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A Candle in the Dark

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A Candle in the Dark
AuthorThomas Ady
Publication Date1655

A Candle in the Dark (: or, A Treatise Concerning the Nature of Witches and Witchcraft: Being Advice to Judges, Sheriffes, Justices of the Peace, and Grand-Jury-men, what to do, before they passe Sentence on such as are Arraigned for their Lives as Witches.) by Thomas Ady, published in 1655.

Thomas Ady was a physician who lived in the reign of King James I, and apart from his books, little else is known of him.

Ady wrote this to augment Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft and to further prove that those being accused of witchcraft were just magicians. Amongst other items, he explains how the conjurers (whom he calls "jugglers") did their tricks.

The book was written in three parts. In the first part, he gives multiple meanings and descriptions of a witch. In the second part, Ady shows that witchcraft is nowhere to be found in the Bible. And in the last part, he attacks the books that have been published on witches by so-called experts.

This book also contains one of the earliest histories and explanations of the word "Hocus Pocus."


  • 1655
  • 1656 (Division of Rare & Manuscripts Collections, Cornell University)
  • A facsimile edition with new forward by Etienne Lorenceau (1994)

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