Sorcerers, alchemists and wizards seem to be the stuff of legend today, but in olden times, they were revered as people who had the power to contact spirits or perform feats that border on the paranormal. Although nothing of the proportion of a duel between Dumbledore and Gandalf ever took place even in the weirdest old legends, there are some individuals who were considered literally out of this world.
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Hayyim Samuel Jacob Falk
Rabbi Hayyim Samuel Jacob Falk lived in England in the 1700s, after having been charged with sorcery in Germany and forced to leave the country. He was one wizard that could give Harry Potter a run for his money, having quickly gained the reputation of a mystic, and reportedly being capable of moving objects with his mind, or even achieving feats like filling a cellar with coal using a simple incantation.
Abe No Seimei
Seimei was essentially considered the “Merlin of Japan.” This, however, was a man that truly existed, as opposed to the European legend of Merlin. Abe No Seimei served six different emperors faithfully, being known for his skills in divination and for the various rituals he performed to keep spirits and illnesses at bay. Legends even say he managed to banish hosts of demons with his vast repertoire of magical spells.
The Sorcerer of Trois-Freres
Depicted on Paleolithic cave paintings in France, the Sorcerer of Trois-Freres is one of the earliest depictions of wizardry in the area, and may have been a wizard as scary as Voldemort. He was believed to have great power over the inhabitants of the area, having even been portrayed as a god.
The Necromancer of Marblehead
Marblehead in Massachusetts was at one time home to an Edward “John” Diamond, a man believed to have been both an evil and a good sorcerer. He was said to go into trances and come back with knowledge of future events. Even more unusual was the rumor that he used to dig out graves and dabble in the dark art of necromancy.
Edward Kelly was not necessarily a wizard like Harry Potter, but he was the personal scryer of famed 16th century occultist John Dee and was said to be capable of receiving messages from angels through a mystical obsidian mirror.
Paracelsus was one of the most distinguished “renaissance men” of the 16th century. He was known, however, especially for his remarkable healing abilities and his disapproval with the leading school of medical thought at that time, known as Galenic medicine. Apparently, Paracelsus mixed alchemy and astrology with his medical practices and achieved remarkable results through his efforts.
Cornelius Agrippa is about as close to a real live sorcerer as you can get. He wrote a series of three books on the occult and has spent most of his life studying nature and vocational magic, as well as various murky aspects of theology that most people stayed well away from. Near the end of his life. in the early 1500s, Agrippa apparently lost his faith in magic, but the circumstances of how or why this happened still remain a mystery today.
Although we're in the middle of a technological revolution, there are plenty of feats people in modern times are capable of that even our science cannot explain. Do you believe in magic? Which one of these unusual personalities would you consider to be closest to a real Harry Potter or Gandalf?
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