Red Book of Appin

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The Red Book of Appin...

Title: The Red Book of Appin

Origin: Gaelic Scottish Folklore of the early 1800s

Description

Believed to have been a treatise on folk medicine compiled in Scotland in the 1600s-1700s, last seen in the town of Appin bound in red leather (hence the name), where it was consulted by locals for the treatment of sick/injured livestock; early oral tradition held specifically that it was a treatise on the illnesses of cattle and their treatment, and circumstantial evidence suggests that it was probably similar in content and style to such later handbooks of folk magic as Pow-Wows; or, Long Lost Friend: a mix of "natural philosophy" style folk/herbal medicine, quasi-Christian prayers, and rustic ritual magic (such as the use of iron horse-shoes and iron nails in warding off evil and misfortune). The book has been referenced several times in later literature in ways that suggest that it may have actually existed and had survived at least up to the late 1700s, and possibly early 1800s, before vanishing under mysterious and undescribed circumstances, with one eyewitness quoted as having seen the book in his childhood when he was sent to fetch the book's custodian and bring both to treat the family livestock.


Red Book of Appin (original)

  • Author: anonymous
  • Language: Gaelic and Latin, with strange runes (possibly Aklo or Enochian)
  • Number of known copies (if rare): 1
  • Last known location of surviving copies (if rare): Appin village, western Scottish highlands, Scotland, early 1800s

Physical Description: A large, aged, and mouldy octavo of hand-written parchments bound in red leather, compiling mystical home-remedies of various dubious origins, written in Latin and Gaelic, punctuated by peculiar runes in an unknown language (perhaps Aklo or Enochian).

General Content: Described loosely as a book of "veterinary medicine", the content appears to involve remedies more in the line of rustic magic and sorcery than actual medicine; there are some natural/herbal/home remedies, mixed freely with strange incantations in the form of pseudo-Christian prayers and charms, along with more traditionally/explicitly pagan charms and wards against Faerie magic, particularly (in one well-preserved example) the use of iron implements to break faerie curses, as well at more mysterious content rendered in runes of an exceptionally curious and mysterious order (perhaps derived from Aklo, the runic written language of the faeries themselves.) Presumably, the book also contains information that implies how to create spells and charms harmful to livestock; the Aklo passages almost certainly refer to Mythos creatures.


Handwritten Copies of the Red Book of Appin

  • Author: anonymous
  • Language: Gaelic and Latin, with strange runes (possibly Aklo or Enochian)
  • Number of known copies (if rare): few copies extant
  • Last known location of surviving copies (if rare): some tomes of this sort have surfaced in remote corners of Scotland, Australia, India, and the Americas, where the books seem to have accompanied Scottish immigrants and traveling mystics.

Physical Description: these "Red" books take a variety of highly individual forms, few of which are actually red in colour; in most cases the contents appear to have been copied by their owners from those portions of the original that most interested the copy's owner as being useful and relevant to his/her purposes; most such tomes also include additional content supplied by the owners, copied from other sources, often from personal experience, or from other tomes, or sometimes from other traditions; for example, one version of the "Red Book" described in India included additional material derived from Hindu and allegedly "Gypsy" sorcery, while others found in Eastern Europe contain material of German folk origins.

General Content: Described loosely as a book of "veterinary medicine", the content appears to involve remedies more in the line of rustic magic and sorcery than actual medicine; there are some natural/herbal/home remedies, mixed freely with strange incantations in the form of pseudo-Christian prayers and charms, along with more traditionally/explicitly pagan charms and wards against Faerie magic, particularly (in one well-preserved example) the use of iron implements to break faerie curses, as well at more mysterious content rendered in runes of an exceptionally curious and mysterious order (perhaps derived from Aklo, the runic written language of the faeries themselves.)


1840 American Printing

  • Author: anonymous
  • Language: English, Latin, and Gaelic
  • Rarity: uncommonly encountered in American farm communities where it is sometimes used alongside other such pocket-sized folk magic tomes

Physical Description: a crude pocket-sized book of folk magic copied from the handwritten copies of the original tome, bound in red linen, with the name "Appin" printed on it; much of the content have been roughly translated into English, though the "magic words" of most spells remain in Latin. The content has been supplemented by additional spells apparently drawn from the same Germanic folk magic tradition that informed the likes of Pow-Wows; or, Long Lost Friend and similar books of folk magic. Many copies of these books have been altered with marginalia penciled into the endpapers, margins, and anywhere else blank space was found, marking unique personal corrections or improvements to the contents.

General Content: Much the same as the original tome, though clearly a subset of the charms, spells, prayers, and remedies that would have been found in the original (notably absent are the runic passages), with the addition of new content following the German tradition common to similar tomes used by the Pennsylvania Dutch "Powwower": the content appears to involve remedies more in the line of rustic magic and sorcery than actual medicine; there are some natural/herbal/home remedies, mixed freely with strange incantations in the form of pseudo-Christian prayers and charms, along with more traditionally/explicitly pagan charms and wards against Faerie magic, particularly (in one well-preserved example) the use of iron implements to break faerie curses.


The "True" Red Book of Appin (paperback)

  • Author: anonymous (2016), attributed to Vlad the Impaler,
  • Language: English and Mumbojumbo
  • Rarity: commonly spotted in New Age bookstores, on the internet, and on basement cinderblock-and-2x4 bookshelves next to copies of the "Simonomicon", cheesy heavy metal albums, and dark-and-edgy role-playing games held up with ceramic demon-skull book-ends

Physical Description: paperback with black cardboard cover in white Spïnal Tap text dubiously identifying the book to be "The True Red Book of Appin: The Grimoire of Vlad the Impaler 666". The back cover proclaims: "Some say that The Red Book had been dictated by Vlad Tepes himself to some monk Kirill. If it is so or not, we cannot say, but the devil-worshipping of the great Romanian general is an unquestionable fact, which no serious black adept can deny. It is well known that this document, enwrapped in blood-red leather of some unknown creature (according to rumors , that was one of lower demons, invoked by Vlad specially for this purpose), was kept by the english merchant Joseph Appin (from this comes the title of the book), who died in 1689 and bequeathed to bury it together with him. Having accomplished their father`s behest, two of his sons afterwards digged his grave out in order to get the access to the source of terrible transcendent knowledge, but found no book there. It is possible that the book had been stolen by some offspiring of Vlad, and since then it was imparted from father to son until the year 1869, when it got into the hands of the Hungarian secret community Tremalosh, which afterwards turned to one of branches of the Great Black Lodge under the abbreviation A.C.C. The copy had been imparted to the Pontiphic of the Lodge Johan Kellenheim in 1901 and translated to polish and German. The further destinity of the original is unknown. It's written in the purest version of the Enochian language, in comparison with which the language of John Dee is just a pitiable senseless murmuring, and not with Enochian symbols but with Latin letters, which confirms the version of writing it by the monk, unfamiliar with the Heavenly Language."

General Content: The usual generic dark-and-edgy post-modern occult balderdash of the sort found in "Simonomicon": a suspicious-sounding mostly-fictional history of the infamous lost tome and its dubious rediscovery, half-baked references to Aleistar Crowley, invocations to near-eastern demons cribbed loosely from other dubious sources, assorted scary-sounding curses and hexes, completely unworkable spells cobbled together from a variety of disparate sources, gleeful descriptions of gory blood sacrifices, and all the other usual suspects. In short, this version of the Red Book is not the original tome, but a millennial hoax purporting to be a lost tome, complete with all the set dressing that could possibly be inspired by getting high and rewatching Blair Witch 2 while listening to Cannibal Corpse, reading The Satanic Bible, and playing F.A.T.A.L., and should probably not be taken very seriously in-game (or out) as a Mythos tome....


Quotes

"When you do this, draw a cross in the centre of the circle, upon which you will stand yourself; and do not move out of that position till the rising of the sun next morning." He also told him that he would wish him to come out of the circle to put his name in the book; but that upon no account he was to leave the circle; "but ask the book till you would write your name yourself, and when once you get hold of the book keep it, he cannot touch a hair of your head, if you keep inside the circle."
— J.F. Campbell, Tales of the West Highlands (1860)

Appearances


Associated Mythos Elements

The "Hollywood version" refers to:


Keeper Notes; Heresies and Controversies

  • Folklore legends about the book:
    • According to folklore on the tome's origin, the book had been in the possession of witches and faeries, who had approached a young man to employ as a servant, offering wealth for the man's agreement of service and his signature in the book; the youth, being of pious, thoughtful, and cautious character, declined to sign the book carelessly, but instead arranged to meet his would-be employers by midnight and trick them into handing the book to him to sign while he was standing within a protective ward, and then, rather than signing it, waiting for the dawn, at which point the villains, unable to retrieve the book, cursed, turned into ravens, black cats, and monstrous worms, which, uttering parting curses at the youth, scattered into hiding before the rising of the sun.
    • The original book appears to have vanished under mysterious circumstances, the house in which it was kept being swallowed into monstrous sinkhole of prodigious depth, from which issued a horrifying smell, an unnatural chill and fog, and frightful voices. A daring young man, with the intent of retrieving the book from the pit for a prize, had himself lowered in a basket at the end of a long rope, deep into the hole. Through his descent, he bravely described strange and frightful things which could be dimly seen and heard among the mists and within the wreckage of the sunken house, until his nerve suddenly broke at some ghastly revelation of the parting mists, and, uttering frantic cries and pulling the rope in the agreed-upon signal to pull him out of the sinkhole. The party assembled at the mouth of the hole struggled to pull the rope, basket, and adventurer out of the pit, but failed to do so before the hole closed itself up with a terrible groan and rumbling from within the earth.


Mythos Content

Spells:

  • Sanity Loss: minor
  • Mythos Knowledge: little or none
  • Occult Knowledge: minor

References

  • Spell-and-Ritual, on the legendary grimoire and its modern hoax: (link)
  • Hugh Cheape, on the medicine and magic of the tome: (link)
  • YankeeClassic.com describes a legend about the tome: (link)