The Hall of Heresy

Predator and Priest: The Fault of Father Thomas Boullé


The Witches Sabbath. The Faustian Pact. The Black Mass. This alleged dance with the Devil has gone by many monikers throughout the ages; yet, in 17th century France, the bells of blasphemy were tolling to a different tune. Viewed less as a deed-of-guaranteed-damnation and more as an act of protest and rebellion, the French deviated from magical masses of the past, such as the 6th century Gelasian Sacrament ( Liber Sacramentorum Romanae Ecclesiae) which invoked rites still used by the Catholic church today. The Black Mass was initially intended to pervert the sanctity of the sacrament. Where a priest of light would use the ritual of the Eucharist to call forth a miracle, so would the malcontent mages invert their meanings and symbols to produce a plague. Below is an excerpt regarding the Black Mass from occult researcher and clergyman Montague Summers, written in his History of Witchcraft and Demonology (1926):

The mass is said upon a broken and desecrated altar in some ruined or deserted church where owls hoot and mop and bats flit through the crumbling windows, where toads spit their venom upon the sacred stone. The priest must make his way thither late, attended only by an acolyte of impure and evil life. At the first stroke of eleven, he begins; the liturgy of hell is mumbled backward, the canon said with a mow and a sneer; he ends just as midnight tolls.

The rather conservative disposition of Deacon Summers is molded by his marriage to the Malleus Maleficarum ( Hammer of Witches). Summer’s is credited with producing the first English translation of Heinirch Kramer’s 15th century treatise on sorcery. Calling for the torture of those accused of Witchcraft, the Malleus Maleficarum helped spark the witch hunts of the 15th and 16th centuries, while the invention of the printing press in the mid-15th century aided in the spread of Kramer’s baleful book. It is evident that Montague Summer’s belief in the occult was shaped by these out-of-date and out-of-touch tomes. His “priestly” views are not, however, reciprocated by the subject of our sinister spotlight. Father Thomas Boullè was no hunter of hags. The Abbot of Louvier was an accused Warlock and burned at the stake in the year 1647.


Read more on Monsters, Madness, and Magic: Predator and Priest: The Fault of Father Thomas Boullè

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