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An Exhibition: originally displayed 11 February - 20 March 1985



An exhibition of books relating to the history of witchcraft and demonology, drawn mainly from the Ferguson collection

John Ferguson (1837-1916), Regius Professor of Chemistry in the University of Glasgow from 1874-1915, is best remembered for his Bibliotheca chemica, Glasgow, 1906, which is a standard tool for every investigation in the history and bibliography of chemistry. Ferguson was a keen book collector and in 1921 an important section of his private library was bought by the University of Glasgow. This consisted of over 7000 books and some 300 manuscripts. The greater part of the books in the Ferguson collection are on chemistry and alchemy, but there are important smaller groups of books, such as those on magic and witchcraft, gypsies, astrology, Rosicrucians and Cabbalism. The contents and wealth of the Ferguson Collection were made more widely known by the publication of the Catalogue of the Ferguson Collection of books ... in the Library of the University of Glasgow, 2 vols, Glasgow, 1943, of which forty copies were issued.


The choice of books for this exhibition has been highly selective and those listed far from exhaust the witchcraft material collected by Ferguson. The exhibition is divided into four sections dealing with witchcraft and demonology on the Continent, in England, in New England, and in Scotland. The arrangement of books within each section is roughly chronological.

The present exhibition is based on an earlier exhibition mounted in the Hunterian Museum, January - March, 1966.

Witchcraft and Demonology on the Continent

1. ALPHONSUS de Spina. Fortalitium fidei
[Strassburg, Johann Mentelin, not after 1471]; folio (Hunterian Collection, Bx.1.5)

Alphonsus de Spina, a Spanish Franciscan who was a convert from Judaism, became confessor to King John of Castille, director of studies of the Friars Minor at Salamanca, and was created Bishop of Thermopylae in 1491.

The Fortalitium fideli written 1458-60, is the first printed book to contain a description of witchcraft. The fifth and final part of the work is devoted to an account of ten classes of demons, the last of which persuade old women (called sorguinae or bruxae) that they can work evil. He mentions gatherings or assemblies of such women (i.e. witches’ sabbats) in the south of France, and adds that many have been arrested and burnt.

2. NIDER (Johannes). Formicarius.
Augsburg, Anton Sorg [about 1484]; folio (An - y.9)

The Formicarius, written 1435-37 during the Council of Basle and first printed in 1475, is the second book ever printed to discuss witchcraft. This is a copy of the second edition. Nider dealt specifically with witchcraft in the fifth section of the book. Unlike his successors, he did not emphasize the idea of the witches’ sabbat and was sceptical of the claim that witches could fly by night. An important work which shows that by the early fifteenth century trials and torture of witches were already taking place.


3. SPRENGER (Jokob), KRAMER (Heinrich) [Henricus Institutor]. Malleus maleficarum.
Nuremberg, Anton Koberger, 17 March 1494; quarto (An - y.12)

First printed in 1486, the Malleus maleficarum is "...without question the most important and most sinister work on demonology ever written..." - R.H. Robbins, The encyclopedia of witchcraft and demonology. Its aim was to eradicate witchcraft entirely. Its influence and authority were secured by the papal bull obtained in 1484 by Kramer from Innocent VIII which verified the claims of the witch-hunters, and by the fact that it provided a complete guide for the discovery, examination, torture, trial, and execution of witches.

There were at least twenty-nine editions of the Malleus up to 1669. The Ferguson Collection has eight editions of the work, of which five were printed before 1500.


4. MOLITOR (Ulrich). De lamiis et phitonicis mulieribus.
[Strassburg, Johann Pruss, not before 10 January 1489]; quarto (An - y.35)

Molitor was a professor at the University of Constance. This work was written in the form of a discussion between Molitor, Archduke Sigismund of Austria, and Conrad Schatz (chief magistrate of Constance); it was designed to remove the doubts and objections raised by Sigismund concerning the existence of witchcraft.

Klebs, Incunabula scientifica et medica, lists thirteen Latin editions and three German, all printed before 1500. These are usually illustrated with six (sometimes seven) woodcuts, the same woodcuts being closely copied in successive editions.


5. MOLITOR (Ulrich). De lamiis et phitonicis mulieribus.
[Reutilingen, Johann Otmar, not before 10 January 1489]; quarto (An - y.34)

Includes a woodcut of two witches being taken by a demon to a sabbat. All are mounted on a cleft stick and the witches’ heads have taken on animal form. This is the earliest printed picture of witches in flight. Also includes an illustration of a witch wielding a bow and arrow, as shown here.



6. MOLITOR (Ulrich). De lamiis et phitonicis mulieribus.
[Cologne, Cornelis de Zierikzee, about 1500]; quarto (An - y.13)

Includes a woodcut of two witches who are standing over a cauldron and producing a storm (illustrated at the introduction), and a woodcut of a witch embracing the devil, shown here.


7. MOLITOR (Ulrich) Hexen Meysterei. Dess... Fursten... Sigmunde von Osterreich mit D. Vlrich Molitoris vnd Herr Cunrad Schatz ... ein schon Gesprech von dan Onholden ...
[Constance?] 1544; quarto (Ag - c.8)

A later edition in German of Molitor’s De lamiis et phitonicis mulieribus. Illustrated with eight woodcuts, some of which are repeated to make a total of twelve illustrations. Images of woodcuts from folios Cij and Biij are shown here.



8. CASSINI (Samuel de). Questione de le strie. Questiones lamearum fratris Samuelis de cassinis ...
[Pavia? 1505]; octavo (Ag - e.23)

The first book to oppose the identification of witchcraft as a heresy. Cassini attempted to discredit the Inquisitors by arguing that they themselves were guilty of heresy because of their belief in the night flight of witches. He was one of the few writers before the mid-sixteenth century (Symphoriem Champier and Gianfrancesco Ponzinibio were the other two major authors) to oppose the position taken up by the Malleus maleficarum.

A rare book. R.H. Robbins reports only two copies extant, one in Milan and the other in Cornell University Library.


9. SPINA (Bertolommeo de). Quaestio de strigibus, vna cum tractatu de praeminentia sacrae theologiae, & quadruplici apologia de lamiis contra Ponzinibium.
Romae, In Aedibus Populi Romani, 1576; quarto (Al - y.62)

These three tracts were first published separately in the 1520s. Spina, an extreme supporter of the belief in witchcraft, opposed Gianfrancesco Ponzinibio, an Italian lawyer who condemned the methods used by the Inquisition to prove the guilt of witches. Sorcery as practiced in Italy forms the background to Spina’s book.


10. PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA (Giovanni Frrancesco). Dialogus in tres libros diuisus: tiulus est Strix, siue de ludificatione daemonum ...
[Colophon: ] Bononiae, a Hieronymo de Benedictis, 1523; quarto (Al - a.4)

Pico della Mirandola, having had his doubts about witchcraft removed by attending the examinations of those charged with sorcery in Bologna, then proceeded to write this book, so that the matter might better be prosecuted everywhere. The worth of the volume is probably best guaged from Henry Lea’s judgement of Pico della Mirandola: "The credulity of so learned a man is scarce conceivable". This is a copy of the first edition.

Pico della Mirandola was the nephew of the famous humanist of the same time.


11. PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA (Giovanni Francesco). Dialogo intitolato La strega ... Tradotto in lingua toscana per il Signor Abate Turino Turini da Pescia.
Pescia [appresso Lorenzo Torrentino] 1555; quarto (Ag - d.83)

The first Italian translation of the Strix, the work of the Dominican Leandro Alberti, was published at Bologna in 1524; it was the first book on witchcraft to be printed in that language.

This is a copy of the second Italian translation, the work of Turino Turini, which appeared at Pescia in 1555.


12. MAGNUS (Olaus). Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus ...
Romae [Apud IoannemMairam de Viottis] 1555; folio (Hunterian Collection, I.4.4)

Belief in sorcery and demons was firmly implanted in the Scandinavian countries, though persecution of witches never assumed the proportions it did elsewhere.

The Historia de gentibus septentionalibus is divided into twenty-two books, the third of which is called De superstitiosa cultura daemonum populorum aquilonarium. The entire work is profusely illustrated with woodcuts; those in book three show the northern peoples’ special concern with the powers of sorcerers over the sea and ships. Hence, sorcerers were credited with the ability to raise and settle storms, to upset boats, and to cross the sea by means of spells.

Olaus Magnus, 1490-1558, the Swedish historian and geographer, was made Archbishop of Upsala in 1544.


13. WEYER (Johann). De praestigiis daemonum ...
Basiliae, per Ioannem Oporinum, 1563; octavo (Ah - e.11)

Weyer (1515-88) was a pupil of Cornelius Agrippa and later became physician to Duke William of Cleves, to whom this book is dedicated.

This is the first edition of one of the most important of the few early books to oppose the believers in witchcraft. Together with Scot’s The discouerie of witchcraft, 1584, it helped to provoke the Daemonologie of James I.

Weyer attempted a distinction between ignorant old women, whom he considered harmless, and subtle magicians, taught and aided by Satan. He denounced the contmporary excesses of torture and imprisonment.


14: BODIN (Jean). De la demonomanie des sorciers ...
Paris, Iacques du Puys, 1580; quarto (Al - a.1)

This book was written primarily for the information of judges by one who had himself acted as a judge at many trials in France. It is a landmark in witchcraft literature. Bodin was a particularly avid promoter of the worst features of the witchcraft delusion, following in the tradition of the Malleus Maleficarum. Typical of his extremism is his vigorous support of the torture of suspects.

This copy is of the first edition and contains manuscript notes by the linguist Richard Roberts Jones (1780-1843).


15. NEUWALDT (Hermann). Bericht von Erforschung/Prob vnd Erkentnis der Zauberinnen durchs kalte Wasser...
Helmstadt, Gedruckt durch Jacobum Lucjum, 1584; quarto (Ag - d.42)

An account of ordeal by immersion in water, a favourite method of determining the guilt or innocence of those accused of witchcraft. If the suspect floated she was guilty, if she sank she was innocent.

The chief European exponent of the swimming of witches was Wilhelm Adolf Scribonius, against whose views this pamphlet was written.


16. REMY (Nicholas). Daemonolatreiae libri tres ...
Lugduni, In Officina Vincentii, 1595; quarto (Al - x.48)

Remy was privy Counsellor to Duke Charles III of Lorraine and became Attorney General of Lorraine in 1591.

This is the first edition of a work which, together with Del Rio’s Disquisitionum magicarum libri sex, largely superceded the Malleus maleficarum. Probably Remy’s work owed much of its influence to the vivid way in which it was written - Remy gave authenticity to his statements by quoting the names of many of those condemned by him and the dates of their trials. On the title page it is claimed that 900 witches had been condemned to death in Lorraine within the fifteen years Remy had acted as judge.


17. DEL RIO (Martin Antoine). Disquisitionum magicarum libri sex ...
Moguntine, Apud Ioannem Albinum, 1603; folio (Ah - y.9)

Del Rio (1551-1608) was a widely travelled Jesuit scholar and a prolific writer.

This work, first published at Louvain in 1599, became as famous as the Malleus maleficarum, and by 1747, the date of its final printing, it had gone into about twenty editions. The book is divided into six parts which deal with: magic in general, diabolical magic, maleficia, prophecy and divination, rules for judges, function of the confessor.


18. GUAZZO (Francesco Maria). Compendium maleficarum ...
Mediolani, Apud Haeredes August. Tradati, 1608; octavo (Ao - a.60, Ag - c.50)

Guazzo, a friar in Milan in the early seventeenth century, wrote his Compendium maleficarum at the request of a bishop of Milan. The list of authorities cited in the work totals over 300, ranging from classical authors to his own contemporaries. Despite this apparently weighty scholarship "the whole book is a prodigious collection of marvels ... showing to what incredible lengths human credulity can extend" - Henry C. Lea, Materials toward a history of witchcraft.

The Ferguson Collection contains two copies of the 1608 edition.


19. LANCRE (Pierre de). Tableau de l’inconstance des mauuaisanges et demons ...
Paris, Nicolas Buon, 1613; quarto (Al - x.50)

Pierre de Lancre (1553-1631) sent by Henry IV of France to investigate witchcraft in the Pays de Labourd, a Basque-speaking region in Southwest France, concluded that of the 30,000 inhabitants very few families, including most of the priests, were untouched by sorcery. The Tableau largely stems from his activities in Labourd.

The book contains an engraving of a witches’ sabbat by the Polish engraver Jan Ziarnko. The Tableau, including his engraving, was later satirized by Laurent Bordelon in L’histoire des imaginations ... de Monsieur Oufle, 1710.


20. SPEE (Friedrich von). Cautio criminalis , seu de processibus contra sagas liber, sagistratibus Germaiae hoc tempore summe necessarius ...
Solisbaci, Sumpt. Martini Endter, 1695; duodecimo (Ai - g.4)

This work was first published in 1631 and ran into sixteen editions (including French, German, Dutch and Polish translations) within a hundred years. The book consists of fifty-one dubia or questiones, dealing generally with the subject of witchcraft, and especially with its existence and the method of suppressing it in Germany.

Spee, a German Jesuit, was the next writer after Weyer to attack the persecution of witches. He had personal experience of witch trials in Germany (he acted as confessor at Wurzburg to those charged with witchcraft) and concluded that the majority of those condemned were innocent.

An inscription on the title page indicates that this copy once belonged to the Austin Friars at Wurzburg, the town which was one of the centres of the persecution of witches.


21. Relation de la sortie du demon Balam du corps de la Mere Pnieune des Vrselines de Loudun. Et ses espouuentables mouuements & contorsions en l’exorcisme ...
Orleans, Chez Rene Fremont, 1635; quarto (in Ag-d.22)

The accusations of sorcery brought by the nuns of the Ursuline convent at Loudun against Father Urbain Grandier in 1633 resulted in what is probably the most famous of all witchcraft trials in France. Grandier was found guilty and burnt in 1634.

This incident formed the historical basis for Huxley’s masterly study of mass hysteria, The Devils of Loudun.


22. GROSS (Henning). Magica de spectris et apparitionibus spiritu de vaticiniis, divinationibus &c.
Lugd. Batavorum, Apud Franciscum Hackium, 1656; duodecimo (Ai - g.31)

The engraved title page shows a witches’ sabbat with a witch stirring a cauldron in the foreground. Most writers stressed the important part played by the cauldron in preparations for the sabbat. Pierre de Lancre, for example, observed that it was in the cauldron that the witches prepared every sort of poison for hurting or killing men and marring cattle.


23. BROGNOLUS (Candidus). Alexicacon hoc est opus de maleficiis ac morbis maleficis ...
Venetiis, Typis Io: Baptistae Catanei, 1668; folio (Ferguson Add.f2)

One result of the belief in demoniacal possession was the publication of numerous volumes on exorcism, of which this work is an important example. These set out to provide detailed instructions and formulae for the recognition of the state of demoniacal possession, for the discovery of a demon’s name, for the cause of possession, and for the expulsion of demons.


24. BORDLON (Laurent). L’histoire des imaginations extravagantes de Monsieur Oufle ... 2 tom. in 1.
Amsterdam, Estienne Roger et al., 1710; duodecimo (Ai - f.6)

Oufle, an anagram for "le fou" (the madman), sets the tone of this work, which is a satire on believers in witchcraft and demonology. The work contains ten illustrations depicting Monsieur Oufle’s adventures with apparitions, astrologers, and sorcerers. Perhaps the most striking plate is that of a witches’ sabbat.

Bodelon (1653-1730) was the chaplain of St. Eustache in Paris.


25. PALINGH (Abraham). ‘tAfgerukt mom-aansight der tooverye ... Den tweeden druk
Amsterdam, Andries van Damme, 1725; octavo (Al - d.3)

This book consists of a lengthy discussion about the facts of sorcery and possession by demons. It is written in the form of a dialogue, carried on by three sorcerers named Tymon, Eusebius, and Mantus. Most of the engravings in the work show people afflicted with various forms of demoniacal possession, but the illustrations also include depictions of a man being tortured with the "crocodile jaws" and a spiked collar, as displayed here.




Witchcraft and Demonology in England

The Continent
New England
Suggested Reading

26. SCOT (Reginald). The discouerie of witchcraft ...
London, William Brome, 1584; quarto (Ap - d.15)

Scot’s was the first book in English to be devoted to the topic of witchcraft, apart from a few earlier English translations of continental works. This is a copy of the first edition and a rare book - largely due to the fact that James I (who called Scot’s views "damnable") ordered all copies to be destroyed in 1603.

Scot was convinced that those accused of witchcraft, and often their accusers, were not demoniacally possessed but mentally ill. He argued that a belief in witchcraft was "contrarie to reason, scripture and nature". "My greatest aduersaries" he wrote, "are young ignorance and old custome."

27. GIFFORD (George). A discourse of the subtill practises of deuilles by witches and sorcerers ...
London, for Toby Cooke, 1587; quarto (Ag - d.39)

The second major book on witchcraft in English.

Gifford, together with Scot, was one of the earliest opponents of the witchcraft delusion. He maintained that sickness and death - often attributed to witchcraft - could just as easily be explained by natural causes. He rejected spectral and hearsay evidence, and argued against conviction except when the evidence was conclusive.


28. A breife narration of the possession, dispossession, and repossession of William Somers: and of some proceedings against Mr. John Dorrell preacher ... Together with certaine depositions taken at Nottingham conerning the said ` matter.
[London?] 1598; quarto (Ag - d.6)

John Dorrell was the only English exorcist of any real importance. His exorcism of William Somers of Nottingham in 1597 led to his downfall. In 1599 Dorrell and Somers were examined at Lambeth Palace and it was found that Somer’s possession by demons and Dorrell’s exorcism had been faked. Dorrell was declared an impostor and imprisoned for a year.


29. PERKINS (William). A discourse of the damned art of witchcraft ...
Centrel Legge, Printer to the Vniversitie of Cambridge, 1610; octavo (Ah - e.29)

This book was first published posthumously in 1608. A second edition, of which this is a copy, came out in 1610.

Perkins’ work forms a reasoned defence of the belief in witchcraft. Though against convictions secured on the evidence of superstitious tests (e.g. swimming of witches), Perkins was in no doubt about the penalty, once guilt was proved. He believed that "this sinne of Witchcraft ought as sharply to be punished as in former times, and all Witches being thoroughly conuicted by the Magistrate, ought according to the Law of Moses to be put to death".

Perkins, born in 1558, was a fellow of Christ’s College, Cambridge, from 1584 to 1594. He died in 1602.


30. POTTS (Thomas). The wonderfull discouerie of witches in the countie of Lancaster. With the ... triall of nineteen notorious witches, at the assizes ... holden at the Castle of Lancaster ... the seuenteenth of August last, 1612 ... by Thomas Potts Esquier
London, W. Stansby for John Barnes, 1613; quarto (Ag - d.48)

The trial of the Pendle Forest witches of Lancashire in 1612 was the largest mass trial of suspected witches to that date. Of the nineteen persons tried ten were hanged, one was sentenced to be put in the pillory, and the other eight were acquitted.

This pamphlet is of a semi-official nature. Its compiler, Thomas Potts, was clerk of the court of Lancaster, and it also had the approval of the judge, Sir Edward Bromley.


31. The Lancashire witches containing their manner of becoming such; their enchantments, spells, revels, merry pranks ...
London, n.d.; octavo (Af - g.20)

This chapbook, divided into twelve short chapters, gives a rather more light-hearted description of the Lancashire witches. Writing about witches in general, the author says: "But the Lancashire witches, we see divert themselves in merriment, and are therefore found to be more suitable than the rest".


32. The wonderful discoueries of the witchcrafts of Margaret and Phillip Flower, daughters of Ioan Flower neere Beuer Castle; executed at Lincolne ... 1618. Who were ... condemned ... for confessing themsleves actors in the destruction of Henry Lord Rosse, with their damnable practises against others the children of ... Francis Earle of Rutland.
London, G.Eld for I Barnes, 1619; quarto (Ag - d.5)

This pamphlet illustrates some of the practices attributed to witches.

Margaret Flower and her sister Phillipa (called "Phillip" in the pamphlet) were servants of the Earl of Rutland. In revenge for her dismissal, Margaret Flower stole a glove belonging to Lord Rosse, Rutland’s heir, and gave it to her mother, who stroked her cat called Rutterkin with it, dipped it in boiling water, pricked it, and buried it. Later Lord Rosse fell ill and died.

The pamphlet is illustrated by a woodcut which shows a contemporary conception of three witches with their familiars (i.e. demons in the shape of small animals whose function was to advise and assist witches).


33. Doctor Lamb’s darling: or, strange and terrible news from Salisbury; being a true ... relation of the ... contract and engagement made between the Devil, and Mistris Anne Bodenham ...
London, for G. Horton, 1653; quarto (Ag - d.59)

In 1653 Anne Bodenham, at one time servant to John Lambe, was convicted of witchcraft and sent to the scaffold at Salisbury.

The pamphlet states that she could transform herself into the shape of a "Mastive Dog, a black Lyon, a white Bear, a Wolf, a Monkey" etc.


34. A most certain, strange and true discovery of a witch. Being taken by some of the Parliament forces, as she wa standing on a small planck board and sayling on it over the river of Newbury ...
[London], John Hammond, 1643; quarto (in Al - x.57)

The pamphlet, written during the Civil War, describes how the witch was fired at by soldiers of the army of the Earl of Essex, "but with a deriding and loud laughter ... she caught their bullets in her hands and chew’d them". Eventually however one of the soldiers succeeded in shooting her.

The title page of the pamphlet bears a woodcut, which shows the witch sailing on her plank on the river.

Bound with eight other seventeenth century tracts on witchcraft.



35. HOPKINS (Matthew). The discovery of witches ...
London, for R. Royston, 1647; quarto (Ferguson Collection, Ag - d.47)

Matthew Hopkins, England’s most notorious witch-hunter, centred his activities in Essex and the surrounding counties. Despite his short career - he started only in 1645 and died in 1647 - it has been estimated he managed to condemn over 200 people to death. At first he was received enthusiastically, but by 1646 his influence was declining, partly due to the exposure of his methods in John Geule’s Select cases of conscience touching witches, 1646. The frontispiece of the work, depicting Hopkins at work, is illustrated here.


36. FILMER (Sir Robert). An advertissement to the jury-men of England, touching witches ...
London, I.G. for Richard Royston, 1653; quarto (Ag - f.44)

Sir Robert Filmer was an important political writer of the mid-seventeenth century.

In this, his only publication on witchcraft, Filmer recommended careful thought and moderation in witch trials. He dismissed the eighteen proofs of witchcraft put forward by William Perkins half a century earlier in his Discourse on the damned art of witchcraft. Filmer’s pamphlet was published anonymously.


37. WEBSTER (John). The displaying of supposed witchcraft ...
London, printed by J.M., 1677; folio (Ag - x.12)

Writing in opposition to the views of Meric Casaubon and Joseph Glanvill, both believers in the Satanic origin of witchcraft, Webster acknowledged the existence of witches and their ability to work evil, but only through "meer natural means" and not by the aid of the Devil.

This is a large paper copy, bound in red morocco, with the monogram of Charles II stamped in gold in the four corners of each cover and on the spine.


38. GLANVILL (Joseph). Saducismus triumphatus: or, full and plain evidence concerning witches and apparitions. In two parts ...
London, for J. Collins and S. Lownds, 1681; octavo (Veitch Collection, Eg6 - d.14)

The author was held "to have put the belief in apparitions and witchcraft on an unshakable basis of science and philosophy". - G.L. Kittredge, Witchcraft in Old and New England.

Glanvill, an Oxford man, was a Fellow of the Royal Society and Chaplain in Ordinary to Charles II.


39. A true and impartial relation of the information against three witches, viz. Temperance Lloyd, Mary Trembles, and Susanna Edwards. Who were ... convicted at the assizes holden ... at the Castle of Exon, Aug. 14, 1682 ...
London, by Freeman Collins, sold by T. Benskin, and C. Yeo in Exon., 1682; quarto (Ag - d.36)

In spite of the writings of sceptics, popular feeling was very much against witches. The trial of the three women named in this pamphlet engendered so much local uproar and fury that Roger North, Attorney-General under James II, could write in his autobiography: "A less zeal in a city or kingdom hath been the overture of defection and revolution, and if these women had been acquitted, it was thought that the country people would have committed some disorder".


40. A tryal of witches, at the assizes held at Bury St. Edmunds ... on the tenth day of March, 1664 ... Before Sir Matthew Hale ...
London, Sir William Shrewsbery, 1682; octavo (Af - g.6)

Charges of sorcery and the bewitching of children, made against Rose Cullender and Amy Duny, two widows of Lowestoft, resulted in their trial at Bury St. Edmunds. They were found guilty and hanged.

This trial was important not only because of the prominence of the judge, Sir Matthew Hale, a lawyer of high repute, but also because the printed account of the proceedings was circulated in New England. At the Salem witch trials in 1692 this tract was consulted by the judges, who were in need of precedents for witch trial procedure.


41. BOVET (Richard). Pandemonium, or the devil’s cloyster ...
London, for J. Walthoe, 1684; duodecimo (Ap - y.76)

The first part of this work is largely culled from two earlier writers, Glanvill and Daniel Brevint, Dean of Lincoln Cathedral. The second part consists of fifteen ghost stories. The title-page and frontispiece are displayed here.




42. The evil spirit cast-out. Being a true relation of the manner of performing the famous operation or cure, on the maiden gentlewomen, whose body was possessed with an evil spirit ...
London, E. Golding, 1691; octavo (Ag - d.29)

An account of an exorcism. The afflicted woman was given "the distilled waters of rosemary, angelica, and marigolds" and prayers were said frequently. The combination of the two was eventually successful in expelling the demon.

A woodcut on the title page shows the demon leaving the woman.


43. The tryal of Richard Hathaway, upon an information for being a cheat and impostor, for endeavouring to take away the life of Sarah Morduck, for being a witch, at Surrey assizes ... 1702 ...
London, for Issac Cleave, 1702; folio (Ah - y.4)

Of interest because it provides evidence that some accusations of witchcraft were based on fraud.

Sarah Morduck, accused by Hathaway of bewitching him, was acquitted (though the verdict was extremely unpopular). Hathaway at his own trial was exposed as a fraud and perjurer. Sir John Holt, the judge at Hathaway’s trial, was outstanding among his contemporaries for his impartiality and for his discouragement of convictions for witchcraft.


44. BRAGGE (Francis). A full and impartial account of the discovery of sorcery and witchcraft, practis’d by Jane Wenham of Walkerne in Hertfordshire ... The second edition.
London, for E. Curll, 1712; octavo (Ag - d.27)

The trial of Jane Wenham is important because she was the last person to be condemned to death in England for witchcraft. The sentence was never carried out. Sir John Powell, the judge at the trial, obtained a royal pardon for her.

The trial resulted in the publication of numerous pamphlets, both for and against Jane Wenham. This tract by Francis Bragge, one of the clergymen involved at the trial, stated the case against her.


45. BOULTON (Richard). A compleat history of magick, sorcery, and witchcraft ... 2 vols.
London, for E. Curll et al., 1715-16; duodecimo (Ap - y.84)

The last serious attempt in English to defend the belief in witchcraft and magic.

Boulton (fl. 1697-1724), a physician, was educated at Oxford and lived for a time in Chester.


46. HUTCHINSON (Francis). An historical essay concerning witchcraft ...
London, for R. Knaplock and D. Midwinter, 1718; octavo (Al - a.49)

Wallace Notestein, in his History of witchcraft in England from 1558 to 1718, wrote that Hutchinson’s work "levelled a final and deadly blow at the dying superstition. Few men of intelligence dared after that avow any belief in the reality of witchcraft ...".

Hutchinson (1660-1739) was made Bishop of Down and Connor in 1720. Prior to that he had been vicar at Bury St. Edmunds, the scene of two series of witch trials in the mid-seventeenth century.

Witchcraft in New England

47. MATHER (Increase). An essay for the recording of illustrious providences ... especially in New England.
Boston in New-England, Samuel Green for Joseph Browning, 1684; octavo (Old Library, B15 - l.10)

Increase Mather (1639-1723) was a Puritan minister in Boston and President of Harvard from 1685 to 1701. This work, which included demonstrations of the real existence of apparitions, spirits, and witches, is the American equivalent of Glanvill’s Saducismus triumphatus.

This copy, along with five other volumes, was donated to the University Library by the author himself. An inscription on the title page reads: "Ex Libris Universitatis Bibliothecae Glasguensis Ex Domo Authoris. 1711". On the front end-paper another inscription, apparently in Increase Mather’s own hand, reads: "For ye Library in ye University in Glasgow".

48. MATHER (Cotton). Late memorable provinces relating to witchcrafts and possessions ... The second impression ...
London, for Tho. Parkhurst, 1691; octavo (Af - g.10)

Cotton Mather (1663-1728), son of Increase Mather, was also a Puritan minister at Boston. In 1688 he took into his house a child believed to be a victim of witchcraft in order to study her case. The results of his observation he published in his Memorable providences relating to witchcraft, of which the first edition was printed in Boston in 1689.

In 1710 Cotton Mather was awarded in absentia the degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of Glasgow.


49. MATHER (Cotton). The wonders of the invisible world: being an account of the tryals of several witches lately executed in New-England ... The third edition.
London, for John Dunton, 1693; quarto (Ag - c.10)

An outbreak of witch hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 resulted in the arrest of almost 150 people. In that year 19 persons were hanged as witches at Salem. By the following year the hysteria was on the wane, and in 1696 there appeared a confession of error by the jurors present at the trials of 1692.

Mather’s book is a semi-official narrative of a few of the Salem witch trials of 1692, and forms a justification of the convictions secured by the judges at the trials.


50. CALEF (Robert). More wonders of the invisible world ...
London, for Nath. Hillar and Joseph Collyer, 1700; quarto (Ah - d.29)

Calef, a Boston merchant, completed this work in 1696 but was unable to persuade any Boston printer to accept it. Hence his work was first printed in England after a delay of four years. When copies reached Boston they caused a sensation because of Calef’s attack on Cotton Mather and also because of his well-documented account of the Salem witch trials. The book was publicly burned at Harvard by Increase Mather.

Witchcraft and Demonology in Scotland

51. Newes from Scotland. Declaring the damnable life of Doctor Flan a notable sorcerer, who was burned at Edenbrough in Ianuarie last. 1591 ...
[London] Printed for William Wright [1591]; quarto (Al - a.30,36)

The earliest tract on Scottish witchcraft. Ferguson knew of only four copies of this edition, two of which were in his own collection. Two other undated editions appeared probably in the same year.

John Flan, a schoolmaster of Saltpans, was the best known of those convicted at the trials of the North Berwick witches in 1590.

The work is illustrated with two woodcuts, one of which is displayed here.

52. JAMES VI and I. Daemonologie, in forme of a dialogue, diuided into three bookes.
Edinburgh, Robert Walde-graue, 1597; quarto (Ag - d.13)

Written before his accession to the English throne, the Daemonologie probably had its origins in the trials of the North Berwick witches in 1590, which James personally supervised. The work refutes the views of Scot and Weyer and is of importance mainly as having guided public opinion for many years, and of being responsible for at least part of the relentlessness of witch persecutions.


53. SINCLAIR (George). Satans invisible world discovered ...
Edinburgh, John Reid, 1685; octavo (Al - b.92)

There are two copies of this first edition of Sinclair’s work in the Ferguson Collection; only a few other copies are known. This is not surprising for the edition must have been read out of existence. The work was extremely popular; Ferguson knew of ten subsequent editions.

Sinclair was Professor successively of Philosophy and Mathematics at Glasgow University. He was dismissd for nonconformity in 1666, reappointed in 1688, and died in 1696.


54. BELL (John). Witch-craft proven, arreign’d, and condemn’d ...
Glasgow, Robert Sanders, 1697; duodecimo (Al - c.25)

The author was born at Glasgow in 1676, subsequently became minister of Gladsmuir, and died in 1707. Of this short tract, badly printed on poor paper and published anonymously, Ferguson says: "One of the very rarest of the Scottish witchcraft tracts ... This miserable little pamphlet enables one to realise how the clergy had argued themselves into being such ardent witchhunters". - Bibliographcal notes on the witchcraft literature of Scotland.


55. GRANT (Francis). A true narrative of the sufferings and relief of a young girle; strangely molested, by evil spirits ... in the West: collected from authentick testimonies, thereanent ...
Edinburgh, James Watson, 1698; octavo (Al - b.77)

Another account of Christian Shaw and the Renfrewshire witches. The particulars were collected by John MacGilchrist, town-clerk of Glasgow, and written out by Francis Grant, advocate, later Lord Cullen.


56. A true and full relation of the witches at Pittenweem ...
Edinburgh, John Reid Junior, 1704; duodecimo (Murray Collection, in Mu56 - h.29)

In 1704 accusations made by a sixteen-year-old youth Patrick Morton (Peter Morton in some accounts) brought several persons to trial on charges of practising witchcraft at Pittenweem, a coastal town in the east of Scotland. Though none of the accused was condemned to death by the court, a mob, enraged by the escape of one of the prisoners, Janet Corphat (or Cornfoot), pursued her and pressed her to death.


57. An answer of a letter from a gentleman in Fife, to a nobleman, containing a brief account of the barbarous and illegal treatment, these poor women accused of witchcraft, met with from the baillies of Pittenweem and others ...
n.p., 1705; quarto (Al - a.38)

A condemnation of the barbarities and injustices committed against those accused of witchcraft at Pittenweem.


58. The history of witches, ghosts, and Highland seers: containing many wonderful well-attested relations of supernatural appearances ...
Berwick, for R. Taylor, [1803]; duodecimo (Al - b.40)

Contains many Scottish examples of witchcraft, second sight, dreams, and apparitions. Some of the Scottish episodes come from Sinclair. The frontispiece shows the raising of Samuel by the witch of Endor.


59. SCOTT (Sir Walter). Letters on demonology and eitchcraft, addressed to J.G. Lockhart, Esq.
London, John Murray, 1830. (Af - b.67)

This work is the culmination of Scott’s interest in witchcraft and demonology. Letter IX is devoted specifically to witchcraft in Scotland. This is a copy of the first edition.

The frontispiece, drawn by J. Skene and engraved by W.H. Lizars, is of the Bow, Edinburgh, showing the house of Major Thomas Weir, who, together with his sister, Jane, was executed for practising witchcraft in 1670.

Suggested Reading

CAILLET, Albert L., Manuel bibliographique des sciences psychiques ou occultes. 3v. Paris: 1912.

FERGUSON John, Bibliographical notes on the witchcraft literature of Scotland. Edinburgh: 1897.

FOX Sanford J., Science and justice: the Massachusetts witchcraft trials. Baltimore: 1968.

HOLE, Christina, Witchcraft in England. Loondon: 1945.

HOLE, Christina, A mirror of witchcraft. London, 1957.

KITTREDGE, George Lyman, Witchcraft in Old and New England. New York: 1958.

KORS, Alan C. and PETERS E. (eds), Witchcraft in Europe 1100-1700: a documentary history. London 1972.

LARNER, Christina, Enemies of God: the witch-hunt in Scotland. London: 1981.

ROBBINS, Russell Hope, The encyclopedia of witchcraft and demonology. New York: 1959.

ROBBINS, Russell Hope, Witchcraft: an introduction to the literature of witchcraft. New York: 1978.

RUSSELL, Jeffrey Burton, Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Ithaca: 1972.

RUSSELL, Jeffrey Burton, A history of witchcraft, sorcery, heretics, and pagans. London: 1980.