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Magician Laura London, one of the Magic Circle's volunteer librarians, reunited with the book. Photo credit: The Magic Circle/Darren Martin.

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The Magic Circle, a club for magicians, had owned the book but sold it over 30 years ago.

For the past five years the Circle, headquartered in London, has been in negotiations to buy it back from a private collector.

The book is finally back on display in its Centre for the Magic Arts in Euston after spending lockdown in the V&A Museum where a specially designed display case was created.

Scott Penrose, a magician and former president of The Magic Circle, said: "Most people in magic know the importance of The Discoverie of Witchcraft. It is great to finally have it back here after so many years.”

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The Discoverie of Witchcraft back at The Magic Circle offices. Photo credit: The Magic Circle/Darren Martin.

In the 1584 book its author, a country gentleman and MP from Kent, argued that belief in magic was both irrational and un-Christian. He suggested non-magical reasons and causes for both magical phenomena and accusations of witchcraft, including psychological and sociological causes.

The book was widely read in the late 16th and early 17th centuries and it is believed that it influenced William Shakespeare to create the witches of Macbeth, the mock trial in King Lear and for elements in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The price paid by The Magic Circle was not disclosed but first-edition copies are rare.

Another first-edition copy of the book is currently offered by book dealer Sokol Books with a price of £57,500 and other examples are owned by the British Library and American magician David Copperfield.

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The Magic Circle's head office in London. Photo credit: The Magic Circle/Darren Martin.