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Cursed Books: 6 Books Considered Cursed

Before there were new-fashioned things like cursed places and cursed phone numbers, people just had to settle for old cursed books. These books were usually spellbooks and magical texts. Many curse stories have also been added to novels, encyclopedias, histories, and even poetry collections. We have brought together the oldest and most famous cursed books in history for you. Here are the cursed books.

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1. Codex Gigas

Codex Gigas

If the power of damnation were only about the size of a book, the Codex Gigas, the Devil’s Bible, would probably be the most dangerous book ever written. Weighing 75 kg and nearly a meter high, the 800-year-old book is thought to be the largest surviving medieval manuscript in the world. The exact origins of the manuscript have been lost over time, but historians believe it was written between 1204 and 1230 in the Kingdom of Bohemia. According to the Swedish National Library, the book was named after Emperor II. It belonged to at least three different monasteries before Rudolf added it to his private book collection. During the Thirty Years’ War in 1648, it was claimed by the Swedish army and taken to Stockholm. It has been in the Swedish National Library since 1768.

Scientists believe that the Codex Gigas, which is among the cursed books, is the work of a single copyist. Written entirely in Latin, the book contains both the Old and New Testaments, along with Czech and Jewish historical texts. Among other things, the book includes an encyclopedia of geometry, legal, and entertainment information, medical treatises, hundreds of obituaries, several spells, and a calendar.

The book’s sinister reputation stems from a full-color portrait of the devil featured in its pages and a legend about how the image got there. According to folklore, the book is the work of a monk who broke his vow and was condemned to be locked alive inside the walls of the monastery. The monk makes a deal to save himself. If he could write a book containing all the knowledge of the world in a single night, his life would be spared. Realizing that the mission was impossible, the monk sold his soul to the devil, the devil helped him finish the book, and signed the book with his self-portrait.

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2. The Book of Soyga

The Book of Soyga

The Book of Soyga, also known as Aldaraia sive Soyga vocor, is a text that dates to at least the 1500s. It is known that the book belongs to John Dee, a famous 16th century sage. Dee was also an occultist who was particularly interested in communicating with angels. The Book of Soyga must have been irresistible to him. The book contains the names and genealogies of angels, as well as writings on magic spells, demonology, and astrology.

There are also 36 encrypted tables in the book that have not been deciphered for centuries. Dee tried to crack their code with the help of crystal watcher Edward Kelley, who convinced him that angels could channel their voices. According to Sky History, Dee was eager to talk to the angels. Dee agreed when Kelley told her that the angels wanted the two men to exchange spouses for one night so they could have heavenly communication. Nine months later, Theodore Dee was born. Using Kelley as a mediator, Dee called the archangel Uriel and asked him if the Book of Genealogy was the real deal. Uriel, speaking through Kelley, assured him that he did, but told him that only the archangel Michael had the authority to turn the tables.

This exchange may have been the source of the Book of Soyga’s reputation as a cursed book, or “The Killing Book” as it is sometimes known. At one point, Dee had stated that Uriel was told that if she read the ciphertext, she would die in two and a half years. Uriel assured Dee that he would live for over 100 years.

3. The Magic Book of the Sorcerer Abramelin

cursed books

Among the cursed books is the Book of Abramelin, or more formally the Sacred Magical Book of the Sorcerer Abramelin, a Jewish text of magic dating back to the 14th or 15th century. The most important part of Abramelin is an elaborate multi-month ritual aimed at enabling the sorcerer to communicate with his “Holy Guardian Angel”. The book focuses on what happens after a three-day period in which the sorcerer is “locked into a happy intimacy with the angel.” When the honeymoon is over, the sorcerer must conquer the realms of hell. Supposedly the angel will be there to coach the magician in all these conquests. According to historians, Abremelin’s reputation as a cursed book may have been due to the fact that it contained instructions for defeating the “evil spirits of the world.”

4. The Orphan’s Story

cursed books

Among the cursed books, Historia del Huérfano or The Orphan’s Story is a novel written between 1608 and 1615 by a Spanish monk named Martín de León y Cárdenas. Martín de León originally planned to publish the novel under the pseudonym Andrés de León in 1621, but that never happened. According to The Guardian, authorities allegedly took the book down because they feared it would hurt its position in the Roman Catholic Church.

The book was long thought to be lost, but in 1965 a Spanish scientist found the only surviving copy in the New York archives of the Hispanic Society of America. Several attempts were made to publish it, but none worked, and rumors began to circulate that The Orphan’s Story was cursed. The project eventually reached out to a Peruvian philologist named Belinda Palacios, who spent two years preparing the manuscript for publication. Shortly after signing to edit the book, the warnings began.

“When I started working on it, a lot of people told me the book was cursed and anyone who started working on it was dead,” Palacios told The Guardian in 2018. He spoke more specifically in an interview with The Telegraph that same year: “It took a while because the people who worked on it died. One died from a strange illness, one in a car accident, and the other from some other cause.” According to the Endless Thread podcast, the missing include a Spanish scientist named Antonio Rodríguez-Moñino, who died in 1970, and a Spanish professor named William C. Bryant. In 2017, 400 years after it was written, The Orphan’s Story was finally published.

5. Grand Grimoire

Grand Grimoire

British occultist and scholar Arthur Edward Waite describes the Grand Grimoire as “four private and unconcealed manuals of black magic” in his 1898 text The Book of Black Magic and Pacts. The book contains detailed instructions for summoning Lucifugé Rofocale, the devil’s right-hand man. According to historian Owen Davies, the Great Grimoire dates to 1702, but more likely made its debut around 1750.

It is the popularity of the book, rather than its content, that has made the book famous as a dangerous or cursed book. In France, the Grand Grimoire was one of the few spellbooks widely distributed and sold in bookstores in the 19th century. Davies argues that church officials feared that the books would threaten their authority and launched a successful campaign to discredit them. People began to view books like the Grand Grimoire as ominous, and even considered buying a simple copy dangerous.

6. Written in Blood

cursed books

Written in Blood, among the cursed books, is the work of Robert and Nancy Heinl, who spent years in Haiti’s political turmoil. When the book was published in 1978, Robert Heinl was a retired Marine Corps colonel who had served as a defense adviser to the Haitian government. He and his wife, a London-born journalist, had been living in Haiti for several years when, like other Americans, they were expelled from the country in 1963 as relations between the United States and the government of François “Papa Doc” deteriorated.

According to The Washington Post, Nancy Heinl was so immersed in her voodoo beliefs that Duvalier was convinced she was a nun with mystical powers. Duvalier died in 1971, seven years before Heinls’ book was published. However, according to Vikas Khatri’s 2007 book Curses & Jinxes, Duvalier’s widow, Simone, was offended by Written in Blood’s unflattering portrayal of the deceased leader and placed a voodoo curse on the book.

The Washington Post says the manuscript was somehow lost in print shops, then stolen while returning it to the publisher. The folding machine malfunctioned when the book was sent for binding. The curse apparently also covered the book’s promotional campaign. Robert was injured when a scene collapsed under him while giving a speech, and a few days later the couple were attacked by a dog while walking near their Embassy Row home. In May 1979, while the Heinl family was vacationing in the French West Indies (just months after the release of Written in Blood), Robert Heinl suddenly died of a heart attack.

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