Newberry Library in Chicago is home to over 80,000 documents spanning the late Middle Ages to the start of the Industrial Revolution. Among the library’s extensive collection of rare Bibles and Christian devotional texts are a series of manuscripts that would scare the socks off any devout 17th century Christian. The manuscripts are full of magic- literally -from healing and helping the village, to casting charms and conjuring spirits, and the Chicago library is asking for help translating and transcribing.
Head on over to Transcribing Faith if you can read Latin or English and check out the documents, help with translations, transcriptions, and corrections.
Coordinator of the project and a fellow of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Christopher Fletcher, told the Smithsonian online:
“You don’t need a Ph.D to transcribe. It is a great way to allow the general public to engage with these materials in a way that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise.”
Check out some pages below to see if you could help transcribe the ancient texts.
For cramps and period pains
For excessive bleeding at the nose.
Take a few drops of the parties bloud
in herds or in a linen cloth, burne
alltogether: Et fecit.
Drye a little of the Pacients bloud
on a fireshovel over the fire, blow it
with a Quil into his nostrills.
This seldom or never fayleth.
To stop the bleeding of a wound.
the dried bloud of the partie applied
therunto doth it when all other faile.
To help the Crampe.
Take a piece of Parchemint as much
as will goe about your legg in the
gartering place; write theron theis
folowing words Gut + Gut +
Egul + Getaul + and weare it
next your bare leg. It will help.
Fryer Bacons Charme
against the Toothache.
Fl. ha, hab, hur. hurs; geball. etc.
Pro eodem mordo.
Fl. A. Ab. hur, hus, gebal gamarita
The name of the partie diseased is to be
written right against the Charme upon
the other Side. Prik all the vowells. Et
fiet per Gratiam Dei.
For the Toothache
Take a tooth out of a deadmans skull
and hange the same about the partie’s neck,
till the payne cease.
for the Toothache.
Write theis words upon a Paper. Aligat [cross]
Galis [cross] Aualis [cross]. Hang it about the
parties neck: et Sanus erit.
For ‘scabbie hands’
For Sore Fingers Ends
Take hony and wheatflower, make therof
a plaister lay it on the fingers ends
It will doe good, and make the nailes
to grow agayne faire
for Skabbie hands
Take the juice of Celendine and red
nettles with May Butter and Wax,
Mingle it Wel, and anoynt the hands whole
To slay a sheplouse in ones eare
Take the juice of hemlok into the eare
For a scaldhed.
Bray white mallowes and rootes
of red docks with May butter and
anoynt the Hed therwith.
To know the dropsey
If one be first Swoln in his feet
and after if draw upwards It is
the hot dropsey. Yf it begin in the
face and so downward, the cold dropsey
For one that is speechles
Dip 5 Sage leaves in mustard, lay them
under his tong, closing his mouth agayn.
This will cause him to speake; except
death be upon him.
To make a key
To make a Key
Take the Iron that is found unlooked for
make therof a key in the day and hour
of Venus the moon increasing; and when
the Key is made, put it at night wth
the Sacrifice of a white Cock in a
quadrangle way : Saying O Yee Spiritts
Naylon Achalaz, Receive this Sacrifice
that no Creature may resist against me
or this key, and that where this key is
put, or before what locks soever it be
turned about, I may prevaile and fulfil
my will. This sayd, write upon the Key
this figure [Image: ~ with two lines attached to the bottom as if it were a “F” where the prongs are facing downward] wth the bloud of the
same cock: Let it be there 3 dayes and
3 nights. Then in the third day before
the Cock crowe Take it out, and when
thou goest by any City Town or howse
Gates or dore Turn him from the left
parte and from the West to the East,
as yf you would open a lock,
[_____] Speculo magno exemplorum • [??] [Z?] Tih. Incamlaho. Exemplum [?] guomodo g[???] Juvanis yer prefermi IS quani[??]m Insemoho soferaras claus[??]as ex perfora apern[??] [snas?] postea aperr[?]e m[?] pofuis .