This Ritual Mask, currently housed in Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall, belonged to Alex Sanders, also known as Verbius, who was an English occultist and High Priest in the Pagan religion of Wicca.
During his black magic period, he got a job at the John Rylands Library in Manchester. An accusation that he defecated in the library basement led to the discovery that stole pages from a 19th century edition of the S.L Mathers translation of the ‘Key of Solomon’. Image: Ethan Doyle White CC-BY-SA
The āl, from Middle Eastern folklore, is a lilitu-like demon that steals embryos from pregnant women, or the organs of a woman who has just given birth. After doing so, the āl will run toward a river, or the nearest body of water to wash the stolen organs, before eating them. To prevent the creature from crossing, you must stir the water with a stick or sword before she’s finished.
This alchemical dragon diagram, from “Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon” by Johann Augustin Brunnhofer (1752), gives clues on how to transmute solids to liquids to gasses, using the elements of fire and air. The 7 indentations on the wings represent the 7 steps of the process. Source: The Embassy of the Free Mind
Seals and characters for summoning the greater demons Lucifer, Beelzebub, and Astaroth. In order of effectiveness, the symbols must be drawn in either: the sorcerer’s blood, the blood of a sea turtle, or engraved on emerald or ruby. From Grimorium Verum (16th Century) and The Grand Grimore (18th Century). Source: “The book of black magic and of pacts”, A.E. Waite, Embassy of the Free Mind
The Monster of Krakow first appeared in Histoires Prodigieuses by Pierre Boaistuau, 1559. Four hours after its birth, the demonic beast reportedly uttered “Watch, the Lord cometh” and died. Source: Wellcome Collection
Henry Wellcome commissioned this watercolor from R. Cooper in 1912, depicting an unconscious man being attacked by demons with surgical instruments. The painting is meant to represent the effects of chloroform on the human body. Source: The Wellcome Collection
The Goetic Circle of Black Evocations and Pacts, to summon Satan for a deal. The circle is formed from human skin, fastened by nails from a coffin of an executed criminal. A parricide’s skull, goat horns, a bat drowned in blood, and the head of a black cat who was fed human flesh must be placed around it. From The Book of Black Magic and Pacts, A.E. Waite, 1910. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind
Barong is the benevolent king of the spirits in Balinese mythology, and the enemy of Rangda, the demon queen. In Bali, each region of the island has its own version of Barong modeled after different animals, including a lion, pig, and tiger. Image: an edit of work by Beeyan on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA
The Mystic Figures of the Enchiridion are symbols, meant to be used along with incantations and prayers, to perform transcendental magic. Most have religious symbolism and are used for spells to protect from secret enemies, wild beasts, poisoning, and bad weather, among other things. From The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts, A.E. Waite, 1910. Source: archive.org
Alchemist and Magician Edward Kelly, in the act of invoking a spirit of the dead at the churchyard of Walton Ledale, from “The book of black magic and of pacts” by A.E. Waite, 1898. The companion in the circle is likely Paul Waring, who helped him with all of his conjurations.
This image, from “Hermaphrodite Child of the Sun and Moon” by Johann Augustin Brunnhofer (1752), represents an alchemical process, with seven planetary figures in an order relating to its ingredients, actions and elements. It also references a poem, Trevisan’s Fountain, and the many layers of the earth. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind