Forthcoming – My Books on Bellhouse, Wax Images, and Witch Bottles

I’ve been waiting to announce this for years.

Caduceus Books is releasing a slipcased edition of short books written or edited by me, never seen before. Those who have listened to my folklore podcast know about my work with William Dawson Bellhouse, the 19th-century Liverpool cunning man and galvanist. Now, you can have a transcription of his book of magic, along with a facsimile of the original (most pages – we didn’t think you needed the Fourth Book  by pseudo-Agrippa again), and a small discussion of what we know about the man himself.

But wait! We’ve also got two short treatises on occult topics inspired by Bellhouse’s grimoire. One is on witch bottles, constituting the first book-length work on the topic. The other deals with wax images and their use in magic. Both are about fifty to sixty pages, with extensive endnotes and a bibliography.

But wait! We’ve also got reproductions of a multi-part exposé written for the Liverpool Mercury dealing with the city’s magical practitioners and occultists.

But wait! All of this appears in a handsome slipcase – which features a secret compartment. Inside this will be inserted (or not, depending on where you live – apparently Customs can get tricky about these things) magical diagrams, crystals similar to those used in Liverpool at the time, and other magical items, including a booklet so secret I don’t even know what’s in it.

Interested? Go to Caduceus Books and check it out. I’d suggest reading through the description, so you know precisely what you’re getting into.  It’s expensive – but after November 18, orders will be closed.

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Published in: on November 6, 2018 at 10:15 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is impressive!

  2. […] new book […]

  3. Hi Dan
    As someone who couldn’t afford this comprehensive collection (even if I had found out about it in time). I would like to ask if there would possibly be some future way to access the invaluable information?
    Jim Baker, author, Cunning Man’s Handbook (2014)

    • The project is what it is – but Ben an I will have a talk after it’s mailed out. I appreciate knowing that it’s of interest.

      Is there a particular section that caught your interest?

      • Hi Dan
        I don’t know whether you are familiar with my Cunning Man’s Handbook (published 2014 by Avalonia) – you haven’t reviewed it – but in it I tried to accurately describe the actual historical function of the Cunning Folk in opposition to the fantasies embraced by some modern enthusiasts. Therefore I was and remain interested in any historical information about folk magic practitioners to gain a rounded impression of their work, and also in any manuscript materials they used that survive. The two parts of the admittedly altogether fascinating collection in A System of Magic about William Dawson Bellhouse (whom I’d not come across) for me are his grimoire and even more so, the Liverpool Mercury series. I’m reluctant to subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive just to get those article since I’m not now researching the subject for publication, I just am curious to see if the information would have improved (or challenged) the book. I do have your Book of Oberon and am looking forward to buying Of Angels, Demons and Spirits (and waiting for your take on the Enodia Necromancy titles which I now have). Anyhow, thanks for answering – it’s just disappointing to know such material is beyond my reach. I would like to send you a chapter from the CMH as an example of how I’ve used the sources I had.
        Jim Baker

      • Jim,

        I am familiar with The Cunning Man’s Handbook – I haven’t reviewed it due to length, and also because it also keeps inspiring me to read the original sources, so I can’t get too far into it. I do like what I’ve read, though.

        I’ll keep in mind your preferences for republication. Thanks!

      • Hi Dan
        Thank you. I can quite understand the length being a barrier to review. I wrote it as a source for understanding the real historical Cunning trade, and made the decision to include rather full excerpts after being disappointed in 1963 with E. M. Butler’s excellent but tantalizing Ritual Magic, in which the quotes never quite gave enough information to see the full form of the cited materials. Of course, if she had done what I did, it would have also been forbiddingly long as a publication. You can understand why the I found your publication so intriguing. I therefore encourage you to make the fascinating Bellhouse material more generally available.
        Jim Baker


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