Great bookshelves, smelling of British oak and Puritan fires, groaned beneath a library of occult works. Said library was smaller than it should have been, by about three centuries…Books by Dee, Strange and Subtle, lost Pnakotic texts and hairy bibles of horrid knowledge had all been combined into one of the greatest sources of occult knowledge short of the Papal Libraries. And when Charles had gotten the chop, Cromwell’s men had burned Rupert’s home and the library with it…
–“The Unwrapping Party” (2012)
No. 427 Cheyne Walk houses one of the finest libraries of occult volumes in the Western Hemisphere. Books, tomes, grimoires, manuscripts, papyri and at least one malicious ritual written on a tea cosy line the long shelves of St. Cyprian’s sitting room, jostling for space with antique statuary, grisly idols and boxes full of evil, incense, and evil incense.
Despite its size, it is but a pale shadow of its former glory, thanks to Oliver Cromwell’s misguided actions. When the offices of the Royal Occultist were once more occupied, and the office of Witchfinder General abolished, the surviving nucleus of that once great repository of secret knowledge was again free to grow.
Successive Royal Occultists, most notably Edwin Drood, a recognized (and diagnosed) bibliophile, scoured shadowy book shops throughout the British Empire and beyond. These forays were not without danger as Drood inevitably clashed with rival book-hounds and bibliophiles, as well as the odd, intractable owner over a given folio, treatise or crumbling scroll. More than one old tome on the shelves bears an unfortunate blood spatter on its hairy cover, or a curse upon its contents.
Too, the sheer number of books has attracted the worst sort of burglar. For instance, in the 1890s the Great Beast and the Order of the Golden Dawn attempted to stage a ‘reconquista’ of what they considered to be public property, and laid mystic siege to No. 427 for six days. The battle ended abruptly when Edwin Drood, out of patience, stormed across the street and broke Crowley’s nose.
Regardless, the library now stands as one of the greatest storehouses of occult knowledge in the western world.
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