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RBML Saturday Spotlight: Forget Wands and Cauldrons. Books Are the Real Force in the History of Magic and Witchcraft

February 24 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm EST

Books Are the Real Force in the History of Magic and Witchcraft

Books have been integral to the practice of magic and its transmission over time. This is especially true when it comes to the more learned forms of magic, such as astrology, alchemy and the summoning of angels and demons. Books were also key to the development of the new stereotype of witches as engaged in a worldwide conspiracy against Christianity that led to the trial and execution of tens of thousands of people, mostly women, in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries and to the perpetuation of the memory (and sometimes the myth) of the witch-hunts.

Come explore the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library’s holdings and learn how books can not only illuminate the history of magic and witchcraft, but were also a crucial factor in how that history unfolded. Highlights will include the infamous Malleus Maleficarum, a 14-foot-long Kabbalistic scroll, a talisman used to ward off lightning and earthquakes and a manual to help you track your magical sins with paper tabs.

This Saturday Spotlight is curated by David Brewer, associate professor in the Department of English.


Ohio State University – Thompson Library
1858 Neil Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43210
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(614) 292-6785
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