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Rare Book Collector Shares Ancient Demonology Text From the Collection of Sir Walter Scott

This is where the author got all his ideas...

Sir Walter Scott was a famous English writer of the 19th century who is widely credited with inventing the historical novel. His books and poetry are still commonly studied today. Though he is best-known for novels such as Ivanhoe, he also wrote a treatise on demonology and witchcraft in 1830 called Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft Addressed to J. G. Lockhart, Esq..

The “Lockhart” of the title was Scott’s son-in-law, who once said that his father-in-law was well placed to write a book of non-fiction as his home library was a vast trove of book on magic, folklore, and witchcraft. And this rare book collector has one of the tomes from Scott’s original collection.


In this video, rare book collector Reid Moon shares one of the “scariest” books in his collection, a book on demonology marked with notes from Sir Walter Scott while he was writing his treatise at his home in Abbotsford in the early 19th century.

Though primarily a novelist and poet, Scott wrote this treatise while in enormous debt and poor health, after his son-in-law Lockhart suggested that such a volume might be an easier project to tackle than a novel. “You have a whole library de re magica [on the subject of magic] at Abbotsford,” he told Scott in a letter.

The book Moon keeps in his collection in Provo, Utah, is one of the magical texts that Lockhart references, though it is unclear from the video which of the many it was.