In many cases Northern dialect words cannot be evidenced before the nineteenth century. Not so, collock. It appears in Holyoke’s Latin Dictionary of 1640 and in Ray’s ‘Collection of North Country Words’ (1691) where it is described as a ‘great piggin’. Piggin was first noted in 1554 and was a diminutive form denoting any kitchen utensil which was small and made of wood. Therefore the ‘great’ counteracts this.
Mary Spencer of Burnley, supposedly aged twenty in 1633, in her confession utterly denied any knowledge of witchcraft, “and prays God to forgive Nicholas Cunliffe, who having borne malice to her and her parents these five or six years has lately wrongfully abused them.”
Spencer said she attended Brierley’s sermons at Burnley and used this to evidence herself as a ‘good Christian’ and not a witch in contact with forces of evil as she had been accused of being.
However, she never denied her record on collock-calling, claiming that it was the most natural thing in the world. Some of those investigating the case in modern times seem to have managed to confuse Mary with her mother who went by the same name and was also accused of witchcraft. Unhelpfully, Richard Brome’s play, the Late Lancashire Witches, may have been the original source for much of this error.
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 ‘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 philosophia’ (1510), 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 Fourth Book of the ‘Occult Philosophy’ ,reputed to have been written by Agrippa von Nettesheim, in its second publication (undated but very probably around 1600) the supplementary material included the other three books of the Occult Philosophy. 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 also (correctly) draws upon the Persian origins of the ‘magus’ and the links to Zoroaster. It was evidently transmitted to Lancashire via a complex chain including German occultism and Spanish Jewish Kabbalah.
Apanton hora camab
Araptenas ro dignasque
Inverna amo Th.
Dominus deus hora q
Fiat fiat fiat.