diocese of Como ; a single inquisitor 
boaSted of having condemned 900 in Loraine, and “ Trois 
Echelles ” confessed that he knew of 1,200 witches 
in France and claimed to have passed judgment on at 
least two thousand of his pretended associates. 

In the time of King AthelStan there was a law provid¬ 
ing that where witchcraft caused death it should be 
punished by death, but where the effeft was less serious 
the offender was imprisoned or fined. 

A Statute against witchcraft in England was passed 
in the reign of Henry VI, and additional laws were 
added by Henry VIII, Elizabeth and James I, the laSt 
being particularly industrious in his persecution of those 
accused of witchcraft. 

In Scotland, in particular, witchcraft appears to have 
abounded and persecutions were very frequent. 

King James VI, before he became James I of England, 
took an a£Iive part in several witch trials, especially in 
the inquisitions to discover the pradfices of one Cun¬ 
ningham. The most horrible tortures were inflifted 



on the unfortunate people who were accused, some of 
whom were persons of high rank and position, such as 
Lady Fowlis and others, whose trials are recorded by 

One method of detefting witches, and at the same 
time torturing them to make confession, was by means 
of running pins into their bodies, on pretence of dis¬ 
covering the devil’s mark or sign. This pra&ice was 
a&ually carried on as a calling in Scotland, and the men 
who exercised it were known as “ prickers.” 

Scott States that, at the trial of Janet PeaSton of 
Dalkeith, the magistrates and ministers of the town 
caused John Kincaid of Tranent, the common pricker, 
to exercise his craft upon her. 

He reported, that “ he found two marks of what he 
called the devil’s making and which appeared indeed to 
be so, for she could not feel the pin when it was put 
into either of the said marks nor did they (the marks) 
bleed when it was taken out again ; and when she 
was asked where she thought the pins were put in, she 
pointed to a part of her body distant from the real 
place.” They were pins of 3 inches in length. 

Beside the fa£t that the bodies of old people, especially, 
sometimes have spots void of sensibility, there is also 
reason to believe that the professed prickers used a pin, 
the point or lower part of which was, on being pressed 
down, sheathed in the upper part which was hollow for 
the purpose and which, while appearing to enter the 
body, did not pierce it at all. 

In 1678 the Privy Council received a complaint from 
a poor woman, who had been abused by a country 
magistrate and one of the so-called prickers. The 


members of the Council expressed high displeasure 
at the presumption of the parties complained against, 
and treated the pricker as a common cheat. 1 

An Act of Parliament was passed in England in 1664 
against witchcraft, and twelve bishops attended the 
committee when it was discussed in the House of 
Lords. The Puritans urged that the persecution of 
all witches should be renewed. The Episcopal party 
refused to support it, or to take an aftive part in the 
persecution. Under the Long Parliament, however, 
the campaign broke out with fiercer intensity. Zachary 
Gray States that he had seen a list of three thousand 
witches executed during that period. Sir Matthew Hale 
presided when some of the unfortunate creatures accused 
of the offence were brought to trial, and charged the 
juries to convifl: the persons. Even Sir Thomas Browne, 
the humane author of the “ Religio Medici/’ gave 
evidence at the trial and asserted the reality of the 
crime. So general did the charges of witchcraft become, 
that no class of society was safe from accusation and 
suspicion, thousands perishing by the faggot and 

After several thousands of victims had suffered the 
penalty. Sir John Holt, by his judicial firmness, Stemmed 
the tide of fury against the unfortunate accused. Among 
the laSt vifiims condemned in England were a 
woman and her daughter, the latter only nine years of 
age. They were accused of selling their souls to the 
devil, and causing a Storm “ by pulling off their Stockings 
and making a lather of soap.” 

In the eighteenth century, even men like John Wesley 

1 “Fountainhalls Decisions,” Vol. I, p. 15. 




and William BlackStone were believers in witchcraft, and 
it was not until 1735 that Parliament repealed the 
Statute against witchcraft and the fear of witches began 
to die out. 

The Witchcraft Aft of 1735 (George II), which is 
Still in force, provides that “ no prosecution shall be 
brought for witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or con¬ 
juration ; but it is en- 
afted that if any person 
pretend to exercise any 
kind of witchcraft, 
sorcery, enchantment, or 
conjuration, or under¬ 
take to tell fortunes, or 
pretend from skill in any 
occult science to dis¬ 
cover where loSt goods 
may be found, such 
person shall be impri¬ 
soned for a year, and be 
put in the pillory once in 
every quarter of such 

Concerning demoniacal possession there is a con¬ 
siderable difference of opinion and the subj eft has long 
been a matter of controversy. There appears to be 
little doubt that it had its origin in the belief held by 
primitive peoples that evil spirits or demons could 
enter the human body and thus cause disease and other 
ills, until they were driven out by incantations or 
exorcism by invoking a higher power. 

According to Biblical accounts, the demons some- 

(From a woodcut, XV century.) 


times made their presence both seen and felt, and in 
numerous pi&ures, representing saints in the aft of 
exorcizing in the Middle Ages, the devil or demon is 
represented with the traditional horns and forked tail. 

It is evident, however, from the period from which 
we have any detailed and accurate accounts of these 
unfortunate people, that their condition was generally 
due to some form of insanity, epilepsy, or condition of 
neurosis that was not understood at the time. 

It was not until the fifteenth century, that doubts appear 
to have arisen in the minds of some thinkers as to the 
nature of demoniacal possession, and one of the first 
to comment on it was Nider, a Dominican friar who 
died at Colmar in 1438. John Wier, who also wrote 
about 1563 on the power of the devil, limited it to an 
influence on the imagination. Others then began to 
notice the resemblance of certain diseases, believed to 
have been caused by demons, to those known to be 
from natural causes, and Boquet declared that such 
maladies could be cured by physicians. Schenck, who 
Studied the cause of nightmare, which at that time 
was generally believed to be due to an incubus, at¬ 
tributed the cause to “ the obStruftion of vessels 
which unite the spleen to the Stomach, by the thicken¬ 
ing of the gaStric juice having become black bile.” 
The principal symptom, he observes, “ consists in a 
sensation of oppression as if the weight of a burden 
prevented the person from breathing, and horrible 
dreams accompany this sensation/’ 

As to demoniacs, Schenck says he considers them as 
sick people. They have been cured even after the 
prayers of the Church and by the physicians, and he 

I3 1 


concludes that the same maladies which seem to be 
caused by the occult forces can be met with in people 
who are ill from natural causes. 

With reference to confessions wrung by torture 
from those accused of sorcery or witchcraft, it was said 
that the fear of the torture alone could produce the 
effeffs which appeared to confirm their guilt. But even 
at the end of the sixteenth century, men like Fernelius 
and Ambroise Pare, who had described epilepsy and 
hypochondria as diseases, believed that sorcerers were 
able to cause demons to enter the human body and cause 
“ a madness that resembled mania.” 

It is now known that neurasthenia is due to a derange¬ 
ment of the nervous system, to which is added an emo¬ 
tional intensity. Every faculty becomes sensitive, even 
pain is felt, the senses sometimes perverted, and spasms, 
paroxysms and loss of sensibility may occur, but that 
these manifestations can be controlled by the will power 
of another person. 

Charcot has shown the effefts of hypnotic treatment 
upon those suffering from acute hysteria, and has 
proved, that when a person is hypnotized the elastic 
muscular coating of the arteries conStrifl to such an 
extent as to Stop the flow of blood, and that when 
needles are Stuck into the flesh no bleeding follows. 

Thus the light of modern science has dispelled much 
that was thought in the paSt to be due to occult forces. 


witches’ ointments 

V ARIOUS ointments or unguents were made 
and employed by witches, which were supposed 
to enable them to fly in the air, to see spirits, and 
produce other mysterious effects, and there is no doubt 
that some of these were highly a<flive preparations. 

The secret of the composition of these ointments was 
jealously guarded, but we have been able to gather 
from various manuscripts several recipes said to have 
been used in the sixteenth century. 

BaptiSta Porta gives a recipe for an unguent used by 
the witches in Italy in the sixteenth century. It is 
composed of aconite, boiled with the leaves of the 
poplar, then mixed with soot and made into an ointment 
with human fat. 

In this, the aconite, or monk’s-hood, a common plant 
in the country, is the aftive ingredient. It is a powerful 
poison and contains several alkaloidal principles, the 
chief of which is aconitine, a minute quantity of which 
will cause death. Applied externally, aconite produces a 
tingling sensation, which is succeeded by numbness of 
the part. The soot was used simply as a colouring agent, 
and the fat as a vehicle for making the unguent. Another 
formula, of the same period, consists of Ac or us vulgare, 
Aerspertillionis s anguinem and Solanum somniferum 



boiled together in oil. To this, Indian hemp and 
stramonium were sometimes added, and the whole 
made into an ointment with the blood and fat of night- 

In this recipe there are three highly toxic substances. 
Belladonna is a Strong poison and given internally will 

produce delirium. Its a&ive 
principle, atropine, has a power¬ 
ful effed: on the eyes. Indian 
hemp, taken internally, pro¬ 
duces a kind of intoxication, 
attended by exhilaration of 
spirits and hallucinations, 
followed by narcotic effefts, 
sleep and Stupor. Stramonium, 
or thorn-apple, yields a prin¬ 
ciple called daturine, which, 
like atropine, dilates the pupils 
of the eyes and will cause de¬ 
lirium. The “ blood and fat of 
nightbirds ” were of course 


magic unguent innocuous, and were doubtless 

(From a vrootcat oM*e xv century, introduced as elements of 


Another ointment was prepared by mixing “ aconite, 
belladonna, water parsley, cinquefoil and baby’s fat.” 

The water parsley was probably cowbane or water 
hemlock, a herb of a highly poisonous nature. 

Hemlock, given internally, may produce delirium 
and contains a powerful alkaloid called conine, which 
causes paralysis of the voluntary muscles. 

There is little doubt that both the magician and the 


witch knew the properties and effe&s of many of 
these plants, from experience gained in their use in the 
fumigations employed at all their ceremonies. 

Besides the drugs mentioned, they also employed helle¬ 
bore, which contains a powerful principle called vera- 
trine, that has a Strong irritating affion on the skin; 
henbane, a narcotic which contains among other poison¬ 
ous alkaloids hyoscyamin, which dilates the pupils of the 
eyes ; and mandrake, which, owing to its aftive principle 
mandragorine, has powerful narcotic properties and 
was used by the Greeks in ancient times as an anaesthetic, 
owing to its a£lion in producing deep sleep and Stupor. 
From the poppy they got the soporific effefls of opium. 

Other formulae are also found which are quite in¬ 
nocuous, as the following, said to have been used by 
witches for working magic and seeing visions : 

“ An oyntment to see spirits. 

“ Take the gall of a bull, ants eggs and ye fat of a 
white hen all mixed together and anoynt your eyes 
to see spirits.” 

“ Anoynt your face with ye fat of a lap-wing, or ye 
blood of a lap-wing, and of a bat or a goat and make 
an ointment.” 

Bull’s gall, diluted with water, was used as an applica¬ 
tion to the eyes by the Anglo-Saxons. It was reputed 
to have the property of “ clearing ” and improving 
the sight, and was a well-known domestic remedy for 
affe&ions of the eyes. 

Another magical eye ointment used by witches to 
“ see visions ” is given in a sixteenth-century MS. and 
is direfted to be prepared as follows : 

“ Take 8 pint Sallet oyle and put it into a real glasse 



and at first wash it with rose water and marygold flower 
water the flowers being gathered towards the east. 
Wash it until the oyle come white then put it into the 
glasse and then put thereto the budds of holyhocke 
the flowers of marygold, the flowers or tops of wild 
thyme and the budds of young hazel. The thyme muSt 
be gathered near the side of a hill where the fayries use 
to be oft and the grasse of a fayre throne there. All 
these put into the oyle in the glasse and get it to dissolve 
3 days in the Sunne and then keep it for thy use. Ut 

“ Anoynt under the eyelids and upon them morning 
and evening but especially when you call or flnde your 
sight not perfeft.” 





F ANTASTIC Stories have been written con¬ 
cerning the so-called Black Mass associated 
with the pra&ices of sorcery and witchcraft 
in the sixteenth century; and, although many of these 
are but fables, there can be no doubt, from historical 
records Still extant, that certain infamous and blas¬ 
phemous rites were carried on long after that period. 

The men who officiated at these profane ceremonies 
appear to have been renegade or degraded prieSts who 
had given themselves over to the service of the devil, 
and were ready to perform any abomination for gain. 

In 1593, the Parliament of Bordeaux condemned to 
be burnt alive one Pierre Aupetit, cure of Pugeas, after 
confessing that for twenty years he had worshipped the 
devil at witches’ sabbaths, and performed impious 
Masses in his honour. Charles IX is said to have 
employed an apostate monk to celebrate the “ Eucharist 
of Hell ” before himself and his intimates, and in 
1597 there is record that Jean Belon, a cure of the 
diocese of Bourges, was burned at the Stake for dese¬ 
crating the sacraments and celebrating abominable 

In 1609, several other prieSts were arrested in the 



Bayonne diStrid on similar charges and for celebrating 
<£ Satan’s Mass.” 

About the middle of the seventeenth century, Made¬ 
leine Bavent, a Franciscan sister attached to the convent 
of Saints Louis and Elizabeth at Louvilles, by the 
diredion of her confessor wrote a description of the 
blasphemous ceremonies of this Mass, at which she 
Stated she had defiled the crucifix and trampled on the 
consecrated wafer. In connexion with this, a priest 
called Boulle was burnt in 1647. 

In the time of Louis XIV, the pradice of sorcery 
was carried on all over France, while in Paris it spread 
like an epidemic throughout the city, and from the 
highest to the lowest among the people there was a 
belief in the occult powers of the magician. Sorcerers 
abounded, and their services were sought by some of 
the greatest in the land for poison to rid themselves of 
undesirable relatives, or love-philtres to attrad fresh 

Chief among these evil charaders was the notorious 
La Voisin (Catherine Deshayes), who lived in the Rue 
Beauregard and who was associated with many of the 
poison mysteries of the time. 

The infamous Abbe Guibourg, who aided her in her 
crimes, was another of the gang, and in the cellars of 
the houses where they carried on their nefarious pradices 
the “ Black Mass ” was probably celebrated. 

It was Stated, and possibly with some truth, that young 
children were killed during these rites, and there is an 
account that Lemeignan, vicar of St. EuStache, was 
convided of having thus sacrificed infants to Satan. 

These evil ceremonies were carried on into the 


eighteenth century, and on the night after the murder 
of Louis XVI, in 1793, a number of these SataniSts, 
as they came to be called, assembled and performed their 

Various accounts have been recorded of the blas¬ 
phemous ritual that was carried out at these meetings. 
According to one description, the altar was covered 
with three linen cloths and upon it was set six black 
candles and in the centre an inverted crucifix or a figure 
of the devil. The missal was bound in the skin of 
an unbaptized baby. The vestments are variously 
described as sometimes being all black, with a cope of 
white silk embroidered with fir cones, or a chasuble 
of a violet colour. 

The celebrant sprinkled his followers with filthy 
water by means of a black brush, or used consecrated 
wine for the purpose. 

The ritual began with an invocation to the devil, 
which was followed by a mock general confession, the 
celebrant making an inverse sign of the cross with his 
left hand. 

The HoSt was then borne to the altar, and at the Eleva¬ 
tion those present made hideous screams and frenzied 

The wafers are said to have been sometimes dark 
and round, Stamped with horrible designs, or coloured 
red with blood, or were black and triangular in shape. 

The HoSt was first Stabbed with a knife by the cele¬ 
brant, then thrown on the ground and trampled on, 
while the contents of the chalice were poured over 
it with abominable execrations. 

At the close of the celebration, those present gave 



themselves up to wild dancing with every kind of ob¬ 

A similar ritual, but for a different purpose, was that 
called in Gascony the Mass of St Secaire, by means of 
which prieSts were believed by the Gascon peasants 
to revenge themselves on evil men who were their 
enemies. It is thus described by Blade. 1 It was to 
be said in a ruined or deserted church, the abode of 
hooting owls and bats and where toads squat under 
the deserted altar. 

“ Thither the prieSt comes by night and at the first 
Stroke of eleven begins the Mass backward and ends 
at midnight. The HoSt he blesses is black and has 
three points. He consecrates no wine, but drinks of 
the water of a well into which the body of an un¬ 
baptized infant has been flung. He makes the sign 
of the cross, but it is on the ground with his left foot, 
and many other things he does which no good 
Christian could look upon without being Struck blind, 
deaf and dumb for the rest of his life. 

“ Meanwhile the man for whom the Mass is said is 
believed to be withering away, little by little, and 
no one can say what is the matter with him. They 
do not know that he is slowly dying of the Mass of 
St Secaire/’ 

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, a mysterious 
society called “ The Goats ” was brought to light in 
Limberg. The members met at night in a secret chapel, 
and after infernal orgies at which they paid divine 
honours and homage to Satan, put on masks like goats’ 

1 “ Quatorze superstitions populaires de la Gascogne,” 
J. F. Blade, 1883. 



heads. After enveloping themselves in long mantles, 
they went forth in bands to plunder, rob, and destroy all 
they met with. 

It is Stated, that between 1772 and 1774, the Tribunal 
of Foquemont condemned four hundred of these people 
to be hanged, but the whole society was not Stamped 
out until 1780. 



D IVINATION for foretelling the future has been 
employed since the time of primitive man. It was 
performed in various ways, which may be classified 
as natural and artificial. 

Rawlinson says that the custom of divining by means 
of a number of rods was purely Magian, and Herodotus 
describes the method employed and States that it was 
pra&ised by the Scythians in Europe. 

“ Scythia,” he observes, “ has a band of soothsayers 
who foretell the future by means of a number of willow 
wands. A large bundle of these rods is brought and laid 
on the ground; the soothsayer unties the bundle and 
places each wand by itself, at the same time uttering his 

“ While Still speaking, he gathers the rods together 
again and makes them up once more into a bundle.” 

A divine or magical power appears to have been 
believed to rest in the wands, and they were supposed 
to be consulted on the matter in hand both severally 
and colleftively. The bundle of rods thus believed 
to be endowed with supernatural wisdom became part 
of the recognized prieStly vestment, and was carried by 
the Magi on all occasions of ceremonial. 

Twigs of tamarisk were sometimes used instead of 


willow, and the number of the wands varied from 3 to 5, 
or 7 or 9. 

Hosea the prophet, referring to the praftice of 
divination, says : “ My chiefs ask counsel with their 
Sticks, and their Staffs declare it unto them.” 

It was probably praftised by the people of Western 
Asia as early as 700 b.c. 

Another form of divination is mentioned in Ezekiel 
xxi. 2i called the mingling of arrows. Thus when 
“ the King of Babylon Stood at the head of the two 
ways to use divination, he made his arrows bright, he 
consulted with images and he looked into the liver.” 
The latter form of divination, called extispicy, was 
practised by the Babylonians about 1500 b.c. and was 
also applied to the inspection of entrails. 

Both the Etruscans and the Romans employed this 
method of divination, which they carried out by the 
examination of the internal organs and entrails of 
animals, and also of the drink offerings. 

The Roman Aruspices, or officers appointed for this 
purpose, had four diStinCt duties : to examine the victims 
before they were opened, to examine the entrails, to 
observe the flame as the sacrifice was burnt, and to ex¬ 
amine the meat and drink offering which accompanied it. 

It was regarded as a fatal sign if the heart was wanting, 
and this is said to have been the case with two oxen 
that were sacrificed on the day that Cassar was killed. 

If the prieSt should let the entrails fall, or they were 
charged with blood, or if they were livid in colour, it 
was believed to be a portent of immediate disaster. 

The origin of extispicy is said to be due to the custom 
of primitive, nomadic tribes examining the viscera of 



animals before settling on a place for encampment, to 
ascertain if the neighbourhood was healthy. A similar 
method of divination to foretell the future, which is said 
to be Still praftised in TurkeStan, was to draw con¬ 
clusions from the lines and dots found on the shoulder 
blade of a sheep after it had been dried in the sun. 

Seven divining arrows were at one time kept in the 
great mosque at Mecca, but the Arabs are said to have 
only made use of three when divining. On one was in¬ 
scribed “ My Lord hath commanded me,” on another 
“ My Lord hath forbidden me,” and the third was blank. 
If the first was drawn, it was looked upon as divine ap¬ 
probation of the enterprise; if the second, they made a 
contrary conclusion; but if the third happened to be 
drawn, they mixed them and drew them over again 
until a decisive answer was given by one of the others. 

The method of divination by casting lots called Sor¬ 
tilege has been employed from early times by Eastern 
races for detecting a guilty person. 

An instance of its use is to be found in the Story of 
Jonah, when the sailors on the ship caSt lots and judged 
him to be the cause of the tempest. 

It was carried out by various methods, but usually 
by means of pebbles or counters engraved with certain 
characters, which were placed in an urn, and the first 
withdrawn was believed to give the correft indication. 
Another way was to place pieces of wood or parchment 
on which letters were written in a box, and after duly 
shaking them, to throw them on the ground, when any 
words thus accidentally formed were regarded as omens. 

Divination by opening a book, and accepting a portion 
of the text that first appears, was another method em- 


ployed in foretelling. The early Christians used the 
Bible for this purpose and the Muslims the Koran. 

It is said that Charles I and Lord Falkland made a trial 
of this method shortly before the outbreak of the Civil 
War. “ The former opened at that passage in the fourth 
book of the fiEneid, where Dido predi&s the violent 
death of her faithless lover ; while the latter opened it 
at the lamentation of Evander over his son in the 
eleventh book.” 

As instances of divination for judicial purposes there 
are records of two cases that occurred in London in 
1382. One refers to Simon Gardiner, who lost his 
mazer bowl and employed Henry Pot, a German, to 
trace it. Pot made 32 balls of white clay, and after 
appropriate incantations declared that one Nicolas 
Freman and CriStine his wife were the thieves. 

In another case, “ Maud of Eye had her mazer bowl 
Stolen, and Robert Berewolf was consulted to find the 
thief. Robert took a loaf, and fixed in the top of it a 
round peg of wood, and four knives at four sides of the 
same, in the shape of a cross. He then performed some 
operations called ‘ art magic,’ and named Joan Wolsey 
as the thief,” but apparently this fraud was discovered, 
for we find that Robert Berewolf was placed in the pillory 
with a loaf hanging round his neck. 

There is another interesting record in 1382 of Mistress 
Alice Trig, who lost her Paris kerchief, and suspe&ed 
Alice Byntham of having Stolen it. The two women seem 
to have been fairly intimate, and Alice Byntham went to 
a cobbler, William Norhamptone, and told him certain 
private matters concerning Mistress Trig. William then 
saw Mistress Trig, and posing as a Wise Man, and skilled 
L 145 


in magic, revealed to her his knowledge of her private 
affairs. Impressed by this, she asked him who Stole her 
kerchief, to which he replied that, whoever it was it 
certainly was not Alice Byntham, and told her that she 
would be drowned within a month. Although terrified 
at his prophecy, she lived to see William Standing in the 
pillory for misdemeanour. 

CryStallomancy, or divination by means of a trans¬ 
parent body, such as a crystal ball, precious Stone or 
mirror, was pra&ised from early times. A beryl was 
generally preferred for this purpose. The crystal gazer, 
or “ skryer ” as he was called, would look for a pro¬ 
longed period into the globe and profess to see a future 
event, spirit or writing, foretelling certain things. The 
methods employed will be further described in the 
chapter following. Aubrey says, there were pre¬ 
scribed prayers to be said before the speculation could 
be made, which the soothsayers termed a “ call.” Simon 
Forman relates in a manuscript, in 1585, that the Earl 
of Denbigh, then Ambassador at Venice, £C did assure him 
that one did show him three several times in a glass, 
things past and to come.” When Sir Marmaduke 
Langdale was in Italy, he went to one of these Magi, 
“ who did show him a glass where he saw himself 
kneeling before a crucifix. He was then a Protestant, 
and afterwards became a Catholic.” 

He gives an interesting account of a “ consecrated 
berill, in the possession of Sir Edward Harley of Bath, 
which he kept in a closet at Brampton Bryan, Hereford¬ 
shire. It came first from Norfolk. A minister had it 
there, and a caul was to be used with it; afterwards a 
miller had it, and both did work great cures with it. 


In the berill they did either see a receipt in writing, or 
else a herb. The berill is a perfeCt sphere, with a 
diameter I guess to be something more than an inch. 
It is set in a ring of silver resembling a globe ; the Stem 
is about io inches high, all gilt. At the four corners of 
it are the names of four angels, Uriel, Raphael, Michael 
and Gabriel. On the top is a cross patee.” 

CryStallomancy has Still its believers, and yet forms 
a prominent part of the Stock-in-trade of the fortune¬ 
teller of to-day. 

Hydromancy was a similar form of divination carried 
out on the edge of a silent pool or by means of a mirror. 
Dark lakes and rocky pools are frequently referred to in 
Stories of witchcraft, and were often associated with this 

The operator knelt and gazed into the surface for a 
considerable time, to compose his mind for the revela¬ 
tions that might come to him from the water. 

The Hindus and Arabs use a little ink, poured into 
the palm of the hand, or into a shallow bowl marked 
with cabalistic characters, for this purpose. 

A black mirror was another medium favoured by some 
adepts for practising this form of divination. 

Geomancy was a form of divination intimately con¬ 
nected with astrology. The earliest method of practising 
it was by casting pebbles on the ground, from which con¬ 
jectures were formed, much the same as from chance 
lines and dots on paper. The Arabs, however, at a 
later period based the praCtice on the supposed effeCt 
of motion under the cruSt of the earth, or, what is more 
probable, surface cracks on the ground caused by the 
heat of the sun. The geomantic figures obtained by 



inspe&ing the chance lines were supposed to represent a 
certain situation of the Stars, and the diviner then pro¬ 
ceeded on astronomical principles. 

Lithomancy was a method of divining by using 
particular Stones. These Stones, which are described as 
“ rough, hard, black and graven everywhere with veins 
or wrinkles/’ were supposed to possess extraordinary 
properties and were considered to be controlled by a 
genius or familiar spirit. On placing one close to the 
eyes, chara&ers were supposed to be read on it. 

Dactylomancy was a method of divining by rings. A 
plain ring or circlet of gold was suspended by a thread 
or hair within a glass vessel or within reach of it, and by 
the involuntary movements of the hand, it would Strike 
the glass once for “ yes ” and twice for “ no.” Another 
ancient method of divining with a ring was to hold 
it suspended over a round table, the edge of which was 
marked with the letters of the alphabet. When the 
ring stopped over certain letters, they were joined 
together and so formed the answer. 

Pyromancy was the art of divination by fire. A 
flaming fire was made to consume the sacrifice. The 
presage was considered good when it was vigorous and 
the fuel quickly consumed, when it was clear and Strong 
and a transparent red, not dark in colour, and when it did 
not crackle. If it burnt silently, or was difficult to 
light, and the wind disturbed it, or it was slow to con¬ 
sume the sacrifice, the presage was evil. 

Besides the sacrificial fire, the ancients divined by 
observing the flames of torches, and even by throwing 
powdered pitch into a fire ; if it caught quickly, the omen 
was considered good. The flame of a torch was good if 


it formed one point, but bad if it was divided; on the 
contrary, three points were a better omen than one. 
Sickness or death were foretold by the bending of the 
flame, and disaster by its sudden extinction. 

Cheiromancy, or the method of foretelling from the 
creases or lines on the palm of the hand, is of great 
antiquity, and has been practised throughout the ages to 
the present time. 

Scyphomancy, or divination by the cup, was another 
method of discovering future events by reflection. The 
divining cup of Joseph shows that its use was known in 
Egypt at a very early period, and most of the ancient 
Persian sovereigns and other Eastern rulers kept a cup 
for this purpose, which was highly valued. The divining 
cup was probably the primitive drinking cup, and when 
libations were required it had to be filled to the brim, 
and whenever a name was mentioned a small quantity of 
the wine was poured on the ground as a drink offering. 

AleCtromancy was an ancient form of divination with 
a cock. A white cock was placed in a circle drawn on 
the ground, which was equally divided into as many 
parts as there were letters in the alphabet. A grain of 
wheat was then placed on every letter, beginning with A, 
and after the diviner had repeated several incantations 
the cock was placed within the circle, and it was observed 
from what letters he pecked the grain. These when 
placed together were said to reveal the name of the 
person concerning whom inquiries had been made. 

Oneiromancy was a method of divining by in¬ 
terpreting dreams. It was denounced by Pope Gregory 
as a “ detestable praftice,” but this did not prevent 
the belief in it for forecasting the future. 



Arnauld de Villeneuve, who wrote a work on the sub- 
jeft in the thirteenth century, gives a certain code by 
which those who pra&ised it worked. 

“ Whoever dreamt that his hair was thick and care¬ 
fully curled would soon become wealthy. If anything 
was wrong with the hair, evil was betokened. It also 
foreshadowed harm if a wreath was worn composed of 
flowers that were not in season/’ Other codes signified 
that to dream of the eyes related to children ; the head, 
to a father ; the arms, to brothers ; the feet, to servants ; 
the right hand, to the mother, to sons and to friends ; 
the left hand, to the wife and daughter. Another 
method was founded on the theory that, whatever was 
dreamt of, the antithesis or opposite would happen in 
life. Thus to dream of a wedding was said to presage 
a funeral. According to many old writers, there was 
scarcely any important event in the Middle Ages which 
was not announced by a dream. 

The day before Henry II of France was Struck by the 
blow of a lance during a tournament, Catherine de 
Medici dreamt that she saw him lose one of his eyes. 
Three days before he fell by the knife of Jacques 
Clement, Henry III dreamt that “he saw the royal 
insignia Stained with blood and trodden under foot by 
monks and people of the lower orders.” 

Henry IV also, before he was murdered by Ravaillac, 
it is said, heard during the night his wife, Marie de 
Medici, say to herself as she woke, “ Dreams are but 
falsehoods ! ” and, when he asked her what she had 
dreamt, she replied, “ That you were Stabbed upon the 
Steps of the little Louvre 1 ” “ Thank God, it is but a 

dream,” rejoined the King. 

I 5° 



T HE practice of foretelling by looking into a 
reflecting surface probably began by gazing into the 
depths of a silent lake or pool. Mirrors of highly 
polished metal were employed in China for this purpose 
from a very early period, and the Greeks used bronze 
mirrors in order to foresee into the future. 

The use of a crystal ball or Stone came at a later date 
and was in general employment about the fifteenth 
century, when it was believed that spirits could be 
invoked and become visible in the Stone. Various 
methods are described in the manuscripts on magic for 
“ conjuring with the Stone,” and the ceremonies that had 
to be performed before so doing. 

The ritual is thus described in a manuscript of the 
sixteenth century : “ First have a glass or Stone, fair, 
clean and sound without crack or blemish and thou muSt 
have Olive oil to anoint the Stone withall, then you muSt 
confess yourself to God Almighty, read some good 
prayers and Psalms, and then consecrate your book and 
your Stone together with the oil, and your instruments 
necessary for your work. 

“ First say one Pater NoSter, one Ave Maria, one Creed, 
then say Dominus vobiscum Spiritu, God of Abram, 
God of Isaac, God of Jacob, God of Elias, God of Tobit, 
God^of Angels, God of Prophets, God of Martyrs, 

1 5 1 


God of Confessors, God of Virgins, God of all good 
livers who hast given virtues to Stones, woods and herbs, 
I am emboldened through thy great and manifold 
mercies, consecrate this book and Stone.” 

According to a later description written by one 

Peter Smart, M.A., of London, 
“ The crystal Stone in which 
celestial powers have visible 
appearance should be of a 
round globic form, or ball of 
clear and solid glass or thick 
hollow of glass, with a little 
hole on the top of like form of 
any convenient bigness, and the 
same to be set in a frame, and 
also the glass to be made with 
a Stalk or shank thereto &nd 
so to be put in a socket, with 
a foot or pedestal to Stand 
upright. The Stone being 
called a Show Stone and the 
glass by the name of a glass 

“ For invocation for spiritual appearance, there shall 
either be a wax candle on each side or a lamp behind 
burning and set on a table. The sign of appearance 
moSt seemeth like a veil or curtain, or some beautiful 
colour hanging in or about the Stone or glass, as a 
bright cloud or other pretty kind of hyeroglyphical 
show, both Strange and very delightful to behold. 

“ Either good or bad angels may appear and they 
will be known by their appearance. 



(Barrett’s “Magus.”) 


“ The good angels are dignified powers of light 
and in countenance very fair, beautiful, affable, youthful, 
smiling, amiable and usually flaxenish or gold coloured 
hair, without any of the least deformity either of hairy- 
ness in the face or body or any crooked nose or ill¬ 
shaped members. Their garments or ventures without 
spot or blemish and always embrace the word mercy. 

“ When they appear the gazer muSt say : 

“ £ Welcome to the light of the highest and welcome 
to the messengers of Divine 
grace and mercy, unto us 
the true servants and wor¬ 
shippers of ye same God, 
whose name be glorified 
both now and for ever 
more. Amen.’ 

“ The gazer then de¬ 
mands : ‘ Are ye the same 
whom we have moved and 
called forth visible ap¬ 
pearance now before us by 

the name-or what are ye and of what order among 

the blessed angels ? ’ 

“ If it make no answer repeat the words. Then it 
will show forth and tell its name and thou shalt say : 

“ c If you be as you say, In the name of Jesus, say 
that all wicked angels are juStly condemned and by the 
mercy of God in the merits of Christ mankind elect 
is to be saved/ 

“ Whereupon it will return a satisfactory answer 
and depart. 

“ If unsatisfactory or if there be silence, then make 


(From an MS., XVI century.) 


humble request for answer to such desires and proposals, 
as in a certain writing is contained which ought tc be 
in readiness with you. 

“ Failing these, there are nine great Celestial Keys 
or Angelical Invocations that could be used for calling 
forth to visible appearance the governing angels. These 

It was apparently sometimes necessary for the magician 
to compel a spirit to speak, and to do this it had to be 
thus addressed : 

“ c Thou spirit, thou knoweSt that God doth live + 
Christ doth overcome + Christ doth rule in Heaven 
and in Earth, in Air and in ye Water and in all places. 
By ye truth of God, I conjure thee by the will of God. 
I do constrain thee by ye power and potency of our 
Lord. I do bid and command thee and by all the Holy 
names of God . . . Jesus ye Son of ye Virgin Mary, 
which shall come to judge both ye quick and ye dead 
and ye word of fire. Amen. 

“ c I do commit thee into ye hands of ye infernal 
spirits Lucifer, Deucaleus, Sathan, to be tormented 
in fire and brimstone, until thou hast done my will/ 

“ Then let the conjurer make a cross upon the ground 
with Holy Oil, then kneel, kiss the cross, rise up, take 
the sword in his right hand, command his fellow which 
shall bear thy work to kneel down and lay the bare 
sword upon his head/' 

In order to bind or fasten down a spirit who had 
appeared in the Stone so that it could not depart until 
licensed, the conjurer had to say: “I bind thee spirit 



that art appeared in this Stone of crystal, that thou do 
not disobey my commandments but do all things for 
me that to thy office appertaineth and more too. I 
bind thee not to go thy way from me till I release thee. 
Here to remain until thou hast fulfilled all my command¬ 

ments, for I will use art towards thee and nothing but 
art, and thou spirit therefor here Stand, I charge thee 
in this crystal Stone.” 

The writer concludes with “ a general curse for all 
spirits, both for ye Stone, glass or circle. This is to be 
carried out by making a fire of dry cow turds, brimstone 
and suchlike Stinking Stuff and writing the spirit’s name 



on virgin parchment, burning it and saying the 

The professional conjurer with the crystal was known 
as a “ skryer ” in the sixteenth century. Edward 
Kelly, who was associated with Dr Dee in the time 
of Queen Elizabeth, was one of the chief exponents of 
the art, and the crystal globe said to have been employed 
by Dee for calling up spirits is Still preserved in the 
British Museum. 




O NE of the mo$t important parts of magical 
ceremonial was the drawing of the magic circle 
which formed the spiritual barrier, prote&ing 
the magician from evil and wicked spirits that he might 
invoke. Without a magic circle traced for defence, 
says a writer of the sixteenth century, “ the invocation 
to visible appearance of such fearful potencies as Amay- 
mon, Egyn and Beelzebub would probably result in the 
death of the exorcist on the spot, such death presenting 
the symptoms of one arising from epilepsy, apoplexy 
or Strangulation. The circle once formed, let the 
evocator guard carefully against either passing or 
Stooping or leaning beyond its limits during the progress 
of exorcism or before the licence to depart has been 

The magic circle can be traced back for a period of 
over 5000 years and was probably employed at a much 
earlier date. Its origin is unknown, but it has been 
suggested that it arose from the ancient symbol of the 
serpent with its tail in its mouth. 

The Assyrian sorcerer sprinkled lime around him and 
set seven litde winged figures before the god, as de¬ 
scribed in the following early text: 

“ I have completed the usurtu (magic circle), with a 
sprinkling of lime I have surrounded them. 



“ The flour of Nisaba (the corn god), the ban of the 
great gods I have set around them. 

“ At the head of those seven with fearful wings have 
I set a figure of Nergal.” 

The ancient Hindu magician made a circle of red 
lead or black pebbles to ward off the approach of demons, 
and it was customary to encircle the bed of a woman 
at childbirth with black pebbles for the same 

Henry found traces in early Hindu magic of the 
double pentacle or seal of Solomon, and suggested that 
the points of the Star may have been intended to pierce 
or ward off invisible foes. This is only conjefture, 
but the use of the pentacle shows a connexion with 
Semitic magic. 

Psellus alludes to Hecate's circle as cc a golden sphere 
enclosing a sapphire in the centre, turned by a thong 
of bull’s hide and having characters through the whole 
of it. Conjurations were made by turning it.” 

The primitive circle used by the magicians in early 
times developed during the Middle Ages and assumed 
a variety of forms according to the kind of spirits that 
the conjurer wished to evoke. 

The circle was usually marked or drawn with the 
magic sword or knife and was generally nine feet in 
diameter, but sometimes it was made portable by being 
drawn on parchment and marked with metal amulets 
and talismans. 

The blood of doves was often employed for writing 
the names and formulas on the parchment. 

The power of the circle as a ban or “ caStle,” as it was 
sometimes called, was shown by leaving a gate or opening 


J 59 


for egress, which the magician carefully closed by making 
pentacles when he left it. 

For important operations, a great KabbaliStic circle 
was marked out with the magical Stone Ematille, or was 
made with Strips of skin of a sacrificed kid fixed by nails 


(Drawn by a magician in the XVI century, showing places for the fumigation pots.) 

to the ground. It consisted of five circles, one within 
the other, and a triangle instead of the pentagram. 

When drawn on parchment, the magic circle was 
sometimes also used for astrological calculations. 

It was regarded as most important that, after the 
operation had concluded, the magician should obliterate 
the circle so that no trace of it should remain, a praftice 


which survived from the early primitive magical rites. 
The licence to depart was also of great importance, as 
if omitted it was believed that the death of the conjurer 
might result. 

Peter de Abano, writing “ of the Circle and its com¬ 
position ” in the fifteenth century, says : “ There is 

not one and the self same manner of circles used for 
the calling of spirits, but places, times, and hours 
are to be observed and the circle to be altered 

“ It behoveth therefor, a man to consider in the making 
of his circle in what time of the year, in what hour, 
what spirits he would call forth, what Star and region 
they govern and what functions they have. Therefor 
make three circles, in breadth nine feet and which 
Stand distant one from the other a handsbreadth, and 
write in the middle of the first the name of the hour 
in which thou shalt make thy work. In the second 
place, the names of the angell of the hour; third, the 
seal of that angell; fourth, the name of the angell that 
governeth that day and his ministers ; fifth, the name of 
the present time; sixth, the names of the spirits govern¬ 
ing and ruling in that part of the time ; seventh, the name 
of the head of the signe ; eighth, the name of the earth 
according to that part of time, and the ninth, write the 
names of the sun and moon according to the season of 
the time. In the outward circle, in the four corners, 
the names of the angells governing the air that day to 
wit, the King and Three of his ministers. Without the 
circle, in the four corners, place pentagons. In the 
inward circle, write the four deume names placing crosses 
between them. In the middle of the circle, to wit the 




Ea$t, write Alpha, and at the WeSt, Omega, and let a 
cross divide the middle of the circle.” 

(From an MS., XVI century.) 

The next important ceremony was the blessing and 
consecration of the circle, which, after it was perfefted, 


was sprinkled with Holy Water, the magician repeating 
the following formula : 

“ Sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop and I shall be 
clean. Thou shalt wash me and I shall be whiter than 

The pentacle also formed a very important part of 
the magician’s equipment and on it the science of magic 
was believed to depend. 

The origin of the five-cornered figure, and how it 
came to be used as a symbol in magic, is unknown, but 
it undoubtedly goes back to a very early period and 
probably before the time of Solomon to whom it is 
generally attributed. In the early manuscripts it is 
variously called a pentagram, pentangle, pentalpha or 
pentagon of Euclid. 

It is formed by two interlaced triangles, and can be 
drawn without a break in the drawing. Moxon defines 
it as, “ a geometrical figure having 5 angles used as a 
symbol in magic.” 

It has been found engraved on Druidic remains and 
also on some ancient Stones in India. A writer in a 
manuscript of the thirteenth century alludes to it as 
“ the pentangel of pure gold, the sign that Solomon 

It formed an integral part of the magic circle, as well 
as part of the vestment of the magician, and its power 
consisted not only in the diagram itself, but in the char- 
afters drawn upon it. Thus Agrippa observes, u The 
pentacles consist of the charafters and names of the good 
spirits of the superior order, preserving us from evil 
events and helping us to bind and exterminate the evil 
spirits, and reconciling the good ones to us.” 



They were sometimes drawn on parchment or paper 
and affixed to the magician’s vestment, or drawn on the 
robe itself, with the idea of protecting the wearer from 
the attacks or influence of devils or obnoxious spirits 
that might appear. 

There are various dire&ions given in the early manu¬ 
scripts on magic as to how the pentacles are to be 
made, and the following may be taken as an example : 

“ They must be made upon a Wednesday, the day of 


: T\eJs 






d’etr&pv' ajn wAtv-n. 








0 - 




S'yruxi&> r vJl rnoj' X 






Jfi) miqf Id umffdp 

ip Vitijif) pattAmfinf, nrdrfAty 
px&iP at^a&fdntfd'oy a ntfuf 
■piM aj firvndh do fit and 1 
loarp often) ffo It&yf cf fhfr 
fSivtumf d?Mruj Hw a/idd 
fmd Id if uf>or) adi 0 ) 
ip fid Ciftlfr. 


(From an MS., XVI century.) 

Mercury, at the increase of the Moon. After making 
a fumigation in a secret chamber and sprinkling it with 
water, have your virgin paper and begin to write a 
pentacle of noble colour following the pen and ink. 
Let them be writ and other things to be exorcized. 
Then take some noble cloth of silk, wherein ye may hold 
the pentacle and have there a great earthen pot full of 
coals, and let there be maStic and Aloes wood, and let 
the conjurer be clean, as it is meet, and prepare juice 



of pimpernell and the blood of a goose made and com¬ 
plete on a Wednesday. Let 3 masses be sung with 
gospels, and fumigate it, saying the Psalms and the 
Oration. After saying this for 3 days, and 3 masses of 
the Holy GhoSt, and one of our Lady, put the signs in 
a silk cloth with goodly savours, and put them in a 
clean place until it is need ye may work the Arts Magical.” 

The virtues of the pentacles were said to be “ remark¬ 
able against the drinking of poisons, being invincible in 
battle, and in the defence of the body and the soul.” 




I N most of the ceremonies connefted with the 
practice of the magical arts, perfumes or fumiga¬ 
tions played an important part, and they appear 
to have been employed in myStic rites from the earliest 
times of which we have record. 

Their use probably originated in the same idea as 
that of incense, viz. to give pleasure to the deity in order 
that an appeal might be more favourably received, but, 
as magic developed, it will be seen that the perfume 
or fumigation served other purposes. 

A pleasing and fragrant odour was favourable to 
the angels and good spirits, while an evil one was used 
to drive the wicked spirits away. The same idea is 
common among barbaric races to-day, and to drive off 
a demon, the burning of substances that give off a re¬ 
pulsive smell is commonly resorted to. 

In magical formulas, certain fumigations were credited 
with the power of raising and causing spirits to appear, 
and to lay and bind them. As will be shown later, 
many of the substances employed possessed narcotic 
properties, and when burnt in a confined space and 
inhaled would doubtless produce somnolence, and 
sometimes hallucinations. The magicians were well 
aware of their effefts, as one writes, “ There are some 

i6 7 


perfumes or suffumigations and un&ions which make 
men speak in their sleep, walk, and do those things 
that are done by men that are awake, and often what, 
when awake, they cannot do or dare do. Others again 
make men hear horrid or delightful sounds, noises and 
the like.” 

In a manuscript on magic of the sixteenth century, 
the writer relates a curious tradition of how the know¬ 
ledge of herbs came to be handed down. He States 
that, “ Abel the son of Adam made a book of all the 
virtues and properties of plants, which knowing that 
the world should perish through the general flood, 
enclosed it so cunningly in a Stone that the waters could 
not come to corrupt it, whereby it might be preserved 
and known for all people. This Stone was found by 
Hermes TrismegiStus, who breaking it, and finding 
the book therein, profited wonderfully by applying the 
contents to his use, which book afterwards came to the 
hand of St Thomas.” 

An examination of manuscripts on magic written 
in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries throws an 
interesting light not only on the substances used for 
fumigations but also on the reasons for which they 
were employed. 

“ Of perfumes,” says a writer of the sixteenth cen¬ 
tury : “ A perfume made of hempseede and of the seeds 
of fleawort, violett roots, and parsley (smallage) maketh 
to see things to come and is available for prophesie. 
A perfume made with coriander, saffron, henbane and 
parsley (smallage) and white poppie all bruised and 
pounded together. If any shall dig gold or silver or 
any precious thing, the moon being joyned to the sun 


in the lower heaven, let him perfume the place with 
this suffumigation.” 

Certain perfumes were dedicated to the planets 
specifically, or were sometimes offered to the whole 
constellations. Thus a general perfume for the planets 
was composed of “ myrrh, coStus, maStic, camphor, 
frankincense, sanders (sandalwood), opoponax, aloes 
wood, asam euphorbium, Storax and thyme of each i 
ounce, mixed together.” 

“ For the Sun, yellow amber \ 02., musk 12 grains, 
aloes wood 36 grains, liquid balsam and the berries 
of lawrell of each 34 grains, of gilliflowers, myrrh and 
frankincense of each 1 oz., with the blood of a white 
cock make pills in the quantity of half a drachm. 

“ Perfumes for the Moon. Take white poppie 
seeds 1 oz., frankincense \ oz., camphor 1 oz., 
with the blood of a goose make into balls. 

“ Also mirtle or aloes, ye first of these have appointed 
to every place is according to Hermes TrismegiStus 
who sayeth they are very powerful. 

“ A perfume for Saturn. Take seeds of black poppies 
and the seeds of hyoscyamus (henbane) of each 2 ozs. 
Root of mandragora 1 oz., the Stone lapis lazuli \ oz., 
myrrh 3 grains, mixed with the brains or blood of 
a batt to balance the quantity of 1 oz. 

“ Also pepperwort, olibanum, gum Arabick or 
sandarach may be employed. 

“ A perfume for Jupiter. Take seeds of ash 2 ozs., 
aloes wood 2 ozs., storax, bengamin of each 1 oz., 
lapis lazuli 1 oz. Of the very tipps of the feathers 
of the peacock, let these be incorporated with the blood 
of a stork or of a swallow or the brain of a hart. Let 



these be made in trochisk (lozenges) in the quantity of 
a groat. 

“ A perfume for Mars. Take euphorbium 3 bdellium 
of each i oz., ammonick roots, of both sorts of helli- 
bore, lode Stone 2 drachms, brimstone 1 drachm. Lett 
them be incorporated with the brain of a catt. Make 
trochiskis (lozenges) of 1 drachm. 

“ A perfume for Venus. Take musk 18 grains, amber 
9 grains, aloes wood 1 oz., red roses 2 ozs., red corral 
2 ozs. Mingle them with the brain of a sparrow and 
the blood of a dove. Make trochisk (lozenges) in 
quantitie half a drachm. 

“ A perfume for Mercury. Take maStich 1 oz., 
frankincense 2 ozs., gilliflowers 2 ozs. Incorporate 
with the brain of a fox or weasel and with the blood 
of a magpie. Make trochisk (lozenges) in quantitie 
half a drachm.” 

There were also combinations of perfumes for each 
day of the week. Thus for Saturday, “ All good things 
and well-smelling roots as coStus and herb thuris. 

“ For Sunday, maStich, musk, and suchlike gums of 
good odour as benjamin, Storax, labdanum, amber, and 

“ For Monday, leaves of myrtle and laurel and leaves 
of good odour and sweet flowers. 

c< For Tuesday, sandal, red, white and black, and all 
sweet woods as aloes wood, Cyprus, balsam and suchlike. 

“ For Wednesday, the rinds of all sweet woods as 
cinnamon, cassia, laurel bark, mace and all sweet seeds. 

“ For Thursday, all sweet fruits as nutmegs, cloves, the 
rinds of oranges and citrons, dried and powdered, with 
suchlike of good odour. 



“ For Friday, roses, violets and all other fruits of 
flowers of good odour, as crocus and suchlike. 

“ Hermes said, that thimiamate of the moon is cin¬ 
namon, aloes wood and maStich while crocus, coStus, 
mace and myrtle each planet hath a part in it.” 

The writer goes on to State, that, cc Solomon makes 
distinction upon the days and planets of the spices which 
a man ought to make thimiamate, and saith, that 
Saturn is each good root in good and evil, of Jupiter 
all fruits of good and each rind of same, each flower 
and odoriferous herb, of the Moon each leaf and berry, 
and cardamoms was put with these things. 

“ There is no such fumigation to call spirits as amber, 
aloes wood, costus, musk, crocus and blood of a lap¬ 

A marvellous efficacious fumigation, “ to cause a man 
to see visions in the air and elsewhere, was made with 
coriander and henbane, and the skin that is within the 
poundgarnet (pomegranate) and the fumigation made 
is finished as you desire.” 

Another to cause visions of the earth to appear : 

“ Take root of cane reed and the root of fennell, with 
the skin of the pomegranate, henbane and red saunders, 
and black poppy.” 

“ According to Hermes,” says another writer, “ there 
is nothing like unto Sperm-a-ceti to raise spirits suddenly, 
being compounded of sperm oil, aloes wood, pepper- 
wort, musk, saffron, red Storax mixed with blood of a 
lapwing. If it be fumigated about tombs and graves of 
ye dead it causeth spirits and ghosts together.” 

There were certain herbs and substances called “ the 
herbs of the spirits,” which included “ coriander, sorcel- 

I 7 I 


lage, henbane, and hemlock, made up with sweet gums, 
as of Storax or benzoin or frankincense and myrrh, and 
these are called ‘ herbs of spirits,’ because they cause 
them to come presently together.” 

Other formulas which are said to have been taken from 
an ancient manuscript are as follows : 

“ Take maStick, sanders (red) and of muSthalaperate 
and amber all mixed together, and fumigated quickly, 
quickly brings them in place. 

“ Anise and camphire mixed (it is an herb of chastity) 
cause to see secret things ye clepe spirits. Fumigate with 
cardamoms and eat thereof. It causeth gladness and 
gathers spirits together. Artemesia (wormwood) which 
in these things is called a c Crown for a King,’ for its 
virtue and power, put in all other fumigations.” 

The way to see spirits in a metal mirror is thus 
described : 

“ Take canabis viz. hemp, and artemesia and Stand 
thee before a Steele glasse and ye shall be able through 
God’s help to see and bind and loose spirits, but if ye 
anoynt ye glasse with juice of artemesia it is better. 

“ A Steele glasse well polished and muSt be anoynted 
with the juice.” 

“ To cause apparitions to be visible to ye sight, you 
muSt take, artemesia, hemp, flax, cardamoms, anise, 
camphire, coriander, hypericon, aloes wood, apia 
mortegon (chicory).” 

Of the substances of animal origin used for this pur¬ 
pose, the following are mentioned: “Ye lapwing, ye 
haysouke, ye lion’s gall, ye bull’s gall. Fat of a white 
hen, ye eyes of a black cat and antes eggs. Of fish, ye 
balena, and cancer (crab). Of aromatics, musk, amber- 


grise, myrrh, frankincense, red Storax, maStick, olibanum, 
bdellium, red sanders, saffron, benzoin and labdanum.” 

“ To have friendship or wouldSt have of a prince of 
Spirits of ye ayre ; take juice of hypericon, saffron, 
artemesia and root of valerian and of these make a fumi¬ 
gation. To make spirits glory in themselves, take of 
ye powder of withy coales mixed with oil of nard and 
light it with a candle. 

“ To see future events, fumigate yourself with linseed 
and seed of psellium, or with violet roots and wild 

To drive away evil spirits or devils, it was neces¬ 
sary to make a noxious fumigation with sulphur, black 
myrrh, red sandal, putrid apples, vinegar, wine galls, 
and arsenic mixed with dregs of wine, or a mixture 
of calamus, peony, mint and palma chriSti. 

Before the perfumes or fumigations were used, the 
following benedi&ion was to be said over them : 

“ c O God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, 
bless here the creatures of these kinds, that they may fill 
up the power and virtue of their odours, so that neither 
enemy nor any false imagination may be able to enter 
into them through our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen/ 
Then let them be sprinkled with Holy Water. The fire 
which we use in fumigations, let it be put in a new 
copper, iron or earthen vessel, and exorcize it as follows : 

‘ I exorcize thee O thou Creator of fire, by him by whom 
all things are made, that it shall not be able to do hurt 
to anything, but bless O Lord this creature of fire and 
sanftify it/ ” 

There were certain perfumes or fumigations associated 
with the Seven Angels, and the substances employed 



in making these consisted of nutmeg, aloes wood, 
mastick, saffron, cinnamon, myrtle, mixed with rose¬ 
water, cloves, olibanum, frankincense and myrrh, amber, 
bdellium, red Storax (called Styrax), and a little ambergris 
and musk. “ All these made into a body with the said 
gums, of which make little balls of the bigness of peas 
and cast into a clear charcoale fire, set in a new earthen 
pot, in ye middle of a room.” 

Among the drugs employed in these fumigations there 
are at least five powerful narcotics the fumes of which if 
inhaled would affeff those in their vicinity. Cannabis 
Indica produces Strange hallucinations, and the effeffs 
of opium from the poppies, henbane, hellebore and 
mandrake (which was employed by the Greeks as an 
anaesthetic), no doubt contributed to the belief in the 
visibility of spiritual beings invoked by the magician. 

Certain herbs had to be gathered with great ceremony; 
thus the magic herb valerian to be effeftual had to be 
approached with the following solemn rites : 

“ First kneel down on both your knees, your face to 
the EaSt, and make a cross over the herb, and say, 
‘ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of 
the Holy GhoSt. Amen.’ 

“ Then say a Pater NoSter, Ave Maria and Creed, also 
St John’s gospel. This muSt be done secretly, alone on 
the Friday or Thursday, the Moon being at the full and 
before you speak a word to any creature. Also you muSt 
say before you take him out of the ground, £ I conjure 
thee herb that are called valerian, for thou art worthy for 
all things in the world. In pleasance, in Court before 
Kings, Rulers, and Judges thou makeSt friendship 
so great that they that bare thee his will, for thou doeSt 


great miracles. The ghoSts of Hell do bow to thee 
and obey thee. For whosoever hath thee, whatsoever he 
desireth, he shall have in the name of the Father, of 
the Son and of the Holy GhoSt. Amen.’ 

“ Keep it cleane in a faire cloth.” 

The ceremony is thus described by another writer : 

“ Go to the place where it grows on the 2nd day of 
May and kneel down before the shrub and say a Pater 
NoSter and an Ave Maria, then dig with an instrument 
that has no iron about it until the roots appear, then let 
it lie until tomorrow and the first thing in the morning 
say the prayer. 

“ Then take the shrub out of the ground and wash it 
clean in woman’s milk and wrap it in a new linen cloth, 
and set it upon the altar and say masses sublime to the 
Blessed Virgin, and keep it cleanly for it is of great 




HE belief that certain numbers possessed magical 

JL properties has persisted from early times. The 
mystical number 7, so frequently mentioned in the 
Old Testament in connexion with Jewish ceremonial, 
is Still retained, and the superstitions connected with the 
number 13 are believed by some people at the present day. 

“ A wonderfull efficacious virtue lies in certain num¬ 
bers,” says a writer of the sixteenth century. The num¬ 
ber 7 works wonderful things, thus the 7th son can heale 
distempers and could foresee into the future.” 

Pythagoras preferred number 4 as the root and 
foundation of all other numbers. “ 4 angels govern the 
cardinal points of heaven, viz. : Michael, Raphael, 
Gabriel and Uriol. There are also 4 elements, Air, 
Earth, Fire and Water, and the 4 seasons, Spring, 
Summer, Autumn and Winter.” 

“ Number 5 has great force in Holy things. It drives 
out bad demons and expels poisons. There are the 5 
senses, viz. : TaSting, Hearing, Seeing, Touching and 

“ Number 7 is full of majesty.” The Pythagorians 
called it the vehicle of human life. “ It is venerated 
in religion and is called the number of blessedness and 
reSt. Thus there are 7 days, 7 planets, 7 colours and 7 
metals, and the 7 ages of man. It is called the number 



of an oath by the Hebrews and so Abraham when he 
made a league with Abimilech appointed 7 ewe lambs. 

44 In the whole context of numbers 6 is the moSt 
perfect number in nature. In 6 days the world was made, 
and it is called the number of man because on the sixth 
day he was created. In the law it was ordained 6 days to 
work, 6 days to gather manna, 6 years to sow the earth. 
A cherub had 6 wings, there are 6 circles in the firmament, 
viz.: the ArCtic, the Antarctic, two Tropical, the Equi¬ 
noctial, and Errliptick. 

44 Number 8 is called the number of Justice and of 

“ Number 9 was sacred to the Muses. On the 9th 
hour Christ expired and after 9 days the ancients buried 
their dead. 

44 Number 10, a decade. It was the custom with the 
Egyptians whoever was initiated in the sacred mysteries 
of Isis muSt faSt for ten days. 

44 This number is a unity. 

44 Number 12 is a Divine number wherein heavenly 
things are measured. There are 12 signs of the Zodiac, 
12 months in the year, 12 orders of spirits, 12 tribes of 
Israel, 12 prophets, 12 ApoStles, 12 Stones in Aaron’s 
breastplate and 12 principal members of man’s body. 

44 The ancients revered number 40 and held it in 
great veneration. 

44 For 40 days lasted the Deluge, 40 days the children 
of Israel lived in the desert, after 40 weeks Christ was 
born, 40 days from the nativity before he was offered in 
the Temple, for 40 months he preached publicly, for 40 
hours he lay in the sepulchre and forty days after his 
resurrection he ascended into heaven. 


I 77 


“ This/’ concludes the sage, u was the beginning of the 
wonders of numbers.” 

Another early writer gives the following symbolism 
and lore connected with magical numbers : 

“ No. i is regarded as the father of numbers and 
signifies harmony. It is a fortunate and prosperous 

cc No. 2 is the number of intellect and the mother of 
numbers. It is generally held to be an evil number 
bringing trouble and unhappiness. It has been an evil 
number to Kings. 

“ No. 3 is a holy number, the number of the Trinity. 
It signifies plenty, fruitfulness and exertion. 

“ No. 4 was the sacred number of the Pythagoreans and 
over it they swore their most solemn oaths. It is the 
square number, and in astrology the square was evil. It 
is the number of endurance, immutability, firmness of 
purpose and will. 

“No. 5 was a peculiar and a magical number used 
by the ancient Greeks and Romans as an amulet to 
proteCt the wearer from evil spirits. The pentacle, with 
its five points, was regarded as a powerful talisman of 
protection and health. In India it is the emblem of Siva 
and Brahma. It is the symbol and number of fire, 
justice and faith. 

“ No. 6 was regarded as the perfection of numbers. It 
was sacred to Venus and regarded as the ideal number 
of love. To some it signifies trouble and Strife, en¬ 
tanglement and uncertainties in marriage. 

“No. 7 is the sacred number and in religion was highly 
esteemed by the ancients. It is the number of Royalty, 
triumph, fame and honour. 



“ No. 8 was regarded as a great power by the ancient 
Greeks, who held that ‘ all things are eight/ Pythagoras 
called it the number of justice and fullness. It is a 
number of attraction and also repulsion, of life and terrors 
and all kinds of Strife and menace. 

“ No. 9 was the crooked number of the Pythagoreans 
and is connected with intellectual and spiritual know¬ 
ledge. Numbers 9 and 7 are peculiar to the lives of men. 
Nine is a number of wisdom, mystery, rulership and 

“No. 10 is a holy and divine number and is the number 
of Karma in the philosophy of India. 

“No. 11 is a number of evil reputation and signifies 
violence and power. 

“No. 12 was esteemed as the number of grace and 
perfection. It is the number of time, experience and 

“No. 13 is a number of change and sometimes mis¬ 
fortune. It signifies death and destruction. In love 
it is not evil, and is a number of harmony. It was ac¬ 
counted a sacred number by the ancient Mexicans. The 
Romans considered it unlucky and an evil omen for 
thirteen to sit down in a room together, which probably 
accounts for its evil repute, and the Hindus have the 
same tradition. 

“No. 14 is a number of ignorance and forgetfulness, 
trials and dangers. 

“No. 15 was generally regarded as evil in magic, and 
was associated with the witch’s sabbath which was 
sometimes held on the 15 th day of a month. 

“ No. 16 is associated with weakness, accidents, defeat 
and danger. 

I 79 


“No. 17 is a good number. In ancient Eygpt it 
was considered unholy. It symbolizes immortality and 

“No. 18 is a bad number, signifying treachery and 

“ No. 19 is a good number and was considered one of 
happiness, good fortune and success. 

“ No. 20 is a good number, and signifies life and good 

“No. 21 is a good number and is associated with 
truth, honour, elevation and success. 

“ No. 22 is a number of error and folly and cannot be 

“ No. 23 is a favourable number and means success and 

“Nos. 26 and 28 are associated with evil, disaster, 
greed and Struggle in life. 

“ No. 37 is a good number and portends good fortune 
and success. 

“ No. 43 is a very unlucky number, and is associated 
with death, failure and destruction. 

“No. 65 was the holy number of Adonay, and was good 
in all things. Pythagoras held that numbers were the 
principles of all things, and odd numbers were accounted 
by the ancients more fortunate than even ones, as they 
associated the odd with their greater and more powerful 




M AGICAL talismans, usually consisting of certain 
symbols or characters in various combinations, 
written on parchment or engraved on metal, were 
carried and worn to prevent the owner from danger and 
the attacks of evil spirits. 

According to a manuscript on figures of geomancy 
written in the sixteenth century, the ten names of the 
deity were regarded as being specially potent and effec¬ 
tive for this purpose. 

“ The talisman, called in Hebrew a scutcheon, or shield 
in Chaldean, signified a figure or image written or drawn 
on a piece of paper or parchment marked with certain 
charafters drawn from the Tetragrammaton, made under 
certain constellations. They are a buckler or shield of 
defence against disease, lightnings and tempests.” 

The same writer States, “ The Arab, Haly Rhodoam, 
had the image of a scorpion engraved on a bezoar Stone, 
by which he cured those bitten by venomous beaSts. 
Apollonius by making a talisman of a Stork, kept 
those troublesome birds from Constantinople, and by 
another he drove away all the gnats out of Antioch.” 

“ Talismans, made under the sign of Pisces, were 
placed in the prow of their ships by the early Latins, 
to preserve them from shipwrecks and tempests, and 
the Greeks set up the same. These figures were not in 



any human form but of some celestial figure. Mariners 
also had Statues of some deities, as of Mars, Apollo 
or Mercury, which they placed on the poop or hinder 
parts of their ships. 

“ The custom of mariners setting up these figures is 
very ancient against shipwreck. The ship of Alexandria 
that Paul sailed in, had the images of CaStor and Pollux 
or, according to the Arabs, the Gemini, and that which 
carried Hippocrates, when he took his journey to Abdera 




1. For pains in the head. 

2. Against flux and catarrhs. 

3. Against trembling of the heart. 

“ Make these signs on a lead plate with the brain of a hog.” 

(From an MS., XV century, in the Bodleian library.) 

for the curing of Democritus, bare the figure of the 

All these talismans were not so much for the avoiding 
of shipwreck as for the turning away of some disaster 
or accident, and the procuring of good fortune. 

“From this praftice of the ancients the Christians 
have taken example by setting up images of saints in 
their vessels.” 

The founders of ancient cities and caStles first brought 
astrologers to find out a lucky position of the heavens 
under which the first Stone might be laid. 



The influence of astrology on magic in the Middle 
Ages is shown in the description of how the talismans 
were to be made. 

Each planet had a table or square consisting of an 
arrangement of names, figures or numbers, which were 
opposed to both give and receive power. This table, 
or certain symbols written or engraved, formed the 

Thus, Saturn’s table consisted of a square containing 



(From an MS., XVI century.) 

nine divisions in each of which the following numbers 
were written, 4, 9, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 1, 6. These when 
engraved on a plate of lead and worn on the person 
were believed to bring good fortune, 44 to help child¬ 
birth and make a man powerful.” 

Jupiter’s table engraved on a silver plate was said 
to bring favour and love to him who wears it. 44 It 
will dissolve witchcraft, engraven on coral.” 

44 Mars engraven on iron or swords makes him that 
bears it valiant in wars and terrible to his adversaries. 
Cut in carnelian, it Stops bleeding.” 



“ The Sun engraven on gold, makes the bearer for¬ 
tunate and beloved, and to be a companion of Kings. 

“ Venus engraven on silver, brings good fortune 
and love of women. It makes the wearer powerful 
and dissolves witchcraft, also generates peace between 
man and wife. 

“ Mercury engraven on silver, tin or brass, or written 
on virgin parchment, will make him that wears it obtain 
what he desires. It brings gain, gives memory and 
understanding, and knowledge of occult things by 

“ The Moon engraven on silver, brings cheerfulness, 
takes away ill will, makes him secure when travelling 
and expels enemies and evil things. Made in lead 
and buried, it shall bring misfortune to the inhabitants 
of a city, also ships and mills.” 

Another writer of the same period, in describing 
how to make talismans, States, 

“ An image whose figure was the head of a man 
with a bloody neck, beStoweth success to petitions and 
maketh him who carrieth it bold and magnanimous and 

helpeth against witchcraft. The sign is -oitfc 

“ Done under the greater Dog Star, the image of a 
hound and a little virgin, beStoweth honour and favour 

of men. The sign is 

C£ Under the heart of Leo they made the image of a 
lion or cat which rendereth a man temperate, appeaseth 

wrath and giveth favour. The sign is p? 

184 U * 

(From an MS., XV century, in the British Museum.) 


“ Under the heart of Scorpio, they made the image 
of a man armed with a coat of mail or the figure of a 
scorpion. It giveth understanding and memory and 

aideth against evil spirits. 

The sign is 





The association of angels with the planets, the months 
of the year and the four winds was probably due to the 

influence of astrology. 
Four angels were said 
to serve Saturn, 4 under 
Jupiter, 4 under Mars 
called Martyans, 4 
under the Sun, 3 under 
Venus, 3 under Mercury 
and 4 under the Moon. 
The angels of the 
four winds were Michael for the east wind, Gabriel 
for the north wind, Raphael for the west and Uriol for 
the south. 

The colours associated with the planets were black 
with Saturn, red or saffron with Mars, violet with Venus, 
yellow with Mercury, saffron or orange with the Sun 
and white with the Moon. 

“ To expel and drive away flies from any place, 
write these signs on a plate of tin.” 

(From an MS., XVI century.) 



I 1 rom an MS. XVI century. British Museum , 



T HE connexion of rings with magic goes back 
to a very early period and, like the circle, their 
origin is lost in the mists of time. It is probable 
that their use arose from the same idea. The circle 
and the ring symbolized protection, and if the latter 
was set with certain Stones, or engraved with signs or 
inscriptions of power, it was believed to be endowed 
with magical virtues. 

According to an ancient Hebrew manuscript, a ring 
of copper and iron engraved with certain magical signs, 
when worn, would enable the wearer to become invisible 
at will. 

The Greeks in ancient times wore rings set with Stones, 
sometimes engraved with representations of the deities 
whom they believed had the power of warding off 
evil. Plutus alludes to the praCtice in the Scholiast of 
Aristophanes, in which the JuSt Man remarks, “ Here’s 
a charmed ring I am wearing that I bought for a 
drachma from Eudemos.” 

Rings were also used for healing purposes from the 
first century, and were recommended by Marcellus for 
relieving pain in the side, also by Alexander of Tralles 
for various ailments. 

From the time of Edward the Confessor rings have 
been employed for curing certain diseases in Great 



Britain, and in the Middle Ages “ cramp rings,” believed 
to have the property of relieving pain, after being 
“ blessed ” by the reigning monarch, were much 
sought after. 

The magician’s ring usually formed part of his equip¬ 
ment and was made of copper or lead. It had to be 
three inches in breadth, and have the word Tetragramma- 
ton well-engraved on it. A hole was made through 
the middle of it, so that it could be secured to the 

Before being used, it was necessary to consecrate it 
in the following manner : 

“ O thou creature of God, thou ring, I conjure thee 
which was blessed and anointed of King Solomon with 
Olive Oil, so blessed, I adjure thee Still to be blessed 
through Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, that 
thou maySt have the form, the figure, the virtue and 
power for that purpose that thou art ordained, for and 
like as the Ark of God in the Old Testament, the golden 
ring was borne, so be thou to this servant of God a 
token of knowledge unto this faithful servant of the true 
science of calling of spirits, that when thou art held up 
he may have help of thee, and through thy virtue he 
may subdue the power of evil spirits. 

“ Then anoint the ring with Holy Oil, sprinkle it 
with Holy Water and put it on the finger of the left hand 
kneeling.” * 

In a manuscript of the sixteenth century, a formula 
is given for making a ring for receiving an oracle, to 
be made of lead, the metal of Saturn. When made, 
“ write or grave thereon ye name of ye angell Cassiel, 
then fumigate it. Then being so prepared, put it 


on thy finger as thou art entering into thy bed and 
speak no word to any person, but meditate thereon. 
If thou wilt complete the ring, truly, ye shall put a 
piece of ye roote of some especial herb governed by 
Saturn and put it under ye Stone of a signet, as for 

«T cpS S 2® \To l 

’ ^ \ v 

Oyt&Xui j, 2 ] ASS- 

rg , ^ x Q ■ 

35 ^>CCr?c 

(From an MS., XVI century.) 

example a little root of dragon or dragon-wort, or of 
black hellebore or hemp, upon which put some little 
onyx Stone or sapphire, or lapis lazuli, but onyx is best, 
but let it first be made and engraved, and make ye mould 
to caSt it, and all finished in due time with name of ye 
angel of Saturn.” 



Another method of making a magical ring was to 
“ caSt a ring of pure gold and engrave on it the name 
of an angel and the character of ye Sun. Then being 
made, fumigate it with maSticke, red Storax, benjamin 
and musk, or new sweet wine and rose water, all mixed 
with saffron. Forget not to first put a piece of root 
or yellow flower of marygold or some bay leaf, especially 
of angelica or root of bay tree. Then place either a 
carbuncle, hiacinth, chrysolite, or ye Stone etites which 
is found in ye eagle's neSt, over it.” 

There was believed to be a close connexion between 
the Stars and certain metals dedicated to them., also 
with various precious Stones and herbs. John Gower 
in “ Confessione Amantis,” dedicated to Henry VIII, 
gives a list of these from which the following is ex¬ 
tracted : 

“ Aldebaran is appropriated to the Stone carbuncle 
and the herb anabulla. 

“ Asgol to the diamond and black hellebore. 

“ Clota or the pleiades to the crystal or fennell. 

<c Ashaiot to the sapphire or horehound. 

“ Cards major to the beryl or sauma. 

“ Asmareth to the jasper or plantago. 

“ Aspheta to the topaz or rosemary. 

“ Scorpionis to the sardonix or ariStolochia. 

“ The 15 Stars called scorpio to the calcedony or 

“ Rings made of lead should be set with black onyx, 
and have a piece of root of yew, cypress, willow or black 
hellebore. Of tin, set with sapphire, amethySt or emerald, 
hiacinth or topaz, and root of oak, cherry tree, almond, 
chestnut, clove, mulberry or barberry tree. When made 


of copper, they should be set with jasper with the root 
of olive, sycamore trees, or with silver set with sardis 
or crystal and root of the linden tree.” 

Rings to cure gout and rheumatism were highly 
esteemed in the sixteenth century, and the “ rheumatic 
ring ” composed of zinc and copper was in vogue in 
this country until a few years ago. 

There is an interesting letter among the Historical 
MSS. in the British Museum addressed to the Earl of 
Lauderdale, requesting him to send the Duke of Hamil¬ 
ton a “ gout ring.” It is partly written in cipher, signed 
“ M.L.” and dated cc 8 of Feby 15 . . . 

“ This is only to demonstrate I doe not willingly 
negleft occasion of writing, when I shall only say none 
knew you were in Scotland. Lord save my Lady 
Duchess, for my Lord Duke is gone away to-day. . . . 
Speaking of the Duke puts me in mind to bid you 
send him such a gout ring as you gave me to send to 
my father when you were laSt at home, for the Duke 
hath that wearing now, and your old servant Kenedy 
hath got a loan of it from my father, and he wanted it, 
for he is undone with the gout which was a means to 
keep him from any trouble of it while he wore it. My 
Lady I hope will be well.” 

A love charm, in which cramp rings play a part, is 
thus recorded in a manuscript of the sixteenth century. 

“ Take 2 cramp rings of gold or silver and lay them 
both in a swallow’s ne$t that buildeth in the summer. 
Let them lie there 9 days, then take them and deliver 
the one to thy love and keep the other thyself.” 

There are several ancient traditions regarding the 
famous ring of King Solomon. One avers, it had the 



mystic word SCHEMHAMPHORASCH engraved upon 
it, which gave him the command of spirits and procured 
for him the wonderful SHAMIR, which enabled him to 
build the temple. “ Every day at noon it transported 
him into the firmament, where he heard the secrets of 
the universe. This continued until he was persuaded 
by the devil to grant him his liberty and to take the ring 
from his finger; the demon then assumed his shape as 
King of Israel and reigned three years, while Solomon 
became a wanderer in foreign lands.” 

Another Story States, that “ when he looked on his 
ring he beheld whatsoever he desired to know in heaven 
or upon earth. One day he took it off when about to 
enter his bath, and it was snatched up by a fury and 
thrown into the sea. Greatly disturbed by the loss of 
the ring, that gave him power over the spirits of air, 
earth and sea, and which also deprived him of the 
wisdom to rule, he resolved never to reseat himself on 
his throne until he had recovered it. 

“ At the end of forty days he miraculously found his 
ring in the belly of a fish brought to his table.” 

Pope Innocent is said to have sent to King John 
four rings set with mystical Stones, the virtues of which 
are set forth in the following letter which accompanied 
the gift. 

“ Pope Innocent to King John of England. 

“ Though we are persuaded that your Royal Excellence 
has no want of such things, we have thought proper to 
send you as a mark of our goodwill, four rings set with 
Stones. We beg the favour you would consider the 
mystery contained in their form, their matter and their 
colour rather than their value. Their roundness denotes 


eternity, the number four, which is a square, signifies 
firmness of mind, not to be shaken by adversity nor 
elevated by prosperity. This is a perfection to which 
yours will not fail to arrive, when it shall be adorned 
with the four cardinal virtues, justice, fortitude, prudence 
and temperance. 

“ By the gold is signified wisdom, as gold is the 
mo^t precious of metals, wisdom is of all endowments 
the moSt excellent. Accordingly Solomon, that pacific 










/ <Ur 

3 KF 




* J 




(From an MS., XIV century, in the Bodleian Ribrary.) 

king, only asked God for wisdom to make him to well 
govern his people. 

“ The green colour of the emerald denotes faith; 
the clearness of the sapphire hope ; the redness of the 
ruby charity; and the colour of the opal good works. 
In the emerald, therefore, you have what you are to 
believe ; in the sapphire what you are to hope ; in the 
ruby what you are to love ; and in the opal what you 
are to practise.” 

The use of magical inscriptions and characters on 
o 193 


rings appears to have originated with the magic seal 
or talisman that was first written on parchment and 
carried on the person. As this could easily be ob¬ 
literated or destroyed, the seal was sometimes trans¬ 
ferred to metal and worn as a ring. 

The Earl of Peterborough possessed a magical seal 
engraved with symbols on silver, with an iron handle, 
a wax impression of which is Still in existence. The 
centre is a square in which is enclosed a diamond¬ 
shaped diagram surrounded by Stars and crosses. 
Outside the circle are three rows of magical names. 
To the impression the date “ 2 Dec 1671 ” is attached. 

Another magical ring of which an impression remains, 
and also a sketch, is that of Dr Simon Forman, the 
notorious magician, astrologer and alchemist of the 
sixteenth century. 

The ring was of silver, and on the outside edge of 
the signet were engraved the words ARIEL and ANAEL, 
while on the outside of the circle were the words DIE 
ET HORA and the date 1598. 

Simon Forman was born in 1552 and entered Mag¬ 
dalen College, Oxford, as a poor scholar. In 1579 
he was sent to prison for sixty weeks for praftising 
magic, after which he travelled the country for some 
years as a quack do&or and eventually settled in New 
Street, London, in 15 83. 

Five years later, we find he began publicly to praftise 
necromancy and professed to call up spirits. In 1593 
he was summoned by the College of Physicians for 
praftising medicine without a licence and fined. Gain¬ 
ing notoriety, he attrafted several aristocratic patrons, 
including Lord Hertford. He was prosecuted many 

<r J > o - 1 ^ . 

°->l cf< x ^<X*v .p£-<%.^ \f j^ w c~$^{o <■«., • 

T. •$** ; i 8y f . 


^ ALTAtATTO -+-> KA/KAIl ^Hh ^ 

A1GAR 4- . 

^ -fMTCHAEt 4- I EHOVA 4- ^ABKTEI, % 



4* 3 A ATA 4- IIB A M -fi ElAtTTKA „ 

ALE73 C HAIT rf ^VZi JLHAA\ 4' 

the ea ki, of Peterborough's magic seal 


times for illegally pra&ising medicine, but in the end 
received a degree as do&or of medicine from Cambridge 

He was associated with the murder of Sir Thomas 
Overbury in 1615, and, according to a letter produced 
in Court, the Countess of Essex had asked him to give 
her a philtre to alienate her husband, and also one to 

C^Mty L toasrf cu (V 1 

Oy^ ffiic ou. Llrt'&t- 1 
cUaS" <S<<p\v V-&&■ A-JRljE t, . Va K %E L 

-JJ r E ET 

HK-T Mr ^ 

Wm?c,cu iSt 0 

Wtc^ <^Co ^7 —CJ? 

^ 0*4 & JL\i: flaflfr- 

(From an MS., XVI century, in the British Museum.) 

gain the love of the Earl of Somerset. During the 
trial, wax images of the persons concerned, made for 
working magic, were produced in Court. 

Forman left a mass of manuscripts to Richard Napier, 
who bequeathed them to Sir Richard Napier, his 
nephew. Thomas, his son, gave them to Elias Ashmole, 
who left them to the Bodleian Library, where they are 
Still preserved. 

T 95 



M AGICAL properties have been attributed to 
certain rare and precious Stones from a period 
of antiquity, the origin of which was probably 
due to the belief that they were the abode of good 

Their association also with the planets no doubt 
contributed to the faith placed in their mysterious 
virtues, which covered praftically every form of physical 
and moral ailment. 

As disease was supposed to be due to evil spirits 
that entered the body, it is probable that precious Stones 
were originally worn as amulets to proteft the wearer 
from sickness and ill, or that the beneficent spirits that 
dwelt in them might drive the evil ones away. 

The diamond, pre-eminent in brilliancy and beauty, 
was believed to be most powerful in spiritual magic 
and potent in its effe&s. 

It was the one unchangeable substance in Nature 
against which even fire was powerless. It was con¬ 
secrated to all that was celestial, and was regarded as 
a proteftion against sorcery, enchantments, evil spirits 
and nightmare. It was said to endow the wearer with 
courage and Strength of mind, while it calmed anger 
and was regarded as the Stone of reconciliation. 



Anselm de Boot, physician to Rodolph II, in a work 
written in the seventeenth century on the “ Virtues of 
precious Stones,” argues, “ whether the power of dis¬ 
crimination between right and wrong, legal or illegal 
affection be a natural quality of the Stone, or belongs 
to a spirit residing in it.” He inclined to the opinion 
that, “ the evil spirit taking the semblance of an Angel 
of Light, taketh up its abode in precious Stones and 
ena&s by them prodigies, in order that, instead of having 
recourse to God, we may rest our faith 
on the said Stones and consult them 
when we would compass some objedL” 

According to an Eastern tradition, 

Abraham wore a precious Stone around 
his neck, which possessed the property 
of curing disease when gazed upon. 

When the patriarch died, the Almighty 
placed this Stone in the Sun, from 
which originated the Hebrew proverb, 

“ When the Sun rises the disease will 

The Egyptian king Nechepsus (630 
b.c.) is said to have worn a green 
jasper cut in the shape of a dragon surrounded with 
rays, which, “ when applied to the region of the 
digestive organs Strengthened that part wonderfully.” 

The ruby, or carbuncle as it was called in early times, 
was believed to protect the wearer from plague, and 
was said to have the power of “ banishing sadness, 
averting evil thoughts, dispelling terrible dreams and 
repressing sensuality.” 

On the other hand, the ruby was supposed to disturb 



(XVI century, said to 
have been designed by 


the circulation of the blood and incline the wearer to 

Their is a curious tradition that, if misfortune 
threatened anyone who carried a ruby, it became darker 
in colour and when the peril had passed it resumed its 
original bright hue. 

Gabelschoverus commenting on this legend says, 
“ On the 5 th day of December 1600 I was going with my 
beloved wife Catherina from Stuttgardt to Caluna, I 
observed by the way that a very fine ruby which I wore 
mounted in a gold ring which she had given to me, lost 
repeatedly and each time almost completely its splendid 
colour, and that it assumed a sombre blackish hue which 
lasted several days; so much so, that being greatly aston¬ 
ished, I drew it from my finger and put it in a casket. 
I also warned my wife that some evil followed her or me. 
And truly I was not deceived, for within a few days she 
was taken mortally sick. After her death the ruby re¬ 
sumed its pristine colour and brilliancy.” Madame de 
Pompadour wore a large ruby cut in the form of a pig, 
as a charm to bring good-luck, which is Still preserved 
in the Louvre Museum. 

The sapphire was believed to possess many virtues. 
To gaze long into it was said to preserve the eyesight, 
and if worn over the region of the heart it reduced fever 
and gave Strength and energy. 

“It had the magical power of inspiring chaSte 
thoughts,” says an early writer, <c which caused it to be 
recommended to be worn by ecclesiastics.” St Jerome 
asserts in his comments on Isaiah, chapter xix, that 
“ the sapphire conciliates to the wearer the favour of 
princes, calms the fury of enemies, dispels enchant- 


ments, delivers from prison and softens the ire of 

As an amulet, the emerald was said to drive off evil 
spirits, give knowledge of secrets, of future events, and 
beStow eloquence on its owner. It was supposed to 
betray inconstancy by splintering into fragments when 
it could not prevent the evil, a superstition which Miss 
Landon embodies in the lines : 

“ It is a gem which hath the power to show. 

If plighted lovers keep their faith or no ; 

If faithful, it is like the leaves of spring ; 

If faithless, like those leaves when withering.” 

There is a tradition connefted with the emerald, 
that it foretells an evil event should it fall from its 
setting. At the coronation of George III, a large 
emerald is said to have fallen from his crown, which 
believers in the omen say presaged the loss of America. 

Placed round the neck of a child, it was said to proteft 
it from attacks of epilepsy, dispel terrors and Stop haemor¬ 

The topaz when worn on the left hand was believed 
to calm anger, banish melancholy, brighten the 
wit and give courage to the wearer. As a talisman, if 
bound round the left arm, it was said to dispel enchant¬ 
ments, while it was also credited with the properties of 
healing affe&ions of the mind, preventing sleep walking 
and curing haemorrhoids. 

The amethySt had the reputation of keeping the wearer 
from intemperance and was used as a cure for inebriety. 
Camillus Leonardus, referring to this, States, “ Bound 
on the navel it prevents drunkenness. It was also 
held to sharpen the wit, turn away evil thoughts and give 



a knowlege of the future in dreams. It was frequently- 
engraven with the head of Bacchus, and was a favourite 
with the Roman ladies.” 

The opal has long been a much-maligned jewel and 
was generally believed to bring the wearer ill-luck, but 
according to early writers it by no means deserves this 
reputation. On the contrary, they attributed to it all 
good qualities, moral and healing, that pertained to other 
precious Stones, as it radiated their many colours. It 
was reputed to be helpful to the eyesight, to be able to 
dispel sadness and melancholy, and to preserve the wearer 
from contagion. 

The opal was highly esteemed by the Romans, and 
Pliny says that “ the Senator Monius was exiled by Mark 
Antony for the sake of the magnificent opal he wore 
that was the size of a hazel-nut.” 

The turquoise was another gem that was supposed to 
lose its colour when evil threatened its wearer. Thus 
writes Donne : 

“ As a compassionate turkois that doth tell. 

By looking pale, the wearer is not well.” 

It was supposed to have the properties of preventing 
headache, placating hatred and reconciling lovers. 

The beryl is said to possess many healing virtues and 
was efficacious in relieving hysteria, jaundice, liver 
troubles and ailments of the mouth and throat. As a 
charm, there was an ancient belief that it made the idle 
industrious and quickened the intellect of those who were 
dull. Its most important property, however, was its use 
as a medium for magical vision, and, for gazing, no 
Stone was believed to be so effeftive and valuable as the 



The onyx was also a Stone associated with magic. 
When worn on the neck it was said to Stimulate the 
spleen, dispel melancholy and other mental disturb¬ 
ances. It was applied to the bites of venomous animals 
and was suspended round the neck to allay pain. 

The carnelian, probably on account of its colour and 
coldness, was used to Stop haemorrhage, and the sardonyx 
was believed to proted the wearer from the bites of 

Coral has been highly esteemed for its properties from 
early times, both on account of its occult power and its 
medicinal virtues. Pliny says, “ Formerly it was deemed 
excellent as an antidote to poisons.” A later writer 
States, “ Witches tell, that this Stone withStandeth light¬ 
ning, and putteth it, as well as whirlewindes, tem- 
peStes and Storms, from shippes and houses that it is in.” 

Like the turquoise it was believed to alter in colour 
according to the health of the wearer, and if worn by 
one who is ill or in danger of death it would become livid 
and pale. This property is alluded to in the following 
lines in the “ Three Ladies of London ” written in 1594 : 

“You may say jet will take up Straw, amber will make 
one fat, coral will look pale when you be sick, and 
crystal will Staunch blood.” 

As an amulet or charm it was used as a proteftion 
againSt witchcraft, enchantments, epilepsy, “ assaults of 
the devil,” Storms at sea and perils by land. 

The superstition has survived in the custom of placing 
coral necklaces round the neck of an infant soon after 
birth, while the coral and bells were supposed to drive 
away evil spirits and proteft the child from ill. An early 
writer observes, “ It Stops bleeding, preserves houses 



from thunder (?) and children from goblins and sor¬ 
ceresses.” Taken internally it was said to relieve indi¬ 
gestion and prevent attacks of epilepsy. 

Amber has long had a reputation as a curative charm, 
especially in connexion with the throat. Worn round 
the neck it was believed to relieve cheSt troubles, sore 
throats and whooping-cough. In the form of oil of 
amber it is Still employed to rub on the cheSt and neck 
for these ailments. 

Many other Stones were associated with magic and 
believed to possess occult properties of which only brief 
mention may be made. These include chalcedony, 
which was said to bring good fortune and prevent illu¬ 
sions of evil spirits; chrysoletus carried in the left hand to 
drive away night-hags, illusions and witches ; jasper 
against nightmare and epilepsy; jacinth against plague 
and lightning; and jet, concerning which Pliny observes, 
“ Magicians use this jet Stone much in their sorceries 
which they praftise by the means of red hot axes, for 
they affirm that being ca£t thereon it will burne and 
consume, if that we desire and wish shall happen 



I T seems natural to suppose that the aid of the 
practitioner of magic should be sought in connexion 
with the “ malady ” of love common to mankind 
from the time of the Creation. 

His help was sought by both sexes who desired to 
obtain the objeCi of their affections, or assistance in the 
pursuit of their amours. In mythology, the media 
employed usually consisted of philtres or potions of 
magical herbs and plants, charms to be worked, or rites 
to be performed, in order to obtain the desired end. 

Many of these employed by the ancient Egyptians, 
Greeks and Romans have already been described ; but, 
judging from an examination of the secret books of the 
magicians of the Middle Ages, the demand for love- 
charms muSt have considerably increased, and some of 
them are of an extraordinary character. 

In a Syriac manuscript, written about the eleventh 
century, there is a Story of an Egyptian who fell in love 
with another man’s wife, but whose advances were 
repulsed by the objeCt of his affeCtions. He thereupon 
sought a magician, and asked him to make the woman 
love him and her husband hate her. The wizard trans¬ 
formed her into a mare, but finally she was restored to her 
former shape by the holy man, Macarius, who took some 
water and blessed it and threw it over her head. 



The love-charms of the Middle Ages sometimes took 
the form of seals of magical power, letters or words 
written on parchment, an image of wax, the use of 
magical herbs, or potions to be swallowed. 

In an ancient Hebrew manuscript found at Mossoul, 
there are a number of curious charms for love, and 
among them are the following : 

“For love when thou wisheSt that a woman should 
come after thee, and thou shouldSt please her father 
and mother. Write in Starch (?) and saffron and touch 
whomsoever thou loveSt and she will come to thee.” 

Another method was to “ Write and put into the 
fire, Alp, Sulb, Nin, W’Alkom, Apksa, Bal in the heart 

of-daughter of-for love of-son of- 

like the love of Sarah in the eyes of Abraham. 

“ Or thou shalt fashion parchment after the fashion of 
male and female and on the pifture of the female write, 
Bla Bla Lhb Lhb Lhb Hbl Hbl Hbl, and on the other 
write Zkr Zkr Zkr Rhz Rhz Rkz Rkz Krz, and then 
shalt put them together, front and back, and thou shalt 
put them in the fire.” 

Another written charm to be cast into the fire runs, 
“ In the name of Whil Ykidta Bliba, I invoke you to put 

love for-son of-in the heart of-daughter 

of-that he sleeps not neither by day or night, nor 

shall he speak with any man either in the Street or in 
the house, except with relation to love for -” 

“ To bring a disdainful woman, Let him write on 
one of her garments and make a wick of it and burn 
it in a pottery lamp, this, Halosin Halosin Alosin Alosin 
Alosin Sru’in Sru’in that ye come and assemble in the 

body of-daughter of-and harass her that she 



eat not, drink not, or sleep not, until she come near 
me and do the pleasure of me-of- 

A charm for a girl “ that is not sought in marriage ” 
is given as follows : “ Let him write these Seals and 
hang them up on the door of her house, and immediately 
they shall take her in marriage.” 

The charms for love are varied by one to cause 

“ To do this, you must take the egg of a black hen 
and boil it in urine and give half of it to a dog and half 
of it to a cat and say. As these hate one another so may 

hatred fall between - son of - and - son 


Love-charms in the sixteenth century were sometimes 
written on the person; thus one directs, that these letters 
mu^t be written on the left hand of the lover, 
H.L.D.P.N.A.G.U., “ carry them in the morning before 
sun rising and touch whom thou wilt and she will 
follow thee.” The writer naively remarks, “you may 
try it upon a dog .” 

Another combination of letters, to be written on 
the left hand before sunrise, was H.L.N.P.M.Q.U.M. 
This is for a woman, who is dire&ed to “ touch his neck 
secretly and he shall love thee.” 

A charm to provoke love was to write 
“ N.A.P.A.R.A.B.O.C.L.P.E.A. in small squares on the 
right hand with thine own blood, before the sun rising, 
or after the sun setting, and touch the parties flesh and 
say, c Ei signere me et Stat in vaniet tibi.’ ” 

A more complicated charm was worked as follows : 
“ Take 5 hairs of his head and a thread spun on a Friday 
by a virgin, and make a candle therewith of virgin wax 



four square, and write with the blood of a cock sparrow 
the name of the woman, and light the candle, whereas 
it may not drop upon the earth and she shall love thee.” 

A Still more powerful charm was to “ take the navel 
String of a boy, new born, dry and powder it and give 
him or her to drink. 

“ There is none such” declares the writer. 

The Seal of Venus, another love-charm, was to be 
“ graven on thin copper or brass when the planets 
were favourable and in good position, Venus being 
near the moon.” 

“To get the love of any woman,” says a writer of 
the sixteenth century, “ first make it known to her it 
is her love you desire, and in the day and hour of Venus, 
give her to drink of the powder of the Seal in the place 
where she may be, and she shall love thee marvellously.” 

“ The powder of the Seal secretly placed in the gar» 
ments or about the breaSt is equally effeftive.” 

A curious charm was to “ take the tongue of a sparrow 
and close it in virgin wax under thy clothes for the 
space of IV days, then take it and keep it in thy mouth 
under the tongue and kiss the woman thou loveSt.” 

The use of a wax image or figure was apparently 
common in the sixteenth century in magic and en¬ 
chantments conne&ed with love. 

The charm was worked thus : 

“ Make an image of her you love in virgin wax, sprinkle 
it with holy water, and write the name of the woman 
on the forehead of the image and thy name on her breaSt. 

“ Then take four new needles and prick one of them 
in the back of the image, and the others in the right 
and left sides. Then say the conjuration. Then make 


a fire in her name, and write on the ashes of the coals 
her name, and a little muStard seed and a little salt 
upon the image, then lay up the coals again, and as 
they leapeth and swelleth so shall her heart be kindled 
in thy love/’ 

Sympathetic magic is indicated as the basis of the 
next charm, which reads : “ Take the hairs of the woman 
whose love thou desireSt, and keep them until the 
Friday following, and that day before sun rising. Then 
with thine own blood, write thine own name and her 
name in virgin wax or parchment, and burn the hair 
and letters together to duSt on a red hot fire, and give 
it to her in meat and drink, and she shall be so much 
taken with thee that she shall take no rest.” 

A love-charm of the sixteenth century, which has 
survived until recent times, is to “ take a spider within 
his web, whole, and see it breaks not and shut it inside 
2 shells of a nut. After this, boil it in oil in a silver 
spoon called cochlearia and give part of the webbe 
to drink. It makes the party who drinkes to love him 
so long as the spider be shut up in the nutshell.” 

Another method used “ to gain the love of a woman,” 
was to “ take a piece of virgin parchment as broad as 
your hand, and make on it 2 images, the one of thyself 
and the other of the woman; then with the blood of 
the little finger of thy left hand, write on thine own 
image thine own name, and on the other her name. Be¬ 
twixt the image write Sathan, Lucifer, Donskton. You 
muSt make it so that when you close the parchment the 
images may be right over one another. Make thine 
own image on Friday, the first hour that Venus governs, 
and the other the Friday following, in the same hour. 



This done, put the images under your foote three times 
a day, and then removing it to the other foot. In the 
morning, the first hour of the day after 12 o’clock at 
noon, and at night before it be dark, say the conjuration, 
beginning Sathan, Lucifer, and Donskton, which are 
princes which expelled Adam and Eve out of Paradise. 
I charge you to go to her named, and suffer her not to 
sleepe, nor to take any reSte, nor to drinke nor to Stand 
nor to sit, nor to lie quiet, until she hath accomplished 
and done my will whatsoever I request her to doe. 

“ Then you mu St have 5 pieces of golde, to be sent 
her in the time you begin your work before it be ended, 
and she will love you as long as you live.” 

The association of apples with love enchantments 
goes back to an early period. The following are five 
taken from manuscripts of the fifteenth and sixteenth 
centuries : 

“ Write on an apple, Guel + Bsatirell -f- Gliaell -f-, 
and give it her to eat.” 

“ Write on an apple, Raguell, Lucifer, Sathanus, and 
say, I conjure thee apple by these three names written 
on thee, that whosoever shall eat thee may burn in my 

“ Write on an apple before it fall from the tree, Aleo 
-f- Deleo -f- Delato +, an( 3 say, I conjure thee apple 
by these three names which are written on thee, that 
what woman or virgin toucheth and taSteth thee, may 
love me and burn in my love as fire melteth wax.” 

“ Write on an apple your names and these three names, 
Cosmer + Synady -f- Heupide, and give it to eat to 
any man that thou wouldSt have and he shall do as 
thou wilt.” 



“ Cutt an apple in IV parts, and on every part write, 
Sathiel fl- Sathiel -f- Obing -f- SiageStard, and say, I 
conjure thee apple by the Holy God, by the IV Evan¬ 
gelists and gospels, and by Samuel and by Mary, that 
thou shall not Stand Still until I have the love of the 
woman which shall eat of thee.” 

Several herbs and plants were employed in love- 

(From an MS., XVI century.) 

charms and among them verbena or vervain played a 
prominent part, probably owing to its association 
with witchcraft. 

“ To gain the love of man or woman,” says a writer 
of the sixteenth century, “ go to the herb Vervain 
when it is flowered near the full of the moon and say 
to it the Lord’s Prayer. Then say, in the name of the 
Father, Son and Holy GhoSt, I have sought thee + I 
have found thee -f I charge thee Vervain by the Holy 
names of God, Heliom Heloy, fl- Adonay, when I carry 
p 209 


thee in my mouth, that whosoever I shall love or touch, 
that thou make them obedient unto me and to do my 
will in all things. FIAT + FIAT + FIAT + 

In another, the lover is direfted to take more aggressive 

“ Place Vervain in thy mouth, and kiss any maid 
saying these words, ‘ Pax tibi sum sensum conterit in 
amore me/ and she shall love thee.” 

Verbena was used to bring quarrels to an end, and 
was placed in the shoes when travelling so the wearer 
should not grow weary. 

It was also employed as a charm to catch fish and to 
hive bees. 

To become invisible, says the same writer, “ Let 4 
masses be said over Vervain and bear it about thee. 
It should be gathered on the Monday night before 
Holy rood days.” 

The plant valerian had also a reputation as a charm 
for love. The lover was enjoined to gather it when 
the moon is in the south, saying these words, “ Misere 
mei Beatus Vix qui intilligex,” and also 3 Paternosters, 
3 Aves, and 3 Creeds. <c Put it under thy tongue and 
kiss hers and she will love thee.” 

Valerian was also sometimes burnt, or reduced to 
powder, and given to the desired one to drink to provoke 

Another love-charm was to “ goe into a garden where 
selueyne growes on a Thursday by the rising of the 
sun, and kneeling on thy knees say thus, c In nomine 
patrie, I sought thee, In nomine filii, I have found thee. I 
conjure thee that thou man or woman love me that I 


touch with thee/ and so gather it and keep it for thy 

The plant St John’s wort, was reputed to possess 
magical properties, and among others that of compelling 
love. A lace or girdle anointed with the oil of the 
plant and given to a maiden to wear, was said to make 
her love the giver. A charm in which a nutmeg forms 
part is directed to be worked as follows : “ Take a 
nutmeg and prick it full of holes and you shall see it 
wear a dew upon it. Put it in your arm-pit 2 days, 
then dry it on a tileStone and so it will fall to powder the 
which put in a woman’s portion of potage and drink 
not of it yourself. She shall love thee without doubt.” 

A love-charm into which toads enter appears to have 
had its origin in the Assyrian charm previously men¬ 
tioned. It begins : “ In March when toads do engender, 
kill two, and put them in a box full of holes and put it 
in a pissmire bank. When all is consumed but the 
bones, take them and caSt them into running water and 
you shall see that one of the bones will go against the 
Stream. Another will Stand upright and another will 
sink. These three keep. Put that which swimmeth 
against the Stream in a ring, and she that taketh it at 
your hands shall love thee. Put that that Stood upright 
in a ring and give it to a woman, and she shall obey thy 
wish. Grate that to powder that sinketh, and she that 
drinketh thereof shall hate thee.” 

In the Egyptian magical texts it is recorded that 
hair, feathers, snake’s skin, and “ the blood of the 
myStic eye ” were employed as love-charms and had 
both protective and destroying powers. The “ blood 
of the myStic eye ” is thought to indicate dragon’s 



blood, which for centuries has been believed to be an 
effective ingredient in charms for provoking love. The 
Greeks called dragon's blood cinnabaris, and apparently 
did not know whether it was of mineral or vegetable 
origin. Coles States, that “ Pliny, Solinus and Monardus 
have set it down for truth, that it was the blood of a 
dragon or serpent crushed to death by the weight of a 
dying elephant falling upon him,” but he thinks it was 
certainly so called from “ the bloody colour that it is of, 
being nothing else but a mere gum.” 

The substance known as dragon's blood is a gum- 
resin obtained from the Vterocarpus indicus , a tree 
indigenous to the EaSt Indies. In early times it had 
some repute in medicine for its astringent properties and 
also as an emmenagogue, but it has gone out of use and 
is now employed as a colouring agent for varnishes 
and Stains. Three hundred years ago, it is said to have 
been used by goldsmiths and painters on glass, by the 
former as a base for enamel and by the latter to Strike a 
crimson for Stained windows. 

Its use, however, as a magical charm has survived 
to the present day, and it is Still employed as a love- 
charm in some parts of London and in the North of 
England. A great deal of mystery surrounds its employ¬ 
ment for this purpose, and it is only with difficulty some 
details have been obtained. There seem to be several 
methods of working charms of a romantic nature with 
this otherwise ordinary article of commerce. The moSt 
common of these is praftised by girls on All Hallow¬ 
e'en, who are jealous of their lovers and desire to win back 
their affeftion. To do this a small quantity of dragon’s 
blood is procured, wrapped in paper, and thrown on the 


fire whilst the following couplet or incantation is 
repeated : 

“ May he no pleasure or profit see 
Till he comes back again to me.” 

Another method employed by women of a certain 
class, and used by them to attraft the opposite sex, 
is to mix dragon’s blood, quicksilver, saltpetre and 
sulphur and throw them on the fire while repeating a 
similar incantation. 

A chemist in the North of England, giving his experi¬ 
ence on the sale of dragon’s blood, says : “ I have had 
great difficulty in finding out for what purpose it was 
used. It was not for medicine, but for a kind of witch¬ 
craft. The women burn it upon a bright fire, while 
wishing for their affeciion to be returned by someone 
of the opposite sex ; also those who have quarrelled with 
their husbands and desire to be friends again ; girls who 
have fallen out with their young men and want to win 
them back, as well as young women wanting sweet¬ 
hearts. A working-man recently came to me for a small 
quantity, and I inquired for what purpose it was required. 
He was very reluftant to mention anything about it, but 
at length said a man had made him lose three sovereigns, 
and he wished as he had been swindled out of the money 
to have his revenge, and make him suffer for it. He 
was going to burn the dragon’s blood on a clear fire, 
and he believed that the ill wishes of the person thus 
burning it would have a dire effeft on the individual 
thought of.” 

Some love-charms in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries were worked by writing certain myStic 



charafters on parchment or paper, of which the following 
may be taken as an example : 

* a c 

^ If 1 

)S3 * 

/ mi c 

y —t-H -7 


v. 111 r 

"Richard, Jones 
Elizabeth Key e5 

u. j. ; e.k. 

f ^ COZj 


(From an MS., XVII century.) 

“ Write these char afters on virgin parchment with the 
blood of batts and hold it in the left hand and show 
it to her and without doubt she will come to thee. 
But take heed that thou showed to none but she who 
thou desireSt for if thou do she will go mad and die.” 

Another charm of this kind in the form of a magical 
square was to be written on parchment and carried by the 































T HERE are but few manuscripts on magic extant 
that were written between the first and the four¬ 
teenth century, but some light has been thrown 
on the subjed by the translation of certain ancient Hebrew 
texts in the British Museum, and at Oxford and Munich 
by GaSter. One of these, called “ The Sword of Moses,” 
is believed to date from the first four centuries of the 
Christian era, and serves as a conneding link between the 
Greek papyri and the early Middle Ages. 

It is especially interesting, as it includes names that are 
mentioned in manuscripts many centuries later, and deals 
with magic and medicine. It begins : 

“ In the name of the Mighty and Holy God.” Four 
angels are appointed to the sword given by the Lord, 
the Master of Mysteries. 

Their names are SKD HUZI, MRGIOIAL, VHDR- 

The man who utters conjurations over this “ Sword,” 
its mysteries and hidden powers, its glory and might, 
they will not refuse, as it is the command of God. 

“ If thou wisheSt to use this £ Sword ’ and to transmit 
it to the following generations (then know) that the man 
who decides to use it must free himself three days from 
accidental pollution and from every thing unclean, eat and 



drink once every evening, and muSt eat from a pure man, 
or wash his hands first in salt, and drink only water. 
The mysteries are to be practised only in secret/’ 

Then follows a prayer to the “ Lord our God, King 
of the Universe, and a conjuration to Azliel, Arel, Tafel, 
Yofiel, Mittron and other angels.” 

After some long and explicit directions in which 
there are names not transliterated, we come to the 
“ Sword,” which consists of a number of mysterious 
names of God or angels with which are connected 
various recipes. Only a few of the more interesting need 
be recapitulated. They are chiefly in the form of charms 
which are to be written on bowls, or the saucer of a cup, 
amulets to be hung round the neck, to be written on a 
plate, or charms to be whispered in the ear, some being 
accompanied by the use of oils. 

Charms for various diseases are numerous, thus, “ for 
hemorrhoids, take tow and put salt on it and mix it 
with oil, saying over it a charm and sit on it.” 

“ To heal leprosy, take the patient to the side of a 
river and say to him, ‘ I conjure thee leprosy, in the 

name of-to disappear and to vanish and to pass 

away from-Amen, Amen—Selah/ and he is to go 

down and dip seven times in the river and when he 
comes out write an amulet with the words, c I conjure— 
Selah/ and hang it round his neck.” This is reminis¬ 
cent of the Assyrian charm given in a previous chapter, 
and is also similar to the Story of Naaman, who to 
cleanse himself from the disease was told to bathe 
seven times in the Jordan. 

A man who is bald is directed to say a charm over 
“ nut oil ” and anoint his head with it. “To remove 


a rich man from his riches, say a charm upon the duS 
of an ant-hill and throw it in his face.” 

“ To know if a sick person will live or die, say before 

him charm-. If he turns his face towards you he 

will live. If away, he will die.” 

“ To subdue a woman, write with the blood of thy 
hand thy name upon thy gate, and write thy name upon 
a scroll of leather of a hart with the blood of thy finger 
and say, this ‘ Sword 5 and she will come to thee.” 

To put a spell upon an enemy, say, “ I call thee, evil 
spirit, cruel spirit, merciless spirit. I call thee, bad spirit, 
who sitteS in the cemetery and takest away healing from 

man. Go and place a knot in-head, in his eyes, in 

his mouth, in his tongue, in his throat, in his windpipe ; 
put poisonous water in his belly. If you do not go and 
put water in his belly I will send againS you the evil 
angels Puziel, Guziel, Psdiel, Prziel. I call thee and those 

6 knots that you go quickly to-and put poisonous 

water in his belly and kill-whom I mean. Amen. 

Amen. Selah.” 

The manuscript concludes: 

“ Verily, this is the c Sword of Moses 5 with which 
he accomplished his miracles and mighty deeds and 
destroyed all kinds of witchcraft. 

cc It had been revealed to Moses in the bush when the 
great and glorious name was given to him. Take care 
of it and it will take care of thee. If thou approaches 
fire it will not burn thee, and it will preserve thee from 
every evil in the world. 

“ If thou wishes to try it, take a thicl (green) branch 
and utter this word c Sword ’ over it five times at sun¬ 
rise and it will dry up.” 



There is a good deal of similarity between the Hebrew 
“ Sword ” and some of the Greek papyri, in one of 
which Moses is mentioned as “ one who keeps divine 

Another early Hebrew manuscript has been trans¬ 
lated by GaSter called the “ Secretum Secretorum,” a 
mediaeval treatise ascribed to Aristotle and written for 
King Alexander. 

It begins, “ O men of knowledge and who under¬ 
stand riddles, who search by means thereof for precious 
objefts, lift up your eyes on high and read the book 
that is called the c Privy of Privies/ Therein is con¬ 
tained the dire&ion in the governance of the kingdom 
which Aristotle wrote for the great King Alexander.” 

The book is said to have been discovered in the Temple 
of the worshippers of the Sun, which the great Hermes 
built for himself. It was written in gold, and was 
translated from Greek into Syriac, and from Syriac into 

It contains thirteen treatises which deal mainly with 
advice on governance, but the last treats of “ natural 
secrets and talismans, on the good of bodies, on the 
properties of precious Stones and plants and living 
beings, and wonderful things of the mysteries of leech- 

Among the Stones mentioned is the bezoar, famous 
throughout the Middle Ages as a remedy for plague and 
other diseases. It was a biliary concretion found in the 
Stomachs of small animals, like the deer, and mysterious 
occult properties were attached to it. “ If hung 
round the neck of a child,” says the writer, “ it becomes 
proof against epilepsy and saves from bad accidents.” 


“ The pearl called Iakut in Arabia; there are three 
kinds : red, yellow, and black. The red prevents 
illness, gives courage and brings honour. The 
emerald in a ring appeases Stomach ache and dissolved 
and drunk is good for leprosy. The Stone Firzag is 
highly prized by great kings and its great property is 
that no man can slay him who wears it. The Stone 
Alkahat saves from hot fevers. Fire has no power over 
it and cannot burn it. He who goes to war with one, 
no man can fight against him.” 

“ If thou make a ring of silver and gold with a red 
jacinth set in it, and engrave on it the image of a naked 
girl, tall and Strong, riding on a lion, and six men wor¬ 
shipping her, and it is made in the morning of Sunday 
at the hour of the sun, at the conjun&ion of Leo and Sol 
and the sun is in it, and the moon is in the tenth degree 
at the height which is called Shrf in Arabic ; whosoever 
wears such a ring shall be reverenced by the people. 
They will listen to his voice and fulfil all his wishes in 
the world and no man shall be able to withStay him.” 

“ One of the greatest poisons is Bish, but it is not recog¬ 
nizable through taSte or colour, for when people taSte it, 
it has no bitterness. And the gold lime (orpiment or 
yellow sulphide of arsenic) which is called Klas, is also 
one of these poisons which are indispensable to thee. It 
is one of the secret instruments of war by means of which 
misfortune in war can be averted.” 

It should be remembered, that this letter is said to 
have been addressed to a great military commander and 
shows that poisons were apparently used in time of war 
at this early period. It was probably employed for 
poisoning wells. 



There is an interesting manuscript originally written 
in Hebrew in the Bibliotheque de P Arsenal, Paris, 
which has been translated from French into English by 
Mathers. It is written in red and black inks, and is said 
to date from the middle of the fifteenth century. 

It is entitled “ The Book of Sacred Magic of Abra- 
melin the Mage, as delivered by Abraham the Jew 
unto his son Lamech a.d. 1458.” 

The Story told by Abraham the Jew of how he 
acquired his secrets, his journey to Egypt, and his 
meeting with magicians of the time, forms an interesting 

It begins with “ The first book of the Holy Magic, 
which God gave unto Moses, David, Solomon, and 
other saints, patriarchs and prophets, which teacheth the 
true divine wisdom.” 

Abraham the son of Simon says, that he learnt it in part 
from his father, and in part from other wise and faithful 

He goes on to State: 

“ I have written this with mine own hand and placed 
it in this casket and locked it up as a precious treasure. 

“ My father Simon shortly before his death, gave me 
certain signs and instructions concerning the way in 
which it is necessary to acquire the Holy Kabbala. 
After his death finding myself twenty years of age, 
I had a very great passion to understand the true mysteries 
of the Lord.. 

“ I learnt that at Mayence there was a Rabbi called 
Moses who was a notable sage, and the report went, that 
he possessed in full the Divine wisdom. I was induced 
to go and seek him in order to learn from him, but I 


found, that in his magic, he did not make use of his 
wisdom of the Lord, but instead availed himself of 
certain arts and superstitions of infidel and idolatrous 
nations in part derived from Egyptians, together with 
images of the Medes and of the Persians, with herbs of the 
Arabians, together with the power of the Stars and con¬ 
stellations and even from the Christians, some diabolic 

<c For ten years I remained buried in so great an error, 
until I arrived in Egypt at the house of an ancient sage 
called Abra-melin, who put me in the true path and to 
understand the Sacred MyStery, and how to command 
and dominate the evil spirits.” 

Abraham says, that he began his journey to Egypt on 
February 13 th, 1397, and Stayed in Constantinople for two 

During his sojourn with Abra-melin, he received from 
him two books in manuscript containing the secrets, 
which he told him to copy for himself with care. He 
avers he did so exaftly and it is these books he records in 
this text. 

He then left Egypt and travelled back to his own coun¬ 
try, and on his journey evidently sought out all the 
praftitioners of magic in the cities that he passed through, 
and thus relates his adventures. At Argentine he 
found a Christian called James, “ but his art was the art 
of the Juggler or cup-and-balls player, and not that of 
the magician.” In the town of Prague, he States, “ I 
found a wicked man named Antony, who in truth showed 
me wonderful and supernatural things, but the infamous 
wretch avowed to me, that he had made a pa£t with 
the demon, and had given himself over to him in body 



and in soul, while the deceitful Leviathan had promised 
him forty years of life to do his pleasure. Unto this 
day do they sing in the Streets of the terrible end which 
befel him, for his body was found dragged through the 
Streets and his head without any tongue therein, lying in a 

After passing through Hungary, where he “ found but 
persons knowing neither God nor devil and who were 
worse than the beaSts,” he came to Greece where he 
found many wise and prudent men. Among them were 
three who cc principally dwelt in desert places, and who 
showed me great things. ... In Epipha near Con¬ 
stantinople, there was a certain man who made use of 
certain numbers which he wrote upon the earth, and so 
caused terrifying visions to appear.” 

At Lintz he met with a young woman who gave him 
an unguent with which he was to rub the principal pulses 
of his feet and hands. 

He then felt as if he was flying in the air where he 
seemed to remain a long while, and then recovered 
his senses and “ found the young woman seated by his 
side.” “ I concluded,” he sagely remarks, “ it was 
a simple dream and that this unguent was the cause of 
phantaStic sleep, whereupon she confessed to me that 
this unguent had been given to her by the devil.” 

Of the wonderful things performed by Abra-melin, 
how he healed 8413 persons bewitched unto death, 
how he delivered the Duke Frederick Eleftor of Saxony 
by means of 2000 artificial cavalry, “ which I did by mine 
own art cause to appear, and other marvels are they not 
written in this book.” 

In the second part of the manuscript he describes cer- 


tain operations which he carried out by means of a child 
of 6, 7 or 8 years of age whom he used as a clairvoyant, 
a method not unusual at that time. 

“ The choice of a child of tender years for this purpose 
is said to be on account of his innocency and freedom 
from contamination with outside influences. He is 
to be clothed in white and upon his forehead is to be 
placed a veil of white silk, very fine, to cover even the 
eyes, on which must be written the word Uriel. He 
who operateth shall do the same thing, but upon a veil 
of black silk with the name ‘ Adam ’ written thereon. 
Thou shalt make the child enter into the oratory and 
place the fire and the perfume in the censer, and then 
kneel before the altar, as so soon as the child shall have 
seen the angel, thou shalt command him to tell thee, 
and to look upon the altar and take the lamen or plate 
of silver which thou shalt have placed there for that 
purpose, and whatever the angel shall have written 
thereon. 5 ’ 

Then follows an account of the training and initiation 
of the magician. “ In age he should not be less than 
25, nor more than 50.” 

Among women, only virgins are suitable, but it is 
Strongly advised that no important matter should be 
communicated to them, because of the accidents 
that they might cause by their curiosity and love of 

“ Let each one speak his own language. The 
magician’s bed chamber must be near the oratory and 
the sheets and all linen changed every Sabbath eve. No 
dog, cat or other animal shall enter, and eating, drinking 
and sleeping should be in moderation and never super- 



fluous. Especially shun drunkenness and flee public 

The following inStruftions are given as regards 

“ Flee all vanity. You shall have two dresses and 
you shall change them on the eve of each Sabbath, 
brushing and perfuming them always beforehand.” 

The preparations of the adept are to last six moons, 
and then the place is selefted. “ If a dwelling place in 
a town be used, an apartment should be chosen with 
a window adjoining an uncovered terrace or balcony 
on which a covered lodge or hut is to be ere&ed. The 
floor of the terrace should be covered with river sand 
to the depth of two fingers at least, and the day 
after the ceremonies are said, the sand muSt be cast 
into a secret place but not thrown into a river or 
the sea. 

“ A small wood is, however, to be preferred to a 
house, in the midst of which the altar should be set and 
covered with a hut of fine branches. The altar should 
be of wood and hollow like a cupboard, wherein shall 
be kept the two robes, the crown or mitre, the wand, 
the holy oil, the girdle or belt and the perfume.” 

A description of the robes worn by the magician 
for full ceremonial is then given. It is to consist of 
a shirt or tunic of linen, large and white, with sleeves. 
Another robe will be of crimson or scarlet silk with 
gold, and should not be longer than juSt to the knees, 
with sleeves of similar Stuff. The girdle is to be of 
silk, the same colour as the tunic, and the beautiful 
crown for the head is to be a woven fillet of silk and 



The following formula is given for the preparation 
of the sacred oil : 

“ Myrrh (in tears) i part, fine cinnamon 2 parts, 
galingal \ part, and the half of the total weight of these 
drugs of the best olive oil.” It is to be kept in a glass vial. 

The perfume is to be made thus : 

“ Take of incense (olibanum) in tears 1 part, sta&e 
(Storax) \ part, lign. aloes \ part or cedar, rose, citron 
or any odoriferous wood.” Reduce to powder and 
mix well together. This is to be kept in a box. The 
magician muSt also have a wand of almond-tree wood, 
smooth and Straight, of about half an ell to six feet long. 

All being thus prepared, the magician so clad, without 
shoes, enters the oratory and begins the ceremonial 
with the orison, after which he anoints himself with 
the sacred oil, and also the vestments and all instruments. 

Then he is to put on the white tunic, and proceed, 
and await the angel to write with the sign on the silver 
plate on the altar as described, with the child. 

These ceremonies are to be performed seven days, 
and on the period of the sixth moon be put to the test. 
This begins with the conjurations to evoke the spirits 
in visible form, and in “ a little while they will appear 
and will swear to their symbols.” 

Three different kind of demands can be made on 
three successive days. 

“ If during the invocation the spirits should appear 
with tumult and insolence, fear nothing, neither give 
way to anger. 

“ Only show them the consecrated wand and if they 
continue to make a disturbance, smite upon the altar 
twice or thrice and all will be Still.” 

Q 225 


Abraham records the names of the spirits that 
may be summoned, which include the four princes and 
superior spirits, Lucifer, Leviatan, Satan, and Belial, 
also the sub-princes and servient spirits which number 
in all over three hundred. 

He firmly believed in guardian angels, and advises 
that one should never take from such any symbol where¬ 
with to operate for an evil end. Should the magician 
wish to perform his operations in a city, he adjures 
him to take a house which is not overlooked by any¬ 
one, “ seeing/ 3 he States, “ that in this present day 
(1458) curiosity is so Strong, that you ought to be upon 
your guard. 33 

The magician’s fee (for him who shall receive it) 
was ten golden florins or their value, which he should 
distribute to the poor. 

He further remarks, that the angel will write on 
the plate of silver as it were in drops of dew, the 
symbol as you ought to make it, together with the 
name of the spirit who would serve you. 

To use it, “ first take the symbol in your hand, place 
it upon the top of your head under your hat, and either 
you will be secretly warned by the spirit, or he will 
execute that which you have the intention of command¬ 
ing him to do. 33 

This magician was apparently a pioneer in aviation, 
for he gives a formula, “ To fly in the air and travel 
anywhere, 33 that is to be carried out as follows : “ Name 
the place whither unto you wish to travel and place 
the symbol upon your head under the bonnet or hat, 
but take well heed less the symbol fall from you through 
negligence or want of caution. Do not journey at night 


time unless necessity or some pressing reason thereto 
compelleth you, but select the day time and that serene 
and calm/’ 

In the 3rd book of the Sacred Magic, Abra-melin 
gives all the symbols by means of which he says he 
worked his wonders. They cover a wide range and 
include, “ Things to happen in war,” “ How to know 
all things paSt and future,” “ To cause any spirit to 

1. For all secrets of knowledge. 2. For calling the angels. 

(From an MS. of the XIV century in the Bodleian Eibrary.) 

(See page 228.) 

appear,” “ To heal any disease,” “ For mirrors of glass 
or crystal,” “ To make all metals,” “To transform 
men into asses,” and “To cause a dead body to revive 
and perform all the funftions which a living person 
would do, during a space of seven years, by means of 
the spirits.” With reference to books of magic, Abraham 
says : “ Many ancient books have been lost. By these 
symbols you can have many supposed extinft works 
brought to you, but I could never copy them, because 



the writing disappeared as fast as I wrote them, but I 
was permitted to read some of them.” His magical 
symbols consist chiefly of squares of letters arranged 

as a double acrostic, some being 
irregular in disposition and others 
void. The user is warned, that 
unless he is animated by the best 
and purest motives he will find 
them read terribly against him. 

The key of the operation to 
enjoy the vision of the angels, 
was to place the symbols upon the 
brow of the child and of him who 
performed the operation. 

In a manuscript on magic 
written in the fourteenth century, 
in the Bodleian Library, there are 
two curious pentacles, one for 
obtaining all secrets of know¬ 
ledge ” and the other for “ calling 
the angels.” These are probably 
the earliest of their kind known. 

In another fragment on magic in the same library 
written about 1450, there are three magical seals for 
invoking five spirits who are called Fategan -f- Gagagan 
-f- Bigan + Deigan + Usagan. 


(XV century.) 





A MONG the existing works on magic, there is 
probably none better known than the “ Clavicle 
or Key of Solomon,” numerous copies of which 
in manuscript are to be found in various great libraries 
of Europe. They are written in English, French, 
German and Italian. The texts vary, and the earliest 
date from about the sixteenth century. There are 
seven codices in the British Museum, moSt of which 
were written between the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries, and there are several others in the Bibliotheque 
Nationale and the Bibliotheque de l’Arsenal in Paris, of 
a later period. 

Although Josephus mentions that, Solomon was the 
author of magical works in which he recorded his 
secrets that Hezekiah is supposed to have suppressed 
because they were leading the people aStray, there is 
no real evidence of his connexion with the Clavicle 
associated with his name. It is more probable that the 
treatise was compiled by Rabbinical writers about the 
fourteenth century from ancient records, as there are 
certain details of the ritual that appear to have come 
down from an earlier period. 

In the introductions to several of the codices, it is 



Stated that they were compiled from an ancient Hebrew 
text which is now ioSt, but there is no record of such 
a manuscript ever having been in existence. On account 
of the early traditions it embodies, and the detail of 
the rites and ceremonies of magic, it is undoubtedly 
interesting, as the following epitome taken from a copy 
of the work written by “ H. G. on April 8, 1572,” 
now in the British Museum, 1 will show. 

It is entitled, “ The worke of Salomon the Wise, 
called his Clavicle revealed by King Ptolomeus ye 

It consists of ten parts which are headed as follows : 

1. Of ye hours and points necessary in experiments 
and arts mathematical and magical. 

2. Of all arts magical or of nigromancy or of certain 
spirits how they shall be ordered. 

3. How and what manner the pentacles be made. 

4. How experiments of these should be ordered. 

5. Of experiments of invisibility. 

6. Of experiments of love. 

7. Of experiments of grace and favour. 

8. Of experiments of hatred and deStruftion. 

9. Of experiments of mockes and dire&ion. 

10. Of experiments extraordinary that be forbidden of 
good men. 

“ The beginning of our Clavicle is to fear God and 
to honour him with contrition of heart with great 
devotion and to worship him. 

“ To practise the right day, and time, is very essential 
if you will find anything of the sciences. You mu$t have 
a sure order of days, the changing of the moon and of 

1 MS. SI. 3847. 



From a MS. XVI century. British Museum. 


hours. Next the position of the planets must be con¬ 
sidered and all this must be prepared. 

“ Then take the sword that you make the circle, and 
make a cross in the air, and put your right hand with 
the sword upon the pentacles being on your breaSt, 
and say with a low voice the oration with the exorsyza- 
tion, but before so doing, fumigate yourself and your 
fellows in the circle and sprinkle yourself with water. 

“ Let the conjurer sit down in his place and comfort 
his fellows in the circle and say the oration and con¬ 
juration, then the devils will fear and by the virtue 
of the pentacles will come to do your will.” 

The pentacles have innumerable virtues, and for a 
description of how they were made see page 163. 

The ceremony began with prayers which were said 
in Latin, first kneeling and then uprising. They were 
followed by the conjuration, which was first said facing 
the Ea^t, and South, and then in the North and WeSt, 
and the spirit which you wished to call was then named. 
“ If the spirits do not then appear, looking up into the 
air, making upon your forehead the sign of ye Holy 
Cross saying, e In nomine patris et filii et spiritus Sanfti. 
Amen.’ Then bless the place with the sign of the 
cross, beating the air with your hand, make a hissinge 
and repeat the prayer toward the WeSt and the North. 
Then if they (the spirits) be bound in chains of iron they 
will come, except they be in some greevous place or 
holden, or else they will send some certain messenger 
whereby you shall know what they will do. If they do 
not appear, let the conjurer rise up boldly and Strongly 
and comfort his fellows, and let him beat the air toward 
the four parts of ye world and Standing in the middle of 



the circle go up on his knees, and his fellows with him 
kneeling and holding the book let him say the prayer. 
Then if they will appear, show them the pentacle and they 
will talk with thee and grant thy petition.” 

Of experiments of love : 

“ Whoever will make or prepare anything upon any 
woman, he may make an image of wax. Then say over 
the wax when it is prepared, the charms, c Venus eSt 
AStroposuaStro.” When that is done you shall form your 
image and if it be necessary to write any other thing up 
on the image with a needle or a pen and if it be necessary 
to fumigate the image, let a fume be made and hold the 
image over it and say, c O tu Orions, etc.’ 

“ If ye woman come in that hour it is well, if she 
come not, then put that image under thy bed’s head 
and ye shall see before the third day great marvels. 

“ The same can be done with an apple. Prepare that 
day and hour and have an apple fair in thy hand in some 
secret place, and before you take it from the tree sprinkle 
it with water, and fumigate it, afterwards say unto 
the fruit, c Deus qui fedSti Adam et Eve, etc.’ 55 

Then follow directions how the conjurer should 
prepare himself: 

“ He shall go into his secret chamber and Strip himself, 
and have a bath prepared, and let him take the water 
and put it on the top of his head so that it may run down 
unto his feet, saying, £ Domine Jesud Afterwards 
wash wholly in that water and put on linen gear next 
your body, and abstain for three days from all unclean¬ 
ness and say the oration. The novice muSt abstain from 
great eating and drinking for the space of nine days 
before his inception.” 



The following is a description of the vestments or 
garments to be worn by the magician : 

“ Upon the white vestments, woollen garments on 
which the pentacles be sown with a needle. 

“ Let them have white hosen, and upon those hosen 
written the following signs : 

,1—h - O- rr-txCl • ^ m C • ^—+H— C. ' 

“ Let your shoes be of white leather, whereon write 
the same signs, and the hose and shoes muSt be made 
within the time of custody within nine days. 

“ The Master should have a crown of virgin paper on 
the which crown let there be four names written: 
ink or some other colour in capital letters and these 

“ After that, fumigate all the garments and sprinkle 
with water. 

“ All the vestments muSt be linen and if these were 
priest’s garments they were better. 

“ The places where the arts maySt be done. 

“ The places muSt be hid and secret or desert, far from 
the habitations of men. Let no woman come there in any 

<c Let the first scholar bear the censer and incense, 
making fragrant savours. Let the second bear paper 
and books, pen and inks and spices of fumigation. 



The third bear the knife. The fourth bear the pots, 
wherein they put fire of the coles in which the fumigation 
of the spice muSt be put. 

“ Then the master shall take the knife or the instrument 
wherein he maketh the circle beSt. Let him make the 
circle as he should fumigate it, and cross it with water 
before he begin any invocation. The Master shall have 
a bell, and toll four times towards the four parts of the 
world, with four paternosters. On that bell should be 
written c A ’ ‘ V ? ‘O’ ‘ B ’ c Y ’ and these charafters : 

SI3EZ2- LN • (]} # 

“ Of knives and swords. 

cc It is necessary in operations of artes to have swords 
and knives and other instruments of which circles may 
be made and other necessary operations. The knife 
should have a white haft of ivory, tempered in the 
blood of a goose and the juice of pimpernell, and let 
it be made on a certain day and hour. Write on the haft 
with a pen : 

and fumigate it and sprinkle it with water and say the 
conjuration and put him in a silk cloth. 



“ If there be Staves or roddes they ought to be virginal 
and treated likewise. 


“ If swords be necessary let them be scoured and 
clean, and clean from the first hour. Let them be 
fumigated and put in a fair place in silk cloth. 

“ The form and fashion of them is : 

“ Let them be of virgin iron and never occupied in 
any work.” 

How the circles are to be made : 

“ When you be in the place, take the knife in your 
hand and fasten him in the earth in the middle of the 
place where ye would make your circle. Then take a 
cord of length of 9 feet, both parts from the East, from 
the weSt, from the south and ye north and put a sign 
and in this sign make a circle, and beyond the circle 
of the art make another circle a foot wide, always 
leaving one gate before another, and beyond the circle 
of art make pentacles with the names of our Saviour, and 
about the circle that is beyond, make crosses and beyond 
that circle make a square. In the summit of every 



corner let a little roundle be made wherein the pot of 
coles and spices shall be put, and let one sword be 
fastened in the ground a foot behind. Let the Master 
of the art then take his followers and bring them through 
the outer into the inner circle. Let them follow towards 
the eaSt. Let each one of them have a clean sword in 
his hand by the pommel. Let the Master then go out 
of the circle and kindle the pots and put in the spice of 
fumigations. Let him have a grosse candle in his hand 
and let him light it and put it in a lanthorn. Then 
let him reform the circle again and close the outer ring, 
and take the bell as before and fumigate himself and his 
followers and sprinkle them with water and hyssop. 

c< After that, let the Master begin to say. Standing in 
the middle of the circle with a knife fastened at his foot, 
and there toll the bell toward the eaSt. 

“ Of Fumigations. 

“ There be divers fumigations in artes, some odori¬ 
ferous, some Stinkinge. If it be odoriferous take in¬ 
cense, Lign, Aloes, Saffron, Mirre, and Muske, and say 
over it, c Deus Abraham, Deus Issaak, Deus Jacob/ 

“ After that, sprinkle them with Holy Water and 
put it in a new silk cloth until the work with it be done, 
when you will put it in the fire of new coles and in new 
pots, vitreous both within and without, and say over it ye 
conjuration of ye fire. That being done put the pot on 
ye fire and you will make sweet smelling savour. 

“ If it needeth a Stinckinge fumigation, as brimstone, 
hazar, eazay and other foul spices, say over it, c Adonay- 
dalmay salmay saday ’ invocation, sprinkle it with water 
and put it in a pipe, and put that in new cloth of silk 
and there let it be until ye work. 



“ Then make a das sell of vervain, fennel, valerian, 
sage, mint, marjoram, basil and bind all these herbs 
in a rod of hazel that muSt be cut off at one cut with 
Arthana (the knife), and cause to be sung over it St 
John’s gospel, then write upon the rod of hazel with 
a needle point of iron.” 

• Yh • mm • S S ^ S SS ^ -IJe- Q 

C ■%•£/ "C'Sr—v '^' e '0-' t . LI 

-jd • jf - 5 

The magician’s pen, ink and colours : 

“ When ye should write any scripture necessary for 
artes, take a live gander and plucke off a feather of the 
right winge, and say in the taking of, Arbog, Narbog, 
Nazay, Tamaray. 

“ Afterwards mark the pen with Arthana and fumigate 
and sprinkle with water, put him in a silk cloth and write 
on it with a needle c Joth, Heth He, Van, Anosbias, 
Ja, J a , J a Antroneton, Sabaoth.’ If you will, write 
with saffron or azure. You may write with the blood 
of a Becke or Dormouse taken alive and pricked with 
a needle. 

“Ye penne for writing with the blood muSt be of ye 
right feathers of a swallow, the first feather that is 

“ Of virgin paper (skin) : 

“ Take the paper unborn of any beaSt.” 

“ Virgin wax or earth for making images or candles : 

“ Take virgin wax of bees that never made fruit. 

z 37 


Virgin earth is that under the earth near the water 
like clay/’ 

“ Sacrifices : 

“ Some sacrifice black beasts or white, some black 
birds or white, some of the blood of them, some sacrifice 
meat and drink, but such must be pure and virginall. 
The sacrifice of meats and drink muSt be made on a 
table without the circle, ready with a tablecloth, with 
bread, wine and water and cock’s meat roasted. They 
mu$t be fumigated and sprinkled with Holy Water.” 

“ Of the silk cloth : 

e< If any thing be consecrated by any occasion it 
muSt be put in a silk cloth or white linen. Write on it: 

. owwao. | a c 'Y-% 

These briefly were the ritual, prayers and implements 
employed by the practitioner of magic of the sixteenth 
century, according to the “ Clavicle of Solomon.” 

It is a curious blending of magic and religion, and 
it can well be believed that many of those who practised 
it were men who, if they did not deceive themselves, 
succeeded in duping others. To some of the codices 
several formulas and experiments are added. Thus in 
a manuscript in the Lansdowne collection there is a 
formula, “ How to make the Magic Garters,” which 
would undoubtedly be desirable articles at the present 

They were to be made by taking “ the skin of a Stag 
sufficient to make two hollow tubular garters, and before 
Sticking them up, mark them with certain characters 
with the blood of a hare killed on the 25 th of June, and 


having filled the garters with green mugwort gathered 
on the same day before sunrise, thou shalt put in the 
two ends of each the eye of a barbel. 

“ Before using get up before sunrise and wash them 
in a brook and place one on each leg above the knee. 
Then take a short rod of holm-oak cut on the 25 th 
of June, turn in the direction thou wisheSt to go, write 
upon the ground the name of the place, and commence 
the journey and thou wilt accomplish it in a few days 
without fatigue. 

“ When thou wisheSt to Stop, thou haSt only to say 
‘ Amech ’ and beat the ground with the wand, and in¬ 
continently thou shalt be on firm ground.” 

The Magic Carpet of Arabian Nights fame is also 
mentioned in this manuscript, and is recommended 
“ to transport one to any appointed spot for discovering 
treasure.” . It had to be woven of white and new wool. 

Further instruments mentioned include a short lance, 
a scimitar, a sickle, a dagger and poniard, a knife called 
Andamco, with a curved blade, Staves of elderwood, 
cane, or rosewood, wands of hazel or nut tree and the 
Burin or graver. 

There is also a formula for making the “ cleansing 
hyssop water ” by filling a vessel of brass or lead with 
clear spring water and adding salt. 

“ A bunch of vervain, fennell, lavender, sage, valerian, 
mint, garden basil, rosemary and hyssop gathered in 
the day and hour of Mercury, bound together with a 
thread, spun by a young maiden, when dipped in water 
and sprinkled, will chase away all phantoms that shall 
hinder or annoy.” 

There are several manuscripts of the seventeenth 



century called “ Lemegeton or the Lesser Key of Solo¬ 
mon ” which are also said to have been translated from 
the Hebrew, and which deal with all kinds of spirits, 
both good and evil. One includes the rites of Lucifer, 
Bel and other bad spirits, and conjurations of 72 chief 
devils and their ministers, and the latter part called the 
“ Pauline Art ” deals with the “ angels of the Hours ” 
of the day and night, and other “ choirs of spirits.” 

The use of the name of Jesus and Mary in some of 
the prayers of the ritual show that they were introduced 
in Christian times. 

It has been asserted that the inclusion of the Divine 
names of the Almighty in the ceremonial of the magician, 
was in the hope of securing power and virtue from 
heaven, to control the evil spirits, their utterance being 
supposed to make the devils tremble and place them 
at the will of the magician. 





T HERE is an interesting manuscript, written in 
the early part of the seventeenth century, by an 
unknown author, who makes an attempt to classify 
magic into what he calls “ Nine Tomes,” which he 
divides as follows : 

“ The first is called Hagoge or a book of the in¬ 
stitutions of Magic. 

“ The second is microcosmicall Magic, that is, what 
is effected *by spiritual wisdom and how. 

“ The third is Olympicall Magic. How a man worketh 
and suffers by Olympicall spirits. 

“ Fourth, Hesiode’s and Homer’s Magic which 
teacheth works by the spirits called Casodivills as if 
they were not enemies to mankind. 

“ Fifth, Romane or Sibbiline Magic, which worketh 
with defending spirits. This is the do&rine of the 

“ Sixth, Pythagoras, his Magic, which only works 
with spirits to whom the doftrine of Arts is given, as 
natural philosophy. The art of physick, mathematics, 
alchemy and the like arts. 

“ Seventh, the Magic of Apollonius and the like, 
joining with Romane which hath power over the spirits 
which are enemies to mankind. 




“ Eighth, the Magic of Hermes which is the Egyptian 
Magick, and is not far from Divine Magick. This pro- 
duceth gods of every kinde which dwell in the Temples. 

“ Nineth, Wisdom which dependeth on the word of 
God alone, and is called propheticall magick or wisdom/' 

The writer declares, that “ man is ordained a magician 
from the wombe of his mother that would be a true 
magician. Others that have taken upon them this 
office are unhappy." 

He goes on to reveal the “ Seven chief secrets of 
Magic," which he States are : “ i. The curing of all dis¬ 
eases in seven days, either by characters or natural things, 
or by the superior spirits with the help of God. 2. To 
know how to be able to produce life at pleasure unto 
what age soever, to wit a corporal life and natural. 
3. To know how to have obedience of the creatures 
in the elements which are in form of personal spirits. 
Also in form of pigmies, of satirs, of the nymphs, of 
the driads. 4. To confer with the intelligence of all 
things visible and invisible, 5. To know how to 
govern oneself until the end perfixed by God. 6. To 
know God and Christ and His Holy Spirit. This is 
the perfeftion of our microcosm. 7. To be regenerated 
that he may be king of Henoch the inferior of the 

This apparently epitomizes the dreams of the philo¬ 
sopher who was a believer in magic. 

The “ Seal of the Secrets " is to be made thus : 

“ Make a circle. Place A. in the centre. B.C. in 
the EaSt. G.B. in the North, D.E. in the WeSt. 
E.B. in the South. Divide each quarter into seven 
parts which maketh 28 parts. Then divide again every 


part by four being 112 parts in all, and so many true 
secrets there are to be revealed. This circle so divided 
is the SEALE OF THE SECRETS of all the 

44 The Study of all wisdom is in the EaSt. The WeSt 
is for force and Strength. The South for culture and 
husbandry. The North for a rugged and hard life. 

44 Magic is twofold. In the first division thereof, 
the one sort is of God which he giveth to the creatures 
of Light. The other is like unto it but it is the gift 
of the creatures of Darkness. And this magic is two¬ 
fold, the one tending to a good end, as when the Prince 
of Darkness endeavours to do well to the creature 
(God helping forward). The other a bad end, as 
when God permitted such to be deceived magically 
unto the punishing of the bad and unto their 

The writer believed in the use of the crystal for 
communicating with spirits, and next describes how 
“To call the good angells into a criStall Stone or looking 
glasse in thine own sight. Doe as follows : 

44 First bless thyself in the name of the Father -f- Son 
-f- Holy GhoSt. Then repeat a prayer to be followed 
by the invocation. 4 O you good Angells of God, 
only and only, come haStyly and tarry not, make your 
personal appearance visible to my sight in this CriStall 
Stone.’ This is to be repeated three times. Then 
when they have appeared make your demands. 

44 Thou maySt call them through a little child, thus : 

44 After the prayer, make a cross on the forehead of the 
child with the thumb of the right hand, saying a Pater¬ 
noster. Then with a new pen write in the midst of the 



Stone or glass with oylle ollive this name, Hermes. Then 
set the child between thy legs, thou sitting in a chair, and 
lett him say the Lord’s Prayer. 

“ Then pray, c Send unto us three of thy goode 
angells from thy right hand of glory into the midst of 
this CriStall Stone or Glasse. To the visible sight of 
this child, maide and virgin. 

“ Let them make true answers, true judgement and 
true appearance, revealing unto us all things.” REPEAT 

“ Then shall three bright angells with crowns of gold 
on their heads appear to the child, who will answer and 
show thee by the child anything thou shall require. 
The angells being once appeared, will not depart the 
glasse or Stone untill the Sunne be sett except you 
license them.” 

The following is the license to be said “ For Spirits to 
depart ” : “In his name that you came goe againe. 
The Father with me, the Sonne with me and the Holy 
GhoSt betwixt us and be for ever. Amen.” 

The writer then gives a number of curious formulas 
and conjurations for various operations, the first being, 
“ How to know if a sick person shall recover or die, 
and if medicine is to be administered.” 

To ascertain this, “ the angels are besought, naming 
the person, town, parish, and Street in which he lives and 

his trade or profession, thus : Name-is dangerously 

ill, he complains of extreme pain in his side, his back, his 
belly, or he was taken lame in his leggs. 4 Tell us O 
angells of God whether this man will live or dye.’ If 
they say he shall recover, ask whether you shall do it, 
or whether it must be done by physick or not. If they 
2,4 4 

■ TT 


say for physick, first ask of what disease and what disease 
they think it is ? 

“ Then ask, whether such a medicine wilt recover him 
or not ? ” 

Should the magician be called upon to remove a spell 
ca$t upon a person by a witch, he is direded to begin 
with the following conjuration : 

“ Say ‘ You angels of God, there is a man or woman 

called-in the county of-upon such a day was 

suddenly taken in such a manner. Tell us ye angels of 
God what was the cause of this sickness or infirmity. 
Was it witchcraft ? or no ? ’ If they say witchcraft, you 
shall say, c I charge you to call us the witch or witches 
with their assistants which doth moleSt or trouble— 
call them I say in this glasse.’ 

“ They having appeared say : 

“ c O thou cursed and damned witch, and thou spirit of 
witchcraft and sorcery, assistant to this hellish and 
cursed creature which doth hale, pull, terrific and torment 

the body or carcase of-of-in the county of- 

open your ears and hear, and be obedient and do my will 
faithfully and instantly. I do bind and charge you 
and command you upon paine and perill of your present 
and everlasting damnation, that you, neither any other 
wicked witch, spirit or fairie do at any time hereafter 
to the end of the world, meddle or make any more, but 
you let be this Christian man in peace and quiet.’ ” 

The operation given for discovering a thief is reminis¬ 
cent of the charm Still pradised in some parts of the 
country on All Hallow-e’en. The conjurer is direded 
to write the names of all the suspeded on paper generally, 
and put every name written in a piece of clay and put 



them into a basin of fair water, “ Then say a Pater¬ 
noster and a conjuration. The name of the man or 
woman which have Stolen these things may rise up out 
of the water. Then say Psalm 58, Psalm 43 and Psalm 
77 concluding each with ‘ Glory be to the Father.’ ” 

That the writer of this manuscript had been or was a 
prieSt, is evident from the portions of Christian liturgy 
introduced into the conjurations, and from his description 
of the vestments to be worn by the operator. He States : 
“ Let it be a priest’s garment, if not of cleane linnen. 
On it have a pentacle made on the day and hour of 
Mercury, the Moon increasing, made on parchment of 
a kidd’s skin, but first say a mass and sprinkle it with 
baptism water.” 

The following prayer is to be said when the vesture 
is put on : 

“ Alncor, Almacor, Amides, Theodomas, Almitor. O 
Lord by the merits of the Holy Angells I will put on the 
vestments of Health. That this which I desire I may 
bring to effeft through thee, O most holy Adonay, 
whose kingdom endureth through all ages for ever. 

“ All the prayers, conjurations and exorcisms having 
been rightly performed there will appear infinite visions 
and phantasmes playing on organs and all kinds of 
musical instruments. 

“ After these things thou shalt see infinite bowmen, 
with infinite number of horrible beaSts, which seem as 
if they would devour our fellows, but notwithstanding, 
fear nothing. The prieSt or the Master holding his hand 
on the pentacle adjures them to depart. 

“ These things being finished, there will be a hissing 


noise in the four corners and thou shalt see immediately 

great motions. Then immediately they will come in 
their proper forms and thou shalt see them nigh the 

2 47 


circle. Show them the pentacle arid uncover it, then 
welcome them, thus, 

“ 4 Ye are welcome Spirits and most noble Kings, for we 
have called you by him to whom every knee boweth of 
things in Heaven, Earth and Hell, for as much as we 
bind you that you remain affable and visible here before 
the circle as long as my pleasure is, and not without my 
license to depart.’ ” 

In the “ Booke of Hidden Philosophy or the Magical 
Ceremonies,” written by Cornelius Agrippa, a famous 
magician and alchemist of the sixteenth century, he 
begins by Stating that “ the name of the good spirit of 
every man is called his genius, which we have to find 
out.” To do this he gives a detailed description of the 
appearance of the spirits and the various planets through 
which they are influenced. 

He commences with the “ Familiar formes of the spirits 
of Sol.” 

“ They appear with a very large and great body, 
sanguin and fatt, with a golden colour about the dyed 
cloud. Their motion is the glittering of Heaven and their 
sign is to trouble or move sweat in him that calleth them.” 

Their particular forms are, “ A king having a sceptre 
riding on a Lion. A King wounded. A queen with a 
sceptre. A bird, a lion, a cock, a garment of saffron 
colour or golden. 

“ The familiar forms for the spirits of Venus are a faire 
body of a middle feature, amiable and pleasant in counten¬ 
ance, of white or green colour, gilt from above. Their 
motion is like to a clear Star. 

“ For their signe, maides will be seen playing without 
the circle. 



“ Their particular formes are, a maide fairly apparelled, 
a naked maid, a shee goat, a camel, a shee doe or a white 
or green garment. 

“ The invocation of the holy and Divine names,” 
says Agrippa, “ with the signing of the holy seals, which 
tend unto san&ification to God, these, added to a 
religious life, are necessary to the magician. There¬ 
for thou shalt take out that prayer of Solomon in the 
dedication of the Temple, as thou art about to con¬ 
secrate any place or circle. 

“ Thou shalt bless the place with blessed waters and 
fumigation, remembering in blessing the mysteries what 
they are, the sanftification of the throne of God, the 
mountain of Sinai, the ark of the covenant and the Holy 
of Holies. 

“ In consecrating the sword we remember that of the 
gospell. He which hath two coats in the II book of 

Agrippa’s dire&ions for “ the setting out of the Place 
for the performance of magical ceremonies,” are as 
follows : 

“ The first is that a clean place be chosen, faSt shut, 
quiet and remote from noise. In this place sett a table or 
altar covered with a clean white linen cloth placed towards 
the EaSt, and upon it put the two consecrated wax candles 
set burning. In the middle of the Altar sett the plates 
of metal or holy paper covered with fine linnen. Also 
thou shalt have the precious fumigation provided and 
ready, and the pure oyle of anoynting, both being con¬ 
secrated. Also the censer being placed at the head of the 
altar, which being kindled and the fire blessed thou shalt 
perfume every day as long as thou prayeSt. 



“ Thou shall have a long garment of white linnen, shut 
before and behind, which may cover the whole body and 
shall bind it with a like girdle.” 

He gives us a Striking picture of the magician thus 
robed, Standing with a “ headpiece like a mitre made of 
fine linnen on his head,” on which a plate of metal was 

fastened, being gold or 
gilded with the in¬ 
scription, Tetragram- 
maton. “ Then they 
muSt go in barefooted 
and when they are en¬ 
tered into the Holy 
Place, sprinkle it with 
Holy Water, then thou 
shalt perfume upon the 
altar, afterwards on 
bended knees thou shalt 
worship before the 
altar. At the sunrising 
thou mayeSt enter the 
Holy Place, after the 
rite sprinkle thyself, 
then perfuming thou 
shalt sign thyself on the forehead with Holy Oil, anoynt 
the eyes, doing all these consecrated things with some 

The discovery of hidden treasure appears to have been 
a frequent question brought to the magician to solve, and 
certain spirits were invoked for this purpose. Among 
them was one called Beasphaves, who was said to appear 
in the likeness of “ a faire man or faire woman who will 






(From an MS., XVI century.) 


come at all times.” “ He will tell thee/’ says Agrippa, 
“ of hidden treasures. He will bring thee gold or silver. 
He will transport thee from one country to another 
without any harm of body or soule.” 

To conjure this desirable spirit the ceremonies lasted 
three days, and on the third day, “ when it is dark and 
when the Starres shine he will appear.” The magician 
must, however, prepare himself by first “ bathing in a 
clear well-spring and be clothed in clean white clothes, 
and bear with him ink and penne, and in a secret place 
write -f- Agla -f- and he muSt have a thong of lion’s or 
hart’s skin, and make thereof a girdle and write the holy 
names of God all about, and in the ends certain signs.” 

The secret of certain images or figures made to repre¬ 
sent each day of the week, and used for special magical 
purposes, are revealed in a manuscript called ‘‘ The 
Booke of the Seven Images of the dayes, that Philoso¬ 
phers that were blessed knew and understood whereby 
to have their desires. But these should not be showed 
nor taught but to good men and secret, therefor take 

For Sunday, the image was made of gold i part, 
copper and yellow wax. When finished it was inscribed 
with the sign of the angels. It muSt be made when the 
moon was increasing in August or April. For Mondays, 
the image was composed of silver and white wax. For 
Tuesdays, of red brass (copper) and red wax. For 
Wednesdays, of lead. For Thursdays, of brass, the 
colour of saffron and yellow wax. For Fridays, of white 
wax; and for Saturdays, of clean pitch. 

These images were employed in conjurations, or as 
charms for love and also to breed discord between man 



and wife. For the laSt purpose the name of the man 
was engraved on the heart of the image, also the name of 
the woman, and it was then hung before the Stars and 
smote with a twig of olive tree while the conjuration 
was said. It was then burnt before the gate of the 
house where they passed by each day. 

This book also contains an account of 44 the Roman 
Secret, touching the spirit called Sathan by which the 
Romans did understand of things present, paSt and to 
come.” This invocation is interesting as it appears to 
have come down to the sixteenth century from Roman 
times, although it is obvious that it has been adapted to 
Christian ideas. The operation is thus described : 

“ The spirit of this invocation doth appear in a basin, 
and to be wrought every day except the Lord’s Day and 
the double feaSt days. 

“ First beware that thou be not defiled with luxury 
nor wrapped in any deadly sin, and be thou fasting and 
have a fair chamber, and take with thee a fair and bright 
well-furnished basin and have there IV wax candles, 
and make them fast on the brim of the basin and upon 
every candle write these names, Moses + Aaron -f- 
Jacob + Vsion + Tetragrammaton + Moriaton 
Then take the sword and write opposite these words, 
Jesus Nazarus Rex in deorum + Jesus of Nazareth, King 
of the Jews, have mercy upon us, and make the circle 
with the sword and sitting in the midst of the circle, 
turning thee first towards the South putting the basin 
out of the circle once against thee, and perfuming the 
basin with maStik and lig. aloes, say the gospel and 4 
conjurations. Then put out the candles after the fourth 
conjuration and fumigate the basin as before. Then 


say, ‘ I conjure thee to appear to me in the form or figure 
of a monk in white without any hurt or without any 
fear or astonishment to me and that thou shall tell me 
the whole truth I shall demand. By the virtue of all 
these and by the virtue of all the names of God. FIAT 
+ FIAT + FIAT. Amen/ 

“ Then the spirit will appear to thee and let him declare 
the truth of everything thou shalt enquire of him.” 

The manuscript concludes with some charms, such as 
the following : 

“ If any be in danger of witchcraft let them carry 
about them Stitch-wort or pimpernel.” 

“ To goe invisible. Sow beans. Take a bean and put 
it into the heart of 'a black cat being reddy roasted, then 
bury it in a dunghill and when they be ripe carry one 
about, and thou shalt be invisible. Or take a piece 
of lead and write thereon, Athatos, Stivos, Them 
Pantocraton and put it under thy left foot.” 

“To have conferance with a fayre, you muSt Stroll 
underneath an elder tree when the sun is at the highest, 
and Stand near the tree and say Magram, Magrano, three 
times, and you shall see a flower spring like yellow gold, 
and when you have it you shall want nothing. There 
will also appear a faire woman. Demand of her what 
thou wilt have and thou shalt have it.” 

A curious recipe for making a very deadly poison 
shows the knowledge possessed by the praftitioner of 
magic, of mineral as well as animal toxic substances in 
the sixteenth century. It is as follows : 

“ Take ye venom of a toad 2 02s. 

“ Arsenicke 1 02. 1 drachm. 

“ Teeth of a li2ard or as many as you can get. 

2 53 


“ Ye shavings of Mule’s hoof 3 drachms that has been 
beaten to death. 

“ Put these in a crucible, calcine them, then pro j eft 
upon copper. ” 

The use that was to be made of this compound is not 
mentioned, but it is evident, from the quantity of arsenic 
it contained, that a very minute quantity would cause 

Another method of discovering hidden treasure is 
described in a manuscript of the fourteenth century. 
This experiment is to “ disclose if there be any treasure 
hid in any place where it is thought to be or not.” 
“ Take several hazel rods of one year growing and write 
on them this name ELOY, and put them in the place 
where the treasure is thought to be late in the evening, 
and take them away in the morning. Then take that rod 
which be broken or otherwise than it was before, and 
under that rod in the ground where it Stood is the 
treasure or else near that place.” 

A useful charm which was no doubt frequently em¬ 
ployed was: 

“ To make money spent to return.” 

To do this, “ make a purse of mole’s skin and write 
in it Belzebub, Zetus Caiphas, with the blood of a batt 
and lay a good penny in the high way for the space of 
three days and three nights and after put in the purse 
and when you will give it say, Vade et Vine.” 

The following rules as to “ what a magician must 
know ” are given in a manuscript of the sixteenth century. 
They are Stated to have been laid down by Cyprian, 
Bishop of Antioch, who, according to tradition, was a 
praftitioner of magic. 



cc i. The Mailer muSt have faith and doubt not in his 

“ 2. He muSt be secret and betray not the secrets of 
his art but to his fellows and to them of his counsel. 

“ 3. He muSt be Strong minded, severe and not fearful. 
“ 4. He muSt be clean in conscience, penetent for his 

A very powerful charm to be worn as a protection He that beareth this sign 
against devils and all their work. To be written about him shall be holy 

in ink on virgin parchment. XV century. in every need and 

necessity. XV century. 

sins, never willing to return to them again so far forth 
as God shall give him grace. 

“ 5. He must know the reigning of the planets and the 
times meet to work. 

“ 6. He muSt lack none of his instruments, and muSt 
speak all things plainly and diStinftly. He muSt make his 
circle in a clean air and due time. 

“ Whoso observes these rules, by God’s grace shall 
not miss but obtain his purpose.” 

2 5 5 



D URING the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, 
several small handbooks were printed and cir¬ 
culated in France and Italy professing to record 
the true magical ritual. They consist mainly of a col¬ 
lection of nonsensical formulas, and were written for 
popular consumption and to pander to the taStes of the 

Although largely fictitious, some of them bear evidence 
of having been founded on portions of earlier works, 
thus the 44 Grimorium Verum ” or book of Black Magic, 
printed in French, is a quaint mixture of 44 The Clavicle 
of Solomon ” and some fantastic jargon written about the 
middle of the eighteenth century. 

According to the title page, its author was 44 Alibeck 
the Egyptian/’ and it was printed in 44 Memphis in 
1517” ! Another little book of the same character is 
entitled £C True Black Magic,” while the 44 Grand Grim- 
oire ” which is inscribed, 44 printed from an MS. in 1522, 
signed Antinio Venitiana del Rabbina,” appears to be of 
Italian origin. 

All these little treatises are badly printed on poor 
paper and evidently written by men who had but little 
knowledge of the subjeCti 

The 44 Book of True Black Magic ” observes, that the 


bath is mo£t necessary to magical art. It muSt be taken 
on the final day of the faSt, and the magician muSt bathe 
himself from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet 
with warm exorcized water, a measure probably very 
necessary at the time. 

With reference to vestments, Peter de Abano is quoted 
and recommends a priest’s garment or alb, but, according 
to the Jewish rites, all the robes were to be of linen 
cloth, the thread of which muSt be spun by a young maid. 
Shoes and hat were to be of white leather, with the 
magical char afters written thereon in cinnabar mixed 
with gum water, and with the pen of the art. 

According to these treatises, the material of which 
the magic wand was composed varied. One States that 
the Staff should be of cane, and the wand of hazel, both 
virgin, while another declares the wands should be of 
wood from trees that have never borne fruit, the first 
being cut from an elder tree and the second from a hazel. 
It should be 19I inches long, and on the ends two pointed 
Steel caps should be placed, made from the Steel blade 
of the sacrificial knife, and the Steel ends when fixed muSt 
be magnetized with a loadstone. This wand is described 
as a “ MoSt priceless Treasure of the Light.” 

For the sacrifice, the viftim should be a kid, dog, cat 
or hen or whatsoever was necessary to invoke the devil. 

The signature to a paft muSt be written with the blood 
of the operator, but the ink for writing should be 
prepared as follows : 

66 Take gall nuts 10 ozs.. Green copperas 3 ozs., Rock 
Alum or Gum Arabic 3 ozs. Reduce to fine powder and 
place in a new glazed earthen pot with river water. 
Then take sprigs of fern, gathered on St John’s Eve, and 

s 257 


vine twigs cut in the full moon of March. Then make 
a fire of virgin paper, and when the water boils the ink 
will be made/’ 

The silken cloth to preserve the instruments clean and 
pure could, be of any colour, except brown or black, the 
characters to be inscribed upon it being written “ with 
pigeon’s blood and a male goose quill.” 

The forms in which the infernal spirits were said to 
appear is fully described and somewhat amusing. 

“ Lucifer manifests himself in the shape of a comely 
boy. When angered he has a ruddy countenance, but 
there is nothing monstrous in his appearance.” 

Beelzebub occasionally appears in repulsive shapes, 
such as “ a misshapen calf, or a goat with a long tail or 
a gigantic fly. He howls like a wolf.” 

“ AStaroth is sometimes of black and white colour, 
usually as a human figure and occasionally in the likeness 
of an Ass ! His breath is foul, and the magician muSt 
defend his face with his ring.” 

“ Belial appears in the shape of a beautiful angel, 
seated in a chariot of fire, and speaks in a pleasant voice.” 

“ Beleth, a terrible and mighty king, appears riding 
on a pale horse preceded by all manner of musicians. 
He is very furious when first summoned, a silver ring 
muSt be worn on the middle finger of the left hand, which 
muSt be held against the face.” 

The “ Grand Grimoire ” says that the magician, or 
KarciSt as he is sometimes called, muSt purchase a blood¬ 
stone, which he muSt carry on him as a proteffion from 
accident and the machinations of the spirits. Then he 
muSt buy a virgin kid which muSt be decapitated on the 
third day of the moon. Before the sacrifice, a garland of 


From Barrett's 1 Magus.' 


vervain must be placed round its neck below the head 
and tied with a green ribbon. The sacrifice muSt be 
offered on the place of evocation, a desolate spot free 
from interruption. 

With the right arm bare to the shoulder, and with a 
blade of fine Steel, and having made a fire of wood, the 
operator makes his offering, burning the body of the 
animal, but preserving the skin to form the round or 
grand KabbaliStic circle in which he muSt Stand later. 

On the great night, he muSt take his rod, goatskin, the 
bloodstone (ematille), two crowns of vervain, two 
candlesticks, two candles of virgin wax made by a virgin 
girl and daily blessed. 

He muSt also take a new Steel and two flints and suffi¬ 
cient tinder to kindle a fire, also half a bottle of brandy 
(this is to feed the flames ), some blessed incense and 
camphor, and four nails from the coffin of a dead 
child. Then the grand KabbaliStic circle is to be 
drawn and the evocation begun. 

In the “ Grimoire of Honorius,” which exists in 
manuscript, there is a further description of certain rites 
said to be conne&ed with the praflice of the Black Arts ; 
they are mostly too absurd for repetition, but they are 
interesting as showing the tendency at this period to form 
a perverted ritual similar to those used in the des¬ 
criptions of the “ Black Mass.” 

“ The slaughter of a black cock, and the extraftion 
of the eyes and tongue and heart,” are part of one 
ceremony. The Holy Elements are introduced and a 
“ Mass of Angels ” is to be said, writing is to be made 
with consecrated sacramental wine as the “ Blood of 



As an instance of the ridiculous chara&er of the con- 
jut .tions, the following may be taken as an example: 

“ How to cause the appearance of three ladies or three 
gentlemen in one’s room after supper. 

Trvrif * vci yi 

vm "m virii 

NOP Q, -B S X T Z 

Lamed forth Jod. J toetA Cketk Zat* V«u Mi DaJetA torn* Ji<th 


fan Mm Bet Kuff ZatU ft - 4 th Jamreh Nun Aftm 

71 unl^XS* 

CaftA Jot/ rhftJt Chtlk Zam mu Me DaUlh Gimtl Btih M!e/lA- 

J'ttA Ka/J zadt ft ^Jvt S/medi JomteA StAm Tan Vi fan .Yem Lamed 


<JAa- i tynfyrw caJ/if (iZaAind, tAt-AUcvcr- 

tJHOli j*f „ J t d rh<% Chtth tain ' Yen Bt Bale*. tfindBtti .dlsfih 

. A l 2 an R ‘ th lad * A ^itn JamecA Nun Mem 


mysterious characters and SECRET ALPHABETS 
(From Barrett’s “Magus.”) 

“ After 3 days preparation, cleanse your chamber as 
soon as it is morning immediately after dressing, the 
while faSting. There muSt be no hangings nor any¬ 
thing set crosswise, no tapestries, no hanging clothes, 


hats, bird-cages or bed-curtains, and all appointments 
must be clean in every respedh 

“ After supper, kindle a good fire, place a white cloth 
on the table round which set 3 chairs, and before each 
chair a wheaten loaf and a glass of fresh clear water, then 
return to rest. 

“ After uttering the conjuration, the 3 persons having 
arrived, they will reSt themselves near the fire drinking 
and eating. 

“ They will then draw lots as to who shall remain, 
and the one who wins will come and be seated in the 
arm chair you have set by your bed. So long as she 
remains, you may question her upon any art or science, 
and she will immediately give you a positive answer. 
You may also inquire if she is aware of any hidden 
treasure, and she will tell you as to its locality and how 
to remove it. 

“ At parting she will give you a ring which worn on 
the finger will render you lucky at play. Observe, that 
you muSt leave your window open in order that they 
may enter.” 




HERE are several remarkable codices dealing with 

X the magical arts in the Rawlinson and Ashmolean 
collections in Oxford. One consists of a long 
scroll, which is said to have been written with human 
blood in the sixteenth century. 1 

It has been in the Bodleian Library since 1680, but is 
believed to date from about 1525. It is 32 feet long and 
an inch and a half wide, and is written on fifteen Strips 
of parchment Stitched together. A single line of text 
runs along the centre of its entire length, with a border 
above and below of magical signs, consisting of crosses 
of various forms and pentagons, arranged alternately. 

The text begins with an incantation and the names of 
God, followed by fourteen verses from the first chapter 
of St John’s gospel, a chapter which formed part of 
magical ritual at a later period. 

It concludes with the Lord’s Prayer in Greek, written 
in Latin characters. The objeCt of such a document can 
only be conjectured, but it was probably regarded as a 
powerful charm, to invoke the aid of good spirits and to 
proteCt its owner from evil influences. 

The association of the Gospel of St John with magic 
goes back to an early period of the Christian era. 

1 MS. 3115. 




XVI century. Bodleian Library. 



From an MS. XVI century. British Museum. 

(See page 26Q) 


In the time of St AuguStin, it was customary to place 
the Gospel of St John on the heads of sick people for 
the purpose of inducing supernatural cures. 

In 1022, a Council held at SeligStadt, near Maintz, 
by its tenth canon prohibited the laity and matrons 
especially from hearing daily the Gospel commencing 
“ In Principio,” from which it has been assumed, that 
it had been read, and masses such as the Holy Trinity 
had been said for magical purposes. 

Gifford writing in 1593 States, that “ some hang 
a piece of St John’s gospel about their necks,” and in 
Ireland until recent times, the reading of this portion 
of scripture was regarded as an infallible cure for sore 

Reciting the first fourteen verses called “ In Principio,” 
was believed to be of singular and extraordinary power 
in exorcizing demons. 

Durandus declares, that “ the gospel will expel a devil, 
because devils hate nothing so much as a gospel.” 

In the early part of the seventeenth century, Pope 
Paul V, in his Rituale, orders the clergy when visiting 
the sick, to place the hand on the head while reading the 
gospel of St John. The powers attributed to it above all 
others were probably due to the indulgence granted by 
Pope John XXII of a year and forty days, on its recital. 

Catalini commenting on the use of the beginning of 
St John’s gospel in exorcism says, that “ as the devil is 
greatly afraid of the gospels, this particular one is read 
to show forth the ineffable Being of God.” Thiers 
records, that even dogs were led to church to be cured of 
sickness by having the gospel read over their heads. 

An ancient Manx charm against all diseases was to 



wear around the neck the first fourteen verses of St 
John’s gospel written on paper. 

Another curious manuscript of the sixteenth century 
is called “ The Magic of Arbatel.” 1 It begins with a 
description of the “ Olimpick spirits which inhabit the 
firmament and in the Stars beneath, whose office is to 
declare the fate and destiny of mortals.” 

It States that,“ in the sixtyth year before the nativity of 
Christ was the beginning of the administration of the 
spiritual Prince Bethor whose government continued 
until a.d. 430. Then succeeded Phaleg whose govern¬ 
ment lasted until 920. Then began Och who 
governed until 1410 and Hagith who ruled afterwards.” 

Each of these spirits had his seal and planet, and was able 
to perform certain marvels and could be called to appear 
in the crystal. The writer States that a true and divine 
magician may use all the creations of God and offices of 
the governors of the world at his own will. But they 
heed not the false magician. He that is a true magician 
is brought forth a magician from his mother’s womb. 
A manuscript on magic, written in 1515, claims to 
describe the principal operations in the “ sacred art of 
invocation.” 2 

It commences, “ Here beginneth the first treatise of the 
moSt noble art of Solomon and Apollonius termed the 
c Golden Flowers,’ made from antiquity of Solomon, 
Manicheus and Enduchius. 

“The following works are out of the most ancient 
books of the Hebrews which are unknown in man’s 
language, reputed for a miracle to be given from the 
Lord God.” 

1 MS. Rawlinson, 1363. 2 Ashmole MS. 1515. 



The first chapter consists of “ this most Holy Art from 
Chaldean, Hebrew and Arabic. This oration Solomon 
appointed, first knowing it to be described by Chaldean, 
Hebrews and Arabs.” 

This is followed by “ The Glasse of Apollonius : 
Called Ars Notoria or Ars Memoratina, revealed by an 
angel Phanphilus, on golden tablets in the Temple of 

In the Rawlinson collection at the Bodleian Library, 
there is a manuscript written on vellum in red and black 
inks inscribed “ Moses Long, the conjurer.” It is 
entitled, 1 “ The Secrets of Secrets ” and begins with 
“ Aphorisms of directions ” for conjuring the angels, 
followed by a prayer, that the “ Holy angells may help 
thee in thine occasions ” and the injunction “ First pray 
to God dayly.” 

Then follow directions for making a pentacle of kid’s 
skin or parchment to be covered with fine silk “ until 
ye open it for use.” 

It is to be held in the hand or pinned to the breaSt 
until, if they visit and will not obey, open it saying, 
“ c Behold your conclusion and be not disobedient.’ It 
ought to be borne about thee in all good experiments and 
business. It may be made in gold, silver, virgin parch¬ 
ment or in virgin wax, silk or clean parchment. Per¬ 
fume it with sweet perfume. Ink may be made of smoke 
of frankincense and mirrh, taken in a basin mixt with 
rose water, a little sweet-smelling wine and gum arabic.” 

The seven angels and the planets dedicated to them 
are thus enumerated : 

Cassiel to the planet Saturn, Sachiel to Jupiter, 

1 Rawlinson MS. 253. 



Samael to Mars, Michael to the Sun, Anael to Venus, 
Raphael to Mercury and Gabriel to the Moon. 

The manuscript concludes with an account of some 
experiments of which the following are the most inter¬ 
esting : 

“ A true experiment proved in Cambridge Anno 1557 
of 3 spirits, to be done in a chamber, whose names are 
Durus, Artus and iEbedel. 

“ Rise early on the first Monday after ye new moon. Cut 
3 rods Stock or body of a Palme tree and not on ye top, 
with a new sharpe knife never used on which let it be 
written on ye blade -f Alpha -f- on ye one side and + 
Omega + on the other side and with this knife in thy 
hand say ye name of God ye Father, I have sought these 
rods, so taking hold of them saying in ye name of God 
and Son, I have found you rods, saying in ye name of ye 
Holy GhoSt, I cut you all 3 (so cutting all three at once). 
Then take fine parchment and cut 3 pieces and on ye first 
write Durus and on ye second write Artus and on ye third 
write iEbedel. Then take the first and wrap it about one 
of ye rods and so on do the others in order. Then take 
the first rod in thy hand and say, c Through ye blessed 
power and mercie of God I command thee rod and by the 
virtue of the rod wherewith ye prophet Elias raised up the 
waters between him and Eliseus, ye spirit whose name is 
written and wrapped about, be obedient to me allways 
whenever I shall call him. 5 Then set down ye rod in 
the east part of ye chamber. 

“ The same is to be done with the second rod and the 
spirit is commanded by the virtue of ye rod wherewith 
Moses turned ye water of Egypt into blood. This is 
to be put in the west part of ye chamber. The third rod 


when consecrated in like manner is to be put in the south 
part of ye chamber. Then say ‘ I require and command 
you spirits 3 in the name of God, the Father, Son and 
Holy GhoSt you dread and owe obedience. Come 
gently and peaceably in ye form and shape of three beauti¬ 
ful ladies and truly to answer all my will and desire.’ 

“ This mu§t be done 3 nights and the third night ye 
spirits will appear. 

“ Then say c Welcome ye faire and gentle spirits which 
God hath created.’ ” 

There is also “ Ye experiment for ye spirit Birto,” 
said to be made by Roger Bacon or Fryer Bacon. “ To 
be done in a wood or secret place.” This is described 
in some detail in a later manuscript. 

Finally there is an experiment of “ Askariell in a 
glasse or CriStall,” and to call up this angel you must 
tc have a cleane consecrated CriStall or glasse Stone wrapt 
over ye middle with a thong of Hart’s skin. Ye criStall 
may be in ye middle when ye wrappeSt the thong about 

Among the historical papers of the sixteenth century 
in the British Museum are some leaves from a torn book 
said to have been found among the secret writings of 
Dr Caius, Master and founder of Caius College, Cam¬ 

John Caius was born in 1510 and became one of the 
moSt famous physicians of the sixteenth century. He 
was nine times President of the College of Physicians 
of London and for nearly twenty years leftured on 
anatomy at the Barber-Surgeons’ Hall. 

He was reputed to have been one of the moSt skilful 
and enlightened physicians of his time, but judging from 


Jt viaAf* 'flrOfrfbS). fytJ-A&SL&l), 


(From an MS., XVII century.) 


the leaves of this manuscript found among his writings 
he was also well versed in magic. 

The papers consist of tables showing the signs of the 
planets and the names of the angels under those signs, also 
notes on familiars, formulas for exorcism, an invocation 
to have “ a spirit in a glass to tell all things ” ; two 
drawings of magic circles and a pentagon. The most 
interesting of the leaves consists of drawings of the secret 
signs used for calling the spirits, similar to those to be 
found in manuscripts on the magical arts about that 

Several English monarchs appear to have been 
interested in magic, and among them King Edward IV 
is mentioned, as having requested a magician of his time 
to put him in communication with a spirit called Birto. 

The Story is recounted in a manuscript of the sixteenth 
century, of how Birto was invoked and the part a “ green 
dragon ” played in it, of which a pifture is given. 

Birto seems to have been a spirit of considerable power, 
and after he had been conjured to appear, he comes to 
the circle prepared for him “ in fair and human shape in 
the form of a man and noways horrible or hurtful.” He 
was then to be questioned and to tell truly of all such 
things as the Master should ask. 

The Master is dire&ed to receive him courteously and 
gently, to bind him with the bond of spirits, and “ he 
will freely and faithfully declare and make answer, to 
whatsoever shall be demanded, and will surely obey and 
fulfil all commands.” 

But to obtain the presence of Birto, it was necessary 
that the circle of the invocant should have the “effigy or 
charafter of a dragon fairly drawn or painted, and the 



circle in which the spirit is to appear should be made 
on a calve’s skin parchment.” 

According to the writer of this manuscript. King 
Charles I is said to have carried a charm against danger 
and poison that was written for him by Pope Leo IX. 
It was inscribed as follows : 

“ Who that beareth it upon him shall not dread his 
enemies, to be overcome, nor with no manner of poison 
be hurt, nor in no need misfortune, nor with no thunder 
he shall not be smitten nor lightning, nor in no hre be 
burnt soddainly, nor in no water be drowned. Nor he 
shall not die without shrift, nor with theeves to be 
taken. Also he shall have no wrong neuther of Lord 
or Lady. This be in the names of God and Christ. 
+ Messias + Sother -f- Emannell -f- Sabaoth +•” 

A powerful conjuration to call up a spirit is thus 
recorded in a manuscript of the fifteenth century : 

“ I conjure and conStrayne thee-by all virtues 

and powers, and by the Holy Names of God + Tetra- 
grammaton -f- Adonay + Agla + Saday + Saboth + 
Planaboth + Panthon -f“ Craton + Neupmaton + 
Deus -f~ Homo + Omnipotens + Sempiternus + Yssus 
-j- Terra + Unigenitis + Saluator + Via + Vita + 
Virtues and powers, I conjure and conStrayne thee to 
fulfil my will in everything faithfully, without hurt of 
my body or soul, and so be ready at my call as often as 
I shall call thee, by the virtue of one Lord + Jesus -f- 
Christ of Nasareth.” 

Both the magician and the witch were credited with 
the power of casting spells on human beings and cattle, 
and this appears to have been attempted through the 
medium of evil spirits. 



Few of such spells or malediffions are recorded, but 
the following extracted from manuscripts of the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries will serve to show their nature. 

“ Curse thee, and Almighty make thee so that thou 
shalt never have rest day or night, tyd nor time, till thou 
ha§t performed my will and commandments, and if thou 
wilt not, all the curses of the great maledictions of God 
with all the paynes and torments of all the devells in hell 
be multiplied upon thee, so plentifully as the Starrs be 
in the firmament, and as the sands be in the sea.” 

Another is to “ CaSt sickness on a man.” 

“ Make an image of wax in the man’s name and 
write on the side these charafters as appointed: 

2U—Ti q 191-6 

Head them with the name of the man and then with 
c Usher ’ (a knife), cut this image from the back to the 
head saying, Haade, Mikaded, Rakeben, Rika, Rita lica, 
Tasarith, Modeca, Rabert, Tuth, Tumch. Then hang 
this image over the fire with great smoke and he shall 
be sick.” 

There were several methods of slaying an enemy, 
and in one the wax image is again used as a medium. 

“ To slay an enemy : 

“ Make an image of wax and write the characters with 
a needle of brass upon the image, and dry it by a soft fire 
near chimney, and when it is dry ca$t the image down 
from some house, that the image may be broken, saying 

27 1 


these words, Haade, Mikaded, Rakeben, Rika, Rita 
lica, Tasaritli, Modeca, Rabert, Tuth, Tumch. Here 
with this image I will slay the sick man soon. Name 
him, then take the pieces of the image and bury them, and 
he shall be dead and no man shall know but the worker.” 

Another method, which was apparently to be accom¬ 
panied more by violence than magic, was to cut a Stout 
bough from a tree and while doing so say, “ I cutt this 
bough of this summer’s growth in the name of (here 
name the person) whom I mean to beat and kill. Then 
cover the table and say in the name of the Father -f- 
Son + Holy GhoSt + Striking thereon, punish him that 
hath wrought this mischief, and take it away by thy 
great justice. Eson + Elion + Emares.” 





O F the pra&itioners of magic in England in Tudor 
times, perhaps the beSt known was John Dee, 
who reached the height of his fame during the 
reign of Queen Elizabeth. 

His life, compiled from his journals, and his extra¬ 
ordinary career have been fully described, but the 
following episodes in which magic played a part are 
perhaps not so well known. 

He was born in 1527 and educated at the Chantry 
School at Chelmsford, whence he proceeded to Cam¬ 
bridge and entered at St John’s College, but later on 
became a Fellow of Trinity. 

He excelled in mathematics, which led him to the Study 
of astronomy, of which he undoubtedly acquired a con¬ 
siderable knowledge. 

At the age of twenty, in 1547, he made his first journey 
to the Continent to confer with learned men of the 
Dutch Universities, and here he came in contaft with 
Mercator. Returning to England for a time, the 
following year he travelled to Louvain in order to Study 
at the University, and there he is said to have graduated 
and obtained his degree as doftor. 

In 1551 he obtained an introduction to the Court of 
T 273 


King Edward VI, to whom he had already dedicated 
two books. 

When Mary Tudor succeeded to the throne in 1553, 
Dee—who had by this time achieved some notoriety as 
an astrologer—was invited to calculate her nativity, and 
he also cast the horoscope of the Princess Elizabeth who 
at that time was living at Woodstock. 

It was probably shortly after this that he began to 
praftise magic, for he soon got into trouble and was 
arrested at the instance of a man named George Perrys, 
who alleged that one of his children had been Struck 
blind and another killed by Dee’s magic. In addition 
to this charge, it was rumoured that he was directing 
enchantments against the life of the Queen. 

While in prison, his lodgings were searched and sealed 
up, and he was afterwards examined before the Secretary 
of State and brought to the Star Chamber for trial, but 
here fortune favoured him, for he was cleared of all 
suspicion of treason and eventually liberated. 

Astrology at this time had taken a firm hold on the 
minds of the people, and the belief in the controlling 
power of the Stars over human destinies was common to 
all classes. 

The caSter of horoscopes was in constant demand by 
persons of high and low degree, and Dee, who had 
already acquired a reputation for his prognostications, 
now became more famous. He became well known at 
Court and, when Elizabeth came to the throne, his 
first commission, commanded by Robert Dudley, was 
to name an auspicious day for her coronation. The 
Queen sent for him soon after her accession and 
invited him to enter her service at Whitehall, and is said 


to have promised him a Mastership at St Catherine’s 

One morning, the whole Court and Privy Council 
became greatly excited when the news was spread abroad 
that, “ a wax image of the Queen had been found lying 
in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, with a great pin Struck through 
its breaSt, which was believed to portend the wasting 
away and death of Her Majesty.” 

Messengers were despatched in hot haSte to summon 
Dee, to ask his advice on this momentous matter. 

He professed to regard it as a hoax, but at once 
went with the Secretary Wilson to Hampton Court to 
assure the Queen. 

From the narrator’s account, one can pifture the scene 
on their arrival. Elizabeth was seated in that part of 
her garden that sloped down to the river, near the Steps 
of the Royal landing-place at Hampton Court. Around 
her, Stood the Earl of Leicester, in attendance, together 
with the Lords of the Privy Council who had also been 

Dee, who wore a long beard and was of dignified 
presence, slowly approached the Queen and, after making 
her a deep obeisance, solemnly assured the assembly 
that the wax image “ in no way menaced Her Majesty’s 
well-being,” which it is added, “ pleased Elizabeth well.” 

The Queen afterwards proved a good friend to Dee, 
for about this time Strong popular feeling began to be 
roused againSt him, and it was commonly said that he 
was a magician of doubtful reputation who had dealings 
with the devil. 

He certainly praftised divination openly, and held 
seances at which he professed to raise spirits. 



For the former purpose he made use of a black mirror 
which he describes in the following words : 

“ A man may be curStly afraid of his own shadow, yea, 
so much to feare, that you being alone nere a certain 
glasse, and proffer with dagger or sword to foyne at the 
glasse, you shall suddenly be moved to give back (in 
maner) by reason of an image appearing in the ayre 
betweene you and the glasse, with like hand, sword or 
dagger, and with like quickness foyning at your very 
eye, like as you do at the glasse. Strange this is to heare 
of, but more mervailous to behold than these my wordes 
can signifie, nevertheless by demonstration opticall the 
order and cause thereof is certified, even so the effect is 
consequent. 55 

Dee’s famous magic mirror is described as a polished 
oval slab of black Stone or cannel coal. It was formerly 
in the Museum of Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill, 
and he attached to it a Statement of its history in his own 

It is said to have been for a long time in the possession 
of the Mordaunts, Earls of Peterborough. In this 
colle&ion it was described as “ the black Stone in which 
Dr Dee used to call his spirits. 55 It passed from them 
to Lady Elizabeth Germaine, from whom it went to 
John Campbell, Duke of Argyll, whose son. Lord 
Frederick Campbell, presented to it Walpole. This 
interesting relic was bought at the Strawberry Hill Sale 
by Mr Pigott, and from thence it passed into the hands 
of Lord Londesborough, and later became part of the 
colle&ion of Mr Geoffrey Whitehead of EaSt GrinStead, 
which was sold by au&ion in London on August 7th, 

I 9 I 5- 


It is to this mirror that Butler alludes in his well- 
known lines : 

“ Kelly did all his feats upon 
The Devil’s looking-glass, a Stone, 

Where, playing with him at bo-peep. 

He solv’d all problems ne’er so deep.” 

“ Hudibras,” Part II, Canto 3. 

About 1570 Dee went to live at Mortlake near the river, 
and to this house he removed his library and laboratory. 
The Queen, when riding out in Richmond Park with her 
lords and ladies, would sometimes pass through the EaSt 
Sheen gate and Stop at Dee’s dwelling between Mortlake 
Church and the Thames, to see his latest invention. It 
was here at the church wall that he is said to have once 
shown the Queen the black mirror. 

To most of the European Courts of this period an 
astrologer was attached, and both the Queen and Lord 
Burleigh appeared anxious that Dee should occupy that 
position at Whitehall. 

It is probable that the Story of his search for the 
Philosopher’s Stone may have had something to do with 
this desire to secure his services, as there is an account 
of an interview he had with the Queen in the gallery at 
Westminster, when there was a talk between them “ of 
the great secret for my sake to be disclosed unto Her 
Majesty by Nicolas Grudius, one of the secretaries of the 
Emperor Charles V,” which is supposed to have referred 
to the transmutation of metals. 

Of his operations with the crystal, he records in his 
diary in 1581 his first seance, when the “ skryer ” 
(medium) was bidden to look into the great crystalline 
globe, and a message was transmitted by the “ angel 

2 77 


Annael through the percipient ” to the effeCt, that many 
things should be declared to Dee, “ not by the present 
worker but by him that is assigned to the Stone.” 

A little later he writes, “ I had a sight in ChryStallo 
offered me and I saw,” but he evidently thought that he 
himself was not a good medium, for he set out to search 
for another. 

In 1582 he came across one in the person of Edward 
Kelly, a plausible and clever rogue, whom he engaged 
as a skryer to operate the crystal in his laboratory. 

Kelly is said to have begun life as an apothecary’s 
apprentice and had an extraordinary career. He de¬ 
clared that when wandering in Wales—probably when 
hiding from justice—he accidentally Stumbled on an old 
manuscript on alchemy, and two phials or caskets con¬ 
taining a mysterious red and white powder, which he 
regarded as being of priceless value, for when properly 
manipulated they were capable of transmuting base 
metals into gold. 

He apparently deceived Dee, who seems to have 
believed in the Story, for he records in his diary : 

“ E. K. (Kelly) made projection with his powder in 
the proportion of one minim (upon an ounce and a 
quarter of mercury) and produced nearly an ounce of 
best gold; which gold we afterwards distributed from 
the crucible, and gave one to Edward.” How Kelly 
worked the trick there is no evidence to show. 

The Story of Kelly’s alleged claim soon became known, 
and frequent seances took place at Mortlake where he 
worked in Dee’s laboratory, and the transmuting 
operations were carried on. 

The news reached the ears of Lord Burleigh, who 


British Museum. 


apparently also became a believer in his operations, for 
he wrote for “ a specimen of his marvellous art,” and 
it was reported that the Queen was a&ually the recipient 
of a warming-pan, from the copper or brass lid of which a 
piece had been cut, transmuted into gold and replaced. 

Even such an aStute person as Elias Ashmole was 
deceived by Kelly’s tricks, as he writes : 

“ Without Sir Edward’s touching or handling it or 
melting the metal, only warming it in the fire, the elixir 
being put thereon it was transmuted into pure gold.” 
He adds “ from a very credible person (who had seen 
them) that Kelly made rings of gold wire twisted twice 
round the finger, which he gave away to the value of 

Bacon relates an interesting Story of a dinner given by 
Sir Edward Dyer, at which Sir Thomas Browne, the 
author of “ Religio Medici,” was present. He says, 
“ Sir Edward Dyer, a grave and wise gentleman, did 
much believe in Kelly the alchemist, that he did indeed 
the work and made gold, insomuch as he went himself 
into Germany, where Kelly then was, to inform him¬ 
self fully thereto. 

“ After his return he dined with my Lord of Canter¬ 
bury, wherat that time was at the table Dr Browne the 
physician. They fell in talk of Kelly. Sir Edward 
Dyer turning to the archbishop said, c I do assure your 
grace that I shall tell the truth. I am an eyewitness 
thereof and if I had not seen it, I should not have 
believed it. I saw Master Kelly put of the base 
metal into the crucible and after it was set upon the 
fire and a very small quantity of the medicine put in and 
Stirred with a Stick of wood, it came forth in great pro- 



portion, perfeft gold, to the touch, to the hammer, to the 


“ Said the bishop, c You had need take heed what you 
say Sir Edward, here is an infidel at the board/ 

“ Sir Edward Dyer said again pleasantly, ‘ I would 
have looked for an infidel sooner in any place than at 
your Grace’s table/ 

cc c What say you Dr Browne ? ’ saith the Bishop. 

“ Dr Browne answered after his blunt and huddling 
manner, ‘ The gentleman hath spoken enough for me/ 

c< c Why ? ’ saith the Bishop. 

cc c Marry/ saith Dr Browne, c he said he would not 
have believed it except he had seen it, AND NO MORE 
WILL 1 / ” 

Kelly’s next exploit was the announcement that a 
mysterious book had been revealed to him by an angel, 
which he claimed to have written down and produced in 
manuscript form. 

There are two copies of this extraordinary produftion 
in existence. One is among the Ashmolean MSS. in the 
Bodleian Library (Ashm. 422) and the other in the 
British Museum (SI. 3189). 

The former is entitled “ The Book of MyStery,” 
cc Liber MySteriorum Sextus et Sanftus.” 

A note by Ashmole in this copy States that he “ copied 
it from the original borrowed off Sir John Cotton out 
of his library written by the hand of Edward Kelly, 
which he copied from the view of it exhibited to him by 
the angel in 1583.” 

It begins with an account by Kelly of his interview with 
the angel, as follows : 

“ He plucked out a book, all ye leaves are as though 



they were pure gold and it seemed to be written in blood 
not dry. 

“ Behold ! Behold ! yea let heaven and earth behold, 
for with this they were created and it is the voice and 
speech of him which proceeded from ye first and is ye last. 

“ Loe this it is—(E. K., he showeth a book as he did 
before, all gold). 

“ And it is truth therefor shall endure for ever. (E. K. 
The leaves of the book are all lined and full of square 
places and those squares have charafters in them, some 
more than other, and all written in the colour of blood 
and not yet dry. 49 square spaces everyway in every 
leaf which make in all 2401 square places. 

“ He wiped his finger on the top of the table and there 
came out above ye table certain charafters enclosed in 
lines, but Standing by themselves, and pointed between 
them written from the right to the left hand.) 

“ The 49 parts of this booke—49 voices whereunto so 
many powers with the inferiors and subj efts have been 
and shall be obedient. 

“ Every element in his mystery is a world of under¬ 

“ Everyone knoweth here, what is his due obedience, 
and God shall differ in speech from a mortal creature. 

“ Every element have 49 manner of understandings. 

“ Therein is compounded many languages. 

<c They are all spoken at once and generally by your¬ 
selves by diStinftion may be spoken. 

“ In 40 daies muSt the booke of the secrete and key of 
this world be written. Begin to praftise in August. 
Serve God before from March 29 (Good Friday) to April 
were 30 tables of this^book written. 



66 The letters of the Adamicall alphabet. This book and 
Holy Key which unlocks the secret of God concerning ye 

“ So excellent are the mysteries contained, it is above 
the capacity of man. 

“ In 40 days more must this booke be perfect. 

“ Herein shall be decyphered and truly from imperfeCt 
falsehood, true religion from false and damnable errors. 
May 1583.” 

The contents of the book are then Stated : 

“ This book containeth 3 kinds of knowledge : 

“ 1. The knowledge of God truly. 

“ 2. The number and doing of the angels. 

“ 3. The beginning and ending of Nature substantially. 

“ This book is written in the Holy language. 

“ The book shall be called “ Logaeth,” which sig¬ 
nified! ‘ Speech from God.’ ” 

This manuscript begins with a transcript of the book 
called “ Logaeth ” in common characters, followed by 
22 pages written in^small^squares, 72 similar pages and 4 
pages written vertically. 

The codex in the British Museum is called “ The Book 
of Enoch, revealed to Dr John Dee by the Angels.” 

It contains a note Stating, “ This is the original MS. in 
Edward Kelly’s handwriting. It formerly belonged to 
the Cottonian Collection as appears from a note by 

There is also a manuscript partly in Dee’s hand¬ 
writing, with his autograph (SI. 3188) entitled “ Dr 
John Dee’s conference with angels from Dec. 22, 
1581 to May 30, 1583, being what precedes ye other 
conferences.” This MS., which has an introduction 


by Elias Ashmole in 1672, Stating how it came into 
his hands, was printed in London in 1659 un der the title, 
“ A true and faithful relation of Dr Dee and some 
spirits/’ It purports to contain a conversation held 
between certain spirits by Dee and Kelly respecting the 
“ Logaeth ” and a key to decipher its mysterious pages. 

The angel begins by saying, “ Touching the book. 
It shall be called Logah, which in your language signifieth 
Speech from God. Write it Logaeth. It is to be 
sounded Logah. 

“ The first leaf (as you call it) is the laSt of the book.” 

The angel then proceeds to say how it is to be written 
in the Holy charafters and explains that the laSt leaf 
“ is a hotch potch of the wicked in the world and damned 
in hell.” 

Elaborate inStru&ions are given how to read the tables, 
from which it appears that sometimes the words are 
ascending, sometimes descending, sometimes at an angle, 
on the left or right. 

Groups of letters form words, thus M R E means 
with, B A C with a rod, E R N O Z delivered you, RIP 
the Holy ones, M A S R G with admiration, I D L A of 
gathering, E G R P with the fire and so on. 

The numbers from 1 to 80 also signified words thus : 

1 Signified Behold, 2 Faith, 3 Your God, 4 I am, 

5 A circle and so on. 

Kelly then artfully asks the angel, “ If Moses and 
Daniel were skilful in the arts of the Egyptian magicians, 
why may not I deal with these without hindrance to the 
will of God ? ” 

To which the angel gives the cryptic reply, “ For the 
doings of the Egyptians seem and are not so.” 



It is difficult to conceive what Dee and Kelly expe&ed 
to gain from this elaborate effusion, the writing of which 
alone must have taken considerable time and labour. 

Kelly next went off to Prague, apparently to find the 
highest bidder for his discovery of a method of obtaining 

g° id - 

While he was there, we find Lord Burleigh writing to 
the Queen’s agent in Germany, asking him to urge every 
means in his power to entice Kelly to come back to 
his native country, and requesting him, in case Kelly will 
not return, to send a very small portion of his powder to 
make a demonstration in the Queen’s own sight. 

But Kelly was too cunning to be caught. In Prague 
he felt secure, and he did not feel inclined to carry out 
the test that he knew would be put to him if he returned 
to London. 

Eventually he got into trouble with the Emperor 
Rudolph, and was imprisoned in one of his caStles, and 
it is said that while attempting to escape from a turret 
window, he fell from a great height and received fatal 

Dee, who had meanwhile been living at Bremen, 
resolved to return to England after an absence of six 
years, but during his Stay abroad his popularity had waned 
and we find him making repeated applications to his old 
influential friends at Court for money. 

Although his house began again to be visited by such 
notable people as the Countess of Cumberland, the 
Countess of Kent and Lord Willoughby, who occasion¬ 
ally sent him money, he fell into poverty and ill-health. 

Queen Elizabeth sent for him to come and see her 
in the Privy Garden at Greenwich in 15 84, where she 


received him with Lord Warwick. Dee presented her 
with an effusion in writing, which he called the “ Heavenly- 
Admonition,” and took the opportunity of pleading his 
cause. His supplications apparently prevailed with the 
Queen, for he was soon after appointed warden of the 
Collegiate Church at Manchester, where he took up his 
abode in 1586. 

Some years afterwards accusations were again brought 
against him, that he was a conjurer of spirits and had 
dealings with the devil, and on June 5 th, 1604, he pre¬ 
sented a petition to the King at Greenwich, in which 
he prayed, “ to be tried and cleared of that horrible 
and damnable and to him most grievous and dammage- 
able slaunder, generally and for many years past in this 
kingdom raised and continued by report and print against 
him; that he is or hath been a CONJURER or 

He prays “ that a speedy order be taken to be tryed 
in the premises to the punishment of death (yea eyther be 
Stoned to death or to be buried quicke or to be burned 
unmercifully) if by any due, true and juSt meanes the said 
DEVILS or DAMNED SPIRITES can be proved to 
have beene or to be tru duely or justly reported of him 
or attributed unto him.” 

A copy of this petition is Still preserved in the Bodleian 
Library. Dee died in 1608, and was buried in the chancel 
of Mortlake Church, near the house where he lived so 

A Study of his works shows that he was a man of 
considerable intelligence and by no means altogether a 
charlatan. He had a real devotion to science, and 



must have been grossly deceived by Kelly, and their 
association no doubt did much to damage Dee’s 

A crystal ball or “ Shew Stone ” said to have belonged 
to Dee, together with three large wax discs engraved 
with magical figures and names, are preserved in the 
British Museum. The latter are said to have been used 
by him when consulting his “ Shew Stone ” or magic 




British Museum. 


magic in Shakespeare’s plays 

T HE influence of magic, and the part it played in 
social life in the sixteenth century, are refle&ed 
in several of Shakespeare’s plays. GhoSts, fairies, 
spirits, conjurers, witches, soothsayers, apparitions and 
supernatural beings form part of his dramatis persona and 
flit across his Stage in comedy and tragedy. 

In eleven of his plays he introduces the supernatural 
in one form or another, or refers to magical praftices. 

In “ The Tempest ” there is the sprightly Ariel and his 
attendant spirits, who at the bidding of Prospero, himself 
a pra&itioner of magic, raised terrible tempests which 
apparently wrecked the ships of the King and the 
usurping Duke of Milan. 

The misshapen and uncouth Caliban/' a freckled whelp, 
hag-born,” is a true son of the foul witch Sycorax. 

Prospero has also goblins, naiads and nymphs at his 
command to wreak his vengeance, and divers spirits in the 
shape of hounds : 

“ Go, charge my goblins that they grind their joints 
With dry convulsions ; shorten up their sinews 
With aged cramps.” 

Later on we see him arrayed in his wizard’s robes and 
drawing his magic circle he declaims: 



“ Graves, at my command. 

Have wak’d their sleepers, op’d, and let them forth 
By my so potent art.” 

Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio then enter the magic 
circle and there Stand charmed. 

In “ The Comedy of Errors 55 we are introduced to 
Pinch, who combines the professions of schoolmaster 
and conjurer in the city of Ephesus, which, according to 
Antipholus of Syracuse, at that time bore an unenviable 
reputation as a centre for praftitioners of the magical arts : 

“ They say this town is full of cozenage ; 

As, nimble jugglers that deceive the eye, 

Dark-working sorcerers that change the mind. 
Soul-killing witches that deform the body. 

Disguised cheaters, prating mountebanks. 

And many such-like liberties of sin.” 

Pinch is called in by the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus, 
to exorcize the supposed demon that has taken possession 
of him and caused all the trouble, and she thus addresses 

“ Good Doctor Pinch, you are a conjurer; 

Establish him in his true sense again. 

And I will please you what you will demand.” 

Pinch approaches Antipholus and says : 

“ Give me your hand, and let me feel your pulse.” 

To which he replies : 

“ There is my hand, and let it feel your ear.” 



Then Pinch utters his conjuration : 

“ I charge thee, Satan, hous’d within this man, 

To yield possession to my holy prayers. 

And to thy State of darkness hie thee Straight; 

I conjure thee by all the saints in heaven.” 

Antipholus afterwards describes Pinch in terms that 
are far from flattering : 

“ They brought one Pinch, a hungry lean fac’d villain, 

A mere anatomy, a mountebank, 

A threadbare juggler, and a fortune-teller, 

A needy, hollow-ey’d, sharp-looking wretch, 

A living-dead man. This pernicious slave. 

Forsooth, took on him as a conjurer, 

And, gazing in mine eyes, feeling my pulse, 

And with no face, as ’twere, out-facing me. 

Cries out, I was possess’d.” 

In “ A Midsummer-night’s Dream ” we enter fairy 
realm, ruled by Oberon, the King, and his Queen 

In Puck we have a pifture of a “ knavish sprite call’d 
Robin Good-fellow ” : 

“ That frights the maidens of the villagery ; 

Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern. 

And bootless make the breathless housewife churn ; 

And sometime make the drink to bear no barm ; 

Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm.” 

In truth a mischievous hobgoblin. 

The touching of Titania’s eyes with a magic herb, 
to change her once more into a fairy, is evidence of 
Shakespeare’s knowledge of herb-lore, and it is probable 
that he had the little plant “ Eye Bright ” in mind, 



The mo§t complete description of a magician’s con¬ 
juration, in the plays, is that given in “ The Second Part 
of King Henry VI,” when Bolingbroke, at the instance 
of the Duchess, raises the spirit in the Duke of 
Gloucester’s garden in London. Bolingbroke, the 
magician and conjurer, enters, accompanied by Margery 
Jourdain, a witch, together with Hume and Southwell, 
who are described as priests. 

Hume leaves to inform the Duchess, and Bolingbroke 
addressing the witch thus begins the seance: 

“ Mother Jourdain, be you prostrate and grovel 
on the earth; John Southwell, read you; and 
let us to our work.” 

The Duchess now enters, and presently Hume. 

Duchess . Well said, my masters, and welcome all. 

To this gear the sooner the better. 

Bolingbroke. Patience, good lady ; wizards know their times. 
Deep night, dark night, the silent of the night. 

The time of night when Troy was set on fire ; 

The time when screech-owls cry, and ban-dogs howl, 

And spirits walk, and ghoSts break up their graves. 

That time best fits the work we have in hand. 

Madam, sit you, and fear not: whom we raise, 

We will make fast within a hallow’d verge. 

Here they begin to perform the ceremonies apper¬ 
taining, and after making the magic circle Bolingbroke 
reads the conjuration. 

Accompanied by terrible thunder and lightning the 
spirit riseth. 



Spirit. Ads urn. 

Margery Jourdain. Asmath ! 

By the eternal God, whose name and power 
Thou trembleSt at, answer that I shall ask ; 

For till thou speak, thou shalt not pass from hence. 

Spirit. Ask what thou wilt. That I had said and done ! 

Bolingbroke puts the questions and the spirit answers, 
after which he gives the licence to depart: 

“ Descend to darkness and the burning lake 1 
False fiend, avoid ! ” 

It is evident from his description of the conjuration 
that Shakespeare, with his remarkable versatility, had an 
intimate knowledge of magical ceremonial. Several 
famous practitioners of magic flourished about his time, 
including Dr Dee, Edward Kelly and Simon Forman; 
but, as the rites and ceremonials of magic probably 
only existed in the form of manuscripts at this period, he 
muSt have had access to them. This is evident later in 
the play when Smith introduces the Clerk of Chatham to 

Smith . Has a book in his pocket with red letters in’t. 

Cade. Nay, then he is a conjurer. 

The manuscripts on magical ceremonial are generally 
written in red and black inks. The conjurer was usually 
accompanied by a reader, who carried the book of the 
ceremonies and pronounced the conjuration and prayers. 

There is a brief account of the trial of the Duchess of 
Gloucester, Margery Jourdain, Southwell, Hume and 
Bolingbroke for sorcery and witchcraft, in which 
Jourdain was condemned to be burnt in Smithfield as a 



witch and the three men to be Strangled on the gallows, 
while the Duchess, after doing three days’ public penance, 
was banished to the Isle of Man. 

According to the historical fafts of the case, the 
accusation against the Duchess was of compassing the 
death of the King with Marie Gardimain and Boling- 
broke, by having made a figure of him in wax and 
melting it before a fire. 

Marie Gardimain was the original of Shakespeare’s 
Margery Jourdain, and was burnt at the Stake, Boling- 
broke was hanged and the Duchess was condemned to 
imprisonment for life. 

In “ Richard III,” the ghoSts of Prince Edward, King 
Henry VI, Clarence, Rivers, Grey, Vaughan, Hastings, 
the two young Princes, Queen Anne, and Buckingham, 
appear to him while sleeping in his tent on Bos worth 
Field. These apparitions are evidently intended to 
represent his dream and are not spirit manifestations. 
The vision described in cc King Henry VIII ” in Act II, 
where the six personages clad in white robes, wearing 
garlands, appear to Queen Katherine in her illness is 
shown in a similar manner. 

The Soothsayer is introduced in “ Julius Cassar ” to 
warn him to “ beware the ides of March ” ; and in 
“ Antony and Cleopatra ” the Soothsayer who tells 
Charmian’s fortune is evidently also an adept in Cheiro¬ 

Charmian . Is’t you, sir, that know things ? 

Soothsayer . In nature’s infinite book of secrecy 
A little I can read. 

Alexas . Show him your hand. 

Charmian . Good sir, give me good fortune. 

Soothsayer. I make not, but foresee. 



Later, a Soothsayer is brought from Egypt by Antony 
and taken to Caesar’s house. 

Antony . Say to me, whose fortunes shall rise higher, Cassar’s or 
mine ? 

Soothsayer. Csesar’s. 

Therefore, O Antony ! Stay not by his side; 

Thy demon (that thy spirit which keeps thee) is 
Noble, courageous, high, unmatchable. 

Where Csesar’s is not; but near him thy angel 
Becomes a fear, as being o’erpower’d, therefore 
Make space enough between you. 

Yet another Soothsayer is introduced in “ Cymbeline ” 
who tells Lucius of his vision. 

Soothsayer. LaSt night the very gods show’d me a vision 
(I fast and pray’d for their intelligence) thus : 

I saw Jove’s bird, the Roman eagle, wing’d 
From the spungy south to this part of the west. 

There vanish’d in the sunbeams ; which portends, 

(Unless my sins abuse my divination) 

Success to the Roman host. 

Later in the play, PoSthumus, a prisoner in his cell, 
has a vision in which his father, Sicilius Leonatus, his 
wife and his two young brothers appear, who circle round 
him and eventually invoke the aid of Jupiter, who 
descends amidst thunder and lightning, sitting upon an 
eagle. He throws a thunderbolt and the GhoSts fall 
on their knees and he thus addresses them : 

<e No more, you petty spirits of region low. 

Offend our hearing ; hush I How dare you ghoSts 
Accuse the Thunderer, whose bolt, you know, 
Sky-planted, batters all rebelling coasts ? 



PoSthumus awakes and finds a book, and in the laSt 
aft the Soothsayer interprets the parable and thus ends the 
play in the promise of peace and plenty to Britain. 

The witches introduced into “ Macbeth ” form a 
prominent feature in two afts of the play. In the scene 
on the Heath, they encounter Macbeth and Banquo, and 
the latter thus describes them : 

“ What are these 

So wither’d and so wild in their attire, 

That look not like th’ inhabitants o’ the earth. 

And yet are on’t ? Live you ? or are you aught 

That man may question ? You seem to understand me 

By each at once her choppy finger laying 

Upon her skinny lips : you should be women 

And yet your beards forbid me to interpret 

That you are so.” 

After they vanish he remarks : 

“ Were such things here as we do speak about, 

Or have we eaten on the insane root, 

That takes the reason prisoner ? 

The mandrake or “ insane root ” alluded to is fre¬ 
quently mentioned by Shakespeare. It was a plant 
around which clustered many superstitions, and its root 
not only possessed powerful narcotic properties, but 
produced hallucinations, hence was sometimes known as 
insane root. 

It was credited with other mysterious powers, and on 
account of the resemblance of the root to the human 
form it was used by witches to injure their enemies. 

In Hecate’s speech to the witches, there is a beautiful 


allusion made to an ancient tradition of the magical effed 
of the moon mist: 

“ Upon the corner of the moon 
There hangs a vaporous drop profound ; 

I’ll catch it ere it comes to ground : 

And that diStill’d by magic sleights 
Shall raise such artificial sprites.” 

In the account Shakespeare gives of the ingredients 
used by the witches in making their hell-broth, he 
enumerates some of the weird and mysterious articles 
that formed part of their Stock-in-trade. Their incanta¬ 
tion is also interesting from other points of view, as they 
chant round the boiling cauldron : 

“ Round about the cauldron go ; 

In the poison’d entrails throw. 

Toad, that under cold Stone, 

Days and nights, hast thirty-one 
Swelter’d venom sleeping got. 

Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot. 

Double, double, toil and trouble ; 

Fire burn and cauldron bubble.” 

The method here used by the witches to measure the 
time that the cauldron should boil, by singing their 
incantation, is an ancient mode of calculating time Still 
employed in some parts of the country. By thus repeat¬ 
ing several verses they could regulate the time of boiling 
fairly well. Centuries ago, the apothecaries used the 
moon as a method of calculating the time that certain 
processes should take, and the word menstruum. Still 
commonly used, was employed, because certain drugs 
were allowed to macerate a month in the liquid to 
extraft their aftive constituents. 



The idea of using a toad that had lain dormant for a 
month, was probably due to the knowledge that its 
venom would be then moSt aftive, besides the advantage 
of catching him napping, when he would have no 
opportunity of getting rid of the poisonous principle 
secreted in his skin. 

Some toads secrete an aftive poison called phrynin, 
which resembles digitalis in its adion on the heart. 

In the allusion to 

“ Root of hemlock, digg’d i’ the dark,” 

there is reference to another ancient custom of gather¬ 
ing herbs at night, in the belief that their properties after 
dark were more potent than in the daytime. That 
there was some reason for this old supposition has been 
proved by the researches of Sachs and Brown, who 
found from their investigations, that Starch is formed in 
the leaves of plants during the night, and so the ancient 
belief of the increased aftivity of the midnight-gathered 
herb was not entirely mythical. 

The failure of Hamlet to recognize the ghoSt of his 
father is perhaps not to be wondered at: 

“ Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn’d. 

Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell, 

Be thy intents wicked, or charitable. 

Thou com’St in such a questionable shape.” 

The GhoSt’s reply: 

“ I am thy father’s spirit; 

Doom’d for a certain term to walk the night, 

And for the day confin’d to faSt in fires, 

Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature. 

Are burnt and purg’d away.” 



This embodies an early tradition, that certain spirits 
were kept in purgatory during the day and allowed to 
wander the earth at night, and the belief that disembodied 
spirits thus haunted ruined buildings was held by the 
Assyrians over three thousand years ago. 

2 97 



I N ancient times certain trees and herbs of evil omen 
were deemed plants of the Devil. They included 
those dedicated to Hecate, who presided over 
magic and enchantments, as well as those made use of 
by her daughters, Medea and Circe, in their sorceries. 
Circe especially was supposed to have been distinguished 
for her knowledge of venomous herbs, and in later times 
the plants said to have been used by her were universally 
employed by witches and sorcerers in their incantations. 

The evil reputations of certain herbs are often indicated 
by their popular names. Thus asafcetida is known as 
“ Devil’s Dung ” in some countries ; the fruit of the 
belladonna or cc Deadly Nightshade ” as the “ Devil’s 
Berry,” and the plant itself as “ Death’s Herb.” 

The mandrake was known as the “ Devil’s Candle ” 
on account of the supposed lurid glare emitted by the 
leaves at night. 

Some plants were supposed to exercise a baleful 
influence on human life by their emanations. 

The tradition conne&ed with the “ Deadly Upas 
Tree ” may be taken as an instance of this. It was said to 
blight all vegetation that grew near it, and to cause even 
the birds that approached it in their flight to drop down 
lifeless. It was believed that no animal could live where 


its evil influence extended, and no man dare approach its 
pestilential shade. 

The noxious exudations of the manchineel tree were 
said to cause death to those who slept beneath its 

Linnasus mentions a case in which the odour of the 
oleander proved fatal. In India this shrub is called 
“ Horse Killer,” and in Italy “ Ass Bane,” as the foliage 
and flowers are believed to exercise a deadly influence on 
many animals. 

Hemlock, from which a powerful poisonous alkaloid 
called conine is extrafted, has had an evil reputation 
from a period of great antiquity. Pliny States that “ ser¬ 
pents flee from its leaves ” and in Russia it is regarded 
as a Satanic herb. In England, it has always been 
associated with witches, potions and hell-broths. 

Henbane is another plant of ill-omen which was used 
at funerals and scattered on tombs. The Piedmontese 
have a tradition that, if a hare be sprinkled with henbane 
juice, all the hares in the district will decamp. They have 
also a saying that, “ when a mad dog dies he has taSted 
henbane.” This plant is known amongst the German 
peasants as “ Devil’s Eye.” 

Of verbena or vervain, a plant much used in witch¬ 
craft, Gerard says that “ the Devil did reveal it as a 
secret and divine medicine.” In some parts of Germany 
a species of ground moss is called “ Devil’s Claws,” the 
plantain is known as “ Devil’s Head,” and a certain 
variety of orchid is Styled “ Satan’s Hand.” 

Clematis bears the name of “ Devil’s Thread,” the 
yellow toadflax is termed “ Devil’s Ribbon,” and the 
scandix is known as the “ Devil’s Darning Needles.” 

2 99 


In Sweden, a species of fungus is termed the “ Devil’s 
Butter,” while the spurge bears the name of the Devil’s 
Milk.” In Ireland the nettle is called the “ Devil’s 
Apron,” and the convolvulus is known as the “ Devil’s 
Garter.” Hair parsley is designated the “ Devil’s 
Oatmeal,” and the puff-balls of the lycopodium are 
termed the “ Devil’s Snuffbox.” In some localities, the 
common houseleek is known as £C Devil’s Beard,” while 
the tritoma with its bright red blossoms is called the 
“ Devil’s Poker.” 

The Jatropha urens , a plant indigenous to Brazil, 
is said to possess powerful poisonous properties. A 
prick from one of its fine spines causes numbness, swelling 
of the lips and, finally, Stoppage of the heart’s a&ion. Its 
effefts are said to be those of a powerful arterial poison 
which has not yet been investigated. 

Pouchkine describes an Indian plant called autchar, 
thought to be a variety of Aconitum ferox , which grows 
in a wild. Sterile desert. The roots and leaves exude 
a Sticky substance which, melted by the midday sun, falls 
in drops and congeals like a transparent gum in the cool 
of the evening. This exudation is of an extremely 
poisonous nature. Birds avoid the neighbourhood of 
the plant and even the tiger turns aside from it. It 
is used as an arrow poison by certain of the Frontier 

Another plant of ill-omen is the Flor de Pesadilla or 
<£ Nightmare Flower,” which grows in the neighbourhood 
of Buenos Aires. It is a small shrub with dark green 
leaves of lanceolate shape, and clusters of greenish-white 
flowers which emit a powerful narcotizing smell. 

According to tradition, from the acrid, milky juice 


expressed from the Stem of this plant, witches obtain a 
drug which, administered to their vi&ims, gives them 
terrible dreams. They awake with a dull, throbbing 
sensation in the brain, while a peculiar odour per¬ 
vades the room, causing the air to appear heavy and 

There is a tradition among the peasants of Friesland 
that no woman is to be found at home on a Friday, 
because on that day the witches hold their meetings 
and have dances on a barren heath. 

The Neapolitan witches held their gatherings under a 
walnut tree near Benevento, and the peasants near 
Bologna say their witches hold their midnight meetings 
beneath the walnut trees on St John’s Eve. 

“ Eastern as well as European witches are said to 
praftise their spells at midnight and the principal imple¬ 
ment they use is a broom,” says a writer on Indo- 
European folklore. 

The association of brooms with witches is very 
curious and probably arose from the tradition that they 
used them for riding through the air. But, although 
connefted with witches, a broom was sometimes used 
to drive them off, and in some parts of Germany it was 
customary to lay a broom inside the threshold of a house 
to keep them from entering the dwelling. 

The large ragwort is known in Ireland as the “ Fairies’ 
Horse,” as it was said to be used by the witches when 
making their midnight journeys. Burns alludes to 
witches who “ skim the muirs and dizzy crags on rag- 
bred nags.” 

Foxgloves in some parts of the country are called 
“ Witches’ Bells,” as they are said to decorate their fingers 



with the cap-like flower, and in certain localities the 
hare-bell is known as the “ Witches’ Thimble.” The St 
John’s wort, which is supposed to have the property of 
driving witches away, is known in Italy as the “ Devil- 
chaser ” on that account, and the elder was said to 
possess the same power. 

The sea or horned poppy was reputed to be a favourite 
plant with witches and to be used by them in their 
incantations ; so too was the magical moonwort, that 
was believed to open locks. The mullein, or “hag- 
taper,” and the honesty were said to be equally 
“ excelled in sorceries.” Among the trees and plants 
especially obnoxious to witches there was none they 
feared more than the mountain-ash or rowan tree. 
Probably on account of its connexion with Druidical 
ceremonies, it was accounted as the greatest proteftion 
against witchcraft; hence the lines : 

“ Rowan-tree and red thread 
Put the witches to their speed.” 

Even a small twig carried in the pocket was believed to 
ensure immunity from their evil charms—so says the old 

<e Witches have no power, 

Where there is row’n-tree wood.” 

Throughout Europe the mountain-ash is in equal 
repute, and in Norway, Denmark and Germany it is 
customary to place branches over Stable doors to keep 
the witches from entering. 

Many plants are credited with the property of proteft- 


ing from the “ evil eye ” : thus in Russia the Stem of the 
birch tree, tied with a piece of red ribbon, is carried, in 
Italy the herb rue is employed, in the Highlands of 
Scotland groundsel is used, and in Germany the radish; 
while the Chinese believe garlic affords the most effedive 



T HE belief in magic and witchcraft has by no means 
died out, and beside the pursuit of fortune-telling, 
cryStal-gazing, cheiromancy and other methods of 
divination Still carried on and believed in by many people 
to-day, cases of the survival of the practices of the Middle 
Ages occasionally come to light in our police courts. 
Thus on April iSt, 1895, a man called Michael Cleary 
was charged at Clonmel with having, on March 14th, 
burnt his wife Bridget, a woman of 27 years of age, for 
being a witch and thus causing her death at Ballyvadhen, 
County Tipperary. 

Johanna Burke swore that boiling herbs out of a sauce¬ 
pan on the fire were forced down the woman’s throat, 
while her husband asked her, in the name of the “ Father, 
Son and Holy GhoSt,” if she was his wife. He then 
Stripped her clothes off and threw her on the floor, and, 
pouring paraffin oil over her, set her on fire. Cleary, 
assisted by three other persons, next took her to the fire 
and forced her to sit upon it, in order “ to drive out the 
witch ” that possessed her. 

She was then laid upon the bed and shaken, while 
her husband recited the words, “ Away with you ” (mean¬ 
ing the evil spirit) and, at six o’clock in the morning, the 
priest was sent for to exorcize the spirits with which the 
house was thought to be filled. The prisoners were 



found guilty, and sentenced to various periods of im¬ 

Among other practitioners of magic, the gipsy 
Still enjoys a reputation among a certain class of 
people, and the Romany, who is said to have inherited 
his occult knowledge from early ancestors, is sought and 
believed in by many countryfolk to-day. 

An instance of this came to light in the Police Court at 
Higham Ferrers in Northamptonshire on November 
15 th, 1926, when a gipsy of the historic name of Smith 
was charged with obtaining money from a widow. It 
was Stated that she had sold her “ charms to burn, wear 
and put under her pillow/’ If those to be burnt, 
burned brightly, it meant that £400 was coming to her, 
but if the fire was dull some enemy was holding the 
money back. The fortune-teller received a month’s 
hard labour for her charms from an unsympathetic bench. 
A police superintendent in charge of the case sagely 
remarked, that the widow was only one of many simple 
folk who were easily gulled by “ gipsy magic,” and 
added, “ These fortune-tellers are becoming a danger to 
the countryside.” 

Another curious Story was related before the magis¬ 
trates at Batley in 1925, when a widow of 73 was sum¬ 
moned for doing damage to a pair of trousers and a 
curtain belonging to a lodger, who was a miner. 

The landlady declared that he never went to bed, but 
“ sits up all night burning vitriol and cayenne pepper. 

“ I call him a wizard. He can do any mortal thing,” 
she exclaimed to the Bench. 

Her daughter in giving evidence against the alleged 
wizard said : 




“ He does something that makes mother ill. We can 
smell cayenne and things he uses. It is something you 
don’t understand, and he has brought my mother to 
the brink of the grave. Twice I have taken her out of his 
way, but wherever we go we can feel his devilish work 
going on.” 

It is evident in this case that both women were under 
the firm convi&ion that the man was trying to cast some 
spell upon one of them. 

It is not often that a man accuses his wife of being a 
witch, but recently a husband applied for a separation 
order, alleging that his wife practised witchcraft. He 
declared that she told him that she was working on her 
son and herself, “ by throwing something on a rug ” 
when the former was ill, and by “ placing one of his 
possessions near her photograph.” He also Stated that 
“ she placed pokers in the fire and made rings of salt 
around his chair to drive away evil spirits.” 

An amusing case came before the Glastonbury 
magistrates in January 1926, when a man applied for a 
summons against a neighbour for bewitching his clock, 
which, he said, “ ticked three times as loud as usual and 
Stopped every night although it was wound up.” 

He further alleged that the accused man “ came to him 
as a witch when he sat by the fire, but only his head 
and beard appeared. He spat at him twice and he 
disappeared as a ball of smoke.” 

He accused another neighbour of poisoning the cab¬ 
bages in his garden so that they made him ill when he 
ate them. The Court regarded the charges as not proved 
and the case was dismissed. 

The peasantry in some parts of France are Still highly 


superstitious. In the country districts of the south-weSt 
the belief in charms and the “ evil eye” is almost as general 
as it was centuries ago. This is shown in a curious case 
that came to light in January 1926 when an Abbe of the 
small village of Bombon, near Melun, was accused by 
a number of people in the neighbourhood, of being a 
sorcerer, and of casting wicked spells over a woman. 

Feeling in the village became so Strong against him 
that he was ill-treated and beaten by some of his parish¬ 
ioners, and at length he took proceedings against his 

The chief evidence was given by a municipal employee 
of Bordeaux who declared in Court, with great solemnity, 
that he Struck the Abbe with a whip “ to drive the devil 
out of him.” 

“ Once,” he said, “ he sent, over our Oratory in 
Bordeaux, birds which traced in the air the letters of his 
name. That was an evil omen and from that moment 
we suffered. 

“ By similar diabolical practices he made mushrooms of 
an unknown and venomous kind grow suddenly in the 
garden of our chapel. I found that all my physical and 
intelle&ual force had gone and I became a mere log.” 

A woman also testified, that she had suffered less from 
the spells, because she kept reading a traCt on exorcisms 
against Satan, which she invited the Judge to read, and she 
further declared, that the “ evil spirit ” made her “ bump 
about in bed like a parcel.” 

A case in which a modern “ magician ” who specialized 
in restoring recalcitrant husbands to their wives, and in 
settling marital differences, came before the magistrates 
in Berlin a short time ago. The complainant, a shop- 
x* 307 


keeper, Stated that his suspicions were aroused by hearing 
his wife apparently talking to herself in her bedroom late 
one night. 

Listening at the closed door, he heard her repeating the 
words, “ He will be true. He will be true.” 

His conscience smote him as he listened, and he went 
into the room with the intention of vowing that his 
wife’s prayer should be fulfilled, but he changed his 
mind when to his astonishment he saw that she was 
feeding the flames of the Stove with one of his waist¬ 
coats. Upon his expostulating, she confessed that she was 
following out the instructions of a fortune-teller named 
Kuhn whom she had consulted, and who had assured 
her that she could secure her husband’s fidelity by burning 
one of his garments while repeating the incantation. 

The husband failed to be convinced, but let the matter 
pass until a few weeks later he caught her burning his 
trousers . 

That decided him to put an end to the magician’s 
practices, and he hailed Kuhn before the tribunal and 
charged her with fortune-telling. 

Another woman charged with practising the “ Black 
Art ” was sent to prison for four months recently by the 
magistrates at Liege in Belgium. 

One of her victims was a young woman who, suffering 
from pains in the head and body, consulted her twice a 
week for several months, and eventually, in order to pay 
her fees. Stole money and was sent to prison. Here the 
woman, who was known as ViCtorine, visited her and told 
her to “ Invoke my name in a loud voice and you will not 
know you are in prison.” The fee for this advice was 
charged in her bill, but prison life remained unaltered. 


Another vidtim was a married man whose wife had 
left him. He consulted Vi&orine and paid her fee, and 
she told him that in order to get his wife back, he muSt 
go to Gouvy (a place fifty miles from Liege) and back,, 
in the company of three professors. 

He found the necessary three companions and made 
the journey, and, lo, his wife returned. But unfortu¬ 
nately she soon ran off again, and none of Vi&orine’s 
magic processes could induce her to return, hence the 
prosecution which ended so unhappily for Vi&orine. 

In Devonshire, a few years ago, an old woman was 
found Sticking pins into a sheep’s heart while muttering 
imprecations, and after a while hung it in the chimney, 
with the object, she explained, of working ill on a 
neighbour to whom she had taken a dislike. 

In some parts of EaSt Anglia belief in witchcraft and 
the power of the “ evil eye ” Still survives. The redor 
of Merton, in Norfolk, a short time ago Stated that his 
people round about that diStrift had an ingrained belief 
in “ good and evil spells.” 

“ The charge of witchcraft is usually whispered against 
old women of dominant personality, Roman-nosed 
women.” There is a common belief that “ if I offend ’un 
(the old woman) then she’ll do me a mischief.” He 
related the following account of how he laid a local curse 
known as “ the curse of SturSton.” 

“ This Story dates back to the time of Queen Elizabeth. 
Sir Miles Yare—an Elizabethan vicar of Bray—was 
then the reftor. For the country folk he held a Protes¬ 
tant service in the church on Sunday morning and then 
recited Mass in his parlour for the Popish gentry. 

“ An old Protestant lady, as she lay dying, solemnly 



cursed this very accommodating parson-prieSt, his 
church, his reftory and the Great Folks’ Hall. And the 
curse seemed to come true. 

“ When I came upon ,the scene,” says the Reftor, 
“ I was asked to lay the curse. For the Old Hall had 
become a farmhouse surrounded by a few cottages, and 
the people feared that the curse might Still be working 
itself out. 

“ I held a public service, using an old altar tomb in 
the ruined churchyard as a leftern. People flocked to 
the service from miles around. In the sequel nothing 
further dreadful happened. I had laid the curse.” 

An interesting case, which recalls the methods 
employed by the witch in the Middle Ages, is reported 
from Cosenza in northern Italy. In a village near that 
town lived two sisters, on whom a spell is said to have 
been cast by a woman who was believed to pra&ise 
witchcraft. She succeeded in convincing them, that 
only by following her direftions could they liberate 
themselves from the curse. 

She prepared special food for them; administered 
mysterious philtres and forbade them to leave their house. 

In a short time both the sisters began to show signs 
of wasting away, which so alarmed their friends that they 
called in the aid of the police. 

Accompanied by an officer they forced their way into 
the house, where they discovered the two sisters in a 
moribund condition and one of them died soon afterwards. 

The so-called witch was at once arrested, and was only 
with difficulty saved from the anger of the villagers. 

There is a curious superstitious custom in connexion 
with children that Still survives in some parts of Wales, 


which consists of making an incision into a certain part of 
the cartilage of a child’s ear, in order to cure it of back¬ 
wardness. The operation is usually performed during 
the waxing of the moon by a woman who is supposed 
to have inherited the knowledge of performing the 
operation corredfly. It is done repeatedly on the child 
until it is found to prove effe&ive. 

The belief in charms and mascots is Still as common 
in our crowded cities as in remote parts of the country. 
The countless mascots to be seen on motor-cars in 
our Streets to-day evidence the belief in the occult that 
lingers in modern times, and yet we smile at the credulity 
of the people of the EaSt, who hang Strings of blue beads 
about their horses’ manes to ward off the “ evil eye.” 

It is hardly credible, but nevertheless true, that tiny 
glass tubes filled with mercury and enclosed in wash- 
leather cases are Still sold in a chemist’s shop in the heart 
of the City of London, to people who believe that, by 
carrying them in their pockets, they will prevent attacks 
of rheumatism. 

A certain scientific man is said to have expressed him¬ 
self confident that he had checked a tendency to bleed at 
the nose, by suspending round his neck nine Strands 
of red silk in each of which were tied nine knots. In 
order to be effective each knot had to be tied by a woman 
and separately wished over. 

A short time ago, a shop was opened in one of the 
principal Streets of the WeSt End of London for the sale 
of a so-called Egyptian charm or mascot. Numerous 
letters were exhibited in the window, purporting to have 
been received from users of it, testifying to its wonderful 
powers. Tradesmen declared it had increased their 

3 11 


business, boxers wrote that it had given them vi&ory 
over their opponents, dancers asserted that it had found 
them partners, bookmakers Stated it had given them 
success in betting, other people said it had obtained them 
situations and motorists declared it had helped them to 
win races ! 

These few instances of human credulity, at the present 
day, serve to show the prevalence of superstition and how 
little human nature has changed from the early centuries. 

The tendency to believe in the supernatural Still exists 
in all communities, and appears to be wrapped-up with 
the mystery that envelops the future and the fear of the 
unknown. The desire to pierce the veil that hides the 
beyond is innate in the human race throughout the world. 

The manifestations of the magicians of the Middle 
Ages appear ridiculous to us to-day, but there are many 
people who Still believe that they can communicate with 
the spirits of the dead by means of supernatural agencies. 

If we look back through the past centuries we shall 
find that some of the greatest thinkers and intelleftual men 
of their time, such as Roger Bacon, Cornelius Agrippa, 
Paracelsus and Van Helmont were believers in the occult. 

There is no proof, however, that the praftitioners of 
magic ever wrought any phenomena that could not be 
produced by natural agencies, nor is there any real 
evidence, in the records of magic, that the spirit of a dead 
person has ever materialized or been made to appear on 
earth in human form. 

Although many of the rites used in magic were 
probably derived from those employed in early times as 
part of religious ceremonial, and founded on principles 
that lie deep down in the mind of man, it is evident that 



they formed but part of an elaborate system of im¬ 
posture, designed to deceive and based on the credulity 
of humanity and the fear of the unknown. 

The more the myStery surrounding the rites and cere¬ 
monies carried on, the more they seem to have inspired 
belief in the ordinary mind, and all tended to create an 
atmosphere of deception and illusion. The effects of the 
narcotic drugs employed by the magicians in their 
fumigations, to impress the imagination, no doubt 
sometimes produced hallucinations that appeared to be 
real. It is probable that they had a knowledge of certain 
powers, such as hypnotism, which they kept secret; 
for the “ wise man, 5 ’ from the earliest times, was generally 
one who was cunning enough to be able to acquire and 
hold an influence over his less intelligent fellows by 
mysteries and secrets. 

A knowledge of acoustics formed a natural means of 
deception in the working of the ancient oracles, and 
even apparitions may have been produced by the effe&s 
of refle&ion on polished surfaces. 

It will be remembered how the illusion known as 
“ Pepper’s GhoSt 55 mystified the general public many 
years ago, until it was explained that the apparitions 
were produced by the reflections of limelighted figures 
Standing beneath the front of the Stage. 

“ The Cabinet of Proteus,” the astonishing “ spirit ” 
tricks performed by Anderson the “ Wizard of theNorth,” 
the remarkable feats of legerdemain executed by Houdin 
at his Temple of MyStery in Paris, also by Dr Lynn and 
Heller in London, and later the ingenious automata and 
cabinet tricks invented by Maskelyne and performed 
at the old Egyptian Hall, are but a few of the natural 



deceptions that created amazement and wonder in the 
la£t generation, and which a few centuries earlier would 
have been attributed to magic. 

The old saying that “ seeing is believing ” is not always 
correft, as the sleight-of-hand tricks of the modern con¬ 
jurer readily prove how the eye can easily be deceived by 
movements that are quicker than sight. 

The extraordinary manifestations performed by Eastern 
jugglers are further instances of the manner in which 
vision can be deceived, and of how an erroneous im¬ 
pression may be conveyed to the brain. A person 
concentrating his thoughts, and constantly thinking of 
certain persons or things, may conceivably have a 
waking dream in which an occurrence may be pi&ured in 
his imagination, so that he believes that he has actually 
seen it. 

The advance of science and education has done much to 
dispel the mysteries and reveal the secrets of magic, and 
the scientist may fitly be called the magician of modern 
times. His boundary is illimitable. 

The discoveries of recent years, such as the production 
of the perfume of flowers from the refuse of the gas¬ 
works, the transference of photographs by eleftricity, 
television, the transmission of the human voice and 
of music through the ether for thousands of miles, are 
but a few of his achievements. 

Surely these alone are more extraordinary than any¬ 
thing ever attributed to magic. 

The laboratory is his “ magic circle ” where he works 
his wonders without mystery, and his discoveries outvie 
the greatest secrets that were claimed to be known by 
the magicians of the paSt. 



Manuscripts, British Museum. 

Sloane, 2731, 3648, 3805, 3850, 3851, 1727, 3849, 3821, 389, 1306, 
3824, 3189, 3846, 3847, 3822, 2577, 3853, 1306, 3851, 3826, 
3653, 521, 647, 3821, 3883, 3884, 2544, 7 02 s 738, 78, 1512, 
3 1 88, 3655, 3189, 3655. 

Harl. 2267, 6482, 4381, 584, 6483. 

Lans. 846, 1202. 

Tib. A, VII, 6 E VI, 12 F XVI, 17a XLII, 25311, 32496, 36674, 
32496, 35125, Ar 295. 

Bodleian, Ashmolean, 187, 182, 421, 1406, 1442, 346, 1388, 1393, 
1398, 1406, 1435, 1438, 1442, 1447, 1450, 1453, 1488, 1491, 
1494, i497> 3 3 5, 580, 1451, 133, 431, 3115, 961. 

Rawlinson, 868, 252, 253, 1067, 1363. 

Persian, 1563, 1564. 

Bibliotheque Nationale, MSS. 

Bibliotheque de P Arsenal, MSS. 

Life in Ancient Egypt. Maspero. 

The Light of Egypt. 

Egyptian Magic. Budge. 

Babylonian Magic. King. 

Semetic Magic. Thompson. 

Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia. Thompson. 

The Magic Art. Frazer. 

Magic : White and Black. Hartmann. 

Magica seu. 1557. 

History of Life. FauSt. 

Magica das vit. 1600. 

Magica de Spe£tris. 1656. 

History of Magic. Waite. 

Grand Grimoire. 

Key to Physics. Sibley. 

Grimorium verum. 

Magic and Mystery. Thompson. 

3 T 5 


Devil Worship in France. Waite. 

Kabbala Denadch. Mathers. 

Book of Sacred Magic. Mathers. 

The Magus. Barrett. 

Talismanic Magic. Barrett. 

Illustrations of the Occult Sciences. Sibley. 

Selene und Vervandi. Roscher. 

Chronicle of Jerahmeel. GaSter. 

Book of Enoch. GaSter. 

Sword of Moses. GaSter. 

Occultists. Shirley. 

Conversations on Secrets and Mysteries. Gabalis, 1700. 
Witchcraft. Wickwar. 

Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. 

Peintures et Gravures. Breuil. 

Des Sorciers et des Devineresses. Molitor, 1489. 
(Euvres complet. Wier, 1660. 

Demonology and Devil-lore. Conway. 

Folk-lore of Rome. Busk. 



Aba-aner, story of, 53 
Alectromancy, 149 

Alexander the Great and his talisman, 
55 . 

Amuletic ligatures, 73 
Angels appear in crystal, 152 
Ann Jefferies and the fairies, 10 
Appearance of infernal spirits, 258 
of the spirits, 248 
Arab love charms, 90 
Augurs, the, 29 
costume of, 30 

Babylonian magic, 33 
Banshee, 16 

Belief in charms and mascots, 311 
Bewitching a clock, 306 
“ Birto,” how to conjure the spirit, 

Black magic, 63 
Mass, the, 139, 259 
ritual described, 139 
Blood of the mystic eye, 211 
Bogle, 23 
Book of Adam, 61 
of Enoch, 61 
of Raziel, 61 

“ Book of Mystery,” 280 
“ Booke of Hidden Philosophy,” 248 
“ Book of Sacred Magic of Abra- 
melin,” 220 

“ Booke of the Seven Images of the 
Dayes,” 251 
Brownies, 15 

Cabiri, 25 

Cabiric worship, 26 
mysteries of, 26 

Caius, secret writing of Dr, 267 
Canidia, 83 

Canidia’s incantation, 83 
Casting spells, 8, 270 
Castra, Alonso de, attends a Witches’ 
Sabbath, 120 

Characters of the evil spirits, 268 
Charles I, charm worn by, 270 
Cheiromancy, 147 

Chinese books on magic, 101 
magical customs, 102 
magic, 100 
sorcerers, 100 

Clavicle or Key of Solomon, 65, 229 
magical ceremonial in the, 231 
Clay figure, antiquity of use of, 36 
figures used by Greek magicians, 77 
Colours associated with the planets, 

Compelling a spirit to speak, 154 
Conjuration, early Hebrew, 63 
Conjurations, 244 
Contagious magic, 4, 5 
Crocodile, magical wax, 5 3 
Crystallomancy, 146 
Crystal-gazing diagram, 155 
Curse for all spirits, 155 
Cursing a witch, 245 

Dactylomancy, 148 
Dee, Dr John, 274 

and Queen Elizabeth, 275 
Dee’s black mirror, 276 

conference with angels, 282 
crystal and magic discs, 286 
operations with the crystal, 277 
petition, 285 

Demonical possession, 130 
and disease, 131 
Demonology, Assyrian, 35 
Devil, appearance of the, 19 
worshippers, 137 
Devils, 19 

Discovering a thief, 245 
Divination, 142 
methods of, 143 
in Vedic magic, 100 
Divs, 18 

Dragon’s blood, 212 

love charms worked with, 212 
“ Drawing down the Moon,” 79 
Drugs used by witches, 134 
magic wand, 87 
rites and practices of, 86, 87 
Druidical sacred stones, 87 
Druids, 85 



Edward IV and magic, 269 
Egyptian astrology, 58 
books of magic, 47, 48 
magic, 46 
magical rites, 50 
magicians, 48 
oracles, 29 

priest-magicians and disease, 50 
Elf arrows, 13 
Elf-locks, 13 
Elfin children, 13, 14 
Elves, 13 

Emerald that foretold disaster, 199 
Evil eye, 81 

terror to the Assyrians, 41 

Fairfax family bewitched, 124 
Fairies, 9, 11 
Fairy rings, 13 
“ Familiar ” in a ring, 15 
“ Familiars,” 14 
Fastening down a spirit, 154 
“ Fayrie,” excellent way to get a, 12 
Forman’s magical ring, 195 
Frazer’s observations, 3 
Fumigations for raising spirits, 167 
substances used for, 168 
to drive away devils, 173 

Genii, 18 
Geomancy, 147 
Ghosts and ruins, 37 
Gilgamish, story of, 33 
“ Glasse of Apollonius,” 265 
Glaukias, story of, 80 
“ Goats, The,” 141 
Goblins, 22 

“ Golden Flowers,” 264 
Gout rings, 191 

Earl of Lauderdale’s, 191 
Grand Grimoire, 258 
Greek charms, 78 
love-charms, 80 
magic, 74 
magicians, 75 

Greeting for the spirits, 248 
Grimoire of Honorius, 259 
Grimoires, 256 

“ Hand of the Ghost,” 37 
Harvey, Dr William, dissects a 
“ familiar,” 125 
Hecate, 76 


Hecate’s circle, 158 
suppers, 78 

Herbs, as love charms, 211 
ceremonies in gathering, 174 
and witchcraft, 301 
of mystery, 298 
of the spirits, 171 

Hidden treasure, how to discover, 254 
Hindu charms and amulets, 98 
magic, 93 
magicians, 96 
How to fly in the air, 226 
Hui, story of, 54 

Human blood, manuscript written 
with, 262 
Hydromancy, 147 

Images and figures, Egyptian magical, 
5L 52 

Imitative magic, 4 

Incantations of Greek magicians, 77 
Incubation sleep, 50 
Incubus, 19, 20 
Invocation of Sathan, 252 
Isis, Great Enchantress, 46 

Japanese magic, 103 
magical jewels, 105 
magical rituals, 103 
Jewish magic, 61 
magicians, 62 
Jinns, 18 

Judicial divination, 145 

Kabbala, 66, 67 
Kabbalistic circle, 160 
Kelly, Edward, 278 

and Sir Thomas Browne, 279 
King John’s magical ring, 192 
Knives and rods, 234 
Knotted cord, rite of the, 34, 42 
Ku-K’ai-chin, story of, 102 

Laws against witchcraft, 127 
Laying a ghost, 37 

the “ Curse of Sturston,” 309 
Lead, magical power of, 99 
Lesser Key of Solomon, 240 
Libraries of Ephesus, 72 
Lilu, 37 

Lithomancy, 148 
Logaeth, 283 
Love and apples, 208 
and magic, 203 


Love charm with “cramp rings,” 191 
charms, 204 
Babylonian, 43 

philtres used by the Romans, 84 
“ Lying-in ” fire, 98 

Magi, the, 34 

migration of the, 25 
“ Magic of Arbatel,” 264 
Magic carpet, 239 
circle, Assyrian, 157 

consecration of the, 162 
description of the, 161 
how it is to be drawn, 158 
Hindu, 158 
circles, 157 
crystal, 146, 151 

ritual described, 151 
definition of, 1 
doctrine of, 2 
garters, 238 
in mythology, 74 
in Shakespeare, 287 
runes, 91 
symbols, 227 
w T ands, 257 

Magical ceremonial, 34 
jewels, 196 
numbers, 176 
papyri, 56 
rings, 187 
salves, 75 

seal, “ Earl of Peterborough’s,” 194 
squares used by Hindus, 95 
tablet of Nectanebus, 59 
talismans, 181 
Magician in the circle, 250 
Magician’s crown, 233 
fee, 226 
garments, 250 
pen, ink and colours, 237 
poison, 253 
ring, 188 

consecration of, 188 
robes, 224 
silk cloth, 238 
shoes, 233 
staff or wand, 235 
sword, 235 
vestments, 233 

“ Maiden of Idzushi,” story of, 105, 

Marriage charms, 94 
Mass of St. Secaire, 140 

Medea, 74 

Mercury as a modern charm, 311 
Metternich stele talisman, 60 
“ Mistress of Witchcrafts,” 71 
Mithrobarzanes, 83, 109 
Modern witchcraft, 304 

Nailing down a ghost, 90 
Narcotic plants used by witches, 123 
Necromancy, 108 
practice of, 109 
varieties of, no 
Nectanebus, king-magician, 54 
Nightmare, 14, 20 
“ Nine Tomes of Magic,” 241 
Number 13, superstitions connected 
with, 179 

Oberon, King of the Fairies, 9, n 
Odours to attract demons, 42 
Omens, 31 
Oneiromancy, 149 
Oracle of Clarian Apollo, 29 
of Delphi, 27 
of Delos and Branchis, 28 
of Jupiter Ammon, 27 
of Jupiter Dodonus, 28 
of Jupiter Trophonius, 28 

Pacts with the devil, 112 
written in blood, 257 
Papal Bulls against witchcraft, 126 
Pentacles, 163, 228 
how to draw, 164 
virtues of, 166 

Perfumes and incense as charms, 57 
benediction of, 173 
dedicated to the planets, 169 
used in magic, 167 
Peris, 9 

Place for performance of magical 
ceremonies, 249 

Plague demons and gods, 40, 41 

Poisons in war, 219 

Popular illusions, 313 

Prayers of the “ lifting of the hand,” 


Precious stones as amulets, 196 
magical properties of, 197, 201 
that change colour, 201 
Pricking the witch, 128 
Priest-magicians, Babylonian, 33 
Puck, 13, 23 
Pyromancy, 148 



Removing a spell, 245 
Rings for healing, 191 
Robes of Greek magician, 76 
Robin Goodfellow, 13, 22 
Roman magic, 81 

charms against the Evil Eye, 82 
secret, 252 
sorceress, 82 
Romany magic, 305 
Ruby, magical virtue of, 198 
Rules for a magician, 254 
Russian sorcerer, 91 

Sacrificial offerings in Greek rites, 78 
Sacrificial victims, 257 
Scyphomancy, 149 

Sea and river monsters, charm against, 


Seal of the Secrets,” 242 
“ Seal of Venus,” as a love charm, 

Seals of the planets, 189 
Secret alphabets, 260 
“ Secret of Secrets,” 265 
Secretum Secretorum, 218 
Seven angels and the planets, 265 
perfumes of the, 173 
Seven, evil spirits, 39 
mystical number, 39 
Shinto, magical rites of, 105 
Skryers, 156 
Slav magic, 92 
Solomon’s Apple, 209 
ring, 191 

traditions concerning, 192 
Sorcerer, prehistoric, 6 
visit to a, 115 
Sorcerers, Assyrian, 35 
conjuration, 113 
in the New Testament, 71 
Sorcery, 113 
in France, 138 

in the fourteenth century, 116 
Sortilege, 144 

Spedlins Castle, ghost of, 17 
Spell to cast sickness on a man, 271 
to slay an enemy, 271 
Spells in Vedic magic, 100 
Stag’s hide for a witch, 6 
Stars and metals, 190 
St John’s Gospel, magical virtues of, 

Supernatural beings, 9 

“ Sword of Moses,” 215 
Sympathetic magic, 4 
powder, Digby’s, 5 

Taboo, 44 

Talismanic seals, 182 
how made, 184 

Tamarisk used by magicians, 38 
Taoists, 101 

Tetragrammaton, meaning of, 70 
Teuton, magic, 92 
Thoth, 46 

Toads as “ familiars,” 123 

True black magic, 256 

True experiment at Cambridge, 266 

Vampire of Mycone, 22 
Vampires, 20 
stories of, 21 

Wand and implements of Greek 
magician, 77 

Water, use in magical ceremonies, 38 
Wax figure as a love charm, 206 
Wax figures, 4 

in Vedic magic, 99 
used by witches, 123 
Wax ships and soldiers, 54 
Weasel in witchcraft, 125 
“ What a magician must know,” 254 
White magic, 63 
Witch’s “ familiars,” 16 
Witchcraft, 118 
Act, 130 
and religion, 7 
in East Anglia, 309 
in India, 96 
Witch of Berkeley, 6 
of Endor, 71 
trials, 127 

Witches, broom, 301 
burnt, 129 
description of, 119 
ointments, and their composition, 
121, 133, 134 
Sabbath, 119, 120, 122 
Woman transformed into a mare, 203 
“ Words of Power,” 35,52 

Yogis, 93 

Zend-Avesta, 24 
Zoroaster, 24 





64 Illustrations, mostly from original 
sources. Octavo. 

What is pharmacy? The story is 
locked up in ancient tomes and for¬ 
gotten volumes. When we unravel 
the tapestry into which the picture 
of pharmacy is woven we find inter¬ 
mingled in the warp and woof the 
glowing history of an important art, 
embellished with the golden threads of 
romance, the black threads of mystery 
and occultism, and the vari-colored 
fibres of many allied arts and sciences. 
The picture is one of which any phar¬ 
macist may be proud. In it he will 
find priest and philosopher, poet and 
painter, king and pope, knave and 
charlatan, as practitioners of the art 
in centuries gone by. Fascinating by¬ 
paths leading to forgotten treasures 
of curious lore await him who strays 
along the highway of this famous 
quest, for the search for a panacea, a 
catholicon, a veritable elixir of life 
which should cure all ills as if by 
magic, was the animating motive 
in the evolution of pharmacy. As¬ 
trology and magic also play their 
parts, and before our eyes alchemy 
blossoms into chemistry. This fasci¬ 
nating work is the outgrowth of more 
than ten years’ experience among the 
advanced students of the Philadelphia 
College of Pharmacy who have shown 
interest in knowing more of these 
“quaint and curious volumes of for¬ 
gotten lore. “ 




The lure of the ancient East—of Persia and Arabia—lurks 
in the mystic word perfume. Long, long ago, before the 
Christian era, the love of fragrant odors called men from 
their homes to distant countries, through unknown hard¬ 
ships and over robber-infested roads to farthest India and 
China. Down through all ages, through all countries, has 
come this love, almost reverence for perfume. Here is a book 
packed with all this romantic and historic lore of the perfumes 
of the Ancients, with fascinating chapters on modern uses— 
all vividly portrayed by a man who has made a long and 
thorough survey of the subject. 



In the annals of poison are truths stranger than fiction, 
crimes more dramatic than the daily news. Beginning with 
the poisons of ancient races, Mr. Thompson gives curious, 
authentic accounts of royal and historic poison cases in 
England, Scotland, France and Italy, with special attention 
to that notorious family of Borgia. Graphically it treats of 
poison plots, of love philters and mediaeval superstitions, of 
poisons in warfare, of the devious ways employed by secret 
poisoners. It reads like a sinister romance of cunning, ambi¬ 
tion and the strange passions of the human heart. From cover 
to cover it will hold you spell-bound.