Researchers at the Macquarie universities in New South Wales, Australia, gave deciphered a 1,300-year-old Egyptian manuscript believed to be a manual on how to use and create magical spells.
The manuscript, which has been dubbed the "Egyptian Handbook of Ritual Power" by scientific researchers and scholars, was first found by a merchant in the late '70s and though numerous attempts were made to decode the contexts of the ancient document, all attempts seemed fruitless.
With 20 pages deciphered, researchers believe that due to the way it was written, the handbook most likely came from some place in Upper Egypt and was probably created by a member of the Sethians, a minority group that worshiped Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve.
Due to the fact that the handbook was written in the Coptic language, the last stage of the Egyptian language, and the multiple references about Jesus, scholars believe that it dates back to the 7th or 8th century.
Researchers who worked to decipher the handbook explained that the opening refers to a mysterious godlike figure called "Baktiotha." The translation of the words written, a little more than 1,000 years ago, is "I give thanks to you and I call upon you, the Baktiotha: The great one, who is very trustworthy; the one who is lord over the forty and the nine kinds of serpents."
Scholars are still attempting to figure out who Baktiotha is. However, it is now commonly believed that the mysterious figure is not a person, but a representation of power over the masses.
The Egyptian Handbook of Ritual Power contains multiple spells including love spells, exorcisms and a detailed natural cure for a potentially fatal infection, that is still around today, called black jaundice.
Malcolm Choat and Iain Gardner, Professors at the Macquarie University and the University of Australia, stated that the handbook "starts with a lengthy series of invocations that culminate with drawings and words of power."
"These are followed by a number of prescriptions or spells to cure possession by spirits and various ailments, or to bring success in love and business," according to Live Science .
The handbook is now at the Museum of Ancient Cultures at Macquarie University in Sydney. However, Choat and Gardner have very recently released a book, detailing their findings and their understanding of the ancient manuscript called " A Coptic Handbook for Ritual Power ."