In 2000, the mysterious Dutch ‘Richel-Eldermans collection’ was donated to The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle where, in 2003, a Dutch speaking student assisted in deciphering some of the written materials in the collection. It was during this process that the student discovered a fascinating manuscript concerned with Dutch gnome-folklore, and alerted the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam who were happy to receive a copy of the ‘Gnome Manuscript’, as it became known, on CD-Rom.
Another Dutch student subsequently graduated on a study of this manuscript, but still there were too many questions and mysteries concerning the information J.H.W. Eldermans collected throughout his life. The staff of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic were most interested in the contents of this manuscript, and so a decision was made to publish a series of books that present translations of the intriguing handwritten content, with comments on the origins of the manuscript and studies of the places described therein. The information was categorized and this first part as ‘Origins, Habit and Culture’ and focuses on where the gnomes came from, what they were doing and what they expressed. The second part will look deeper into the magic concerning gnomes, and the third part will deal with leftover writings by Eldermans.
Wilmar Taal is a Dutch cultural historian and author of ‘The Silent Listener – The Life and Works of J.H.W. Eldermans’ (Troy Books, 2018). He specializes in sagas, myths and the occult sciences. He lives in Koog aan de Zaan, The Netherlands, together with his wife, son and daughter and a spoilt rotten cat.