The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme

The Book of the Black Art

An old man in the south parish of South Ronaldsay had the misfortune to have a copy of the Book of the Black Art. It containted the "most devilish stuff in it" and was bound in pigskin.

He tried to get rid of it by throwing in into the sea at Burwick but when he arrived home he was disturbed to see it lying on his mantlepiece.

Undaunted he took it to Herbert Mackenzie, the local watchmaker in St Margaret's Hope, and implored him to take ownership of the book. Mackenzie was afraid and refused. 

Many years later the old man was asked about the book but he professed ignorance of it.

When he died a relative was the given the job of re-building the house. Knowing the story of the book he looked everywhere for it, in the walls, under the floor, in the attic, under the hearthstone but it was nowhere to be found.