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The Masonic Necromancer: Shifting Identities In The Lives Of Johann Georg Schrepfer

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Chapter Summary

When in October 1774 a suicide in a forest near Leipzig was reported to the local authorities, it was the climax and at the same time the spectacular ending of a short, yet mysterious and sensational life. This chapter focuses on the following questions: besides being an impostor and swindler or, as Johann Georg Schrepfer was called in the magazines, a 'Windbeutel ', what was it that made him famous as well as notorious all over the Ancient Régime? What was his necromancy like? How did the Freemasons consider him and his (Para)Masonic rituals? What kind of light does his example shed on practical eighteenth-century magic? Would he from our twenty-first century perspective be considered a genuine esotericist or a swindler? And to what extent do discussions, narrations, and legends derived from Schrepfer's performances constitute a polemical debate, contemporary and historical? The chapter explains a short glimpse of Schrepfer's biography.

Keywords: Johann Georg Schrepfer; Masonic Necromancer; Masonic rituals; Windbeutel



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