This work is something I do not necessarily agree with in an occult sense but, for historical reasons and because of its (extremely) interesting take on the Salem Witch Trials, it is certainly worthy of inclusion in the ever-expanding library of releases here.
Written by Putnam in the middle of the 1800s, it is notable in that it makes the claim (though not directly) of a new spirit age having dawned on the world in which spirits have begun to communicate with mankind in a manner not unlike the telegraph- predating theosophical claims of a similar nature by many decades. The author himself claims to have established the veracity of mediums and spiritualism personally, and remarks at length upon the different stages or categories of mesmerism and its abilities.
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This short but interesting manuscript is a compilation of lore related to the use of the divining rod (or dowsing rod) and was created by Latimer in the mid 1800s- Latimer proclaims his own skill with the use of the same and seems to take it fairly literally (minus the new age usage of the same- namely as a homeopathic medicinal object for closing “negative energies” off to heal the sick.)
The manufacture, use, and history of the dowsing rod is all spoken of here, both by the author himself as well as from sources he has compiled- a nice work on the subject, arguably one of the few in depth looks at the phenomena at all.
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This interesting little volume is roughly similar in some ways to the Book of Forbidden Knowledge (which became and has remained one of my top selling titles.) It is a mix of different lore, delivered from a skeptical-but-not-atheistic position on subjects ranging from the divining rod (dowsing), to omens and apparitions, and the Salem Witch Trials- this last is covered in some degree of depth indeed, about 50 pages of content giving the backdrop, opinions of the era, and some of the names and trials of note from the entire series of events there.
A short treatment on Satan and demonology gives way to this more historical content and it is subsequently capped off with a two page ramble about the need to refute fire and brimstone ideology and irrational superstition. The original edition came with about ten pages of ads (removed in my edition) for other works which ranged from mesmerism and palmistry to brief annotated historical guides.
Alright literary world;
It’s time for a little bit of an update- I’m quite excited for the next three months, that happy period of time where summer winds down towards Halloween, AKA the greatest holiday of the year. After Halloween, there’s nothing to look forward to until spring except stuffing yourself on Thanksgiving and Yule.
I have four works that I am definitively working on during this period; two herbal works (another government circular by the author of “Weeds as Medicine” and the South Sea Herbal) which will require illustration are on the docket, along with a short alchemical tract and the current work I am editing; “Secrets of Black Arts!” which is similar to other travelers booklets from the late 19th century and into the 1920s- these short works were part historical and part titillating grotesquery. Don’t worry, those won’t be the only works I release over this period; I have a half dozen others ready to format but I am not sure which of them will be completed- along with, I hope, the beginnings of SIH two.
That’s about all. Don’t dog-ear your books.
This work comes courtesy of the spiritualist movement of the mid and late 19th century. It is at once an academic work, a work of general demonology and Satan-lore, and a social tract aimed at the fire and brimstone preaching of its era. The elaborate synthesis of its sources and its authors’ opinions make it an important work within the historical cycle of late pre-modern Christian philosophy.
For those interested in the occult, the practice of magick, and demonology in a stricter sense, this work is best seen as a refutation of some of the symbolism and meaning used by those involved in the same; if the basis is unsound the practice is unsound, and a great many practitioners continue in the delusion that brimstone-and-smoke filled hallways populated by leathery little creatures with Pluto-esque pitchforks are very much real, and that Satan is a historical notion as opposed to one adapted from paganism. I strongly suggest this work as well for anyone desiring to rid themselves of the fear or Hellfire, since it is meticulously debased here and more or less totally defeated.
This manuscript concerns the chemical components of alchemy more than the actual crafting of any sorcerers’ stone or elixir itself; indeed, it is the general recipe for the precursor materials needed to work the great work itself. The formula is fairly explicit but most of the secondary content used to “prove” the point is religious in nature and heavily metaphorical. Overall, a fine alchemical work of note, from one of the less well known figures within the period. It is slightly similar to some of Hollandus’ work.
This short work of political fiction (that to my knowledge hasn’t been released in a new edition in over a century!) was crafted by Ingersoll Lockwood; a largely forgotten literary figure who has now come back into public notice for the apparent predictive qualities of his works both fictional and otherwise. Writing about religious, political, and fantasy topics alike, I can’t deny this specific booklet was an interesting read for the story alone.
It’s a work of political intrigue; but I am only interested in its prophetic component for the purposes of this blog and my edition of the work- for example, that it lists a “Pence” in the fictional cabinet of this last president, and presumes the rise of socialists and anarchists and others in the wake of a populist, working-class revolt against wall street and corporations.
It’s a slightly disturbing work solely because it overlaps with the modern era so fully.