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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

grimoire A “black book” of magic, a manual for invoking magical forces. There are a number of famous examples of this type of document.
      The grimoire of Pope Honorius III, titled the Constitution of Honorius, was written in the thirteenth century and printed in 1629 at Rome, the earliest known such book. The book describes methods of calling up spirits (conjuration), including the sacrifice of a black cock or a lamb as part of the procedure.
      A grimoire titled The Key of Solomon the King (Clavicula Salomonis, actually of medieval origin) was a popular reference work in the Middle Ages, giving instructions on summoning demons, finding buried treasure, proper magician's costume, perfumes, and how to construct the magic circle. An extract from this tome reads (I:7):  

      Come ye, Angels of Darkness; come hither before this Circle without fear, terror or deformity, to execute our commands, and be ye ready both to achieve and to complete all that we shall command ye.

      No doubt hundreds of expectant magi chanted these lines until blue in the face without any other noticeable result.

One of the famous grimoires, the Red Dragon, published along with another, The Black Chicken.

      Other famous grimoires were Little Albert, Necronomicon, the Red Book of Appin, the Red Dragon, and Zekerboni.

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Copyright (C) 1995-2007 James Randi.

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