First published in 1680, A Discovery of the Impostures of Witches and Astrologers by John Brinley is an important example and contemporary account of the establishment’s ideas, beliefs and debate surrounding the practices of witchcraft, magic and divination that lay behind the approved persecution of witches and other practitioners.
Revealed is an acceptance of the existence of witches, the reality of the Devil and the position of magic as deeply integral to everyday life, alongside a denial of the powers possessed by witches and the abilities claimed by magical practitioners such as the Cunning Folk. Belief in them is asserted to be the product of superstition, and the efficacy of their operations is attributed to the delusions and trickery of the Devil or the deceptions of the charlatan.
With kind permission of the Museum of Witchcraft, this edition, presented by Troy Books, is transcribed from an original copy held in the Museum’s research archive. As closely as possible, the appearance and feel of the original text is carefully reproduced, alongside photo-plates of selected original pages for reference.
The present edition is issued with foreword by writer, researcher and assistant curator at the Museum of Witchcraft; Joyce Froome.