We have all heard of and maybe even seen real witches that lived among us but when it comes to wizards, we limit them to Harry Potter books. The closest we have ever come to “real” magic is the various magicians we watch on TV. But it’s time for David Blaine and Chris Angel to step aside and make way for these ten wizards that were far from fictional. These men took magic to a very different level and raised more than an eyebrow when spoken about. So, let us take a closer look at these real life wizards and what they did to make it onto this list.
10. Nicholas Flamel
Most Harry Potter fans would know this name. He was the French wizard who created the philosophers stone and was over 600 years old when he knew Dumbledore. Of course, this was just a book and movie. In real life, Flamel was known to have been involved in alchemy. Researchers have written that Flamel indulged in the dark arts while he was travelling to Santiago de Compostela. After he became a wizard, people noticed that Flamel and his wife became extremely wealthy and they concluded that he used his magical powers to do so. While the truth is not really known, people say that his wealth came from the two shops he owned and ran and from his wife’s inheritance. Nicholas Flamel died in the year 1418 but his story is still being told today, which you can check right here.
9. Hayyim Samuel Jacob Falk
Rabbi Hayyim Samuel Jacob Falk was born in Germany in the year 1708 but fled to London in fright of being burnt to death. He entered London in the 1940’s and he was instantly known as the Baal Shem of London because of his impressive mystic skills. Apparently he could move objects with his mind and he even once filled a cellar with coal by using a few incantations. It has also been said that the rabbi saved the Great Synagogue in London from a fire just by writing a few words in Hebrew on the pillars. He even gave a magical ring to the Duke of Orleans to ensure that the succession to the throne would remain within the family. The ring was handed down to the Dukes son who eventually became French King Louis Philippe.
Born in 1493 as Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, Paracelsus was a brilliant man who excelled in medicine, astrology, botany and alchemy. He is the person who named zinc and he is responsible for tracking the psychological roots to numerous illnesses. Paracelsus used astronomy along with his medicines to treat his patients and believed that in order for man to have good health, they had to be in harmony with nature. He developed the “Alphabet of the Magi” which is a magical language that calls upon spirits to help in the healing process of patients. He became famous for his “magical healing” methods where he combined medicine, astronomy and alchemy together to treat people in his own way.
7. Papus – Real Life Wizards
Also known as Gerard Encausse, the great Papus was born in the year 1865. He was an occult writer and even wrote many books on the dark arts which he practiced regularly. In the year 1888, Papus founded an occult group named the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Croix. While participating in his group, he was a part of other magic societies such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. His biggest known magical outing was during the 1900’s when he visited Tsarina Alexandra and Tsar Nicholas II in Russia. In 1905 when he visited the Russian family, he conjured the Tsar’s father’s spirit who said that the throne would be lost by Nicholas II by an uprising of the people. He even said that the uprising would not happen as long as Papus is alive. When the wizard died, Nicholas II was overthrown just 141 days later.
6. Hew Draper
In the 1500’s, Hew Draper used to run an inn but was caught and imprisoned in the Tower of London because it was rumored that he would indulge in sorcery. When he was questioned about it, he accepted that he was fond on magic but he had burnt all his alchemy books. While he was in the Tower, he decided to add to the many drawings engraved by the previous prisoners. What he decided to add to the walls was something that took everyone by surprise. He engraved a detailed astrological design and completed it with all the zodiac signs. He then wrote his name and a date – 30th May, 1561. No one knew why he decided that date but when the day came, he disappeared. He did not escape and neither did he die in the prison or anywhere else in the city. People were then convinced that he was wizard.
5. Cornelius Agrippa
Often referred to as the greatest magician of his time, Agrippa was an outstanding writer. He wrote quite a few books on the workings of the dark arts and their uses. One of his most famous books is the “De Occulta Philosophia Libra Tres” which roughly translates into “Three Books of Occult Philosophy”. It was a book that showed a system of magic that worked on three levels – The natural magic or alchemy and astronomy and the vocal magic or the summoning of spirits. He believed and wrote that all magic was rooted in divine work. Agrippa studied the occult and it functioning and practiced it to a point where he wrote about summoning spirits to get rid of pests around the house. Although Agrippa was a powerful wizard, he finally gave it up around 1530. He was sure that studying and believing in the occult would take him to hell. He even warned readers in his last book about using these powers but why he suddenly decided to leave the dark arts remains a mystery.
4. John Dee
Dee was both a mystical and a scientific adviser to England’s Queen Elizabeth I. He was a very intelligent man who took to studying every field he could get his hands on. He published a book called Monas Hyroglyphica which was a glyph that represented creation and its unity. Soon after his theoretical take on the spirit world, he wanted more and looked for a way to connect with the spirits directly. It was then that Dee met Edward Talbot (later to be known as Edward Kelley). Kelley was a close partner and sorcerer to Dee and they both travelled Europe displaying their magical skills to royalty. In the year 1587, Kelley told Dee that he had spoken to the “angels” and they told him that the duo needed to share each other’s wives. John Dee left Edward and returned back to England after hearing this and became a warden in Manchester at Christ’s College.
3. Edward Talbot
Also known as Edward Kelley, Talbot was a close friend and accomplice to John Dee. They both spent a few years in Europe sharing their love for magic. Kelley was believed to have created Enochian (a magical alphabet). He even claimed that he used a crystal ball to speak to spirits. Unlike John Dee who put more faith in theoretical magic, Kelley was a believer in alchemy. He discovered a magical book in the 1580’s called “Book of Dunstan”. This book apparently had a spell that could turn any metal into gold by using a magic red powder. When the pair of Dee and Kelley split up, Kelley remained in Europe and continued his work with alchemy. Vilem Rozmberk, a Bohemian Count gave Kelley many estates and in the year 1590, King Rudolph II knighted the alchemist. Sadly, the king arrested him in the year 1591 for murder but rumors say his arrest was because the king wanted him to turn metal to gold for him. When Kelley agreed, he was released but in the year 1595, he was arrested again because he went back on his promise. He was finally imprisoned in the Hnevin Castle till he could turn metal into gold.
2. Eliphas Levi
If we read about Victorian age magic, Eliphas Levi’s name is bound to come up. He was the man who wrote “Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual” which was the biggest influence on many occult societies around the world. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was one of the many societies that based its functioning on this very book. He began his magical work in the year 1853 when he met Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Lytton was an author who introduced Levi to Rosicrucianism (a secret magical society based in medieval Germany). He introduced tarot cards and gave them the importance they have today as well as associating the inverted pentacle to evil and the upright one to good. His biggest work was that he introduced the three basic principles of magic around the Victorian age: They were
- That the human willpower could achieve both ordinary and miraculous feats,
- That what we see in the materialistic universe is just one part of reality and
- That a human person is a reflection of the universe on a tiny level and that they are linked and if they act on one, the other could be affected as well.
1. Aleister Crowley
This man was named as “the wickedest man in the world” and for good reason. He was the biggest occultist in the world and shaped the way modern occultists worked with magic. He was very interested in alchemy and he later joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the year 1898. He believed in bisexuality which gave him a reputation and helped him rise through the ranks in the Hermetic Order. His beliefs and functioning was the root cause of the feuds between the London and French branches of the Order. He soon left the society and started his own occult group. He founded the A.A in 1907, which was a society that was based on Thelemic beliefs that he had formed. He claimed that he was given instructions from Aiwass who was the messenger of Horus (Egyptian God). Apparently this messenger told him that he a new age prophet. His society started the law “do what thou wilt”. He then settled in Sicily. Crowley not only conjured spirits from ancient Egypt, he was involved in the regression of death and claimed to recover memories from his previous life as Eliphas Levi. Hard to believe, read this.