The idea of magic is old. Since the earliest days of human existence, there has been a belief in supernatural or mystical power. How and where this energy is ascribed and seen to originate from has varied widely. Whether it be through wands, or staves, the wishes granted by genies, or embodied in the bodies giants, we as a species have always seen deeper meaning or methods as we've experiences phenomena beyond our unique personal experience or comprehension. The stories and means have been passed down and often recorded in the stories and tales told for years over firesides and cradles, to entertain, or teach, or just to pass the time on a journey. But the tradition has been strong enough to leave us with a rich tapestry and heritage, but strangely consistent pattern and source of study. If one were to seek understanding of the underlying mechanics that makes all magic tick, one might find more than just a book of lore to delight the young.
It is just this pursuit that Mortimer Blackburn became obsessed with in the early and middle of the nineteenth century, when his goals and personal pursuits lent him an extra level of insight into the origins and histories of his own people. When the heritage passed down to him from his own mother gave him perspective that only he would then have access to.