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Sep 24 2010

The Red Book of Appin – From Legendary Grimiore to Dangerous Internet Hoax

The Red Book of Appin is a name many occultists may have heard but few would know much about. Folklore claims the book was stolen from the Devil as a trick by a young shepherd on whom Satan had set his sights. Montague Summers in his History of Witchcraft and Demonology relates that the book “contained a large number of magic runes and incantations for the cure of cattle diseases, the increase of flocks and the fertility of fields” and (in common with many books of magic) its simple possession conferred upon the owner certain preternatural powers. By Summers’ time the book had already been missing for at least 100 years.

Folklorists these days tend to agree that the book existed and disappeared but contend it was in reality a home brewed book on veterinary medicine that gained its magical reputation through word of mouth. It should be noted that spellbooks like The Long Lost Friend are considered manuals of “medicine” and remedies for men and beasts, so it isn’t impossible that The Red Book of Appin contained charms and incantations in a similar vein. The general consensus among academics and occultists both is that the book deals largely with the problems a small farmer may encounter.

There is, unfortunately, a false grimiore that has been circulating on the Internet which purports to be The Red Book of Appin and is available in .pdf format from dozens of sites, as well as being uploaded to Scribd and other document sharing services. This book is best described in its own words:

“Some say that The Red Book had been dictated by Vlad Tepes himself to some monk Kirill. If it is so or not, we cannot say, but the devil-worshipping of the great romanian general is an unquestionable fact, which no serious black adept can deny. It is well known that this document, enwrapped in blood-red leather of some unknown creature (according to rumors , that was one of lower demons, invoked by Vlad specially for this purpose), was kept by the english merchant Joseph Appin (from this comes the title of the book), who died in 1689 and bequeathed to bury it together with him.

Having accomplished their father`s behest, two of his sons afterwards digged his grave out in order to get the access to the source of terrible transcendent knowledge, but found no book there.

It is possible that the book had been stolen by some offspiring of Vlad, and since then it was imparted from father to son until the year 1869, when it got into the hands of the Hungarian secret community <Tremalosh>, which afterwards turned to one of branches of the Great Black Lodge under the abbreviation A.C.C. The copy had been imparted to the Pontiphic of the Lodge Johan Kellenheim in 1901 and translated to
polish and German.

The further destinity of the original is unknown. It`s written in the purest version of the enochian language, in comparison with which the language of John Dee is just a pitiable senseless murmuring, and not with enochian symbols but with latin letters, which confirms the version of writing it by the monk, unfamiliar with the Heavenly Language.”

Clearly only the most credulous audience could accept these wild and historically inaccurate claims as true (there was no Romania in Tepes time and no convincing evidence that he wasn’t a good Christian has ever been unearthed) but as we all know the “New Age” has produced people so open minded many have had their brains fall out.

I hesitated to put a link to this drivel in this post but I feel it’s important you at least browse through some of it to understand why I consider this a particularly dangerous hoax. This work is actually associated with the (fairly) new Demonolatry movement and the “translator” of this work, Sacarabaeus Tractat, draws heavily from Demonolatry but adds in a healthy dose of good old fashioned devil worship of the kind more familiar to Hammer Horror fans than serious occultists. The book contains what are said to be instructions for a person to become a “Wizard” which seems to be a synonym for a serial killing rapist in the author’s mind. These instructions include summoning an unwise number of demons, adopting some very immature anti-Christian attitudes and in several places killing infants. One rite calls for a man to be stabbed to death, and a black dog which has been allowed to drink the victim’s blood to then be killed as well! Reading about all the men, women and children the author recommends killing makes one wish the author had gone ahead and killed himself before penning this sociopathic, adolescent fantasy.

Hopefully this is a work of fiction, some bit of theater for online role players, but as we have seen in the late 90s these sorts of “Satanic” movements can take on a life of their own. There is of course the metaphysical danger of people performing the less criminal rituals which still involve a (no doubt disturbed) magician summoning demons which, real or imagined, are there to grant this person the power to rape, murder and generally do evil for no discernible reason.

It is the popularity of this vile work that is most disturbing. It is being passed from site to site, user to user with alarming speed considering how obviously worthless the manual is. Even if people simply enjoyed reading this, that in and of itself is enough to make me uncomfortable, the same feeling I get when someone tells me they’ve read de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom and enjoyed it. There’s just something a little “off” about the person who enjoys either.

We live in time when many practitioners are fairly lazy. They have not and will not spend much time researching the spells they wish to practice. In this respect the Internet has hurt the occult community a great deal, by replacing training and the knowledge gained just from the search for spells with quick and easy access to anonymous information that is, as in this case, produced by dabblers and degenerates. I hope no one takes this manual seriously, but judging by the caliber of many young Witches and Warlocks I’ve recently come into contact with, I’m betting in the next few years we’ll all hear about someone who has.

The Red Book of Appin Translated by Scarabaeus – Black Magic and try From the Collection

Sep 24 2010

To Find the Body of One Who Has Drowned

Rollo Ahmed is one of the most underrated, yet important, occultist of the 20th century. Though he claimed to be of Egyptian descent he was known to be a native of the West Indies who lived in England for much of his life, plying his trade in the traditional fashion which led to him running afoul of the law at least twice. He penned the sensational The Black Art in the 1970s which legend says was largely due to his friend Dennis Wheatley recommending him when publishers began to see the public thirsting for more occult books. His best work however is The Complete Book of Witchcraft which is a rollicking study of Witchcraft through the ages written by an occultist but without the theological conceits that are found in many such work.

In that latter work (on pg 230 in my edition) Ahmed relates a peculiar practice for recovering bodies by Witches in Scotland and other parts of the English Empire:

Gaelic witches were thought to be able to find bodies of drowned persons, by casting some of the deceased’s clothes upon the sea or wherever they had met their death. The same belief is held in parts of India, and some Fakirs find bodies by similar means.

The idea behind this spell is clearly a use of sympathetic magic, and it should be noted that in the time period Ahmed is talking about it would be likely that a fisherman or sailor had a few garments he wore a great deal. It is well accepted in occult circles that objects that are on ones person for significant periods of time develop a “link” that can be used in magic and the assumption here is that the same link would draw the object tot he lost corpse.

Ahmed gives no information as to what sort of ritual might have been used but because it was thought to be a talent specific to Witches I assume there is some “trick” to it. Alas, I’ve seen no information on this but a practitioner could certainly work one out for themselves, I’m sure. I have thankfully never had need to resort to this sort of divination, but Rollo Ahmed was a serious and dedicated magician so I have kept this in my book just in case.

Sep 19 2010

Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic

Scott Cunningham was the last of the old school Wiccans to churn out usable material for Llwellyan Books. Easy to understand, practical and most of all well documented spells and charms were the hallmark of this late author and his passing a few years ago left a great void in Wicca as a whole.

His Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic is a good introduction to his work and a must have reference for every practitioner’s book shelf. The basic knowledge of the properties of various gems and stones is something you will use again and again when creating your own rituals, or trying to understand the rites of others.

This preview from Scribd should wet your appetite for the whole thing. This is one book I recommend you own outright and not just rent from a library. There is a Kindle version as well for you e-readers so no excuses:

Encyclopedia of Crystal Gem and Metal Magic

Sep 17 2010

Burning Herring Heads Produces Visions

And a fishy odor that is heard to get rid of no doubt, but a reader emailed me about this little tidbit which I originally read in Kathryn Paulsen’s underrated beginner’s spellbook The Complete Book of Magic and Witchcraft which I thought was interesting enough to share.

Herring is fumigated to produce magical visions. “If one put the head of a fresh herring upon the coals to fumigate and he will get upon the house in the night, he will think all the stars run into one”

Paulsen cites Cyranus’ The Magick of Kirani, King of Persia (1685) as the source. As far as I know their are several copies of this work in academic libraries but few commercial versions. New York University has a copy.

Kitani is a fictitious King of Persia so this book is similar to the chap books popular at the time that attribute authorship to legendary magicians, like the Albertus Magnus.

To me the passage is unclear in it’s purpose. Are the visions a kind of divination or mystical experience? Likely, but it could also be a curse similar to the charms used to make people “think they were bears” etc, although since this involved burning fish in someones house I don’t see how this could work unless it was assumed that the victim would be unfamiliar with the rite and very trusting. I’ve been told that it is a way to “experience the cosmos” so to speak.

The herring, aside from being a tasty treat, has many curious superstitions around it. Some people believe eating a herring on the first day of the year will bring them luck, and according to The Encyclopedia of Superstitions the people’s of the Outer Hebrides believed that eating a salted herring, bones and all, in three bites would cause dreams foretelling the future.

Being married I cannot try this out myself, but I have a second hand Probatim on this. Anyone else who tries it please let me know how it turns out.

Sep 12 2010

Gareth Knight’s Magical Images and the Magical Imagination

Knight is a unsung hero in the occult and his books are worth reading though I honestly don’t put into practice much of his system, which is High Magic at it’s least or most pretentious depending on who you ask. However in terms of magical thought you’d do well to spend a week with some of his works. Magical Images and the Magical Imagination is a work of magical philosophy that has some use to all practitioners:

Knight, Gareth – Magical Images

Sep 7 2010

The Black Pullet

Otherwise known as The Treasure of the Old Man of the Pyramids, The Black Screech Owl, or Red Magic this little chap book that most know as The Black Pullet was once a staple of occult shops. The suspect origins of the book put many off, but the system of magic contained therein has an elegance which will appeal to the more traditional occultist and the techniques themselves make fun projects for the crafty (no pun intended) practitioner.

The process described in the book is simple, yet the execution is complex and requires time, dedication, skill and most importantly resources. Figures which are provided need to be embroidered on silk squares which are then used in conjunction with special rings (also specific to the rite and ideally created by the magician) for various purposes. The power of each talisman and ring is activated at will by hand gestures and the recitation of certain magical phrases.

I’ve owned the Pullet since my early years of practice but soon found simpler rites to achieve more reasonable results so I can’t vouch for their efficiency. Many of the results promised by this book of supposedly ancient secrets are criminal at best, concerned with magically burglarizing homes, creating earthquakes and spying on your neighbors. In that respect it is the pettiest of sorceries, but the techniques themselves I consider a kind of Ceremonial Magic.

It also comes in so many different version that many think the various titles are different books entirely. I have a 1984 Marlar Publishing edition called The Book of Magical Talismans which lists the author as Elbee Wright who wrote the Book of Legendary Spells. This version adds material that was culled from other occult chapbooks of that era.

The Trident Books version is available on Scribd:

Trident Books – The Treasure of the Old Man of the Pyramids

Hermetics.org has a .pdf available for download and there is a Kindle edition. Sacred-Texts has a complete history of the book.

I once saw one of the rings from the Pullet in a jewelry store call C’est Magnifique in NYC. For all of you New Yorkers not interested in learning to make your own rings they might be a good place to start looking for the rings involved.