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The Three Scrolls
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the Three Scrolls magical effect. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.



A decription of this effect is found in 'Magiae Naturalis' by Giambattista della Porta (1535-1615), which was first published in Latin in Naples in 1558. The first edition contained only four books but this had expanded to twenty books by 1584. The image below is taken from an English translation, of the twenty book version, which was published in London in 1658 under the title 'Natural Magick' and which gave the author's name as John Baptista Porta. I assume this information also appears in the 1584 Latin version.

I am not convinced that the reference in Aristotle's 'Problemata' can bear the interpretation the author puts on it.



'Deliciae physico mathematicae oder mathematische und philosophische Erquickstunden' by Daniel Schwenter, which was published in Nürnberg in 1636 contained an explanation of a similar effect.