Carac of Padstow

There are three known sources in studying the history of these singular and near outlandish events. The third is regularly dismissed out of hand by professional historians (although I shall rely on it heavily to describe the threat that faced Kernow). The second is deemed only marginally better since it is a collection of songs and folk tales (fairy tales to many) that was indifferently collected in Cornwall in the mid-nineteenth century. It is, therefore, to the first source I will turn for much of this narrative (although even it too is not without issues).

Certainly to anyone with even a casual interest in the War of the Orbs, the name Carac of Padstow must already be familiar.  To this day his history, Rationibus Daemonum Orbes, remains the principle (some would argue, only) source for studying the war.

Little is known of Carac, an Irish monk who lived and worked in Padstow near the time of the Orbs. It is believed he arrived from Ireland sometime in the early 1450’s and devoted himself to the study of the process of distillation. His monograph, Solvendis SpiritusFreeing the Spirits – is meticulous and astute, revealing him to be both a rational thinker and a gifted glass blower. Even in modern Cornwall a local legend credits him with the first production of cyder brandy (which has lead a few to suggest that he was under its influence when assembling Accounts of the Demonic Orbs)

The Accounts are not chronological and at times it is difficult to determine where exactly the described events occurred. Carac interviewed many eye-witness (although his questioning was not usually systematic) and carefully recorded their statements. He occasionally makes editorial comment which is helpful to the modern student wishing to make some judgement about veracity.

So it is with Carac I begin my investigations.

 

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