The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
The Black Pullet or The Hen with the Golden Eggs
Books of Magic and Witchcraft
Do you remember the story of the goose that laid the golden eggs? Wouldn’t you like to own a bird like that? Impossible, you say? Well, how about a chicken that can lead you to treasure? Would you settle for that? Sure you would. Now all you need is this book and the magical skill to put its secrets into practice.
Subtitled The Science of Magical Talismans, The Black Pullet is believed to have been first published in the late eighteenth century. Who wrote it? Who knows? The oldest extent version was written in French although it seems to have been published in Rome. According to what’s written in the text, the anonymous author was traveling in Egypt when a mysterious man took him inside a pyramid and taught him occult secrets, which the author now wishes to share. The Black Pullet is the result.
This grimoire is devoted to talismanic magic and treasure hunting. It is divided into two sections, which may or may not have once been separate books. The first contains instructions for making magical rings that will enable you to command and control the elemental fire spirits known as salamanders. Why ever would you want to do that? Because salamanders can, allegedly, be compelled to bestow gifts like invisibility and winning lottery numbers. The book’s second section, fairly unique among grimoires, is devoted to instructions on how to create a magical chicken that can lead you to buried treasure. Don’t laugh; this wasn’t intended as a joke—or at least maybe it wasn’t. A fairly late grimoire, with no pretense of presenting ageold information, The Black Pullet was produced in an era where the lines between obsessed sorcerer and mad scientist were very fine.
The Black Pullet takes a novel approach toward the prevention of piracy and copyright fraud, one that other publishers would perhaps like to consider. Similar to those curses found within Egyptian tombs or inside buried hordes of treasure, the text warns that anyone producing a pirated version will be severely punished via magic.
The Black Pullet displays more humor (or what can be interpreted as humor; maybe there was never any intention of being funny) than is customary in this genre. However, one mustn’t underestimate The Black Pullet. It’s an influential grimoire, which has been incorporated into various traditions, especially those of the Western Hemisphere including Hoodoo. The book is available in English. A Spanish translation—Gallina Negra—has been influential in both Afro-Caribbean and Mexican Santeria.
The Black Pullet created a new style in grimoires, resulting in a series of book with equally evocative titles. Extremely similar grimoires were published under titles like Black Screech Owl, Queen of the Hairy Flies, and Treasure of the Old Man of the Pyramids. A new “version” of the Grand Grimoire was also published around this time entitled The Red Dragon (see page 127).
See ANIMALS: Chickens; DICTIONARY: Santeria.