Book Launch of the Silent Listener

Book Launch of the Silent Listener

On Saturday, the Museum hosted a book launch with our friends Troy Books.  As you may know, we have a large collection of artefacts which we call the Richel-Eldermans Collection.  Several years ago they were donated to the Museum by Bob Richel from the Netherlands.  The objects are beautiful and intriguing and displayed in a “wunderkammer” or cabinet of curiosities style cabinet in our top gallery.  Now a book is available about the collections and the collector.  This book is called “The Silent Listener” and was written by Wilmar Taal.

The following information about the book and Wilmar is taken from Troy Book’s website:

The Richel-Eldermans collection is one of the most enigmatic sexual magic collections in the world, and can be found in the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscastle, United Kingdom. The collection consists mainly of works by J.H.W. Eldermans, a former civil servant who lived in The Hague, The Netherlands. His skills are of an undeniable high quality, and his works are not only made on paper, but also in metal, wood and bone. Who was J.H.W. Eldermans, and why was he interested in sexual magic to a degree that borders on obsession? Was Eldermans acquainted with Cecil H. Williamson? Was he a member of an occult lodge called Ars Amatoria? Was J.H.W. Eldermans an unknown magister in the occult art?

The Silent Listener. The Life and Works of J.H.W. Eldermans answers these questions and shines a light upon the remarkable life and works of Johannes Hendrik Willem Eldermans, a fascinating man with an outstanding collection.

Wilmar Taal MA (1969) is a cultural historian specialized in sagas, myths and the occult sciences. He works at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, lives in Koog aan de Zaan, The Netherlands, with his wife, two daughters and two cats.


Above: a small selection of objects from the collection as displayed in the Museum.  We have more objects in store and also in our archive.


The author of the book, Wilmar Taal, has spent many hours at the Museum as part of his research. He wrote the following about this event:

Last Saturday, April 7th, we launched my new book The Silent Listener. The Life and Works of J.H.W. Eldermans. We launched it in the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic next to the Richel-Eldermans collection, a magical place to present a book about his life and works to the world. Jane opened the evening with an introduction of yours truly, then I had some time to tell something about the complexity of the research.

There was a tiny problem. My thinking was in Dutch and it needed to come out in English, so sometimes I had to look for words. Jane was filming the occasion for a second book trailer, my wife was broadcasting the event live on Facebook.

Above: Wilmar talking in front of the collection display.

Photos above: the event in full swing.

Above: Wilmar with his book, Kerriann Godwin and the lovely Hugo.

Natascha with Hugo (photo by Kerriann Godwin).

After some questions of the attending guests, Simon Costin, director of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic took us out to dinner in The Riverside in Boscastle. A suitable end to a magnificent and magical evening. I cannot state enough how proud I am of this publication, and how happy I am with the magnificent work Troy Books has done on the book. And thank you Peter and Judith Hewitt and Simon Costin for your hospitality! It was an event I will never forget.

Above: out for dinner after the book launch.  Some of the guests are members of the Richel family and had come from the Netherlands for the event.  

Many thanks to everyone involved in this event for making it such a success.  We are looking forward to his next Richel-Eldermans project which is an exploration of the Gnome Manuscript from the Museum’s archive.  

The book is available from our online shop in a hardback and paperback editions.

The Silent Listener Paperback

The Silent Listener Hardback


Leave a Reply