Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology: A-L

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Gale Research Incorporated, Jan 11, 2001 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 954 pages

 

This fifth edition of the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology (EOP) continues the

tradition established by its predecessors in providing the most comprehensive coverage of the

fields of occultism and parapsychology. The first edition, published in 1978, brought together

the texts of two of the standard reference works in the field, Lewis Spence’s Encyclopedia

of Occultism (1920) and Nandor Fodor’s Encyclopedia of Psychic Science (1934). Later, editor

Leslie Shepard took on the task of updating their observations and supplementing the volume

with new entries.

The production of this massively ambitious work was sparked by a heightened interest in

psychic phenomena, the occult, witchcraft, and related topics in the 1970s. This interest,

which led directly to the New Age movement of the 1980s, provided a continued wealth of

material for parapsychologists to examine. It also led to a reaction by a group of debunkers to

form the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of the Claims of the Paranormal. This

group believed that they were spokesmen for the scientific establishment.

Defining the Terms

The term “occult” remains suspect in many circles. The word derives from Latin and simply

means “to shut off from view or exposure.” However, it eventually came to refer to realities

specifically hidden from common sight; the occult realm is invisible to the physical eye but can

be seen by an inner “spiritual” vision and/or grasped by psychic intuition. The occult is the

opposite of “apocalypse,” which means “to uncover.” The last book of the Christian Bible is

alternatively called The Apocalypse or The Revelation. To many religious people, the term occult

denotes that which is opposite of what God has revealed; hence, the realm of Satan and his

legions of demons. Some substance for this observation has been provided by religious leaders

who combine an exploration of the occult with open opposition to the more traditional

religions and religious institutions.

As used in EOP, however, occultism stands for (1) the broad area of human experience

(now called extrasensory perception, or ESP) that goes beyond the five senses; (2) the philosophical

conclusions drawn from consideration of such experiences; and (3) the social structures

created by people who have had extrasensory experiences, who attempt to produce and

cultivate them, and who believe in their vital significance for human life. Therefore, occultism

(or its currently preferred term “paranormal”) entails a wide spectrum of experiences—from

clairvoyance and telepathy to visions and dreams, from ghost sightings to the pronouncements

of mediums and channelers. The paranormal encompasses the phenomenon known as

psychokinesis (commonly referred to as “mind over matter”)—whether in the dramatic form

of levitation or teleportation, or in the more commonly experienced phenomenon of spiritual

healing. It also covers experiences related to death, such as out-of-body travel and deathbed

visions.

The occult also includes a host of techniques and practices originally designed and created

to contact the extrasensory realm. Most frequently associated with the term occult are the

techniques of magic and divination (including astrology, the tarot, and palmistry). In addition,

various forms of meditation, yoga, and psychic development should be included, as well

as some practices more commonly associated with religion, such as speaking in tongues,

prayer, and mysticism.

Introduction

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Introduction Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.

By extension, the occult or paranormal can also legitimately incorporate a legion of mysterious

phenomena not obviously extrasensory in nature: anomalous natural occurrences not

easily understood or explained by contemporary science. Such phenomena as the Loch Ness

monster, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), and Bigfoot, may eventually be attributed to the

realm of ordinary sense perception, but their very elusiveness has led them to be associated

with the occult.

The Evolution of Occultism

The present-day view of the occult is highly influenced by the history of the paranormal in

the West during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Through the seventeenth century,

most people believed in the active operation of occult (then termed “supernatural”) entities

and forces. This belief brought comfort to some; but, for others, it became a source of fear,

leading to suffering, and even death, for many. It allowed some people to rule by their reported

ability to manipulate supernatural powers, and made it possible for the Inquisition to persecute

thousands as witches and Satanists. It also enabled unscrupulous religious leaders to

deceive people with sham relics and miracles.

By the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, however, there began a serious critique of the

more questionable supernatural phenomena, beginning with relics and extending to the

actions of the witchfinders. As Protestantism secularized (denied sacred value to) the world,

and the acceptance of scientific observation and organization of natural phenomena spread,

a general spirit of skepticism was created. In the eighteenth century, this skeptical spirit created

the first significant movement to challenge the role of the supernatural in human society—

Deism.

Deism affirmed the existence of God the Creator, but suggested that God had merely established

a system of natural law, leaving the world to govern itself by that law. By implication,

God was divorced from the world, and supernatural events did not occur; rather the “supernatural”

was merely the misobserved “natural.” Furthermore, neither angels nor spirits communicated

with humans; and, in turn, prayer did not reach God. Religious spokespersons

responded, of course, and popularized a new definition of “miracle”—the breaking by God of

his own natural laws to intervene in the lives of his creatures.

Deist thought was largely confined to a small number of intellectual circles, among them

some very powerful and influential people, including most of the founding fathers of the

United States—Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. In the nineteenth

century, the skeptical view of the supernatural became the cornerstone of the

Freethought movement. This minority movement impacted every level of intellectual and theological

thinking at that time. Theologians regularly began their courses with “proofs” of the

existence of God; preachers debated village atheists; evangelists strengthened their efforts to

reach the godless masses.

In the midst of the debate between traditional religionists and Freethinkers, a few people

(known as Spiritualists) proposed a different viewpoint in which the distinction between this

life and the life beyond became a somewhat artificial intellectual construct; everything was

part of one larger natural world. To demonstrate and prove scientifically the existence of this

larger universe, Spiritualists turned to mediums—people with special access to those realms

once called the supernatural. Entering a trance-like state, these mediums would bring forth

messages containing information that seemingly could not have been acquired by normal

means. The mediums’ manifestations of a wide variety of extraordinary phenomena seemingly

pointed to the existence of unusual forces operating in the physical world, forces unknown

or undocumented by the emerging scientific community at the time.

Almost concurrently with the emergence and spread of Spiritualism, a few intellectuals,

having close ties to traditional religion, yet imbued with the new scientific methodology, concluded

that scientific observation could be used to investigate reports of “supernatural” phenomena,

especially reports of ghosts and hauntings. This sparked the formation in 1862 of the

Ghost Club in England. During the next two decades, the growth of Spiritualism provided a

fertile field for investigation, and in 1882 a new generation of investigators founded the

Society for Psychical Research in London to study actual phenomena occurring during

Spiritualist seances as well as other incidents of “psychic” phenomena.

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Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Introduction

The period from 1882 to the beginning of World War II could be described as a stormy

marriage between Spiritualism and psychical research by some, while others might call it a

scandalous, illegitimate affair. Spiritualism, and the movements it spawned, most notably

Theosophy, uncovered the phenomena, which psychical researchers observed, analyzed, and

reported on. With an increasingly sophisticated eye, psychical researchers researched, catalogued,

experimented with, and debated the existence of psychical phenomena. These

researchers understood that psychic events, if verified, had far-reaching implications for the

understanding of the world and how it operated.

Over the years psychical researchers amassed a mountain of data and reached a number of

conclusions, both positive and negative. On one hand, researchers positively documented a

host of basic psychic occurrences (telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition) and compiled a

body of evidence that seemed to support human-spirit contact. At the same time, especially

though research on physical mediumship, investigators repeatedly discovered that situations

involving visible phenomena (materializations, apports, movement of objects) were often

fraudulent. The high incidence of deceit and trickery, even by mediums previously investigated

and pronounced genuine, created a major dilemma. It challenged the credibility of

Spiritualism and, while not suggesting that every medium or member was a fraud, insinuated

that the movement protected con artists and defended their work, even in the face of unquestioned

evidence of guilt. It also implied that psychical researchers who produced any positive

evidence were either naive, sloppy methodologically, or conspirators with the mediums.

Both Spence’s Encyclopedia of Occultism and Fodor’s Encyclopedia of Psychic Science were published

during a time when the interest in physical phenomena was peaking. Spence wrote

from a Spiritualist perspective, and was very hopeful that scientists would find the means of

proving the validity of physical phenomena. He fully accepted the existence of materializations,

teleportations, and apports. Fodor’s work, written just a decade and a half later, acknowledged

the element of fraud in Spiritualism, while at the same time, retained the prominent

psychical researcher’s confidence in the larger body of data gathered by his colleagues.

Since Fodor and Spence

Even as Fodor was writing, however, a revolution was starting within the ranks of psychical

research. J. B. Rhine, a young biologist, suggested an entirely new direction for research.

Psychical research, Rhine noted, had relied mainly upon the studied observation of phenomena

in the field, and operated by eliminating possible mundane explanations for what was

occurring. Investigators visited ghostly haunts, sites of poltergeist occurrences, and Spiritualist

seances and then developed detailed reports of what they had seen and heard. After a halfcentury,

this approach eventually eliminated a good deal of fraudulent phenomena. However,

psychical researchers had been unsuccessful in convincing their scholarly colleagues not only

of the truth of their findings but of the validity of their efforts. Even though psychical research

had attracted some of the most eminent scientists of the era to its ranks, it remained “on-thefringe.”

To Rhine, the only way to validate future findings was to bring research into the laboratory.

Only such experimental data would then be convincing to the modern, scientifically

trained mind.

Superseding the older psychical research approach, Rhine’s new methods and early experimental

successes provided inspiration for the study of parapsychology. It also furnished a

means to build a positive expanding foundation for the field; while, at the same time, it distanced

itself from the Spiritualist community and the overwhelming evidence of its widespread

fraud. Parapsychology called for a reorganization of research around the primary commitment

of building a firm body of experimental data on basic psychic experiences. A few psychical

researchers continued the more intriguing work of investigating evidence of survival of

bodily death, and for at least a generation, parapsychologists and traditional psychical

researchers engaged in intramural warfare. A sort of reconciliation occurred only after parapsychology

had proven itself, and psychical research’s strong identification with the

Spiritualist community had diminished.

Today, laboratory research dominates the scientific study of the paranormal. Psychics,

mediums, and channels are still investigated; but they are now invited into the laboratory for

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Introduction Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.

close observation—a dramatic change from the days when Spence and Fodor were writing

about the paranormal.

During the several generations since Spence and Fodor, the place of both Spiritualism and

Theosophy in the larger psychical community has also radically changed. Both groups had

wholeheartedly accepted the nineteenth-century scientific perspective as their starting point.

In the meantime, science has moved on—quantum mechanics superseded Newton physics,

and depth psychology, sociology, and cybernetics emerged on the scene—but the two groups

failed to change with it. Consequently, Spiritualism and Theosophy have been pushed aside by

a host of competing groups who can work more freely in the post-Newtonian environment. In

addition, largely as a result of the New Age movement of the 1980s, metaphysical and occult

religions enjoy an acceptability in the West not seen since the scientific revolution. This acceptability

is evident in the amount of favorable press given to psychic and occult phenomena.

The New Age and Beyond

The hidden underlying reality described as the invisible spiritual structure of the universe

is known as esotericism. This structure is enlivened by the cosmic energy or power that energizes

the world at a more abstract level than the various forms of energy defined in classical

physics. The esotericist characterizes the reality beyond that depicted by physicists in their

observations of the world; these descriptions are termed “meta-physics.” Esotericism, in contrast

to Bible-based religions and philosophies, is considered a “third force” in Western

thought.

The esotericists’ approach to life is generated from human experience, in which, people

spontaneously encounter psychic and mystic moments, seek magical means of forecasting the

future, and act upon intuitive insights that seem to defy rational thought. Beginning with the

rise of Christianity in the West, esoteric traditions were routinely persecuted, with many of its

representative communities destroyed and their members imprisoned and/or killed. Their

ways were viewed as being evil and outside the conventions of society. In the last two centuries,

society has continued to perpetuate an intolerance toward those drawn to an esoteric perspective.

After its suppression, Esotericism made a strong comeback, and steadily grew in size and

prestige during the last centuries of the second millennium C.E. In the post-Protestant era,

Rosicrucianism was the first important international esoteric movement. It was followed by

Speculative Freemasonry in the eighteenth century and Theosophy in the nineteenth. Out of

Freemasonry came a tradition of initiatory magic represented in the neo-Templar orders of

continental Europe, as well as a rebirth of ritual/ceremonial magic in the English-speaking

world.

Western Esotericism’s shared belief that magic was real, has led Roman Catholicism to

oppose this movement, defining it as evil and using such labels as sorcery, witchcraft, and

black magic. However, beginning with Protestantism (in its Reformed Presbyterian version)

and the secular Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, the situation changed. Protestants

and modern secularists opposed Esotericism because it perpetuated an archaic, superstitious,

unreal world. Secularists also accused esotericists of perpetuating a prescientific worldview.

Under the combined forces of Protestantism and the Enlightenment, Esotericism almost

disappeared during the eighteenth century, though it still retained a vital presence in many

urban areas. During its comeback, Esotericism utilized insights and methodologies derived

from new, emerging sciences. Two formally trained scientists, Franz Anton Mesmer and

Emanuel Swedenborg, are recognized as the fathers of modern Esotericism. They opened a

dialogue with the contemporary scientific community—a feat that distinguishes modern

Esotericism from its prescientific ancestors.

As the modern world developed, the esoteric tradition spread throughout all of the world’s

cultures. A major dialogue began with Eastern traditions in the 1960s as the West welcomed

large numbers of immigrants from Japan, Korea, China, and Southeast Asia into its communities.

At the same time, African religions, many having found a home in the Caribbean, were

also integrating themselves into Western life. All of these religions will be scrutinized and carefully

observed in the coming decades by the more traditional Western religious communities.

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Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Introduction

The Current Need for a New Edition of EOP

In the more than half a century since Spence and Fodor published their volumes, not only

has the occult/metaphysical/psychic world changed—a change clearly symbolized by the New

Age movement—but the general opinion surrounding Spiritualism, Theosophy, and psychic

phenomena has been radically altered by the science of parapsychology. The acceptance of

the Parapsychological Association into the American Academy for the Advancement of

Science indicated a new tolerance for (if not agreement with) psychical research by the scientific

community, as parapsychologists have become methodologically more conservative

and less accepting of much of the data from earlier decades.

During the 1970s there was an “occult explosion” in the media, while the 1980s saw the

emergence of the New Age movement. Looking back from a vantage point in the new millennium,

it can now be seen, that there has been a growing curiosity in psychical phenomena

and metaphysical thought. Beginning in the late 1960s, this attraction steadily rose over the

next three decades. Fads can certainly be identified—from exorcism to channeling, from crystals

to angels—but what remains constant is that the entire field has become established in

mainstream society in a way that no one but a psychic could have predicted in the 1950s.

The changing appraisal of occultism and the new directions the field has taken necessitates

a thorough re-editing and updating of the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. In particular,

entries that came directly from Spence and Fodor definitely needed revision in light of

current research and opinion. However, care has been taken to retain the historic context in

these entries. Editing has also removed much archaic language. Spence, in particular, writing

from a British perspective, had numerous off-the-cuff references to events and people, now

known only to a few dedicated students of the history of psychical research. As much as possible,

additional material has been added to the text to identify such passing references to

these now obscure people and events.

In addition, a list of sources for further reading has been added to the majority of entries.

Special care was also taken to include recent publications, as well as to list complete citations

of those books mentioned in passing in the body of an entry, especially those sources that have

been quoted in the text. Some of the items cited are still quite rare, but others having been

reprinted in recent decades by University, Causeway, and Arno Presses, are now more generally

available.

Finally, more than 450 new entries, mostly events and personalities, have been added. The

editor has also attempted to update every organization, publication, and society listed. Entries

cover new occult groups and movements, highlight recent work in parapsychology, and continue

to reference events not only in England and North America, but across continental

Europe and around the world. Where source material has been missing in past editions, the

latest sources have been added to assist the reader in locating more information on certain

topics.

It is important to note that a conscious effort has been made to continue the policy so carefully

established by Les Shepard in providing reliable and authoritative information, and to

treat both the occult and parapsychology in a manner that avoids sensationalism, name-calling,

and unnecessary labeling. In that process, it is an unfortunate task to have to cite a number

of cases of fraudulent activity; but in each case, the evidence for such references has also

been included.

Format of Entries

The entries in this edition are organized in a letter-by-letter sort. For biographical entries,

birth and death dates are given where known. Many of the people covered in this volume were

unfortunately not subject to the standard data-gathering sources of their time. Individuals

often came out of obscurity, briefly participated in a controversial event(s), and then retreated

back into obscurity; therefore, such basic information is often elusive. Every effort has been

made to locate that basic data, and numerous new references have been added and others

corrected in this edition. Where dates are highly debatable, the abbreviation “ca.” followed by

a century or year indicates the period during which the person flourished. A question mark

in lieu of a death date indicates that the individual was born before 1900 and a death date is

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Introduction Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.

not known. When Internet research has been used, the source has been cited. Most importantly,

the editor has attempted to track down the home pages of all of the living people and

contemporary movements included in this edition. Unfortunately, Internet addresses become

obsolete at a rapid rate; so the user may find listed Internet addresses to be non-operative. In

such cases, using a search engine to locate person or topic in question may lead to newer

Internet postings.

Cross-references are indicated by bold type within the text or by “See” and “See also” references

following an entry.

Indexes

This edition of EOP contains two new features, which now replace the former Topical

Index. First, the Internet Resources section gives websites, broken down into subject groups,

for organizations, societies, print products, and personalities. The second addition is the

General Bibliography, which collects academic resources into one alphabetic listing. The standard

General Index provides readers with access to significant people, movements, cultures,

and phenomena within the world of occultism and parapsychology in one alphabetical

arrangement.

Acknowledgments

I want thank those who have assisted me in the work of this edition. My colleagues Jerome

Clark, Marcello Truzzi, Chas Clifton, Tim Ryan, and Macha NightMare have revised entries

that are especially relevant to their areas of research and expertise. I also wish to acknowledge

Marco Frenschkowski who surveyed the fourth edition and made numerous helpful suggestions

for its improvement. Jolen Marya Gedridge, with whom I have now worked on numerous

projects with the Gale Group, has been my capable and knowledgeable in-house editor.

She not only led the updating of many of the older entries and has kept me on track in meeting

my work milestones. I am most grateful for her contribution on both fronts. Finally, with

this edition especially, I have called upon numerous people—far too many to name—for bits

of specialized information, for all that contributed data, I thank you.

User Comments Are Welcome

Users who can offer any additional information, corrections, or suggestions for new entries

in future editions are encouraged to contact the editor. Please address Dr. Melton either c/o

Gale Group, 27500 Drake Rd., Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535, or at his office:

Dr. J. Gordon Melton

Institute for the Study of American Religion

Box 90709

Santa Barbara, CA 93190–0709

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A Compendium of Information on the Occult Sciences,

Magic, Demonology, Superstitions, Spiritism, Mysticism,

Metaphysics, Psychical Science, and Parapsychology,

with Biographical and Bibliographical

Notes and Comprehensive Indexes

FIFTH EDITION

In Two Volumes

J. Gordon Melton

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