Woodcuts from Des Circkelsz und Richtscheyts, Heinrich Lautensack, 1618. This book was meant as a guide for painters, sculptors, stonemasons, goldsmiths, and others to better understand perspective and the human form. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind
Faust’s Höllenzwang, known as The Book of Hell’s Charms, is a legendary book kept in a church in Zellerfeld. If you’re unlucky enough to be able to read it, it summons the Devil. If he is summoned, pray that you’re able to read it backwards or he may take your soul.
The Book of Thoth is a name given to a number of books purported to be written by Thoth, the Egyptian God of Knowledge. One version of the book is described in the ancient story Setne I. In the story, the book contained two spells—a spell to speak to animals, and one to perceive the gods. The book was originally hidden at the bottom of the Nile, locked and guarded by serpents, until it was retrieved by Prince Neferkaptah. As punishment, he was driven to suicide and entombed with the book. Years later, Prince Setne Khamwas retrieves the book from Neferkaptah’s tomb. The prince is seduced by the illusion of a beautiful woman who convinces him to kill his children, and make a fool of himself in front of the Pharaoh. Prince Setne returns the book in fear of further punishment. Image: Hunefer’s Book of the Dead, detail with Thoth
Drawings from Tui bei tu, a Chinese prophecy book. This book, written by astronomers and historians Yuan Tiangang and Li Chunfen during the Tang Dynasty, contained 60 drawing with preceding poems that made predictions for the era and was likely based on the I Ching, also known as The Book of Changes. At the front of the book, the following is written:
“When examining the future, please know that the past may have been clear as a bright moon, but the future may be dark and black. Be cautious.”
The book was later deemed forbidden in the Song Dynasty but remained popular with the public. Source: World Digital Library
Spread found in the book Les Plus Secrets Mystères des Hauts Grades de la Maçonnerie Dévoilés (The Most Secret Mysteries of the High Ranks of Masonry Revealed) by Karl Friedrich Koppen, 1768. Source: Embassy of the Free Mind
Drawing of Dr. Peebles’ Demonism of the Ages burning, from the book Demonism of the Ages by Dr. Peebles (1904). Source: Wellcome Library