Now, this is the way to scare the shit out of people and make them do what you say. Some of these would look right at home in John Carpenter’s “The Thing.”
With the warning “NOLI ME TANGERE” (“Do Not Touch”) on its cover, the compendium can be seen as a last attempt by those of faith to instil fear among the superstitious. After all, the Compendium Artis Magicae was produced during the decade of revolutions (American and French) and in the Age of Enlightenment—when reason, science and the power of the individual dominated, and the first stirrings of industry were about to change Europe and the world. The horrendous witch trials of the 16th and 17th centuries were long banished and the last execution in England for witchcraft took place in 1716 (1727 in Scotland, 1750 in Austria, 1782 in Switzerland), while the practise of witchcraft ceased to be a criminal offense across Europe during the century (England 1735)—all of which makes this Compendium Artis Magicae all the more bizarre.
I’ll bet many people today can look at such things and feel a stab of fear, because they’ve been programmed to think there’s an evil creature lurking in the shadows trying to lure them into its sinful clutches. (Side note: what’s with the gargantuan wangs on some of these demons…?)