WitchTok: The Rise of Occult on Social Media Reminds Me of the 16th Century

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WitchTok: Social Media’s Rise in Occult Has Eerie Parallels to the 16th Century

It’s 1.30 a.m., and I’m about to watch a magic showdown between two magicians.

One is a “demonolater,” a term I’d never heard before, who claims to worship demons and can petition them for knowledge or power in exchange for money.

The other claims to be a “Solomonic magician,” claiming to be able to command demons to do his bidding, as some Jewish and Islamic traditions believe King Solomon, who ruled Israel in the 10th century BC, did.

This debate arose from my discovery, while studying 16th century books of magic attributed to Solomon, that “Solomonic magic” is still alive and well today, and growing in popularity.

I found myself immersed in a vast online community of young occultists, tweeting and retweeting the latest theories and controversies, and using TikTok to share their craft, thanks to Twitter’s suggestion that I might be interested in an account called “Solomonic magic.” With a few clicks, I was immersed in a vast online community of young occultists, tweeting and retweeting the latest theories and contro

To add to my confusion, it appeared that the Solomonic magic tradition had recently been accused of being abusive, similar to domestic violence, because of its strict and authoritative approach to the command of demons.

It seemed incredible to be asking myself whether Solomonic magic, the same found in books of necromancy dating back hundreds of years, was on the verge of cancellation in 2021, as I had made a note in my diary of a public debate I wanted to attend out of sheer curiosity.

At 28, I’m a little too old to be familiar with the Twitch platform, which is primarily used for live video streaming, but I was able to get it to work for this debate tonight.

I’m probably in the minority as an atheist, but I’m not the only Brit who’s shown up despite the fact that it’s past midnight on this side of the Atlantic.

As occultists of various stripes arrive to hear the arguments, the chat box becomes a hive of activity.

I can’t help but think that this would irritate my mother.

I wasn’t even allowed to read Harry Potter because she didn’t want me to.

“I study magic at Cambridge University,” I always tell people when they ask what I do.

I’m researching early modern representations of magic and am curious about…

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