Rare book on fighting witchcraft discovered
By Alex Ballingall | TheRecord.com
Even though he thinks the weathered tome is a fascinating cultural treasure, unearthed by chance in a musty section of an Alberta library, Andrew Gow doesn’t like to be near it.
“It’s a very, very nasty piece of work, and I can tell you that I don’t like to touch it,” he said.
The book positions itself as a guide to expunge all evil and vanquish the dark forces of witchcraft detailed so vividly in its 150 pages of 15th-century Burgundian French.
“The real evil is actually in this book, and it’s human. It’s not magical,” said Gow, a medieval history professor. “It’s a view of one’s fellow human beings as agents of the devil that is truly evil.”
Entitled, Invectives Against the Sect of Waldensians — a name for a Christian sect that was confused with witches in 15th-century France — the manuscript is thought to have been written around 1465 by a monk in what is now France’s Burgundy region, possibly for England’s King Edward IV, said Gow.
University of Alberta history professor Andrew Gow looks through a rare book on fighting witchcraft.
It is exceedingly rare — one of only four copies known to exist — and is thought to be one of the founding texts in the modern conception of witchcraft.
Its pages describe cackling wenches sailing across the night sky on broom sticks, frolicking in nocturnal orgies of twisted delight and casting Satanic spells to doom crops with lightning and hail.
“It’s this long, involved, complex litany of imaginary crimes,” said Gow, “which were cooked up in the fevered literary imaginations of these small-time church men.”
The purpose of the book, Gow explained, was to instruct witch hunters on how to identify and prosecute supposed servants of the devil. Ominously, it describes how one should “ratchet up the pain” to force suspected witches to confess, said Gow.
“It’s an early expression of ideas that later become solidified and lead to the massive witch panics and witch hunts of the next 200 years.”
Gow came across the book in 2005 while scouring the university’s Bruce Peel Special Collections Library for teaching material.
Last month, an expert from the Netherlands came to U of A for an extensive examination of the book. They learned their version may be the original from which the others — housed in national libraries in Paris and at Oxford University — were copied.
How a book of such significance, with a value Gow said is “hardly calculable in dollars,” came to Edmonton is largely a mystery.
An illustration from the copy of Invectives Against the Sect of Waldensians held at the Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Sadly, the illustrated frontispiece from the University of Alberta’s edition was removed at some point in the past.
An illustration from a copy of the Invectives, now held in the National Library of France.
Invectives Against the Sect of Waldensians/Witches. The book, created in 1465, is bound in thick brown velvet, with brass studs called bosses.
It was donated to the University of Alberta in 1988 by a provincial civil servant and book collector named John Lunn, who Gow thinks acquired it at a book sale in England.
After it was written, Gow speculates the book was housed in an English monastery until the Reformation period, when King Henry VIII renounced Catholicism and many such tomes went into private hands.
According to inscriptions found in its pages, the book was owned by at least two Members of Parliament in London during the 18th century.
That might explain its relatively poor condition, said Gow. The other copies in Europe, having been housed in proper libraries for hundreds of years, are in much better shape.
They also include a front-piece that features an ornate illustration of witchcraft, which Gow determined was torn off his copy of the book. A small corner of what appears to have been an elaborate drawing remains on the tattered text.
“It’s a casualty of the Reformation, because in any other country it would have been in state libraries,” said Gow.
Grow and his former doctoral student Rob Desjardins have translated the manuscript to English, and are currently working on an in-depth comparison with its sister copies in Europe.
“It’s a fascinating thing,” he said. “It’s 150 pages of craziness.”
Article from: therecord.com
The Witch-Burner’s Mein Kampf: Excerpts of evil
Real Witches on Halloween and Samhain
Salem Witch Trials
On Gender Roles and Witchcraft
Action Plan to End Banishing of "Witches" in Burkina Faso
Witchcraft is growing threat to children in Britain, warn police
400-year-old witchcraft trial resumes in Germany
The Pendle Witches
Witchcraft declared legal profession in Romania
What’s Witchcraft? 6 Misconceptions about Wiccans
The new face of Malaysia’s Islamic witchdoctors
Easter - when Sweden’s witches come out to play
Occult hit: Witches bucking religion trend
Campaigners bid to clear the ’witch’ who leaked WWII secrets about sinking battleship
Pagan festival focuses on nature-based beliefs
How Pagan Worship Became Christmas
Pagan Police Group UK
Jesus is God a Pagan Invention - A different Christ
’Everyone’s a pagan now’
Latest News from our Front Page
Aurora Shooting Victim Parents Face $200K Court Fees, Bankruptcy, After Failing to Sue Ammo Dealers
The 2012 Colorado Theater Shooting still doesn’t add up…
Media character and ‘Shooter’ James Holmes in court in 2012-2013.
In 2014, Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, the mother and stepfather of Aurora Theater Shooting victim Jessica Redfield Ghawi, tried to sue the ammo companies they believe supplied shooter James Holmes with his ammunition, body armor and other items. They bleived that the online retailer BulkAmmo.com had sold Holmes ...
FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force Investigating Confederate Flags at MLK's Ebenezer Baptist Church
According to the Atlanta Police Department, two White men left four small Confederate Battle Flags outside MLK’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta … and get this, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is on the scene investigating the incident.
Atlanta police Chief George Turner said his agency was working with federal authorities and they have not determined what charges might be ...
Democratic National Committee Chair Wasserman Schultz Canâ€™t Explain Difference Between Democrat Party and Socialism
Things got very awkward today when Chris Matthews asked DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz what the difference was between the modern Democratic Party and Socialism.
We havenâ€™t seen that dazed look since Rachel Dolezal was busted as a fraud.
Wasserman Schultz was speechless.
Then changed the subject.
Because we all know there is no difference between todayâ€™s Democrat Party and the radical ...
Catching on slow: Yet Another Study Show Cellphone Radiation Cause Cancer
The scientists were right — your cell phone can give you cancer.
There have long been whispers of a cancer connection from your cell — and a new study backs up the claims.
"These data are a clear sign of the real risks this kind of radiation poses for human health," study author Igor Yakymenko said.
Yakymenko’s meta-study — basically a study of ...
Trump Goes #Cuckservative on Immigration
For weeks, the media have trumpeted the supposed death of the Trump campaign. First, they claimed, Trump’s campaign imploded on launch thanks to his comments about illegal immigration. Then they claimed that Trump was finished because of his slap at Senator’s (R-AZ) war service. But neither of those comments alienated Trump’s base – he’s maintained his seven point lead over ...
|More News » |