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Ashmole, Elias (1617–1692), astrologer and antiquary, was born on 23 May 1617 at Lichfield in Staffordshire, the son of Simon Ashmole, a saddler, and his wife, Anne, daughter of Anthony Bowyer, a Coventry draper whose family was of gentry status. Ashmole's grandfather Thomas Ashmole...

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Britten [née Floyd], Emma Hardinge (1823–1899), spiritualist writer and lecturer, was born in Stepney, London, on 2 May 1823, the daughter of Ebenezer Floyd (d. 1834), schoolmaster, and his wife, Anne Sophia, née Bromfield (1792/3–1886). She was baptized at St Matthew's, Bethnal Green...

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Coburn, Alvin Langdon (1882–1966), photographer and mystic, was born on 11 June 1882 at 134 East Springfield Street, Boston, Massachusetts, the only child of James Alvin Coburn (1849–1891), manufacturer of Coburn and Whitman shirts, and his wife, Fannie E. Howe (d. 1928)...

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Culpeper, Nicholas (1616–1654), physician and astrologer, the son of Nicholas Culpeper and his wife, Mary Attersole, was born a little after noon on 18 October 1616, probably at Ockley, Surrey, where he was baptized in St Margaret's Church on 24 October. His father, the rector of ...

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Dee, John (1527–1609), mathematician, astrologer, and antiquary, was born on 13 July 1527 in London, the only child of Rowland Dee and his wife, Joan or Joanna (1508/9–1580), daughter of William Wild.

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Essex witches (act. 1566–1589), are known from four surviving pamphlets published between 1566 and 1589 describing the lives, and in some cases deaths, of one man and thirty women who were accused of witchcraft in Essex and prosecuted under the Witchcraft Act of 1563. In this period witchcraft was punishable by hanging if a witch was convicted of killing a person, or if he or she committed a second witchcraft offence of any kind. Witches were not burnt in ...

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Gadbury, John (1627–1704), astrologer, was born on 31 December 1627 in Wheatley, Oxfordshire, the son of Oliver Gadbury (bap. 1606, d. 1674), a gentleman farmer, and his wife, Frances, who was the daughter of Sir John Curzon of Waterperry, who for a period disinherited the young couple because of their elopement. ...

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Guppy [formerly Nicholl; other married name Guppy-Volckman], (Agnes) Elisabeth (1838–1917), medium, was born Agnes Elisabeth White at 1 Gloucester Crescent, Regent's Park, London, the daughter of Charles Taylor White. Her parents died when she was eleven months old and she was raised by her maternal grandfather, the ...

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Gurney, Edmund (1847–1888), psychical researcher and psychologist, was born on 23 March 1847 at Hersham, Surrey, the third son and fifth child of the Reverend John Hampden Gurney (1802–1862) and his wife, Mary Grey (d. c.1857). He had eight brothers and sisters. From 1861 to 1863 he attended a private boarding-school at ...

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Heydon, John (b. 1629, d. in or after 1670), writer on astrology and alchemy, and occultist, was born on 10 September 1629 in Green Arbour, London, the son of Francis Heydon of Sidmouth, Devon, and Mary Chandler of Worcestershire. He was the grandson of ...

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Home, Daniel Dunglas (1833–1886), medium, was born at Currie, near Edinburgh, on 20 March 1833, the third son of William Home (c.1810–1882), a labourer, and his wife, Elizabeth, née McNeil (c.1810–1850), and was raised as a Presbyterian. He seems to have added his middle name later because of his belief that his father was the illegitimate son of the ...

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Hopkins, Matthew (d. 1647), witch-finder, was the son of James Hopkins (d. 1634?), vicar of Wenham in Suffolk. His collaborator John Stearne described Matthew as 'the son of a godly minister' (Stearne, 61). James's will, proved in 1634, mentions six children, only two of whom (...

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Leo, Alan [formerly William Frederick Allen] (1860–1917), astrologer, was born William Frederick Allen at 6.10 a.m. on 7 August 1860 in Great College Street, Westminster, the only son of a Scottish ex-soldier, who disappeared when Allen was about nine, and a member of the ...

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Lilly, William (1602–1681), astrologer, was born on 1 May 1602, in the village of Diseworth, Leicestershire, near Derby, the son of William Lilly and Alice Barham (d. 1619). His family were of long-standing yeoman stock. A different date of birth, 30 April 1602 at 2.08 p.m. was given by his rival, the astrologer ...

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Myers, Frederic William Henry (1843–1901), psychical researcher and essayist, was born on 6 February 1843 at St John's parsonage, Keswick, Cumberland, the eldest son of Frederic Myers (1811–1851), perpetual curate of St John's, and his second wife, Susan Harriet Marshall (1811–1896). The mathematician ...

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Napier, Richard (1559–1634), astrological physician and Church of England clergyman, was born in Exeter on 4 May 1559, the third son of Alexander Napier and his wife, Ann (Agnes) Burchley. Napier's family pedigree involved direct descent from the Scottish Napiers, lairds of Merchiston...

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Oliphant, Laurence (1829–1888), diplomatist, traveller, and mystic, the only child of Sir Anthony Oliphant (1793–1859) and his wife, Maria (d. 1881), daughter of Colonel Campbell of the 72nd highlanders, was born at Cape Town. Thomas Oliphant, the musician, was his uncle.

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Partridge, John (1644–1715), astrologer and almanac writer, was born on 18 January 1644 in East Sheen, Surrey, the son of John Partridge, a Thames waterman who was also a sidesman and assessor of the parish, and Elizabeth, who died in January 1661 and was buried in the ...

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Sharp, William [pseud. Fiona MacLeod] (1855–1905), novelist and mystic, was born at Paisley on 12 September 1855, the eldest child of David Galbraith Sharp (d. 1876), textile manufacturer, and his wife, Katherine, daughter of William Brooks, Swedish vice-consul at Glasgow (her family was of Swedish descent). ...

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Stead, William Thomas (1849–1912), newspaper editor and spiritualist, was born in Embleton, Northumberland, on 5 July 1849, the son of a Congregational minister, the Revd William Stead (1814–1884), and his wife, Isabella Jobson (1824–1875), both of Yorkshire stock and Scandinavian descent. There were two daughters and, in addition to ...