Charms have a variety of uses: read on if you wish to be lucky in love, you need protection from catching a disease or you simply wish to make yourself invisible! In the magical world of Harry Potter, broomsticks are also charmed objects. broomsticks continue to have magical connotations today, and they are still used by modern-day witches and wizards.
Harry and Draco Flying
Jim Kay is illustrating the Harry Potter in brand new editions for Bloomsbury. In this preliminary painting for The Chamber of Secrets, Harry is shown squinting through the rain, his hands clasped firmly around his broomstick; a rain-blurred Draco Malfoy flies towards him in the background.
The Witches of Lancashire
This charming little book is entitled The History of the Lancashire Witches. It describes that English county as ‘famous for witches and the very strange pranks they have played’. Alongside this picture of a jolly witch mounting a broomstick, the anonymous author declares, ‘Lancashire witches chiefly divert themselves in merriment and sport’ and are ‘more sociable than any others’.
Witches have long been associated with supernatural spirits known as familiars. This illustration shows Margaret Wait (no. 11) with her familiar (no. 12), described as ‘a deformed thing with many feet, rough with hair, the bigness of a cat’. Margaret was accused in 1621 of having used witchcraft to cause the sudden death of Anne Fairfax of Fewston, Yorkshire. The case collapsed when one of Anne’s friends admitted that she had invented the allegations, but this did not prevent the victim’s family from making this record of the alleged circumstances of her death.
Quintus Serenus Sammonicus, physician to the Emperor Caracalla, prescribed ‘Abracadabra’ as a cure for malaria. He recommended that this word should be written out repeatedly, each time omitting one letter. The charm should be worn as an amulet around the neck, fixed with either flax, coral stones or the fat of a lion.
How Experiments to be Invisible Must Be Prepared
Have you ever wondered how to make yourself invisible? According to this 17th-century English manuscript, entitled The Book of King Solomon called The Key of Knowledge, you simply have to recite the following words (don’t blame us if the charm doesn’t work!).
A Love Charm
This love charm was made in the Netherlands sometime in the 20th century. It was painted onto an oyster shell, to ensure fertility, and produced for a couple whose first initials were ‘J’ and ‘R’. These letters are bound together with red thread, while a pair of touching hearts represents their love. Above are the couple’s star signs: Taurus and Gemini.