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Magic, Witches and Devils in the Early Modern World

13 Jan 2016

How diabolical witchcraft and ghostly encounters inspired fear and curiosity - and our obsession with supernatural power

An exhibition at The John Rylands Library reveals how magic, diabolical witchcraft, and ghostly encounters inspired fear and curiosity on an unprecedented scale between the 15th and 18th centuries.

Rare texts, objects and stories uncover how people encountered supernatural forces and tried to protect themselves from these dangers. For instance, the 16th century ‘Book of Black Magic’ contains instructions for creating a special kind of oil that would enable its maker to talk to spirits. Or consider the ‘Compendium of Unnatural Black Magic’ which includes diagrams for the preparation of experiments designed to force unruly spirits to bend to the will of humans.

'Magic, Witches and Devils in the Early Modern World' illuminates the roots of our obsession with supernatural power and explores a world where the Devil was understood as a real and present danger in daily life.

The exhibition is free and open daily from 21 January - 21 August 2016.

For more information, visit:

Or join the conversation #jrlmagic