The Sixth and Seventh Book of Moses, Moses' Magical Spirit-Art
This book I originally owned in two editions:
The 1916 edition in green, and I believe the other edition was 1920 or so.
In the Victorian Era, it was commonplace to respect and communicate with the dead. From daguerreotypes of children and adults who have passed, to Victorian picnics on a relative's grave on a Sunday as a way of bringing the family closer to the deceased. It was believed that the spirits of loved ones were closest to earth in graveyards, and therefore, it was not unusual to spend time in that location as a sign of respect.
This book appears to have it's origins in the mid to late 1800's though a reviewer on Amazon states that the writer appears as early as post-1500's. The book offers spells and magical formulas of "The Old Ancient Writings and Famous Manuscripts of the Hebrews". It is certainly a fun book, full of hand-constructed tables, White Magic and references to Black Magic too.
In addition to the spells, my book came with a bit of melted purple wax from a previous owner, to infuse the seriousness of the spells. The pictorial examples display Hebrew, Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Greek, Arabic, Latin and Victorian symbology referring to death. As a rank amateur historian, I have a few problems with this book or the historical references discussed.
To begin, the book makes copious references to "Famous Manuscripts of the Hebrews." No manuscript of Ancient Hebrew that I am aware of included Latin, Victorian Symbols, Egyptian Hieroglyphics and the more modern day Aramaic. In addition, Latin began during the Roman empire (6th century BC to the 1st century BC), and that period was after the ancient Hebrew manuscripts were written, by just a few years.
The Hebrew in this book is hand-written, and unfortunately has a variety of problems: Some Hebrew letters are backwards or sideways, are incorrectly displayed and the final Hebraic letters ending the sentences are not displayed correctly. There are numerous grammatical errors which could be intentional, however, if these were taken "from ancient Hebrew manuscripts" the writer should not have used the modern handwritten form of Hebrew, but should have stayed with the formal Hebrew from documents, also known in circles as Hebrew Calligraphy or Calligraphic Hebrew. Some Hebrew letters are not factually based, but appear to be made up symbols, representing certain Hebrew letters known to exist 5000+ years ago.
In addition, Hebrew isn't the only language that appears to be mangled. The Latin also isn't grammatically correct, with incorrect familiar deritives of the root. And since when did the Ancient Hebrews mix the grammer with latter day Latin?
The English translation is period correct for the late 1800's but incorrect for the transliteration of common bibical names and these names are presented with old-fashioned grammatical spellings, thus making the spells incorrect by the incantation of the names included. Lots of fun to try if you want to, but if you are a serious student studying this antique book as a source of spells, it starts the student off incorrectly in multiple ways.
So why is this book still popular and why did it survive all these years?
The Edwardian era introduced the "dawn of new age" and ushered in the Victorian thought about death. Most persons believe that Queen Victoria was responsible for "long periods of mourning" but this is factually incorrect. The Victorian attitude to death and mourning was already in place before the Victorian era, and death was an event in which people reached out through seances, study and respect of the dead.
Since the Victorians didn't have television, it was common practice to have evening events such as seances, and books like these flourished, along with many practitioners of the "dark arts". There were many entertainers and charlatains participating in communicating with the dead. To have this type of book at your disposal as a cheap pulp hardbound book meant that you could bring the spirits into your home, without hiring a professional. And you could have your close friends and relatives participate, honoring your loved ones.
It's a fun book, and despite the errors, it's quite an entertaining read. You can get it on Amazon in a modern reproduced copy for as little as $6.
I traded the red copy for the Costume Book above. If memory serves me correctly, I paid $150 for the red edition, thus making the trade a fair one for everyone concerned.