The Academy Library’s card catalog, in service since the late nineteenth century, has a drawer devoted to witchcraft. Witches were pursued in earnest in Europe for centuries, culminating in the witch trials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The historical record offers many accounts of occult practices and witch-hunting manuals.
Attention to magical tricks-of-the-trade, over time, will serve you well in your studies, and may prove to have practical applications.
Disclaimer: This exhibition is not licensed or endorsed by Warner Bros. or J.K. Rowling.
Aspiring Ministry of Magic officers enrolled in History of Magic may find this 1942 pamphlet indispensible in expanding their knowledge of American studies. On Halloween, the pamphlet tells us, "None of the devilment of this season is at all necessary, so one has the right to feel that 'witches' do live and cause all kinds of trouble: they rarely are caught." American witches and wizards, time to get out those invisibility cloaks!
This little black book with the steeply pointed clasps advertises its contents as "magic" on the spine, but crack it open and you'll find the most influential manual for witch hunting published in France in the sixteenth century. First published in 1580 (this edition is from 1593), Jean Bodin's Demonomanie argues that any measure necessary should be applied in order to catch practitioners of sorcery, including allowing children to testify against their parents.
Too bad the infant Dudley Dursley didn't get his Aunt Lily's magical abilities....this spellbinding babe is a dead ringer for Harry Potter's first cousin, minus his trademark scowl. Chubby's Magic Book, an advertising pamphlet for Fletcher's Castoria, administered to counteract indigestion, was one of many pamphlets produced by patent medicine manufacturers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It also contains images printed in invisible ink. As Hermione might say, "Aparecium!"
Possible History of Magic exam question: what happened when Giambattista della Porta, the author of this 1558 book on natural magic, was called a "Neapolitan sorcerer" by the French witch hunter Jean Bodin? Della Porta's book explained that some women accused of witchcraft may have used herbal lotions that contained hallucinogenic properties, prompting them to imagine they could fly. With a little luck, Flourish and Botts Bookseller may have a copy; you'll also find creative applications for mandrake and other medicinal plants in these pages.