The John Dee Royal Library,
Oxford University London Campus,
Department: Queen Mary I Archives
Field/s: British and Celtic Mythology, Founding History
Academic Subject/s: Fae & Unseelie Court, The Tudors, Queen Mary I, Queen Elizabeth I, Dr John Dee, Founding of D.o.S.A/D.O.S.A
Period: 1554 AD– 1609 AD
The Department of Occultic Statistical Anomalies or DOSA was reportedly founded by the famous occultist, natural philosopher, Royal Naval advisor, Royal astrologist and one of the most prominent figures in Queen Elizabeth I’s court, Dr John Dee.
In 1554, he accepted a readership in mathematics at Oxford University, where DOSA is reported to be located. His understanding of natural philosophy and the occult brought him into connection to a young Elizabeth Tudor; who sought ways to protect herself against her sister, Queen Mary I and her unnatural allies.
From a young age, Mary had associated herself with witches from the Dark Fairy Realms, who fortified her health from her many ailments. She had been in their company from as young as four or five years old. It is believed that this coincided with her surviving an almost deadly bout of something similar to Scarlet fever. Although it is not known what she was diagnosed with, the symptoms she was reported to have suffered from are mostly closely related to it. Although notably during the fever her eyes were reported to have changed colour and spoke in a language that caused the servants that heard her to suddenly resign. As she recovered, she started talking to her new ‘friends’. These ‘friends’ stayed with her to her very early teenage years, although it is said she only spoke to them when she was alone and unobserved.
When Mary became Queen, the killings of over eight hundred rich Protestants were reportedly ritually sacrificed in exchange for her youthful looks and good health. However, these enchantments came at a cost. She had been left her unable to bear children. She knew that the line of succession would eventually pass to Elizabeth so sought to prolong her reign by increasing her expected lifespan with magic and further sacrifices. When she married to King Philip II of Spain she reported a miscarriage early on in the marriage and later had her body glamoured by spells so that she appeared pregnant, or medically known as a ‘phantom pregnancy’. This was the only way she believed she could secure and hold onto her power.
It is commonly believed that Mary shunned her sister due to the line of inheritance – her birth invalidating Mary’s right to secession – and her father’s remarriage. In fact, this may not be the case at all. In fragments of diaries of those in Mary’s court, it believed that these fae folk from her childhood persisted into adulthood and informed her decision making. She was noted once or twice of saying that she had been informed of goings on overseas by her ‘personal’ privy council, to which the information they provided turned out to be true. It was this piece of information, lost to history, which garnered her favour of her future husband. There was no explanation at the time how the Queen or her ‘otherworldly’ allies could know of such things. It is said that it was these Fae folk from the Dark Realm who hated Elizabeth more than Mary and supposedly further turned Mary against her half-sister for unknown reasons.
Elizabeth could no longer stand and watch Mary, imbued by witchcraft, tear her beloved England apart. She tasked Dr John Dee and his researchers to counteract the enchantments cast over her sister. They were able to identify a ritual to counteract the effects and magiks of the Fae Court. Dee, with the blessing of Elizabeth, carried out this ritual. Although never confirmed, it was rumoured that Elizabeth was involved herself in the task. There are stories of her participation as far as sacrificing her own hair, blood and even a small piece of her own flesh. It was supposed that the latter was taken from around her ribcage and is a possible theory as to why she never allowed anyone to see her bare flesh in that region. Queen Mary’s health immediately and dramatically declined after the ritual. The disease that she had survived as a child, which had not seen in adults, ravaged her body. She turned weak and feeble, her pallor fading, her hair thinning to almost balding. She was rumoured to have died within months after Dee completed his ‘work’ dressed almost as if a life-size doll.
With Elizabeth now, Queen, the man who saved England became her appointed advisor and astrologist. Her implicit trust him in went so far as that he was asked to calculate and divine the date for her coronation. His life at Oxford was propelled forward with royal funding. His ideas on the preservation of text flourished from his own personal library at his estate to the now world-famous Elizabethan wonder, The John Dee Library at the University of Oxford’s London campus. It is now more famously known as Alexandria’s Daughter, in reference to the comparable wealth of knowledge between it and the great wonder of the ancient world.
As time progressed, the library became home to some of the most important and groundbreaking manuscripts in the world. Dee’s personal interest in natural philosophy granted it the largest collection on the occult and natural sciences in known history. Its collection was varied but lacked depth. Occultic research was, by this time, on a downwards spiral in popularity. With new scientific methods, in conjunction with Elizabeth’s own need to unify both Protestants and Catholics with the state; her support and funding of Dr Dee and his work were publicly cut short.
Dee had long feared this moment coming and had some plans already drafted to set into motion. He retreated back to his library with his main goal of the indefinite preservation of his collection long after his death. During his tenure as a reader at Oxford, he and his students created a service for students and professors to submit for information or fact checking on their research at Dee’s library. Its location in London was an obvious sticking point in its logistics but its proximity to communication and trade channels of the globe, provided a constant stream of information, talent and new manuscripts. In its peak, it was rumoured that the library’s collection contained either the original or an immaculate and indiscernible copy of nearly every important work in the known world. Dee’s own knowledge, alongside his researchers, students and his considerable resources attracted the attention of other natural philosophers and occultic academics worldwide, which developed Dee’s own theories and provided much-needed wealth in exchange for the library’s specific services.
The money he received paid for a commission of a secret area built into the very foundations of the Library. It was designed by Dee to store for the most important manuscripts and research papers on the occult alongside facilities to carry out research and further studies away from the public eye. When Queen Elizabeth cut all ties with Dee, his plans were set into motion. His researchers, assistants and students moved Dee’s library, his personal effects and their research into the secret storehouse before the university could clear the library and his offices itself. The service the library had offered to the university was renamed the Department of Statistical Anomalies by the Dean in hopes to distance itself from its association with Dee. The Dean’s reaction was expected by Dee and before dissociating himself with Oxford University made sure that funding for the library and the university’s new department was also partially funnelled into his legacy.
By the late stages of his life, Dee was over seventy-five years old. Queen Elizabeth I had died and King James VI had no intention of allowing Dee to step foot in his court. To protect the hidden knowledge and research for future generations, he staged a very public decline into poverty. He started in 1605 by selling his property so that his daughter and wife could look after him in his old age. Either in late 1608 or early 1609, his death reached all of London within hours. Some say he staged his own death, others say he committed suicide to protect what he loved the most. Others say that his death was unexpected even to him, either by murder due to his associations, or catching fatal illness while with the poor. There is, however, no clear report on when or how he died, and to where his body was eventually buried.
The Department of Statistical Anomalies became two-fold. The public image is known to academics and the secret world that Dee had preserved. In the shadow of the new department, The Society of Natural Philosophy was formed and existed in various guises of the years as a way for those who were interested in the occult could express their thoughts and come together without fear. It remained in its majority function as its counterpart, a fact-checking service for specifically occultic research. They co-opted the public acronym DoSA, replacing the ‘O’ of ‘of’ for ‘occult’ and capitalising the O to differentiate between what was for the main department and what was for the occult researchers. There were even at times enough senior members to create a faculty of teaching staff. In most instances when this occurred, their numbers were cut short by unexplained deaths and disappearances. The latest swell and inevitable cull in numbers occurred in the early nineteenth century following a ‘momentous’ discovery in Arabia.
Although their numbers are now small, the department continues their occultic research far beyond the initial ideals set out by Dee. Although not publically known anymore, the department still operates within certain academic, trade and adventuring circles. With recent events across the globe, and the discovery of lost tribes, beliefs and civilisations, the department has shifted from the library and laboratory to focus more on field studies, archaeology and private investigations. Even in those small social spheres, DOSA and its associated research fields are still considered heretical to science and religion, dangerous to those associated, and even more so to mankind.
The latest rumours put D.O.S.A at the forefront of the protection of England, Great Britain and all her domestic affairs against threats beyond everyday comprehension.