If you thought one horror-themed episode this season was enough, you thought wrong! If there’s one thing we’ll always do, it’s our annual Halloween episode.
This week, we venture into the spookier (and less witch-hunty) side of grimoires. What are they? Who used them? Do they really count if they’re published using a printing press instead of written by hand? You’ll hear what spells we’d like if we had our own grimoires and get the details on a deadly farting curse that led to the death of a young Icelandic man and his father.
We also cover four of the most infamous grimoires in Western magical history.
In the days of the Spanish Inquisition, owning a grimoire with its roots in Islamic and Hebraic tradition was much riskier than the actual practice of witchcraft. Also, the Picatrix grimoire just plain grossed people out with potion recipes that called for human and animal bodily fluids. Baboon blood, anyone?
The Lesser Key of Solomon
This grimoire is especially famous for its Ars Goetia section, which catalogs 72 different demons along with their resumés and job titles. We obviously talk about Hereditary and King Paimon, whose qualities are drawn straight from this book, but also lesser known entities like the demons of junior high slumber parties—Amy and Furfur. (Just kidding, we’re sure they’re just as scary as everyone else.) Also, we swear we didn’t mean to do this, but there are 72 different demons in the Ars Goetia, and this happens to be Episode 72. OooooOOOoo scaaaaary…
The Petite Albert
One of the most famous bits of this grimoire is its instructions to make a legendary Hand of Glory. Corinne reads the instructions aloud, and we try to troubleshoot using the hand to successfully rob a house that is packed to the gills with children.
The Grand Grimoire
Watch out for this one! It shows you how to summon the devil! Well, not the devil exactly. Just his prime minister, whose name certainly sounds like a bastardized version of Lucifer. Content warning: Corinne reads the invocation, but so far, nobody’s gotten a visit from the Prime Minister of Hell. We’re guessing he may have quit his job. 😉
Sources and Shout Outs
- A PDF of the Episode 72 Transcript
- Our main source — Grimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen Davies
- The Book of Grimoires: The Secret Grammar of Magic by Claude Lecouteux
- Emily Edwards on Twitter and the link to order her books
- Even more proof that ravens are magical creatures
- Al Cummin’s discussion of Grimoires on Rune Soup
- Hereditary: The Complete History of King Paimon | Horror History
- The Southern Bramble Podcast — Episode 16
- YouTube deep-dive: The Lesser Key of Solomon – Early History of Solomonic Magic and Goetia
- The text of the Grand Grimoire
- Need more chaos in your life? Watch Basket Case
- The text of The Lesser Key of Solomon