Rare book on fighting witchcraft discovered
2012 11 26

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







Related Articles
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

Chess-playing computers may cause the robot apocalypse
2014 04 23
Sore-loser chess programs might be the end of us all... In the movie The Terminator, we heard the human side of the story of Judgment Day, with the machines getting smart and seeing us as a threat. It wasn’t until the sequel that we heard the tale from the machine’s point of view, as it chose to start World War III ...
Archeologists’ findings may prove Rome a century older than thought
2014 04 23
It is already known as the eternal city, and if new archeological findings prove correct Rome may turn out to be even more so than believed until now. Next week, the city will celebrate its official, 2,767th birthday. According to a tradition going back to classic times, the brothers Romulus and Remus founded the city on 21 April in the year ...
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
2014 04 23
A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. "I can’t speak for other MPs, but I’ve had many, many calls over the past eight years about chemtrails. And these questions are not so easy to answer," ...
Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound
2014 04 23
If it quacks like a duck... it’s not always a duck. Scientists have reportedly gotten to the bottom of the mysterious ’Bio-Duck’ sound in the Antarctic. Here’s a recording of the strange sound (it’s kind of a stretch to say it sounds like a duck, but who are we to second guess the biologists?). --- Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound Solved By Tanya Lewis ...
’Extreme’ Carbon Dioxide Reduction will be a Death Sentence for Humanity & Planet Earth
2014 04 23
If we allow a fraudulent pseudo-environmentalist cult to control every aspect of our lives then our children are doomed to a totalitarian existence which Stalin could only have dreamed of. “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine ...
More News »