Paris and Liège: J. F. Desoer, 1792. Hardcover. Very good. 1792 (first two volumes), 1793 (third volume). Three volumes in one. viii,118;[iii]-viii,270,;262pp., all volumes containing in-text illustrations, plus engraved frontispieces in first two volumes and frontispiece containing musical notation in third volume. Half title. Volume II folding tables not present, as usual. In French. Contemporary French half calf and marbled boards, spine ruled and stamped in gilt, gilt leather labels, edges red. Small contemporary inscriptions in half title and p. 118 of first volume. Binding mildy worn, leather slightly cracked near tail of spine, contents clean. Very good to near fine. Early collected edition of the first published exposés of stage magic, after the first editions of 1784-1786. Henri Decremps (1746-1825) was a French lawyer, diplomat, and student of physics, mathematics, and music, best known for his authorship of the present works. Decremps published MAGIE BLANCHE DÉVOILÉE ("White Magic Unveiled") in 1784 at the height of Joseph Pinetti's fame as a conjurer in Paris, exposing his physical and mathematical "experiments" as tricks. Pinetti, who billed himself as the "Roman Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy," was a pioneering and vastly successful performer who brilliantly recast older illusions on an elegantly appointed stage as scientific demonstrations. He suffered a significant intial setback from Decremps's publication but adapted, writing his own AMUSEMENS PHYSIQUES the same year, correcting several of Decremps's mistakes and shedding his own "philosophical" narrative. As Pinetti's career recovered, Decremps continued his exposé with periodic attacks, most significantly in the SUPPLÉMENT and TESTAMENT included here. Among the feats Decremps explains in MAGIE BLANCHE and the SUPPLEMENT are the automaton chess player, divining rod, self-performing organ, learned horse, gambling tricks, and ventriloquism. The third volume, written under the pseudonym "Jerome Sharp," features "tricks of subtlety which can be performed without expense," such as the "art of composing impromtu songs." Caillet 2861-2862 (other editions). Hall, OLD CONJURING BOOKS. . . (London, 1972), pp. 156-157, 174.
[Frankfurt]: Printed by Johann Wolf for Johann Jacob Porsius, 1610. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. Small octavo. A-Y8 (Y8 blank);  pp. Contemporary limp vellum, manuscript spine title. 18th or 19th-century printed and manuscript library bookplate, later monogram book label. 17th-century inscriptions, including ex dono inscription of George Keith, in title page. Modern bibliographical inscriptions in front free endpaper. Vellum worn and moderately soiled but sound. Early repair to front free endpapers, title leaf, and first leaf of text, with some resulting glue stains, occasional minor worming. After the first few leaves, contents clean. Overall very good. "Miracles of the Dead" is one of the four works by German lawyer Heinrich Kornmann (ca. 1580-1620) published between 1610 and 1614 on magic and marvels. Magical bits from the Miracles of the Dead are that the owl is a fatal omen and the peacock a presage of disease, that suffumigation with the tooth of a dead man expels witchcraft and impotency, that the herb betony protects cemeteries, and that if a mother kisses her dead child, the other children will soon die too. Astrology enters in the question why thousands of persons with different horoscopes die on the same day in the same battle, and divination in the question what dreams about the dead signifiy, the discussion of presages of death, and the prophecies of those about to die. The problem is argued whether the witch of Endor really resuscitated Samuel. Joan of Arcs heart was unburned at the stake. Cases are listed of the teeth of corpses growing and a dead woman impregnated. A corpse is heavier than the living body because it is without the levitation of the vital spirits and heat. The size and weight of resurrected bodies is discussed, how men who have been eaten and the cannibals who ate them can both be resurrected in the body, whether abortions will rise again, and whether monsters will be resurrected. The corpse bleeding before the murderer is treated, and if inextinguishable and ever-burning sepulchral lamps are not, they are about the only thing connected with funerals and burials which is omitted -- Thorndike. Caillet 5827 ("Curieux et recherché"). Thorndike VII, pp. 278-80.
Frankfurt and Leipzig: Philipp Wilhelm Stock, 1704. First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. ,128 pp., including several in-text illustrations, plus ten plates (nine folding). In Latin. Modern marbled paper over boards. Moderate toning throughout, mild foxing in some plates, minor loss along upper fold of third plate with archival tape repair and residue of earlier tape repair, apparent loss of small outer panel of terminal plate. Very good. First edition of the posthumous German treatment of the Latin works of Johannes Praetorius on palmistry, metoposcopy, and other forms of physiognomic divination. Johannes Praetorius (i.e., Hans Schultze, 1630-1680) was a German poet, historian, and prolific compiler of curious legends and folklore. Faber du Faur, for whom Praetorius held a particular collecting interest, lists him in the "Oddities" section of GERMAN BAROQUE LITERATURE and refers to his "open eye and a sharp ear for all wonder stories, witch tales, and accounts of ghosts and sorcery current among the people. He indefatigably collected all information on remarkable subjects and happenings, and was fond of popular gossip, even of the uncouth type" (pp. 199-200). Faber du Faur 776 (1713 edition). OCLC lists seven copies, all in Europe.
[n.p.], 1890. Broadside. Good. [ca. 1890s]. Broadside, approximately 9 x 6 inches. Margins heavily chipped, but affecting only two characters in first line of text; paper toned and brittle; soft early folds; else good. An unrecorded broadside advertising the Gypsy fortune teller, "Gertrude Erdo," spiritual descendant of the original Erdo, the "famous old Gypsy Queen" and clairvoyante. The broadside describes Madame Erdo's various supernatural powers, partly in verse, and states that she will be available "in your city for a short time only" at 37 West Long Street (likely Columbus, Ohio).