Charles Godfrey Leland (August 15, 1824 – March 20, 1903) was an American humorist and folklorist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was educated at Princeton University and in Europe. Leland worked in journalism, traveled extensively, and became interested in folklore and folk linguistics, publishing books and articles on American and European languages and folk traditions.
By the end of his life shortly after the turn of the century, Leland had worked in a wide variety of trades, achieved recognition as the author of the comic Hans Breitmann’s Ballads, fought in two conflicts, and had written what was to become a primary source text for Neopaganism half a century later, Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches.
This scholarly and classic work by folklorist and linguist Charles Godfrey Leland (author of Aradia: Gospel of the Witches) which not only illustrates examples of Gypsy witchcraft in the 19th Century, it also explores the far flung roots of Gypsy culture and folk lore, as it has been incorporated into the very fabric of European and Western culture. Leland not only explores the roots of Gypsy magic and divination in its primal source of India, he also compares the myths and magic of the “Romany” to the myths and magic of cultures as far flung as the Native Americans and the Siberian Eskimo, to illustrate the primal nature and common human thread of magical thought and practice.