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Reginald Scot

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Reginald Scot
Bornc. 1538
Kent, England
DiedOctober 9, 1599 (age 60)
Smeeth, England
Resting placeSt. Mary's Church, Brabourne, Kent County, England
Notable worksThe Discoverie of Witchcraft
CategoriesBooks by Reginald Scot

Reginald Scot (c. 1538 - 1599) was the English author of The Discoverie of Witchcraft, which was published in 1584. It was written to show that witches did not exist, by exposing how (apparently miraculous) feats of magic were done. The book is often deemed the first textbook about conjuring.

Scots’ name is not clear. He wrote two books. In his first book about "The Hoppe Garden", he used Reynold as his first name, in “The Discoveries” he used Reginald, in his marriage entry it appears as Raynold and in his Will (1599) as Raynolde Scott which may be correct. [1]


Scot believed that the prosecution of those accused of witchcraft was irrational and un-Christian, and he held the Roman Church responsible. All obtainable copies were burned on the accession of James I in 1603 and those remaining are now rare. (In 1586, the Star Chamber greatly tightened the censorship laws.)

The chapter on magic tricks in Scot's Discoverie was plagiarized heavily, and constituted a substantial portion (in some cases, nearly all) of the text in English-language magic books of the 17th and 18th centuries.

The book also narrates stories of strange phenomena in the context of religious convictions. The devil is related with such stories and his ability to absorb people’s souls. The book also narrates stories of magicians with utterly supernatural powers performing in front of courts of kings.

He was inducted into the Society of American Magicians Hall of Fame and Magic Museum.


  • A Perfect Platforme of a Hoppe-Garden (1574)
  • The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584)


  1. The Discoverie Of Witchcraft (Second Edition, 1586, reprint 1973, Introduction, by Dr. Brinsley Nicholson, page 11; Will of Raynold Scot, page 27
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  • The Annals of Conjuring (1929, reprint 2001), Color Section, page 16; The Discovery of Witchcraft, page 87; Notes, page 421;
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 17, No. 2, April 1937, Some Rare Old Books on Conjuring and Magic, by Dr. Henry R. Evans – Reginald Scot, page 77
  • Tops Magazine, Vol. 3, No. 9, September 1938, MAGIC BOOKS, by H. Adrian Smith, The Era of Witchcraft – Reginald Scot, page 32
  • Tops Magazine, Vol. 3, No. 11, November 1938, Magic Books of Another Day, by H. Adrian Smith – Reginald Scot, page 32
  • Tops Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 2, February 1939, Magic Books of Another Day, by H. Adrian Smith - The Bibliography of Scot’s Discovery, page 24
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 34, No. 1, March 1954, Tomb of Reginald Scot, by John McArdle, page 23
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 34, No. 6, August 1954, Reginald Scot Memorial Fund, page 164
  • M-U-M, Vol. 44, No. 3, August 1954, Reginald Scot Memorial Fund, page 128
  • The New Tops, Vol. 23, No. 3, Mach 1983, Men of Magic, by Robert Olson – Reginald Scot, page 39
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 69, No. 6, June 1989, The Discovery of Witchcraft, page 58
  • Magische Welt, Vol. 50, No. 4, August 2001, Zauberbücher, by Peter Rawert, page 174
  • The Magic Circular, Vol. 105, No. 1142, September 2011, REGINALD SCOT, THE PORTRAIT A DECADE ON, by Harry Reeve, page 266
  • Bio-bibliographisches Lexikon der Zauberkünstler Edition Volker Huber, April 2002, Scot, Reginald: engl. Schriftsteller; Zauberkünstler (*1538 Smeeth; †09.10.1590), page 311
  • Family History