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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

black magic A form of magic performed for evil purposes, or in the view of religion, any magic that is not of divine origin, whether the intent is evil or not.
      Lewis Spence, in his Encyclopaedia of Occultism, writes in reference to this subject in medieval Europe:

      In Black Magic human perversity found the means of ministering to its most terrible demands and the possible attainment of its darkest imaginings. To gain limitless power over god, demon and man; for personal aggrandisement and glorification; to cheat, trick and mock; to gratify base appetites; to aid religious bigotry and jealousies; to satisfy public and private enmities; to further political intrigue; to encompass disease, calamity and death——these were the ends and aims of Black Magic and its followers.

      Mr. Spence did not doubt that these “ends and aims” were attainable. However magic of any hue has not, of itself, in any way altered the history of the world or of any particle in it despite the worst or best intentions of the magi.

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