During the rise of the Consistorial Court of Discipline (CCD), the Prefect of the Court became aware of the existence of the Bodleian alethiometer. He demanded by message that the library surrendered it, but the Librarian refused and hid the alethiometer in a hollowed-out book about experimental theology. The CCD could not find it and threatened the Librarian with death unless he gave over the alethiometer. Again the he refused and was brought outside to be shot. However, the Prefect of the Court recognised the Librarian as an old college friend and spared his life, keeping the alethiometer in Oxford.
In 1986 a small group of scholars, including Hannah Relf,studied the Bodleian alethiometer and the meaning of its symbols. It was also discussed by Coram van Texel, Axel Löfgren and Gunnar Hallgrimsson at the University of Uppsala in the same year.