United Kingdom: The Society of Esoteric Endeavour, 2019. First Edition. Hardcovers in Slipcase. Octavo, original green cloth. Issued in an edition of only 224 numbered copies, This being copy No. 25. Four books, a folder of literature, and magical accoutrements (a glass skrying ball, glass egg, & glass cylinder all wrapped separately in black silk, bonds for the crystal, envelopes containing snakeskin, beeswax, vervain leaves and vervain root), all housed in slipcase with secret compartment. COMPRISING:
William Dawson Bellhouse (Compiler and Scribe): A COMPLETE SYSTEM OF MAGIC.
Hardback 200pp, some diagrams, sigils etc. Decorated endpapers. The text is a complete transcription of a manuscript of a practitioner active in Liverpool, England in the late 1850s, his working magical book. This book provides the magical procedures that clients might seek from a Cunning Man. These include charms for healing with spells to staunch bleeding and stop cramp and heal burns. There are charms for love, to cause an errant son or daughter to return and to protect a building from evil. Clearly fear of malefic witchcraft was an issue as there are various counter measures including two procedures for using witch bottles. Theft and crime were problems and there is an elaborate procedure for bringing miscreants to light. The involves the creation of wax images. Whilst clearly its own text it does relate to the procedure disclosed by Reginald Scot but Bellhouse gives the "certeine peculiar characters" referred to by Scot, but not given, and conjurations, which Scot deliberately omits. The words of power to be inscribed upon the waxen images that Bellhouse gives are quite different from Scot suggesting that this was, very much, a living, evolving tradition. There is a section on the magical properties of naturally shed snakeskin, another on the occult properties of vervain. There are illustrated instructions for the preparation of planetary talismans.
Daniel Harms: WILLIAM DAWSON BELLHOUSE, GALVINIST, CUNNING MAN, SCOUNDREL.
Hardback book 29pp, illustrations. Decorated endpapers. This is a biography of the man and presents all that is known about him with considerable information concerning his practice of medical galvanism with the illustrations used by him in a leaflet he issued. The charges levelled against him are discussed. Excellent account of his sometimes chequered career.
Daniel Harms: WITCH BOTTLES, STEEL & GLASS.
Hardback book 52pp, some illustrations. Decorated endpapers. Witch bottles, being one of the most enduring artefacts of folk magical practice, are occasionally discovered and their contents investigated. The famous Essex Cunning Man known as Cunning Murrell famously used metal bottles in a manner akin to Bellhouse. Murrell's magic book was destroyed after his death. It is remarkable then to find the text of a 19th Century practitioner giving the procedures for their creation and use. This work explores possible origins of the practice, their use in both the Old and New World and discusses the nature of the practice.
Daniel Harms: WAX IMAGES, “VOODOO DOLLS”, FIGURINES, MANNIKINS & POPPETS.
Hardback book 60pp, some illustrations. Decorated endpapers. This creation of beings resonates with Jewish traditions regarding the Golem which emphasise the words and sigils that must be inscribed upon specific parts of the being's form. This makes Bellhouse's text particularly interesting. It is striking to find a 19th Century practitioner's magical book which has developed and expanded centuries old traditions. This work places Bellhouse's text in context by exploring the magical and religious use of wax figurines in the Ancient World, medieval and early modern image magic in Western Europe and their continued use into 18th century and modern times.
Anon. (Hugh Shimmin): LIVERPOOL MERCURY, LIVERPOOL LIFE Nos. II - XIII.
This series of twelve articles published in 1857 are presented, in emulation of their original appearance, as cuttings upon both sides of a folded sheet 76cm x 64cm. The deeply hostile journalist provides an eye-opening view of the occult in mid-19th Century Liverpool. His antipathy to seers like Bellhouse is extreme. He regards them as a threat to Victorian morality. He says the work hand in hand with the sex industry, very prominent in Liverpool at that time. He notes that many of them, like Bellhouse, were also herbalists and supplied aborticants to sex workers and recruited vulnerable girls. He also notes that horny women would seek them out for recreational sex as they thought their trade might insure them from any consequences, These articles describe the skrying techniques, the herbal remedies, the talismans, Bible and key divination, fairy magic, use of psalms, astrology, card reading etc. The journalist also discusses Liverpool mesmerists and spiritualist mediums well aware of the international movements. The latter's exploration of faery realms is curious. Shimmin is slightly more sympathetic to a lunatic seer who does not trade but has visions reminiscent of William Blake's in which he is the connection between heaven and earth for the benefit of humanity. Highly informative concerning the milieu in which Bellhouse worked.
FACSIMILE OF ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT. Two leaflets 64pp leaflet & 32pp leaflet, ribbon binding. (Not including the section copied directly from Agrippa, Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy - but this is included in the transcript) The facsimile is important as if provides signals as to whether sigils have been copied or created, different hands in compiling the manuscript, which pages were most used etc.
In addition to all these texts, a secret compartment accessed in the slipcase contains a glass skrying ball, egg and cylinder (all wrapped in black silk), bonds for the crystal, envelopes containing snakeskin, beeswax, vervain leaves and vervain root. These items are not pictured. Instructions for opening the secret compartment are contained on the limitation sheet. New. Item #311052