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The era of the Enlightenment also saw an explosion of occultism. The aristocracy of eighteenth century France in particular was obsessed with alchemy and spirit evocation. Freemasonry was intertwined with even more esoteric practices, particularly in continental Europe. Monarchs such as Sweden’s Gustav III ran their nations on the advice of fortune-tellers and mystics. The first books on using Tarot cards for divination were published in the late eighteenth century, and the Egyptomania of the time has left an enduring mark on modern Western occultism. Count Cagliostro mingled with the highest strata of European society, while the lower class looked to witchcraft for cures the quacks of the day could not provide. The Gothic genre itself was partially the result of the eighteenth century’s thirst for the supernatural, turned to dark obsession as war, revolution, and natural disasters engulfed the continent.

The following lists will help inspire Magician and Witch characters for Ghastly Affair, or any role-playing game.

Some Historical Magicians:
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
Mamsell Arfvidsson
Francis Barrett
Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier de Terre-Neuve du Thym
Carl Adolf Boheman
Count Cagliostro (Guiseppe Balsalmo)
John Dee
Etteilla (Jean-Baptiste Alliette)
Antoine Court de Gébelin
Magdelaine de La Grange
Étienne Guibourg
Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand
Suzanne Labrousse
Adam Lesage
Henrietta Lullier [Multi-classed Magician / Libertine]
Antoine Fabre d’Olivet
Annie Palmer (The White Witch of Rose Hall) [possibly apocryphal]
Martinez de Pasqually
Charlotta Roos
Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin
Henrik Gustaf Ulfvenklou
Marie-Anne de La Ville
La Voisin (Catherine Monvoisin)

Some Literary Inspirations:
Carathis (Vathek – William Beckford)
John Constantine (Hellblazer – DC Comics)
Count Dracula (Dracula – Bram Stoker) [Multiclass Magician / Vampyre. Most of Dracula’s powers are actually necromancy learned at the legendary Scholomance]
Durand (Juliette; or, Vice Amply Rewarded – Marquis de Sade)
Don Pedro de Uzeda (Rabbi Zadok ben Mamoun) (The Manuscript Found in Sargossa – Jan Potocki)
Ginotti (Saint Irvyne; or, The Rosicrucian – Percy Bysshe Shelley)
Haninuh the Scholar (The Book of the Beast – Tanith Lee)
Heinrich Faust (Faust – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
Prospero (The Tempest – William Shakespeare)
Manfred (Manfred: A Dramatic Poem – Lord Byron)
Matilda (The Monk: A Romance – Matthew Lewis) [although Matilda is also something else…]
Ruquel (The Book of the Beast – Tanith Lee)
Zanoni (Zanoni – Edward Bulwer-Lytton)

Some Magicians from Movies and Television:
Angelique Bouchard (Dark Shadows)
The Evil Queen (Snow White)
Justin (Lo)
Rowena MacLeod (Supernatural)
Merlin (Excalibur)
The Mirror Queen (The Brothers Grimm)
Morgana Le Fay (Excalibur)
Nix (Lord of Illusions)
Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Lord Summerisle (The Wicker Man)
Philip Swann (Lord of Illusions)
Asa Vajda (Black Sunday) [Multiclassed Magician / Vampyre]
Katrina Van Tassel (Sleepy Hollow – Movie and TV Series)
Mary Walcott (Salem)
Warlock (Warlock)
Witch Woman (The Company of Wolves)

A Few Inspirational Songs:
The Wizard – Black Sabbath
Rhiannon – Fleetwood Mac
The Witch – The Cult
I Put a Spell on You – Screaming Jay Hawkins
Witchy Woman – The Eagles
Black Magic Woman – Santana
Spellbound – Siouxsie and the Banshees
Magic Man – Heart
Over the Mountain – Ozzy Osbourne. Ok, Mr. Crowley too!
Wrapped Around Your Finger – The Police

Gallery of Images

1 Félicien Rops - L'Incantation

2 A witch making a potion Wellcome V0044812

3 Ill dict infernal p0130-114 boule de cristal

4 A witch casting spells over a steaming cauldron. Engraving b Wellcome V0025855

5 Germania, 1882 1020213 (4359093810)

6 Witches Flight Goya

7 The Young Sorceress by Antoine Wiertz

8 The Devil in Britain and America, 1896 Wellcome L0000137

9 A witch placing a scorpion into a pot in order to make a pot Wellcome V0025566

10 A compleat history of magik, sorcery, and wi Wellcome L0026620

11 Witchcraft and magic Wellcome L0031855

Credit for Images 2, 4, 8, 9, 10, & 11 : Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org . Copyrighted works available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/