Spirits, spells, rites and rituals: throughout history, people have used magic to heal illness, control nature, and fulfill their desires. But what exactly is magic, and how does it work? Can psychological factors influence its success? What distinguishes it from religion, and do shamans and soothsayers really possess special powers? The answers are here, illuminated by color photos and illustrations of cave drawings, demons and devils, symbols, and sacred places that reveal the activities of every kind of conjurer and medicine man from time immemorial. Delve into both ancient practices and new ones to see how magicians contact the spirit world and what entities are alleged to exist there. Find out how actions, patterns, dance, and color invoke magic, and the truth about witchcraft, including how this religion finds new expression in our day. Extra added attractions: magic in the natural world, sexual magic, alchemy, talisman making, healing and medicine, numerology, and predictions.