Barrett, an Englishman, claimed himself to be a student of chemistry, metaphysics, and natural occult philosophy. He was known to be an extreme eccentric who gave lessons in the magical arts in his apartment and fastidiously translated Kabbalistic and other ancient texts into English.
He was very enthusiastic about reviving interest in the occult arts, and published a magical textbook called The Magus. Apart from possibly influencing the English occult novelist Bulwer-Lytton, the book gained little notice until it influenced Eliphas Levi.
The Magus also served as an advertising tool. In it Barrett sought interested people wanting to help form his magic circle. An advertisement in The Magus (Vol. 2, p. 140) refers to an otherwise unknown school founded by Barrett.
According to the advertisement :
When writing about witches Barrett stated that he did not believe that their power to torment or kill by enchantment, touch or by using a wax effigy came from Satan. He claimed if the Devil wanted to kill a man guilty of deadly sin, he did not need a witch as an intermediary.
Barrett's belief in magical power might be summed up this way:
BOOKS: Satanism and Indoor Golf - A Magick Life: A Biography of Aleister Crowley by Martin Booth Hodder & Stoughton, Pounds 20, 508pp ; Notorious Occultist Aleister Crowley Revelled in His Tabloid Reputation for Bizarre Sex-Magic and `Vile Practices'. beneath the Demonic Mask, However, Was the Beast Just a Bored and Boring Dilettante? by Robert Irwin
Aug 19, 2000; Young Wife's Story of Crowley's Abbey. Scenes of Horror. Drugs, Magic, and Vile Practices. Girl's Ordeal. Saved by the Consul."...