This work is a bit on the odd side because the title is utterly useless in determining its content; reading the title (which proposes the work to purely oppose witchery) and the preface, one would assume it’s nothing more than Christian zeal or, at most, white magick. It is in fact based partly on the work of Magnus, partly on the Petit Albert (or some intermediary text) and partly on the fortune telling tradition of the late 1700s with the Norwood Gypsy and other content. As such, it is a bric-a-brac, a gray magick grimoire, and a miniaturized compiling of herbal and folk lore and magic, all combined with some protective incantations and plenty of superstition.
In fact, altogether, it almost rivals the Petit Albert or Hohman’s “Pow Wows” for interest in my own opinion- this kind of work is uncommon, and extremely interesting. It also contains some basic chemical works (alchemy!) and weather prognostication with astrological overtones.
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 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A short treatment on Satan and demonology gives way to this more historical content and it is subsequently capped off with a two page ramble about the need to refute fire and brimstone ideology and irrational superstition.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.