An Occultist's Travels
Here in Los Angeles, as occurs every year, a Spiritualist camp was established in Mineral Park... About a dozen mediums of all phases had met there, but not a single one could be used. Such pseudo-mediums do more harm than good, since they chatter the most absurd nonsense. In Germany, such a thing would not be possible. The police would soon put a check on this sort of liberty... -from An Occultist's Travels Hysteria for the paranormal began to sweep pop-culture in the mid 19th century; indeed, it may be said to have helped invent the idea of pop-culture itself. Before it burned itself out decades later, German mesmerist Willy Reichel toured the world-Europe, Africa, America, and the Far East-and in 1908 set down in book form his encounters with seance organizers, psychic doctors, palm readers, fortunetellers, ancestor worshippers, and other practitioners of the psychic arts. An Occultist's Travels has been called "a collection of inexplicable absurdities," and yet Reichel himself is highly skeptical of many of those he meets. Was Reichel's around-the-psychic-world tour a groundbreaking probe into unknown realms, or the beginning of the end of the paranormal craze? It's a question that has yet to be answered...
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