Reginald Scot

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Reginald Scot
Bornc. 1538
DiedOctober 9, 1599 (age 60)
Notable worksThe Discoverie of Witchcraft

Reginald Scot (c. 1538 - 1599) was the English author of The Discoverie of Witchcraft, which was published in 1584. It was written to show that witches did not exist, by exposing how (apparently miraculous) feats of magic were done. The book is often deemed the first textbook about conjuring.

Biography

Scot believed that the prosecution of those accused of witchcraft was irrational and un-Christian, and he held the Roman Church responsible. All obtainable copies were burned on the accession of James I in 1603 and those remaining are now rare. (In 1586, the Star Chamber greatly tightened the censorship laws.)

The chapter on magic tricks in Scot's Discoverie was plagiarized heavily, and constituted a substantial portion (in some cases, nearly all) of the text in English-language magic books of the 17th and 18th centuries.

The book also narrates stories of strange phenomena in the context of religious convictions. The devil is related with such stories and his ability to absorb people’s souls. The book also narrates stories of magicians with utterly supernatural powers performing in front of courts of kings.

He was inducted into the Society of American Magicians Hall of Fame and Magic Museum.

References

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