A factual account





Regardless of what you the reader might think or believe, the events told in this brief account really did take place, at an address in Sydenham, South London in the latter years of the 1970's. Anyone with a genuine interest is invited to contact the author.

Out of the great wide yonder...

NO, it wasn't a windy and dark rainy night. Gremlins, goblins and the likes of Tasmanian devils had been and gone like they do.

Prior to the events described below I had for two years lived in a spacious apartment on the first floor of a large Georgian house on Crystal Palace Park Road in south London.  Then one night the house was firebombed.  A number of other people lived in other aprtments in the house. No-one was injured in the blaze, but a young woman and infant had to be rescued by ladder from the third and top  floor. The blaze rendered the building uninhabitable. It was one of a number of large buildings occupied by a squatters' association with the consent of the local council. I was also a squatter, but with no connection to the group.

Following the fire bombing I moved into an empty property in Upper Sydenham and had been there for a few months when the following events took place.

It was just your ordinary morning as far as anything ordinary goes. Walking past the dining table on my way to make breakfast in the kitchen of the small house in the quiet cul-de-sac in Sydenham, I was surprised to see a black hardback book lying closed on the table. I had not been reading it and there was no one else in the house, nor had I received any earthly type visitors overnight.

And, just like that, was how I met up with the Book of Ptoth. The book was somewhat old and smelled musty like an old schoolbook that had been unopened on the shelf for a good many years. The title read:


a translation of the original
Songs of the Book of Solomon

translated by

... the name of the translator continues to escape me now but it was a woman's name. I sat down to breakfast with the book and discovered it was a book of spells, with incantations in Latin and English and a comprehensive subject index.

There was a full page introduction which implored any reader wishing to pursue any spell not to take the matter frivolously. The importance of sincerity was stressed.

Curious, I studied the content over a lazy breakfast. The comprehensive index of spells covered every conceivable human wish. At this point in life I had been alone for some time and finally decided to try one of the spells to attract the company of a girl—or in the words of the book, the company of a member of the opposite sex.

The instructions detailed that I had to scrupulously clean my dining area, set the table for three; place three slices of bread, unleavened if possible or ordinary if not, and three glasses of water on the table, then recite the incantation in Latin if possible or just English before going to sleep at night. The incantation was little more than a welcome extended to the spirits of the night to visit my home and partake of my food and drink and hospitality. In return for the sincerity of my hospitality they would decide among them which would stay the night and the remaining spirit would then consolidate the spell, according to the text in the book, by arranging my meeting with three strangers over three days, one of whom would choose to stay with me.

I carefully followed the instructions.

The next morning proved to be the start of a lovely warm summer's day. The book had rested on a small bedside table and I carried it downstairs to the dining room and put it in a small but otherwise empty recess in the wall, designed for books or a plant or some other ornament. I then cleared away the table from the night before.

I wondered over breakfast if my good friend Ronny Johnson had brought the book into the house.  Ronny had found me the apartment in Crystal Palace Park Road after I had broken up with one of his sisters. He continued to regard me, as he put it, as one of his best friends. The Sydenham house was in a cul-de-sac off the Sydenham Park road and the main bedroom, bathroom and living area were upstairs, with the kitchen and dining area and a spare bedroom and toilet downstairs.

Ronny was living with his girlfriend at the time but needed a bolt hole as their relationship often turned angry, so I gave him the use of the spare bedroom and a key to the room and the front door.

I knocked at his door but there was no answer from within.

After breakfast, I again checked and opened the locked door. The bed was made and the room was empty.

I went out into the sunshine and spent a few hours in a nearby park. Walking home later, I saw a young woman trying to lift a washing machine into her house over her front doorstep. She was obviously struggling and I stopped to help, getting the machine into the house where she wanted it. She had a young child and invited me to a dinner, not the following but the next day, when they were having a small party and I could meet the child's father. I agreed to go and continued on my way home.

I cannot now remember if I again looked at the book after getting home.

By the next day I had forgotten about the spell and was returning home in the afternoon having been out and about in the continuing sunshine. As I walked up the street to my house a young woman who lived in a house opposite called out and came towards me. She asked if she could borrow some sugar from me.

I had seen her before in the street but we had not met or spoken other than to say hi. I filled the cup she was carrying with sugar and she then invited me over to her place for coffee. We chatted through the evening and spent the night together, but things didn't really work between us and the next morning I returned home.

I was now into the third day, but at this point that fact had not crossed my mind. I spent most of the day out in the summer warmth, returning home in time to collect my guitar and walk around the few streets to where I had been invited to the party by the girl with the washing machine.

I met the young child's father, two guys I didn't know and another girl who was  there. I played around on the guitar, drank a few beers and rolled a few joints from some hash I had, then as the night got later bid my farewells and went home.

I'd been home perhaps a half hour when the doorbell rang and I found the woman who'd been at the party standing alone at my door. She was holding my tobacco tin and said I'd left it behind. I was surprised to see her as I didn't recall telling anyone exactly where I lived and stood there like an idiot for a minute before she said: "Aren't you going to invite me in?"

The remainder of the hash was still in the tin. We chatted for a while then spent a happy night together. The next morning, she had to leave as she was due to move to a new house in Slade Green, where her young daughter would soon start school. I was sad to see her leave, but she wrote down an address and said to visit her in a week or two when she'd settled in.

After she left, I went out again to the park feeling strangely happy and sad at the same time. True to what the book had said, I met three strangers in three days, all in unusual and interesting circumstances.  As I sat in the sun, it took a while for the realisation to set in that I had in fact met three strangers over three days, one of whom had stayed with me.

Unsettled by not having become aware sooner, I hurried from the park to get home and look again at the book.

It was nowhere to be found in the house, a mystery as great and unfathomable as its inexplicable appearance. Later that day, utterly perplexed, I went to see Ronny only to learn that he'd not been anywhere near the house that week. No-one else had a key.

To this day, now some 45 years later, the mystery arrival of the book and its subsequent disappearance remain unresolved.

With the passing of time, I also became aware that three undeniably negative elements had also become caught up with my life—negative elements that continued to counteract the benefits of meeting a companion through the spell, and which remained until I later parted company with the girl who had stayed that night, almost three years later.

Make of it what you will. I have seen ghosts. Check out the pages of this web site for the stories. You'll find some links on the features page.

You can also check Orla. 'Luck

Since this event, I have searched intensively for this particular book without success.

If anyone has ever encountered this mystery book of spells please let me know! This is a sincere request, and a sincere story.



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