Wednesday, March 30, 2016



In the book How to Date Dead Guys, Emma uses a witchcraft guide known as the Book of Shadows to raise the dead. Although I am not a witch, I spent a good deal of time researching the craft. I wanted every spell, candle, and symbol Emma used to have a real basis in the practice of witchcraft.

The Book of Shadows is a real thing.

Whether or not you believe in it is up to you…

A Brief History Lesson You Probably Didn't Learn in High School

Gerald Gardner, the "Father of Modern Wicca", began work on a scrapbook of magical instructions entitled Ye Bok of Ye Art Magical between 1945-1950. Doreen Valiente, the High Priestess of his Bricket Wood coven, helped him with revisions.

She claimed that Gardner reverted to the title Book of Shadows after discovering the term in a magazine article describing how to foretell the future based upon the length of a person's shadow.

Early on, a single copy of the Book existed for each coven, kept by the High Priest or Priestess. When a witch died, her Book of Shadows was to be destroyed to avoid detection.

Starting in the 1970s, it became much more common for solitary practitioners to each possess their own copy of the Book.

Although Gardner is credited with the idea and the original title, now the term Book of Shadows can mean several different things. Some Wiccans use it to refer to a personal journal of rituals and spells, rather than a traditional text. Those who utilize copies of Gardner's original Book may add rituals and teachings, but typically nothing is ever removed.

The term Book of Mirrors refers to a separate magic book, used to collect thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Popular Culture References

The 1996 film The Craft referred to a special book where a witch keeps her spells and "power thoughts". Interesting trivia about the movie claims that filming was interrupted by strange happenings, including flocks of bats, altered tides, and power outages. Real witchcraft rites and language were used, since the actress Fairuza Balk (a practicing Wiccan) wanted to make the movie feel as realistic as possible.

Perhaps the most famous use of a Book of Shadows was in the television series Charmed. From 1998 to 2006, the well-dressed Halliwell sisters (Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs, and Shannen Doherty/Rose McGowan) used their "Power of Three" and their 300-year-old (note the timeline discrepancy) Book to fight paranormal evil.

How to Date Dead Guys Reference

Emma first encounters a Book of Shadows when her roommate's younger sister comes to visit. That night, when the three young women perform a love spell, Emma is the most skeptical.

After her would-be boyfriend Mike drowns in the Chippewa River, Emma turns to witchcraft and the same mysterious Book of Shadows to bring Mike back. The invoked river revolts, and spits out a stranger instead. The dead guy drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he's not the only one.

To help those she raised from the dead, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows.

But as her powers grow, so does her dependence on the Book. Everything has a cost. Will Emma be able to pay it?

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