EVERYTHING around Halloween time takes on an eerie, sinister tone.
So it was particularly creepy when archivists at Chatsworth House stumbled upon a 500-year-old spell book in the stately home’s library.
The book, with its scuffed red leather binding and yellowed pages, has the appearance of something from a Harry Potter film.
But this isn’t fiction.
Known as Clavicula Salomonis, the spell book - also referred to as a ‘grimoire’ - is believed to be from the Renaissance period.
The text - like many grimoires of the time - has been attributed to the book of spells King Solomon wrote for his son, Rehoboam, 2,000 years ago.
Chatsworth’s Clavicula Salomonis consists of two volumes - each written in Latin and each peppered with intricate diagrams of occult imagery such as the pentagram.
The first book contains dozens of spells and the second is dedicated entirely to exorcism.
Hannah Obee, curator at Chatsworth House, said: “I was a bit spooked by the second book - I really didn’t like reading about that.”
There is also a section of the book dedicated to demon worship, with instructions on how to summon a spirit for help with lost items or even one’s love life.
There are also spells to find a thief and a spell to ‘render oneself invisible’.
“I read that someone had actually tried the invisibility spell, and they said that they sort of faded rather than disappearing completely!” said Hannah.
“They said they went to an event at which all their workmates were, and nobody recognised them. At that point I stopped researching it!”
Some of the spells require specific locations and items - such as wax dolls.
“We joke about witches and cauldrons and frogs’ legs, but the seriousness with which the spells in this book were written makes for chilling reading,” said Hannah.
Hannah has no idea how the book came to be in the Chatsworth although one family member, Henry Cavendish, was a scientist and most of Chatsworth’s books on herbal folklore can be traced back to him.
The Clavicula Salomonis is on show at Chatsworth until tomorrow, Sunday, October 30, 2011.
A TRANSLATION OF THE INVISIBILITY SPELL:
O thou Almiras, Master of Invisibility, with thy Ministers Cheros, Maitor, Tangedem, Transidim, Suvantos, Abelaios, Bored, Belamith, Castumi, Dabuel; I conjure ye by Him Who maketh Earth and Heaven to tremble, Who is seated upon the Throne of His Majesty, that this operation may be perfectly accomplished according to my will, so that at whatsoever time it may please me, I may be able to be invisible.”