occultknowledge

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According to Kabbalah, when a person’s body decomposes or is cremated, a tiny bone at the base of the spine, called the luz, always remains intact. When the dead are resurrected, their physical bodies will reconstitute from this seed-like bone. Image: J. Gamelin, 1778⠀

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Depictions of demons and the devil with extra faces, often on the groin, are common in medieval manuscripts. Some theorize that it represents their spiritual corruption, by emphasizing the senses that focus on the material world, others think it’s merely to make them monstrous.

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The preeminent source of jinn-lore is One Thousand and One Nights (aka Arabian Nights), a collection of tales from Arabic, Persian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian traditions. The evolving collection has stories of characters we know today, like Aladdin and Sinbad.⠀

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Illustrations by Martin van Maële from the 1911 edition of the book Satanism and Witchcraft (La Sorcière) by Jules Michelet, first published in 1862. While widely inaccurate, the book was one of the first sympathetic portrayals of the history of witchcraft.

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The Compendium Of Demonology and Magic is a book full of bestiary illustrations and magical diagrams, written in German and Latin. It’s title page has the warning “Don’t Touch Me” and the year 1057, but it’s been dated to 1775. Likely the book was created to sell to collectors.⠀

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Ezequiel or Chazaqiel is one of the fallen Watcher Angels, class of angels meant to be sentinels or messengers of Yahweh. He taught forbidden knowledge to humans, including how to identify omens the clouds. He was also known to lust after women. ⠀

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Ammit or Ammut is an Egyptian demon, who holds the titles “Devourer of the Dead” and “Eater of Hearts”. If Anubis determined a deceased’s heart was impure, Ammit would devour it, causing the soul to be restless forever. She was also known to cast hearts into a lake of fire.⠀

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Demonic imagery from different books of hours. A Book of Hours was a type of Christian book popular in the Middle Ages that contained prayers, psalms, hymns and lessons that were meant to be read at certain hours of the day, everyday. ⠀

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Depiction of the four humors, the chemical systems believed to regulate human behaviors. According to Hippocrates, who is credited as the first to apply the principle to medicine, the humors were blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. Image: Bartholomaeus Anglicus, mid-15th C⠀

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After witnessing a mesmerist induce a trance, Edgar Allan Poe included it in his story The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar. In the tale, a dying man is put into a trance and able to speak and move his “swollen black tongue” after death. The tale was written like a medical case study.⠀

At the time, Poe was a journalist and the story was taken as a news report, never being explicitly presented as fiction. It was even reprinted in London’s Sunday Times with the headline: Mesmerism in America: Astounding and Horrifying Narrative, helping legitimize and popularize mesmerism.⠀

Source is Occult America by Mitch Horowitz. It’s a fantastic read, and highly recommended!⠀

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