Les Farfadets: The three-volume autobiography of Charles Berbiguier, a Frenchman who claimed to have been locked in a desperate struggle with the forces of Hell ever since having his cards read by a disreputable fortuneteller.
Published between 1820 and 1822, this work details Berbiguier’s struggles with his personal demon Rhotomago, said to serve directly beneath the arch-fiend Beelzebub. Berbiguier includes his own illustrations in the work and likely funded the publication himself. Berbiguier made a number of curious claims in his autobiography. He asserted that he maintained detailed correspondence with the various princes and dignitaries of Hell, exchanging very real, physical letters with these beings. He suspected a number of living persons to be in league with these beings and described these individuals in terms of hellish ambassadors on earth. Several of these were doctors or other functionaries that Berbiguier had run afoul of in his ongoing pursuit to prove that he was afflicted with demonic influence.
Berbiguier was almost certainly delusional and mentally ill, but at least a few of his ideas about demons including an extensive hierarchy that includes a Grand Pander of Hell- found their way into more serious works on demonology. Notably, demonographer Collin de Plancy included Berbiguier’s infernal hierarchy in his 1822 edition of his Dictionnaire Infernal. Although de Plancy credited Berbiguier and his work Les Faifadets as the source of this information, when occultist A. E. Waite reprinted this hierarchy in his presentation of the Grand Grimoire, he mistakenly attributed it to the sixteenth-century scholar Johannes Wierus, author of the Psuedomonarchia Daemonum. Waite’s translation of the Grand Grimoire appears in his 1910 work The Book of Black Magic and Pacts, and can be found in a stand-alone edition reprinted by editor Darcy Kuntz. Because of Waite’s citation, Berbiguier’s infernal hierarchy has survived long after his life and works have been all but forgotten.
Edited and revised for the Web by Occult Media, the 22nd of April 2021. We use British English spelling.