oldbooks

The Prophecies of Paracelsus is a book with 32 prophecies, each with a woodcut full of symbolism to expand on it. The prophecies are cryptic and vague, with much allegorical symbolism, and can be easily reinterpreted to apply to any situation. Source: Wellcome Library

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Demon costumes from the Nuremberg’s Schembart Carnival. The carnival was popular in the 15th century, with its parade of elaborate costumes and huge ships on runners, known as “Hells.” It ended after 90 years following a famous preacher’s complaint. From Schempart Buech, 1590. Source: UCLA Library Digital Collections.

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Diagrams exposing instruments of trickery, used by charlatans in the 16th century, to claim to have magical powers. From “The discouerie of witchcraft” by Reginald Scot, 1584. The diagrams expose the following tricks: severed head on a plate, knives into and through the body, juggling, and passing a rope through the body. Source: Wellcome Library

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Initial Letters from “The Discouerie of Witchcraft..” by Reginald Scot, 1584. Source: Wellcome Library

Full title of book: “The discouerie of witchcraft, wherein the lewde dealing of witches and witchmongers is notablie detected, the knauerie of coniurors, the impietie of inchantors, the follie of soothsaiers, the impudent falshood of cousenors, the infidelitie of atheists, the pestilent practices of Pythonists, the curiositie of figurecasters, the vanitie of dreamers, the beggerlie art of Alcumystrie, the abhomination of idolatrie, the horrible art of poisoning, the vertue and power of naturall magike, and all the conueiances of legierdemaine and iuggling are deciphered. And many other things opened, which have long lien hidden, howbeit verie necessarie to be knowne. : Heerevnto is added a treatise vpon the nature and substance of spirits and diuels”

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Image with alchemical symbolism from the title page of Aufschlüsse zur Magie by Karl Von Eckartshausen, 1791. The title roughly translates to “Insights into Magic.” Eckartshausen is also the author of The Cloud upon the Sanctuary, an important book to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Source: The Embassy of the Freemind

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Pustahas were books of magic, made of tree bark, used by spiritual leaders of the Batak people of Northern Sumatra. The first of these pustahas is inscribed with instructions on how to protect oneself from evil. Source: KITLV & Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde

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The Tables of Ziruph are for finding the names of demons (or angels) in the hierarchy of spirits. Running a name through a table will produce the name of a lesser spirit below them. High level demon names are found with astrological methods. Other spirits names can only be found using tables with special characters, see earlier posts for examples. From Three Books of Occult Philosophy⠀

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Wamidal is a demon depicted in the Compendium Of Demonology and Magic (1775). I wasn’t able to find any information on this demon. The grimoire it came from was most likely created to be sold as a rare book, as opposed to an educational source. So Wamidal may not be a genuine demon. But who’s to say what makes a “genuine” demon? ⠀

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(Originally written as Kendra Temples)

While working at the Occult library during the time I wrote about in The Secret Name, I came across a lot of really cool old grimoires and books on demonology. But you don’t have to get a job working in a creepy mansion like I did to experience these gems. The magical Internet Archive has scans of many of them, entered into the public domain for your perusal. You can actually virtually flip through the original copies of these books. So cool!

Below are four books I picked out for you that you can read right now. FYI, I can’t be held responsible for any demon possessions, curses or hauntings that may arise from reading and/or practicing the magic in these books.

Dictionnaire Infernal

This book, first published in 1818, is a catalog of different types of demons, divinations, occult sciences, witchcraft, superstitions and supernatural beliefs. It’s written in French, and I’m not aware of any public domain translations into English, but it’s worth perusing for the incredible illustrations by Louis Le Breton—even if you can’t read a word of it.

The Key of Solomon

This grimoire dating back to the 14th or 15th century is pseudegraphical, which means it’s written by an anonymous writer and attributed to a historical figure—in this case King Solomon. The spells in the book range from practical, such as finding stolen items, to fantastical and dangerous—such as summoning spirits and demons. Despite conjuring spirits of the dead and describing how to perform animal sacrifices, this is not a black magic book and the power of its spells come from God, who’s mentioned quite a bit.

Iohé Grevis put a conjuration on the book itself that prevents its powers being used by anyone who is impure, unworthy, and/or not God-fearing. So if you try any the spells and they don’t work, you know who to blame! I included both the translation and scans of the original below. If you want to learn more about it, there is a pretty good episode of Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know that covers it.

Translation

Scan of the Original Text

The Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy

This is another pseudegraphical work, and was first published in the middle of the 16th century, 20 years after its supposed author Cornelius Agrippa’s death. And like The Key of Solomon, it deals with summoning evil spirits and souls in order to control them and have them do your bidding. It also has a lot of passages on geomancy, which is a form of divination by throwing objects on the ground.

Picatrix – Ghayat al Hakim

The Picatrix is a book of magic and astrology originally written in Arabic. It’s thought to have been written in the middle of the 11th century and the true author is debated among historians. It primarily covers astrology and talismans, and has chapter names such as “The Vague Meaning of Being Has Been Concealed by Philosophers” and “Dragon Pictures, Their Functions and Influences on How to Reflect and Attract Celestial Powers as Depicted in the Indian School of Thought with Examples of Their Magic Works.” If only I could be so bold with my own chapter titles!

I hope you liked my selections! Have you gone digging in the Internet Archive and seen anything cool? If you have, post links in the comments so other people can see too.

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