Grevel LindopVisiting Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge

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How the King of the Witches Dusted the Books: Alex Sanders at the John Rylands Library
in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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Alex Sanders (1926–88), one of the founders of modern pagan witchcraft in the UK, worked briefly at the John Rylands Library in 1962 as a book duster before being dismissed for ‘neglect of his duties’. The full circumstances were more complex, and although Sanders is now the subject of an article in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography the episode has never been fully investigated. This article makes use of all relevant sources, including unpublished records at the John Rylands Library, books damaged by Sanders, and interviews with former staff, to establish what happened and what bearing the events had on Sanders’s future career as an occultist and propagator of pagan witchcraft.

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