Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New England Canaan

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Origin: The tome was invented by August Derleth for The Lurker at the Threshold (fiction), based on "Of Evill Sorceries Done in New-England of Daemons in no Humane Shape (fragment)"

Description

Illustrations by Scott M. Fischer for Mythos CCG, representing the two versions of Thaumaturgical Prodigies...

"If any are scandalized that New England, a place of as serious piety as any I know of, should be troubled so much by witches, they should ask themselves this question: Where would the Devil most wish to make his inroads, but in that place where he is hated the most?" — Rev. Ward Phillips, 1788

This book was written in 1788 by the Reverend Ward Phillips of the Baptist Church of Arkham, Massachusetts. Two editions were published; the first edition was crudely published in 1789 as a small print run in imitation black letter; it was riddled with typographical errors, and it bore the original title Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New-English Canaan. A second, vastly improved edition was published in Boston in 1801, with an amended title Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New England Canaan. The Reverand Ward Phillips would afterward gather as many copies of his own book as he could find, and burn them.


1789 First "New-English" Edition

Language: English

Physical Description: The first edition was published in 1789 (or by some accounts 1794) in crude, imitation black-letter Octavo with a plain black leather cover and not title on the binding, full of typographical errors, including the name Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New-English Canaan. Though this edition bears a date of 1789, some experts claim a short delay in publication until 1794, though there is little evidence to support either date.

General Content: The treatise describes the blasphemous activities of witches, warlocks, Indian shamans, and other evil-doers in colonial New England. Terrible magicks, monstrous births, and dire Indian legends are all described. Phillips pays particular attention to the events that supposedly took place in and around Billington's Woods, near Arkham, in the late 17th century.

Rarity: A limited number of copies were published, and most were destroyed, and this earlier version, despite its crude printing, commands collector prices; one autographed specimen sold for $35 in the 1920s.


1801 Second "New England" Edition

Language: English

Physical Description: The 1801 edition, corrected and improved, was published in Boston; aside from printing and proofing quality, this version is identical in content to the first edition.

General Content: The treatise describes the blasphemous activities of witches, warlocks, Indian shamans, and other evil-doers in colonial New England. Terrible magicks, monstrous births, and dire Indian legends are all described. Phillips pays particular attention to the events that supposedly took place in and around Billington's Woods, near Arkham, in the late 17th century.

Rarity: A limited number of copies were published, and most were destroyed, and this earlier version, despite its crude printing, commands collector prices.


The Annotated Copy

Language: English

Physical Description: One particularly interesting specimen of the Reverend's book, a copy of the 1801 edition with hand-written annotations and corrections made by its own author.

General Content: The treatise describes the blasphemous activities of witches, warlocks, Indian shamans, and other evil-doers in colonial New England. Terrible magicks, monstrous births, and dire Indian legends are all described. Phillips pays particular attention to the events that supposedly took place in and around Billington's Woods, near Arkham, in the late 17th century. This copy contains hand-written annotations and corrections made by the author indicating that what he once thought mainly legend and lore was instead frighteningly real; these annotations include descriptions of certain rites, written on the book's flyleaves, including several spells.

Rarity: Unique; believed to have been part of the library of a descendant: Providence, Rhode Island, businessman Whipple Phillips in the 1920s; its existence has not been verified since then.


Quotes

"If any are scandalized that New England, a place of as serious piety as any I know of, should be troubled so much by witches, they should ask themselves this question: Where would the Devil most wish to make his inroads, but in that place where he is hated the most?" — Rev. Ward Phillips, 1788

Appearances


Heresies and Controversies


Keeper Notes

Mythos Content Only the annotated specimen contains spells, written in the reverend’s spidery hand.