Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Teasers and 'More Wonders of the Invisible World' by Robert Calef

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Source: Cornell Witchcraft Collection
This week I'm sharing something rather different and please bare with me on this. Magic and witchcraft are purely an academic interest of mine, although I'd still quite happily accept a Hogwarts letter if it ever arrived. But I'm fascinated by the intensity with which magic and witchcraft were studied and how at times believing in them was even seen as necessary to being a good Christian and then seen as utter Heathen drivel. Anyways, the brilliant Cornell University Library has updated its online Witchcraft Collection (yes, that exists and it's awesome) and I thought it'd be fun to share some of it with you. Don't worry, I'm not bewitching you!


Invisible World, 
Display'd in Five Parts

Part I. An Account of the Sufferings of Margaret Rule, Written by
the Reverend Mr. C. M.
P. II. Several Letters to the Author, &c. And his Reply relating
to Witchcraft
P. III. The Differences between the Inhabitants of Salem Village, and
Mr. Parris their Minister, in New-England.
P. IV. Letters of a Gentleman uninterested; Endeavoring to prove
the received Opinions about Witchcraft to be Orthodox. With short
Essays to the Answers.
P. V. A short Historical Account of Matters of Fact in that Affair
To which is added, A Postscript relating to a Book intitled, The

Yup, pretty much everything is in this book from Salem  and the opinions of Cotton Mather. Calef actually denounced the witch trials in Salem so I'm interested to read what he thought. Tuesday Intros and Teaser Tuesdays are hosted by Diane over at Bibliophile by the Sea and Jenn over at Books and a Beat.

'The Epistle to the READER.
And more especially to the Noble Boreans of this Age, wherever Residing.
Gentlemen,You that are freed from the Slavery of a corrupt Education; and that in spite of human Precepts, Examples and Presidents, can hearken to the Dictates of Scripture and Reason:For your sakes I am content, that those Collections of mine, as also my Sentiments should be exposed to public view; In hopes that having well considered and compared them with Scripture, you will see reason, as I do, to question a belief so prevalent (as that here treated of) as also the practice flowing from thence; they standing as nearly connext as cause and effect; it being found wholly im-practicable, to extirpate the latter without first curing the former.' p.1
You have to love the self-important tone of 17th century "scholars", but I do like how Calef is feels that education is a big part in forming wrong opinions. However, I don't really think everything should be compared and contrasted against Scripture because that just leads to a different kind of dogma.

'Yet this is manifest, that the belief of the Witches power to do the things above mentioned, is an ancient belief of the Heathen. And that from them it was received by the Papists, as a part of their Faith, who have since improved upon it, and brought in the notion of a Covenant. But it seems yet a further improvement lately made by the Protestants, that such Witches can Commissionate Devils to do those mischiefs, thereby setting the Witch in the place of God' p.95
I like how Calef is basically putting the witchcraft craze down to the diluting of an idea, of how it is picked up by different strands of Christianity and exaggerated until it erupts into the Salem trials.

So, what did you think? Would you like to dig into library archives of century old books and find out more about witchcraft? And what are you teasing?


  1. Hi Juli, I found that intro to be a tough one to get through. Just not my k`ind of story I'm guessing. I do hope you enjoy it.

  2. I too doubt I could make it through a whole book -- but enjoy.

  3. What a fascinating book, but probably not one I could manage. Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “FRICTION”

  4. Seems quite an intense read

  5. I'm not sure I'd be able to wade through this! However, if I were fascinated by witchcraft as you are, I can see how it would be appealing. Enjoy!
    My Tuesday post features a mystery thriller: THE SHADOW CARTEL.

  6. How fascinating! I can see why you would be drawn to this. I can see myself reading books like this at some point--although probably not right now. The subject matter interests me too.

  7. I find the topic interesting, but I think the content is too intense for me. Glad you seem to be sinking your teeth into it!!! My teaser this week is a cozy mystery that is first in a series I just discovered by Nancy Atherton. Definitely a much easier read than yours! http://abookaddictsview.blogspot.com/2016/04/teaser-tuesday.html