Department of Forgotten Knowledge and Cursed Books
More commonly referred to as the 'Library', this Department
is home to rare reference works on the occult, magic and the bizarre, as well as
mythical grimoires (books of spells), a collection of rare works of
fantastic literature, books on conjuring and prestidigitation and old
recordings, as well as texts written, painted and engraved in dead and
Formulae and potions are analysed in the Museum's laboratory,
such as the elixir of life concocted from a formula found in a witch's
grimoire dating from 1792. The
elixir had the unfortunate effect
of driving one of our staff members insane.
There is every indication that his
is going to be extended
The Library is the main tool of the Rituals and Invocations
Section at the Foundation for the Exploration
of Dreams. The Grimoires Section may only be consulted by sensitives
who are allowed access to this part of the Surnateum and who are
Below is a brief glimpse of the
Library, which contains over 8,000 books,
magazines and documents.
- Ethiopian manuscript (Inv. SBB/gm-32074-192 18th century:
Ethiopian book of prayers used by dabtara, written in the Ge'ez
used in healing rituals.)
- Ethiopian magic scroll (Inv. SBB/gm-43192 Ethiopian magic
scroll written in Ge'ez; the length of the scroll is the same as
the owner's height. Used as an amulet. 19th century.)
- Mongol manuscript (Inv. SBB/gm-32074-375)
- Grimoire de Sorcellerie [Book of Sorcery] (Inv. Sbb/gm-32074-584 Book of cures,
handwritten in 1792, some of these recipes have had a strange
effect on the experimenter.)
- L'Albert Moderne (Inv. SBB/gm-59431 edition from 1769
that once belonged to a clairvoyant named Sibille, otherwise
known as Mademoiselle Lenormand.)
- Suite du recueil des remèdes faciles et domestiques de
madame Fouquet [Follow-up to Madame Fouquet's compendium of easy domestic
remedies] (Inv. SBB/gm-01474 edition from 1701, copy that belonged
to De Buis, a canon)
- Liber Oneiromicon (Inv. SBB/gm-56149),
literally the 'Secret Book of Dream Images', also called the 'Book of the 7
Gateways to the Dream'. Sole copy of a work around which the entire Surnateum
revolves, and without which neither the Museum nor the Institute
would exist. Consists of several books within a book, and can be
interpreted on various levels. Reserved for the exclusive use of
Collectors and Curators, it describes how to activate the haunted
antiques ('hauntiques') in the museum's collection. This copy contains some of
the original documents displayed on the site and provides
information that can be used to identify Collectors. Reading this
work will either endow the reader with amazing powers or drive him
permanently insane. The books of spells, the Liber Oneiromicon,
the Necronomicon, the Scroll
and Negromicon by Masklyn ye Mage are all genuine urban legends
and surface from time to time in private collections, to the great
displeasure of their detractors.
- Dayak (?) book of spells (Inv. SBB/gm-74341) Donated to the
museum by our correspondent at the Museum of Cursed Antiquities in Minneapolis,
this small Dayak (?) book of spells made of bone and bamboo
describes a rite for invoking insectoid creatures.
- Magical calendar by Croze and Orazi (Inv. SBB/gm-75214)
Extremely rare magical calendar for the year 1896 created by the
poet Croze and the Italian painter Orazi. A masterpiece of Art
Nouveau, this calendar was designed in 1895 for the following year
and is one of the jewel's in the museum's collection. Of the
original 777 copies, only two or three remain - and they are held
in private collections. Contains the most effective rituals and
invocations ever described in occult literature.
- The Scroll of Masklyn ye Mage (Inv. SBB/gm-07453) Not as old as
it looks at first glance, this scroll produced by Masklyn ye Mage
contains sufficient information for the Surnateum's apprentice
invocators. Associated with the works of Ludwig 'Punx' Hanemann (Setzt Euch zu Meine Füssen)
'Doc' Shiels (Daemons, Darklings and Döppelgangers), as
well as with Bob Lynn and Tony Andruzzi's magazine Invocation.
- Dragon Rouge et Poule Noire [Red Dragon and Black Hen]
(Inv. SBB/gm-14724, circa 1880)
- Tabot (tablet of the law) (Inv. SRS/tl-30474) Ethiopia, around
the 4th century AD, this tablet was said to be held in the Ark of
- Arab document (Inv. SBB/gm-27423) Arab document, probably
dating from the 15th century, used by H.P. Lovecraft, an American
author of fantastic and imaginative literature, as the source
for his Necronomicon. The document, which would appear to be a
sort of family tree, once decoded and reactivated by a sensitive,
can open a gateway to the Old Ones. Not advised.)
- Rare documents
- Dictionnaire infernal (Inv. SBB/dr-17024-vol.1 to 4 Collin
de Plancy ed. 1825-1826 4 vol.) The rarest and most
sought-after edition of this work. Contains 16 full-page
engravings and a facsimile of Urbain Grandier's Pact.
- Les Mystères de la
Science [The Mysteries of Science] (Inv.SBB/DR/lf-30141) by Louis Figuier (1860)
Vol. 2 Aujourd'hui [Today] (Paris, A la Librairie Illustrée) - Acquired
by the Surnateum in 2002
- Confessions of a Ghost
- Carte de la Barbarie,
de la Nigritie et de la Guinée [Map of
Barbary, Nigritia and Guinea] (Inv. SRS/BN/prd-50942)
Published in Paris in 1707 by Guillaume de l'Isle,
this edition is taken from the Atlas Nouveau (1730)
Amsterdam (Jean Covens et Corneille Mortier, Geographers)
- Curiosités Infernales (Inv.SBB/LR/lp-74012) Bibliophile
Diables, Bons Anges, Fées, Elfes, Follets et Lutins, Esprits
Familiers, Possédés et Ensorcelés, Revenants,
Lamies, Lémures, Larves, Vampires, Prodiges et Sortilèges,
Animaux Parlants, Présages de Guerre, de Naissances, de
- Histoire des Fantômes et des Démons [History
of Phantoms and Demons] (Inv. SBB/dr-01481
Collin de Plancy ed. 1819) (By the same author as the Dictionnaire Infernal,
this work is also extremely rare and highly sought-after.)
- Histoire des Sciences Occultes (Inv. SBB/dr-01402
Count de Résie, published 1850, 2 volumes) Little information
is available on the author of this work.
- Dictionnaire des Superstitions, erreurs, préjugés
et Traditions Populaires où sont exposées les croyances
superstitieuses des temps anciens et modernes, répandues
surtout dans les populations agricoles, pastorales et maritimes,
touchant les esprits de l'air, de la terre et des eaux, les possessions
diaboliques, le monde des fées et celui des sorciers, les
pressentiments, les songes, les visions et les apparitions, les
prédictions, etc., etc. etc. (Inv. SBB/dr-17024,
Barrière d'Enfer de Paris, published by M. J.- P. Migne,
coll. Troisième et dernière Encyclopédie
Théologique, 1856, single volume, 23 pp. (Introduction)
+ 1338 pp., fine quarter-leather binding with 5 bands ,
- Le Diable au XIXè siècle [The Devil in
the 19th Century] (Inv. SBB/dr-19512
published by Docteur
Bataille 1892-1895) (Extremely rare original edition in two
volumes of the fantastic and provocative work by the pseudo-doctor Bataille,
about a so-called Satanic Masonic sect called Le Palladisme. Leo Taxil
and Dr Charles Hacks.
The contents, although dubious in the extreme, are not devoid of
- Traité sur les apparitions des Esprits, et sur les vampires
ou les revenans de Hongrie, de Moravie, &c. [Treatise
on Apparitions of Spirits and on Vampires and Revenants from
Hungary, Moravia, etc.] (Inv. SBB/dr-14110-1
to 2 Don Augustin Calmet published1751 2 volumes) (Extremely rare
1751 edition of the first treatise on vampirism. There were
three consecutive editions in 1746, 1748 and 1751. The 1751
edition is the most complete and therefore the most sought-after.
Considered one of the first books devoted to vampirism, it is
also the first book with regard to which the Church officially recognised the existence of vampires.)
- Witchcraft trial sheet (Inv. SBB/dr-94004
- Les Travaux publiques et les Mines dans les traditions et superstitions
de tous les pays [Public Works and Mines in the
Traditions and Superstitions of All Lands] (Inv. SBB/dr-14899 Paul Sébillot Paris
1894. Work no. 356/770). Never reprinted,
this book is a gold mine (no pun intended) of information on
little known myths and legends about bridges and mines.
- Le Musée des Sorciers, Mages & Alchimistes [The
Museum of Sorcerors, Magi & Alchemists] (Inv. SBB/dr-30365 Grillot de Givry,
published in 1929;
first edition of this richly illustrated book about magic. An
uncommon work that is sought-after for its remarkable
- Témoignage de M. Deschamps [Account by Mr
Deschamps] (Inv. SBB/dr-13726
and SBB/dr-13727) Essential documents for the File on the Lance.
- Magia Sexualis (Inv. SBB/dr-33360 P.B. Randolph:
translated by Maria de Naglowska, published in 1931) autographed
translator, who dedicates the work to her secretary.
- Voyages Extraordinaires (Inv. SBB/dr-86135 Vol. 35:
L'enchanteur Faustus, Hamilton;
Le diable amoureux, Cazotte; Les lutins du
château de Kernozy, Comtesse de Murat published in 1789)
- Voyages Extraordinaires (Inv. SBB/dr-86134 T34: Count de Gabalis;
Le Sylphe amoureux; les Ondins Roberts; L'Amant Salamandre
published in 1788)
- Malleus Maleficarum (Inv. SBB/dr-35035
Sprenger et Institoris, 1st English translation, with an introduction
by the Reverend Montague Summers, published by John Rodker in 1928, no. 41
of a limited print-run of 1,275 copies)
- The Discovery of Witches (Inv. SBB/dr-10784) Matthew
Hopkins with a study by the Reverend Montague Summers, published
- La Grande Danse Macabre (Inv. SBB/dr-74211 reprint circa 1870)
- La Sorcière [The Witch] (Inv. SBB/dr-04046 Jules Michelet)
Extremely rare edition
from 1911, no. 300 of 1,300, with 69 original compositions
by Martin van Maele. The founding text of Wicca which is thought
to have influenced Margaret Murray, Sanders and Gardner.)
- Tricks and illusions
- Les Coussinets de la Princesse ou le jeu des Tomates par l'image
(Inv.SBB/pi-70294 Medjid K. Rezvani Paris 1950. Very rare book
on the cups and balls
as it is practised in Iran and India.)
- Expert at the Card Table (Inv. SBB/dr-69411 Erdnase,
published 1902 by Frederick Drake and Co. Chicago). First
contemporary work on cheating, reprinted on numerous occasion.
There are only two known copies of the second edition (the rarest
of all editions). The Surnateum library holds both copies, which
differ ever so slightly from each other.
Core text for the Museum's Cheating and Fraud Section.
The true identity of the book's author, S.W. Erdnase,
is unknown and has led to much speculation.
- Cards as Weapons (Inv.SBB/pi-74109 Ricky Jay. A treatise on
the art of throwing, scaling, juggling, boomeranging and manipulating
ordinary playing cards with particular emphasis on impressing
one's friends and providing a deadly yet inexpensive means of
self-defense. A Darien House book, NY 1977). A work on magical
self-defence that every Investigator would be well advised to read.
- The Compleat Invocation (Inv.SBB/pi-17395 Bob Lynn and Tony Andruzzi. Original
copy of the celebrated American magazine published in 3 volumes by Richard Kaufman.)
- Collection of first editions of the works of Dai Vernon.
- Complete collection of works on prestidigitation
and conjuring published in French by Payot
- Our Magic (Inv.Sbb/pi-36731), Nevil Maskelyne and David Devant.
- Complete collection of the works of Tony Slydini
- Légendes Urbaines (Inv.SBB/pi-56214 Christian Chelman,
1999, published by Joker de Luxe in a limited edition of 500
copies; no longer available. Often wrongly associated with the tight-knit
world of 'bizarre magick', this book brings imaginative and fantastical
storytelling magic into the realm
of general prestidigitation. Chelman blurs the lines between fantastic literature,
storytelling, contemporary theatre, antique collecting,
magic, shamanism and prestidigitation.
- Works of fantastic fiction
- Sortilèges (Inv. SBB/of-04156a Michel de Ghelderode,
1941 published by De l'Essor. Original copy of the book,
contains a text (Eliah le Peintre) that was not included
in later editions.)
- Sortilèges (Inv. SBB/of-04156b Michel de Ghelderode,
1947 published by Maréchal). Includes a letter from the
author to Michel Bailly, in which he mentions the influence of the
painter Ensor on his works.
- Le Livre des Fantômes (Inv. SBB/of-58418), Jean Ray
- Small collection of the works of Jean Ray
- Dante's Inferno (The Vision of Hell) (Inv.SBB/of-28411 Dante
Alighieri published and illustrated by Gustave Doré, translated by the Rev. Henry Francis Cary, M.A. Cassel &
- The Tale of Lohengrin (Inv.Sbb/of-52742 after the drama
Wagner by T.W. Rolleston, presented by Willy Pogany Harrap and co.
London, no. 161/525, Cover in parchment gilded in fine gold with
a letter by Georges Harrap.)
- Rhésus (Inv.Sbb/of-40065 Christian Chelman,
illustrated by Yves Swolfs. Printed in 500 copies numbered from 1
to 500, and 70 author's edition copies numbered from EA1 to 70.
This example, belonging to the author, bears number EA 6/70 and contains an
original illustration by Yves Swolfs dedicated to Christian Chelman.
A novel in the form of a travel diary, this book reproduces
the text of the Hunter recorded on wax cylinders in 1906.)
- La Fée aux Miettes (Inv.SBB/of-83110 Charles Nodier, illustrations
by Jacques Ferrand, published by Corti 1947, copy 1/270)
- Dracula (Inv.SBB/of-14759) Bram Stoker, second US
edition, 1904 edition with a very rare green cover (the cover is usually red).
Published by Doubleday,
Page & Co. New York 1904.
- Dracula's Guest and Other Weird Stories (Inv.SBB/of-14763 Bram
Stoker, London Routledge & Sons, Ltd 1914.) Contains the
first chapter, which is missing from the celebrated short story Dracula.
- La vie exécrable de Guillemette Babin, Sorcière
(Inv.SBB/of-86749 Maurice Garçon, l'Edition d'art H. Piazza,
Paris 1926). Duotone drawings and illustrations by Bernard Zuber.
Very interesting work describing an 'ideal' witchcraft trial,
described by an eminent lawyer.
- La Merveilleuse histoire de Pierre Schlémihl (Inv.SBB/of-34855
Adalbert de Chamisso, with a preface by Pierre Mac Orlan and
duotone illustrations engraved on wood by Siméon.
Ed. de la Banderole Paris 1921, printed on handmade paper,
limited to 449 copies, no. 1/449.)
- Recording on wax cylinders, associated with Rhesus
1 (audio version)