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A most certain strange and true discovery of a VVitch

A most certain, strange and true discovery of a witch. Being taken by some of the Parliament forces, as she was standing on a small planck board and sayling on it over the river of Newbury. [London], John Hammond, 1643; quarto. Sp Coll Ferguson Al-x.57

The pamphlet, written during the Civil War, describes how the witch was fired at by soldiers of the army of the Earl of Essex, “but with a deriding and loud laughter … she caught their bullets in her hands and chew’d them”. Eventually however one of the soldiers succeeded in shooting her. The title page of the pamphlet bears a woodcut, which shows the witch sailing on her plank on the river. It is bound with eight other seventeenth century tracts on witchcraft.

This book forms part of a virtual exhibition on the University of Glasgow Special Collections website. The Damned Art is an exhibition of books relating to the history of witchcraft and demonology, drawn mainly from the Ferguson collection. John Ferguson (1837-1916), Regius Professor of Chemistry in the University of Glasgow from 1874-1915, was a keen book collector. In 1921, following his death, an important section of his private library, consisting of over 7000 books and some 300 manuscripts, was bought by the University. The greater part of the books in the Ferguson collection are on chemistry and alchemy but there are important smaller groups of books on witchcraft, magic, gypsies, astrology, Rosicrucians and Cabbalism.

Image can be viewed at Glasgow University Library Special Collections on Level 12. or at https://www.flickr.com/photos/uofglibrary/5497116328/

University of Glasgow Special Collections

The University of Glasgow Special Collections span over 2,000 years of human activity. The University has been accumulating items of historical importance since its foundation in 1451. Early donations to the library that still survive include books donated by the Scottish humanist poet George Buchanan in 1578. Since then acquisitions have included the bequest of William Hunter’s library, artist James McNeill Whistler’s letters from the early 20th century and more recently the Scottish Theatre Archive. Access to the collection, housed on the 12th floor of the University’s Library, is free, allowing you to delve into a unique archive.

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