Halloween Reading List!

Halloween Reading List! 

Looking for some magical reading? Here’s some non-fiction and fiction recommendations for books on witches, witchcraft, and magic in honor of upcoming All Hallow’s Eve! 

For the Academic Study of Magic:  

Check the Shelves at HPNL, SSHEL, and Main Stacks 

BF1404-2055 Occult sciences 

BF1444-1486 Ghosts. Apparitions. Hauntings 

BF1501-1562 Demonology. Satanism. Possession 

BF1562.5-1584 Witchcraft 

BF1585-1623 Magic. Hermetics. Necromancy 

BF1651-1729 Astrology 

BF1745-1779 Oracles. Sibyls. Divinations 

BF1783-1815 Seers. Prophets. Prophecies 

BF1845-1891 Fortune-telling 

BF2050-2055 Human-alien encounters. Contact between humans and extraterrestrials 


Journal for the Academic Study of Magic. Oxford: Mandrake, 2003. 

Accessible online 

“Covers all areas of magic, witchcraft, paganism, etc; all geographical regions and all historical periods.” (from the publisher) 

General Resources 

Oldridge, Darren. The Witchcraft Reader. London ;: Routledge, 2002.

(HPNL BF1566 .W7395 2002)

“The Witchcraft Reader offers a selection of the best historical writing on witchcraft exploring how belief in witchcraft began, and the social and cultural context in which this belief flourished.” (from blurb)  

Davies, Owen. Grimoires : a History of Magic Books. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2009.

(HPNL  PN56.M23 O93 2009) 

Grimoires are books of spells. First recorded in the Ancient Middle East they can be found in cultures all over the world. This fascinating book details the development and spread of grimoires from their ancient origins to modern day. 

Study of Magic Around the World  

Bever, Edward. The Realities of Witchcraft and Popular Magic in Early Modern Europe : Culture, Cognition, and Everyday Life. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

(Available online, or HPNL BF1584.E9 B48 2008)

“What did witchcraft and magic in early modern Europe really involve? The Realities of Witchcraft and Popular Magic in Early Modern Europe explores the elements of reality in early modern witchcraft and popular magic through a detailed study of actual cases and broad-ranging interdisciplinary investigations of psychological influences on health, subliminal communication, perception and cognition, and transcultural aspects of shamanism.” (from blurb)

Godbeer, Richard. The Devil’s Dominion : Magic and Religion in Early New England. Cambridge [England] ;: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

(HPNL BF1576 .G63 1992)

“Early New Englanders used magical techniques to divine the future, to heal the sick, to protect against harm, and to inflict harm. Protestant ministers of the time claimed that religious faith and magical practice were incompatible, and yet, as Richard Godbeer shows in this book, there were significant affinities between the two that enabled layfolk to switch from one to the other without any immediate sense of wrongdoing.””The Devil’s Dominion examines the use of folk magic by ordinary men and women in early New England. The book describes in vivid detail the magical techniques used by settlers and the assumptions that underlay them.”(from blurb) 

Toivo, Raisa Maria. Faith and Magic in Early Modern Finland. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

(HPNL BL875.F5 T65 2016)

“While Finland was theoretically Lutheran, a religious plurality–embodied in ceremonies and interpreted as magic–survived and flourished, Blessing candles, pilgrimages and offerings to forest spirits merged with catechism hearings and sermon preaching among the lay piety. What were the circumstances that allowed for such a continuity of magic?” (from blurb)  

Van Schaik, Sam. Buddhist Magic : Divination, Healing, and Enchantment through the Ages. First edition. Boulder, Colorado: Shambhala Publications, Inc, 2020.

(HPNL  BQ4570.M3 V36 2020)

Throughout history Buddhist monks and nuns have offered services such as healing, divination, and rainmaking to their clients. This book explores instances of magic throughout the history of Buddhism–looking at the spells and rituals used by Buddhists and how they relate to perceptions and practices of Buddhism in the modern era. 


Warner, Sylvia Townsend. Lolly Willowes : or, the Loving Huntsman. London: The Women’s Press, 1978.

(Full text available through Hathi Trust, Main Stacks ; 823 W24l)

After 20 years of being quiet, spinster  “Aunt Lolly” Laura (Lolly) Willowes leaves London and her overbearing family to live in the Chilterns. There she finds herself meeting with the supernatural. Described as an early feminist classic, Lolly Willowes makes for wonderful October reading.    

Jones, Diana Wynne. Witch Week. 1st ed. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1982.

(Oak Street Vaults Request Online ; 823 J7132WI) 

When the teacher finds an anonymous note saying “SOMEONE IN THIS CLASS IS A WITCH” mayhem follows. An investigation ensues because in this world witches are burned at the stake. Read as a standalone novel within Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series. 

Speare, Elizabeth George. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1958.

(Main Stacks ; 813 SP315W)

When orphaned Kit Tyler moves from the West Indies to live with distant relatives in dreary colonial Connecticut the only place she feels at home is through her friendship with a Quaker woman Hannah. But when her friendship with the “witch” is discovered she herself faces accusations of witchcraft. This Newbery award winning classic is a joy to read at all ages. 

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