Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Book of Forbidden Knowledge

It's 3:15 a.m. Do you know where Jodie is?

This small advertisement (2⅛ inches wide) appears toward the back of the February 1955 issue of Mystic Magazine, which was edited by Raymond A. Palmer and eventually became Search magazine.

Promoting The Book of Forbidden Knowledge, the advertisement promises a "strange, unusual book revealing the ancient, secret formula of Black Magic and Forbidden Knowledge," which would certainly be a 110% non-starter for the demon-fearing folks discussed in the previous post.

The book, offered by Del Monte Enterprises, also contained information on charms, talismans, mesmerism, crystal gazing, tea reading and more.

The price 63 years ago was $1.25, which would be about $11.50 today.

Can you get this book today? Yep. It ranges from 100% free (but full of garble) on to $500 for a fragile copy from 1932 on eBay. The happy medium (pun intended) — if you're seeking information about dreaming of your future husband or doing untoward things with crows, badgers or moles1 — would be to purchase a print-on-demand copy of the public-domain volume on Amazon for $5.90.

One Amazon review, however, warns that it's (gasp!) not a reliable source, except for its information on omens. Other reviewers call it silly or absurd, thus risking having themselves turned into newts. Another pegs it as "more for teens on sleep-overs or Halloween parties," while yet another amusingly complains: "Instructions unclear ... caught my horn in a demonic vortex. Please send help."

This 2017 review by C-Money is my favorite, though, because it's both educational and amusing:
"These were the dark texts of ancient times. If you love the old horror films of Universal, Vincent Price, Hammer, and others and have wondered about the ancient texts the villains use, well it is ones like these. These are the real life old magical grimoires of the past. Shady priests, witches, alchemists, and the lot used these books to summon ancient forces. Their power may work today if you believe and take it serious. It is interesting to note the influence of Judaism and Christianity in these works magnificently translated anew by Tarl Warwick."

1. The Book of Forbidden Knowledge states "If you carry the head of a crow upon your breast, all must love you who have dealings with you." Please, however, only use a live crow for this. With regard to crow beheadings in the name of black magic, we say: "Nevermore."

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