Claude Lecouteux

Claude Lecouteux is a former professor of medieval literature and civilization at the Sorbonne. He is the author of numerous books on medieval and pagan afterlife beliefs and magic, including The Book of Grimoires, Dictionary of Ancient Magic Words and Spells, and The Tradition of Household Spirits. He lives in Paris.

Books By Claude Lecouteux

  1. The Secret History of Vampires

    The Secret History of Vampires

    By Claude Lecouteux

    Anciently, not all vampires were blood suckers. They included shroud-eaters, nightmares, stirges, and ghouls. Claude Lecouteux looks back to a time when vampires were understood differently from the child of the night depicted in modern movies and books.
  2. Christian Mythology

    Christian Mythology

    By Philippe Walter

    The church knowingly incorporated pagan elements into the Christian faith to ease the transition to the new religion. Indeed, the identities of saints and pagan figures became so intermingled that some saints were transformed into pagan incarnations. Providing extensive documentation, this book shows which major days of the Christian calendar are founded on pagan traditions, including Easter and Christmas.
  3. Demons and Spirits of the Land

    Demons and Spirits of the Land

    By Claude Lecouteux

    Our pagan ancestors understood there were giants in the hills, dragons in the lakes, and wild folk in the mountains. They both feared and respected these entities, and negotiated with them to ensure proper placement and protection of a new building. Despite outright Church suppression, belief in these spirits has carried through to modern times.
  4. Phantom Armies of the Night

    Phantom Armies of the Night

    By Claude Lecouteux

    This book examines the Wild Hunt of Medieval paganism--the nocturnal procession of demons, hounds, soldiers, and knights, some covered in blood, others carrying their heads beneath their arms. Variations of this myth are still a living, evolving tradition.
  5. The Return of the Dead

    The Return of the Dead

    By Claude Lecouteux

    To the pagan mind, ghosts were very much alive--the dead could, and did, cross back and forth at will. The Church engineered the transformation of ghosts from the embodied to the amorphous, the better to supplant a form of ancestor worship with its own faith.
  6. The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses
    Our pagan ancestors understood that the mischief of poltergeists was the work of helper spirits. Now, as then, poltergeist manifestations are revealing our relationship with the natural and unseen world, a relationship we must take care to keep in balance.
  7. The Tradition of Household Spirits

    The Tradition of Household Spirits

    By Claude Lecouteux

    Why do we hang horseshoes for good luck or place wreaths on our doors? Why does the groom carry his new bride over the threshold? These customs come from a time when people had a sacred relationship with their homes and the spirits who lived there with them. This book draws on studies and classic literature from old Europe to explain the pagan roots behind these traditions.
  8. Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies

    Witches, Werewolves, and Fairies

    By Claude Lecouteux

    Monsters, werewolves, witches, and fairies remain a strong presence in our stories and dreams. Their roots predate Christianity and are widespread over Western Europe. The author's extensive analysis of Western European legends reveals an almost forgotten religious concept: that every individual owns three souls and that one, the Double, can leave the physical body to journey where it chooses. Claude Lecouteux reveals the origin and significance of this belief, and follows its transforming features through the ages.
  9. A Lapidary of Sacred Stones

    A Lapidary of Sacred Stones

    By Claude Lecouteux

    Our ancestors believed stones were home to sacred beings of power, entities that if properly cultivated could provide protection from ill fortune, grant magical powers, and heal a wide variety of diseases. This book presents a synthesis of the ancient lore and practices associated with more than 800 stones.
  10. The Book of Grimoires

    The Book of Grimoires

    By Claude Lecouteux

    Grimoires began simply as quick-reference “grammar books” for sorcerers and magicians, but over time many of the abbreviations were misinterpreted and magical words misspelled, rendering them ineffective. In The Book of Grimoires Professor Lecouteux provides exact reproductions of various secret alphabets, symbols, and glyphs with instructions for their correct use.
  11. Dictionary of Ancient Magic Words and Spells
    This comprehensive dictionary includes magic words and phrases from many traditions including ancient Scandinavia, ancient Egypt, and the Hispano-Arabic magic of Spain before the Reconquista. It explains the origin and evolution of each spell through the centuries and examines secret magical alphabets, including those based on Hebrew letters and runes.
  12. The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets

    The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets

    By Claude Lecouteux

    Professor Lecouteux reveals the chains of sympathy, astrological geography, and invocations used since ancient times to activate the powers of amulets and talismans. He examines many different kinds of talismans, such as the rabbit’s foot, horseshoe, and gris-gris bag, revealing the principles and symbology behind each object, and showing that their use is as widespread today as at any time in the past.
  13. Encyclopedia of Norse and Germanic Folklore, Mythology, and Magic
    The legends of the Norse and Germanic regions of Europe include a broad range of mythical characters and places, from Odin and Thor, to berserkers and Valhalla, to the Valkyries and Krampus. This unique reference is complete with rare illustrations and information from obscure sources, some appearing for the first time in English. 

  14. Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing

    Traditional Magic Spells for Protection and Healing

    By Claude Lecouteux

    Regular Price: $29.95

    Special Price $20.96

    Drawing on his extensive knowledge of ancient texts, Claude Lecouteux presents more than 600 magical prescriptions from both pagan and Christian sources. He examines the folk practice of diagnosing illness through magic, explores protection magic and evil spells such as curses, and includes spells from the gypsy tradition of magic and healing.
  15. new
    Dictionary of Gypsy Mythology

    Dictionary of Gypsy Mythology

    By Claude Lecouteux

    Drawing on sources never before available outside of Eastern Europe, Claude Lecouteux reconstructs the oral traditions of the Rom to provide a comprehensive A-to-Z look at gypsy mythology, including their folktales, rites, songs, nursery rhymes, jokes, and magical traditions. He also explores the full range of supernatural beings that inhabit the gypsy world.
  16. new
    The Hidden History of Elves and Dwarfs

    The Hidden History of Elves and Dwarfs

    By Claude Lecouteux

    Tracing their history from ancient Celtic lore to the modern popularization by the Brothers Grimm and Walt Disney, Lecouteux explores the pagan roots of dwarfs and elves and their evolution in myths and literature, revealing the church’s role in changing them from fearless warriors into cheerful helpmates and cute garden gnomes.