Brocken Tryst
A celebrated experiment in magical transformation performed
by psychical researcher Harry Price in June 1932 in
the Hartz Mountains, Germany, during the Goethe centenary.
The Brocken is the highest peak of the Hartz range.
Price claimed that a fifteenth-century manuscript of a magic
ritual for changing a goat into a beautiful youth was delivered
mysteriously in his National Laboratory of Psychic Research,
London, and he decided to test whether the magic worked.
This ‘‘Blocksberg Manuscript’’ detailed a ritual from the High
German Black Book, a classic manual of black magic, and required
a magic circle drawn on top of the Brocken on a night
of full moon, a fire of pinewood, a goat with a silver cord, and
a maiden pure in heart. Price undertook this ritual before
scores of pressmen, photographers, and a film cameraman. In
fact, the goat was not metamorphosed after all, but Price
achieved his objective of securing publicity for paranormal investigation,
and magic and psychic phenomena became a talking
point in the stifled atmosphere of the 1930s.
Price, Harry. Confessions of a Ghost Hunter. New York G. P.
Putnam’s Sons, 1936. Reprint, New York Causeway Books,