Incredibly, it seems clear that at some point during the century relatively ordinary people in parts of the West Pennines became strongly influenced by von Nettesheim.

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim was a German magician and theologian who died in 1535. In 1510 in his ‘De occulta philosophia’ he claimed that there was a primal celestial script revealed directly to Man by angels. It can be used to codify text. The magic numbers box which appears on the Daubers’ charm matches von Nettesheim numerically precisely – although it had been further coded in the process.

In De occulta, von Nettesheim used a magic square of the sun with diagonal totals of 111 and an overall total of 636. Hebrew Kabbalistic names were produced via the match between numbers and letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Numerically, it turns out to be a perfect match to the Foulridge one:

6+11+16+21+21+31 = 111 and 36+29+22+15+8+1 = 111.

Note here that are both are sequential in their ordering. They should spell out the names of the magical names for the Spirit but they need to be put through the Hebrew alphabetical box for that. The cipher does not produce anything in itself even though each symbol not only has an associated number but also an associated letter.

The Heptameron gives all sorts of charms for recitation based upon Jewish Kabbalism but none fit the ‘gibberish’ recounted below except for the repetition of ‘Tetragrammaton’. To the modern reader the whole experiment might smack of ‘paganism’ but Robert Turner’s translation published in 1665 (British Library Rare Books 719/f16) was careful to distance the work from pagan uses of magic to the ‘unprejudiced reader’, saying that witchcraft and sorcery “are works done merely by the devill”. However, there is a ‘third kind of magic’ which “bringeth to light the inmost vertues and extracteth them out of Natures hidden bosome to humane use”. It was evidently transmitted to Lancashire via a complex chain including German occultism and Spanish Jewish Kabbalah.

Apanton hora camab

Naadgrass Pquavetariad

Araptenas ro dignasque

Pagns sutgosikl


Inverna amo Th.

Dominus deus hora q

Fiat fiat fiat.

oct09 035


9 thoughts on “Magic squares and Kabbalism in seventeenth century Northern England

  1. Hoping for a bit of help here.

    In the section that reads:


    Inverna amo Th.

    Dominus deus hora q

    Fiat fiat fiat.

    Th. is most likely Theos going by the style of the text, so what is the q?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. I have been aware of this for a long time with a version of it here in Lancashire (UK), but that one word missing and no one knew what it was so when I saw you had a complete section its like a long standing mystery being solved. And this makes a lot of sense also. Thanks again!


    1. I know that this is a combination of languages used but do you have a (rough) translation of the charm? – I have a version with slightly different words and a bit longer (incorporating the Lords Prayer in Latin).


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