A History of Magic – Magic Through History

This presentation explores some of the changing attitudes towards magic, magicians, witchcraft, sorcery, demonology, alchemy, heresy, divination, spiritualism, Satanism, and performance magicians throughout history.

From the dawn of time, mankind has been fascinated by the idea of magical power and all it implies – from foretelling the future to conjuring demons and other denizens of unseen worlds. We look to examine the whole history of magical arts in Western civilization, with particular emphasis on the famous – and infamous – practitioners who were revered or reviled for their beliefs and practices. Although it sounds like it could well be an introductory core curriculum sorcery course at Hogwarts, this presentation is grounded in world history and scholarship.

We will examine how different cultures throughout history have viewed, embraced, or denounced “magic” and how the very definition of “magic” has changed over time. The lecture/presentation is structured chronologically to include treatments of magic and magicians in the ancient world, classical Greece and Rome, Druidic Shamanism, Medieval alchemists, sorcerers, and prognosticators, Renaissance prophets, seers, and mystics, witchcraft, and the heresy trials of the Inquisition; New World Puritanism and witch hunts; 18th century legerdemain,; 19th century seances, occultism, and prestidigitation; and finally to 20th century illusionists.


The session will be presented by noted historian Professor Mark P. Donnelly- gentleman, scholar, and author of nearly 30 books as well as hundreds of hours of historical documentary material. With this subject, Professor sDonnelly brings his research and knowledge of the occult and the arcane to Glimmerdark for those who enjoy a bit of scholarship in conjunction with their magic and revelries.