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Nicholas Culpeper's statement about John Dee's crystal, England, 1651-1658

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Written on 7 March 1651 by Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654), this Latin document describes the history of John Dee’s crystal and how Culpeper came to be its owner. John Dee (1527-1609), an English mathematician and astrologer, claimed he was given the crystal by the angel Uriel. Dee claimed to be able to see apparitions or ghosts in the stone. By 1608, Dee’s son, Arthur (1597-1651) was the Keeper of the Stone after the crystal spent twenty years in Continental Europe. As a reward for curing Arthur Dee’s liver complaints, Culpeper, a physician and alchemist, was given the crystal. He used it to try and heal illnesses until 1651, when he believed a demonic ghost “which exercised itself to lewdness and other depravity with women and girls” appeared in it. The manuscript was bought at auction for the Wellcome collections in 1922.

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Glossary: manuscript - document genre

Handwritten documents, particularly books and other documents created before the invention of the printing press. May also be used to distinguish certain documents from published or otherwise printed documents, as in the cases of typed personal letters or a typescript from which printed versions are made.