Touch Me Not is an Austrian manuscript compendium of the black magical arts, completed c. 1795. Unique and otherworldly, it evokes a realm of visceral dark magic. As the co-editor of this volume Hereward Tilton notes, the manuscript “appears at first sight to be a ‘grimoire’ or magician’s manual intended for noviciates of black magic. Psychedelic drug use, animal sacrifice, sigillary body art, masturbation fantasy and the necromantic manipulation of gallows-corpses count among the transgressive procedures it depicts. With their aid hidden treasures are wrested from guardian spirits, and the black magician’s highest ambition—an infernal transfiguration and union with the Devil—can be fulfilled.”
Hidden for decades within the Wellcome Library collection, Touch Me Not is published here as a full-color facsimile. The German and Latin texts have been translated by Hereward Tilton and Merlin Cox, scholars who have explored the sources for the various elements and provided copious references. Tilton provides an introduction that lays out the context for the survival of this extraordinary manuscript.