Welcome to the third spooky installment of Meg Piorko’s Weekly Picks!
The final Halloween themed rare book for the month of October (don’t worry—there will be more spooky content throughout the year)
The long title (translated from Latin) is Exorcism Manual: containing instructions for exorcism and casting out of evil spirits from possessed bodies, warding off evil, and checking for demon infestations
A note hidden behind the front paste-down reads, “This book will be carefully preserved in sacrifice, that it may be found easily when in need”
The Science of Demonology
Throughout history, demonology was a very real concern for people of religion and science alike. Within Christian theology, demons are considered the evil counterpart to angels of God. These evil spirits were thought to be masters of deception, and healing mortals afflicted with spirit possession required a scientific process of evaluation. Exorcism manuals, much like this one here at Falvey, provide methods of expulsion based on ancient references and depictions of demons from the Bible. St. Augustine even wrote about demonology—arguing that a spiritual contract exists between humans and demons.
A Practical Guide to Exorcism used by Doctors and Priests alike!
The front flyleaf has provenance notes that a medical doctor by the name of Walter Franklin Atlee (1828-1910) gifted this practical guide to exorcisms to Father Thomas Cooke Middleton (1842-1923)—who was the Villanova College Librarian for 58 years until his death.
“For Father Middleton from Dr Atlee”
“Thurs, June 6th 1895, I was presented with this book by Walter F. Atlee, M. D. 210 South 13th St., Phila.”
Villanova holds the papers of Father Middleton, including his correspondence with Dr. Atlee on topics ranging from religion, the soul, and secret societies. The men frequently switch to writing in Greek at the end of the letters, possibly to obscure information.
Not Scared Enough?
Are you craving more spooky Distinctive Collections material? Stop by our Halloween Exhibit Event on Monday, October 31st outside the Holy Grounds to see this Exorcism Manual for yourself as well as play some haunted games with DCDE staff.
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