Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 9 years ago

Regarding Witchcraft in history - have any "Books of Shadows" ever been found and/or placed in museums?

A while back, partly because of a friend (She was Wiccan) - I decided to learn more about her religion, partly because it's something that has always interested me, and of course - so as I could better understand where she was coming from with her points of view on certain things.

During my research/learning, I discovered WHAT a "Book of Shadows" is, and where the name comes from, which led me back to things like the Salem Witch Trials and the Witch Trials in England - which in turn, has led me to wonder if any of these books/diaries have ever been placed in a museum.

Assuming of course they've been proven to exist, and discovered.

You see, I also read that the idea of a book or diary kept by a supposed Witch (female or male), or a Coven, was just another lie created by the accusers to make their claims seem more plausible, but of course on the other hand - nobody would own up to keeping a diary full of spells, ingredients, or rituals - if they knew they could be killed for it...

hence my question.


Incidentally, I didn't use the word "Warlock" to describe a male...believer - because I read that it's derogatory and in a similar vein to other racist terms such as shylock or wop.

Update 2:

To maiin:

I realized that myself as I read about the Trials - it always annoys me, the injustice of it all... :(

7 Answers

  • 9 years ago
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    Wicca is at most 70 years old.

    The "Old Religion" theories have been debunked since the 70s. They have never been discovered and pretty much proven not to exist, though some kind of book/journal had long been popular in esoteric practices, like grimoires of ceremonial magic.

    There were absolutely no Witches, covens and definitely no Wiccans in Salem.

    Source(s): 20 years being a Wiccan Witch
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  • 9 years ago

    Since Wicca is such a new religion, it's doubtful any legitimate museum would be interested in an original Book of Shadows from a Wiccan coven... the oldest one could only be 70 years old. Also, since Wicca is still practiced, it's a protected document passed down only to coven members and wouldn't be available to the public, not even through a museum.

    Modern Wiccan BOSs have been published and can be purchased, but these aren't the traditionalists books.

    As far as early grimours, I haven't a clue. I'm sure some documents describing witchcraft rituals may survive and may even be in some museum collections, but I would guess mostly for scholarly study, not for general display and I'm betting copies of the infomration they contain have been published in some form.

    IT would also be hard to tell, as you point out, whether such documents were authentic or if they were part of a smear campaign against someone. The largest collections of information about 'witchcraft' to survive is part of the records kept by inquisitors during the Spanish Inquisition and it's related witch-hunts.


    Source(s): eclectic neo-pagan witch
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  • 9 years ago

    I have NO idea where you're getting your information. Wicca is a 20th century religion. it has zero to do with people accused of witchcraft hundreds of years ago (most of whom were completely innocent Christians) Wicca was formed by Gerald Gardner, and he got the name "Book of Shadows" from a sanskrit document on divination. He borrowed the term because he liked the term.

    Historically, most people working folk magic were completely illiterate. They had no magical diaries. And these workers of folk magic were *not* witches. They would not call themselves witches, and they were not accused of witchraft because they were workers of folk magic. Quite the opposite, they wee often used as expert witnesses in witchcraft trials. Historical witchcraft means "malevolent worker of magic." it doesn't mean any magical worker, and it doesn't denote a religion.

    There are no Books of Shadows in museums because they didn't exist until the 20th century. The victims of the witch trials owned no such equivalent documents, both because they were often illiterate but also because they weren't actually guilty of anything.

    Source(s): Wiccan and historian
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  • 9 years ago

    The "Book of Shadows" is a recent creation, first used by Gardner roughly around the creation of his Wiccan religion. There are no 'Ancient' Books of Shadows because those who practiced such crafts, orally passed down their traditions, due to many of them being largely illiterate (reading being a privilege reserved only for those of wealth and power).

    During the "Trials" no one actually accused of Witchcraft were actually Witches. They were all victims of unfortunate circumstance and wild accusation.

    Source(s): Witch
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  • ?
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    No. It seems to have originated with Wicca. Though there are couple of grimoires, it seems those are mainly from the 15th - 18th centuries CE (AD). But, of course, we don't have many complete manuscripts of anything from ancient times... we mainly have fragments... but it seems some believe this idea of the grimoire (which is very similar to the BOS in the fact they hold spells, natural knowledge of herbs, etc...) originated in Egypt... But I honestly don't know how solid that info is as I haven't really found much to support it other than fragments (which could be from anything really).

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  • 9 years ago


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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    the book of shadows is in hollywood. they used it for the charmed series

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