Unsolved:Saducismus Triumphatus

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The frontispiece to Sadducismus Triumphatus, depicting Saul consulting the Witch of Endor.

Saducismus triumphatus[1] is a book on witchcraft by Joseph Glanvill, published posthumously in England in 1681.

The editor is presumed to have been Henry More, who certainly contributed to the volume;[2] and topical material on witchcraft in Sweden was supplied by Anthony Horneck to later editions. By 1683 this appeared as a lengthy appendix.[3] Horneck's contribution came from a Dutch pamphlet of 1670.[4][5] Its composition is mentioned in the chapter on Transportation by an invisible power in the Miscellanies of John Aubrey.[6]

The book affirmed the existence of witches with malign supernatural powers of magic, and attacked skepticism concerning their abilities. Glanvill likened these skeptics to the Sadducees, members of a Jewish sect from around the time of Jesus who were said to have denied the immortality of the soul. The book is also noted for the account of the Drummer of Tedworth, an early poltergeist story, and for one of the earliest descriptions of the use of a witch bottle, a countercharm against witchcraft.


Illustration on child levitation.

The book strongly influenced Cotton Mather in his Discourse on Witchcraft (1689) and the Salem witch trials held in 1692–3 in Salem, Massachusetts. Mather's Wonders of the Invisible World (1693) is largely modeled after this book and its reports, particularly the material relating to the Mora witch trial of 1669.[4] The book is cited by H. P. Lovecraft in his short story "The Festival". Shirley Jackson quoted passages from the book in her short story collection The Lottery and Other Stories.[7]

In popular culture

It is possible to read the title painted on the walls of the secret passage in Dario Argento's 1977 film Suspiria at 01:29:19.

Lettering and vegetable embellishment in gold letters on a dark wall. You can partially read: "cismus triumphatus".
Detail from Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977).

The book is mentioned in H.P. Lovecraft's short story "The Festival":

"Pointing to a chair, table, and pile of books, the old man now left the room; and when I sat down to read I saw that the books were hoary and mouldy, and that they included old Morryster’s wild Marvells of Science, the terrible Saducismus Triumphatus of Joseph Glanvill, published in 1681, the shocking Daemonolatreia of Remigius, printed in 1595 at Lyons, and worst of all, the unmentionable Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, in Olaus Wormius’ forbidden Latin translation; a book which I had never seen, but of which I had heard monstrous things whispered."

See also


  1. Saducismus triumphatus: or, Full and plain evidence concerning witches and apparitions. In two parts. The first treating of their possibility. The second of their real existence.
  2. "More, Henry (1614-1687)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  3. "Horneck, Anthony". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ankarloo, Bengt and Henningsen, Gustav (editors) Early Modern European Witchcraft: Centres and Peripheries (1990). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 431-3.
  5. The full-title of the 1682 An account of what happen'd in the kingdom of Sweden in the years 1669, and 1670 and upwards. In relation to some persons that were accused for witches; and tryed and executed by the Kings command. Together with the particulars of a very sad accident that befel a boy at Malmoe in Schonen in the year, 1678. by the means of witchcraft, attested by the ablest and most judicious men of that town. Both translated out of High-Dutch into English, By Anthony Horneck D.D says High Dutch, however, i.e. in German.
  6. John Aubrey (1784) (in English). Miscellanies Upon Various Subjects. University of Michigan. Printed for W. Ottridge. https://archive.org/details/miscellaniesupo02aubrgoog. 
  7. Jackson, Shirley (16 March 2005). The Lottery and Other Stories. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. pp. 61, 143, 227. ISBN 0-374-52953-1. 

External links