From the Vault: Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, 1830

Thu, 10/22/2015 - 12:45pm -- Redwood Staff

Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft addressed to J.G. Lockhart, Esq., 1830

  A gift of the estate of Mrs. Andrew C. Wilson, this small book, Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft relates the devilish activities and pranks of demons, witches and other supernatural creatures. Need help getting rid of a pixie? How about those troublesome werewolves? This book is a collection of letters from Sir Walter Scott to his son-in-law, J.G. Lockhart, who worked for a publisher.

Written at a time when high society thought themselves enlightened by the advances in modern science, this book stands as an example of the simultaneous supernatural and superstitious beliefs of all social classes. Scott explores historical and modern accounts, and attempts to explain the psychological, physical and religious reasons behind the perpetuation of such beliefs.  As if the imaginings created by such stories and factual accounts weren’t enough, there are many colored etchings by George Cruikshank.

“Witches Frolic – Another frolic they had, when, like the weird sisters in Macbeth, they embarked in sieves with much mirth and jollity, the Fiend rolling himself before them upon the waves, dimly seen, and resembling a huge haystack in size and appearance. They went on board of a foreign ship richly laded with wines, where, invisible to the crew, they feasted till the sport grew tiresome, and then Satan sunk the vessel and all on board.”

Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft is available for research and viewing with a reference appointment.