by Montague Summers
A Dover edition.
"What is witchcraft? Who was the first witch? How does one become a practitioner of the "black arts?" These and many other questions are fully answered in this fascinating, expertly written historical overview of witchcraft and black magic. The work of noted English historian, essayist, critic, and biographer Montague Summers (1880 - 1948), one of the world's foremost authorities on the occult, the book draws on a wealth of diverse sources — from the Bible and literary classics to personal memoirs, correspondence, and court records — to explore the mysteries of sorcery and demonology.
Beginning with a definition of witchcraft, the author offers meticulous, thoroughly researched discussions of ceremonial practices, the casting of spells and conjuring practices, the use of wax images and figures, celebration of the Black Mass, the functions of incubi and succubi, the "evil eye," necromancy, the Sabbat, and much more.
A perplexing and puzzling figure during his lifetime, Summers maintained a sincere belief in the supernatural phenomena he so accurately described. These strong convictions helped to motivate the painstaking scholarship and devotion to detail of his works, including this highly regarded volume. Originally published in 1946, and hailed by critic H. L. Mencken as "learned, honest, and amusing," Summers's book is an indispensable resource for any devotee or student of the occult and the supernatural."