Ashley Ann Lewis

Ashley became interested in the paranormal at a young age, but at that young age she did not have much understanding in it at all. I wasn’t until 2010 that she really became interested. Thanks to a Resolve carpet cleaning can that flew across the room, Ashley among three others who witness what happen that night, they pulled a team together. Ashley is a heavy researcher and though she may find the answer to what she is searching for she’ll search even harder. She’s overly determined and takes her part in the paranormal field very seriously. Between working hard and spending every dime she had she became a found of a paranormal team that is based out of Historic Louisiana and was honored to take on a position as a Representative with The National Paranormal Society. There is still so much she does not understand which drives her to work even harder and to further educate herself on everything.

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Alma – Wild Man of Central Asia

By Ashley Ann Lewis

So we have the Yeti, Bigfoot and then there’s the Alma. Is it the same creature? Or are there different types, breeds, of these creatures. People have different sayings, experiences and even pictures of these creatures but in each place there’s a different story.
The “Wild Man” of Central Asia
In central Asia, in what, until a few years ago was the Soviet Union, there are stories of a large, ape-like creature that inhabits the mountains. It goes by the name of the Alma.
Unlike the better known Bigfoot and Yeti, reports about the Alma say that the creature is much more of a rough, hairy human than an ape. Professor Boris Porchnev, of the Moscow Academy of Sciences, published a description of the creature based on detailed stories he’d gathered from people who had seen it.
“There is no underlayer of hair so that the skin can sometimes be seen,” says the report. “The head rises to a cone-shaped peak,” it continues, and “the teeth are like a man’s, but larger, with the canines more widely separated.” Porchnev’s description also noted that the Alma can run as fast as a horse and swim in swift currents. Breeding pairs remain together living in holes in the ground. For food they eat small animals and vegetables. The creatures are mainly active at night. The report also noted that the animals have a “distasteful smell.”
The first stories of the Alma were gathered in 1881 by N. M. Pzewalski, a traveler in Mongolia who also discovered the Mongolian wild horse. During the Second World War refugees, soldiers, and prisoners of war, often reported seeing the Alma. Slavomir Rawicz, in his book The Long Walk, the story of his escape from a Siberian labor camp, tells of being delayed by a pair of Almas. Chinese soldiers reportedly put food out for the Alma and watched it eat.
M.A. Stonin, a geologist, was prospecting near Tien Shan in 1948. One morning he awoke to cries by his guides that the horses were being stolen. Stonin grabbed his rifle and headed outside to find a figure standing by the horses. It had long red-hair all over it’s body. The creature moved off at Stonin’s shouts and he chased after it. The animal was so man-like, though, that Stonin couldn’t bring himself to shoot it and the thing escaped.
In 1957 a hydrologist named Alexander G. Pronin, on an expedition to study water resources, reported seeing “a being of unusual aspect.” It stood at a distance in the snow with it’s legs wide apart and with arms longer than a normal man’s. Pronin watched it for five minutes, then the creature disappeared behind a rock. Three days later he saw the figure again briefly. Then a week later one of the group’s inflatable boats disappeared without explanation and was later found upstream. Pronin found out that the locals often blamed the “wild man” with stealing household items and taking them into the mountains. This made Pronin wonder if the Alma was responsible for the missing boat.
Alma’s have reportedly been shot and killed, but the carcasses have never been examined by scientists. In 1937, during a clash with the Japanese, a Russian reconnaissance unit in Mongolia spotted two silhouettes coming down a hill toward them. When the figures did not respond to a challenge, sentries shot them. Then next morning the recon unit was surprised when they examined the bodies. They were of a “strange anthropoid ape” that was about the size of a man and covered with long red hair. Unfortunately, because of the war, the bodies could not be returned to Moscow for a proper evaluation.

Crypto and the Eye

Crypto and the Eye

By: Ashley Lewis

How does your brain create a picture?When you look at a scene, each of the different ‘seeing’ areas in your brain seems to have a ‘map’ of the scene to which it adds details – like movement, color, depth or shape. Scientists have learnt a lot about how you see by studying patients who have damage to these areas. Damage to any area can mean that the final picture is missing a particular detail.
Many of the neurons in the visual part of the brain respond specifically to edges orientated in a certain direction. From this, the brain builds up the shape of an object. Information about the features on the surface of an object, like color and shading, provide further clues about its identity. Objects are probably recognized mostly by their edges, and faces by their surface features.
When you look at an object, each of your eyes sees a slightly different picture. These signals are brought together in the brain, to help tell how far away an object is. This is what enables us to see ‘magic eye’ pictures. Other clues like shadows, textures and prior knowledge also help us to judge depth and distance.
When you look at a moving object, signals go to a special part of your brain. Damage to this area can stop you seeing movement, even though your sight is otherwise normal. Eye problems, stroke etc.
So how the heck does this have anything to do with Cryptozoology. Think about it. Our brains do a overload of a job when looking at things, objects. Our brain will do whatever it can to create an image out of nothing and our eyes see it.
So, I’m asking. Have you really seen what you think you have seen? How sure are you? What proof do you have? Yes there are many tales, legends and stories that go as far back as we can remember. Did the tale stick with you and you believe it? Or did you really see what you thought you saw? Next time, think about it.
Thank you for your time. To read more articles about Crypto and much much more, visit

Ashley Lewis's photo.
Ashley Lewis's photo.

Negative spirits versus demonic

56546In my opinion, many spirits can be negative and not truly demonic. A demon is any entity which is not of the light. Usually this means the entity is influencing those around him in a negative way. A demon does NOT have to look like a big scary monster with horns and a tail! Many demons may be small, some may be large, most cannot be seen at all. Yet their affect and influence are very real.

In the movies we see scenes of demons attacking humans, throwing them through the air with the powers of their mind, causing crosses to turn upside-down, causing possessed people to experience various “phenomena”. Some examples of movies which show these very extreme effects include The Rite. These phenomena are real and have been documented in many cases of exorcism. The Clergy has a great deal of experience dealing with such cases.

However, in actual fact most demonic attack is far more subtle! Think of it this way: why would a demon spend all their energy to throw you off a building when instead they can infiltrate your mind, causing you to feel depressed and causing you to think you are worthless so that YOU throw yourself off the building all by yourself! This is truly the way of demons.

Many symptoms of demonic attack “look” a lot like psychological illness, and in fact it can be challenging to differentiate between psychological illness and outside influence, i.e. attack. This is something the Clergy is specialist in and can assist with.

Let’s go over some things about Demonic Activity. It comes in three stages with the first being Infestation then Oppression and finally Possession. Each stage is used to weaken the faith and will of a person.
What is Infestation and it’s purpose? Demon’s in the Infestation stage look for a member who has the weakest Faith and Will. Demon’s use this stage to see who they can manipulate the easiest. Once attached this will lead to Oppression where more wearing and tearing down the person is done. If the person gives in Possession can then take place.

So, what are the signs of each of these?

Infestation is the easiest stage to clear up. House cleansing and blessings are done but if not caught in time it can be a little more difficult. Let’s take a look at some signs:

  • Groups of 3 (Bangs and knocks
  • Smells of sulfur, feces, urine
  • Physical actions such as being pushed, dragged around, bitten
  • Things being thrown around
  • Feelings of depression
  • Religious items being broken or disappearing
  • Seeing apparitions that look deformed or scary
  • Disembodied voices such as growls
  • Mood swings but no medical attention is need because there is no explanation

These are just some. Please note that because someone is depressed doesn’t mean there is demonic activity and that when looking at a possible demonic situation there shouldn’t just be one of these signs.

Let’s look at Oppression.

Oppression is the second stage is a little more tough then Infestation. A person has come to this stage because the demon has latched on and is doing what it can to wear a person’s will and faith down EVEN MORE. But wait, you might not know that. In this stage you might not even know that something is wrong with you. Someone in the Oppression stage can still have control over their mind and body. They can still understand things and can seem as if there may not be anything wrong but with just some strange symptoms. Let’s take a look at what Oppression can do:

  • Person usually is outgoing or likes to get out do things but them isolates themselves for no reason.
  • Starts doing things they wouldn’t have never done such as drugs or drinking or other bad habits
  • Mood swings, depression, anger issues
  • Hearing voices
  • Person see’s things that no one else can see
  • Markings on body such as bites, bruising, scratches
  • Zoning out or in a trance like state
  • Person has the ability to know things they wouldn’t know

Here we need to take note that before assuming someone is in a demonic situation, it needs to be discussed if a person is on medication, has physiological issues etc. Do NOT attempt to cure someone who may have demonic activity if you are not trained. Contacting the Clergy is the best way to go as Oppression cared for used by

The final stage…Possession. What now? This is a dangerous stage and should not be toyed with. You or the person who is possessed can be hurt or worse. The goal of a demon is for the person to end their life in one way or the other. Let’s have a look:

  • Speaking languages they wouldn’t know or have never studied
  • Superhuman strength
  • Knowing where secret things are that someone may have hidden
  • Ability to move things about without touching them
  • Nasty reactions to Holy items such as Holy water
  • Unable to pray or seems to be tortured from hearing pray
  • Hurting one’s self
  • Trying to commit suicide
  • Issues with sleeping
  • Eating nasty things
  • Using the bathroom on themselves
  • Saying ugly things that they wouldn’t normally say

If one has been interviewed and it is believed that Possession is the problem the Clergy should be contacted to see if an Exorcism is needed.

What if a person is not possessed but had a mental issue? My answer is that I personally do not jump up and say a person is possessed or even has a demonic problem. If you feel someone is having some issues from the lists above, seek professional medical help, see what explanations there may be. Physiological evaluations are needed to rule out things as well. If all is unexplained and medication is not helping then we can look into it to see if there is Demonic Activity.

If you or someone you know if having any of the above problems or feel like suicide is your only answer, please seek help or call your local Clergy. God Bless.

Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier

41st President of Haiti

41st President of Haiti

Jean-Claude Duvalier (French: [ʒɑ̃klod dyvalje]), nicknamed “Bébé Doc” or “Baby Doc” (July 3, 1951 – October 4, 2014), was the President of Haiti from 1971 until his overthrow by a popular uprising in 1986. He succeeded his father François “Papa Doc” Duvalier as the ruler of Haiti after the latter’s death in 1971. After assuming power, he introduced cosmetic changes to his father’s regime and delegated much authority to his advisors, though thousands of Haitians were killed or tortured, and hundreds of thousands fled the country. He maintained a notoriously lavish lifestyle (including a state-sponsored US$2 million wedding in 1980), and made millions from involvement in the drug trade and from selling body parts from dead Haitians while poverty among his people remained the most widespread of any country in the Western Hemisphere.

Relations with the United States improved after Duvalier’s ascension to the presidency, and later deteriorated under the Carter administration, only to again improve under Ronald Reagan due to the strong anti-communist stance of the Duvaliers.

Duvalier unexpectedly returned to Haiti on January 16, 2011, after two decades in self-imposed exile in France. The following day, he was arrested by Haitian police, facing possible charges for embezzlement. On January 18, Duvalier was charged with corruption. On February 28, 2013, Duvalier pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption and human rights abuse. He died of a heart attack on October 4, 2014, at the age of 63.

Taken from:

Do Jews Believe in Demons?

jewsThough the idea of demons raises concerns about divine providence, belief in demons developed among some Jews throughout history.

Demons are supernatural, malevolent beings with the power to cause hurt to humans. Beliefs in Demons though not very pronounced in Jewish life and thought, is still prevalent, in a semi-comical way, at the level of folklore. Even some of the learned feel compelled to accept, perhaps not too seriously, belief in demons because this belief is implied in the Talmud in many places.

The Babylonian Talmud, in particular, produced against a Zoroastrian background in which the belief was strongly rooted, contains stories of visitations by demons and spells to ward them off.There is even a report of a rabbi conversing with a demon prince.

It is completely unhistorical to maintain, as did Krochmal, that all these references were inserted into the Talmud by ignorant copyists or by those influenced by folk-beliefs said to have been repudiated by the rabbis themselves.

Medieval Rationalists
Some of the medieval thinkers accepted the belief in demons. Others rejected the belief as contrary to the doctrine of divine providence. Why should God have surrendered His control of the universe, on some occasions, into the power of such creatures?

Abraham Ibn Ezra rejects entirely the notion that demons really exist. Maimonides either ignores the talmudic references to demons or gives these a rationalistic explanation; as, for example, when he understands the mishnaic reference to an ‘evil spirit’ against which a light can be put out even on the Sabbath, to mean a spirit of melancholy.

Menahem Meiri generally follows a similar demythologizing tendency when he understands the talmudic reference to warding off the demons by reciting the Shema before retiring as meaning that evil thoughts invade the mind at bedtime and these can successfully be dispelled through the recitation of the Shema. Meiri also understands the talmudic reference to Joseph the demon, who was able to traverse great distances through the air, to mean that there was a skilled acrobat who could vault over great distances and who was known as ‘Joseph the devil’ in the sense that he was a devil-may-care character.


Dybbuks, demons and exorcism in Judaism
Rabbi Isaac Luria, one of the greatest of Jewish mystics, would walk in the hills of 16th century Safed and point out to his students the souls of the dead, often standing on their graves. In the same city at the same time, the great legal scholar Joseph Karo, author of the Shulchan Aruch, the great code of Jewish Law, was composing another book dictated to him by an angel.

These visions were not as exceptional as modern Jews like to believe. Dybbuks and demons, possession and magic are woven throughout Jewish history. Amulets to ward off the evil eye, spitting, touching a mezuzah for good luck and a thousand other practices attest to the deep current of folk belief in Judaism. The next time someone persuades you that everything about Judaism is rational, logical and clear, you do not even need to tell them the story in rabbinic literature about the town that beat the river until the blood of the unwelcome water demon appeared. Just ask them to stand in a congregation while everyone is waving a lulav and spinning the etrog; the explanation may be logical, but the atmosphere is redolent of magic.

And yes, we Jews performed exorcisms, too. Anyone who spends time with rabbinic literature (or, for that matter, with the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer) is familiar with demons. Jewish demons, like their counterparts in other traditions, like to inhabit people or simply upend them from time to time. Not only are there many discussions of demons in rabbinic literature, but also, as a result of demonic activity, there are many spells directed against them, as where there are demons, there must be defenses and antidotes. Some demons are granted names. (Ashmedai, from the book of Tobit, is among the most notable. He is the king of demons, and in the Talmud, King Solomon tricked him into helping with the construction of the Temple.) And there are endless discussions of their activities and depredations.

Exorcism reached a peak in the mystical community of 16th century Safed. The scholar J.H. Chajes has translated several accounts of spirit possession in Safed. One, in which a man named Samuel Zafrati entered a woman, involved Hayyim Vital, the principle disciple of the Ari, Rabbi Isaac Luria. He asked the spirit, “How can we be sure your name is Samuel Zafrati?” and the spirit, through the woman, accurately recounted all the details of the man’s life. “Then we recognized, all those present, that the spirit was the speaker.”

As the questioning and exorcism continued, the spirit was asked where he had been since his death three years before:

“I have gone from mountain to mountain, and from hill to hill. I did not find rest in any place, except that for a period I was in Shekhem, where I entered into one woman, and they removed me through the aforementioned and placed amulets upon her so that I was unable to return to her further.” The narrator then says that he knows all of this to be true from independent inquiries. The spirit continues: “After that I was roving through the city to enter synagogues [thinking that] perhaps I would find rest and comfort there for my soul, but they did not allow me to enter any synagogue.” The spirit then explained that the sages of the past did not permit him to enter, and so he wandered until he found this “kosher” woman to enter. And when asked if he thought it was legitimate to couple with a married woman, the spirit, with wonderful ethereal insouciance, answers, “What of it? Her husband is not here, but in Salonika!”

With demons about, the consequences of a business trip could be dire.

The most eminent scholars of the time, Isaac Luria, Shlomo Alkabetz, Joseph Karo, Hayyim Vital and others were involved in exorcisms. Some were possessed themselves, like Karo, whose Maggid Mishna took hold of him and dictated, but such possession could on occasion be benevolent. The point is that this was not restricted to a fringe or the untutored; the world was rife with spirits.

Are such stories merely a quaint remnant of an earlier age? In 1999 in Dimona (a name whose origin is from Joshua 21, not from the seeming cognate “demon”), a widowed mother of eight claimed that her deceased husband had entered her body. Although several rabbis refused her an exorcism, one, Rabbi David Basri, head of the Shalom Yeshiva in Jerusalem, was equal to the task. Over the objections of many notable rabbis — and on Israeli national television — he performed the exorcism, apparently successfully.

For a while after this incident, there was a spate of claims of possession in Israel, but the wave abated.
Some examples practically beg the listener to sneer. In his famous work Or Zarua, the 13th century rabbi Isaac ben Moses writes (recorded by Joshua Trachtenberg in his still valuable “Jewish Magic and Superstition”) of the married woman who had relations with a demon — who appeared once in the shape of her husband and once in the uniform of a local petty count. The question was — is she permitted to her husband after this demonic coupling? Was it adultery — was it voluntary? In the end, she was permitted to her husband by the rabbinic court. There is no report on the fate of the real petty count.

Jewish sources do at times distinguish mental illness from possession, although today we might be inclined to include all such stories in the category of mental disturbances. Recently I was teaching what might be reckoned the very first case of possession — the case of Saul:

“The spirit of God departed from Saul and an evil spirit of God tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, ‘Behold now, an evil spirit of God is tormenting you. Let our Lord command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man, who knows how to play the lyre, and when the evil spirit of God is upon you, he will play with his hand and all will be well.” (I Samuel 16:14-16)

When David, who was then summoned, played music for Saul, it did indeed cure him, at least temporarily. So if this was an exorcism — a matter debated in the sources — then King David was the first recorded exorcist. It gives the profession a noble pedigree, at least.

What was notable in teaching this incident to my Torah class was that not a single member of the class was tempted to interpret this as anything but an internal event in Saul — that is, not an external spirit that afflicted him but a mental disturbance. Although exorcisms are a radical example, we have turned religious experience into a neurological datum: visions are hysteria, trances mania, and prophesies seizures. A desacralized world is more devastating to demons than any exorcist. Vampires make good television and zombies are a mainstay of horror lit, but in life a taste for blood or a lack of affect wrapped in masking tape lead us to grab the DSM and scissors, not a cross and silver bullet.

The meaning of exorcism is tied up for many in issues of gender (some believe this was a bursting forth of frustration from constraint for women or even of obtaining some public power, although plenty of men reported possessions as well) or of Christian influence (although scholars debate whether Jewish exorcisms were a result of the upsurge in the Christian world). Most of all, it reflects the belief, deeply held and derived from the Talmud, that we were constantly surrounded by invisible forces. In a world of suffering, who could believe that such forces would never be malevolent?

It seems so reminiscent of an outgrown age. And yet … we retain some suspicion, evident in traces of our language, of an earlier world view: “I am not myself today.” “I don’t know what got into me.” Even splitting off selves from essence — “I don’t know who I am” — is a sign of the duality of nature we feel and the way in which boundaries of the self sometimes feel porous. We, too, seek shamans and rabbis and healers, though they often go by different names. And madness, true madness, seems still as though it was a grip from outside more than an internal malady.

Far as we have come, our knowledge is still a small homestead on the vast landscape of our ignorance.
David Wolpe is the rabbi of Sinai Temple. You can follow his teachings at




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11013289_10206068802457191_5171439026712056704_nZoroastrianism, according to tradition, was founded by Zoroaster after he received a vision in which he was introduced to Ahura Mazda, and told of the great God and his adversary. He saw other radiant figures too, but could not see his shadow on the ground, a sign which convince Zoroaster his vision was authentic. This was the first of several visions in which Ahura Mazda conversed with him. The vision is alluded to in the Cathas (Y 43) and briefly described in the Pahlavi work (Zadspram XX-XXI). It was the knowledge gained from these visions which caused Zoroaster to designate Ahura Mazda as master of asha, order, righteousness, and justice; proclaiming him to be the one uncreated God, existing eternally, and Creator of all else that is good including all other beneficent divinities.

However, experience of the harsh realities of the world convinced Zoroaster that Ahura Mazda did not exist alone; and in a vision, he saw the Adversary, the Hostile Spirit, Angra Mainya, or Ahriman, who was equally uncreated, ignorant and wholly malign. Zoroaster saw in his prophetic eye the origin of these two Spirits; they were twin, primal spirits, destined to be in constant conflict; of the two, the worst Spirit had chosen to do the worst things while the good Spirit had chosen righteousness. They were the twin antagonists in thought, word and act, the good and the bad. When these Spirits first encountered they created life and not-life; and at the end the worst existence shall befall the followers of falsehood (drug) while the best dwelling is for those choosing righteousness (asha). It is speculated by some Iraniologists that the prophetic vision of these twin spirits might have been influenced by Zervanism, the religion of the Magi. Evidence of this is the mentioning of the “twin-spirits” in the Gathas. However, in the Zervanite theogony Ahura Mazda and Ahriman were associated with Light and Darkness, and were the twin sons of Zurvan, god of Infinite Time (Settegast 216).

terIn order to fully comprehend Zoroaster’s twin-spirit cosmogony one must perceive that the prophet’s veneration of Ahura Mazda was based upon tradition. Mazda, the oldest of the three Ahuras or guardians of asha, had been previously worshipped as the greatest of the three. However, Zoroaster independently and drastically abandoned this former teaching by making Ahura Mazda an uncreated God and Creator; and, as previously stated, experience of the harsh realities of the world convinced Zoroaster that Ahura Mazda did not solely exist, another divinity existed; this was Angra Mainya, the bad or evil Spirit. Here was the dualism; the beliefs were absolute, each spirit acted according to his nature; the good chose good, and the bad chose bad. No room way made or allowed for the belief that both good and bad could come from the same spirit; such a belief never occurred or would it have been tolerated. The reason was that Zoroaster believed like the two primal Spirits, each human would have to make the identical choice between good and evil.

Such an exercise of choice changed the inherent antagonism between the two Spirits into an active one that was expressed by the decision made by Ahura Mazda, in the creation and counter-creation, or the creation of life and not-life; that is death. Zoroaster believed that Ahura Mazda, through his wisdom, knew if he became Creator and fashioned the world, then the Hostile Spirit would attack it because it was good, and it would become a battleground for the two forces, but in the end he, God, would win the great struggle there and be able to destroy evil, and establish a universe which would be wholly good forever.

It should be noted that Zoroaster’s belief seemed based on a Persian myth of Zurvan (Time) (see Time and the Zurvan myth). From the myth Zoroaster appears to have assumed that the combative forces of good and evil always existed since since they were born in time. He further teaches that they would continue their struggle within the created world and finally good would conquer evil.

His teaching about Ahura Mazda was new; but it was based on the former cosmogony which gave basis for Zoroaster’s thought. Thus, the first act that Zoroaster envisioned Ahura Mazda performing was the evoking, through his Holy Spirit, Spenta Mainyu, of six lesser divinities, the radiant Beings which Zoroaster saw in his first vision. These six divinities form a heptad with Ahura Mazda, and proceeded with him to fashion the seven creations which compose the world. The evocation of the six is variously described in the works of Zoroastrian, but always in manners which suggest the essential unity of beneficent divinity. Ahura Mazda is either described as the “father,” or to have “mingled” himself with them, and in one Pahlavi text his creation of them is compared with the lighting of a torch from s torch.

ter3Ahura Mazda, also referred to as Lord of Wisdom, is believed to be head of the divine heptad. The descriptions of the other six divinities often do not correspond to their sequential creations. Armati, as guardian of the enduring, fertile earth, and mother of all things, was the protectress of women. The other deities and their attributes are: Vohu Manah, Good Thought; Asha Vahishta, Right Order; Khsathra Vairya, Sovereign Power; Haurvatat, Immortality; and Ameretat, Wholeness or Integrity. Each worshipper could partitions the deities collectively or individually. Gradually each deity was believed to be the protector of each particular aspect of creation they were given other attributes by individuals who prayed to them; for example, Haurvatat water, and Ameretat plants; and many speculate this was the reason for Zoroastrianism becoming firmly established.

With these teachings Zoroaster began his process of separating the gods. He taught these six great Beings, who were in fact the beneficent deities of the pagan Iranian pantheon. They were, according to Zoroastrian doctrine, were direct or indirect emanations of Ahura Mazda, strived under him, performing their various duties, to promote good and defeat evil. Collectively in Zoroastrianism they are known as Yazatas, “Beings worthy of worship,” or Amesha Spentas, “Holy Immortals.” Although the latter term never in the Gathas, it is thought that Zoroaster coined it to distinguished these entities revealed to him as beneficent from the generality of the pagan gods, who were evoked as “All of the Immortals” in the Vedas; because he vigorously rejected the worship of the warlike, amoral Daevas, particularly Indra and his companions, whom he considered as being of “a race of evil purpose” (Yasna 32.3). “The Daevas chose not rightly, because the Deceiver came upon them as they consulted, so that they chose the worst purpose. Then together they betook themselves to Wrath, through whom they afflicted the life of man” (Y 30.6).

Here Zoroaster was describing the Daevas as false gods, who like Angra Mainyu, were wicked by both nature and choice, and were not to be worshipped because they represented conflict among men, luring them through their greed of offerings to bloodshed and destructive strife. A religious system which Zoroaster was instigating envisioned not only a new spiritual attitude but a cultural one as well. He not only intended to eliminate the worship of warrior gods, but the warrior too. Many Iraniologists think possibly this was the most difficult transformation the prophet attempted to make upon his society. The god Indra, the image of the ideal warrior who was pictured in the Rg Veda as being arrogant, strife-provoking, drunk on songs and soma but bountiful to his followers, from whom he demanded abundant offerings, was vivid in the minds of the people; he also was important to this warring culture. Here, a priest and prophet was trying to eliminate a powerful god; this must have caused quite a stir. Indra was not mentioned in the Gathas, but demonized as a Daeva in the Younger Avesta. His counterpart Mithra, in his warrior aspect, also is not named in the Gathas, but had a very old Yast dedicated to him, which indicates he was probably honored before Zoroaster’s time. It is recognized that Zoroaster’s objection to the natural cults of the time was because of their excessive worship of the divinities, perhaps this is the reason that Indra and Mithra was omitted from the Gathas.

Zoroaster proved that he was not just concerned with the divinities, but also with the people and the earth. His aim was to secure both the material and spiritual welfare of the “Good Creation,” to renew and preserve the sanctity of the world to restore it to a state of perfection. This hope is uttered in the prayer “May we be those who will renew this existence” (Y 30.9).

Such renovation was to occur through husbandry. Although ancient Iranian kings are claimed to have invented husbandry, Zoroaster is said to be the first to embed it into a religious system. Soil cultivation became a kind of worship to his followers, “He who cultivates corn [grain] cultivates righteousness” (Vendidad 3.1).

The previous description is of the second time in cosmic history as Zoroaster envisioned it. To him, cosmic history was divided or spaced within three times or eras. In the first time era “Creation” Ahura Mazda brought all things in a disembodied state, called in Pahlavi, “menog,” or “spiritual immaterial.” To this he added the “material” or “getig” existence, which was better because it possessed perfection that the menog state did not have. The getig state was of solid and sentient form which completed the two states that constituted the act of Creation, called in the Pahlavi “Bundahishn.” The completion of the getig state signaled the start of Angra Mainyu’s evil attack. According to the myth in Pahlavi works, he broke in violently through the lower bowl of the stone sky, thus ruining its perfection. Then he plunged upward through the water, turning much of it in salt, and attacked the earth, creating deserts. There he withered the plant, and slew the uniquely-created Bull and the first man. Finally he fell upon the seventh creation, fire, and sullied it with smoke, so that he had physically blighted all the good creation.

After this all the divine beings rekindled their forces, and the second time era occurred. In this era called the “Mixture” everything is no longer perfect as it was in the era of Creation; the assault of Angra Mainyu destroyed that perfection which could not be restored. The beneficent divinities renewed each thing as best as they could: the plant was ground up and spread over the world by cloud and rain, and sprang forth covering the earth; the seeds of Bull and Man were purified and multiplied everywhere; and where the shameful endeavor of Angra Mainyu had brought decay and death into the perfect and static world of Ahura Mazda, the Amesha Spentas, through their holy power, were able to turn his malicious acts to benefit, and knew such must be the endeavor of all good creation.

But during the Mixture Angra Mainyu, according to Zoroaster, will continue his attack along with the Daevas to destroy the world which the Mesha Spentas in cooperation with mankind are attempting to rebuild. There are three essential differences between the world of the Creation and the second world of the Mixture: first, the second world is not perfect, the original perfection could not be restored because all of the illness and evil which Angra Mainyu bestowed upon it remained; second, the Spentas restored as much of Ahura Mazda’s perfection as they could to the world; third, and they did it with the help of the people.

This final difference is a key point in Zoroastrianism; in recognizing that Angra Mainyu was still attempting to corrupt the world, Zoroaster saw that it would require the efforts of both the beneficent divinities and mankind to restore it. And, since man himself was under attack he needed the help of these divinities; therefore, it was necessary for man to steadfastly venerate the divinities to keep them in his heart so there would be no room for vice or weakness. This meant venerating all of the Yazatas, which included Ahura Mazda, the six Spentas, and the lesser Ahuras, such as the Sun and the Moon, which contributed to keeping the world strong and in accordance, with asha. Zoroaster took the vision of cosmic history a step further than it had been; the previous concept was that once the process of life was started, it was expected to continue forever, if men and the gods each bore their part; but, Zoroaster added new significance to this co-operation between the divinities and the worshippers by saying it would not just preserve the world as it is, but it would reach the ultimate goal of restoring perfection. Man was given a new dignity, he became allied with God, and together they would work toward the defeat of evil which they both sought.

This perfection occurs in the third time or era, called “Separation.” According to teaching even souls in Paradise do not experience perfect bliss during Mixture; complete happiness can only come again at Frashegird. Death was a general affliction for all humanity, Zoroaster taught; it forces individual souls to depart the getig world and return temporary to a deficient menlog state. When each soul departs it is judged on what it has done in its life during the Mixture to promote the cause of goodness. Both men and women as well as servants and masters could hope to achieve Paradise, for the physical barrier of the pagan days, the “Bridge of the Separator,” becomes a place of moral judgment. Here each soul must depend, not on power or wealth of offerings in the life it has left behind, but on its own ethical achievements. Here Mithra presides over the tribunal, flanked by Sraosh and Rashnu, who hold the scales of justice. In these are weighed the thoughts, words, and deeds of each soul, the good on one side and the bad on the other. If the good acts are heavier, then the soul is judged worthy of Paradise; and is lead by a maiden, the personification of its own conscience daena, across the broad bridge and up on high. But, when the scales sink on the bad side, the bridge contracts to the width of a blade-edge, and a horrid hag meeting the souls as it tries to cross, sieges it in her arms and plunges with it down into hell, “the dwelling place of the Worst Purpose (Y 12.13), where the wicked endure “a long age of misery, of darkness, ill food, and the crying of woe” (Y 31.20). This concept of hell, a place of torment presided over by Angra Mainyu, appears to have been Zoroaster’s own idea, shaped by his personal deep sense of a need for justice. Although a few souls “whose false (things) and what are just balance” (Y 35.1) go to the “Place of the Mixed Ones,” Misvan Gatu, where, as in the old underworld kingdom of the dead, they lead a grey existence lacking both joy and sorrow.

Zoroaster taught that there was to be a Last Judgment. The pagan Iranians like the Vedic Indians held that in Paradise each soul was reunited with the body to live a sentiment, happy life; but according to Zoroaster the blessed had to wait until the culmination of the Frashegird and the “future body” (Pahlavi “yan i pasen”), when the earth will give up the bones of the dead (Y 30.7). The Last Judgment will follow this general resurrection, which divides the righteous from the wicked, including those living until that time and those previously judged. Following this final judgment certain divinities will melt all the metal in the mountains; and this will flow in a glowing river over the earth. And all mankind must pass through this river, and as described in a Pahlavi text, “for him who is righteous it will seem like warm milk, and for him who is wicked, it will seem as if he is walking in the flesh through molten metal” (GBd 36.18-19). This was Zoroaster’s vision, based on his original teaching that strict justice should prevail, just as at each individual judgment on earth by fiery ordeal, so too at this general judgment the wicked should experience a second death and perish from the face of the earth. Further, according to teaching, the Daevas and legions of darkness have already been annihilated in the last great battle with the Yazatas; and the river of metal will flow into hell, slaying Angra Mainyu and burning the last vintage of wickedness in the universe.

Zoroaster initially instituted a religious eschatology, or the belief in the end of the world. This is seen in relation to the figure of Saoshyant, a World Savior. This savior emerged during the dark years of the religion prompted, according to Gathnic passages, by Zoroaster’s fear of an imminent end of the world which caused him to envision Ahura Mazda sending “a man who is better than a good man” (Y 43.3), the Saoshyant, literally meaning “one who bring benefit,” who will possess revealed truth and will lead humanity in the final battle against evil. It is speculated that the prophet reasoned that he would not lived to see the age of Frasho-kereti. His followers ardently clung to this expectation, coming to believe that Saoshyant would come from the prophet’s own seed, miraculously preserved in the depths of a lake (identified as Lake Kasaoya). When the end of time approaches, it is said, a virgin will bathe in this lake and become with child by the prophet, and she will in due course bear a son, named Astvat-ereta, “He who embodies righteousness” (after Zoroaster’s own words: “My righteousness embodied” Y 43.16).

Even though the Saoshyant was miraculously conceived he was to be born of natural parents since this was compatible with Zoroaster’s teachings that man would participate in the defeat of evil. Later Saoshyant was pluralized to Saoshyans to include religious and other leaders. In the Avesta this detailed is given: “When Astvat-ereta comes from the Lake Kasaoya, messenger of Ahura Mazda…the he will drive the Drug out from the world of Asha” (Boyce 42).

Following this time Ahura Mazda and the Amesha Spentas will solemnized a last, spiritual yasna, offering the last sacrifice (after which death will be no more), and making a preparation of the mystical “white haoma,” which will confer immortality on the resurrected bodies of all the blessed, who will partake of it. Thereafter, men shall be like the Immortals themselves in thought, word, and deed; unaging, free from illness, without corruption, and forever joyful in the kingdom of God on the earth. The blessed have now entered the era of the “Separation,” according to Zoroaster, which is not like the remote insubstantial Paradise, but the renewal of the perfect Creation.

Almost three-fourth of the Zoroastrianism literature in presumed lost. The remaining literature consists of the Gathas, seventeen hymns attributed to Zoroaster himself and frequently addressed directly to Ahura Mazda; a group of Yasts, songs that praise archaic divinities usually associated with a particular aspect of nature; and the Vendidad, mainly a collection of religious and more precepts and purifications. The Avesta, material memorized and transferred orally for generations, was not written down until the Sassanian period, the third to seventh centuries AD. Because the words were believed to have effective power, their verbatim preservation was considered essential; therefore, they survive relatively uncorrupted in a dead church language that poses innumerable translation problems. The Yasts and Vendidad are said to compose the Younger Avesta.

The literature appears to designate the period and condition of the church. The Gathas, the most ancient, describe Zoroaster’s followers often as depressed and endangered. Zoroaster’s denunciations of the former gods and old ways, his economic imperative to settle and farm the land, apparently were not too well received by some nomadic peoples; traces of bloody conflicts have been found in Gathic hymns. The Vendidad tells of a different time, the danger has passed, the church has been established, and the composition is of sacrifices, recitations, and purifications that require minute observance to be enacted under priestly surveillance.

Some Iraniologists also believe the literature helps to somewhat date the origins of Zoroastrianism. It is believed that the seniority of the Gathas should not detract from the antiquity of the Younger Avesta itself. The Fravadrin Yast, for example, contains references to Iranian peoples who were apparently not known to the earliest Achaemenid records of the sixth century BC. And with the one exception of “Ragha,” believed to be the ancient Rayy near Tehran, no allusion is made to any known Iranian city or village. Moreover, the practices described in sections of the Younger Avesta are only those of agriculturalists and herdsmen. Stone mortars, pestles, and the ritual flint knife were implements associated with the Neolithic times, were still being used, and bows and arrows were often flint-tipped. Events described in the Younger Avesta appear to possibly have occurred as often in the Stone Age as in the Bronze (Settegast 213-214).

Observances Zoroaster instructed his followers to pray in the presence of fire. Fire was a symbol of order and justice. An earthly fire can represent fire, by the Sun, or by the Moon. Zoroastrians must pray five times every 24 hours – sunrise, noon, sunset, midnight and dawn. They pray standing while untying and tying a sacred cord tied around their waist. There are seven communal festivals. The most important is No Ruz or Navroz – the Parsi New Year new day observed at the spring of Equinox. People took special care about the purity of fire, water and earth. They disposed of the dead by exposing the corpses in barren places or on stone towers, called Towers of Silence, where they are eaten by vultures. Zoroastrians practice a number of rites for regaining lost purity. Prayers are regularly preceded by ritual ablutions. The community is divided into lay people and priests. Boys begin to study the sacred text at the age of seven years. Some priests tend the sacred fire kept burning in the temples (see Temple fire).

The practice of leaving the dead exposed for vouchers to scavenge again suggests the possible association with the Magi, for Strabo (XV. 3. xx) noted “the Magi are not buried, but the birds are allowed to devour them.” As previously mentioned Zervanism, which also spoke of the “twin-spirits,” was the religion of the Magi. Many believe Zervanism is older than Zoroastrianism; therefore, it is speculated that either Zoroaster was or became a Magi, or the Magi were in want of reform and joined the latter religion which resulted in a combination of the two (Settegast 216).

The rise of Islam throughout the Iranian area brought the Zoroastrian imperial history to an end in the seventh century AD. Muslim forces defeated the mighty Sasarian army in 642. It became evident that a total conquest was desired; the last Zoroastrian king, Yazdegird III, was killed by one of own people in 652. After the initial conquest Islamic rule began to gradually settle over the region; actually most citizens benefited since taxes were lower than those imposed by the Magi and monarchs. But the initial attraction of the new Muslim leaders and their religion did not last long; soon taxes increased and there arose intolerance for those clinging to Zoroastrianism. Many migrated to seek new homes in India where they became known as the Parsis, or the people from Persia. The remaining Iranian Zoroastrians were defeated two more times by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century followed by the Mughals; both conquers were converted to Islam, but this did little to compensate the Zoroastrians for the terrible slaughter which they suffered. During turbulent times many Zoroastrians converted, but it is remarkable how many stayed true to their ancestral religion.

During the 20th century the conditions improved whenever the empowered government was favorable to the Zoroastrians. This trend began before 1900 with the removal of the jizya in 1882; the grinding labor which they endeared was stopped, and medical and educational facilities were provided for the oppressed people. In 1909 all minorities were represented in the government. Physical conditions again improved, the Zoroastrians were seen as part of the ancient Iranian history; they began reconsidering returning to their homeland. Under a second Pahlavi monarch who publicly proclaimed the pre-Islamic history and culture, and a Zoroastrian deputy prime minister, the people faired better and gained positions in both the armed forces and the professions. With increased opportunities in Tehran many Zoroastrians returned to the metropolis from their desert retreats. However, when the Islamic Republic took power in 1979 many Zoroastrians feared for their future and a few retreated to their homes while a greater number migrated to Australia, Canada, and the United States to loin the Parsi diaspora. Those staying in the homeland did not suffer the feared persecution but they experienced inequalities in the law, not being equal to Muslims, and decreased opportunities in education and the professions. By unconfirmed population figures there appears to have been an increase in the religion’s membership.


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (12 January 1918[1] – 5 February 2008) was born Mahesh Prasad Varma and obtained the honorific Maharishi (meaning “Great Seer”)and Yogi as an adult.He developed the Transcendental Meditation technique and was the leader and guru of a worldwide organization that has been characterized in multiple ways including as a new religious movement and as non-religious.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi became a disciple and assistant of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, the Shankaracharya (spiritual leader) of Jyotirmath in the IndianHimalayas. The Maharishi credits Brahmananda Saraswati with inspiring his teachings. In 1955, the Maharishi began to introduce his Transcendental Deep Meditation (later renamed Transcendental Meditation) to India and the world. His first global tour began in 1958. His devotees referred to him as His Holiness, and because he often laughed in TV interviews he was sometimes referred to as the “giggling guru”.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Maharishi achieved fame as the guru to the Beatles, The Beach Boys and other celebrities. In the late 1970s, he started the TM-Sidhi programme that claimed to offer practitioners the ability to levitate and to create world peace.The Maharishi’s Natural Law Party was founded in 1992, and ran campaigns in dozens of countries. He moved to near Vlodrop, the Netherlands, in the same year.[15] In 2000, he created the Global Country of World Peace, a non-profit organization, and appointed its leaders. In 2008, the Maharishi announced his retirement from all administrative activities and went into silence until his death three weeks later.

The Maharishi is reported to have trained more than 40,000 TM teachers, taught the Transcendental Meditation technique to “more than five million people” and founded thousands of teaching centers and hundreds of colleges, universities and schools,while TM websites report tens of thousands learned the TM-Sidhi programme. His initiatives include schools and universities with campuses in several countries including India, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

The Maharishi, his family and close associates created charitable organization and for-profit businesses including health clinics, mail-order health supplements and organic farms. The reported value of the Maharishi’s organization has ranged from the millions to billions of U.S. dollars and in 2008, the organization placed the value of their United States assets at about $300 million.


The birth name, birth date, and caste of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are not known with certainty, in part because of the tradition of ascetics and monks to relinquish family connections. Many accounts say he was born Mahesh Prasad Varma (Hindi: महेश प्रसाद वर्मा) into a family living in the Central Provinces of British India.[3][22][23] A different name appears in the Allahabad University list of distinguished alumni, where he is listed as M.C. Srivastava. and an obituary says his name was “Mahesh Srivastava”.

Various accounts give the year of his birth as 1911, 1917 or 1918.Authors Paul Mason and William Jefferson say that he was born 12 January 1917 in Jabalpur, Central Provinces.The place of birth given in his passport is “Pounalulla”, India and his birth date as 12 January 1918.[31] Mahesh’s father is identified as a local tax official in the civil service though some sources say he worked in the department of forestry, and others that he was a schoolteacher. Srivastava is the name of his nephews and cousins. Mahesh came from an upper-caste family, being a member of the Kayastha caste, a high-status caste whose traditional profession is writing.

Early Life

Mahesh studied physics at Allahabad University and earned a degree in 1942. While a few sources say that he worked at Gun Carriage Factory in Jabalpur for some time, most report that in 1941, he became an administrative secretary to the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (also known as Guru Dev) and took a new name, Bal Brahmachari Mahesh.Coplin refers to bala brahmachari as both a title and a name, and considers that it “identified him as a fully dedicated student of spiritual knowledge and life-long celibate ascetic”.The Maharishi recalls how it took about two and a half years to attune himself to the thinking of Brahmananda Saraswati and to gain “a very genuine feeling of complete oneness”.

At first Brahmachari Mahesh performed common chores but gained trust and became Guru Dev’s “personal secretary”and “favored pupil”.He was trusted to take care of the bulk of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati’s correspondence without direction, and was also sent out to give public speeches on Vedic (scriptural) themes.[4]:22

Brahmachari Mahesh remained with Swami Brahmananda Saraswati until the latter died in 1953, when he moved to Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand in the Himalayas. Although Brahmachari Mahesh was a close disciple, he could not be the Shankaracharya’s spiritual successor because he was not of the Brahmin caste. The Shankaracharya, at the end of his life, charged him with the responsibility of travelling and teaching meditation to the masses, while he named Swami Shantananda Saraswati as his successor.


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, concerned about his health, became increasingly secluded in two rooms of his residence. During this period he rarely had “face-to-face” meetings and instead communicated with his followers “almost exclusively by closed-circuit television.”

On 12 January 2008 – his ninetieth birthday – the Maharishi declared: “It has been my pleasure at the feet of Guru Dev (Brahmananda Saraswati), to take the light of Guru Dev and pass it on in my environment. Now today, I am closing my designed duty to Guru Dev. And I can only say, ‘Live long the world in peace, happiness, prosperity, and freedom from suffering.'”

A week before his death, the Maharishi said that he was “stepping down as leader of the TM movement” and “retreating into silence” and that he planned to spend his remaining time studying “the ancient Indian texts”. The Maharishi died peacefully in his sleep of natural causes on 5 February 2008 at his residence in Vlodrop, Netherlands. The cremation and funeral rites were conducted at the Maharishi’s Allahabad ashram in India, overlooking the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers.

The funeral, with state honours, was carried by Sadhana TV station and was presided over by one of the claimants to the seat of Shankaracharya of the North, Swami Vasudevananda Saraswati Maharaj. Indian officials who attended the funeral included central minister Subodh Kant Sahay; Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Ashok Singhal; and former Uttar Pradesh assembly speaker and state BJP leader Keshri Nath Tripathi, as well as top local officials Also in attendance were thirty-five rajas of the Global Country of World Peace, one-time disciple Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and David Lynch.A troop of uniformed policemen lowered their arms in salute. The funeral received its status as a state funeral because the Maharishi was a recognised master in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta founded by Shankara.

The Maharishi is survived by a brother and “a number of nephews” One nephew, Girish Chandra Varma, is chairman of the Maharishi Vidya Mandir Schools Group and a “senior functionary of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement in India.Other nephews include Prakash Shrivastav,[president of Maharishi Vidya Mandir Schools and Anand Shrivastava,chairman of the Maharishi Group.

In its obituary, BBC News reported that the Maharishi’s master had bequeathed him “the task of keeping the tradition of Transcendental Meditation alive” and that “the Maharishi’s commercial mantras drew criticism from stricter Hindus, but his promises of better health, stress relief and spiritual enlightenment drew devotees from all over the world”.Paul McCartney commented saying that “Whilst I am deeply saddened by his passing, my memories of him will only be joyful ones. He was a great man who worked tirelessly for the people of the world and the cause of unity.”

Taken from:

Islam and the Jinn

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Screenshot_10Islam recognizes the existence of the jinn. Jinns are not the genies of modern lore, and they are not all evil, as demons are described in Christianity, but are seen as creatures that co-exist with humans. Angels cannot be demons according to Islamic beliefs because they have no free will to disobey Allah (God). According to Islamic, belief jinn live in communities much like humans, and unlike angels have the ability to choose between good or evil.

In Islam, the evil jinns are referred to as the shayātīn, or devils, and Iblis (Satan) is their chief. Iblis was the first Jinn. According to Islam, the jinn are made of smokeless flame of fire (and humankind is made of clay.) According to the Qur’an, Iblis was once a pious servant of God (but not an angel), but when God created Adam from clay, Iblis became very jealous, arrogant, and disobeyed Allah (God). When Allah (God) commanded the angels to bow down before humans, Iblis, who held the position of an angel, refused.

Adam was the first man, and man was the greatest creation of God. Iblis could not stand this, and refused to acknowledge a creature made of “dirt” (man). God condemned Iblis to be punished after death eternally in the hellfire. God, thus, had created hell.

Iblis asked God if he may live to the last day and have the ability to mislead mankind and jinns, God said that Iblis may only mislead those whom God lets him. God then turned Iblis’ countenance into horridness and condemned him to only have powers of trickery.

Adam and Eve (Hawwa in Arabic) were both together misled by Iblis into eating the forbidden fruit, and consequently fell from the garden of Eden to Earth.

Throughout history man has always had a deep attraction for the supernatural and the unseen. The existence of a world parallel to our own has always fascinated people. This world is commonly referred to as the spirit world, and almost every set of people have some concept of one. With some people, these spirits are no more then the souls of dead people- or ghosts. With others, spirits are either the forces of good or the forces of evil – both battling against one another to gain influence over humanity. However, both of these explanations are more in tune with folk tales and fantasy. The true explanation of such a world comes from Islam. Like every other way, Islam also claims to explain this realm of the unseen. It is from this realm that Islam explains to us about the world of the Jinn. The Islamic explanation of the Jinn provides us with so many answers to modem day mysteries. Without the knowledge of this world, the Muslims would become like the non-Muslims and be running around looking for any old answer to come their way. So, who or what are the Jinn?


The Jinn are beings created with free will, living on earth in a world parallel to mankind. The Arabic word Jinn is from the verb ‘Janna’ which means to hide or conceal. Thus, they are physically invisible from man as their description suggests. This invisibility is one of the reasons why some people have denied their existence. However, (as will be seen) the affect which the world of the Jinn has upon our world, is enough to refute this modern denial of one of God’s creation. The origins of the Jinn can be traced from the Quran and the Sunnah. God says:

“Indeed We created man from dried clay of black smooth mud. And We created the Jinn before that from the smokeless flame of fire” (Quran 15:26-27)

Thus the Jinn were created before man. As for their physical origin, then the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, has confirmed the above verse when he said:

“The Angels were created from light and the Jinn from smokeless fire.” (Saheeh Muslim)

It is this description of the Jinn which tells us so much about them. Because they were created from fire, their nature has generally been fiery and thus their relationship with man has been built upon this. Like humans, they too are required to worship God and follow Islam. Their purpose in life is exactly the same as ours, as God says:

“I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Quran 51:56)

Jinns can thus be Muslims or non-Muslims. However, due to their fiery nature the majority of them are non-Muslims. All these non-Muslim Jinns form a part of the army of the most famous Jinn, Satan[1]. Consequently, these disbelieving Jinns are also called devils. Jinns also become Muslims, as they did in the time of the Prophet when a group of them were amazed by the recitation of the Quran. God orders the Prophet to tell the people of this event:

“Say (O’ Muhammed): It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinn listened and said; ‘Indeed we have heard a marvelous Quran. It guides unto righteousness so we have believed in it, and we will never make partners with our lord’.”(Quran 72:1-2)

In many aspects of their world, the Jinn are very similar to us. They eat and drink, they marry, have children and they die. The life span however, is far greater then ours. Like us, they will also be subject to a Final Reckoning by God the Most High. They will be present with mankind on the Day of Judgment and will either go to Paradise or Hell.


That which clearly distinguishes the Jinn from mankind, are their powers and abilities. God has given them these powers as a test for them. If they oppress others with them, then they will be held accountable. By knowing of their powers, we can often make sense of much of the mysteries which go on around us. One of the powers of the Jinn, is that they are able to take on any physical form they like. Thus, they can appear as humans, animals trees and anything else. Thousands of people have sighted strange looking creatures all over the world – and it seems more plausible all the sightings of such creatures may have been Jinns parading in different forms.

The ability to possess and take over the minds and bodies of other creatures is also a power which the Jinn have utilized greatly over the centuries. This however, is something which has been prohibited to them as it is a great oppression to possess another being. Human possession is something which has always brought about great attention. But the true knowledge of this subject is rare. Over the last 3 decades the subject of possession has become very commercialized. During the 70’s, films such as The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby were used to educate people about possession. However, because such institutions (the film industry) were heavily influenced by Christianity, knowledge of the subject was non-existent. Rather then educate people about Jinn possession, films such as The Exorcist just tended to scare the living daylights out of us!

Only through Islam can we understand such a phenomena. We know as Muslims, that Jinns possess people for many reasons. Sometimes it is because the Jinn or its family has been hurt accidentally. It could be because the Jinn has fallen in love with the person. However, most of the time possession occurs because the Jinn is simply malicious and wicked. For this reason we have been commanded to recite the Quran frequently in our houses as the Prophet said:

“Indeed, Satan flees from the house in which Surah Al-Baqarah (the 2nd chapter of the Quran) is recited.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

If a person does become possessed, then the name of God has to be used in expelling the Jinn. If we look at the practice of the Prophet and his companions, we find many invocations to exorcise the Jinn. All of them invoke God to help the possessed person. How contrary this is to many modern-day exorcists. Many exorcists, often invoke the names of others besides God to exorcise the Jinn. When the Jinn does leave, these people believe that their way was successful. However, this is a ploy of the Jinn, as it knows that if it obeys the exorcist, then it has succeeded in making him worship others besides God. The Jinn often returns when the exorcist leaves, as it knows that nothing except the words of God can stop it from oppressing others.

It is not only humans which are possessed, but also animals, trees and other objects. By doing this, the evil Jinn hope to make people worship others besides God. The possession of idols is one way to do this. Not so long ago the world-wide phenomenon of Hindu idols drinking milk, shocked the world. From Bombay to London, Delhi to California, countless idols were lapping up milk. Ganesh the elephant god, Hanuman the monkey god and even Shiva lingam, the male private organ (!), all seemed to guzzle down the milk as if there was no tomorrow! Unfortunately people were taken in by this and many flocked to feed the Hindu gods. This feat was undoubtedly done by the Jinn as a classic attempt to make people worship false gods.
Occult Activities of the Jinn

Through their powers of flying and invisibility, the Jinn are the chief component in occult activities. Voodoo, Black magic, Poltergeists, Witchcraft and Mediums can all be explained through the world of the Jinn. Likewise, so can the illusions and feats of magicians. Because the Jinn can traverse huge distances over a matter of seconds, their value to magicians is great. In return for helping them in their magic, the Jinns often ask the magicians to worship them and Satan. Thus the magicians take the Jinn and Satan as lords besides God. In our day, some of the feats performed by magicians and entertainers are without doubt from the assistance of the Jinn. Making the Statue of Liberty disappear, flying across the Grand Canyon and retrieving a ship from the Bermuda Triangle, have all been done by the Jewish magician David Copperfield. There is NO way that a man could do such things without the assistance of the Jinn. It would not be surprising therefore, if David Copperfield had sold his soul to Satan himself.

One of the most frequent activities associated with the Jinn, is fortune telling. Before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, fortune-tellers and soothsayers were wide spread. These people would use their associates from the Jinn to find out about the future. The Jinns would go to the lowest heaven and listen to the Angels conversing amongst themselves about events of the Future which they heard from God. The Jinns would then inform the fortune-tellers. This is why before the time of the Prophet many fortune-tellers were very accurate in their predictions. However, upon the Prophet’s arrival the heavens were guarded intensely by the Angels, and any Jinn who tried to listen was attacked by meteors (shooting stars):

“And We have guarded it (the heavens) from every accursed devil, except one who is able to snatch a hearing and he is pursued by a brightly burning flame.” (Quran 15:17-18)

The Prophet also said: “They (the Jinn) would pass the information back down until it reaches the lips of a magician or forrtune-teller Sometimes a meteor would overtake them before they could pass it on. If they passed it on before being struck, they would add to it a hundred lies” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari). Thus, it is clear from this as to how fortune-tellers get predictions of the future sometimes right. It is also evident as to why they get so many wrong. Men like Nostradamus are an example, as some of his predictions of the future were correct whilst many were completely wrong. Unfortunately, the amount of fortune telling which occurs amongst the Muslims is also increasing. By visiting Muslim lands such as Morocco, one is able to see as to how much inter Jinn-fortune-teller activity there really is. If you look up at the sky on a clear night in Morocco, you will see the heavens ablaze with shooting stars! A clear display of the devils being chased away from the heavens.

Fortune-tellers also operate through the Qareen. The Qareen is the Jinn companion which is assigned to every human being. It is this Jinn which whispers to our base desires and constantly tries to divert us from righteousness. The Prophet said: “Every one of you has been assigned a companion from the Jinn. The companions asked: Even you O’ Messenger of God? And the Prophet replied: Even me, except that God has helped me against him and he has become a Muslim. Now he only tells me to do good” (Saheeh Muslim). Because the Qareen is with a person all his life, it knows all that has happened to the person from the cradle to the grave. By making contact with the Qareen, the fortune-teller is thus able to make out that it is he who knows about the person. He looks in his crystal ball or the palm of a person and proceeds to amaze him with knowledge which no one else knows. The severity of going to a fortune-teller is such that the Prophet said: “The prayer of one who approaches a fortune-teller and asks him about anything, will not be accepted for forty days or nights” (Saheeh Muslim) and: “Whosoever approaches a fortune-teller and believes in what he says, has disbelieved in what was revealed to Muhammed.”

The effects of the Jinn are not just limited to fortune-tellers. Other activities such as oujia boards and seances, which are used to contact the dead, are manipulated by the Jinn. ‘Are you there Charlie? Speak to us Charlie!!’ are the sort of words spoken by anxious relatives (names are obviously different!) seeking to make contact with their loved ones. And it is when the Jinn starts to talk and communicate as ‘Charlie’, that the people are truly fooled.

One of the biggest manipulations of the Jinn is through visions. Through these visions the Jinns are more likely to lead people away from the worship of God then any other way. When a person sees a vision in front of his eyes it is something which is very hard to explain away. Only by having knowledge of the world of the Jinn and conviction in God, can a person fight such a trial. The countless numbers of visions of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary over the centuries has been a popular choice for the devils. It almost seems as if leading Christians astray is the most easiest trick for the Jinns! Not only are Christians fooled by these visions, but often the Jinns possess and begin to talk from their voices. To the Christians this is known as the tongues of the Angels and thus a proof for their faith. However, the amount of unintelligible nonsense and rubbish which is heard is a clear proof that this is in fact the tongues of the devils! For other people, visions of their parents or relatives are commonplace. By taking on the form of peoples parents, the Jinns can convince people that the souls of dead people still mix with the people of the earth. This is why so many people believe in ghosts.

The onslaught of satanic visions has also hit the Muslims. Many Muslims claim to have seen visions of the Prophet Muhammed and even God! By doing this, Satan is able to lead astray the weak Muslims. Through such visions, Muslims are often told that the commands of Islam are not applicable to them. The Jinns tell them that Prayer, Fasting, Hajj etc. are not obligatory for them. It is a great deception and unfortunately one which has been very effective. The extent of satanic visions still continues to this day. The recent death of Diana Princess of Wales sparked off great love and adoration for this woman. In fact the grief of the British people was such, that it was as if Diana was something divine. No sooner had the mourning of Diana reached its peak, that visions of her were already being seen at Hampton Court Palace! If these visions did occur, the desire of Satan and his army of Jinn to capitalise on this event, was evident. Such visions are clear attempts by Satan to lead mankind away from the path of God.

Protection from the Jinn

Because the Jinn can see us while we cannot see them, the Prophet Muhammad taught us many ways to protect ourselves from their harm, such as seeking refuge in Allah (God) from the accursed Satan, reciting chapters 113 and 114 of the Holy Quran, and reciting the words taught by God in the Quran: “Say: ‘My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of Satan (devils). And I seek refuge with You, my Lord, lest they may attend (or come near) me.’” (Quran 23:97-98)

Saying Bismillah (in the Name of Allah (God)) before entering one’s home, before eating or drinking, and before having intercourse will also keep Satan from entering the house or partaking with a person in his food, drink and sexual activity. Similarly, mentioning the name of Allah before entering the toilet or taking off one’s clothes will prevent the Jinn from seeing a person’s private parts or harming him, as the Prophet said. Strength of faith and religion in general will also prevent the Jinn from harming a person.

Reciting Al-Kursi verse in Arabic (Quran 2:255) provides also a strong protection against the Jinn, as we learned from the story of Abu Hurairah (one of Muhammad’s companions) with a devil.[1]

Also the Prophet Muhammad said: “Do not make your houses like graves, for Satan runs away from a house in which al-Baqarah chapter [chapter 2] is recited.”(Narrated by Saheeh Muslim)

These Arabic verses and prophetic sayings were some examples of how a Muslim would get protection from the Jinn. Islam teaches us how to deal with all of God’s creation – and not just the Jinn. A true Muslim should not fear Satan or the Jinn, because Islam taught us about them and how to get protection from their harm.

The world of the Jinn is one which is both sinister and intriguing. By knowing of this world we can explain many of the mysteries and issues which bother us. By doing this we can avoid the extremes which the people have gone to; nothing being more extreme then worshipping others besides God. By learning the monotheism of God, we defend ourselves from these hidden allies of Satan:

“Indeed he (Satan) and his tribe watch you from a position where you cannot see them.” (Quran 7:27)

The Ayia Napa Sea Monster

ayiaThe Ayia Napa Sea Monster is a cryptid, claimed to inhabit the coast off of Ayia Napa in Cyprus, a popular tourist resort on the Mediterranean. Most sightings occur around Cape Greco (Cavo Greko). It is known by the local fishermen as “To Filiko Teras”,which translates as “The Friendly Monster”. There have been no reports of it causing any harm, although it has been reported at times to rip and drag away fishing nets. There have been countless sightings of the “Creature from the Depths”, with some local newspapers calling the mystery the “Cyprus Loch Ness”. It has been speculated to be something like a crocodile or serpent.

There is no evidence that the monster actually exists, except in folklore and through various sightings by tourists and locals alike. There exists little photographic evidence, except unverified short-films and pictures. A search for the monster was recently featured in a Destination Truth episode on the SyFy (formerly Sci-Fi Channel) series in Series 04 (episode 13).

Many believers of the myth of the Ayia Napa Sea Monster like to link it with the common mythical sea monster of Greek mythology called Scylla, which is depicted in the mosaics that remain in the House of Dionysus, a Roman villa from the 2nd century AD in Paphos, Cyprus. Many ancient authorities describe it as a monstrous form of a giant maiden in torso, with a serpent for its lower body, having six snarling dog-heads issuing from its midriff, including their twelve forelimbs. This is the form described by Gaius Julius Hyginus, the Bibliotheca and the Suda, among so many others, and it is this form most often depicted on vase paintings. According to a description from Hyginus, a Latin author, actually it possessed “more heads than the vase-painters could paint”, and whoever encountered it was killed almost instantaneously.

Government officials have started a search for the monster and its existence. The hope of spotting the Ayia Napa Sea Monster remains a highlight for many tourists on boating day-trips. Many hotels boast to being close to sightings. There is no possible link to any such sea monster and any monster said to be living in Kouris Dam, which according to reports are more likely to be crocodiles that had been kept as pets but unlawfully released.

Miss Cleo


Youree Dell Harris (born August 12, 1962), better known as Miss Cleo, is an American psychic and alleged shaman who achieved fame as a spokeswoman for a psychic pay-per-call service from 1997 to 2003.

Harris has used aliases throughout her career, including Cleomili Harris and Youree Perris.

Early life and career

In 1996, in Seattle, Washington, Harris and her partner opened a production company which produced several of her plays. She acted in her first project, an autobiographical play entitled Women Only: A Celebration of Love, Life and Healing.
Her last project, Supper Club Cafe, was not successful, and she “left town with a trail of debts and broken promises”. Some of the cast of her productions claimed that they were never paid, and that Harris “told her cast members she had bone cancer” and “her medical costs would prevent her from paying people immediately”, but she wrote each actor and crew member a letter telling him or her how much money she owed them.

Psychic Readers Network

In the late 1990s, Harris began to work for the Psychic Readers Network under the name Cleo. She appeared as a television infomercial psychic in which she claimed she was from Jamaica.

The Psychic Readers Network is said to have coined the title “Miss Cleo” and sent unsolicited emails, some of which stated, “[Miss Cleo has] been authorized to issue you a Special Tarot Reading!… it is vital that you call immediately!” Charges of deceptive advertising and of fraud on the part of the Psychic Readers Network began to surface around this time.

In 2001, Access Resource Services doing business as Psychic Readers Network was sued in various lawsuits brought by (among others) Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida, and the Federal Communications Commission, although reports later said that “many customers were satisfied with the service”.

In 2002, the FTC charged the company’s owners and Harris’ promoters, Steven Feder and Peter Stotz, with deceptive advertising, billing and collection practices; Harris was not indicted. Her promoters agreed to settle for a fraction of the amount they took in. It emerged that Harris was actually born in Los Angeles, and that her parents were U.S. citizens.

Subsequent career

Harris voiced the character Auntie Poulet in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

In 2003, the New York Daily News reported that TV music network Fuse had signed Harris as a spokeswoman. In early 2005, Harris was reportedly appearing on television as Miss Cleo in advertisements for a used car dealership in Florida, according to the Broward-Palm Beach New Times.

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Scott Douglas Cunningham


Scott Douglas Cunningham (June 27, 1956 – March 28, 1993) was a U.S. writer. Cunningham is the author of several books on Wicca and various other alternative religious subjects.

His work Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, is one of the most successful books on Wicca ever published;[1] he was a friend of notable occultists and Wiccans such as Raymond Buckland, and was a member of the Serpent Stone Family, and received his Third Degree Initiation as a member of that coven.

Early life

Scott Cunningham was born at the William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA, the second son of Chester Grant Cunningham and Rose Marie Wilhoit Cunningham. The family moved to San Diego, California in the fall of 1959 due to Rose Marie’s health problems. The doctors in Royal Oak declared the mild climate in San Diego ideal for her. Outside of many trips to Hawaii, Cunningham lived in San Diego all his life.
Cunningham had one older brother, Greg, and a younger sister, Christine.

When he was in high school he became associated with a girl whom he knew to deal in the occult and covens. This classmate introduced him to Wicca and trained him in Wiccan spirituality. He studied creative writing at San Diego State University, where he enrolled in 1978. After two years in the program, however, he had more published works than several of his professors, and dropped out of the university to write full-time. During this period he had as a roommate, magical author Donald Michael Kraig and often socialized with witchcraft author Raymond Buckland, who was also living in San Diego at the time.


Cover of Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Cunningham's most successful book

Cover of Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Cunningham’s most successful book

In 1980 Cunningham began initiate training under Raven Grimassi and remained as a first-degree initiate until 1982 when he left the tradition to pursue a solo practice of witchcraft.

Cunningham practiced a fairly basic interpretation of Wicca, often worshipping alone, though his book series for solitaries describes several instances in which he worshipped with friends and teachers.

He also believed that Wicca, which had been a closed tradition since the 1950s, should become more open to newcomers.

Cunningham was also drawn to Huna and a range of new age movements and concepts that influenced and coloured his spirituality.


In 1983, Scott Cunningham was diagnosed with lymphoma, which he successfully overcame. In 1990, while on a speaking tour in Massachusetts, he suddenly fell ill and was diagnosed with AIDS-related cryptococcal meningitis. He suffered from several infections and died in March 1993. He was 36.

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Maya Deren


Maya Deren (April 29, 1917 – October 13, 1961), born Eleanora Derenkowskaia (Russian: Элеоно́ра Деренко́вская), was one of the most important American experimental filmmakers and entrepreneurial promoters of the avant-garde in the 1940s and 1950s. Deren was also a choreographer, dancer, film theorist, poet, lecturer, writer and photographer.

The function of film, Deren believed, like most art forms, was to create an experience; each one of her films would evoke new conclusions, lending her focus to be dynamic and always-evolving. She combined her interests in dance, voodoo and subjective psychology in a series of surreal, perceptual, black and white short films. Using editing, multiple exposures, jump cutting, superimposition, slow-motion and other camera techniques to her fullest advantage, Deren creates continued motion through discontinued space, while abandoning the established notions of physical space and time, with the ability to turn her vision into a stream of consciousness.

Perhaps one of the most influential experimental films in American cinema was her collaboration with Alexander Hammid on Meshes of the Afternoon (1943). She continued to make several more films of her own, including At Land (1944), A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945), and Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946) – writing, producing, directing, editing, and photographing them with help from only one other person, Hella Heyman, as camerawoman. She also appeared in a few of her films but never credited herself as an actress, downplaying her roles as anonymous figures rather than iconic deities.

Early Life

Deren was born in Kiev, Ukraine, into a Jewish family, to psychologist Solomon Derenkowsky and Marie Fiedler, who supposedly named her after Italian actress Eleonora Duse.

In 1922, the family fled the country because of anti-Semitic pogroms and moved to Syracuse, New York. Her father shortened the family name to “Deren” shortly after they arrived in New York. He became the staff psychiatrist at the State Institute for the Feeble-Minded in Syracuse.

In 1928, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Her mother moved to Paris, France to be with her daughter while she attended the League of Nations International School of Geneva in Switzerland from 1930 to 1933.

Deren began college at Syracuse University, where she studied journalism and also became active in the Trotskyist Young People’s Socialist League. Through the YPSL she met Gregory Bardacke, whom she married at the age of 18. After his graduation in 1935, she moved to New York City. She and her husband became active in various socialist causes in New York City. She graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in literature and separated from Bardacke. The divorce was finalized in 1939. She attended the New School for Social Research and received a master’s degree in English literature at Smith College. Her master’s thesis was titled The Influence of the French Symbolist School on Anglo-American Poetry (1939).

Early career

After graduation from Smith, Deren returned to New York’s Greenwich Village, where she joined the European émigré art scene, and worked as an editorial assistant and free-lance photographer. She became known for her European-style handmade clothes, wild, curly hair, and fierce convictions. In 1941, Deren wrote and suggested a children’s book on dance to African American dancer and choreographer Katherine Dunham and later became her personal secretary. At the end of a tour, the Dunham dance company stopped in Los Angeles for several months to work in Hollywood. It was there that Deren met Alexandr Hackenschmied (later Hammid), a celebrated Czech-born photographer and cameraman who would become her second husband in 1942. Hackenschmied had fled from Czechoslovakia in 1938 after Hitler’s advance. They lived together in Laurel Canyon where he helped her with her still photography. After living in New York, “California presented rich sights in the Forties – urban Hollywood in its archetypal, image-ridden ‘glory,’ and lovely desert countryside;” her photographs focused on local fruit pickers and the surrealism of Los Angeles.

Ritual in Transfigured Time

By her fourth film, Deren discussed in An Anagram that she felt special attention should be given to unique possibilities of time and that the form should be ritualistic as a whole. Ritual in Transfigured Time began in August and was completed in 1946. It explored the fear of rejection and the freedom of expression in abandoning ritual, looking at the details as well as the bigger ideas of the nature and process of change.

Meditation on Violence

Deren’s Meditation on Violence was made in 1948. Chao-Li Chi’s performance obscures the distinction between violence and beauty. It was an attempt to “abstract the principle of ongoing metamorphosis,” found in Ritual in Transfigured Time, though Deren felt it was not as successful in the clarity of that idea, brought down by its philosophical weight.Halfway through the film, the sequence is rewound, producing a film loop.

Personal life

In 1943, she moved to a bungalow on Kings Road in Hollywood[4] and adopted the name Maya. Maya is the name of the mother of the historical Buddha as well as the dharmic concept of the illusory nature of reality. In Greek myth, Maia is the mother of Hermes and a goddess of mountains and fields. Also in 1943, Deren began making a film with Marcel Duchamp, The Witches’ Cradle, which was never completed.

In 1944, back in New York City, her social circle included Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, John Cage, and Anaïs Nin.[citation needed]

Many friends described her look as that of an exotic Russian Jew,[citation needed] contributing a part of her attractiveness to her bohemian, Greenwich Village lifestyle. In the December 1946 issue of Esquire magazine, a caption for her photograph teased that she “experiments with motion pictures of the subconscious, but here is finite evidence that the lady herself is infinitely photogenic.”[7] Her third husband, Teiji Ito said “Maya was always a Russian. In Haiti she was a Russian. She was always dressed up, talking, speaking many languages and being a Russian.”


Deren died in 1961, at the age of 44, from a brain hemorrhage brought on by extreme malnutrition. Her condition may have also been weakened by her long term dependence on amphetamines and sleeping pills prescribed by Dr. Max Jacobson, an arts scene doctor notorious for his liberal prescription of drugs who later became famous as one of President Kennedy’s physicians. Her father suffered from high blood pressure, which she may have had as well.

Her ashes were scattered in Japan at Mount Fuji.

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Elizabeth Clare Prophet


Elizabeth Clare Prophet (née: Wulf) (April 8, 1939 – October 15, 2009) was an American New Age minister and religious figure, self-proclaimed prophet, author, orator, and writer. In 1963 she married Mark L. Prophet, who five years earlier, in 1958, had founded The Summit Lighthouse. Mark and Elizabeth had four children. In their nine years of marriage, they embarked on spiritual pilgrimages to Europe, Ghana and India, where they met Mother Theresa and the Dalai Lama. Elizabeth, just 33 years of age at the time of husband Mark’s death on February 26, 1973, assumed control of The Summit Lighthouse at that time.

In 1975, Prophet founded Church Universal and Triumphant, which became the umbrella organization for the movement, and which she expanded worldwide. Prophet controversially called on her members in the late 1980s to prepare for the possibility of nuclear war at the turn of the decade, encouraging them to construct fallout shelters. In 1996, Prophet handed day-to-day operational control of her organization to a president and board of directors, maintaining her role as spiritual leader until her retirement due to health reasons in 1999.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Prophet appeared on Larry King Live, Donahue and Nightline, among other television programs. Earlier media appearances included a feature in 1977 in “The Man Who Would Not Die,” an episode of NBC’s In Search Of… series. She was also featured in 1994 on NBC’s Ancient Prophecies.


Early years

Elizabeth Clare Prophet was born Elizabeth Clare Wulf at Monmouth Memorial Hospital in Long Branch, New Jersey on April 8th, 1939, to Hans and Fridy Wulf. She grew up with her family in Red Bank, New Jersey during the Second World War.Her earliest memories of her childhood she describes as idyllic, however problems arose such as the detention of her father as a suspected German spy in 1942. Upon his release he conveyed the need of her to help others who may also suffer because of their nationality, their race or religion. After seeing the horrors of the Holocaust in media and print, she became convinced of the reality of absolute evil in the world which contributed to her decision to major in political science in her studies.

One of the major difficulties in her early life was her father’s addiction to alcohol. He verbally abused her mother and had a violent temper which he directed towards them and the destruction of his beloved fish tanks. After witnessing this for many years Elizabeth became convinced that when the blood alcohol content creates a chemical imbalance in the body possessing demons take over the mind and the emotions.

In Prophet’s early life she periodically blacked out. This happened in the third grade when she was about to say her lines in a Christmas play, and continued after that throughout her life. Her condition was first diagnosed as petit mal epilepsy, know more commonly today as absence seizures. She did not find medication helpful, and discontinued using it. Her mother later confessed that in 1937 she took some pills in an unsuccessful attempt to abort her pregnancy when she was carrying Elizabeth. Prophet thought that her mother was implying that the medication may have contributed to her childhood blackouts. Prophet herself did some research and found out that the use of quinine sulfate could have damaged the developing nervous system and the brain.

Elizabeth Wulf claimed mystical experiences while growing up. When she was about 4, she claims that she had a vision of herself playing on the sands of the Nile river in Egypt (her mother told her it was a past life). As a child, she claimed to feel God’s light around her naturally, and to hear a sound in her inner ear like that of an ocean wave or the roar of Niagara Falls. Another experience she had while water-skiing was that of being suspended in a place where other spiritual beings existed who were joyous in the light, radiating love. This motivated her to find out more who these “saints robed in white” (Rev. 7:9-17) were for she had always believed in the “universality of all true religion”.


Betty Clare grew up in a home that was mainly non-religious except for major holidays. Her father was Lutheran, her mother Catholic. Yet it was her mother’s interests in Theosophy, the I AM Activity, and Christian Science that had the most influence on Elizabeth. In Theosophy and the I AM Activity she heard about the Ascended Masters, Karma, and Reincarnation; in Christian Science she was told that matter was not the only reality and that the spirit part of us made in the image of God was our true nature. Prophet stayed with Christian Science until she met Mark Prophet at the age of 22.


Elizabeth Clare Wulf spent her junior year studying French in Switzerland in 1956 and a year later graduated from Red Bank Regional High School second in her class. She attended Antioch College in Ohio from September 1957 to March 1959 majoring in political science and economics. She transferred to Boston University in September 1959, from where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in political science in August 1961.


In summer 1958, Prophet took a co-op job as a camp counselor in a French immersion school in Vermont. She was in charge of a number of high school girls between 15 and 16 years old and her role was to discipline them. She described the experience as frustrating and said she ended up praying to God that she never be put in a position of authority over others.

In fall 1958 she served an internship at the United Nations as secretary for Leo Rosenthal, a UN photographer. Her experience at the UN showed her that many of the ambassadors were not there to solve the world’s problems but rather were engaged in power politics and manipulation of the world’s economies. Leaving after three months made her depressed, with the opinion that to solve the world’s problems people would need to change their concept of themselves and of God.

After moving to Boston in 1959, she worked as a secretary for the Christian Science church and the Christian Science Monitor. According to Prophet, that is where she learned much about the publishing operations, organization, and administration of a church on a worldwide scale which was to help her later in running her own church.

Prophet claimed that she realized that she was intended to be a messenger while meditating with Mark L. Prophet at a public meeting in Boston on April 22, 1961. He had come to teach about what he called “the Ascended Masters”. She later claimed to have received a vision while meditating with him that her role in life was to pass on a higher teaching to further humanity’s spiritual evolution. She confided to Mark the next day that like him, she was also to be a messenger; he accepted her as a student at his mystical school, The Summit Lighthouse. She said she received another vision in June of that year in the way of a visitation by the Ascended Master El Morya who told her to go to Washington, D.C. to be trained as messenger. attending her first conference in Washington in July, Mark Prophet returned to Boston in August to help her move to Washington to begin her training under him. They married in 1963, and upon his death on February 26, 1973, Elizabeth Clare Prophet assumed leadership of the organization.

Ministry and expansion

In 1965 the Prophet family relocated to Fairfax, Virginia, and in 1966 to Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In 1970, the Prophet family founded Montessori International, a school based on the principles of educator Maria Montessori. Classes were offered for students ranging from preschool age to high school. Montessori information courses were also offered to parents and students. Staff were trained at Montessori organizations such as the Association Montessori Internationale and the Pan-American Montessori Society,
In 1970 the Prophets went to India with their family and several dozen church members. (Elizabeth traveled again in the early 1980s and established the ASHRAM OF THE WORLD MOTHER in New Delhi, India.) They toured the country, meeting with Indira Gandhi as well as with the Dalai Lama. They also met with Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

In 1974 the headquarters of the Church were moved to Santa Barbara, California, where Elizabeth Prophet founded Summit University, a 12 week program of instruction in her teachings. In 1975, she founded Summit University Press.

The church eventually became the umbrella organization for Prophet’s work, with The Summit Lighthouse becoming the publishing arm of the church.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet in front of the chapel at the summit of Croagh Patrick, Ireland, 1980
In the summer of 1976, the church’s headquarters were again relocated to the campus of Pasadena College, in Pasadena. Summit University, Montessori International, and quarterly church conferences were held there. About 300 staff members were then in residence.

In 1977 the church purchased a former Claretian seminary in Calabasas, a 218-acre (0.88 km2) campus near Los Angeles, and moved its operations there in 1978.

In 1981 the Church Universal and Triumphant purchased the 12,000-acre (49 km2) Forbes Ranch, just outside of Yellowstone Park, near Gardiner, Montana.

Final years in the ministry

In 1986, Prophet relocated her headquarters to Montana near the Yellowstone National Park. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in November 1998.

Retirement and death

She retired in 1999 and died on October 15, 2009.  Prophet was survived by her five children


The dogma of The Summit Lighthouse included a doctrine called the Path of Personal Christhood, or the way of the soul’s one-on-one relationship with God through Christ consciousness. Elizabeth Clare Prophet believed that she shared the gift of the word, both written and spoken. She claimed to be in constant communion with God.

The Science of the Spoken word, as Elizabeth and Mark taught it, was thought to be a gift of sound combined with meditation, prayer and visualization. They believed that a Divine Gift (The Ascension) of union with God was possible.

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Anna Riva


Anna Riva (1922–2005)was the pen name of Dorothy Spencer, who was a well-known American occult author and manufacturer of hoodoo spiritual supplies. According to Catherine Yronwode, “Anna Riva” was a nom de plume that this author used only in her writing and business; Anna was her mother’s name and Riva was her daughter’s name.

According to Craft Magick, Dorothy Spencer was born in 1923 and began writing as Anna Riva in the 1960s.
In Spiritual Merchants, Carolyn Morrow Long described how the “1970s and 1980s saw the publication of a new crop of spell books” for products available from the same companies selling the books. “The best-known of these writers is the extremely prolific Dorothy Spencer, who writes under the name ‘Anna Riva.'”   Spencer’s books contained collected spells from many traditions, including Neopagan sources, European occultism, and the Judeo-Chrisiatian grimoire tradition, and they often included mention of African American folk magic as well as Haitian Voodoo.

In addition to writing books on magic, Spencer produced an extensive line of magical oils, incenses and powders which were sold by numerous occult suppliers. When Spencer retired in the late 1990s, her company, International Imports of Los Angeles, was purchased by Indio Products, which continued to manufacture spiritul supplies bearing the Anna Riva name, as well as keeping her books in print.

In 2000, the owner of Indio Products, Marty Mayer, stated that the woman known as Anna Riva was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. In Spiritual Merchants (2001), Carolyn Long wrote “Dorothy Spencer is now quite elderly and, unfortunately, suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, so I was unable to interview her.” She died in 2005.

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Carlos Castaneda


Carlos Castaneda (birthdate unclear – died April 27, 1998), was an American author with a Ph.D. in anthropology.

Starting with The Teachings of Don Juan in 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that describe his training in shamanism, particularly a group that he called the Toltecs. The books, narrated in the first person, relate his experiences under the tutelage of a Yaqui “Man of Knowledge” named Don Juan Matus. His 12 books have sold more than 28 million copies in 17 languages. Critics have suggested that they are works of fiction; supporters claim the books are either true or at least valuable works of philosophy and descriptions of practices which enable an increased awareness.

Castaneda withdrew from public view in 1973 to work further on his inner development, living in a large house with three women who he called “Fellow Travellers of Awareness”, and who were ready to cut their ties to family and changed their names. He founded Cleargreen, an organization that promoted tensegrity, purportedly a traditional Toltec regimen of spiritually powerful exercises.

Early life

He moved to the United States in the early 1950s and became a naturalized citizen in 1957. Castaneda was educated at UCLA (B.A. 1962; Ph.D. 1973).Carlos married Margaret Runyan in 1960 and lived with her for half a year.On August 12 1961 CJ Castaneda, AKA Adrian Vashon, was born.[citation needed] Even though another man impregnated Margaret, Carlos insisted that CJ was his son. Carlos is listed on one of CJ’s birth Certificates as the Biological Father. It’s unclear whether Carlos and Margaret were divorced in 1960, 1973, or not at all.


Castaneda’s first three books – The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge; A Separate Reality; and Journey to Ixtlan – were written while he was an anthropology student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He wrote these books as his research log describing his apprenticeship with a traditional “Man of Knowledge” identified as don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian from northern Mexico. Castaneda was awarded his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees based on the work described in these books.

In 1974 his fourth book, Tales of Power, was published and chronicled the end of his apprenticeship under the tutelage of Matus. Castaneda continued to be popular with the reading public with subsequent publications.
In his books, Castaneda narrates in first person the events leading to and following after his meeting Matus, a half-Yaqui “Man of Knowledge”, in 1960. Castaneda’s experiences with Matus inspired the works for which he is known. He also says the sorcerer bequeathed him the position of nagual, or leader of a party of seers. He also used the term “nagual” to signify that part of perception which is in the realm of the unknown yet still reachable by man, implying that, for his party of seers, Don Juan was a connection in some way to that unknown. Castaneda often referred to this unknown realm as nonordinary reality.

The term “nagual” has been used by anthropologists to mean a shaman or sorcerer who claims to be able to change into an animal form, or to metaphorically “shift” into another form through magic rituals, shamanism and experiences with psychoactive drugs (e.g., peyote and jimson weed – Datura stramonium).
In all,12 books by Castaneda were published, two posthumously.

Castaneda was the subject of a cover article in the March 5, 1973 issue of Time.The article described him as “an enigma wrapped in a mystery”. When confronted by correspondent Sandra Burton about discrepancies in his personal history, Castaneda responded by saying:

“To ask me to verify my life by giving you my statistics… is like using science to validate sorcery. It robs the world of its magic and makes milestones out of us all.”

The interviewer wrote:

“Castaneda makes the reader experience the pressure of mysterious winds and the shiver of leaves at twilight, the hunter’s peculiar alertness to sound and smell, the rock-bottom scrubbiness of Indian life, the raw fragrance of tequila and the vile, fibrous taste of peyote, the dust in the car, and the loft of a crow’s flight. It is a superbly concrete setting, dense with animistic meaning. This is just as well, in view of the utter weirdness of the events that happen in it.”

Following that interview, Castaneda retired from public view.

In the 1990s, Castaneda once again began appearing in public to promote Tensegrity, a group of movements that he claimed had been passed down by 25 generations of Toltec shamans. On 16 June 1995, articles of incorporation executed by George Short were filed to create Cleargreen Incorporated. The Cleargreen statement of purpose says in part:

“Cleargreen is a corporation that has a twofold purpose. First, it sponsors and organizes seminars and workshops on Carlos Castaneda’s Tensegrity, and second, it is a publishing house.”

Cleargreen published three videos of Tensegrity movements while Castaneda was alive. Castaneda himself did not appear in these videos.


Castaneda died on April 27, 1998 in Los Angeles due to complications from hepatocellular cancer. There was no public service; Castaneda was cremated and the ashes were sent to Mexico. His death was unknown to the outside world until nearly two months later, on 19 June 1998, when an obituary entitled “A Hushed Death for Mystic Author Carlos Castaneda” by staff writer J. R. Moehringer appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Four months after Castaneda’s death, C. J. Castaneda, also known as Adrian Vashon, whose birth certificate shows Carlos Castaneda as his father, challenged Castaneda’s will in probate court. Carlos’ death certificate states metabolic encephalopathy for 72 hours prior to his death, yet the will was supposedly signed 48 hours before Castaneda’s death.[not in citation given] CJ challenged its authenticity. The challenge was ultimately unsuccessful.

The New York Times, upon his death, said of “his dubious biography and shaman like tales” that “[f]ew academics regard them as serious scholarship.”

Castaneda’s companions

After Castaneda stepped away from public view in 1973, he bought a large house in Los Angeles which he shared with some of his female companions. The women broke off relationships with friends and family when they joined Castaneda’s group. They also refused to be photographed and took new names: Regina Thal became Florinda Donner-Grau, Maryann Simko became Taisha Abelar and Kathleen Pohlman became Carol Tiggs. Patricia Partin was another disciple. She was renamed Blue Scout by Castaneda.

Shortly after Castaneda died in April of 1998, his companions Donner-Grau, Abelar and Patricia Partin disappeared. Amalia Marquez (also known as Talia Bey) and Tensegrity instructor Kylie Lundahl had their phones disconnected and also disappeared. Weeks, later, Partin’s red Ford Escort was found abandoned in Death Valley. Her sun-bleached skeleton was discovered five years later by a pair of hikers in the Panamint Dunes area of the desert. On August 2, 1998, Carol Tiggs spoke at a workshop in Ontario, Canada. Since that time, she also has disappeared.

Because the women in question had cut all ties with family and friends, it was some time before people noticed they were missing. There has been no official investigation into the disappearances of Donner-Grau, Simko and Lundahl. Luis Marquez, the brother of Talia Bey, went to police in 1999 over his sister’s disappearance, but was unable to convince them that her disappearance merited investigation. In 2006, Partin’s remains discovered in the desert were identified by DNA. The investigating authorities have ruled her death as undetermined.


Despite the widespread popularity of his works, some critics questioned the validity of Castaneda’s books as early as 1969. In a series of articles, international banker and amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson, who had originally praised Castaneda’s work, questioned the accuracies of Castaneda’s botanical claims.
In 1976, author and Scientologist Richard de Mille published Castaneda’s Journey: The Power and the Allegory, in which he argued, “Logical or chronological errors in the narrative constitute the best evidence that Castaneda’s books are works of fiction. If no one has discovered these errors before, the reason must be that no one has listed the events of the first three books in sequence. Once that has been done, the errors are unmistakable.”On these showings de Mille asserts, The Teachings of Don Juan and Journey to Ixtlan (his third book) cannot both be factual reports.

For his part, Castaneda in the introduction to A Separate Reality, his second book, addressed the incomprehensible nature of his experiences as only being able to be understood in the context of the alien system of perception from which they arose, suggesting that his books are by their very nature contradictory and incomprehensible (as to time and place especially) to academic and critical inquiry.

In a 1968 radio interview with Theodore Roszak, Castaneda, while confirming that his mystical experiences were absolutely true to life, did explain that he took some chronological license in his writing about actual events: “The way the books present it seems to heighten some dramatic sequences, which is, I’m afraid, not true to real life. There are enormous gaps in between in which ordinary things took place, that are not included. I didn’t include in the book because they did not pertain to the system I wanted to portray, so I just simply took them away, you see. And that means that the gaps between those very heightened states, you know, whatever, says that I remove things that are continuous crescendos, in kind of sequence leading to a very dramatic solution. But in real life it was a very simple matter because it took years between, months pass in between them, and in the meantime we did all kinds of things. We even went hunting. He (Don Juan) told me how to trap things, set traps, very old, old ways of setting a trap, and how to catch rattlesnakes. He told me how to prepare rattlesnakes, in fact. And so that eases up, you see, the distrust or the fear.”

At first, and with the backing of academic qualifications and the UCLA anthropological department, Castaneda’s work was critically acclaimed. Notable anthropologists like Edward Spicer (1969) and Edmund Leach (1969) praised Castaneda, alongside more alternative and young anthropologists.

The authenticity of Don Juan was accepted for six years, until Richard de Mille and Daniel Noel both published their critiques of the Don Juan books in 1976. Later anthropologists specializing in Yaqui Indian culture (William Curry Holden, Jane Holden Kelley and Edward H. Spicer), who originally supported Castaneda’s account as true, questioned the accuracies of Castaneda’s work.

Others[who?] (including Dr. Clement Meighan) point out that the books largely, and for the most part, do not pretend to describe Yaqui culture at all with its emphasis on Catholic upbringing and conflict with the Federal State of Mexico, but rather focus on the international movements and life of Don Juan who was described in the books as traveling and having many connections, and abodes, in the Southwestern United States (Arizona), Northern Mexico, and Oaxaca. Don Juan was described in the books as a shaman steeped in a mostly lost Toltec philosophy and decidedly anti-Catholic. Dr. Clement Meighan, one of Castaneda’s professors at UCLA, and an acknowledged expert on Indian culture in the U.S., Mexico, and other areas in North America, up to his death, never doubted that Castaneda’s work was based upon authentic contact with and observations of Indians. Later, Miguel Ruiz also verified the existence of Indian “Brujos” in Mexico with native teachings much like Don Juan’s.

A March 5, 1973 Time article by Sandra Burton, looking at both sides of the controversy, stated:
…the more worldly claim to importance of Castaneda’s books: to wit, that they are anthropology, a specific and truthful account of an aspect of Mexican Indian culture as shown by the speech and actions of one person, a shaman named Juan Matus. That proof hinges on the credibility of Don Juan as a being and Carlos Castaneda as a witness. Yet there is no corroboration beyond Castaneda’s writings that Don Juan did what he is said to have done, and very little that he exists at all.

A strong case can be made that the Don Juan books are of a different order of truthfulness from Castaneda’s pre-Don Juan past. Where, for example, was the motive for an elaborate scholarly put-on? The Teachings were submitted to a university press, an unlikely prospect for best-sellerdom. Besides, getting an anthropology degree from U.C.L.A. is not so difficult that a candidate would employ so vast a confabulation just to avoid research. A little fudging perhaps, but not a whole system in the manner of The Teachings, written by an unknown student with, at the outset, no hope of commercial success.

David Silverman sees value in the work even while considering it fictional. In Reading Castaneda he describes the apparent deception as a critique of anthropology field work in general – a field that relies heavily on personal experience, and necessarily views other cultures through a lens. According to Silverman, not only the descriptions of peyote trips but also the fictional nature of the work are meant to place doubt on other works of anthropology.

Donald Wieve cites Castaneda to explain the insider/outsider problem as it relates to mystical experiences, while acknowledging the fictional nature of his work.

Related authors

Two other authors, Taisha Abelar and Florinda Donner-Grau, wrote books in which they claimed to be from Matus’ party of Toltec warriors. Both Abelar and Donner-Grau were endorsed by Castaneda as being legitimate students of Matus, whereas he dismissed all other writers as pretenders. The two women were part of Castaneda’s inner circle, which he referred to as “The Brujas,” and both assumed different names as part of their dedication to their new beliefs. They were originally both graduate students in anthropology at UCLA.

Felix Wolf, one of Carlos Castaneda’s apprentices and translators, wrote The Art of Navigation: Travels with Carlos Castaneda and Beyond. In his book Wolf details how his life had been transformed by his association with Castaneda. While touching on all aspects of the teachings, Wolf highlights what he perceives to be the overriding and essential transmission that came through Castaneda’s work: The Art of Navigation.

Amy Wallace wrote Sorcerer’s Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda, an account of her personal experiences with Castaneda and his followers.

In Carlos Castaneda e a Fenda entre os Mundos – Vislumbres da Filosofia Ānahuacah no Século XXI Brazilian writer Luis Carlos de Morais analyzes the work of Carlos Castaneda, its cultural implications, and its continuation in other authors.

Sanchez’s first book, The Teachings of Don Carlos: Practical Applications of the Works of Carlos Castaneda (1995), provides in-depth techniques and commentary on a path of “self-growth” based on the wisdom of the Toltec descendants. His approach in this book is bringing the proposals of Castaneda down to the earth focusing on those parts of Castaneda’s book that can be applied in everyday life and used for personal development. Sanchez has published three further books: Toltecs of the New Millennium (1996), providing an overview of and background on the author’s experiences with the Wirrarika; The Toltec Path of Recapitulation: Healing Your Past to Free Your Soul (2001); and The Toltec Oracle (2004). Sanchez’s recapitulation technique bears some resemblance to Sandra Ingerman’s soul retrieval technique, but is probably the most comprehensive approach to the subject that has been published so far. Other shamanic teachers using similar techniques include Michael Harner, PhD founder of “core shamanism”, and Ken Page, founder of Heart and Soul Healing. Some have associated Sanchez’s work with Toltec author Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements.

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Herman Slater


Herman Slater (1935 – July 9, 1992) was an American Wiccan high priest and occult-bookstore proprietor as well as an editor, publisher, and author. He died of AIDS in 1992.

Early life

Slater was born in 1938 in a lower-middle-class Jewish neighborhood of New York. At a very early age, he became aware of anti-Semitism which was encouraged by the Catholic Church. This became one of the influences that led him to witchcraft. Slater studied business administration at New York University, liberal arts at Hunter College and traffic management at the Traffic Management Institute in New York. He also completed a full course at the United States Navy Personnel School in Bainbridge, Maryland. During 1958 through 1969, Slater had several business jobs in management, traffic expediting, and insurance claims investigation. 1969 marked the beginning of significant health-related issues for him. He was later forced to quit work due to bone tuberculosis, which cost him a hip bone and three years of recuperation.

Transition to witchcraft

During his recuperation process, Slater began experiencing and reading about paranormal phenomena, including divination (tarot cards), clairvoyance, and levitation. He spent an entire year lying in bed in a body cast that weighed 300 pounds. Then one morning, he awoke to find himself stretched across a chair on the opposite side of the room while still in his body cast. These experiences led him to witchcraft, and in 1972, he was initiated into the New York Coven of Welsh Traditional Witches. It was there he met Eddie Buczynski (Lord Gywddion), who was a high priest of the coven. Slater took the craft name Lord Govannon and the two became lovers.


Bucznski and Slater opened the The Warlock Shoppe, the oldest witchcraft bookshop in Brooklyn, New York. Buczynski was the more magical and spiritual of the two and left the business side to Slater, who helped the shop grow in profit. Most importantly, the shop established itself as the central information hub for local witches and the newly emerging neopagan communities. The two also published a periodical called Earth Religion News. It was extremely successful but also caused controversy due to its explicit contents and cover designs. In 1974, Slater was initiated into the Gardnerian tradition and assumed leadership of the coven in the late 1970s. The Warlock Shoppe later moved to West 19th Street in Manhattan (the borough of New York City) and operated under the name Magickal Childe. The Magickal Childe functioned as a major focal point for the neopagan community in the 1970s and well into the 1990s. In the later 1980s it gained something of a mercenary reputation being willing to put ‘curses’ on people for a price. with Slater’s death they started having trouble making ends meet and several significant new age publishers stopped providing them with books. The brick and mortar store finally closed in 1999.


In 1972, Slater presented the Inquisitional Bigot of the Year award to NBC during a guest appearance on the Today show, for an episode of Macmillan and Wife that had taken witchcraft and corrupted it into devil-worship rituals for the plot.[1] The crew of Today had Slater physically removed from the set.[1] More controversy surrounding Slater’s actual proficiency in the types of magick he claimed to practice, accusations that he plagiarized material, yelling out at irritable customers in his Magickal Childe store, “Get out of my store…”, as well as outrage over other behaviors he exhibited earned him the nickname “Horrible Herman”.

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Dorothy Jane Roberts


Dorothy Jane Roberts (May 8, 1929 – September 5, 1984) was an American author, poet, self-proclaimed psychic and spirit medium, who claimed to channel an energy personality who called himself “Seth”. Her publication of the Seth texts, known as the “Seth Material”, established her as one of the preeminent figures in the world of paranormal phenomena. The Yale University Library Manuscripts and Archives maintains a collection entitled Jane Roberts Papers (MS 1090), which documents the career and personal life of Jane Roberts, including journals, poetry, correspondence, audio and video recordings and other materials donated after her death by Roberts’ husband and other individuals and organizations.

Early life and career

Roberts was born in a hospital in Albany, New York and grew up in nearby Saratoga Springs, New York. Her parents, Delmer Hubbell Roberts and Marie Burdo, divorced when she was two years old. With her only child, the young Marie then returned to her own parents, and the home that the family had rented for a number of years: half of a double dwelling in a poor neighborhood in Saratoga Springs. Marie had begun experiencing the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis by 1932, but worked as much as possible. Eventually Roberts’ grandfather, Joseph Burdo, with whom she shared a deep mystical identification, was unable to support two extra people, and the family had to rely upon public assistance. Roberts’ grandmother was killed in an automobile accident in 1936.

The next year, her grandfather moved out of the house. By then Marie was partially incapacitated, and the Welfare Department began to furnish mother and daughter with occasional (and often unreliable) domestic help. When Marie became a bedridden invalid, it was Jane’s responsibility to take care of her. This included cooking, cleaning, bringing her the bedpan, and getting up in the middle of the night to refuel the stove. Her embittered mother used to tell Jane that she was going to turn on the gas jets in the middle of the night and kill them both. “My mother was a real bitch,” Jane said, “but she was an energetic bitch. When my mother attempted suicide for about the fifth time, she took a whole mess of sleeping pills and was in the hospital. I went to the welfare lady and said, ‘I can’t take it anymore. I’ve just got to leave.'” Over and over Marie told Jane that she was no good, that the daughter’s birth had caused the mother’s illness, that she was disowned and considered no longer her daughter.

The persistent psychological abuse and mistreatment by her mother resulted in the young girl’s deep fear of abandonment. Such situations increased Jane’s sense of not being safe, yet also reinforced feelings of independence, for she did not have to feel as dependent upon Marie as she might otherwise. Well before she was 10 years old Jane had developed persistent symptoms of colitis. By her early teens she had an overactive thyroid gland. Her vision was poor; she required very strong glasses (which she seldom wore).

For most of 1940 and half of 1941 Jane was in a strictly-run Catholic orphanage in Troy, NY while her mother was hospitalized in another city for treatment of her arthritis. Priests came to the house regularly and support was offered to the fatherless family. Jane’s initial bonding to the cultural beliefs of religion was very strong to make up for the lack of a loving, nurturing family. However, some of Jane’s very early poetry using ideas akin to reincarnation offended one priest, who burned her books on the Fall of Rome.

The ‘troublesome’ material remained relatively inactive until her curiosity and ability led her to actively challenge those ideas while she was also in a situation where the natural fear of abandonment might be suggested. For a time she was left between belief systems. Jane began working at a variety store in the summer of 1945, when she was 16 years old. It was her first job. That fall she continued on the job after school hours, and on an occasional Saturday. After attending public schools, she attended Skidmore College from 1947 to 1950 on a poetry scholarship. Roberts’ grandfather died when she was age 19. It was a time of severe shock for her. She was beginning to substitute scientific belief for religious belief.

Jane had been going with a fellow named Walt Zeh at the time, and they decided to go to the west coast by motorcycle to see Jane’s father (who had also come from a broken home). Jane then married Walt, a long-time Saratoga Springs friend, and continued to write while taking a variety of other jobs, including society editor for the Saratoga newspaper and as a supervisor in a radio factory. They lived together for three years. She “then found out — [while she] was working in a radio factory putting lover-boy Walt through school what everybody else in town knew – [that] he isn’t going through school.” It was then in February 1954 while “cutting up, dancing, and raisin’ hell at a party,” that Jane first met the former commercial artist Robert Fabian Butts, Jr. (June 20, 1919 – May 26, 2008). The bachelor had shown up at the shindig on a last-minute impulse. The fourth time they met, at another party and never having dated, Jane “just looked at him and said, ‘Look, I’m leaving Walt, and I’m going to live by myself or I’m going to live with you, so just let me know.”

Eventually the two left town together and Jane filed for divorce. Jane and Rob married on December 27, 1954 at the home of his parents in Sayre, PA.

Roberts wrote in a variety of genres: poetry, short stories, children’s literature, nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy and novels. She was the only woman invited to the first science-fiction writer’s conference in 1956 in Milford, PA. The couple moved to Elmira, NY, in 1960, to find steady part-time work – Rob in the local greeting card company, Jane in an art gallery. Their lives seemed set, their art defined. Now in her 30s, she and her husband began to record what she said were messages from a personality named “Seth”, and she wrote several books about the experience.

Seth Material

On a September evening in 1963, their everyday worldview changed. Roberts sat down at her table to work on poetry; Butts’ was in his back-room studio, painting. “It was very domestic, very normal, very unpsychedelic,” she would later remember. And then “Between one normal minute and the next, a fantastic avalanche of radical, new ideas burst into my head with tremendous force … It was as if the physical world were really tissue-paper-thin, hiding infinite dimensions of reality, and I was flung through the tissue paper with a huge ripping sound.” When she “came to,” Roberts found herself scrawling the title of this odd batch of notes: The Physical Universe as Idea Construction. Before this, she had never had any interest in psychic phenomena, and though her fiction typically dealt with such themes as clairvoyance and reincarnation, intellectually neither she nor Butts believed in extrasensory abilities or that anyone survived death once, let alone many times. Yet soon after this episode, Roberts suddenly began recalling her dreams, including two that were inarguably precognitive, the first, as far as she knew, that she’d ever had. Their curiosity piqued, the couple decided to investigate further, and she managed to land a contract with a New York publisher for a do-it-yourself book on extra-sensory perception.

In late 1963, Roberts and Butts started experimenting with a Ouija board as part of Roberts’ research for the book. According to Roberts and Butts, on December 2, 1963 they began to receive coherent messages from a male personality who eventually identified himself as Seth. Soon after, Roberts reported that she was hearing the messages in her head. The first seven sessions were entirely with the Ouija board. The three-hour session on the evening of Jan. 2, 1964 was the first where she began to dictate the messages instead of using the Ouija board. For a while she still opened her sessions with the board, but finally was able to abandon it after the 27th session on Feb. 19, 1964. She began to dictate the messages instead of using the Ouija board, and she eventually abandoned the board.

Roberts described the process of writing the Seth books as entering a trance state. She said Seth would assume control of her body and speak through her, while her husband wrote down the words she spoke. They referred to such episodes as “readings” or “sessions”. The 26th session on Feb. 18, 1964 was the first held in the presence of another person, a friend.

On Jan. 17, 1964 Roberts channeled an allegedly recently deceased woman who told Butts that he and his wife’s work with Seth was a life-time project, that they would publish his manuscripts, and help spread his ideas.At the 27th session Seth also told the couple how to rearrange the furniture in their apartment which would better suit their energies. Despite feelings of disbelief toward both messages, the couple somewhat reluctantly agreed. Two days afterwards they heard from a psychologist interested in reincarnation to whom they had written three weeks earlier with some session copies enclosed. The psychologist told them that the very fluency of the material suggested that it might come from Roberts’ subconscious, though it was impossible to tell. He also cautioned that in some circumstances, amateur mediumship could lead to mental problems.

The letter upset me considerably, yet it also objectified some of my own doubts. They were out in the air where I could at least deal with them. As far as the we could tell, for all of my stewing and hemming and hawing, there were no alarming changes in my personality. I was doing twice the creative work I had done earlier. I was satisfied with the quality of the Seth Material; it was far superior to anything I could do on my own. If nothing else, I thought the sessions presented a way of making deeply unconscious knowledge available on a consistent basis.

Because we were so innocent about psychic literature, we weren’t hampered by superstitious fears about such [psychic] phenomena. I didn’t believe in gods or demons, so I didn’t fear them. I wanted to learn. Rob and I had discovered a whole new world together, and we were going to explore it.

There was a constant battle, though, as some of our results ran full tilt into my intellectual ideas. In the beginning, I took it for granted that Seth was a subconscious fantasy, personified, because I simply couldn’t accept the possibility of spirits or, for that matter, life after death. Then, after it became obvious that the Seth sessions were going to continue, we kept constant check on my personality characteristics and went to a psychologist – as any sane, red-blooded American would do under such circumstances in those days. Seth seemed far more mature and well-balanced than the psychologist, so finally I stopped worrying. Besides, my personality showed no adverse signs of instability. If anything, I was more competent in handling physical affairs. This is not to say the experience did not cause certain strains and stresses that could accompany any worthwhile venture in an entirely new field.

Roberts also purportedly channeled the world views of several other people, including the philosopher William James,Rembrandt, and the Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne, through a process she described as using a typewriter to write “automatically.”

For 21 years until Roberts’ death in 1984 (with a one-year hiatus due to her final illness), Roberts held more than 1500 regular, private or deleted and “ESP class” trance sessions in which she spoke on behalf of Seth.Butts served as stenographer, taking the messages down in home-made shorthand, and having others on occasion make recording of some sessions. The messages from Seth channeled through Roberts consisted mostly of monologues on a wide variety of topics. They were published by Prentice-Hall under the collective title Seth Material.

Over the years, hundreds of people witnessed Seth speaking. Some went to the ESP classes Roberts held (Tuesday and some Thursday nights, Sept. 1967 – Feb. 1975)for an evening, others attended for longer periods. (By this time Jane had given up her gallery work, and was teaching nursery school during part of this time.) Outside of the ESP class structure, Roberts gave many personal Seth sessions to various individuals who had written her, asking for help. She never charged for those sessions; however, at some point she did charge $2.50 to $3.50 per ESP class of 5 to 40 people. When the books began to sell in sufficient numbers, she dropped that fee.Book sessions were almost always private, held on Monday and Wednesday evenings without witnesses from 1967 through 1982 (except for Tues and Thurs from Aug. to Nov. 1981).

The material through 1969 was published in summary form in The Seth Material, written by Roberts from the output of the channeling sessions. Beginning in January 1970, Roberts wrote books which she described as dictated by Seth. Roberts claimed no authorship of these books beyond her role as medium. This series of “Seth books” totaled ten volumes. The last two books appear to be incomplete due to Roberts’ illness. Butts contributed extensive footnotes, appendices, and other comments to all the Seth books, and thus was a co-author on all of them. These additions describe what was going on in Roberts’ and his life at the time of the various sessions, annotated some of Seth’s comments in light of contemporary beliefs and materials that Roberts and Butts were reading, described excerpts from some fan mail and letters from professionals commenting on Seth’s material about their fields, and especially later, provided insight as to the many steps of production of multiple books with the publisher. By February 1982 they were still receiving “from 30 to 50 letters and packages a week” from readers of their various books.[36] Some of Roberts’ earlier and later poetry was occasionally included to show how she had touched upon some of Seth’s concepts.Roberts also wrote The Oversoul Seven trilogy to explore via fiction some of Seth’s teachings on the concepts of reincarnation and oversouls.

According to Roberts, Seth described himself as an “energy personality essence no longer focused in physical matter”, and was independent of Roberts’ subconscious. Roberts initially expressed skepticism as to Seth’s origins, wondering if he was a part of her own personality. As Seth, Roberts at times appeared stern, jovial or professorial. “His” voice was deeper and more masculine sounding than Jane’s and was possessed of a distinct, although not identifiable, accent. Unlike the psychic Edgar Cayce, whose syntax when speaking in trance was antiquated and convoluted, Roberts’ syntax and sentence structures were modern and clear when speaking as Seth. Later books continued to develop but did not contradict the material introduced in earlier works. Some Practice Elements were even given so that the readers could see how a few of the concepts could be practically experienced.

A few contemporary world events were commented upon by Seth, such as the Jonestown Guyana deaths and the Three Mile Island accident.  Seth also provided an alternative creation myth to that of either the Big Bang or Intelligent Design.

Roberts’ father died in November 1971 at the age of 68; her mother died six months later at the same age. In early 1982 Roberts spent a month in the hospital for severely underactive thyroid gland, protruding eyes and double vision, an almost total hearing loss, a slight anemia, budding bedsores—and a hospital-caused staph infection She recovered to an extent, but died two and a half years later in 1984, having been bedridden with severe arthritis—like her mother—for the final year and a half of her life. Roberts had spent 504 consecutive days in a hospital in Elmira, N.Y. The immediate causes of her death were a combination of protein depletion, osteomyelitis, and soft-tissue infections. These conditions arose out of her long-standing rheumatoid arthritis. (Butts believed for some 15 years that in Roberts’ case, at least, the young girl’s psychological conditioning was far more important—far more damaging, in those terms—than any physical tendency to inherit the disease.) Roberts was cremated the next day, in a process she and Butts had agreed upon several years earlier. After Roberts’ death, lovingly recorded in The Way Toward Health (1997), Butts continued his work as a guardian of the Seth texts and continued to supervise the publication of some of the remaining material, including The Early Sessions, and making sure that all of the recordings, manuscripts, notes and drawings related to the extraordinary encounters with Seth would be given to the Yale Library. Butts remarried, and his second wife, Laurel Lee Davies, supported his work during the more than twenty years that they were together. (Davies had moved to Elmira from California in 1985 at Butts’ request to help answer mail and proofread manuscripts. They did not actually marry until 1999.) Butts died of cancer on May 26, 2008. Jane Roberts Butts and Robert F. Butts Jr. are interred together in the Wayne County, NY, Furnaceville cemetery; however, there is another gravestone with their names on it in the Sunnyside cemetery in Tunkhannock, PA. The vitality of the teachings they helped to bring to the world continues A number of groups have compiled anthologies of quotes from Seth, summarized sections of his teachings, issued copies of Seth sessions on audio tape, and further relayed the material via classes and conventions.

Reception and influence

Seth’s effect upon New Age thinkers has been profound. The title jacket of “The Nature of Personal Reality, A Seth Book” published in 1994 (Amber-Allen/New World Library) contains testimonials from some of the most notable thinkers and writers within the movement. Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Shakti Gawain, Dan Millman, Louise Hay, Richard Bach, and others express the effect the Seth Material had upon their own awakening. In words similar to Williamson’s they state: “Seth was one of my first metaphysical teachers. He remains a constant source of knowledge and inspiration in my life.” Catherine L. Albanese, professor of religious history at the University of Chicago, stated that in the 1970s the Seth Material “launched an era of nationwide awareness” of the channeling trend. She believes it contributed to the “self-identity of an emergent New Age movement and also augment[ed] its ranks.”

John P. Newport, in his study of the impact of New Age beliefs on contemporary culture, described the central focus of the Seth material as the idea that, for each individual: “you create your own reality”. (Briefly summarized, our beliefs generate emotions which trigger our memories and organize our associations. Eventually those beliefs become manifested in our physical lives and health.) Newport wrote that this foundational concept of the New Age movement was first developed in the “Seth Material”. Historian Robert C. Fuller, a professor of religious studies at Bradley University, wrote that Seth filled the role of guide for what Fuller called “unchurched American spirituality”, related to concepts of reincarnation, karma, free will, ancient metaphysical wisdom, and “Christ consciousness”.

Some writers noted, “Husband Robert Butts stated that similarities exist between Seth’s ideas and those of various religious, philosophical, and mystical doctrines from the Near, Middle, or Far East…. and we’ve done a little reading on Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, and Taoism, for example, not to mention subjects like shamanism, voodooism, and obeah.”

The late amateur physicist Michael Talbot wrote, “To my great surprise—and slight annoyance—I found that Seth eloquently and lucidly articulated a view of reality that I had arrived at only after great effort and an extensive study of both paranormal phenomena and quantum physics.”


Roberts and the Seth Material have attracted critiques from outside the paranormal community. The poet Charles Upton, in his collection of essays titled The System of Antichrist, posited that Roberts multiplied the self due to a fear of death. His opinion was that the Seth texts are based on a misunderstanding of both Christianity and of Eastern religions.

Professor of psychology and noted critic of parapsychology James E. Alcock opined, “In light of all this, the Seth materials must surely be viewed as less than ordinary. There certainly was the time and talent for fraud to play a role, but we cannot discriminate between that possibility and the possibility of unconscious production— At any rate, given these circumstances, there seems little need to consider the involvement of any supernatural agency.”

Seth’s teaching of a philosophy far more detailed than and not in keeping with traditional Church-authority, God-separate-from Creation, one-mortal-life, Jesus-centered messages has also received its share of criticism from some Christian believers. Various ministries have warned their members about the dangers and deceptions of reading channeled messages from Roberts and others. The Seth Material has been considered in certain circles to be “a book entirely written by a demon. A woman simply wrote it down as it was dictated to her by the demon; and, of course, it just destroys everything that is true in terms of God’s revelation” and as evidence for “Devil possession.” Videos such as Jane Roberts’ Seth Speaks is Anti-Catholic Hate Books – Allowed By The Media protested that Seth was “a demon from hell contacted through a ouija board.”

Since Roberts’ death, others have claimed to channel Seth. In the introduction to Seth’s first dictated book, Seth Speaks, “he” says, “communications will come exclusively through Ruburt [Seth’s name for Jane] at all times, to protect the integrity of the material”. In The Seth Material, Jane Roberts wrote: “Several people have told me that Seth communicated with them through automatic writing, but Seth denies any such contacts.” At least one person has claimed more recently to channel Roberts.

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Peter Hurkos


Hurkos, Peter (1911-1988)
Prominent psychic born on May 21, 1911, as Peter Van der Hurk in Dordrecht, Holland. He worked as a merchant seaman before becoming a member of the Dutch underground movement in occupied Holland during World War II. He claimed that as a result of a fall from a ladder in 1941 he discovered a psychic faculty.

Hurkos was not able to make use of the new ability immediately, because he was arrested and imprisoned in Buchenwald, Germany, for the duration of World War II. Upon his return to Holland he found his psychic abilities too distracting for him to follow a normal occupation, and he began to appear on stage and television shows, demonstrating feats of ESP. In 1947 he began work as a psychic detective, his fame being derived from his abilities in tracing missing persons and objects and identifying criminals. While having some success, he also had his notable failures. For example, when he was brought in to assist the police in tracing the Boston Strangler, his psychic description had no relevance to Albert DeSalvo, who confessed to the crimes. Hurkos cooperated with police departments throughout Europe and the United States.

Hurkos was a controversial psychic. He promoted himself and his successes. He was brought to the United States in 1965 by Andrija Puharich, who tested his abilities over a two-and-a-half-year period. He was praised by police in New Jersey for his assistance in solving a murder case. However, various parapsychologists had different experiences with him. Tests by Charles T. Tart were negative, and Hurkos refused the invitations of J. B. Rhine to be tested at Duke University.

Hurkos died in Los Angeles, California, on May 25, 1988.

Jeane L. Dixon


Jeane L. Dixon (January 5, 1904 – January 25, 1997) was one of the best-known American astrologers and psychics of the 20th century, due to her syndicated newspaper astrology column, some well-publicized predictions, and a best-selling biography.

Early life

Dixon was born Lydia Emma Pinckert to German immigrants, Gerhart and Emma Pinckert, in Medford, Wisconsin, but raised in Missouri and California.Dixon’s birthdate was often reported as 1918, and Dixon would offer this date to reporters, at one point even producing a passport to this effect, but she once testified in a deposition that she was born in 1910.  An investigation by a reporter for the National Observer, who interviewed family members and examined official records, concluded she was born in 1904.

In Southern California, her father owned an automobile dealership with Hal Roach, an American film and television producer and director. Dixon claimed that while growing up in California, a “gypsy” gave her a crystal ball and read her palm, predicting she would become a famous “seer” and advise powerful people.

She was married to James Dixon, a divorced man, from 1939 until his death, but the union was childless. James Dixon was a car dealer in California, who later ran a successful real estate company in Washington DC. Dixon worked with her husband in the business for many years and served as the company’s president.

Career as a psychic

Dixon reportedly predicted the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the May 13, 1956, issue of Parade Magazine she wrote that the 1960 presidential election would be “dominated by labor and won by a Democrat” who would then go on to “[B]e assassinated or die in office though not necessarily in his first term.” She later admitted, “During the 1960 election, I saw Richard Nixon as the winner”, and at the time made unequivocal predictions that JFK would fail to win the election. By emphasizing a few coincidentally correct predictions and ignoring those that were wrong, and supported by an uncritical following among the media, she acquired both fame and notoriety. The ability to persuade the public in this matter is known as the ‘Jeane Dixon effect’.

Dixon was the author of seven books, including her autobiography, a horoscope book for dogs and an astrological cookbook. She gained public awareness through the biographical volume, A Gift of Prophecy: the Phenomenal Jeane Dixon, written by syndicated columnist Ruth Montgomery. Published in 1965, the book sold more than 3 million copies. She professed to be a devout Roman Catholic and attributed her prophetic ability to God. Another million seller, My Life and Prophecies, was credited “as told to Rene Noorbergen”, but Dixon was sued by Adele Fletcher, who claimed that her rejected manuscript was rewritten and published as that book. Fletcher was awarded five percent of the royalties by a jury.

President Richard Nixon followed her predictions through his secretary, Rose Mary Woods, and met with her in the Oval Office at least once, in 1971. The following year, her prediction of terrorist attacks in the United States in the wake of the Munich massacre spurred Nixon to set up a cabinet committee on counterterrorism. She was one of several astrologers who gave advice to Nancy Reagan.

The Jeane Dixon effect

John Allen Paulos, a mathematician at Temple University, coined the term ‘the Jeane Dixon effect’, which references a tendency to promote a few correct predictions while ignoring a larger number of incorrect predictions. Many of Dixon’s predictions proved false, such as her claims that a dispute over the offshore Chinese islands of Quemoy and Matsu would trigger the start of World War III in 1958, that American labor leader Walter Reuther would run for President of the United States in the 1964 presidential election, that the second child of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his young wife Margaret would be a girl (it was a boy), and that the Russians would be the first to put men on the moon.


Dixon suffered a cardiac arrest and died at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. on January 25, 1997. Many of her possessions ended up with Leo M. Bernstein, a Washington D.C. investor and banker, whose clients included Dixon. In 2002, he opened the Jeane Dixon Museum and Library in Strasburg, Virginia, to display what he owned. Bernstein died in 2008. In July 2009, the possessions, 500 boxes in all, were scheduled to be auctioned off.

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Lobsang Rampa


Lobsang Rampa is the pen name of an author who wrote books with paranormal and occult themes. His best known work is The Third Eye, published in Britain in 1956.

Following the publication of the book, newspapers reported that Rampa was Cyril Henry Hoskin (8 April 1910 – 25 January 1981), a plumber from Plympton in Devon who claimed that his body hosted the spirit of a Tibetan lama going by the name of Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, who is purported to have authored the books. The name Tuesday relates to a claim in The Third Eye that Tibetans are named after the day of the week on which they were born.

The Third Eye

In November 1956 a book called The Third Eye was published in the United Kingdom. It was written by a man named as Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, and it purported to relate his experiences while growing up in Chakpori Lamasery Chokpori, Tibet after being sent there at the age of seven. The title of the book is derived from an operation, similar to trepanation, that Rampa claimed he had undergone, in which a small hole was drilled into his forehead to arouse the third eye and enhance powers of clairvoyance. The book describes the operation as follows:

The instrument penetrated the bone. A very hard, clean sliver of wood had been treated by fire and herbs and was slid down so that it just entered the hole in my head. I felt a stinging, tickling sensation apparently in the bridge of my nose. It subsided and I became aware of subtle scents which I could not identify. Suddenly there was a blinding flash. For a moment the pain was intense. It diminished, died and was replaced by spirals of colour. As the projecting sliver was being bound into place so that it could not move, the Lama Mingyar Dondup turned to me and said: “You are now one of us, Lobsang. For the rest of your life you will see people as they are and not as they pretend to be.”

During the story, Rampa sees yetis and eventually encounters a mummified body of himself from an earlier incarnation. He also takes part in an initiation ceremony in which he learns that during its early history the Earth was struck by another planet, causing Tibet to become the mountain kingdom that it is today.

The manuscript of The Third Eye had been turned down by several leading British publishers before being accepted by Secker and Warburg for an advance of £800 (£17,000 today). Fredric Warburg of Secker and Warburg had met the book’s author, who at the time appeared in the guise of “Doctor Carl Kuon Suo”.

Intrigued by the writer’s personality, Warburg sent the manuscript to a number of scholars, several of whom expressed doubts about its authenticity. Nevertheless, the book was published in November 1956 and soon became a global bestseller. The Times Literary Supplement said of the book: “It came near to being a work of art.”

Controversy over authorship

Explorer and Tibetologist Heinrich Harrer was unconvinced about the book’s origins and hired a private detective from Liverpool named Clifford Burgess to investigate Rampa. The findings of Burgess’ investigation were published in the Daily Mail in February 1958. It was reported that the author of the book was a man named Cyril Henry Hoskin, who had been born in Plympton, Devon, in 1910 and was the son of a plumber. Hoskin had never been to Tibet and spoke no Tibetan. In 1948, he had legally changed his name to Carl Kuon Suo before adopting the name Lobsang Rampa. An obituary of Fra Andrew Bertie, Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, claims that he was involved in unmasking Lobsang Rampa as a West Country plumber.

Rampa was tracked by the British press to Howth, Ireland, and confronted with these allegations. He did not deny that he had been born as Cyril Hoskin, but claimed that his body was now occupied by the spirit of Lobsang Rampa.According to the account given in his third book, The Rampa Story, he had fallen out of a fir tree in his garden in Thames Ditton, Surrey, while attempting to photograph an owl. He was concussed and, on regaining his senses, had seen a Buddhist monk in saffron robes walking towards him. The monk spoke to him about Rampa taking over his body and Hoskin agreed, saying that he was dissatisfied with his current life. When Rampa’s original body became too worn out to continue, he took over Hoskin’s body in a process of transmigration of the soul.

Rampa maintained for the rest of his life that The Third Eye was a true story. In the foreword to the 1964 edition of the book, he wrote:

I am Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, that is my only name, now my legal name, and I answer to no other.

To Donald S. Lopez, Jr., an American Tibetologist, the books of Lobsang Rampa are “the works of an unemployed surgical fitter, the son of a plumber, seeking to support himself as a ghostwriter.”

Influence on Tibetologists’ callings

Donald S. Lopez, Jr., in Prisoners of Shangri-La (1998), points out that when discussing Rampa with other tibetologists and buddhologists in Europe, he found that The Third Eye was the first book many of them had read about Tibet; “For some it was a fascination with the world Rampa described that had led them to become professional scholars of Tibet.”

Lopez adds that when he gave The Third Eye to a class of his at the University of Michigan without telling them about its history, the “students were unanimous in their praise of the book, and despite six prior weeks of lectures and readings on Tibetan history and religion, […] they found it entirely credible and compelling, judging it more realistic than anything they had previously read about Tibet.”

Role in the Tibetan cause

Lobsang Rampa was a supporter of the Tibetan cause despite criticism of his books. In 1972, Rampa’s French language agent Alain Stanké wrote to the Dalai Lama and asked for his opinion about Rampa’s identity. He received a reply from the Dalai Lama’s deputy secretary stating “I wish to inform you that we do not place credence in the books written by the so-called Dr. T. Lobsang Rampa. His works are highly imaginative and fictional in nature.” The Dalai Lama had previously admitted that although the books were fictitious, they had created good publicity for Tibet.

Later career

Lobsang Rampa went on to write another 18 books containing a mixture of religious and occult material. One of the books, Living with the Lama, was described as being dictated to Rampa by his pet Siamese cat, Mrs Fifi Greywhiskers. Faced with repeated accusations from the British press that he was a charlatan and a con artist, Rampa went to live in Canada in the 1960s. He and his wife, San Ra’ab, became Canadian citizens in 1973, along with Sheelagh Rouse (Buttercup) who was his secretary and regarded by Rampa as his adopted daughter.

Lobsang Rampa died in Calgary on 25 January 1981, at the age of 70.

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Kirby Hensley


indexKIRBY HENSLEY (1911-1999)

Included here on this list, mostly because so many occultists buy fake degrees and church charters from his “church”. This nutty little preacher from North Carolina started a bogus church that made him thousands (The Universal Life Church in 1962) , because he would ordain anyone for money. He also started a bogus law school that was shut down, and even ran for President as all crackpots seem to do. The ULC even ordains atheists, Satanists, and even animals and inanimate objects! My pet Cocker Spaniel Oscar is a ULC “minister”, complete with certificate of ordination! Some people have even got their potted plants ordained! One man had an old tennis shoe ordained. Think about it, would you want to be part of a church that ordains not only anyone…but anything???

The Universal Life Church is a diploma mill as well as an ordination mill. Hensley himself received a Doctor of Divinity degree from another diploma mill, as well as a bogus degree in metallurgy, which he mistakenly bought thinking it was a degree in metaphysics! The ULC offers Doctor of Divinity degrees without any tests, previous education, or studying, for a “donation” of about $29.95. There’s also a PhD in religion offered for around $100. If you see an occultist with “D.D.” after their name, chances are they got it from the ULC or a similar mill. The ULC also sales a variety of titles from Imam, Arch-Cardinal, Rabbi, Deacon, Bishop and even (no kidding) Jedi Knight.

Hensley himself claimed he didn’t believe in a god, but claimed the sky was “our father” and the earth was “our mother”. He believed in reincarnation, claiming to be a reincarnated vaudeville comedian. Borrowing from Christian Science (to which he belonged to briefly), he claimed Jesus and Christ were to separate beings, and that Jesus of Nazareth was really the anti-Christ. Some people he ordained included New Age minister Rev. Terry Cole Whittaker, atheist Madeleine O’Hair, Fr. Alberto Rivera the fake ex-Jesuit of Jack Chick comic book fame, and the mass murderer “Reverend” Jim Jones (who was also an atheist). Hensley’s fake church is worthless spiritually. It only served to make him money. Yet many occultists seek ordination from his church. Aren’t you better than, a dog, a potted plant, or a mass murderer??? Then why be in the same league they are???

Lafayette Ronald Hubbard


Hubbard, L(afayette) Ron(ald) (1911-1986)
Founder of the Church of Scientology. Hubbard was born in Tilden, Nebraska, on March 13, 1911. He spent much of his childhood in Montana on his grandfather’s ranch. His father was a naval officer, and as Hubbard matured, he traveled through the Pacific and to Asia. In 1930 he enrolled in the Engineering School of George Washington University, Washington, D.C., where he studied for the next two years. During the remainder of the decade he roamed the world as a participant in various explorations and wrote over 150 articles and short stories. His first book, Buckskin Brigades, appeared in 1937. In 1940 he was elected a member of the Explorers Club in New York. During World War II he served in the U.S. Navy with the rank of lieutenant. He also worked briefly in naval intelligence.

After the war, he returned to writing as a career. As a writer, Hubbard had a prodigious output and was remembered for the amazing speed at which he could produce copy. Often several stories would be published in the same issue of a magazine and thus many appeared under pseudonyms. No one systematically recorded his output, and reassembling a bibliography was a tedious process, carried out through the 1980s. In the 1930s he turned out Westerns for pulp magazines under the pseudonym “Winchester Remington Colt.” His early science-fiction pulp stories were under the pseudonyms “Kurt von Rachen” and “René Lafayette.” He wrote for Columbia Pictures in Hollywood in 1935.

Through the 1940s, partly based upon his experiences in the war, Hubbard began to develop a new philosophy of human nature and a new approach to dealing with basic human ills. The first public notice of his thinking appeared in an article in Astounding Science Fiction (May 1950), later to prove an unfortunate debut. As Dianetics, the name he gave his new approach, developed into the Church of Scientology and proved both controversial and successful, it would be demeaned as a “science fiction” religion and Hubbard dismissed as just a hack science fiction writer.

Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health appeared a few weeks after the Astounding Science Fiction article. The book created a sensation and launched a vast new industry of do-it-yourself psychotherapy. Hubbard created the Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation and local Dianetics centers began to emerge based upon Hubbard’s technique for ridding individuals of the causes of aberrant behavior patterns and leading them to a state of “clear.”

As Hubbard continued to expand his thought and work out the implications of his theories, Dianetics grew into a comprehensive philosophical-religious system, Scientology. In 1954 the first Church of Scientology was opened in Los Angeles. The rest of Hubbard’s life would be spent in developing and perfecting Scientology. In 1966 he resigned from any official position in the church, but he continued his research and writing for a number of years. He developed guidelines for the church and left behind writing that focused on the implications of his thought for education and business.

During the last years of his life he dropped out of public sight and remained in contact with only a few church leaders. In the years prior to his death on January 24, 1986, he returned to his love for storytelling and wrote one major novel, Battlefield Earth, and a ten-volume science fiction series, Mission Earth.

As his church became a prosperous international movement, it and Hubbard became the center of controversies involving people who left the movement to found competing organizations, former members who turned upon the church for real or imagined grievances, and the anti-cult movement, which branded the church a cult. In retrospect, early controversy with the American Medical Association, which disapproved of Dianetics, seems to have spilled over into federal government departments and covert actions against the church were instigated. Rumors of illicit actions by the church, many of which led to problems with different governments, began to emerge around the world. Legal actions, most of which were eventually resolved, became the justification for action against the church in additional countries. Some high church officials authorized the infiltration of several government agencies, and this became a major source of embarrassment for the church when the people responsible were arrested and convicted for theft of government documents.

For the Church of Scientology, the years since 1985 have been marked by intense polemics and court action between members of the church and the Cult Awareness Network, which emerged in the mid-1980s as the chief organizational expression of the anti-cult movement. These legal battles continue. However, a several-decades-old controversy with the Internal Revenue Service came to an end.

Hubbard and the OTO

During the 1940s, Hubbard became involved in one of the more bizarre happenings in the world of the occult. In the 1930s, a lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis, the magical group headed by magician Aleister Crowley, had opened in Pasadena, California. Among its members was John W. “Jack” Parsons, a research scientist at the California Institute of Technology. At some point in 1945, Parsons decided to try a magical experiment to produce a magical child. At this point Hubbard showed up at Parson’s house and was eventually invited by Parsons to become the necessary third person in the magical experiment.

The experiment consisted of Parsons and his female partner engaging in sexual intercourse while a third person, a clairvoyant, would tell them what was occurring in the invisible astral realm. The ritual would climax at what the clairvoyant seer suggested was the proper moment. Hopefully the act would result in the pregnancy of the woman and the induction of a spirit in the resulting child.

While Parsons and Hubbard seemed to have developed a strong friendship, early in 1946 they parted ways and Hubbard moved to Miami. Parsons claimed that Hubbard had skipped town with OTO funds and went to Miami to confront him. The present Church of Scientology claims that Hubbard had no attachment to either Parsons or the OTO, and that in spite of Hubbard’s work with Parsons, Hubbard was never initiated into the organization. Rather, they suggest that he was acting as an undercover agent to investigate Parsons and other people associated with Cal Tech who were living in Parsons’s house and working on sensitive government projects. Several of these physicists were later dismissed from government service as security risks. Hubbard did work for a period after the war as an undercover agent for the Los Angeles Police Department.

Hubbard died January 24, 1986

Manuel Noriega


Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno[2] (Spanish pronunciation: [maˈnwel noˈɾjega]; born February 11, 1934) is a former Panamanian politician and soldier. He was military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989. In the 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States he was removed from power, captured, detained as a prisoner of war, and flown to the United States. Noriega was tried on eight counts of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering in April 1992.

Noriega’s U.S. prison sentence ended in September 2007; pending the outcome of extradition requests by both Panama and France, for convictions in absentia for murder in 1995 and money laundering in 1999. France was granted its extradition request in April 2010. He arrived in Paris on April 27, 2010, and after a re-trial as a condition of the extradition, he was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in jail in July 2010. A conditional release was granted on September 23, 2011, for Noriega to be extradited to serve 20 years in Panama. He arrived in Panama on December 11, 2011.


Born in Panama City, Noriega was a career soldier, receiving much of his education at the Military School of Chorrillos in Lima, Peru. He also received intelligence and counterintelligence training at the School of the Americas at the U.S. Army’s Fort Gulick in the Panama Canal Zone in 1967, as well as a course in psychological operations (psyops) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was commissioned in the Panama National Guard in 1967 and promoted to lieutenant in 1968. In the power struggle that followed, including a failed coup attempt in 1969, Noriega supported Omar Torrijos. He received a promotion to lieutenant colonel and was appointed chief of military intelligence by Torrijos. Noriega claims that, following Torrijos’ instructions, he negotiated an amnesty for about 400 defeated guerrilla fighters, enabling them to return from exile in Honduras and Costa Rica.

Torrijos died in a plane accident on July 31, 1981. Colonel Roberto Díaz Herrera, a former associate of Noriega, claimed that the actual cause for the accident was a bomb and that Noriega was behind the incident.
Omar Torrijos was succeeded as Commander of the Panamanian National Guard by Colonel Florencio Flores Aguilar. One year later, Flores was succeeded by Rubén Darío Paredes, and Noriega became chief of staff. The guard was renamed the Panamanian Defense Forces. Paredes resigned as commander to run for the presidency, ceding his post as commander of the forces to Noriega.

Involvement with CIA

Although the relationship did not become contractual until 1967, Noriega worked with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from the late 1950s until the 1980s. In 1988 grand juries in Tampa and Miami indicted him on U.S. federal drug charges.

The 1988 Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations concluded: “The saga of Panama’s General Manuel Antonio Noriega represents one of the most serious foreign policy failures for the United States. Throughout the 1970s and the 1980s, Noriega was able to manipulate U.S. policy toward his country, while skillfully accumulating near-absolute power in Panama. It is clear that each U.S. government agency which had a relationship with Noriega turned a blind eye to his corruption and drug dealing, even as he was emerging as a key player on behalf of the Medellín Cartel (a member of which was notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar).” Noriega was allowed to establish “the hemisphere’s first ‘narcokleptocracy'” One of the large financial institutions that he was able to use to launder money was the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which was shut down at the end of the Cold War by the FBI. Noriega shared his cell with ex-BCCI executives in the facility known as “Club Fed”.

In the 1988 U.S. presidential election, Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis highlighted this history in a campaign commercial attacking his opponent, Vice President (and former CIA Director) George H. W. Bush, for his close relationship with “Panamanian drug lord Noriega.”

De facto rule of Panama

Noriega strengthened his position as de facto ruler in August 1983 by promoting himself to full general. Noriega, being paid by the CIA, extended new rights to the United States, and, despite the canal treaties, allowed the U.S. to set up listening posts in Panama. He aided the American-backed guerrillas in Nicaragua by acting as a conduit for U.S. money and, according to some accounts, weapons. However, Noriega insists that his policy during this period was essentially neutral, allowing partisans on both sides of the various conflicts free movement in Panama, as long as they did not attempt to use Panama as a base of military operations. He rebuffed requests by Salvadoran rightist Roberto D’Aubuisson to restrict the movements of leaders of the leftist Salvadoran insurgent Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in Panama, and likewise rebuffed demands by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the United States Marine Corps that he provide military assistance to the Nicaraguan Contras. Noriega insists that his refusal to meet North’s demands was the actual basis for the U.S. campaign to oust him.

In October 1984, Noriega allowed the first presidential elections in 16 years. When the initial results showed former president Arnulfo Arias on his way to a landslide victory, Noriega halted the count. After brazenly manipulating the results, the government announced that the PRD’s candidate, Nicolás Ardito Barletta Vallarino, had won by a slim margin of 1,713 votes. Independent estimates suggested that Arias would have won by as many as 50,000 votes had the election been conducted fairly.

About this time, Hugo Spadafora, a vocal critic of Noriega who had been living abroad, accused Noriega of having connections to drug trafficking and announced his intent to return to Panama to oppose him. He was seized from a bus by a death squad at the Costa Rican border. Later, his decapitated body was found, showing signs of extreme torture, wrapped in a United States Postal Service mailing bag. His family and other groups called for an investigation into his murder, but Noriega stonewalled any attempts at an investigation. Noriega was in Paris at the time of the murder, which was alleged by some to have been at the direction of his Chiriquí Province commander, Luis Córdoba.[8] A conversation captured on wiretap between Noriega (in Paris) and Córdoba included the exchange:

Córdoba: “We have the rabid dog.”
Noriega: “And what does one do with a dog that has rabies?”

President Barletta was visiting New York City at the time. A reporter asked him about the Spadafora matter, and he promised an investigation. Upon his return to Panama, he was summoned to FDP headquarters and told to resign. He was replaced by First Vice President Eric Arturo Delvalle. As a friend and former student of George Shultz, Barletta had been considered “sacrosanct” by the United States, and his dismissal signaled a marked downturn in the relations between the U.S. and Noriega.[8] Herrera, a former member of Noriega’s inner circle, told Panama’s main opposition newspaper, La Prensa, that Noriega was behind Spadafora’s murder, and many other killings and disappearances as well. This resulted in an immediate outcry from the public.

The Civic Crusade, which opposed Noriega, was formed in 1981. Supporters of Noriega referred to the Civic Crusade as a creature of the rabiblancos or “white-tails”, the wealthy elite of European descent that dominated Panamanian commerce and had dominated Panamanian politics before the advent of Torrijos. Noriega, like Torrijos, was dark-skinned and claimed to represent the majority population, who were poor and of Zambo heritage (mixed African and Amerindian ancestry). Noriega supporters mocked the demonstrations of the Civic Crusade as “the protest of the Mercedes-Benz”, deriding the wealthy ladies for banging on Teflon-coated pots and pans rather than the cruder and louder pots and pans traditionally banged by the poor in South American protests, or for sending their maids to protest for them. Many rallies were held, with white cloths used as the symbol of the opposition. Noriega was always one step ahead of them, however, having informants within their groups notify his police in advance and routinely rounding up leaders and organizers the night before rallies. All of the peaceful rallies were brutally dispersed by Noriega’s army and paramilitary forces, known as the Dignity Battalions. Many people were beaten severely, incarcerated, and killed during the protests. Meanwhile he arranged rallies of his own, often under threat (for example, taxi drivers were told they had to attend a rally in support of Noriega or lose their licenses). Noriega claims that the Civic Crusade was the handiwork of U.S. Embassy chargé d’affaires John Maisto, who had arranged for Civic Crusade leaders to travel to the Philippines to learn the tactics of the U.S.-supported movement to overthrow Ferdinand Marcos.

1989 election

The elections of May 1989 were surrounded by controversy. A PRD-led coalition nominated Carlos Duque, publisher of the country’s oldest newspaper, La Estrella de Panamá. Most of the other political parties banded behind a unified ticket of Guillermo Endara, a member of Arias’ Authentic Panameñista Party, along with vice-presidential candidates Ricardo Arias Calderón (no relation to Arnulfo Arias) and Guillermo Ford.

According to Guillermo Sanchez, the opposition alliance knew that Noriega planned to rig the count, but had no way of proving it. They found a way through a loophole in Panamanian election law. The alliance, with the support of the Roman Catholic Church, set up a count based directly on results at the country’s 4,000 election precincts before the results were sent to district centers. Noriega’s lackeys swapped fake tally sheets for the real ones and took those to the district centers, but by this time the opposition’s more accurate count was already out. It showed Endara winning in a landslide even more massive than in 1984, beating Duque by a 3-to-1 margin. Noriega had every intention of declaring Duque the winner regardless of the actual results. However, Duque knew he had been badly defeated and refused to go along.

Rather than publish the results, Noriega voided the election, claiming “foreign (i.e., American) interference” had tainted the results. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, there as an observer, denounced Noriega, saying the election had been “stolen”, as did Bishop Marcos G. McGrath.

The next day, Endara, Arias Calderón, and Ford rolled through the old part of the capital in a triumphant motorcade, only to be intercepted by a detachment of Noriega’s paramilitary Dignity Battalions. Arias Calderón was protected by a couple of troops, but Endara and Ford were badly beaten. Images of Ford running to safety with his guayabera shirt covered in blood were broadcast around the world. When the 1984–89 presidential term expired, Noriega named a longtime associate, Francisco Rodríguez, as acting president. The United States, however, recognized Endara as the new president.

United States invasion of Panama

The U.S. imposed economic sanctions, and in the months that followed, a tense standoff occurred between the U.S. military forces (stationed in the canal area) and Noriega’s troops. On December 15, 1989, the PRD-dominated legislature spoke of “a state of war” between the United States and Panama. It also declared Noriega “chief executive officer” of the government, formalizing a state of affairs that had existed for six years.[8] Noriega subsequently claimed that this statement referred to U.S. actions against Panama, and did not represent a declaration of hostilities by Panama. The U.S. forces conducted regular “freedom of movement” maneuvers and operations, such as Operation Sand Flea and Operation Purple Storm. Serving in part as military drills, but also as psychological warfare designed to harass the future enemy,[citation needed] the U.S. military contended that the exercises were justified by the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977 (the Torrijos-Carter Treaties), which guaranteed U.S. forces freedom of movement in the country in defense of the canal. Panama considered the exercises a violation of the treaties, and Noriega called them acts of war.

On the other hand, Noriega’s forces are said to have engaged in routine harassment of U.S. troops and civilians. Three incidents in particular occurred very near the time of the invasion, and were mentioned by U.S. President George H. W. Bush as a reason for invasion. In a December 16 incident, four U.S. personnel were stopped at a roadblock outside PDF headquarters in the El Chorrillo neighborhood of Panama City. The United States Department of Defense said that the servicemen were unarmed and in a private vehicle and that they attempted to flee the scene only after their vehicle was surrounded by a crowd of civilians and PDF troops. Second Lieutenant Robert Paz of the United States Marine Corps was shot and killed in the incident. The Los Angeles Times claimed that sources stated Paz was a member of the Hard Chargers, a group not sanctioned by the military whose goal was to agitate members of the PDF.The PDF claimed that the Americans were armed and on a reconnaissance mission.[19] Major General Marc A. Cisneros, deputy commander of the Southern Command at the time of the invasion, said in a recent interview, “The story you’ve got from somebody that these guys were a vigilante group trying to provoke an incident—that is absolutely false”. According to an official U.S. military report, a U.S. naval officer and his wife who were witnesses to the incident were assaulted by Panamanian Defense Force soldiers while in police custody.A week before the U.S. invasion, a cable from an American diplomat to Washington described Noriega as a “master of survival” and, according to The New York Times, the diplomat did not have an inkling of the coming invasion one week later.

The U.S. invasion of Panama was launched on December 20, 1989. Losses on the U.S. side were 23 troops and 3 civilian casualties, while Panamanian losses were 150 troops and 500 civilian casualties.On December 29, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted 75–20 with 40 abstentions to condemn the invasion as a flagrant violation of international law. According to a CBS poll, 92% of Panamanian adults supported the U.S. incursion, and 76% wished that U.S. forces had invaded in October during the coup. However, left-wing activist Barbara Trent disputed this finding, claiming in a 1992 documentary that the Panamanian surveys were completed in wealthy, English-speaking neighborhoods in Panama City, among Panamanians most likely to support U.S. actions.


On the fifth day of the invasion, Noriega and four others took sanctuary in the Apostolic Nunciature, the Holy See’s embassy in Panama.Having threatened to flee to the countryside and lead guerrilla warfare if not given refuge, he instead turned over the majority of his weapons, and requested sanctuary from Monsignor Laboa. He spent his time in a “stark” room with no air conditioning or television, reading the Bible for the duration of his stay.

Prevented by treaty from invading the embassy of the Holy See, U.S. soldiers erected a perimeter around the Nunciature. Psychological warfare was used in an attempt to dislodge him, including blaring rock music, and turning a nearby field into a helicopter landing zone. After ten days of Operation Nifty Package, Noriega surrendered on January 3, 1990. He was detained as a prisoner of war, and later taken to the United States.

Criminal prosecution in the United States


In April 1992 a trial was held in Miami, Florida, at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in which Noriega was tried and convicted on eight counts of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering.

At his trial, Noriega intended to defend himself by presenting his alleged crimes within the framework of his work for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The government objected to any disclosure of the purposes for which the United States had paid Noriega because this information was classified and its disclosure went against the interests of the United States. In pre-trial proceedings, the government offered to stipulate that Noriega had received approximately $220,000 from the United States Army and the Central Intelligence Agency. Noriega insisted that “the actual figure approached $10,000,000, and that he should be allowed to disclose the tasks he had performed for the United States”. The district court held that the “information about the content of the discrete operations in which Noriega had engaged in exchange for the alleged payments was irrelevant to his defense”. It ruled that the introduction of evidence about Noriega’s role in the CIA would “confuse the jury”.

After the trial, Noriega appealed this exclusionary ruling by the judge to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the government, despite disagreeing with the lower court. It said: “Our review leads us to conclude that information regarding the purposes for which the United States previously paid Noriega potentially had some probative value … Thus, the district court may have overstated the case when it declared evidence of the purposes for which the United States allegedly paid Noriega wholly irrelevant to his defense”. However, the Court of Appeals refused to set aside the verdict because it felt that “the potential probative value of this material, however, was relatively marginal”.
On September 16, 1992, Noriega was sentenced to 40 years in prison, later reduced to 30 years.


Before receiving his permanent prison assignment, Noriega was placed in the Federal Detention Center, Miami, facility.[33] Noriega resided in the Federal Correctional Institution, Miami, in an unincorporated area of Miami-Dade County, Florida, and had the Federal Bureau of Prisons ID number 38699-079.

Under Article 85 of the Third Geneva Convention,Noriega was considered a prisoner of war, despite his conviction for acts committed prior to his capture by the “detaining power” (the United States). This status meant that in Florida he had his own prison cell, furnished with electronics and exercise equipment. His cell had been nicknamed “the presidential suite”.

It was reported that Noriega had been visited by evangelical Christians, who claimed that he had become a born-again Christian. On May 15 and 16, 1990, while Noriega still awaited trial, Clift Brannon, a former attorney turned preacher, and a Spanish interpreter, Rudy Hernandez, were allowed to visit Noriega for a total of six hours at the Metropolitan Correctional Center of Dade County, Florida. Following the visit, Noriega wrote Brannon a letter stating:

On completing the spiritual sessions that you as a messenger of the Word of God brought to my heart, even to my area of confinement as Prisoner of War of the United States, I feel the necessity of adding something more to what I was able to say to you as we parted. The evening sessions of May 15 and 16 with you and Rudy Hernandez along with the Christian explanation and guidance were for me the first day of a dream, a revelation. I can tell you with great strength and inspiration that receiving our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior guided by you, was an emotional event. The hours flew by without my being aware. I could have desired that they continue forever, but there was no time nor space. Thank you for your time. Thank you for your human warmth, for your constant and permanent spiritual strength brought to bear on my mind and soul. – With great affection, Manuel A. Noriega.

Noriega’s prison sentence was reduced from 30 years to 17 years for good behavior. After serving 17 years in detention and imprisonment, his sentence ended on September 9, 2007.

Criminal prosecution in France


The French government requested Noriega’s extradition after he was convicted of money laundering in 1999. The French claimed that Noriega had laundered $3 million in drug proceeds by purchasing luxury apartments in Paris. Noriega was convicted in absentia, but France agreed to give him a new trial if he were extradited. He faced up to 10 years in French prison if convicted.

In August 2007, a U.S. federal judge approved a request from the French government to extradite Noriega from the United States to France after his release. Noriega has also received a long jail term in absentia in Panama for murder and human rights abuses. Noriega appealed his extradition to France because he claimed that country would not honor his legal status as a prisoner of war.In 1999, the Panamanian government sought the extradition of Noriega to face murder charges in Panama because he had been found guilty in absentia in 1995 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

On February 20, 2010, Noriega’s lawyers filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the United States to block his extradition to France, after the court refused to hear his appeal the previous month. Noriega’s attorneys had hoped the dissenting opinion in that ruling, written by Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, would convince the full court to take up his case, but on March 22, 2010, the Supreme Court refused to hear the petition. Two days after the refusal, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami lifted the stay that was blocking Noriega’s extradition. Later that month, after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed the surrender warrant Noriega’s attorney stated that he would travel to France and try to arrange a deal with the French government.

On April 26, 2010, Noriega was extradited to France. Noriega’s lawyers claimed the La Santé Prison, at which he was held, was unfit for a man of his age and rank; the French government refused to grant him prisoner of war status, as he had in the United States.


On July 7, 2010, Noriega was convicted by the 11th chamber of the Tribunal Correctionnel de Paris and sentenced to seven years in jail.The prosecutor in the case had sought a ten-year prison term. In addition, €2.3 million (approximately US$3.6 million) that had long been frozen in Noriega’s French bank accounts was ordered to be seized.

Return to Panama

Panama asked France to extradite Noriega so he could face trial for human rights violations there. The French government had previously stated that extradition would not happen before the case in France had run its course. However, on September 23, 2011 a French court ordered a conditional release for Noriega to be extradited to Panama on October 1, 2011. He was extradited on December 11 and incarcerated at El Renacer prison to serve time for crimes committed during his rule. On February 5, 2012, Noriega was moved from the El Renacer prison to the Hospital Santo Tomas because of high blood pressure and a brain hemorrhage, where he remained for four days before being returned to prison.

Taken from:

Fidel Castro


Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was born near Birán, Cuba, on August 13, 1926. In 1959, Castro used guerilla warfare to successfully overthrow Cuban leader Batista, and was sworn in as prime minister of Cuba. As Cuban prime minister, Castro’s government established covert military and economic relations with the Soviet Union, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis. He served as prime minister until 1976, when he became president of Cuba.

Early Life

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1926 (though some say he was born a year later), near Birán, in Cuba’s eastern Oriente Province. Fidel Castro was the third of six children, including his two brothers, Raul and Ramon; and three sisters, Angelita, Emma and Augustina. His father, Angel, was a wealthy sugar plantation owner originally from Spain. His mother, Lina Ruz Gonzalez, had been a maid to Angel’s first wife, Maria Luisa Argota, at the time of Fidel’s birth. By the time Fidel was 15, his father dissolved his first marriage and wed Fidel’s mother. At age 17, Fidel was formally recognized by his father and his name was changed from Ruz to Castro.

Educated in private Jesuit boarding schools, Castro grew up in wealthy circumstances amid the poverty of Cuba’s people. He was intellectually gifted, but more interested in sports than studies. He attended El Colegio de Belen and pitched for the school’s baseball team. After his graduation in late 1945, Castro entered law school at the University of Havana and became immersed in the political climate of Cuban nationalism, anti-imperialism and socialism.

Early Political Insurrections and Arrests

In 1947, Castro became increasingly passionate about social justice. He traveled to the Dominican Republic to join an expedition attempting the overthrow of the dictator Rafael Trujillo. The coup failed before it got started, but the incident didn’t dampen Castro’s passion for reform.

Soon after his return to the university in Havana, Castro joined the Partido Ortodoxo, an anticommunist political party founded to reform government corruption in Cuba. Its goals were nationalism, economic independence, and social reforms. Its founder, Cuban presidential candidate Eduardo Chibas, lost the 1948 election. Despite the loss, Chibas inspired Castro to be an ardent disciple. Chibas considered another run for president again in 1951. He hoped to expose the government’s corruption and warn the people about General Fulgencio Batista, a former president who was planning a return to power. But the presidential hopeful’s effort was cut short after supposed allies refused to provide evidence of government wrongdoing. Chibas shot himself during a radio broadcast after his inability to keep his promise.

In 1948, Castro married Mirta Diaz Balart, who was from a wealthy family in Cuba. They had one child, Fidelito. The marriage exposed Castro to a wealthier lifestyle and political connections. Castro pursued his political ambitions as a candidate for a seat in the Cuban parliament, but a coup led by General Fulgencio Batista successfully overthrew the government and cancelled the election. Castro found himself without a legitimate political platform and little income with which to support the family. His marriage to Mirta eventually ended in 1955.

Batista set himself up as dictator, solidified his power with the military and Cuba’s economic elite, and got his government recognized by the United States. Castro, along with fellow members of the Ortodoxo party who expected to win in the 1952 election, organized an insurrection. On July 26, 1953, Castro and approximately 150 supporters attacked the Moncada military barracks in an attempt to overthrow Batista. The attack failed and Castro was captured, tried, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, the incident fostered an ongoing opposition to the government and made Castro famous throughout Cuba.

Guerilla War Against Batista

Castro was released in 1955 under an amnesty deal with the Batista government. He went to Mexico, where he met Ernesto “Che” Guevara. There, he devised a new strategy to overthrow the Batista regime based on guerrilla warfare. Guevara believed that the plight of Latin America’s poor could be rectified only through violent revolution. He joined Castro’s group and became an important confidante, shaping Castro’s political beliefs.

On December 2, 1956, Castro returned to Cuba with a boatload of 81 insurgents near the eastern city of Manzanillo. In short order, Batista’s forces killed or captured most of the attackers. Castro, his brother Raul, and Guevara were able to escape into the Sierra Maestra mountain range along the island’s southeastern coast. Over the course of the next two years, Castro’s forces waged a guerrilla war against the Batista government, organizing resistance groups in cities and small towns across Cuba. He was also able to organize a parallel government, carry out some agrarian reform, and control provinces with agricultural and manufacturing production.

Beginning in 1958, Castro and his forces mounted a series of successful military campaigns throughout Cuba to capture and hold key areas of the country. Along with the loss of popular support and massive desertions in the military, Batista’s government collapsed due to Castro’s efforts. In January of 1959, Batista fled to the Dominican Republic. At the age of 32, Castro successfully concluded a classic guerrilla campaign to take control of Cuba.

A new government was created, with Jose Miro Cardona as prime minister, and it quickly gained the recognition of the United States. Castro arrived in Havana to cheering crowds and assumed the post of commander-in-chief of the military. In February 1959, Miro suddenly resigned, and Castro was sworn in as prime minister.

Turn to Communism

Castro implemented far-reaching reforms by nationalizing factories and plantations in an attempt to end U.S. economic dominance on the island. Major American companies felt the negative effects of the reforms, causing friction between Cuba and the United States. For example, the Castro government announced it was going to base compensation to foreign companies on the artificially low property values that the companies themselves had negotiated with past Cuban governments in order to keep their taxes low.

During this time, Castro repeatedly denied being a Communist, but to many Americans, his policies looked like Soviet-style control of the economy and government. In April 1959, Castro and a delegation visited the United States as guests of the National Press Club. Castro hired a renowned public relations firm to help promote his tour. President Dwight Eisenhower, however, refused a meeting with him.

That May, Castro signed the First Agrarian Reform Law, which limited the size of land holdings and forbade foreign property ownership. The intent was to develop a class of independent farmers. In reality, this program led to state land control with the farmers becoming mere government employees. By the end of 1959, Castro’s revolution had become radicalized, with purges of military leaders and the suppression of any media critical of Castro’s policies.

Castro’s government also began to establish relations with the Soviet Union. The USSR sent more than 100 Spanish-speaking advisers to help organize Cuba’s defense committee. In February 1960, Cuba signed a trade agreement to buy oil from the Soviet Union and established diplomatic relations. U.S.-owned refineries in Cuba refused to process the oil, so Castro expropriated the refineries. The United States retaliated by cutting Cuba’s import quota on sugar. This began a decades-long contentious relationship between the two countries.

Cuban Missile Crisis

The year 1961 proved to be pivotal in Castro’s relationship with the United States. On January 3, 1961, outgoing president Dwight Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations with the Cuban government. On April 16, Castro formally declared Cuba a socialist state. The following day, 1,400 Cuban exiles invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in an attempt to overthrow the Castro regime. The incursion ended in disaster; hundreds of the insurgents were killed and nearly 1,000 were captured. Though the United States denied any involvement, it was revealed that the Cuban exiles were trained by the Central Intelligence Agency and armed with U.S. weapons. Decades later, the National Security Archive revealed that the United States had begun planning an overthrow of the Castro government as early as October 1959. The invasion was conceived during the Eisenhower administration and inherited by President John F. Kennedy, who reluctantly approved its action but denied the invaders air support in hopes of hiding any U.S. participation.

Castro was able to capitalize on the incident to consolidate his power and further promote his agenda. On May 1, he announced an end to democratic elections in Cuba and denounced American imperialism. Then at year’s end, Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist and announced the Cuban government was adopting communist economic and political policies. On February 7, 1962, the United States imposed a full economic embargo on Cuba, a policy that continues to this day.

Castro intensified his relations with the Soviet Union by accepting further economic and military aid. In October 1962, his increasing reliance on Soviet aid brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Wanting to deter another U.S. invasion of Cuba, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev conceived an idea of placing nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles off the coast of Florida. He justified the move as a response to U.S. Jupiter missiles deployed in Turkey. An American U2 reconnaissance plane discovered the missile base construction before the missiles were installed. President Kennedy responded by demanding the removal of the missiles with orders for the U.S. Navy to search any vessels headed for the island.

Over the course of several anxious days of secret communications between Khrushchev, Kennedy and their agents, Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles in exchange for the United States’ public agreement not to invade Cuba. The Kennedy administration also agreed to secretly remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey. Both leaders saved face and gained some admiration for restraint. Castro, on the other hand, was humiliated: Both superpowers completely left him out of the negotiations. Furthermore, the United States was able to persuade the Organization of American States to end diplomatic relations with Cuba, in response to Castro’s “shameful” actions.

Cuba Under Castro

But Castro wasn’t shamed for long. In 1965, he merged Cuba’s Communist Party with his revolutionary organizations, placing himself as head of the party. Within a few years, he began a campaign of supporting armed struggle against imperialism in Latin American and African countries. In 1966, Castro founded the Asia-Africa-Latin America People’s Solidarity Organization to promote revolution on three continents. In 1967, he formed the Latin America Solidarity Organization to foster revolution in select Latin-American countries.

In the 1970s, Castro promoted himself as the leading spokesperson for Third World countries by providing military support to pro-Soviet forces in Angola, Ethiopia and Yemen. Though Cuba was heavily subsidized by the Soviet government, those expeditions ultimately proved unsuccessful and put a strain on the Cuban economy.

The U.S. agreement not to invade Cuba didn’t preclude toppling the Castro regime in other ways. Castro was the target of CIA assassination attempts (an estimated 638 in all, according to Cuban intelligence) over the years. These ranged from exploding cigars, to a fungus-infected scuba-diving suit, to a mafia-style shooting. He took great delight in the fact that none of the attempts ever succeeded. Castro was reported as saying that if avoiding assassination attempts was an Olympic sport, he would have won gold medals.

Castro’s regime has been credited with opening 10,000 new schools and increasing literacy to 98 percent. Cubans enjoy a universal health-care system, which has decreased infant mortality to 11 deaths in 1,000 (1.1 percent). But civil liberties have been whittled away, as labor unions lost the right to strike, independent newspapers were shut down and religious institutions were harassed. Castro removed opposition to his rule though executions and imprisonments, as well as through forced emigration.

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans have fled Castro’s rule, many settling just across the Florida Straits in Miami. The largest of these occurred in 1980, when Castro opened up the port of Mariel to allow exiled Cubans living in Miami to come claim their relatives. Castro also loaded the ships with Cuban prison inmates, mental patients and other social undesirables. In all, nearly 120,000 Cubans left their homeland in 1980 to find sanctuary in the United States.

Collapse of the Soviet Union

After the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union sent Cuba’s economy into a tailspin, Castro’s revolution began to lose momentum. Without cheap oil imports and an eager Soviet market for Cuban sugar and a few other goods, Cuban unemployment and inflation grew. The contraction of the Cuban economy resulted in 85 percent of its markets disappearing.

Yet Castro has been very adept, in recent years, at keeping control of the government during dire economic times. He pressed the United States to lift the economic embargo, but it refused. Castro then adopted a quasi-free market economy and encouraged international investment. He legalized the U.S. dollar and encouraged tourism. He visited the United States in 1996, and invited Cuban exiles living in there to return to Cuba to start businesses.

In 2001, after massive damage was caused by Hurricane Michelle, Castro declined U.S. humanitarian aid, but proposed a one-time cash purchase of food from the United States. George W. Bush’s administration complied, authorizing the shipment of food. With the fuel supply running dangerously low, Castro ordered 118 factories to be closed, and sent thousands of Cuban doctors to Venezuela in exchange for oil imports.

Decline in Health

In the late 1990s, speculation began to arise over Castro’s age and well-being. Numerous health problems have been reported over the years, the most significant occurring in July 2006, when Castro underwent surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding. In a dramatic announcement, Castro designated his brother Raul as the country’s temporary leader. Raul served as Castro’s second in command for decades, and was officially selected as his successor in 1997. Since his surgery, the public has only seen Castro in photographs and video meetings.

On February 19, 2008, 81-year-old Fidel Castro permanently gave up the Cuban presidency due to his deteriorating physical condition. He handed over power to his brother, Raul, who was 76 years old at the time. The Cuban National Assembly officially elected Raul Castro as president of Cuba the same month, although Fidel Castro reportedly remained First Secretary of the Communist Party.

In April 2011, news broke that Fidel Castro officially stepped down from his role within Cuba’s Communist Party. Raul Castro easily won election as the party’s new first secretary, taking over for his brother and picking famed revolutionary Jose Ramon Machado Venture to serve as the party’s second in command. Fidel Castro claimed that he had actually resigned the post five years earlier.

In his retirement, Castro has taken to writing a column about his experiences and opinions, called “Reflections of Fidel.” From mid-November to early January of 2012, however, Castro failed to publish any columns. This sudden silence sparked rumors that Castro had taken a turn for the worse. But these stories soon proved to be unfounded, as Castro put out a flurry of articles later that January.

While he may not be involved in the day-to-day affairs of running Cuba, Castro wields enormous political power at home and abroad. He continues to meet with foreign leaders, such as Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2012, during their visits to Cuba. Even Pope Benedict arranged a special audience with Castro at the end of his trip in March 2012, seeking to obtain greater religious freedom for Catholics living in the communist nation.

Taken from:…


François Duvalier


40th President of Haiti


François Duvalier (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swa dyvalje]; 14 April 1907 – 21 April 1971), also known as ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier, was the President of Haiti from 1957 to 1971. He opposed a military coup d’état in 1950 and was elected as President in 1957 on a populist and black nationalist platform. His rule, based on a purged military, a rural militia known as the Tonton Macoute, and the use of a personality cult and voodoo, resulted in the murder of an estimated 30,000 Haitians and the exile of many more.
Prior to his rule, Duvalier, who was a physician by profession, was known for successfully fighting diseases and acquired the nickname ‘Papa Doc’ (“Daddy Doctor” in French). He took the title of President for Life in 1964 and remained in power until he died in 1971. He was succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude, who was nicknamed “Baby Doc”.

Early life and career

Duvalier was born in Port-au-Prince, the son of Duval Duvalier, a justice of the peace, and Ulyssia Abraham, a baker. He was largely raised by an aunt. He completed a degree in medicine from the University of Haiti in 1934. He served as staff physician at several local hospitals. He spent a year at the University of Michigan studying public health. In 1943, he became active in a United States-sponsored campaign to control the spread of contagious tropical diseases, helping the poor to fight typhus, yaws, malaria and other tropical diseases that ravaged Haiti for years.His patients affectionately called him “Papa Doc”, a moniker that he used throughout his life.Lucky enough to be schooled and literate in a country where few were educated, Duvalier witnessed the political turmoil of his country. The United States occupation of Haiti which began in 1915, left a powerful impression on the young Duvalier. He was also aware of the latent political power of the poor black majority and their resentment against the tiny mulatto elite. Duvalier became involved in the négritude movement of Haitian author Dr. Jean Price-Mars. He began an ethnological study of Vodou that later paid enormous political dividend. In 1938, Duvalier co-founded the journal Les Griots. In 1939, Duvalier married Simone Ovide, with whom he had four children: Marie Denise, Nicole, Simone and Jean-Claude.

Political rise

In 1946, Duvalier aligned himself with President Dumarsais Estimé and was appointed Director General of the National Public Health Service. In 1949, Duvalier served as Minister of Health and Labour; but, when General Paul Magloire ousted President Estimé in a coup d’état, Duvalier left the government and was forced into hiding until 1956, when an amnesty was declared.

In December 1956, Magloire resigned and left Haiti to the rule of a succession of provisional governments. On 22 September 1957, presidential elections pitted Louis Déjoie, a mulatto land-owner and industrialist from the north of Haiti, against Duvalier, who was backed by the military. Duvalier campaigned as a populist, using a noiriste strategy of challenging the mulatto elite and appealing to the Afro-Haitian majority. He described his opponent as part of the ruling mulatto class that was making life difficult for the country’s rural black majority. The election resulted in Duvalier defeating Déjoie with 678,860 votes. Déjoie polled 264,830 votes and independent candidate Jumelle a mere percentage of the electorate. Duvalier’s only opponent among the black proletarians, Daniel Fignolé, had been forced into exile before the election, conveniently leaving Duvalier a path for a landslide.


Consolidation of power

After being sworn in on 22 October, Duvalier exiled most of the major supporters of Déjoie and had a new constitution adopted in 1957 .

President Duvalier promoted and patronised members of the black majority in the civil service and the army. In mid-1958, the army, which had supported Duvalier earlier, tried to oust him in another coup, but failed. In response, Duvalier replaced the chief-of-staff with a more reliable officer and then proceeded to create his

own power base within the army by turning the army’s Presidential Guard into an elite corps aimed at maintaining Duvalier’s power. After this, Duvalier dismissed the entire general staff and replaced it with officers owing their positions and their loyalty to him. In 1958 three exiled Haitians and five Americans landed in Haiti and tried to overthrow Duvalier; all of them were killed.

In 1959, Duvalier created a rural militia, the Milice Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale (MVSN, English: National Security Volunteer Militia), commonly referred to as the Tonton Macoute after a Creole term for the bogeyman, to extend and bolster support for the regime in the countryside. The Macoute, which by 1961 had twice the numbers of the regular army, never developed into a real military force but still was more than a mere secret police.

In the early years of his rule, Duvalier was able to take advantage of strategic weaknesses of his powerful opponents, mostly from the Mulâtre elite. These weaknesses included the opponents’ inability to coordinate their actions against the government, that grew increasingly stronger.

In the name of nationalism, Duvalier expelled almost all of Haiti’s foreign-born bishops, an act that earned him excommunication from the Catholic Church. In 1966, Duvalier managed to persuade the Holy See to allow him one-time permission to nominate the Catholic hierarchy for Haiti. This action solidified the change to the status quo: no longer was Haiti under the grip of the minority rich mulattoes, protected by the military, and supported by the church. Duvalier now exercised even more power in Haiti.

Heart attack and Barbot affair

On 24 May 1959, Duvalier suffered a massive heart attack, possibly due to an insulin overdose; he had been a diabetic since early adulthood and also suffered from heart disease and associated circulatory problems. During this heart attack he was unconscious for nine hours; many associates believed that he suffered neurological damage during these events that affected his mental health and made him paranoid.

While recovering, Duvalier left power in the hands of Clément Barbot, leader of the Tonton Macoutes. Upon his return, Duvalier accused Barbot of trying to supplant him as president and had him imprisoned. In April 1963, Barbot was released and began plotting to remove Duvalier from office by kidnapping his children. The plot failed and Duvalier subsequently ordered a massive search for Barbot and his fellow conspirators. When during the search Duvalier was told that Barbot had transformed himself into a black dog, Duvalier ordered that all black dogs in Haiti be put to death. Barbot was later captured and shot by the Tonton Macoutes in July 1963. In other incidents, Duvalier ordered the head of an executed rebel packed in ice and brought to him so he could commune with the dead man’s spirit. Peep holes were carved into the walls of the interrogation chambers, through which Duvalier personally observed Haitian detainees being tortured and submerged in baths of sulfuric acid; sometimes, he was directly in the room during the tortures.

Constitutional changes

In 1961, he began violating the provisions of the 1957 constitution: first he replaced the bicameral legislature with a unicameral body. Then he called a new presidential election in which he was the sole candidate, though his term was to expire in 1963 and the constitution prohibited re-election. The election was flagrantly rigged; the official tally showed 1,320,748 voted yes to another term for Duvalier, with none opposed.Upon hearing the results, Duvalier proclaimed: “I accept the people’s will. As a revolutionary, I have no right to disregard the will of the people.” The New York Times commented: “Latin America has witnessed many fraudulent elections throughout its history but none has been more outrageous than the one which has just taken place in Haiti.” On 14 June 1964, a constitutional referendum made Duvalier “President for Life”, a title previously held by seven Haitian presidents. This referendum was also blatantly rigged; an implausible 99.9 percent voted in favour, and all ballots were premarked “yes.” The new document granted Duvalier—or “Le Souverain,” as he was called—absolute powers as well as the right to name his successor.

Foreign relations

His relationship with the United States proved difficult. In his early years, Duvalier often rebuked the United States for its friendly relations with the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (killed in 1961), while ignoring Haiti. The Kennedy administration (1961–63) was particularly disturbed by Duvalier’s repressive and authoritarian rule and allegations that he misappropriated aid money, then a substantial part of the Haitian budget, and a Marine mission to train the Tonton Macoute. Acting on the charges, Washington cut off most of its economic assistance in mid-1962, pending stricter accounting procedures, which Duvalier refused. Duvalier publicly renounced all aid from Washington on nationalist grounds, portraying himself as a “…principled and lonely opponent of domination by a great power.

Duvalier misappropriated millions of US dollars of international aid, including 15 million US dollars annually from the United States.He transferred this money to personal accounts. Another of Duvalier’s methods to obtain foreign money was to gain foreign loans, including 4 million USD from Cuban president Fulgencio Batista.

After the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963—which Duvalier later claimed resulted from a curse that he had placed on him—the U.S. eased its pressure on Duvalier, grudgingly accepting him as a bulwark against Communism. Duvalier attempted to exploit tensions between the United States and Cuba, emphasizing his anti-Communist credentials and Haiti’s strategic location as a means of winning U.S. support:

Communism has established centres of infection…No area in the world is as vital to American security as the Caribbean… We need a massive injection of money to reset the country on its feet, and this injection can come only from our great, capable friend and neighbor the United States.

After President Fulgencio Batista (a personal friend of Duvalier) was overthrown in the Cuban Revolution, Duvalier, worried that Fidel Castro would provide a safe haven for Haitian dissidents, attempted to win Castro over by recognizing his government, sending medicine, and pardoning several political prisoners, but to no avail; from the very start of his regime, Castro gave anti-Duvalier dissidents his full support.

Duvalier enraged Castro by voting against the country in an OAS meeting and subsequently at the UN where a trade embargo was imposed on Cuba. Cuba answered by breaking off diplomatic relations and Duvalier subsequently instituted a campaign to rid Haiti of communists.

Duvalier’s relationship with the neighbouring Dominican Republic was always tense: in his early years, Duvalier emphasised the differences between the two countries. In April 1963, relations were brought to the edge of war by the political enmity between Duvalier and the Dominican president Juan Bosch. Bosch, a left-leaning democrat, provided asylum and support to Haitian exiles who plotted against the Duvalier regime. Duvalier ordered his Presidential Guard to occupy the Dominican Embassy in Pétionville, aiming at apprehending an army officer believed to have been involved in Barbot’s plot to kidnap Duvalier’s children. The Dominican president reacted with outrage, publicly threatened to invade Haiti, and ordered army units to the frontier. However, as Dominican military commanders expressed little support for an invasion of Haiti, Bosch refrained from the invasion and settled for a mediation by the OAS.

Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia briefly visited Haiti in 1966 (he was the only head of state to visit the country during Duvalier’s presidency); during his visit, Duvalier awarded him the Necklace of the Order of Jean-Jacques Dessalines the Great, and Selassie, in turn, bestowed upon Duvalier the Great Necklace of the Order of the Queen of Saba.  Duvalier also supported Pan-African ideals.

Internal policies


Duvalier’s government was soon accused of being one of the most repressive in the hemisphere. Within the country, Duvalier used both political murder and expulsion to suppress his opponents; estimates of those killed are as high as 30,000. Attacks on Duvalier from within the military were treated as especially serious. When bombs were detonated near the Presidential Palace in 1967, Duvalier had nineteen Presidential Guard officers shot in Fort Dimanche. A few days later Duvalier had a public speech during which he read the “attendance sheet” with names of all 19 officers killed. After each name he said “absent”. After reading the whole list, Duvalier remarked, “All were shot.”

Haitian communists and suspected communists, in particular, bore the brunt of the government’s repression. Duvalier targeted them both as a means to secure U.S. support as a bulwark against Communist Cuba (see below) and on principle: Duvalier had personally been exposed to communist and left-wing ideas early in his life and rejected them. On 28 April 1969, Duvalier instituted a campaign to rid Haiti of all communists, promulgating a law stipulating that “Communist activities, no matter what their form, are hereby declared crimes against the security of the State,” and prescribing the death penalty for individuals prosecuted under this law.

Social and economic policies

Duvalier employed intimidation, repression and patronage to supplant the old mulatto elites with a new elite of his own making. Corruption — in the form of government rake-offs of industries, bribery, extortion of domestic businesses, and stolen government funds — enriched the dictator’s closest supporters. Most of these supporters held sufficient power to enable them to intimidate the members of the old elite who were gradually co-opted or eliminated.

Many educated professionals fled Haiti for New York City, Miami, French-speaking Montreal, Paris, and several French-speaking African countries, exacerbating an already serious lack of doctors and teachers. Some of the highly skilled professionals joined the ranks of several UN agencies to work in development in newly independent nations such as Ivory Coast, and Congo.

The government confiscated peasant land holdings and allotted them to members of the militia who had no official salary and made their living through crime and extortion. The dispossessed swelled the slums by fleeing to the capital to seek meager incomes to feed themselves. Malnutrition and famine became endemic.
Nonetheless, Duvalier enjoyed significant support among Haiti’s majority black rural population, who saw in him a champion of their claims against the historically dominant mulatto élite. During his fourteen years in power, he created a substantial black middle class, chiefly through government patronage. Duvalier also initiated the development of Mais Gate Airport, now known as Toussaint Louverture International Airport.

Personality cult and voodoo

Duvalier fostered a personality cult around himself, and claimed he was the physical embodiment of the island nation. He also started to revive the traditions of vodou, later on using them to consolidate his power as he claimed to be a houngan, or vodou priest himself. In an effort to make himself even more imposing, Duvalier deliberately modeled his image on that of Baron Samedi. He often donned sunglasses to hide his eyes and talked with the strong nasal tone associated with the loa. The Duvalier regime propaganda even stated that “Papa Doc: was one with the loas, Jesus Christ, and God himself”. The most celebrated image from the time shows a standing Jesus Christ with hand on a seated Papa Doc’s shoulder with the caption “I have chosen him”.  There was even a Duvalierist variant of the Lord’s Prayer.  Duvalier also held in his closet the head of his former opponent Blucher Philogenes, who tried to overthrow him in 1963.

Death and succession

Duvalier held Haiti in his grip until his death in early 1971. His 19-year-old son Jean-Claude Duvalier, nicknamed “Baby Doc”, succeeded him as president.

Taken from:

William John Warner (Cheiro)


220px-CheiroyWilliam John Warner, known as Cheiro, (November 1, 1866 – October 8, 1936) was an Irish astrologer and colorful occult figure of the early 20th century. His sobriquet, Cheiro, derives from the word cheiromancy, meaning palmistry. He was a self-described clairvoyant who taught palmistry, astrology, and Chaldean numerology. During his career, he was celebrated for using these forms of divination to make personal predictions for famous clients and to foresee world events.

Personal life and background
Cheiro was born in a village outside Dublin, Ireland. He took the name Count Louis Hamon (or Count Leigh de Hamong).

As mentioned in his memoirs, Cheiro acquired his expertise in India. As a teenager, he traveled to the Bombay port of Apollo Bunder. There, he met his Guru, an Indian Brahmin, who took him to his village in the valley of the Konkan region of Maharashtra. Later Cheiro was permitted by Brahmans to study an ancient book that has many studies on hands; the pages of the book were made of human skin and written with gold and it is still guarded and protected with great care. After studying thoroughly for two years, he returned to London and started his career as a palmist.

Cheiro was reluctant to marry but was aware that he was destined to marry late in life. This did happen after a woman took care of him during a serious illness. A separate chapter is devoted to this matter in his memoirs.

Cheiro had a wide following of famous European and American clients during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He read palms and told the fortunes of famous celebrities like Mark Twain, W. T. Stead, Sarah Bernhardt, Mata Hari, Oscar Wilde, Grover Cleveland, Thomas Edison, the Prince of Wales, General Kitchener, William Ewart Gladstone, and Joseph Chamberlain. He documented his sittings with these clients by asking them to sign a guest book he kept for the purpose, in which he encouraged them to comment on their experiences as subjects of his character analyses and predictions. Of the Prince of Wales, he wrote that “I would not be surprised if he did not give up everything, including his right to be crowned, for the woman he loved.” Cheiro also predicted that the Jews would return to Palestine and the country would again be called Israel.

In his own autobiographical book, Cheiro’s Memoirs: The Reminiscences of a Society Palmist, he included accounts of his interviews with King Edward VII, William Gladstone, Charles Stewart Parnell, Henry Morton Stanley, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, Professor Max Muller, Blanche Roosevelt, the Comte de Paris, Joseph Chamberlain, Lord Russell of Killowen, Robert Ingersoll, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Lillie Langtry, W. T. Stead, Richard Croker, Natalia Janotha, and other prominent people of his era.

The book Titanic’s Last Secrets includes a detailed account of one of Cheiro’s palm readings with William Pirrie, chairman of Harland and Wolf, builders of the Titanic. Cheiro predicted that he would soon be in a fight for his life, talking about the battle surrounding the Titanic sinking.

“ It becomes a study not contrary to the dictates of reason, but in accordance with those natural laws that we observe in the shaping of the even inanimate objects, which, by demonstrating the effect of a heretofore cause, are in themselves the cause of a hereafter effect. – Cheiro on Astrology
So popular was Cheiro as a “Society Palmist” that even those who were not believers in the occult had their hands read by him. The skeptical Mark Twain wrote in Cheiro’s visitor’s book:

“ Cheiro has exposed my character to me with humiliating accuracy. I ought not to confess this accuracy, still I am moved to do so. – Mark Twain. ”

Other mentions in the visitors book include:

“The study of people gifted with occult powers has interested me for several years. I have met and consulted scores.In almost ever respect I consider Cheiro the most highly gifted of all. He helps as well as astonishes.”- Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

“You are wonderful. What more can I say”- Madame Nellie Melba.

After some years in London, and many world travels, Cheiro moved to America. He spent his final years in Hollywood, seeing as many as twenty clients a day and doing some screenwriting before his death there in 1936 following a heart attack. His widow, the Countess Lena Hamon, said her 70-year-old husband, who had been a friend and adviser to film actors late in life, and to European aristocracy and royalty in his early career, had predicted his own death to the hour the day before he died.

From Time Magazine of October 19, 1936:

Died. Count Louis Hamon (“Cheiro”), 69, celebrated oldtime palmist; after long illness; in Hollywood. Author of a book on palmistry at 13, he amassed $250,000 from rich female clients, owned an English-language newspaper in Paris, The American Register. On the night he died, said his nurse, the clock outside his room struck the hour of one thrice.

Cheiro claimed that he never understood his unique gifts, and he is believed to have lost those in 1906. One charge of mis-handling of a client’s money resulted in his being imprisoned. Some accounts of his later life say that after his release from prison, he retained neither his money nor his friends, with his once rich and powerful acquaintances ceasing to want anything to do with him.

The occult books Cheiro wrote centered on fortune telling. Many of Cheiro’s books on occultism and fortune telling are still in print today and are available in both English and foreign language editions.

In 2006, the University of Tampa Press issued a critical new edition of his fictional work, A Study of Destiny, as the second volume of the series Insistent Visions – a series dedicated to reprinting little-known or neglected works of supernatural fiction, science fiction, mysteries, or adventure stories from the 19th century. The new edition is edited with an introduction, afterword, and notes by Sean Donnelly.

Francis Barrett

francisFrancis Barrett (born probably in London around 1770-1780) was an English occultist.

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.

The Magus
He was very enthusiastic about reviving interest in the occult arts, and published a magical textbook called The Magus. Few people, even today, know that The Magus was a compilation, almost entirely consisting of selections from Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy attributed to Agrippa and the Robert Turner’s 1655 translation of the Heptameron of Peter of Abano. Barrett made a few modifications and modernized the spelling and syntax of these selections. Apart from possibly influencing the English occult novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the book gained little notice until it influenced Eliphas Levi.

The Magus dealt with the natural magic of herbs and stones, magnetism, talismanic magic, alchemy, numerology, the elements, and biographies of famous adepts from history.

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 :

The Author of this Work respectfully informs those that are curious in the studies of Art and Nature, especially of Natural and Occult Philosophy, Chemistry, Astrology, etc., etc., that, having been indefatigable in his researches in those sublime Sciences; of which he has treated at large in this book, that he gives private instructions and lectures upon any of the above-mentioned Sciences; in the course of which he will discover many curious and rare experiments.

Those who become Students will be initiated into the choicest operations of Natural Philosophy, Natural Magic, the Cabbala, Chemistry, the Talismanic Arts, Hermetic Philosophy, Astrology, Physiognomy, etc., etc. Likewise they will acquire the knowledge of the Rites, Mysteries, Ceremonies and Principles of the ancient Philosophers, Magi, Cabbalists, and Adepts, etc.

The Purpose of this school (which will consist of no greater number than Twelve Students) being to investigate the hidden treasures of Nature; to bring the Mind to a contemplation of the Eternal Wisdom; to promote the discovery of whatever may conduce to the perfection of Man; the alleviating the miseries and calamities of this life, both in respect of ourselves and others; the study of morality and religion here, in order to secure to ourselves felicity hereafter; and, finally, the promulgation of whatever may conduce to the general happiness and welfare of mankind.


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:
The magical power is in the inward or inner man. A certain proportion of the inner man longs for the external in all things. When the person is in the appropriate disposition an appropriate connection between man and object can be attained.


drparcParacelsus (/ˌpærəˈsɛlsəs/; born Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, 11 November or 17 December 1493 – 24 September 1541) was a Swiss German Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist. He founded the discipline of Toxicology. He is also known as a revolutionary for insisting upon using observations of nature, rather than looking to ancient texts, in open and radical defiance of medical practice of his day. He is also credited for giving zinc its name, calling it zincum. Modern psychology often also credits him for being the first to note that some diseases are rooted in psychological illness.

His personality was stubborn and independent. He grew progressively more frustrated and bitter as he became more embattled as a reformer.

“Paracelsus”, meaning “next (in his status as physician) to Celsus” or “beyond Celsus”, refers to the Roman encyclopedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus from the 1st century, known for his tract on medicine.
Paracelsus’ most important legacy is likely his critique of the scholastic methods in medicine, science and theology. Although these faculties did not exist separate from each other during his time, his attitudes towards the uncritical copy of the teachings of the old Fathers of Medicine, such as Avicenna and Averroes, without categorically denying their obvious merits, was his first and foremost achievement for independent and empirical approaches to research and teaching. Much of his theoretical work does not withstand modern scientific thought, but his insights laid the foundation for a more dynamic approach in the medical sciences.

Monument to Paracelsus in Beratzhausen, Bavaria
Memorial in Einsiedeln, Switzerland
Paracelsus was born and raised in the village of Einsiedeln in Switzerland. His father, Wilhelm Bombast von Hohenheim, was a Swabian (German) chemist and physician. His mother was Swiss; she presumably died in his childhood. In 1502 the family moved to Villach, Carinthia where Paracelsus’ father worked as a physician, attending to the medical needs of the pilgrims and inhabitants of the cloister. He received a profound humanistic and theological education by his father, local clerics and the convent school of St. Paul’s Abbey in the Lavanttal. At the age of 16 he started studying medicine at the University of Basel, later moving to Vienna. He gained his doctorate degree from the University of Ferrara in 1515 or 1516.

His wanderings as an itinerant physician and sometime journeyman miner took him through Germany, France, Spain, Hungary, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Russia.

As a physician of the early 16th century, Paracelsus held a natural affinity with the Hermetic, Neoplatonic, and Pythagorean philosophies central to the Renaissance, a world-view exemplified by Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola. Paracelsus rejected the magic theories of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa and Nicolas Flamel in his Archidoxes of Magic. Astrology was a very important part of Paracelsus’ medicine, and he was a practicing astrologer — as were many of the university-trained physicians working at this time in Europe. Paracelsus devoted several sections in his writings to the construction of astrological talismans for curing disease, providing talismans for various maladies as well as talismans for each sign of the Zodiac. He also invented an alphabet called the Alphabet of the Magi, for engraving angelic names upon talismans.

Paracelsus pioneered the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. He used the name “zink” for the element zinc in about 1526, based on the sharp pointed appearance of its crystals after smelting and the old German word “zinke” for pointed. He used experimentation in learning about the human body. It is said that Paracelsus was also responsible for the creation of laudanum, an opium tincture very common until the 19th century. As a physician and medical chemist at the time, he also sharply criticised apothecary practices that were often not applied in a dosage correct manner. From the study of his texts, he was an advocate and critic of the common use of guaiac wood and hellebore.

Paracelsus gained a reputation for being arrogant, and soon garnered the anger of other physicians in Europe. Some even claim he was a habitual drinker. He held the chair of medicine at the University of Basel and city physician for less than a year. He angered his colleagues by lecturing in German instead of Latin in order to make medical knowledge more accessible to the common people. He attacked conventional academic teachings and publicly burned medical textbooks, denouncing some of his predecessors as quacks and liars. After slandering his opponents with vicious epithets due to a dispute over a physician’s fee, he had to leave Basel secretly fearing punishment by the court. He became a tramp, wandering through Central Europe again. In 1530, at the instigation of the medical faculty at the University of Leipzig, the city celementsouncil of Nürnberg prohibited the printing of Paracelsus’ works.

His travelings to Africa and Asia Minor in the pursuit of hidden knowledge are speculative. He revised old manuscripts and wrote new ones but had trouble finding publishers. In 1536, his Die grosse Wundartznei (“The Great Surgery Book”) was published and enabled him to regain fame.

Paracelsus’ contributions to medicine can be seen in the context of the birth of Lutheranism, although he remained a Catholic and never officially assigned to the reformatory changes taking place during his time. He was a contemporary of Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci and Martin Luther. During his life he was compared with Luther partly because his ideas were different from the mainstream and partly because of openly defiant acts against the existing authorities in medicine, such as his public burning of ancient books. This act struck people as similar to Luther’s defiance against the Church. Paracelsus rejected that comparison.Famously Paracelsus said, “I leave it to Luther to defend what he says and I will be responsible for what I say. That which you wish to Luther, you wish also to me: You wish us both in the fire.”

In 1526 he bought the rights of citizenship in Strasbourg to establish his own practice. But soon after he was called to Basel to the sickbed of Johann Froben or Frobenius, a successful printer and publisher. Based on historical accounts, Paracelsus cured Frobenius.
Paracelsus was one of the first medical professors to recognize that physicians required a solid academic knowledge in the natural sciences, especially chemistry. Furthermore, he allowed for the access of medical academic work to learned people. Surgeons for example often were not academically trained and ranked with the barbers and butchers in the same guild.

Paracelsus is also a folk legend, and bizarre tales about his life circulated Central Europe for centuries. In the minds of many, he became a wonder-healer and spiritual protector of health. His aid to villages during the plague in the 16th century was for many an act of heroism, his works and achievements therefore often abused and falsely copied.

While attending the sick bed of Frobenius (see above), Erasmus of Rotterdam witnessed the curative powers of Paracelsus’ therapy. Deeply impressed by his skills, he must have recommended him to his humanist friends at the University of Basel, one of the most progressive schools at that time. Paracelsus’ contact with Erasmus also initiated a letter dialogue between them.

parcelusHe died at the age of 47 in Salzburg, and his remains were buried according to his wishes in the cemetery at the church of St. Sebastian in Salzburg. His remains are now located in a tomb in the porch of that church.After his death, the movement of Paracelsianism was seized upon by many wishing to subvert the traditional Galenic physics, and his therapies became more widely known and used.His motto was “Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest” which means “Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself.”

Paracelsus largely rejected the philosophies of Aristotle and Galen, as well as the theory of humors. Although he did accept the concept of the four elements as water, air, fire, and earth, he saw them merely as a foundation for other properties on which to build. From his study of the elements, Paracelsus adopted the idea of triparite alternatives to explain the nature of medicine, taking the place of a combustable element (sulphur) a fluid and changeable element (mercury) and a solid, permanent element (salt.) The first mention of the mercury, sulphur, salt model was in the Opus paramirum dating to about 1530 Paracelsus believed that the principles sulphur, mercury, and salt contained the poisons contributing to all diseases. He saw each disease as having three separate cures depending on how it was afflicted, either being caused by the poisoning of sulphur, mercury, or salt. Paracelsus drew the importance of sulphur, salt and mercury from medieval alchemy, where they all occupied a prominent place. He demonstrated his theory by burning a piece of wood. the fire was the work of sulphur, the smoke was mercury, and the residual ash was salt. Paracelsus also believed that mercury, sulphur, and salt provided a good explanation for the nature of medicine because each of these properties existed in many physical forms. With every disease, the symptoms depended on which of the three principal caused the ailment.Paracelsus theorized that materials that are poisonous in large doses may be positive in small doses, he demonstrated this with the examples of magnetism and static electricity, where a small magnet can attract much larger metals.

The tria prima also defined the human identity. Sulfur embodied the soul, (the emotions and desires); salt represented the body; mercury epitomised the spirit (imagination, moral judgment, and the higher mental faculties). By understanding the chemical nature of the tria prima, a physician could discover the means of curing disease.

Contributions to medicine
Planet Metal
Sun Gold Heart
Paracelsus pioneered the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. His hermetical views were that sickness and health in the body relied on the harmony of man (microcosm) and Nature (macrocosm). He took an approach different from those before him, using this analogy not in the manner of soul-purification but in the manner that humans must have certain balances of minerals in their bodies, and that certain illnesses of the body had chemical remedies that could cure them.

As a result of this hermetical idea of harmony, the universe’s macrocosm was represented in every person as a microcosm. According to the insights at the time, there were Seven planets in the sky, Seven metals on Earth and Seven centers (or major organs) in Man — seven was a special number. Everything was heavenly and closely interrelated (see table below). Paracelsus mobilized the microcosm-macrocosm theory to demonstrate the analogy between the aspirations to salvation and health. As humans must ward off the influence of evil spirits with morality, they also must ward off diseases with good health.

Diseases were caused by poisons brought here from the stars. But ‘poisons’ were not necessarily something negative, in part because related substances interacted, in part because only the dose determined if a substance was poisonous or not. Evil could expel evil. Therefore, poisons could have beneficial medical effects. Because everything in the universe was interrelated, beneficial medical substances could be found in herbs, minerals and various chemical combinations thereof. Paracelsus viewed the universe as one coherent organism pervaded by a uniting lifegiving spirit, and this in its entirety, Man included, was ‘God’. His views put him at odds with the Church, for which there necessarily had to be a difference between the Creator and the created.

His work Die große Wundarzney is a forerunner of antisepsis. This specific empirical knowledge originated from his personal experiences as an army physician in the Venetian wars.

It is not historically proven that he was the first to apply Laudanum, an analgesic opium preparation. He first encountered this drug on an also speculative visit to Constantinople. If this speculation held true, he would have been the first doctor to apply an effective pharmacological agent against pain, especially in case of wounds caused by military confrontations at the time.

One of his most overlooked achievements was the systematic study of minerals and the curative powers of alpine mineral springs. His countless wanderings also brought him deep into many areas of the Alps, where such therapies were already practised on a less common scale than today.

He summarised his own views:
Many have said of Alchemy, that it is for the making of gold and silver. For me such is not the aim, but to consider only what virtue and power may lie in medicines.

Hippocrates put forward the theory that illness was caused by an imbalance of the four humors: blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. These ideas were further developed by Galen into an extremely influential and highly persistent set of medical beliefs that were to last until the mid-1850s. The dominant medical treatments in Paracelsus’ time were specific diets to help in the “cleansing of the putrefied juices” combined with purging and bloodletting to restore the balance of the four humors. Paracelsus supplemented and challenged this view with his beliefs that illness was the result of the body being attacked by outside agents. He objected to excessive bloodletting, saying that the process disturbed the harmony of the system, and that blood could not be purifed by lessening it’s quantity. During his time as a military surgeon, Paracelsus was exposed to the crudity of medical knowledge at the time, when doctors believed that infection was a natural part of the healing process. He advocated for cleanliness and protection of wounds, as well as the regulation of diet. Popular ideas of the time opposed these theories and suggested sewing or plastering wounds Historians of syphilitic disease credit Paracelsus with the recognition of the inherited character of syphilis. In his first medical publication, a short pamphlet of syphilis treatment, he wrote a clinical description of syphilis in which he maintained that it could be treated by carefully measured doses of mercury.

Paracelsus’ major work On the Miners’ Sickness and Other Diseases of Miners documented the occupational hazards of metalworking including treatment and prevention strategies. He also wrote a book on the human body contradicting Galen’s ideas.

Contributions to toxicology
Paracelsus, sometimes called the father of toxicology, wrote:
Dosis facit venenum.
(deutsch: “Die Dosis macht das Gift.”) – or  The dose makes the poison.

That is to say, substances considered toxic are harmless in small doses, and conversely an ordinarily harmless substance can be deadly if over-consumed.

Contributions to psychotherapy
Paracelsus is credited as providing the first clinical/scientific mention of the unconscious. In his work Von den Krankeiten he writes: “Thus, the cause of the disease chorea lasciva is a mere opinion and idea, assumed by imagination, affecting those who believe in such a thing. This opinion and idea are the origin of the disease both in children and adults. In children the case is also imagination, based not on thinking but on perceiving, because they have heard or seen something. The reason is this: their sight and hearing are so strong that unconsciously they have fantasies about what they have seen or heard.”

Carl Gustav Jung studied Paracelsus intensively. His work Mysterium Conjunctionis further drew from alchemical symbolism as a tool in psychotherapy. Following Paracelsus’ path, it was Jung who first theorized that the symbolic language of alchemy was an expression of innate but unconscious psychological processes.

Findings of Hydrogen
Paracelsus in the beginning of the sixteenth century had unknowingly observed hydrogen, because he noted that in reaction when acids attack metals, gas was a by-product. Later, Théodore de Mayerne repeated Paracelsus’s experiment in 1650 and found that the gas was flammable. However neither Paracelsus nor de Mayerne proposed that hydrogen could be a new element.

Legend and rumor
Many books mentioning Paracelsus also cite him as the origin of the word “bombastic” to describe his often arrogant speaking style, which the following passage illustrates:

I am Theophrastus, and greater than those to whom you liken me; I am Theophrastus, and in addition I am monarcha medicorum and I can prove to you what you cannot prove…I need not don a coat of mail or a buckler against you, for you are not learned or experienced enough to refute even a word of mine…As for you, you can defend your kingdom with belly-crawling and flattery. How long do you think this will last?…Let me tell you this: every little hair on my neck knows more than you and all your scribes, and my shoe buckles are more learned than your Galen and Avicenna, and my beard has more experience than all your high colleges.
—Paracelsus, Selected Writings

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origin of the word “bombastic” is “bombast”, an old term for cotton stuffing, rather than a play on Paracelsus’s middle name, Bombastus.

Old Changi Hospital, Singapore


Old Changi Hospital, located on a small hill along Netheravon Road in Singapore, was a small British military hospital named Royal Air Force Hospital. It was used by the Japanese soldiers during World War II as a healthcare facility for the prisoners-of-war detained at the Changi military base nearby. With more than 70 years of rich history when it survived the war from 1942 to 1945 witnessing the fall of Singapore and the tortures of the prisoners-of-war that happened there, this hospital is one of the most haunted places in Asia. Stories about the building being haunted started in the early 1940s. In particular, the morgue always had sightings of ghosts without heads and feet, and seeing spirits of different races and nationalities wandering around the compound is very common. However, there are recent plans to turn this area into a lifestyle haven of resorts, spas and restaurants.

John Dewey Allee


John Dewey Allee (March 8, 1951 June 2, 2014) at 11:13 am
He told everyone to note the time of his transition as it would offer his first message.

John 11:13 states New International Version
Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.When he was told that he was going to go into a coma before his death due to colon cancer mets to the liver (he was a survivor for ten years without any medical treatment than surgery for the first eight)

John was born in Boston, Mass and lived in Chelsea until the family moved to Watertown, Mass when he was nine. John showed promise as a poet and an artist from a young age. In his teen years, John studied psychology and fell in love with the works of Wilhelm Reich. He studied the works of Hare krishnas, rosicrucians, theosophists and masonry during his young adult years. He served in the national guard and the army from 1968-1970. During this time, he also married Anne Allee at a young age and both joined the Church of Satan around 1970. The marriage ended ten years later.

Anne Allee left to the Temple of Set with Michael Aquino. John maintained his Satanic beliefs as he studied ceremonial magic and planned to run his own organization. He met his twin flame, Lillee Allee, in 1984 at a radio remote big band performance broadcast on WMRE, Boston. Lillee was the host of the broadcast and John was the guest vocalist with the Al Vega Trio at Paris 26 Restaurant in Newtonville, MA.

After this, he adopted the persona of Lord Egan, John published a Satanic magazine, Brimstone, for two years and started a Satanic cable television, Go to Hell, on the Cape Cod cable channel. In 1993, John launched the First Church of Satan with Lord Egan as the high priest and “dark pope” on the internet with meetings in Salem, Mass. He was laughingly referred to as the first warlock of Salem. (Warlock is a term used in Satanic groups.) He also studied under Pat Hardy with the Temple of Set and exchanged information with other Satanic leaders in the 1990s. John was credited with the first documented death curse, and interviewed by NBC’s Forrest Sawyer. He also performed a Satanic baptism on international television. He and Lillee were also listed as a “couple beyond help” on Jerry Seinfeld’s Marriage Ref. John and Lillee were interviewed on many radio and televisions nationally and internationally.

In 2003, John married Lillee in a spiritual ceremony on the Summer Solstice. They created ASTra, the Allee Shadow Tradition, a middle path organization that accepts and utilizes right and left hand practices. John worked as a psychic and demonologist for paranormal investigations. Lillee and John published their book, Right and Left of Center: Finding balance in your mundane and magical life, in 2007. John was relentless in helping and supporting other cancer survivors until the end of his life. He went on para-x radio for the last month of his life to share his thoughts on transitioning and death. He passed away at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY with support from Rev. Rauncie Ryan as his spiritual advisor and with the support of many Western New York pagans.

This material came from his wife and not from a website.

Michael A. Aquino

michael_aquinoMichael A. Aquino (1946-), U.S. Army officer and founder of the Temple of Set, is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara (B.A., 1968; Ph.D., 1980). In 1968 he joined the army as a specialist in psychological warfare. The next year he joined the Church of Satan. His career in the church was put on hold while he served a tour of duty in Vietnam, but shortly after his return to the United States in 1971, he was ordained as a Satanic priest and organized a group (termed a grotto) that met at his home.

Aquino rose to a position of prominence in the Church of Satan, but became dissatisfied with the leadership of church founder Anton LaVey. He opposed LaVey’s arbitrary leadership and atheistic approach to religion. LaVey actually denied the existence of Satan. In 1972 Aquino resigned and was joined in his revolt by Lilith Sinclair, another prominent leader on the East Coast. In 1975 he sought a new mandate to operate by invoking the devil. Satan responded by appearing as Set, the ancient Egyptian deity, and gave Aquino a document, The Book of Coming Forth by Night. He authorized Aquino to found the Temple of Set to supersede the Church of Satan. Aquino created a new religious society built around the worship of Set, of whom Satan is one derivation.


During the 1980s Aquino gained some degree of fame when the media became aware that an army officer led a Satanic group. The temple became the subject of criticism, and Aquino was charged with fabricated tales of Satanic child abuse. Aquino, an officer who has an exemplary record, was investigated and found innocent of any wrongdoing. The molestations he was accused of perpetrating were traced to a fellow officer. Meanwhile, he continues his professional career and his leadership in the temple.

Taken from:

Charles Manson


Born in Ohio in 1934, Charles Manson is notoriously connected to the brutal slayings of actress Sharon Tate and other Hollywood residents, but he was never actually found guilty of committing the murders himself. However, the famous ‘Tate-La Bianca’ killings have immortalized him as a living embodiment of evil. Images of his staring ‘mad eyes’ are still used today to illustrate countless serial-murder news stories. The Manson Family—including Charles Manson and his young, loyal dropout disciples of murder—is thought to have carried out some 35 killings. Most were never tried, either for lack of evidence or because the perpetrators were already sentenced to life for the Tate/La Bianca killings. In 2012, Manson was denied parole for the 12th time.

Early Life

Charles Manson was born Charles Milles Maddox on November 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Kathleen Maddox, a 16-year-old girl who was both an alcoholic and prostitute. Kathleen later married William Manson, but the marriage ended quickly and Charles was placed in a boys school. Although the boy ran back to his mother, she didn’t want anything to do with him. Charles was soon living on the streets and getting by through petty crime.

By 1951, Manson began spending time in prison, and early on, before he discovered the benefits of being a “model prisoner,” he was considered dangerous. He would eventually spend half of the first 32 years of his life behind bars.

A new chapter in his life began in 1955 when he married a 17-year-old girl and moved with her to California. She became pregnant, but Manson resumed a life of crime again, once again stealing cars. It wasn’t long before he was back behind bars, and by 1956 his estranged wife had left with their child and her new lover. Manson later had another child with a different woman while out on probation.

Petty Crimes

He was described by probation reports as suffering from a “marked degree of rejection, instability and psychic trauma” and “constantly striving for status and securing some kind of love.” Other descriptions included “unpredictable” and “safe only under supervision.”

From 1958, Manson was in and out of jail for a variety of offenses, including “pimping” and passing stolen checks, and he was sent to McNeil Island prison in Washington State for 10 years. During this time he had also raped a fellow male prisoner while brandishing a razor. Paradoxically, it was while he was incarcerated that he tapped into his creative talents and learned how to read music and play the guitar.

Helter Skelter

Manson was released on March 21, 1967, and the following year he would spearhead a murderous campaign that would make him one of the most infamous figures in criminal history.

In many ways, Manson reflects personality traits and obsessions that are associated with gurus of cult-quasi-religious groups that began to emerge in the 1960s and are still with us today. He was pathologically deluded into believing that he was harbinger of doom regarding the planet’s future, in much the same way that cult and evangelist figures today claim prophetic knowledge of the world’s end.

Manson was also influenced not only by drugs such as LSD but by art works and music of the time such as the Beatles song “Helter Skelter” from their White Album. He had a strong belief and interest in the notion of Armageddon from the Book of Revelations, and Scientology and more obscure cult churches such as Church of the Final Judgment were also fleeting interests.

After 1967, Manson gathered a group of followers who shared his passion for an unconventional lifestyle and habitual use of hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD and magic mushrooms. “The Family,” as they became known, moved to San Francisco and later to a deserted ranch in the San Fernando Valley. His followers, numbering around 100, also included a small hard-core unit of impressionable young girls. They began to believe, without question, Manson’s claims that he was Jesus and his prophecies of a race war.

In August 1969, a series of Hollywood murders were to shock the world and tarnish the 1960’s free love and peace legacy, when Manson gathered a group of his most loyal Family followers to carry out a massacre among Tinseltown’s elite and “beautiful people.” The act would shock the nation and effectively bring the era to an end.


The first victims fell on August 9, 1969, at Roman Polanski’s Beverley Hills home at 10050 Cielo Drive. Manson chose four of his most obedient comrades—Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan Watkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Linda Kasabian—to carry out these heinous crimes. Kasabian acted as the getaway driver and was to become the star witness during the trial.

The victims inside the house, actress Sharon Tate; writer Wojciech Frykowski and his partner, the coffee bean heiress Abigail Folger; and celerity hairstylist Jay Sebring, had returned to the Polanski residence after dining out. Polanksi himself was away in London shooting a film.

The first victim of the night was 18-year-old Steven Parent, a friend of Tate’s gardener. He was shot as he drove up to the house and was spotted by the intruders. Linda Kasabian was horrified by the shooting of the boy, and she remained outside to keep watch. When the other three broke into the house, they herded the occupants into the living room and tied them up. Manson himself took no part in the actual killings but directed his murderous disciples to the address and instructed them to kill everyone.

According to one of the Family member’s statements, the Polanksi household had been targeted because it represented Manson’s rejection by the showbiz world and society.

Jay Sebring was shot and brutally kicked as he tried to defend Ms. Tate. During the terrifying fracas, both Frykowski and Folger managed to escape from the house but were chased and stabbed to death. At the trial, Kasabian described how she saw Frykowski staggering out of the house covered in blood and was horrified at the sight. She told him she was “sorry,” but despite her pleas to his attacker to stop, the victim was bludgeoned repeatedly. Folger escaped from the house with terrible injuries but was caught on the front lawn and stabbed 28 times.

The most inhumane killing is arguably that of Sharon Tate, who despite pleading for the life of her unborn child was mercilessly stabbed in the stomach by Susan Atkins. Kasabian told of Atkins’ chilling words to Tate before she stabbed her: “Look, bitch, I have no mercy for you. You’re going to die, and you’d better get used to it.” Atkins then used Tate’s blood to write the word “pig” on the front door. Instead of this brutal massacre sating the pathological Manson, he instead criticized the murderers for being sloppy.

The following night, on the August 10, 1969, Manson took Family members Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten to the Los Feliz address of wealthy supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, and the couple was murdered in a similarly horrifying fashion.

Arrest and Trial

Ironically, Manson and his Family were arrested not on suspicion of the murders but simply on the belief that they had vandalized a portion of the Death Valley National Park while they were hiding out in the Mojave Desert. In 1969, the county sheriff had them in custody, not realizing that he had murder suspects on his hands. But it was the confessions of Susan Atkins, while held in detention on suspicion of murdering Gary Hinman during an unrelated incident, that led detectives to realize that Manson and his followers were involved in the Tate/LaBianca killings.

Various motivations were examined during the course of the trial. The most feasible being that Manson’s pathological ego, insanity and belief in Armageddon were influences that led him to leave behind a trail of destruction.

Manson believed that he was the new Messiah and that after a “nuclear attack” he and his followers would be saved by hiding in a secret world under the desert. His prophetic visions included a belief that the race war would result in a black victory, and Manson along with his Family members would have to mentor the black community, as they would lack experience to run the planet.

As Manson and the Family were to be the beneficiaries of the race war, he told his followers that they had to help initiate it. According to defense witness and killer Van Houten, this was the primary reason why they murdered the LaBiancas. Manson had taken the wallet of murdered Rosemary Bianca with the intention that he would deposit it in a section of L.A. where an African American might find it, use it and then possibly have the murders pinned on them.

Later in court, Van Houten, who was just 19 when she took part in the LaBianca killings, alleged that Manson had taken advantage of her vulnerability and dislike for her mother. Although she believed, like the other members, that he was a man of vision.

Thirty years later, during a parole board hearing, she said she was horrified by what she had done that night and desperately wanted to redeem herself. Van Houten was denied parole in 2006 and again in 2010.

Susan Atkins, possibly the most disturbed of all the killers, admitted in initial confessions to fellow prisoners that she had wanted to cut out Tate’s unborn baby but didn’t have the time. She also revealed that other grisly and macabre acts were to be perpetrated against the victims and that a list of other high-profile Hollywood stars were on a list to be killed and mutilated. These included Elizabeth Taylor and husband Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen and Tom Jones. When asked why they wanted to kill such people, Atkins replied that they (Manson and Family) wanted to commit murders that would shock the world and make people take notice.

The trial began on the November 18, 1969. Ronald Hughes was a young lawyer with experience and knowledge of 1960s counter culture. He was assigned as Manson and Van Houten’s attorney but decided to drop Manson in favor of defending Van Houten, who he thought could convince the jury that she was under the influence of Manson. The move may have cost him his life, as in 1970, Hughes went camping and disappeared. His decomposed body was found several months later, and it is thought he was the victim of retaliation killing by members of Manson’s Family for, in their eyes, betraying their leader.

During the trial, Manson released an album titled Lie in an effort to raise money for his defense. Manson reveled in media attention and during court proceedings turned up with an X carved into his forehead. Some of his female followers copied the act and shaved their heads, sometimes sitting outside the court house. The X was gradually modified until it turned into a swastika.

Throughout the trial, the killers often giggled and exchanged grimaces with Manson, showing no remorse for their crimes.

On January 25, 1971, Manson was convicted of first-degree murder for directing the deaths of the Tate/LaBianca victims. He was sentenced to death, but this was automatically commuted to life in prison after Californian’s Supreme Court invalidated all death sentences prior to 1972.

Kasabian was granted immunity for her part in acting as star witness. Susan Atkins was sentenced to death, but her sentence was later commuted to life in prison. She was incarcerated from 1969 until her death in 2009.

Beach Boys Connection

One interesting aspect to this disturbing saga was the emergence of record producer Terry Melcher, son of Doris Day and friend/producer of popular 1960s band the Beach Boys. Before the Manson Family’s murderous spree, Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys had allowed Manson and several members of his Family to stay at his home after picking up two female members of the Family who’d been hitchhiking. It was through this association that Manson got the opportunity to audition for Melcher, who was living at Polanski’s house at the time. Melcher wasn’t interested in signing a contract with Manson. However, Manson allegedly did record some music at Dennis’s brother, Brian Wilson’s home studio, and the Beach Boys released a song written by Manson entitled “Cease to Exist” (renamed “Never Learn Not to Love”) on their 1969 album, 20/20, as a single B-side.

Life in Prison

Manson is serving his time in Corcoran State Prison in California. Even behind bars, he has still managed to attract followers. A woman named Afton Burton, who calls herself Star, claimed that she and Manson are in a relationship. In an 2013 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, she said that “I’ll tell you straight up, Charlie and I are going to get married. When that will be, we don’t know. But I take it very seriously. Charlie is my husband. Charlie told me to tell you this.”

At the age of 19, Star moved from Illinois to Corcoran, California, to be near the prison where Manson is incarcerated. In November 2014, 26-year-old Star and 80-year-old Manson got a marriage license. Star also runs several websites aimed at getting Manson released from prison.

Taken from:…

Anton Szandor LaVey


Anton Szandor LaVey (born Howard Stanton Levey; April 11, 1930 – October 29, 1997) was an American author, occultist, and musician. He was the founder of the Church of Satan as well as the author of The Satanic Bible and the founder of LaVeyan Satanism, a synthesized system of his understanding of human nature and the insights of philosophers who advocated materialism and individualism, for which he claimed no supernatural or theistic inspiration.

Ancestry and early life

LaVey was born as Howard Stanton Levey in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Michael Joseph Levey (1903–1992), from Chicago, Illinois married Lavey’s mother, the former Gertrude Augusta Coultron who was born to a Russian father and Ukrainian mother who had emigrated to Ohio in 1893; both became naturalized American citizens in 1900. LaVey’s family moved to California, where he spent his early life in the San Francisco Bay Area. His parents supported his musical interests, as he tried a number of instruments; his favorites were keyboards such as the pipe organ and the calliope. He did covers of instrumentals like Harlem Nocturne by Earle Hagen.

He attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California, until the age of 16.According to his biography, he left high school to join a circus and later carnivals, first as a roustabout and cage boy in an act with the big cats, then as a musician playing the calliope. LaVey later claimed to have seen that many of the same men attended both the bawdy Saturday night shows and the tent revival meetings on Sunday mornings, which reinforced his increasingly cynical view of religion. He would later work as an organist in bars, lounges and nightclubs. In the foreword to the German version of The Satanic Bible, he cites this as the impetus to defy Christian religion as he knew it. He accused church-goers of employing double moral standards. While playing organ in Los Angeles burlesque houses, he allegedly had a brief affair with then-unknown Marilyn Monroe when she was a dancer at the Mayan Theater. This is challenged by those who then knew Monroe, as well as the manager of the Mayan, Paul Valentine, who said she had never been one of his dancers, nor had the theater ever been used as a burlesque house.

According to his biography, LaVey moved back to San Francisco, where he worked for three years as a photographer for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). He dabbled as a psychic investigator, looking into “800 calls” referred to him by the police department. Later biographers questioned whether LaVey ever worked with the SFPD, as there are no records substantiating the claim. During this period, LaVey was friends with a number of writers associated with Weird Tales magazine; a picture of him with George Haas, Robert Barbour Johnson (whom he had met in the circus as an animal trainer and painter of carnival scenes) and Clark Ashton Smith appears in Blanche Barton’s biography The Secret Life of a Satanist.

In 1950, LaVey met Carole Lansing and they married the following year. Lansing gave birth to LaVey’s first daughter, Karla LaVey, born in 1952. They divorced in 1960 after LaVey became entranced by Diane Hegarty. Hegarty and LaVey never married; however, she was his companion for many years and mothered his second daughter, Zeena Galatea Schreck (née LaVey), in 1963. At the end of their relationship, Hegarty sued for palimony.

Beginnings as a Satanist

Becoming a local celebrity through his paranormal research and live performances as an organist, including playing the Wurlitzer at the Lost Weekend cocktail lounge, he attracted many San Francisco notables to his parties. Guests included Carin de Plessin, Michael Harner, Chester A. Arthur III, Forrest J. Ackerman, Fritz Leiber, Cecil E. Nixon and Kenneth Anger. LaVey formed a group called the Order of the Trapezoid, which later evolved into the governing body of the Church of Satan.

Church of Satan

LaVey began presenting Friday night lectures on the occult and rituals. A member of this circle suggested that he had the basis for a new religion. On Walpurgisnacht, April 30, 1966, he ritualistically shaved his head, allegedly “in the tradition of ancient executioners”, declared the founding of the Church of Satan and proclaimed 1966 as “the Year One”, Anno Satanas—the first year of the Age of Satan. Media attention followed the subsequent Satanic wedding ceremony of Radical journalist John Raymond to New York City socialite Judith Case on February 1, 1967. The Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle were among the newspapers that printed articles dubbing him “The Black Pope”. LaVey performed Satanic baptisms (including the first Satanic baptism in history for his three-year-old daughter Zeena, dedicating her to the Devil, which garnered world-wide publicity and was originally recorded on The Satanic Mass LP) and Satanic funerals (including one for naval machinist-repairman third-class Edward Olsen, complete with a chrome-helmeted honor guard), and released a record album entitled The Satanic Mass.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, LaVey melded ideological influences from Friedrich Nietzsche, Ayn Rand,[15] H.L. Mencken, and Jack London with the ideology and ritual practices of the Church of Satan. He wrote essays introduced with reworked excerpts from Ragnar Redbeard’s Might is Right and concluded with “Satanized” versions of John Dee’s Enochian Keys to create books such as The Complete Witch (re-released in 1989 as The Satanic Witch), and The Satanic Rituals. The latter book also included rituals drawing on the work of H.P. Lovecraft which were actually penned by Michael A. Aquino, who would later found the Temple of Set.

Due to increasing visibility through his books, LaVey was the subject of numerous articles in the news media throughout the world, including popular magazines such as Look, McCall’s, Newsweek, and TIME, and men’s magazines. He also appeared on talk shows such as The Joe Pyne Show, Donahue, and The Tonight Show, and in a feature length documentary called Satanis: The Devil’s Mass in 1970. He would be credited for the mainstreaming of Satanism and witchcraft in the U.S. during the 1960s, 1970s and after. In 1972 the public work at La Vey’s Black House in San Francisco was curtailed and work was continued via ‘grottoes’ or subsidiary branches of the Church of Satan located throughout the USA and some in other countries.

LaVey’s third and final companion was Blanche Barton. Barton and LaVey are the parents of Satan Xerxes Carnacki LaVey, born November 1, 1993. Barton succeeded him as the head of the Church after his death, and has since stepped down from that role and handed it to Magus Peter H. Gilmore.


Anton LaVey died on October 29, 1997, in St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco of pulmonary edema. He was taken to St. Mary’s, a Catholic hospital, because it was the closest available. A secret Satanic funeral, attended by invitation only, was held in Colma after which LaVey’s body was cremated.

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Silver RavenWolf

Silver RavenWolf, photo from her own website(from index.php?folder=1)

Silver RavenWolf, photo from her own website(from

Silver RavenWolf (born September 11, 1956), born Jenine E. Trayer, is an American New Age, Magic and Witchcraft author and lecturer who focuses on Neo-Wicca.


RavenWolf was a member of the Serpent Stone Family, and received her Third Degree Initiation as a member of that coven. She is the leader of the Black Forest Circle and Seminary, an organization containing several covens spanning the United States and Canada.

She has appeared as a lecturer and workshop facilitator at events in the Neo-Pagan community. She has been active in Wiccan anti-discrimination issues. She is also a Powwower, having adopted the Pennsylvania Dutch practice in a neo-Pagan context.

RavenWolf is the author of 17 books on Wicca and Paganism in general. She has also written several novels. Currently, her books have been translated into Czech, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Hungarian, Dutch and Portuguese. She is the director of the Wiccan/Pagan Press Alliance Midnight Drive.

Personal life

She is married and has four children. She currently resides in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.

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Benjamin Creme


Benjamin Creme (born 5 December 1922) is a Scottish artist, author, esotericist and editor of Share International magazine.

He asserts that the second coming prophesied by many religions will come in the form of Maitreya the World Teacher. Maitreya is the name Buddhists use for the future Buddha, but Creme claims that Maitreya is the teacher that all religions point towards and hope for. Other names for him, according to Creme, are the Christ, the Imam Mahdi, Krishna, and the Messiah. Creme says Maitreya is the “Avatar for the Aquarian Age” and has lived in London since 19 July 1977.

Early life

At the age of fourteen, Creme says he became interested in the occult, when he read With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet by Alexandra David-Neel. From 1957 to 1959, Creme was the Vice-President of the Aetherius Society, a UFO religion based largely on Theosophy.In 1958 he personally met George Adamski and Creme says he can personally vouch for the authenticity of Adamski’s UFO contacts.

Assigned mission by his Master

Creme says he was first contacted telepathically by his Master in January 1959, who asked him to make tape recordings of his messages to Creme. He first began to speak publicly of his mission on 30 May 1975, at the Friends Meeting House on Euston Road in London, England. His central message announced the emergence of a group of enlightened spiritual teachers who could guide humanity forward into the new Aquarian Age of peace and brotherhood based on the principles of love and sharing. At the head of this group was would be a great Avatar, Maitreya, the World Teacher, expected by all the major religions at this time as their “Awaited One”—the Christ to the Christians, the Imam Mahdi to the Muslims, the Messiah for Jews, and the 5th Buddha (Maitreya) for Buddhists.

Claims regarding Maitreya

Creme is a follower of Alice A. Bailey. He claims that, beginning in 1959, he has been contacted telepathically by one of the Masters. He claims to have received messages from Maitreya from 1975 onwards.

1982 prediction

In the spring of 1982, Creme placed advertisements in newspapers around the world saying, “The Christ is now here”. According to Creme, the “Christ”, whom he also called “Maitreya”, would announce his existence on world wide television broadcasts. Creme stated in these newspaper advertisements that the Second Coming of Christ would occur on Monday, 21 June 1982 (the summer solstice in the Northern hemisphere).[citation needed] On 14 May 1982, Creme held a press conference in Los Angeles, USA. Over 90 members of the media attended and heard Creme announce that Maitreya was living within the Asian community, in the Brick Lane area of East London. Creme stated in this press conference when asked “what if someone tried to kill him?” that Maitreya could not be killed because he is invulnerable. He presented the journalists with a challenge: if media made a serious attempt to seek Maitreya in London, he would reveal himself to them.

Creme has stated that when the “Day of Declaration” occurs, “The Christ will come on the world’s television channels, linked together by satellite. All those with access to television will see… [His face]. He will establish a telepathic rapport with all humanity simultaneously”. While the Christ is speaking… [everyone will feel far more love than they’ve ever felt before, that massive outpouring of love will cause] hundreds of thousands of ‘miracle’ cures [to] take place simultaneously.”

After 1982

Share International Cover, featuring one of Benjamin Creme's artworks

Share International Cover, featuring one of Benjamin Creme’s artworks

Since Maitreya’s plan to appear in 1982 was postponed to a more optimal time, Creme has made a number of additional predictions and announcement of the imminent appearance of Maitreya based on his claims of receiving telepathic messages from a Master of Wisdom.

In 1997 Creme made similar predictions that Maitreya would appear on television and be interviewed around the world. This time there was far less media interest.

On 14 January 2010 Benjamin Creme announced that Maitreya had given his first television interview on US television. Soon afterwards several people in the USA, working from Creme’s predictions, concluded that British-American journalist and author Raj Patel was Maitreya. After newspaper articles around the world wrote about this story, Benjamin Creme responded that Raj Patel was not the coming World Teacher in an article in The Guardian newspaper called “Raj Patel is not Maitreya, but the World Teacher is here—and needed.”

Creme, who claims that time is now very near for Maitreya’s emergence, does not receive any money for this work or royalties from his 14 books, and has for over 30 years given lectures around the world by invitation only. A worldwide network of volunteers works with Benjamin Creme to give his views out to the public.

Crop circles and UFOs

During an interview in 2006, Creme confirmed his views on the importance of crop circles: “The UFOs have an enormous part to play in the security of this planet at the ecological level. [The crop circles are part of] a new science that will give us energy directly from the sun. Oil will become a thing of the past. No one will be able to sell energy in the future.”

Creme has explained how crop circles are made by UFOs in his magazine: “The crop circles are there to draw attention to the fact that the Space Brothers are there. They are amazing constructions. They are made in seconds by the ‘ships’ of the Space Brothers. They are complex and beautiful constructions which cannot be made in any other way. They appear all over the world but the majority are in the south of England. Why? Because Maitreya is in London.”


Creme made a case for the imminent appearance of Maitreya based on his claims of receiving telepathic messages from a Master of Wisdom. Skeptics have ridiculed the story presented by Benjamin Creme, or have taken issue with the possibility that his predictions might have come true. Others have treated Creme’s story with serious interest and are waiting to see what happens.

Between 1989–91, Share International magazine published a series of forecasts given to two journalists[who?] by an associate of Maitreya, which Share claims came about with uncanny accuracy. These forecasts were purported to included the fall of the Berlin Wall, the ending of Communist rule in the Soviet Union, the release of Nelson Mandela and the ending of Apartheid in South Africa, the release of kidnapped prisoner Terry Waite, the premature resignation of Margaret Thatcher, and many more. These predictions were distributed as press releases and were included in a book published by Share International Foundation called Maitreya’s Teachings—the Laws of Life.

Some fundamentalist Christian Evangelical sources and other detractors have accused Creme of being part of a satanic conspiracy and place him amongst a larger list of “antichrist potentials”.

Taken from:

Sathya Sai Baba


Sathya Sai Baba (born as Sathya Narayana Raju; 23 November 1926 – 24 April 2011[4]) was an Indian guru, spiritual leader and philanthropist.[5] He claimed to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi (died 1918), who was also considered by his followers to be a saint and miracle worker.[6]

Sai Baba’s reputed materialisations of vibhuti (holy ash) and other small objects such as rings, necklaces, and watches, along with reports of miraculous healings, resurrections, clairvoyance, bilocation, and alleged omnipotence andomniscience, were a source of both fame and controversy; devotees considered them signs of his divinity, while sceptics viewed them as simple conjuring tricks. He further faced accusations over the years of sexual abuse and fraud, which he rejected as smear campaigns.[7][8][9]

The Sathya Sai Organisation, founded by Sathya Sai Baba “to enable its members to undertake service activities as a means to spiritual advancement,”[10] has over 1,200 Sathya Sai Centres (branches) in 126 countries.[11] Through this organisation, Sathya Sai Baba established a network of free hospitals, clinics, drinking water projects and schools.[12][13][14]

Early life

Almost everything known about Sathya Sai Baba’s early life stems from the hagiography that grew around him, narratives that hold special meaning to his devotees and are considered by them to be evidence of his divine nature.[6][15][16] According to these sources, Sathyanarayana Raju was born to Meesaraganda Easwaramma and Peddavenkama Raju Ratnakaram in the village of Puttaparthi, in what was the Madras Presidency of British India.[6][17][18] His birth, which his mother Easwaramma asserted was by miraculous conception, was also said to be heralded by miracles.[5][6][19]

His siblings included elder brother Ratnakaram Sesham Raju (1921–1984), sisters Venkamma (1923–1993) and Parvathamma (1928–1998), and younger brother Janakiramiah (1930–2003).[20]

As a child, he was described as “unusually intelligent” and charitable, though not necessarily academically inclined, as his interests were of a more spiritual nature.[6][16] He was uncommonly talented in devotional music, dance and drama.[16][21] From a young age, he was alleged to have been capable of materialising objects such as food and sweets out of thin air.[22][23]


Sathya Sai Baba at the age of 14, soon after proclaiming himself as the avatar of Shirdi Sai Baba

 On 8 March 1940, while living with his elder brother Sesham Raju in Uravakonda, a small town near Puttaparthi, Sathya was apparently stung by a scorpion.[22][23] He lost consciousness for several hours[21] and in the next few days underwent a noticeable change in behaviour.[23] There were “symptoms of laughing and weeping, eloquence and silence.”[23][24] It is claimed that then “he began to singSanskrit verses, a language of which he had no prior knowledge.”[5] Doctors concluded his behaviour to be hysteria.[5][23] Concerned, his parents brought Sathya back home to Puttaparthi[25] and took him to many priests, doctors and exorcists. One of the exorcists at Kadiri, a town near Puttaparthi, went to the extent of torturing him with the aim of curing him;[further explanation needed] Sathya seemingly kept calm throughout, which further worried his parents.[23][24]

On 23 May 1940, Sathya called household members and reportedly materialised prasad and flowers for his family members.[26] His father became furious at seeing this, thinking his son was bewitched. He took a stick and threatened to beat him if Sathya did not reveal who he really was. On 20 October 1940, the young Sathya responded calmly and firmly “I am Sai Baba”, a reference to Sai Baba of Shirdi.[5][21]This was the first time he proclaimed himself to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi—a saint who became famous in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Maharashtra and had died eight years before Sathya was born.[5][25][27]

First mandir and development of Puttaparthi

In 1944, a mandir for Sathya Sai Baba’s devotees was built near the village of Puttaparthi. It is now referred to as the “old mandir”.[28][29]The construction of Prashanthi Nilayam, the current ashram, began in 1948 and was completed in 1950.[6][29] In 1954, Sathya Sai Baba established a small free general hospital in the village of Puttaparthi.[30] He won fame for mystical powers and the ability to heal.[31] In 1957 Sathya Sai Baba went on a North Indian temple tour.[18]

Stroke and paralysis

In 1963, Sathya Sai Baba suffered a stroke and four severe heart attacks, which left him paralysed on one side.[32] These events culminated in an event where he apparently healed himself in front of the thousands of people gathered in Prashanthi Nilayam who were then praying for his recovery.[6]

Prediction of reincarnation

On recovering, Sai Baba announced that he would one day next be reborn as an incarnation named Prema Sai Baba in the neighbouring state of Karnataka.[6] He stated, “I am Siva-Sakthi, born in the gotra (lineage) of Bharadwaja, according to a boon won by that sage from Siva and Sakthi. Siva was born in the gotra of that sage as Sai Baba of Shirdi; Siva and Sakthi have incarnated as Myself in his gotra now; Sakthi alone will incarnate as the third Sai (Prema Sai Baba) in the same gotra in Mandya district of Karnataka State.”[6][33] He stated he would be born again eight years after his death at the age of 96,[34] but died at the age of 84.[35]


On 29 June 1968, Sathya Sai Baba made his only overseas trip, to Kenya and Uganda.[32][36] In Nairobi, he spoke of his personal mission:

“I have come to light the lamp of Love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added lustre. I have not come on behalf of any exclusive religion. I have not come on a mission of publicity for a sect or creed or cause, nor have I come to collect followers for a doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into my fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of Love, this virtue of Love, this duty of Love, this obligation of Love.”[37]

Later years

In 1968, he established Dharmakshetra or the Sathyam Mandir in Mumbai.[38] In 1973, he established the Shivam Mandir in Hyderabad.[38] On 19 January 1981, inChennai, he inaugurated the Sundaram Mandir.[38]

In a 1993 incident, four intruders armed with knives entered his bedroom, either as an assassination attempt or as part of a power struggle between his followers. Regardless, Sai Baba was unharmed. During the scuffle and the police response, the intruders and two of Sai Baba’s attendants were killed. The official investigation left questions unanswered.[39][40][41]

In March 1995, Sathya Sai Baba started a project to provide drinking water to 1.2 million people in the drought-prone Rayalaseema region in the Anantapur districtof Andhra Pradesh.[42]

In April 1999 he inaugurated the Ananda Nilayam Mandir in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

In 2001 he established another free super-speciality hospital in Bangalore to benefit the poor.[30]

Old age and illness

In 2003, Sathya Sai Baba suffered a fractured hip when a student standing on an iron stool slipped and the boy and stool both fell on him. After that he gavedarshana from a car or his porte chair.[43][44]

After 2004, Sathya Sai Baba used a wheelchair and began to make fewer public appearances.


Sai Baba had predicted that he would die at age 96 and would remain healthy until then.[48] After he died, some devotees suggested that he might have been referring to that many lunar years, as counted by Telugu-speaking Hindus, rather thansolar years,[49] and using the Indian way of accounting for age, which counts the year to come as part of the person’s life.[50]Other devotees have spoken of his anticipated resurrection,

Sathya Sai Baba Inaugurating Radio Sai on His Birthday - 23rd November 2001

Sathya Sai Baba Inaugurating Radio Sai on His Birthday – 23rd November 2001

reincarnation or awakening.[51][52]On 28 March 2011, Sai Baba was admitted to the Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital at Prashantigram at Puttaparthi, following respiration-related problems.[45][46] After nearly a month of hospitalisation, during which his condition progressively deteriorated, Sai Baba died on Sunday, 24 April at 7:40 IST, aged 84.[47]

On 29 March 2011, Sathya Sai Baba was listed on the Watkins 100 Spiritual Power list.[53]

Funeral and mourning

His body lay in state for two days and was buried with full state honours on 27 April 2011.[54] An estimated 500,000 people attended the burial, among them the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Union Ministers S. M. Krishna and Ambika Soni, as well as other political leaders and prominent figures.[55][56][57][58]

Sathya Sai Baba’s death triggered an outpouring of grief from followers who included Indian politicians, movie stars, athletes and industrialists.[59] Most remembered him as a pious, selfless person who worked to help others with the billions of dollars donated to his charitable trust.[59]

Political leaders who offered their condolences included the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,[54][60][61] Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa[62] and the Dalai Lama.[63] Famous cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, whose birthday was that day, cancelled his birthday celebrations.[64][65] The Hindu newspaper reported that “Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s propagation of spiritualism and preaching of Hindu philosophy never came in the way of his commitment to secular beliefs.”[66]

The Government of Karnataka declared 25 and 26 April as days of mourning and Andhra Pradesh declared 25, 26, and 27 April as days of mourning.[54]

Opening of residence

On 17 June 2011, officials from the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (founded as a charitable Trust in India, and legally separate from religious activities),[67] opened his private residence in the presence of government, bank and tax department officials, including retired Supreme Court Judge A P Mishra and retired judge of Karnataka High Court Vaidyanatha, an assessor approved by the Income Tax Department, and former Chief Justice of India P N Bhagavati.[68] In the private residence, which had been sealed since his death, they inventoried 98 kg of gold ornaments, approximate value Rs 210 million (US$4.7m), 307 kg of silver ornaments, approximate value Rs 16 million (US$0.36m), and Rs 116 million (US$2.6m) in cash. The cash was deposited into the Sai Trust’s account at the State Bank of India with payment of government taxes (thus transferring them from religious gifts to Trust assets.) The gold and other items were inventoried, assessed, and placed in secure storage. In July, district authorities inventoried an additional Rs 7.7 million (US$0.17m) in valuables in another 4 rooms.[69] The total value of these items is believed to exceed 7.8 million US dollars.[70]

Also inventoried at Yajurmandir were many articles stored and routinely given away as gifts in various ceremonies to devotees and those who performed selfless service, including thousands of pure silk sarees, dhotis, shirts, 500 pairs of shoes, dozens of bottles of perfume and hairspray, watches, a large number of silver and gold “mangala sutrams”, and precious stones such as diamonds. There were also 750 saffron and white robes of the type Sai Baba wore.[71]

In July 2011, a similar opening of his Bangalore-area ashram tallied 6 kg of gold coins and jewellery, 245 kg of silver articles and Rs 8 million in cash.

These items and goods are believed to have been donated over the years by Sathya Sai Baba’s devotees from all over the world as religious gifts.[72][73]

Release of will

On 2 September 2012, Satyajit Salian, a close aide of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, released to the media a declaration made by Sai Baba, and registered on 23 March 1967, inBombay saying his relatives had no authority over the Sathya Sai Trust assets. The exact text of the declaration was:

I, Sri Sathya Sai of Parshanthi Nilayam P.O. Indian Inhabitant hereby declare as follows:- 1) I was born in the village of Puthaparthi District Anantpur and am at present 44 years old. I joined the school and gave up studies and dedicated myself spread Sanatan Dharma. I am unmarried and I left my parents house at the age of Twelve and have taken up religious order with saffron dress and I have no worldly/or family attachments. I declare that when I left parents’ place permanently and adopted Holy order with no intention to revert back. I relinquished all my right title and interest in the family property moveable and/or immovable whatsoever and wherever they may be and that I do not own and possess any personal property, wealth or estate. Whatever is given to me by my devotees is under my management, supervision and control as a Trustee to be used for public charitable purposes. This declaration I am making so that nobody can claim under or through me in the family properties, if any.[74]

Satyajit Sailan also attached the attestation of Indulal Sha, who is the sole surviving witness to the original document. Satyajit Sailan said he has been in possession of the document since 1998, per the directions of Sai Baba. Officials from the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust stated to the media that they would respect this will.[75][76]

Bibliography of works

List of Sathya Sai Baba works can be found here: Bibliography of Sathya Sai Baba
The Vahinis are a series of books by Sathya Sai Baba.[77]

Sathya Sai Organisation

The Sathya Sai Organisation (or Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization) was founded in the 1960s by Sathya Sai Baba.[10] The first Sai Centres were started in India under the name of the “Sri Sathya Sai Seva Samithi”.[78] The Sathya Sai Organisation originated “to enable its members to undertake service activities as a means to spiritual advancement.”[10]

The Sathya Sai Organisation publishes an official monthly magazine named Sanathana Sarathi, published by the Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust.[79][80]The English translation of the word Sanathana Sarathi means ‘Eternal Charioteer’.[80]

Sathya Sai Baba stated that the main objective of the Sathya Sai Organisation “is to help man recognize the divinity that is inherent in him. So, your duty is to emphasize the One, to experience the One in all you do or speak. Do not give any importance to differences of religion or sect or status or colour. Have the feeling of one-ness permeate every act of yours. Only those who do so have a place in this Organization; the rest can withdraw.”[81][82]

The Sathya Sai Organisation reports that there are an estimated 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centres in 114 countries.[83][84] However, the number of active Sathya Sai Baba followers is hard to determine.[6] Estimates vary from 6 million[85] up to nearly 100 million.[86] In India itself, Sai Baba drew followers predominantly from theupper-middle-class, the urban sections of society who have the “most wealth, education and exposure to Western ideas.”[15] In 2002, he claimed to have followers in 178 countries.[87][88]

Sathya Sai Baba founded a large number of schools and colleges, hospitals, and other charitable institutions in India and abroad, the total cost of which is usually estimated at Rs. 400 billion (US$9 billion).[89][90][91] However, estimates as high as 1.4 trillion rupees (about US$31.5bn) have also been made.[92] After his death, questions about the manner in which the finances of the organisation were going to be managed led to speculations of impropriety, with some reports suggesting that suitcases containing cash and/or gold had been removed from his personal lodgings.[91][93][94]

Institutions, projects and other works

Educational institutions

Sathya Sai Baba’s educational institutions aim to impart character education along with excellence in academics with emphasis on human values and ethics.[95]

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed to be University), established in 1981, called Sri Sathya Sai University for some years, of which Sathya Sai Baba was the Chancellor, has four campuses, one at Puttaparthi for men, one at Whitefield, Bangalore for men, one at Anantapur for women, and one at

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Puttaparthi, A.P., India

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Puttaparthi, A.P., India

Muddenahalli for men.[96]

Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School

The Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School was founded by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on 15 June 1981 in ‘Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Giri’ complex of Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi. This is a boarding school with separate hostel for boys and girls. The school caters to classes I to XII of the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi [CBSE]. For 2014, it was ranked in the top 10 CBSE schools of India.[97]


Sathya Sai Baba chaired the Muddenahalli-Sathya Sai Loka Seva School and Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust Educational Institutions in MuddenahalliKanivenarayanapura regions. He has also took over the Sri Sathya Sai loka Seva institutions, Alike, Karnataka from Madiyal Narayana Bhat,[98] Currently it is headed by Gangadhar Bhat. In addition, a Sathya Sai Baba University and Medical School also a hospital and research institute are being constructed on over 200 acres (0.81 km2). Baba said that the campus will be modelled after Puttaparthi and will infuse spirituality with academics.[99][100]

Hospitals and medical care

The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust runs several general hospitals, two speciality hospitals, eye hospitals and mobile dispensaries and conducts medical camps in rural and slum areas in India.[101]

Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Whitefield

The Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Whitefield was opened in Whitefield, Bangalore, in 1977 and provides complex surgery, food and medicines free of cost. The hospital has treated over 2 million patients.[102]

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi

 Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital, Whitefield (suburb of Bangalore), Karnataka, India

Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital, Whitefield (suburb of Bangalore), Karnataka, India

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi is a 300-bed facility which provides free surgical and medical care and which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao on 22 November 1991.[30]

The hospital is equipped 11 surgical theatres, five intensive care units, two cardiac catheterisation laboratories, medical and surgical wards, and a 24-hour emergency unit. “Leading doctors specialising in the fields of Cardiology, Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Urology, Ophthalmology etc. come from different parts of the World on their own and render their services free of cost.”[103][104][105]

The hospital has a unique history of its own. On 23 November 1990, during his birthday discourse, Sri Sathya Sai Baba while talking about the inability of healthcare access to the poor declared within one year a tertiary care hospital will come up in the village of Puttaparthi, which will provide high-end care completely free to all the patients. The hospital was constructed in a record time of exactly one year and the first cardiothoracic operations were carried out successfully.[106]

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield

Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, Whitefield (suburb of Bangalore), Karnataka, India

Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, Whitefield (suburb of Bangalore), Karnataka, India

After the success of the first super speciality hospital, the Karnataka government offered Sathya Sai Baba 53 acres of land to establish another super speciality hospital in Whitefield.[107]

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield is a 333-bed hospital,[108] which was inaugurated on 19 January 2001 by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.[109][110] The estimated cost of this second hospital was Rs 2000 million.[111] The hospital has provided free medical care to over 250,000 patients.[112]

Drinking water supply projects


In November 1995, Sathya Sai Baba expressed his concern about the lack of drinking water in Rayalseema.[113] In March 1995, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust commenced work on a project to supply pure drinking water to villages in the district of Anantapur.[113] The project was completed in 1996 supplies water to 1.2 million people in about 750 villages in the drought-prone Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh.[42][114]


The Chennai drinking water project, completed in 2004, supplies water to Chennai through a rebuilt waterway named “Sathya Sai Ganga Canal”.[115][116] Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi praised the Chennai water project and Sai Baba’s involvement.[117][118] Other completed water projects include the Medak District Project benefiting 450,000 people in 179 villages and the Mahbubnagar District Project benefiting 350,000 people in 141 villages.[42] In January 2007, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust said it would start a drinking water project in Latur, Maharashtra.[119][120][121][122]


In 2008, 2 million people in the state of Odisha were affected by floods. As a relief measure, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organization, has built 699 houses as a part of their first phase in 16 villages by March 2009.[123]


Sathya Sai Baba’s Educare programme seeks to found schools throughout the world with the goal of educating children in the five human values. According to the Sai Educare site, schools have been founded in 33 countries, including Australia, Mexico, the United Kingdom and Peru.[124][125] The Times of Zambia states, “The positive influence of Sathya Sai is unprecedented in the annals of education in Zambia. Sai Baba’s education ideals as embodied in his human values-based approach in education are an eye-opener to educationists in Zambia.”[126]

In Canada, the Fraser Institute, an independent Canadian research and educational organisation, ranked the Sathya Sai School of Canada as one of the top 37 elementary schools in Ontario.[127]

Spiritual media

On 23 November 2001, the digital radio network Radio Sai Global Harmony was launched through the World Space Organization, United States. Michael Oleinikof Nobel (distant relative to Alfred Nobel and one of the patrons for the radio network) said that the radio network would spread Sathya Sai Baba’s message of global harmony and peace.[128]


On 23 November 1999, the Department of Posts, Government of India, released a postage stamp and a postal cover in recognition of the service rendered by Sathya Sai Baba in addressing the problem of providing safe drinking water to the rural masses.[129]

In January 2007, an event was held in Chennai Nehru Stadium organised by the Chennai Citizens’ Conclave to thank Sathya Sai Baba for the 2 billion water project which brought water from the River Krishna in Andhra Pradesh to Chennai city. Four chief ministers attended the function.[130][131]

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a Sikh, said the country would remember Sathya Sai Baba as someone who “inspired millions to lead a moral and meaningful life.”[59]

The Indian Department of Post released a commemorative stamp on the spiritual guru on the occasion of what would have been his 88th birthday during November 2013.[132][133]

Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, Puttaparthi, A.P., India

Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital, Puttaparthi, A.P., India

Ashrams and mandirs

Prasanthi Nilayam


Puttaparthi, A.P.

Puttaparthi, where Sathya Sai Baba was born and lived, was originally a small, remote South Indian village in Andhra Pradesh. Now there is an extensive university complex, a speciality hospital, and two museums: the Sanathana Samskruti or Eternal Heritage Museum, sometimes called the Museum of All Religions, and the Chaitanya Jyoti, devoted exclusively to the life and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba; the latter has won several international awards for its architectural design.[134] There is also

Chaitanya Jyoti Museum devoted to the life and teachings of Sathya Sai Baba

a planetarium, a railway station, a hill-view stadium, an administrative building, an airport, an indoor sports stadium and more.[135] High-ranking Indian politicians such as the former President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Andhra Pradesh former Chief Minister Konijeti Rosaiah and Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa have been official guests at the ashram in Puttaparthi.[136][137] It was reported that well over a million people attended Sathya Sai Baba’s 80th birthday celebration, including 13,000 delegates from India and 180 other countries.[138][citation needed]

Sathya Sai Baba resided much of the time in his main ashram, Prashanthi Nilayam (Abode of Highest Peace), at Puttaparthi. In the summer he often left for his other ashram, Brindavan, in Kadugodi, Whitefield, a town on the outskirts of Bangalore. Occasionally he visited his Sai Shruti ashram in Kodaikanal.[139]

Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram

Hill in Prashanthi Nilayam with statues of Hanuman, Krishna, Shirdi Sai Baba, Shiva, Buddha, Christ, Zarathustra.

Hill in Prashanthi Nilayam with statues of Hanuman, Krishna, Shirdi Sai Baba, Shiva, Buddha, Christ, Zarathustra.

Sathya Sai Baba established three primary mandirs (spiritual centres) in India. The first mandir, founded in Mumbai in 1968, is referred to as either “Dharmakshetra” or “Sathyam”. The second centre, established in Hyderabad in 1973, is referred to as “Shivam”. The third, inaugurated on 19 January 1981 in Chennai, is called “Sundaram”.[38][citation needed]

Beliefs and practices of devotees

Certain scholarly sources describe the Sathya Sai Baba movement as Hindu.[140][141][142] But John D. Kelly, as of 2006 a professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago, wrote in an article about Hindu missions in Fiji that the Sathya Sai Organization (which is part of the movement) rejected the label Hindu. According to Kelly, they see their founder as the “living synthesis of the world’s religious traditions” and prefer to be classified as an interfaith movement.

Internationally, Sathya Sai Baba devotees gather daily, or weekly on Sundays or Thursdays or both, for devotional songs,[143] prayer,[144] spiritual meditation, service to the community (Seva),[145] and to participate in “Education in Human Values” (SSEHV)[144] known as “Bal Vikas” (Blossoming of the Child).

Followers believed in seeking the spiritual benefit of Sathya Sai Baba’s darshan, scheduled for morning and afternoon each day. Sai Baba would interact with people, accept letters, materialise and distribute vibhuti (sacred ash) or call groups or individuals for interviews. Devotees considered it a great privilege to have an interview and sometimes a single person, group or family was invited for a private interview for answers to spiritual questions and general guidance.[21]

Criticism and controversy

Accusations against Sathya Sai Baba by his critics over the years have included sleight of hand, sexual abuse, money laundering, fraud in the performance of service projects, and murder.[8][9]

In 1972 Abraham Kovoor made the first public criticism of Sathya Sai Baba[146] when he looked into a claim publicly narrated by one devotee[146] that Sathya Sai Baba had created a new model of a Seiko watch, and found the claim to be untrue.[147][148]

In April 1976, Hosur Narasimhaiah, a physicist, rationalist and then vice-chancellor of Bangalore University, founded and chaired a committee “to rationally and scientifically investigate miracles and other verifiable superstitions”. Narasimhaiah wrote Sathya Sai Baba three widely publicised letters challenging him to perform his miracles under controlled conditions. The letters were ignored.[149] Sathya Sai Baba said that he ignored Narasimhaiah’s challenge because he felt his approach was improper, adding that “Science must confine its inquiry only to things belonging to the human senses, while spiritualism transcends the senses.[150] If you want to understand the nature of spiritual power you can do so only through the path of spirituality and not science. What science has been able to unravel is merely a fraction of the cosmic phenomena …”[151] Narasimhaiah’s committee was dissolved in August 1977. According to Erlendur Haraldsson, the committee’s formal challenge came to a dead end because of its negative attitude and perhaps because of the fanfare surrounding it. Narasimhaiah held the fact that Sathya Sai Baba ignored his letters to be one of several indications that his miracles were fraudulent.[152] As a result of this episode, a public debate raged for several months in Indian newspapers.[153]

Indian rationalist Basava Premanand, who began campaigning against Sai Baba in 1976, unsuccessfully attempted to sue him in 1986 for violations of the Gold Control Act, citing Sathya Sai Baba’s purported materialisations of gold objects. When the case was dismissed, Premanand unsuccessfully appealed on the grounds that claimed spiritual power is not a defence recognised in law.[154]

A 1995 TV documentary Guru Busters, produced by filmmaker Robert Eagle for the UK’s Channel 4, accused Sathya Sai Baba of faking his materialisations.[155] The clip from the film was mentioned in the Deccan

Sathya Sai Baba Samadhi at Puttaparthi

Sathya Sai Baba Samadhi at Puttaparthi

Chronicle, on 23 November 1992, in a front page headline “DD Tape Unveils Baba Magic”.[156] But Haraldsson stated that, on investigating the DD video, researchers did not find evidence of fake materialisation. According to Haraldsson, the video was taken to a company that investigates corporate fraud, which found that it did not provide firm evidence of sleight of hand.[157]

In 1998, British journalist Mick Brown stated in his book The Spiritual Tourist that in his opinion claims of Sathya Sai Baba resurrecting American devotee Walter Cowan in 1971 were probably untrue.[158] His opinion was based on letters from the attending doctors presented in the magazine Indian Skeptic, published by Basava Premanand.[158][159] Brown also related, in the same book, his experiences with manifestations of vibuthi from Sathya Sai Baba’s pictures in houses in London, which he felt were not fraudulent or the result of trickery.[160] Brown wrote with regards to Sathya Sai Baba’s claims of omniscience, that “sceptics have produced documentation clearly showing discrepancies between Baba’s reading of historical events and biblical prophecies, and the established accounts.”[158]

The Vancouver Sun in 2001 reported that Sathya Sai Baba told his adherents not to browse the Internet[161] after Sathya Sai Baba said, “These teachings (the Vedas) are highly sacred. Today people are ready to believe all that they see on television and internet but do not repose their faith in the Vedic declarations. Internet is like a waste paper basket. Follow the ‘innernet,’ not the internet.”[162]

In January 2002, a documentary produced by Denmark’s national television and radio broadcast company, Danmarks Radio (DR), named Seduced By Sai Baba, analysed videos of public manifestations of Sathya Sai Baba, and suggested that they could be explained as sleight of hand.[163] The documentary also presented interviews with Alaya Rahm where he alleged sexual abuse by Sai Baba.[8] As a result, in 2002 the Parliament of the United Kingdom discussed the possible danger to male children of British families intending to visit the ashram of Sathya Sai Baba in case of individual audiences with the guru.[164]

In 2004, the BBC produced a documentary titled The Secret Swami, as part of its series “The World Uncovered”.[165] One central theme of the BBC documentary was again Alaya Rahm’s sexual abuse allegations against Sathya Sai Baba.[166] This documentary interviewed him together with Mark Roche, who had spent 25 years of his life since 1969 in the movement and alleged abuse by Sai Baba.[166] The show also featured allegations from Sai Baba critic Basava Premanand. Premanand stated in the documentary that, in his opinion, Sai Baba faked his materialisations. Here, he claimed that Sathya Sai Baba was “not just a fraud, but a dangerous sexual abuser”. According to his interview, he had stories which spanned 30 years, and he stated that his stories were similar, a common practice being the rubbing of genitals with oil by the spiritual leader. Among his claims were that one ex-devotee claimed Sai Baba “put the oil on his hands, told me to drop my pants and rubbed my genitals with the oil”. Premanand theorised that many Indian boys were abused but were never heard from because they were too afraid to speak out, alleging Sai Baba was well-connected with the elite and powerful of India.[8]

Responses to criticism

Sathya Sai Baba and his followers strongly rejected any allegations of misconduct, which were never proven to be true.[12] Devotee Bill Aitken was quoted by The Week as saying that Sathya Sai Baba’s reputation had not been harmed by the negative stories published about him. He said that the more detractors railed against Sathya Sai Baba, the more new devotees went to see him.[167]

In the article Divine Downfall, published in the Daily Telegraph, Anil Kumar, the ex-principal of the Sathya Sai Educational Institute, said that he believed that the controversy was part of Baba’s divine plan and that all great religious teachers had to face criticism during their lives. Anil Kumar also said that allegations had been levelled at Sathya Sai Baba since childhood, but with every criticism he had become more and more triumphant.[168]

In the book Redemptive Encounters: Three Modern Styles in the Hindu Tradition, Lawrence A. Babb wrote of Sathya Sai Baba, “Whoever he is, he is certainly more than the mere parlour magician many of his critics claim that he is.”[6]

Sathya Sai Baba publicly responded to the allegations on 25 December 2000:

Some people out of their mean-mindedness are trying to tarnish the image of Sai Baba. I am not after name and fame. So, I do not lose anything by their false allegations. My glory will go on increasing day by day. It will never diminish even a bit if they were to publicise their false allegations in the whole world in bold letters. Some devotees seem to be perturbed over these false statements. They are not true devotees at all. Having known the mighty power of Sai, why should they be afraid of the ‘cawing of crows’? One should not get carried away by all that is written on walls, said in political meetings or the vulgar tales carried by the print media.[169]

The Times of India on 26 December 2000 quoted Sathya Sai Baba as saying:

Jesus Christ underwent many hardships, and was put to the cross because of jealousy. Many around him could not bear the good work he did and the large number of followers he gathered. One of his disciples, Judas, betrayed him. In those days there was one Judas, but today there are thousands. Just as that Judas was tempted to betray Jesus, the Judases of today, too, are bought out to lie. Jealousy was the motive behind the allegations levelled at him.[170]

In an official letter made public in December 2001, Atal Bihari Vajpayee (then Prime Minister of India and a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba),[88] P.N. Bhagwati (Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Ranganath Misra (Chair Person, National Human Rights Commissioner of India and Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Najma Heptulla (President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; UNDP Distinguished Human Development Ambassador) and Shivraj Patil(Member of Parliament, India; Formerly of the Lok Sabha & Union Minister) all signed the following statement:

We are deeply pained and anguished by the wild, reckless and concocted allegations made by certain vested interests and people against Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. We would normally expect that responsible media would ascertain the true facts before printing such a calumny – especially when the person is revered globally as an embodiment of love and selfless service to humanity.[171][172]

Taken from:

Jose Silva

josesilvaJose Silva (Laredo (Texas), August 11, 1914 – f February 7, 1999.) Parapsychologist of Mexican origin, creator of Silva Mind Control.

Early life

His father died when he was four years old. His mother remarried soon after, and he and his brothers went to live with his grandmother. Two years later he set to work to support her family by selling newspapers, shining shoes, and doing odd jobs. In the afternoons watching his brothers while doing their homework, and they helped him learn to read and write.

At fifteen years of age, after taking a course to learn how to repair radios, he began working with these elements in a workshop, learning quickly and founding his own company after years of repairs. In 1944 he joined the army, where he became interested in psychology following a psychiatric evaluation realizaron.1 In war he studied advanced electronics, becoming an instructor at the Army Broadcasting Service. When I got the license, he began to build his own business repair of radio, and later television sets.

Their concerns about the human mind led him to consider whether using hypnosis would be possible to improve a person’s ability to learn and actually raise your IQ (IQ). Because in those days it was believed that the C.I. was a fixture with which we were born, but José Silva was not very convinced.

For a time he worked part time to teach at the Laredo Junior College, where he was responsible for organizing electronics laboratories school. After the war and after more than 20 years, with notable success directing their repair facility withdrew from this activity in 1966, which until then it synchronized with his research on self-control of the mind.

Conception and first steps of the method

It was due to low school grades of their children, on the one hand, and reading about hypnosis, on the other, which led him increasingly to try to resolve the issue that years before raised as to whether it could improve learning ability, through some kind of mental training.

The investigation of brain rhythms and their influence on the mind, began in Laredo (Texas) in 1944. He began this quest, with the intention to use the results to increase the IQ of the participants. Five years later. His studies led him deeper into hypnosis and parapsychology, which in those years was beginning to be studied in some universities.

He met studies on brain electrical activity; I had also read about experiments using electroencephalography, who discovered the different rhythms in the human brain works, such as alpha waves, which occur in low concentration and no processing of visual stimuli. Silva focused his later ideas in these waves to which he attributed facilities in schools as learning, imagination, relaxation, pain control, storage, etc. were achieved more easily during this stage of brain capacities of no evidence fiables.

PES communication experience

Jose Silva allegedly had his first experience of PES (extrasensory perception) a day of 1953 with one of his daughters. According account, this occurred when he was asking his daughter about her school work and noted then that she came to answer some of the questions on which he was thinking before formulárselas verbally. It also concluded that these experiences gave especially when her daughter was in the “Alpha Level” (7-13 cycles per second of brain activity).

In the 1950s, the PES (‘perception Extrasensorial) was becoming a discipline under investigation with scientific methods in some universities, largely through thanks to the work published by Dr. JB Rhine of Duke University. José Silva wrote to Dr. Rhine in 1953 to inform about experiences with her daughter in the practice of the PES. Rhine answered with skepticism, because this professor considered, unlike Silva, neither the vision nor intelligence can mejorarse.

To test their results Silva worked for ten years, training in this period to 39 volunteers from among their

I Have a Hunch: the Autobiography of Jose Silva-Vol. 1

I Have a Hunch: the Autobiography of Jose Silva-Vol. 1

friends and relatives and continued to refine the process. In 1963 he founded the Laredo Parapsychology Foundation Inc. Over the years his work became very popular, but not the approval of the scientific community. In 1965 he wrote to President Lyndon Johnson offering their investigations free government, but the president rejected his offer. In 1966 he developed his basic course in mind control within 48 hours.

Method development

Silva also experimented with hypnosis, hypnosis but even allowed the mind to be more receptive, he thought it was better than the person could control the process itself, to improve at will and selectively, the performance of various mental activities such as memory, learning, creativity, imagination, etc.

Therefore, he soon abandoned hypnosis and began experimenting with mental training exercises in Alpha state, to teach people to reduce the level of brain electrical activity. From his work in electronics knew that the most effective circuits have less resistance, idea extrapolated brain function deducing that a degree of deep relaxation human mind would work better, so he sought such a state and keep it long or more awake and alert hypnosis. This, he concluded, would lead to improved memory, combined with a greater capacity for understanding, and consequently, to raise IQ scores

The crucial problem was fully keep the mind alert at all times at these frequencies, which are associated more with daydreaming and sleep than with ordinary practical activity. Therefore, the primary objective was learning relaxation techniques and conscious control of the Alpha frequency brain.

To achieve this, the exercises from which evolved the Silva Method, required a level of relaxed concentration and vivid mental imagery as a means to achieve deeper levels, while retaining alertness. According to this premise, once achieved, these levels, the brain would function more effectively.


The first results obtained them, with the improvement, over several years in school grades of their children. Interpreted Silva had improved because of his method, and that encouraged him to continue perfecting his new technique. José Silva also experimented with the “biofeedback” or feedback as a way to train the mind and body, by observing the results produced on the screen of a device while these phenomena occur (cerebral rhythm, heart, etc.) may voluntarily modulate the subject, while being observed directly by him.

In 1956, he began to develop a training program whose principles are still used today in their courses. The prosperity of the electronics company will provide sufficient resources to invest the proceeds and financing more than twenty years of research and testing that eventually led to the creation and development of so-called Silva Mind Control Method in 1966. Since then devoted himself entirely to the development and advancement of his method.…/Jose_Silva_%28parapsic%C3%B3logo%…

This article is in Spanish. I have used Google Translate it to English.

John Collins

John Wayne Todd (May 19, 1949[1][2] – November 10, 2007), also known as “John Todd Collins”, “Lance Collins”, and “Christopher Kollyns”, was an American speaker and conspiracy theorist. He claimed to be a former occultist who was born into a ‘witchcraft family’ before converting to Christianity. He was a primary source for many Chick Publications works against Dungeons & Dragons, Catholicism, Neopaganism, and Christian rock. Although most of his activity was during the 1970s, his claims continue to be spread in many fundamentalist Christian circles.


Todd was discovered in 1968 preaching and married to a woman named Linda. He claimed to have been a witch “in the Navy”, but converted to Christianity while visiting a southern Californian Pentecostal church. After disappearing from public sight for a few months, Todd returned without his wife, saying that God told them to seek other mates. In 1969, Todd joined the United States Army, later saying that he did so with the intention of establishing a coven of witches. He claimed to have served as a Green Beret in Vietnam before being transferred to Germany, where he killed a commanding officer. His explanation for not serving jail time for this was that the Illuminati freed him from jail and eliminated his military records.

These records were later recovered by investigative journalists working for Christianity Today, who found that he had never been to Vietnam, but was only stationed in Germany for a few months before being discharged for psychiatric reasons and drug abuse. One report concluded that Todd found it difficult to distinguish reality and fantasy. After being discharged, he disappeared from public sight again until 1973.


During the early 1970s, Todd became one of a handful of speakers making the rounds in evangelical Christian circles warning young people against the occult. Like two other of those speakers, Hershel Smith and Mike Warnke (whose claims of being an ex-Satanist have likewise been disproved[6]), Todd claimed to have been a Satanic high priest before his conversion, which he dated as 1972. (In one meeting between Todd and Warnke, the two had a backstage confrontation and Todd accused Warnke of stealing his testimony regarding the Illuminati.) Todd also claimed that John F. Kennedy was still alive and that he had been Kennedy’s “personal warlock”. Christian publisher Jack T. Chick created a comic book, “The Broken Cross”, based on Todd’s allegations that Satanists were taking over America. In 1973 allegations surfaced that he had been making sexual advances toward young women and teenage girls at Christian meetings and a Jesus Movement coffeehouse, was incorporating witchcraft teachings into his Bible studies, was carrying a .38 handgun into church meetings, and was using drugs. In addition, he impregnated his wife’s teenage sister. After some Christian leaders who had promoted him took steps to distance themselves, including evangelist Doug Clark denouncing him on his television show, Todd dropped out of sight from fundamentalist Christianity. During this time, Todd spoke in charismatic churches, claiming to have evidence that fundamentalist churches were tools of the Illuminati.

In 1974 Todd moved to Dayton, Ohio where he opened an occult bookstore and began recruiting for a Wiccan coven. In 1976 Todd became the subject of a criminal investigation over reports that he was involving underage girls in sexual initiation rituals for his coven. Following an investigation of his activities by neopagan leaders Isaac Bonewits and Gavin Frost, which uncovered drug use and underage sex, Frost’s Church and School of Wicca revoked the charter it had granted to Todd’s coven. He was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and given a six-month sentence, but served only two months before being released due to epileptic fits.

Todd resurfaced in the evangelical Christian community in late 1977, this time claiming the existence of a vast Satanic conspiracy led by an order of witches called the Illuminati, supposedly including a number of Christian organizations and well-known Christian figures such as Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, Bob Jones, Sr., Oral Roberts, and Pat Robertson.He claimed to have given, as a member of the Illuminati, $8 million to Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel to launch the Christian rock industry, which Todd said was a Satanic invention to entrap Christian young people in rock music and its “demonic beat”. He claimed that Falwell had been “bought off” by the Illuminati with a $50 million donation. He also claimed that US President Jimmy Carter was the Antichrist and that the Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged was the Illuminati’s blueprint for unleashing a planned Satanic takeover. He urged Christians to stockpile weapons and food in preparation for a Satanic takeover in 1980. He found a niche speaking in fundamentalist Independent Baptist churches.
Tapes from Todd around 1979 just prior to dropping out of the public eye indicate that he had returned to teaching Oneness Pentecostal (aka, “Jesus Only”) theology. Todd dropped out of sight again after 1979, reportedly moving to rural Montana after issuing warnings that the Satanic takeover had begun. He was later reported to have delivered a speech in Cedar Falls, Iowa in 1983 at the invitation of Randy Weaver.

Later life

Todd was arrested in May 1987 for the rape of a University of South Carolina graduate student. After his arrest, he was additionally charged with sexually molesting two children who attended a karate school where he worked. He was convicted of the rape in January 1988 and sentenced to 30 years in state prison.[16] In 2004, Todd was released, but he was put in the care of the Behavioral Disorder Treatment Unit run by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. On November 10, 2007, Todd died in the institute.

Inconsistencies in Todd’s testimony

Todd claimed to have served as a Green Beret in the Vietnam War, but his discharge papers list him as a general clerk/typist and do not record him having been in Vietnam. Army medical reports referred to “emotional instability with pseudologica phantastica” (compulsive lying), difficulty in telling reality from fantasy, homicidal threats he had made on another, false suicide reports, and a severe personality disturbance. Todd also claimed in his testimony to have murdered an officer in Germany and to have escaped prison with the help of the Illuminati, but his records show no such things occurred.

Todd’s speaking engagements during 1978 and 1979 generated controversy and sometimes hysteria at the churches he spoke at. Frequently, there were claims by Todd of gunshots in the parking lot or attacks on his life after the services, but there were no witnesses to confirm his claims.

While Todd claimed to have left witchcraft in 1972 and converted to fundamentalist Christianity, accounts have him being baptized into a Oneness Pentecostal church in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968, and leading a Wiccan group in Ohio in 1976. When confronted with the latter by Christian evangelists, Todd said that he had gone through a period of “backsliding” during that time. However, when a number of other inconsistencies in Todd’s story were reported in the evangelical Christian media, and Todd began denouncing many Christian leaders as part of the Satanic conspiracy or the Illuminati, many evangelists denounced Todd and cut off any further association. Jack Chick was the only influential evangelist to continue to defend Todd.

Several evangelical Christian ministries investigated Todd’s claims and published articles disputing them. These included Cornerstone magazine, the Christian Research Institute, Christianity Today magazine, and the book The Todd Phenomenon by Darryl E. Hicks (with an introduction by Mike Warnke).

Publications based on Todd’s claims

Todd has appeared in several of Jack Chick’s publications. Chick first promoted Todd’s message in comic form in the comic book The Broken Cross, which portrays a northern California town controlled by organized Satanists. Another Chick comic book, Spellbound?, expresses “deepest appreciation to John Todd, ex-grand druid priest”. In it, a character called “Lance Collins” claims that Satanists control the rock music industry

The Todd phenomenon: Ex-grand Druid vs. the Illuminati - Fact or Phantasy?

The Todd phenomenon: Ex-grand Druid vs. the Illuminati – Fact or Phantasy?

and are infiltrating churches, and urges Christians to burn their rock music records, Ouija boards and Dungeons & Dragons game sets. A third Chick comic, Angel of Light, includes a chart purporting to depict Satan’s power structure, based on a similar chart authored by Todd and distributed at his speeches.
Todd’s stories about the Illuminati were published as the comic book The Illuminati and Witchcraft in 1980 by Jacob Sailor. His claims partially became the basis for a different book, Witchcraft and the Illuminati published in the early 1980s by The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord, a Christian Identity group, and reprinted in 1999 by the Christian Patriot Association (ISBN 0-944379-18-4). This book repeated many of Todd’s claims, including the alleged power structure of the Illuminati and the idea that Atlas Shrugged was the Illuminati’s secret blueprint, but added Identity beliefs derogatory toward Jews and African-Americans.

After Todd’s veracity was questioned and investigated, Chick continued to defend him and publish tracts based on Todd’s life. Author Cynthia Burack wrote that Chick often made “excuses for behaviours that were inconsistent with Todd’s status as a high-profile Christian convert,” and that his “propensities to indulge in conspiracy theory and to lash out at putative allies who question his conclusions” in his defense of Todd and other controversial figures (namely Alberto Rivera and Rebecca Brown) resulted in a split between himself and the conservative Christian movement.…/John_Todd_%28conspiracy_theorist%…

Leo Martello


Leo Martello (1931–2000) was a prominent American [Witch], gay rights activist, and author. He drew heavily on his Italian heritage, teaching the Strega Tradition which was named after the Italian word for Witch.  Born to a working-class family in Dudley, Massachusetts, he became interested in Western esotericism as a teenager.

As a founder of the Witches Anti-Defamation League (later the Alternative Religions Education Network) he was known for his lively and sometimes confrontational style. For example, in his books he tried to popularize the “Witches’ Curse” which was “I wish you on yourself”. He was profiled in Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon.

Early life
Martello was born on September 26, 1930, in Dudley, Massachusetts, being raised on a small farm rented by his father, the Italian immigrant Rocco Luigi Martello. Following the economic turmoil of the Great Depression, the Martellos were forced from their land and moved first to Worcester, Massachusetts and then to Southbridge, Massachusetts. It was here that Leo was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church, but his parents divorced soon after. Unable to care for him alone, his father sent Martello to the Catholic boarding preparatory school attached to Assumption College, Worcester, which was run by the Augustinians of the Assumption. He spent six years at the school, later describing it as the unhappiest period of his life. He began studying graphology, and by the age of 16 was making appearances on radio as a graphologist, also writing stories for magazines.

Martello later claimed to have experienced psychic phenomena as a child, sparking his interest in occultism. By his early teenage years, he had begun studying palmistry and tarot card reading with a Gypsy named Marta. He also later claimed that his father had informed him that his grandmother, Maria Concetta, had been a psychic known as a Strega Maga (“Great Witch”) in her hometown of Enna, Sicily, Italy. According to Martello’s account, Concetta had worked as a folk magician and tarot card reader, and attracted the hatred and envy of the local Catholic clergy. He also related that on one occasion, she had killed a Mafioso using magic when he threatened her husband for not paying protection money.Martello related that when he was 16, his father told him that he had cousins in New York City who wished to meet him. He proceeded to do so and – according to his account – they informed him that they were initiates of an ancient Italian witchcraft religion, La Vecchia (“the Old Religion”). After identifying his possession of psychic powers, they initiated him into the tradition on his 21st birthday in 1951, making him swear an oath never to reveal the secrets of the La Vecchia. Moving to the city, he studied at Hunter College and the Institute for Psychotherapy.

Martello never produced any proof to support his claims, and there is no independent evidence that corroborate them.[3] An anonymous woman who had known Martello informed the researcher Michael G. Lloyd that during the 1980s, he had told her that he had never been initiated into a tradition of Witchcraft, and that he had simply adopted occultism in the 1960s, in order to earn a living.

New York City: 1950–68
Based in New York City, in 1950 Martello founded the American Hypnotism Academy, continuing to direct the organization until 1954. From 1955 to 1957, he served as treasurer of the American Graphological Society, and worked as a freelance graphologist for such corporate clients as the Unifonic Corporation of America and the Associated Special Investigators International. He also published a column titled “Your Handwriting Tells” for eight years that ran in the Chelsea Clinton News, and supplied various articles on the subject of graphology to different magazines. In the city, he also embraced his homosexuality, and began to frequent the gay scene. In 1955, Martello was awarded a Doctorate in Divinity by a non-accredited organization, the National Congress of Spiritual Consultants, a clearing house for registered yet unaffiliated ministers. That year, he founded the Temple of Spiritual Guidance, taking on the role of Pastor, which he would continue in until 1960, when he retreated to devote himself to his writing and to his new philosophy of “psychoselfism”. In 1961 he published his first book, Your Pen Personality, in which he discussed the manner in which handwriting could be used to reveal the personality of the writer.

Martello claimed that in the summer of 1964, he moved to Tangier, Morocco, where he researched the history of the tarot at the University of Fez, resulting in the publication of It’s in the Cards (1964). Returning to the U.S. in 1965, he moved in to an apartment in Greenwich Village, New York City, writing a book on astrology, It’s Written in the Stars, and a book on psychic protection, How to Prevent Psychic Blackmail. He also began attending the Spiritualist gatherings that were operated by Clifford Bias at the Ansonia Hotel. In 1969 he decided to publicly reveal himself as a Wiccan, claiming that he had gained the permission of his coven to do so. Intent on countering the negative publicity that Wicca had been receiving, he set about writing The Weird Ways of Witchcraft (1969), also authoring The Hidden World of Hypnotism (1969).

Public activism
Gay Liberation: 1969–70
In July 1969, Martello attended an open meeting of the Mattachine Society’s New York branch. He was appalled at the Society’s negative reaction to the Stonewall riots, and castigated those self-loathing gay people in the audience who accepted the categorization of homosexuality as a mental illness. He proceeded to publish his thoughts in an essay in which he stated that “homosexuality is not a problem in itself. The problem is society’s attitude towards it.” Those gay rights activists who rejected the Mattachine Society’s approach and who favored a confrontational stance against the police and authorities founded the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), with Martello elected the group’s first moderator. Martello supported the GLF’s stance that condemned “this rotten, dirty, vile, fucked-up capitalist conspiracy” that dominated American society, and he volunteered by producing articles both for the group’s newsletter Come Out! and for the wider press. He was involved in the GLF’s campaign against The Village Voice’s decision to ban the word “gay” from advertisements; the magazine preferred the term “homophile”, which had also been used by the Mattachine Society. In wanting to break from previous gay liberation organizations, the GLF embraced the term “gay” and Martello dismissed “homophile” as sounding like a nail file for homosexuals.

The GLF was structured around a system of anarchic consensus, which made it difficult for the group to reach conclusions on any issue, and heated arguments became commonplace at its meetings. In November 1969, the group’s membership voted to provide political and financial support to the Black Panthers, an armed African-American leftist group. This was heavily controversial among the GLF, given the homophobic nature of the Black Panthers, and resulted in a walk-out of many senior members, including Martello, Arthur Evans, Arthur Bell, Lige Clarke, and Jack Nichols. That month, Martello was invited to a private meeting of these disaffected GLF members which resulted in the formation of the Gay Activist Alliance (GAA). Although continuing the GLF’s emphasis on taking a confrontational approach to conventional American society and authority, the group was more tightly organized and structured, and focused exclusively on attaining equal rights for gay and lesbian people. Two GAA members, Clarke and Nichols, convinced the businessman Al Goldstein to invest $25,000 in a new newspaper written by, and aimed at, the country’s gay community. It was launched in December 1969 as GAY, and it soon gained a readership of 25,000. Martello contributed a regular column known as “The Gay Witch”, reaching his widest audience to date, also authoring a variety of other articles that appeared in it.

WICA and WADL: 1970–74
In 1970, Martello founded the Witches International Craft Associates (WICA), through which he issued The WICA Newsletter, set up to explain what Wicca was to the wider public and to serve as a resource through which occultists could contact one another. In April 1970 he appeared on the WNEW-TV Channel 5 documentary series Helluva Town, performing Wiccan rites with several assistants in Central Park. That year saw one of New York’s first substantial gatherings of occultists, the Festival of Occult Arts, as well as the first Earth Day celebration and the first Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day parade. These events inspired Martello’s desire to hold a public Wiccan Sabbat celebration. Acting under the auspices of WICA, in late summer he approached the New York City Parks Department asking for permission to hold a “Witch-In” in Sheep Meadow, at the south end of Central Park, on October 31, 1970. The Department refused, and when Martello stated that the Wiccan community would gather there regardless in their capacity as private individuals, he was threatened with police action. Martello gained the legal assistance of the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), who informed the Parks Department that they were in breach of the First Amendment. The Department subsequently reversed their decision, and the event went ahead.

Inspired by his victory over the Parks Department, Martello founded an organization devoted to campaigning for the religious rights of Wiccans, the Witches Anti-Defamation League (WADL), which would eventually be renamed the Alternative Religions Education Network (AREN). For WADL, he authored an essay titled “The Witch Manifesto”, likely influenced by Carl Wittman’s “Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Manifesto” (1970), which demanded that the Roman Catholic Church face a tribunal for crimes committed against accused witches in the Early Modern period and that they pay reparations to the modern Wiccan community for those actions.

In 1971, a young gay Wiccan named Eddie Buczynski contacted Martello, and requested initiation. Due to Buczynski’s inexperience in the religion, Martello turned him down, although struck up a friendship with him and introduced him to other covens who might initiate him, also introducing him to Herman Slater, who would become his long-time partner. Slater was ill with various medical complications, and on one occasion was rehabilitating at the New York University Medical Center when Martello performed a healing ritual on him with the assistance of Buczynski. Martello would come to be known as a regular at The Warlock Shop, an occult store opened by Slater in New York. Through The WICA Newsletter, Martello had met Lady Gwen Thompson, the founder of the New England Covens of Traditionalist Witches (NECTW), and decided to introduce Buczynski to her, resulting in Buczynski’s initiation into the tradition in Spring 1972. Martello and Thompson later fell out, with some unconfirmed accounts claiming that it was because he lent her money and she did not pay him back. In October 1972, Buczynski founded the Welsh tradition of Wicca, with Martello becoming an early initiate and taking on the name of “Nemesis” within that tradition. In turn, Martello welcomed Buczynski into his La Vecchia tradition, and initiated him up to the third degree.

In November 1972, Martello lectured at the first Friends of the Craft conference, held at New York’s First Unitarian Church. In April 1973, he moved to England for six months, where he was initiated and trained in the three degrees of Gardnerian Wicca by the Sheffield coven run by Patricia Crowther and her husband Arnold Crowther. He continued to encourage acceptance of homosexuality within the Wiccan community, authoring an article titled “The Gay Pagan” for Green Egg magazine.

Later life
Martello died of cancer in June 2000.
Personal life
Pagan studies scholar Michael G. Lloyd described Martello as “a lanky, hungry scrapper with piercing eyes, the face of a dark angel, and a mouth like a bear trap.” He was often noted for his scruffy appearance, typically wearing second hand clothes.

Martello defended the growing rise of feminists in Wicca during the 1970s, criticizing what he deemed as the continual repression of women within the Pagan movement.He also espoused the view that any Pagan who was involved in the U.S. government or military was a hypocrite. He was also critical of Wiccans who espoused a division between white magic and black magic, commenting that it had racial overtones and that many of those advocating such a view were racist.

Martello thought it unimportant that many Wiccans had lied about the origins of their beliefs, being quoted by Pagan journalist Margot Adler in her book Drawing Down the Moon as having stated “Let’s assume that many people lied about their lineage. Let’s further assume that there are no covens on the current scene that have any historical basis. The face remains: they do exist now. And they can claim a spiritual lineage going back thousands of years. All of our pre-Judeo-Christian or Moslem ancestors were Pagans!”.

Gavin Frost


Gavin, born in 1930, was raised in a tight-knit family group ruled by his hard-working, hard-drinking Welshman grandfather, who was the family’s patriarch. All of the family’s sons and cousins worked in its galvanizing business, and members lived together on a wooded ridge outside Aldridge where the Welsh patriarch had built homes for each of his children. When the old man passed in 1936, the family promptly moved away from Aldridge, and Gavin was enrolled in boarding school.

During the war years, the family’s kitchen garden and business paid dividends, and family members sought advice from Granny on putting down eggs, storing, and canning, so that there would be food through the winter. That ancient knowledge became essential to life and health. The methods Gavin learned in youth served his family well in later years.

At war’s end, a particular hero of Gavin’s graduating class was a decorated navy commander who taught mathematics. From that man, Gavin derived his love of mathematics and physics, and in college he continued in the two disciplines.

In his final year at the University of London (King’s College), Gavin grew interested in the prehistoric peoples of the British Isles, and in the reconstruction of their spiritual beliefs. The influence of T.C. Lethbridge (Witches) and Glyn Daniel (Megalithic Monument Builders), and the heady atmosphere in London after the repeal of the Witchcraft Act, made this a formative time in Gavin’s life.

After earning an honors degree, Gavin was requested to work for the Department of Atomic Energy, but before he moved to the wilds of Cumberland, he was initiated into the Coven of Boskednan. (Boskednan is a Nine-Maidens circle in Cornwall.) Today the spirit-through-fire scar that the initiation entailed is still visible on his wrist.

The Coven of Boskednan was formed after a number of London University students contacted a Penzance group that had formally been at the university. Gavin’s group was instructed on what books to study and what lectures were pertinent if members hoped to be considered for initiation. Individual tasks were also allocated. Gavin’s was to walk around Cornwall on the cliff path, carrying tents and supplies, which turned out to be quite a trail – he encountered numerous signs with warnings such as “Dangerous path. Beware of land slips.” When the tasks were
completed and further interviews held, four members of Gavin’s group were initiated.

Roots of that Penzance coven’s practice always intrigued Gavin because (a) they seemed to owe nothing to Gerald Gardner’s work, and (b) the order of service) as shown in the The Good Witch’s Bible) did not resemble that of most other groups.

Gavin’s move to Cumbria and research proceeded. He completed his doctoral thesis and moved on to other research. Soon he had a long-term “significant other” in Dorothy Whitford. Gavin and Dorothy moved to de Havilland Aircraft in Hatfield, near London, where his research concentrated on the investigation of long-wave infrared radiation for the British equivalent of the Sidewinder missile. Much of that missile’s testing was carried out at night on Salisbury Plain. This gave Gavin time during the day to explore nearby ancient monuments such as Stonehenge and to talk with local historians on what may be called the pagans of Stonehenge.

At the time archeologists, led by Gerald Hawkins’ Stonehenge Decoded, were re-investigating the old monuments and the people who built them.  Fascinating discoveries were being made. One that Gavin vividly recalls was that of a skull that showed evidence of three trepanning surgeries – holes carved into it for brain surgery or perhaps for reduction of pressure. One such scar had been covered with a screwed-on silver plate, yet the man had lived to a great age after the operations (as shown by regrowth of bone). Incredibly, scientists estimated that his age a death was as much as three hundred years.

Gavin and Dorothy married in January 1953 and honeymooned in Ireland. At that time, finding pagan sites was difficult and, most likely, not the highest priority for a young married couple. A trip to the Isle of Man to see the TT races was more memorable for seeing Old Man Honda that for the visit to the Witch’s Mill. Although Dorothy assured him that he met Gerald Gardner, quite frankly Gavin has no memory of it.

The young couple was extremely happy when Dorothy became pregnant and Gavin obtained three offers of employment. One was at MIT, one with the group that became Hewlett Packard, and one with Canadair in Montreal, Canada. Gavin and Dorothy elected to emigrate to Montreal to work on the Canadian missile program. Canadair’s Research Institute. Gavin declined, joining instead the firm’s Training and Simulator group.

On one assignment Gavin visited a remote village in Chile, and in his four days there, he got his first taste of religion and Healing as practiced by shamans. The villagers could not believe that an outsider (especially a Caucasian!) would have any interest in their procedure or would be receptive toward it. He saw many parallels in what they were doing to what he had been taught in England.

Gavin later moved to California, Where he became senior project engineer on the radar system used in the F-104 military jet. This gave him the opportunity to travel around the world extensively. In Milan, Italy, he seized the opportunity to investigate Leland’s Aradia, through police contacts and records. In his search, he uncovered both truth and fiction.

The long work hours required in the aerospace industry took their toll on Gavin’s personal life, and when an opportunity arose to become his firm’s European representative, he took it. He and his family moved to Munich, Germany. Although the hours and work expectations were still high, there was more free time in Munich with a group of German sorcerers in Geiselgasteig, the old Bohemian arts’ colony south of Munich.

Because Dorothy had no interest in the occult or in writing for a living, the family was beginning to fragment and, upon their return to the United States, Gavin and Dorothy divorced. It was not an amicable divorce, and it became evident that if Gavin remained in southern California, Dorothy would continually harass him and any new associates. So, accompanied by his new love interest, Yvonne Wilson, Gavin accepted a post as international sales manager for a firm in St. Louis, Missouri. There, he and Yvonne began the long process of getting the U.S. government to accept Wicca as a religion. (See Church and School of Wicca, below).

Gavin felt that his international travel gave him opportunities that were not available to most Wiccans. For example, the King of Thailand arranged for Gavin to live as a monk for one week in a monastery outside Bangkok. Further, Gavin’s copy of the Bhagavad Gita bears the signature of Madame Indira Gandhi, who also introduced him to some authentic Tantrist.

Yvonne Frost
Yvonne, born in 1931, felt she was reincarnated into a family of Kentucky foot-washing, hard-shell Baptists in the heart of the Depression. A large group of relatives from the Cumberland Gap area moved from the poverty in Kentucky to Depression-era Los Angeles. As the eldest of four children, Yvonne lived in silent obedience and conformity, wondering why she did not fit in. The best lessons of those early days were a frugal approach that she never outgrew and a gratitude for every good experience that enriched her life.

A marriage to a well-meaning “Neanderthal,” as she described him, lasted ten years. At some point in that era, she came across Velikovsky’s Worlds in Collision and mentioned it, with excitement, to her Sunday-school teacher. His response: “If it isn’t in the Bible, I don’t want to hear about it.” She says she never looked back.

For the next eight years, Yvonne lived as a self-supporting, single woman. In that time she earned her degree in Orange County, California, and began exploring alternative paths of spirituality. She considered espousing Buddhism, but found the Eastern philosophy too passive for her spiritual needs. She finally discovered Spiritualism. At a seance in 1965, a voice came to her through the medium’s trumpet: “Can I be your little
girl?” Because she was single, she was taken aback, but she still managed to answer, “Yes. You come when it’s time.” (Bronwyn was born in 1969.) In another seance her spirit guide, Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace (the first proponent of evolution), brought her a green cabochon stone, which she had set into a bracelet. Wallace once pointed out (as a spirit) that a photo in his biography had been printed as a mirror image. Yvonne found a copy of the book and confirmed the complaint.

Her career at that time was in the aerospace industry; Gavin was her boss’s boss. During Gavin’s stint in Munich, he began writing a novel titled Pagans of Stonehenge and asked her to edit it for him. The two eventually became linked romantically. Once Yvonne met Gavin and learned of the Craft, she found that some of its aspects overlapped with the teachings of Spiritualism and Buddhism; for the first time, she felt she was finally on the right path. After Gavin’s divorce, the couple moved together to St. Louis.

Once there, Gavin’s work as an international sales manager led to more travel and longer hours away from home. Yvonne used her time alone to type all of the school’s lectures (see The Church and School of Wicca, below) and the draft of The Witch’s Bible.

In late July 1969, Gavin flew in from Australia, full of excitement. He had traveled on a Qantas flight especially rescheduled so passengers could see the reentry of the capsule carrying the first astronauts to walk on the moon. When he finally paused to take a breath while telling Yvonne about his special flight, Yvonne calmly informed him, “My water broke this morning.” Witnessing Bronwyn’s birth brought Gavin an epiphany. He gave up his career in aerospace, although he worked intermittently for a year or so as a consultant, and committed his life and energies to the Craft.

Effectively, the two of them sawed off the limb they had been sitting on: no more gold credit cards, no more first-class flights, no more captain of industry and management matron. They traded all of that in for a vow of poverty and a full time commitment to living and teaching The Craft.

In retrospect, they both felt that their shared life showed a pattern. They spent a couple of years remodeling a derelict building in St. Charles, Missouri, three years raising pigs on unimproved rural Missouri acreage and restoring an abandoned schoolhouse, twenty years in New Bern, North Carolina. These experiences served to fill in gaps in their respective learning. What the Frosts did not already know about humility from the discomforts of rehabbing buildings and from raising pigs, they learned well and throughly from the Pagan/Wiccan community and the warmth of its reception.

Today their life marches on. Yvonne says, “As we respectively approach out seventieth birthdays, we are eager to met our successors — poor devils!”

The Church and School of Wicca
When Gavin and Yvonne moved to Missouri in 1968, their first act was to attempt to form a coven. They quickly found that they were not comfortable having people come to their home to attend classes. The answer seemed to be a correspondence course, especially since Gavin was still on the road much of the time. Together they wrote a series of lectures that later formed the nucleus of their book, The Witch’s Bible (Nash Publishing, 1972).

In order to meet IRS requirements as a nonprofit organization, the church had to have a defined philosophy. The Frosts symbolized that philosophy using the five points of the pentagram: (1) The Wiccan Rede — “If it harm none, do what you will.” (2) Power through knowledge. (3) The Law of Attraction and of Threefold Return. (4) Harmony with the universe. (5) Reincarnation. The center of the pentagram represented deity.

A furor was created in Wiccan circles when the Frosts published their rituals and revealed that a dildo was used in the female initiation. Despite that furor, they have stood by their teachings.

Having finally satisfied all the IRS demands, the Church of Wicca was issued a Letter of Determination on August 31, 1972, after which fifteen other Church of Wicca facilities were chartered across the United Sates. Six years later, Gavin and Yvonne retired from active leadership in the church but retained responsibility for the correspondence school. The school has since grown to be the largest Witchcraft correspondence school
int he United Sates. It also offers courses in astrology, Tantra, psychic development, healing, herbs and other subjects.

The church continues to work for Wiccan rights, especially by making its teachings available to those in prison and in the military. The church was a leader in the fight against the Helms Amendment. (Senator Jesse Helms). The church and school publishes a periodical called Survival that is edited by the Frost’s daughter, Bronwyn.…/GavinYvonneFrost.html…/People-of-Wicca-Gavin-fro…

Robert Cochrane


Robert Cochrane (26 January 1931 – 3 July 1966), who was born as Roy Bowers, was an English occultist who founded the tradition of Pagan Witchcraft known as Cochrane’s Craft.

Born to a working-class family in West London, he became interested in occultism after attending a Society for Psychical Research lecture, taking a particular interest in witchcraft. He founded one coven, but it soon collapsed.

He began to claim to have been born to a hereditary family of witches whose practices stretched back to at least the 17th century; these statements have later been dismissed. He subsequently went on to found a coven known as the Clan of Tubal Cain, through which he propagated his Craft. In 1966, he committed suicide.

Cochrane continues to be seen as a key inspirational figure in the Traditional Witchcraft movement. Ever since his death, a number of Neopagan and magical groups have continued to adhere to his teachings.

Early Life
As noted by Michael Howard, “factual details about Cochrane’s early life are scant”. He was born in an area between Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush in West London into a family of eight children. He later described it as a “slum”, though this has been refuted by family members, who considered it a “respectable working class area”. There, he lived through the Blitz. Some of his family emigrated to Australia, while he went to art school, living a bohemian lifestyle. His aunt would later claim that he first took an interest in occultism after attending a talk of the Society for Psychical Research in Kensington.

During the early 1950s, he joined the army as a part of his national service, but went absent without leave; as punishment, he was sentenced to 90 days imprisonment in a military prison in Colchester. He admitted to having a violent temper in his youth, but calmed after meeting Jane, whom he would later marry. For a time he worked for London Transport as a blacksmith in a foundry; one potential reason why he adopted the mythical blacksmith Tubal Cain as a part of the mythos for his tradition. He and Jane later worked as bargees transporting coal around the English Midlands, taking an interest in the folklore of the Bargee community, later believing that it contained traces of the “Old Faith”. By the start of the 1960s, he was living with Jane and their son on a London County Council-run council estate near to Slough, Berkshire; he did not like the neighbours, considering them “the biggest load of monkeys there have been trained since the Ark.” He worked as a typographical draughtsman in an office, but disliked his job. He founded a witches’ coven, but it soon broke up as one member died and he fell out with another.

Later, in the 1960s, he claimed that members of his family had been practitioners of an ancient pagan Witch-cult since at least the 17th century, and that two of them had been executed for it. Claiming that his great-grandfather had been “the last Grand Master of the Staffordshire witches”, he said that his grandparents had abandoned the Craft and converted to Methodism, for which his great-grandfather had cursed them. He said that his father had practiced witchcraft, but that he kept it a secret, and made his wife promise to not tell his son, Robert. Despite her oath, according to Cochrane, after his father’s death, her mother did in fact tell him, at which he embraced his heritage. He asserted that his Aunt Lucy actually taught him all about the faith. However, these claims would later be denounced by members of his own family. His nephew, Martin Lloyd, has refuted that the family were ever Witches, insisting that they were Methodists,[7] while his wife Jane also later asserted that Cochrane’s claims to have come from a hereditary Witch-Cult were bogus.

Founding the Clan of Tubal Cain
Cochrane formed his second coven, which provided the basis for the Clan of Tubal Cain, in the early 1960s. Searching for members, he placed an advert in the Manchester Guardian requesting that anyone interested in Graves’ The White Goddess contact him; he received a response from the schoolteacher Ronald Milland White, known to his friends as “Chalky”.White then introduced him to George Arthur Stannard (also known as George Winter), who ran a betting shop near Kings Cross in Central London. White and Stannard joined this nascent coven, the latter taking up the position of Summoner. Describing his creation of his Witchcraft tradition, later Maid of the Clan Shani Oates remarked that “Like any true craftsman, he was able to mold raw material into a magical synthesis, creating a marvelous working system, at once instinctively true and intrinsically beautiful.”

The group performed their rituals either at Cochrane’s house, or, more often, at Burnham Beeches, though they also performed rituals at the South Downs, after which they would stay the night at Doreen Valiente’s flat in Brighton.

Cochrane’s Craft
The Clan of Tubal Cain revere a Horned God and Fate, expressed as the Pale Faced Goddess, named Hekate. The Goddess was viewed as “the White Goddess”, a term taken from Robert Graves’ book of the same name. The God was associated with fire, the underworld and time, and was described as “the goat-god of fire, craft, lower magics, fertility and death”. The God was known by several names, most notable Tubal Cain, Bran, Wayland and Herne. Cochrane’s tradition held that these two deities had a son, the Horn Child, who was a young sun god.
However, differences between the two also existed, for instance Gardnerians always worked skyclad, or naked, whereas Cochrane’s followers wore black hooded robes. Similarly, Cochrane’s coven did not practice scourging, as Gardner’s did. Cochrane himself disliked Gardner and the Gardnerians and often ridiculed them, even coining the term “Gardnerian” himself.

Whilst they used ritual tools, they differed somewhat from those used by Gardner’s coven. The main five tools in Cochrane’s Craft were a ritual knife, a staff known as a stang (according to Ronald Hutton’s Triumph of the Moon, Bowers is responsible for the introduction of this into Wicca), a cup, a stone (used as a whetstone to sharpen the knife), and a ritual cord worn by the coven members. Cochrane never made use of a Book of Shadows or similar such books, but worked from a “traditional way of doing things”, which was both “spontaneous and shamanistic”. Valiente notes that thios spontaneity was partly because the Cochrane coven did not use a Book of Shadows in which structured rituals were pre-recorded, leading to more creativity.

Cochrane’s later years
Cochrane arose to public prominence in November 1963, when he published an article titled “Genuine Witchcraft is Defended” in Psychic News, a weekly Spiritualist publication. In it, he outlined his beliefs regarding Witchcraft, and first publicly made the claim that he came from a hereditary line of Witches.

In 1964, further individuals joined the Clan. Among these was Evan John Jones, who would later become an author upon the subject of pagan witchcraft. Jones had met Cochrane through his wife Jane, as they both worked at the same company.

Witchcraft Research Association and Gardnerianism
His friend and correspondent, the Qabbalist and ceremonial magician William G. Gray introduced him to John Math, a practicing Witch and the son of the Earl of Gainsborough. Math joined the Clan, and invited Cochrane to publish some of his articles in Pentagram, the newsletter of the Witchcraft Research Association (WRA), which Math had recently co-founded along with Sybil Leek.

Cochrane took a particularly hostile attitude toward the Gardnerian tradition of Wicca, deeming its founder, Gerald Gardner, to be a con man and sexual deviant.[18] He referred to the tradition as “Gardnerism” and its adherents as “Gardnerians”, the latter of which would become the standard term for such practitioners. Upon examining Cochrane’s writings, Pagan studies scholar Ethan Doyle White has identified four possible reasons for this animosity. First, Cochrane disliked the publicity seeking that a variety of prominent Gardnerians (among them Gardner, Patricia Crowther, Eleanor Bone, and Monique Wilson), had embarked on; they appeared on television and in tabloid newspapers to present their tradition as the face of Wicca in Britain, which angered Cochrane, whose own tradition differed from Gardnerianism in focus. Second, Cochrane disliked Gardnerianism’s focus on ritual liturgy and magic, instead emphasising a mystical search for gnosis, while third, Cochrane appeared jealous of the success that Gardnerianism had achieved, which was far in advance of that achieved by his own tradition. The fourth point purported by Doyle White was that Cochrane might have been hostile to Gardnerianism as a result of a poor experience with it in the past.

Cochrane was nevertheless intrigued by Gardnerianism. He was a friend of Gardnerian High Priestess Cynthia Swettenham, who introduced him and his wife to the Gardnerian Bricket Wood coven on one occasion, probably in late 1965 or early 1966. It was here that he met the coven’s High Priest Jack Bracelin, who liked Jane Bowers but disliked Cochrane, later describing him as a “weirdie” and his subsequent letters as “a load of drivel”. It is known that Cochrane was also in contact with two other prominent Gardnerian initiates around this time; Eleanor Bone and Lois Bourne. There is also evidence to suggest that Cochrane was initiated into the Gardnerian tradition un until the second degree by Cynthia Swettenham and her partner Dick, who ran a coven in West London.

Doreen Valiente and the Clan’s breakup
In 1964 Cochrane met Doreen Valiente, who had formerly been a High Priestess of the Gardnerian Bricket Wood coven, through mutual friends which he had met at a gathering at Glastonbury Tor held by the Brotherhood of the Essenes.[ The two became friends, and Valiente joined the Clan of Tubal Cain. She later remarked that there were certain things in this coven that were better than those in Gardner’s, for instance she thought that “[Cochrane] believed in getting close to nature as few Gardnerian witches at that time seemed to do”.She also commented on how Cochrane did not seem to want lots of publicity, as Gardner had done, something which she admired. She began to become dissatisfied with Cochrane however, over some of his practices.

Cochrane often insulted and mocked Gardnerian witches, which annoyed Valiente. This reached such an extreme that at one point in 1966 he called for “a Night of the Long Knives of the Gardnerians”, at which point Doreen, in her own words, “rose up and challenged him in the presence of the rest of the coven. I told him that I was fed up with listening to all this senseless malice, and that, if a ‘Night of the Long Knives’ was what his sick little soul craved, he could get on with it, but he could get on with it alone, because I had better things to do”. She left the coven, and never came back.

After Doreen’s departure, Cochrane committed adultery with a new woman who had joined the coven, and, according to other coven members, did not care that his wife Jane knew. In May 1966, Jane left Cochrane, initiating divorce proceedings and considering performing a death rite against her husband involving the sacrifice of a black cockerel. Without her, the coven collapsed.

Cochrane was also aware of Charles Cardell, who ran his own coven in Suffolk, but disliked him.

Joe Wilson and the 1734 Tradition, ca. 1973
In December 1965 to April 1966, Cochrane corresponded with an American witch named Joe Wilson. Mr. Wilson formed a new tradition, known as the 1734 tradition based upon teachings of Ruth Wynn Owen, a tradition taught by a man he refers to as Sean, and Robert Cochrane’s teaching.

The numerological number ‘1724’ (a possible misprint in the book), was explained by Doreen Valiente in her 1989 book The Rebirth of Witchcraft. Valiente claimed that Cochrane had given the American witch Justine Glass a photograph of a copper platter with ‘1724’ printed on it for her 1965 book Witchcraft, the Sixth Sense – and Us. He had told Glass that it depicted a witch’s ritual bowl that had been in his family for many centuries. Valiente revealed that this was a lie by Cochrane – she had herself, in fact, bought that very item for him only the year before in a Brighton antiques shop to be used in a ritual.

Death, 1966
Cochrane ingested belladonna and Librium on Midsummer eve 1966, and died nine days later in hospital without recovering consciousness. He left a suicide note expressing his intent to kill himself “while of sound mind”.

Personal life
Valiente described Cochrane as “a remarkable man”, asserting that he “had something” which could be termed “magical power, charisma or what you will. He may have been devious; but he was no charlatan.”

According to Jonathan Tapsell, Cochrane was “an unsung giant of modern Wicca” due to the fact that he “gave inspiration to those who came later to escape the narrow confines of Gardner’s philosophy”.Michael Howard considered him to be “one of the most fascinating, enigmatic and controversial figures of the modern Craft revival.” John of Monmouth claimed that Cochrane was “the man behind, what is now called, ‘Traditional Witchcraft’.” Historian Ethan Doyle White asserted that Cochrane left behind “an ever-expanding legacy”, noting that by the 21st century, he had become an “almost tutelary figure” within the Traditional Witchcraft movement, and warrants the title of “Father of Traditional Witchcraft” more than any other occultist. Elsewhere, Doyle White asserted that Cochrane had been “without doubt the most influential” of Gardner’s rivals in the mid-20th century Wiccan movement.

Following Cochrane’s death, the Mantle of Magister of the Clan of Tubal Cain as given to Evan John Jones.Another of Cochrane’s initiates, Evan John Jones wrote a book, Witchcraft: A Tradition Renewed (a collaboration with Doreen Valiente) outlining his version of the Cochrane tradition. Whilst there was no objective way to validate Cochrane’s claim to be a hereditary witch, the experience of being in his coven was that of being one of “Diana’s darling crew” (Jones, cited in Clifton, 2006). A group called The Regency was formed by Ronald “Chalky” White and his friend, George Winter, to preserve and continue Cochrane’s tradition; it eventually disbanded in 1978 but recently a website has been set up to preserve The Regency memory.

Following correspondence with Cochrane in the mid 1960s, an American named Joseph Wilson founded a tradition called the 1734 Tradition, based on his teachings circa 1974. A similarly Cochrane-inspired tradition was the Roebuck, whose lore is also used by the “Ancient Keltic Church”.

There are currently two groups operating under the title of “Clan of Tubal Cain”; each of them has their own interpretation and expression of the legacy of Robert Cochrane, although they may not necessarily completely agree with each other.

Henri Gamache

protectiongamacheHenri Gamache was the pseudonym of an otherwise unknown author who was active in the United States during the 1940s, and who wrote on the subject of magic. All his books were published in New York City and most of them consist of semi-scholarly popular compilations that draw from (and give credit to) previously-published works on occultism. His works are noted for their connection to the Afrocentric theories of Marcus Garvey.

Disputed identity
Henri Gamache’s most popular books are The Master Book of Candle-Burning, a classic of practical African American hoodoo folk magic, Terrors of the Evil Eye Exposed, a work dealing with worldwide belief in the evil eye, and Mystery of the Long Lost 8th, 9th, and 10th Books of Moses, which is based upon the Garveyist assertion that Moses, the leader of the Jews, was a Black African.

The identity of Henri Gamache is disputed. Some researchers take at face value the mid-1950s copyright renewal claims of a book publisher named Joseph W. Kay (a.k.a. Joseph Spitalnick), in which Kay claimed to be the actual author of all works by both Henri Gamache and a pseudonymous occult author of the 1930s, Lewis de Claremont (also spelled Louis de Clermont). The falsity of Kay’s claims with regard to the works of de Claremont is demonstrable, because the 70227 (1)de Claremont books were first published by another company and only assigned to Kay upon republication, and this obvious attempt at deception in turn casts doubt upon Kay’s claim to the Gamache authorship.

Joe Kay died in 1967, but interviews with younger members of the Kay family have brought out the fact that the elder Kay obtained copyright ownership and publication rights to the previously published writings of a Mr. Young, whose first name is lost, in exchange for a debt owed. Young is mentioned as a writer of occult books within the pages of the ghost-written autobiography of the famous African American stage magician Benjamin Rucker, better known as Black Herman.

Thus it seems that both Henri Gamache and Lewis de Claremont / Louis de Clermont were not pseudonyms for Joe Kay (Joseph Spitalnik), but for Mr. Young, the ghost-writer of the Black Herman autobiography.

In 2013, catherine yronwode published an account of an interview with Ed Kay, the son of Joseph Kay, in which Ed Kay stated that he recalled Henri Gamache as the pseudonym of a “young college educated Jewish woman who worked for my father and wrote books for him”.

H.P. Lovecraft


H.P. Lovecraft (1890–1937) was born on August 20, 1890, in Providence, Rhode Island. The horror magazine Weird Tales bought some of his stories in 1923. His story “The Call of Cthulhu” came out in 1928 in Weird Tales. Elements of this story would reappear in other related tales. In his final years, he took editing and ghostwriting work to try to make ends meet. He died on March 15, 1937, in Providence, Rhode Island.

Early Life

A master of fantastical horror stories, H.P. Lovecraft was born Howard Phillips Lovecraft in 1890, in Providence, Rhode Island. Lovecraft had an unusual childhood marked by tragedy. His traveling salesman father developed a type of mental disorder caused by untreated syphilis when he was around the age of three. In 1893, his father became a patient at the Butler Hospital in Providence and there he remained until his death in 1898.

A sickly child, Lovecraft spent many of his school years at home. He became an avid reader, devouring works on a variety of texts. Lovecraft loved the works of Edgar Allan Poe and developed a special interest in astronomy. As a teenager, he did attend Hope High School, but he suffered a nervous breakdown before he could earn his diploma. Lovecraft became a reclusive figure for several years, choosing to stay up late studying and reading and writing and then sleeping late into the day. During this time, he managed to publish some articles on astronomy in several newspapers.

Writing Career

Lovecraft started out as a would-be journalist, joining the United Amateur Press Association in 1914. The following year, he launched his self-published magazine The Conservative for which he wrote several essays and other pieces. While he had reportedly dabbled in fiction early on, Lovecraft became more serious about writing stories around 1917. Many of these early works were influenced by the writings of Lord Dunsany, an Irish author of fantasy tales, as well as Lovecraft’s early favorite Edgar Allan Poe.

The horror magazine Weird Tales bought some of Lovecraft’s stories in 1923, giving him his first taste of literary success. The following year, he married Sonia Greene. The couple lived together in New York City for two years before splitting up. After his marriage failed, Lovecraft returned to Rhode Island and began work on some of his best stories. “The Call of Cthulhu” came out in 1928 in Weird Tales, and it perhaps best illustrated Lovecraft’s efforts at creating an otherworldly type of terror.

Lovecraft introduced readers to the first of many supernatural beings that would wreck havoc on humankind. Elements of this story would reappear in other related tales—collectively known by many as the “Cthulhu Mythos.” These later stories reflected Lovecraft’s own philosophical ideals. According to American Heritage magazine, Lovecraft once wrote, “all of my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and emotions have no validity or significance in the cosmos-at-large.”

Death and Legacy

In his final years, Lovecraft was barely able to support himself. He took editing and ghostwriting work to try to make ends meet. Lovecraft died of cancer on March 15, 1937, in Providence, Rhode Island. He left behind more than 60 short stories and a few novel and novellas, including The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Lovecraft’s passing was mourned by his devoted following of colleagues and aspiring writers with whom he corresponded and collaborated. Two of these friends, August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, formed a publishing company called Arkham House to promote and preserve Lovecraft’s work.

Since his death, Lovecraft has earned greater acclaim than he enjoyed during his lifetime. He has been an inspiration to such writers as Peter Straub, Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. His stories have also served as the inspiration for numerous films, including 2011’s Hunters of the Dark and 2007’s Cthulhu. As Stephen King explained to American Heritage magazine, “Now that time has given us some perspective on his work, I think it is beyond doubt that H.P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”…

Raymond Buckland


Raymond Buckland (born 31 August 1934), whose craft name is Robat, is an English American writer on the subject of Wicca and the occult, and a significant figure in the history of Wicca, of which he is a High Priest in both the Gardnerian and Seax traditions.

According to his written works, primarily Witchcraft from the Inside, published in 1971, he was the first person in the United States to openly admit to being a practitioner of Wicca, and he introduced the lineage of Gardnerian Wicca to the United States in 1964, after having been initiated by Gerald Gardner’s then-high priestess Monique Wilson in Britain the previous year. He later formed his own tradition dubbed Seax-Wica which focuses on the symbolism of Anglo-Saxon paganism.

Britain: 1934-1962
Buckland was born in London on 31 August 1934, to Eileen and Stanley Buckland. Buckland was of mixed ethnicity; his mother was English, but his father was Romani. He was raised in the Anglican Church but developed an interest in Spiritualism and the occult at about age 12, after encountering it from a Spiritualist uncle.

When World War II broke out in 1939, the family moved to Nottingham, where Buckland attended Nottingham High School. It was here that he became involved in amateur dramatic productions.

He went on to be educated at King’s College School. In 1955 he married Rosemary Moss. From 1957 to 1959, he served in the Royal Air Force, and then went on to work in a London publishing company for four years, before he and his wife emigrated to the United States in 1962, where they lived on Long Island, New York.  Whilst living in the United States, Buckland worked for British Airways.

USA: 1962-
In the US, Buckland soon read the books The Witch-Cult in Western Europe by Margaret Murray and Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner, which gave him an insight into the Witchcraft religion, or Wicca as it is now more commonly known. Some sources relay that Buckland had established a relationship with Gardner when he was living on the Isle of Man and running his witchcraft museum; it seems this relationship was by correspondence.
The two became friends, and had several telephone conversations, which led to Buckland becoming Gardner’s spokesman in America[citation needed]. Buckland also met and befriended Margaret St. Clair, author of the occult classic Sign of the Labrys.

Both Buckland and his wife Rosemary traveled to Scotland, where, in Perth, they were initiated into the craft by the High Priestess Monique Wilson (known as the Lady Olwen). Gardner attended the ceremony, but did not perform it himself. Gardner died shortly after, having never met Buckland again.

The Long Island Coven
The Bucklands returned home to the United States following their meeting with Gardner, bringing the Gardnerian Book of Shadows with them. That same year they founded a coven in Bay Shore, known as the Long Island Coven. This was the first group in the US following the Gardnerian Wicca lineage of direct initiation. Virtually all fully initiated Gardnerians in the US can trace their origins back to the Long Island Coven, which was a centre for neopaganism in America for twenty years.

The Bucklands tried to keep their identities secret at first, due to concern about unwanted and negative attention, however journalist Lisa Hoffman of the New York Sunday News published a news story on them without permission.

When Buckland and his wife separated in 1973, they both left the Long Island Coven.

First Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in the United States, 1968-
In 1968 Buckland formed the First Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in the United States, as influenced by Gardner’s Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. It started off as a by-appointment-only policy museum in his own basement. After his collection of artifacts grew he moved the museum to a 19th-century house in Bay Shore. The museum received some media attention, and a documentary was produced about it.

In 1973, following his separation from his wife, Buckland moved his museum to Weirs Beach in New Hampshire. In 1978, he moved to Virginia, disbanded the museum, and put all his artifacts in storage.

In 2008, the artifacts of the Museum were entrusted to the care of The Covenant of the Pentacle Wiccan Church (CPWC), based in New Orleans, Louisiana, and led by Arch Priestess Rev. Velvet Rieth. CPWC plans to raise funds to display the artifacts once more, either in a New Orleans area building, and/or as a traveling exhibit in select US cities.

Books, 1969-2008
In 1969 Buckland published his first book – A Pocket Guide to the Supernatural. He followed this in 1970 with Witchcraft Ancient and Modern and Practical Candleburning Rituals, as well as a novel called Mu Revealed, a spoof on the works of James Churchward, using the pseudonym Tony Earll (an anagram for ‘not really’). By 1973 he was earning enough money with his books that he could take over running of his museum full-time. He has published a book almost every year since.

Seax-Wica, 1974-1982
Buckland formed his own Wiccan tradition, Seax-Wica, based upon symbolism taken from Anglo-Saxon paganism. He published everything about the movement in The Tree: Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. He then began a correspondence course to teach people about Seax-Wica, which grew to having around a thousand members.

Personal life
Buckland married his first wife, Rosemary, in 1955. They separated in 1973. In 1974 Raymond married Joan Helen Taylor. In 1992 Buckland and his third wife, Tara, moved to a farm in North Cental Ohio, where he continued to write, and work as a solitary Wiccan.

Alex Sanders


Alex Sanders (1926 – 1988) was the founder of the Alexandrian tradition of Wicca, which has proved popular particularly in Britain and Canada. He deliberately courted publicity and controversy, and was proclaimed “King of the Witches” by his followers, which created dissent with many other Wiccans. However, many, including Stewart Farrar, claim that Sanders has made major contributions to the modern development of the craft.

He was born Orrell Alexander Carter on 6 June 1926 in Birkenhead, England, the oldest of six children. His father was an alcoholic dance-hall entertainer and the family moved soon after Alex’s birth to Manchester, and unofficially changed their name to Sanders (Alex was unaware of his official surname until he applied for a passport later in life, and only changed his name by deed poll in the 1960s).

Several contradictory accounts have been given of Sanders’ initiation into witchcraft, and even his own accounts are inconsistent. According to one story, he was initiated at the age of seven by his Welsh grandmother, Mary Bibby, a hereditary witch, supposedly descended from the Welsh chieftain Owain Glynd?r. She let him copy her Book of Shadows when he was nine and taught him the rites and magic of witches, along with techniques of scrying in inky water and in crystals. Sanders claimed that following the Blitz, and a few months before her death at age 74, his grandmother conferred upon him second- and third-grade initiations, involving ritual sex.

In another version (corroborated by his future wife and High Priestess, Maxine Sanders), he claimed to have been initiated (and given his craft name, Verbius) as late as 1961 in a coven led by a woman from Nottingham, although he was indeed also taught a form of witchcraft and magic by his grandmother when he was young, with his mother’s knowledge.

Sanders may have worked for a while as a healer in Spiritualist Churches, under the pseudonym Paul Dallas, and he claimed that all of his brothers were also psychic. Towards the end of World War II, he began working for a manufacturing chemist’s laboratory in Manchester, and he married a co-worker, nineteen-year-old Doreen, when he was 21. They had two children, Paul and Janice, but the marriage quickly deteriorated and Doreen (who disapproved of Sanders’ supernatural dealings) took the children and left in 1952.

After the War, he drifted from one low-level job to another, and had sexual affairs with several men and women, reportedly using black magic to bring myself money and sexual success. But, when one of Sanders’ mistresses committed suicide and his own sister Joan was injured in an accidental shooting and then diagnosed with terminal cancer, he resolved to stop using his magic for selfish reasons (blaming these incidents on himself) and instead to teach it to others, abandoning the left-hand path.

He studied the works of Abramelin the Mage, and smuggled out and copied an original copy of the grimoire “The Key of Solomon” from the John Rylands Library in Manchester, where he was working for a time until his dismissal. His first contact with Wicca was in the early 1960s, through correspondence and meetings with Patricia Crowther, although she considered him a troublesome upstart and refused to initiate him (particularly after he convinced the Manchester Evening News to run a front-page article on Wicca). He was eventually initiated by a priestess who had been a member of Crowther’s coven.

He worked with several different covens, including one led by Pat Kopanski and another led by a priestess called Sylvia. When Sylvia and several others later left the group amicably, Sanders continued as High Priest, working out of his home in Manchester. He continued to attract media attention which brought him more and more followers, who apparently gave him the title of “King of the Witches”, and by 1965 he claimed 1,623 initiates in 100 covens. He joined several other esoteric and chivalric orders throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including the Knights Templars, the Order of Saint Michael, the Order of Saint George and the Ordine Della Luna (aka the Order of the Romaic Crescent).

Alex Sanders’ coven practising “skyclad” (1968) (from
Sanders’ alleged magical feats include the creation of a “spiritual baby”, Michael, from a sacred act of masturbation between himself and a male assistant. Michael became one of his familiars and would appear to take Sanders over during channelling sessions and force him to carry on at wild parties, insult people and otherwise act abominably. Sanders also channelled another familiar, known as Nick Demdike, who claimed to have been persecuted as a witch at the Pendle Witch Trials of the 17th Century.

His alleged healing feats include getting rid of warts by wishing them on someone else, curing a man of heroin addiction, curing a woman of cystitis by laying his hands on her head and willing the affliction away, and curing a woman of cancer by sitting with her in a hospital for three days and nights, while holding her feet and pouring healing energy into her. He claimed to be able to heal illnesses just by pointing to troubled spots on people’s bodies and concentrating, and to have ended a pregnancy by returning the soul to the Divine. He is also supposed to have cured a deformity of his daughter, Janice, who was born with her left foot twisted backwards, by following his familiar Michael’s instructions to anoint the foot with warm olive oil, and turning the foot straight (although doctors had advised that nothing could be done, the foot stayed corrected).

During the 1960s, Sanders met Maxine Morris, a Roman Catholic 20 years his junior, whom he initiated into the craft and made his High Priestess. In 1965, they handfasted (a witch marriage) and, in 1968, they married in a civil ceremony. They moved into a basement flat in West London, where they ran their coven and taught classes on witchcraft. Their daughter, Maya, was born in 1968. The Sanders separated in 1971, neither being able to compromise over Alex’s bisexuality, although a son Victor was born in 1972, and their relationship continued with varying levels of intensity until Sanders’ death in 1988. After their separation, Sanders moved to Sussex, while Maxine remained in the London flat where she continued running the coven and teaching the craft.

Sanders was projected into the national public spotlight after a sensational newspaper article in 1969, which in turn led to the romanticized 1969 biography, “King of the Witches” by June Johns, and the film “Legend of the Witches” in 1970. These led to greater publicity, guest appearances on talk-shows, and public speaking engagements (although many accused him of exploiting the craft and dragging it through the gutter press).

According to his wife, Sanders never actually courted publicity, and blamed his initial rise to fame on an attempt to distract media attention away from other, more vulnerable, witches. One distraction Sanders presented was a ritual at a magical site at Alderley Edge, where he proposed to raise a man from the dead. A bandaged up figure lying on a stone altar was examined by one of Alex’s colleagues posing as a GP, who certified it was indeed a corpse, and Sanders read an “ancient and strange” invocation (later revealed to be a Swiss roll recipe read backwards). However unlikely it now seems, the newspapers ran with the story and Sanders’ self-imposed notoriety developed still further.

From 1979, he began working in magical partnership with Derek Taylor, a psychic and trance medium, and together they developed the magical work of Sanders’ order, the Ordine Della Luna, and reportedly worked with celestial intelligences, disembodied spirits and the demiurge itself. He continued to train a small number of personal students during the 1980s.

Sanders died in Sussex on 30 April 1988, after suffering from lung cancer. But even after his death he continued to arouse controversy, declaring in a taped message that his son, Victor, (who had moved to the United States and wanted nothing to do with his father’s schemes) was to succeed him as King of the Witches, and to lead the “Witchcraft Council of Elders” which Sanders claimed to number an incredible 100,000 members. In 1998, ten years after his death, a New England Wiccan coven claimed to have contacted Sanders in spirit, and channelled his messages, addressed to all Wiccans, urging love for the Goddess and strength and unity within Wicca.

Gerald Gardner


Gerald Gardner (1884-1964) is perhaps one of the best known and talked about figures in modern witchcraft to date. An English hereditary Witch, he was the founder of contemporary Witchcraft practiced as a religion. Some consider him a man of great vision and creativity who had the courage to try outrageous things during difficult times. Others look on him as a con man, deceitful and manipulative. He authored the now famous books “Witchcraft Today” and “The Meaning of Witchcraft”, both he wrote in the 1950’s. These two classic books inspired the growth and development of many traditions of modern Witchcraft throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.

Gerald Gardner was born on the 13th June 1884 in a small northern town called “Blundellsands” near Liverpool, England. Born of Scottish descent into a well-to-do family, his father was a merchant and justice of the peace. His grandfather is reputed to have married a witch, and he claims others of his distant family had psychic gifts. Gardner believed himself to be a descendant of “Grissell Gairdner”, who was burned as a witch at Newburgh in 1610. Of his ancestors, several became Mayor’s of Liverpool, and one “Alan Gardner” a naval commander, was later made a Peer of the Land, he had distinguished himself as commander in chief of the Channel Fleet and helped to deter the invasion of Napoleon in 1807.

Gardner was the middle of three sons, but was kept distanced from his two brothers as he suffered severely with bouts of asthma. As a result his parents employed a nanny “Josephine ‘Com’ McCombie” to raise him separately. Com persuaded his parents to allow her to take him traveling during the winter months to help alleviate his condition. Traveling across Europe, Gardner was often left alone to his own devices, but was content to read and study academic subject such as History and Archaeology. Later when he became a young man, his nanny married and went to live with her husband in Ceylon. Gardner went with her and started work on a tea plantation. He then moved on to Borneo and finally settled in Malaysia.

There with his interest in history and archaeology, Gardner became fascinated with the local culture and its religious and magical beliefs. Gardner also had a keen interest in all things occult and was particularly drawn to ritual knives and daggers, especially the Malay “Kris” (a dagger with a wavy blade). He made a name for himself in academic circles with his pioneering research into Malaya’s early civilizations. He also gained respect as an Author, and had some of his writings published in the journal of the Malayan branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. After 20 years of study he wrote his first book on the history and folklore of the Malay called “Keris and other Malay Weapons – Singapore, 1936”, and became the world’s foremost authority on Malaya’s indigenous people and their weapons.

From 1923 until he retired in 1936, Gardner worked as a civil servant for the British government, first as a rubber plantation inspector, then as a customs official and inspector of opium establishments. Gardner made a considerable amount of money in his dealings with rubber, which allowed him to indulge in his favorite pastime, Archaeology. On one expedition he claimed to have found the site of the ancient city of Singapura. In 1927 he met and married an English woman called “Donna”.

After his retirement in Malaya in 1936, Gardner and his wife returned to England and settled in the New Forrest area of Hampshire. Gardner continued to indulge his archaeological interests and spent much of his time traveling around Europe and Asia Minor. In Cyprus he found places he claims to have dreamed about, and was convinced he had lived there in a previous lifetime. In 1939 he wrote and had published his second book, A Goddess Arrives. It was based in Cyprus and concerned the worship of a goddess called “Aphrodite” in the year 1450 B.C.

By now the Second World War was looming and Gardner, anxious to do his piece for King and Country, turn his thoughts to Civil Defense. He wrote a letter publish in the Daily Telegraph stating that, “As decreed in the Magna Carta, every free-born Englishman is entitled to bear arms in the defense of himself and his household”. He further suggested that the civilian population should be armed and trained in the event of invasion. The German press picked up the article and front-page headlines appeared in the “Frankfurter Zeitung”, they where furious, raging against the man who had made such a “medieval” suggestion. Shortly thereafter the famous “Home Guard” came into being, known first as the “Local Defense Volunteers”. We shall probably never know if the “Magna Carta letter” was the impetus that instigated it?

Having settled in the New Forrest area of Hampshire, one of the oldest forests in England, Gardner began to explore its history. He soon found that local folklore was steeped in Witchcraft, and curiosity ignited he began to seek out involvement. Through neighbors he became acquainted with a local group of occultist Co-masons, a fraternity that called themselves “The Fellowship of Crotona”. A “Mrs. Besant-Scott” the daughter of “Annie Besant” a Theosophist, and founder of the women’s Co-Masonry movement in England, had established it. (The order was affiliated to the Grand Orient of France, and therefore not recognized by the Masonic Grand Lodge of England.). They had built a small community theatre called “The First Rosicrucian Theatre in England”, and there they used to meet. Gardner joined them and helped to put on amateur plays with occult and spiritual themes.

Within the fellowship another but secret group operated, a member of which spoke to Gardner and claimed to have net him in a previous life, he went on to describe the places Gardner had found in Cyprus. Soon after they drew Gardner into their confidence, claiming to be a group of hereditary Witches practicing a craft passed down to them through the centuries. The group met in the New Forest where he was introduced to “Mrs. Dorothy Clutterbuck”. Old Dorothy as she was affectionately known, accepted Gardner for initiation and in September 1939 at her own home, a big house in the neighborhood, and he was initiated into the old religion.

Old Dorothy’s coven was believed to have been the last remains of a coven directly descendant from one of the famed “Nine Coven’s” founded by “Old George Pickingill” some forty years earlier. In the following year 1940, while working with this coven, Gardner claimed to have helped with and took part in the now famous “Coven Rites”, aimed at and against the Nazi High Command and the threatened invasion of Hitler’s forces. This we now know was not true. The “Coven Rites” against Hitler had been orchestrated by “Cecil Williamson”, the founder of the Witchcraft Research Center, and was performed by “Aleister Crowley” the famous occultist. It’s possible though and more probable, that they performed some sort of rite of their own recognizance.

Just before the outbreak of war, Gardner met with Arnold Crowther, a professional stage Magician and Ventriloquist, he and Gardener formed a friendship that would last for many years. It was after the war in 1946, that Gardner first met Cecil Williamson. They met at the famous Atlantis Bookshop in London, where Gardner was giving an informal talk. Gardner had been eager to meet Williamson in order to extend his network of occult contacts. While they would meet frequently thereafter, their relationship was strained and would later end on bad terms. Williamson describes Gardner as a “Vain, self-centered man, tight with his money, and more interested in outlets for his nudist and voyeuristic activities, than in learning anything about authentic witchcraft”.

In 1947, his friend Arnold Crowther introduced Gardner to Aleister Crowley. Their brief association would later lead to controversy over the authenticity of Gardner’s original “Book of Shadows”. Crowley had allegedly been a member of one of Old George Pickingill’s original Nine Covens in the New Forest, and Gardner was especially interested in the rituals used by that coven, so to augment the fragmented rituals used by his own. He asked Crowley to write down what he could remember and implement them with other magical materials. Crowley by this time was in poor health and only months away from death, but he acquiesced to Gardner’s request. He also made Gardner an honorary member of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), a Tantric sex magic order at one time under his leadership, and granted him a charter to operate his own lodge. Crowley was also an acquaintance of Cecil Williamson.

In the mean time, Gardner had moved from the New Forrest, to Bricketts Wood, outside St Albans. There he had bought a cottage on the grounds of a nudist club, from where he ran his own lodge. Not having a car or able to drive, Gardner would prevail on Williamson to drive him down to Crowley’s lodgings in Hastings for consultations. Williamson later claimed to have participated as an observer in some of Gardner’s, new lodge activities. The alter he said, was made up of an old “Anderson” air raid table with a metal top, and was used to perform the Great Rite (A rite involving sexual intercourse.). The lodge he say’s, had far more men than women with about 80 to 20 percent splitting the difference, this because many of the women who joined his lodge, didn’t favor the sexual rites. At one point Gardner had to resort to hiring a London prostitute to play-act the role of High Priestess, and engage in the sex act.

Over time Gardner accumulated a vast amount of knowledge on Folklore, Witchcraft, and Magic, and had collected many artifacts and materials on magical procedures and ceremonial magic. Much as he wanted to write about and pass on this knowledge, he was prevented from being too public. Witchcraft was still against the law in England and he was cautioned by Old Dorothy to remain secretive and not to write. Later she reluctantly allowed him to write in the form of fiction. The result was an occult novel called “High Magic’s Aid”. It was published in 1949, by “Michael Houghton” who was also known as “Michael Juste”, the proprietor of the famous Atlantis Bookshop in London. The book contained the basic ideas for what was later to become “Gardnerian Wicca”.

In 1951 there was a resurgence of belief and new interest shown in the Old Religion, brought on by the repeal of the last antiquated witchcraft laws still being enforced in England. Gardner was now free to go public and breaking away from the New Forest coven, he began to establish his own. This change in the law also made it possible for Cecil H. Williamson to open the famous “Museum of Magic and Witchcraft”, (formerly called the Folklore Center) at Castletown in the Isle of Man. Later that year after a dispute with his trust fund, Gardner turned up on his doorstep in financial trouble. Williamson took him in as the museum’s director, and soon he became known as the “Resident Witch”.
Through his association with the museum, Gardner became acquainted with everyone there was to know in occult circles at that time. His reputation as a leading authority on witchcraft began to spread. A year later in 1952, with his financial problems resolved, Gardner bought the museum buildings together with its display cases from Williamson. Gardner’s collection of artifacts and materials were not as extensive as Williamson’s, and he found that he hadn’t enough objects to fill all the cases. He asked Williamson to loan him some of his talismans and amulets. By now weary, if not openly disliking Gardner, Williamson reluctantly agreed but took the precaution of making plaster casts and imprints of each item. Gardner reopened the museum and operated it on his own.

n 1953 Gardner met “Doreen Valiente”, and initiated her into his coven. Doreen proved to be his greatest asset, it was she who helped Gardner rewrite and expand his existing “Book of Shadows”. Collaborating together, they embellished the numerous text and rituals he had collected and claimed to have been passed down to him from the New Forrest Coven. Doreen also weeded out much of Aleister Crowley’s materials on account of his black name, and put more emphasis onto Goddess worship. So it was between them, that Doreen and Gardner established a new working practice, which evolved into what is today one of the leading traditions of the Wicca movement, “Gardnerian Wicca”.

In 1954 Gardner wrote and had published his first non-fiction book on witchcraft, “Witchcraft Today”. In it he supported the theories of anthropologist “Margaret A. Murray” who purported that modern Witchcraft is the surviving remnant of an organized Pagan religion that had existed before the witch-hunts. Murray also wrote the introduction to the book. The book on its release was an immediate success and because of it new covens sprang up all over England, each practicing its dictates. The Gardnerian tradition had been born.

Gardner soon became a media celebrity and courted their attention. He loved being in the spotlight and made numerous public appearances, dubbed by the press as “Britain’s Chief Witch”. However not all the publicity was beneficial. Gardner was a keen naturist and his penchant for ritual nudity was incorporated into the new tradition. This caused conflict with other hereditary witches who claimed that they had always worked robed. Many also believed he was wrong to make so much public, what had always been to them considered secret. They believed that so much publicity would eventually harm the craft.

Gardner became difficult to work with, his egotism and publicity seeking tried the patience of his coven members, even that of Valiente, by now his High Priestess. Splits began to develop in his coven over his relentless pursuit of publicity. He also insisted on using what he claimed were “ancient” Craft laws that gave dominance to the God over the Goddess. The final revolt happened when he declared that the High Priestess should retire when he considered her to old. In 1957, Doreen Valiente and others members having had enough of the gospel according to Gardner, left and went their separate ways. Undaunted, Gardner continued on, he wrote and had published his last book “The Meaning of Witchcraft” in 1959.

In May of the following year 1960, Gardner was invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, this in recognition of his distinguished civil service work in the Far East. A few weeks later on the 6th June, he initiated Patricia Dawson into his coven and she in turn initiated his old friend Arnold Crowther. On the 8th November, Patricia and Arnold were married in a private handfasting, officiated by Gardner, and followed the next day with a civil ceremony. That same year his devoted wife Donna died. While she had never taken part in the craft or his activities within it, she had remained his loyal companion for 33 years. Gardner was devastated and began to suffer once more his childhood affliction of asthma.

In 1962, Gardner started to correspond with an Englishman in America, “Raymond Buckland”. Buckland would later be responsible for introducing the Gardnerian tradition into the United States. They met 1963 in Perth, Scotland, at the home of Gardner’s then High Priestess, “Monique Wilson” (Lady Olwen). Monique initiated Buckland into the craft, just shortly before Gardner left to vacation the winter months in the Lebanon. Gardner would never get to see the impact of his tradition in America. Returning by ship from his vacation, Gardner suffered a fatal heart attack. On the 12th February 1964, he died at the breakfast table on board ship. The following day he was buried on shore in Tunis, his funeral attended only by the Captain of the vessel he had traveled on.

In his will, Gardner bequeathed the museum in Castletown to his High Priestess, Monique Wilson, together with all its artifacts, his personal ritual tools, notebooks, and copyrights to his books. Monique and her husband continued to run the museum, and hold weekly coven meetings in Gardner’s old cottage, – but only for a short time. When they could, they closed the museum down and sold its contents to the “Ripley’s, Believe It Or Not” organization in America. They in turn dispersed the many artifacts amongst its various museums, some they sold on to private collections. Many of Gardner’s supporters were dismayed, even angered by these events and Monique was forced from grace as High Priestess. Other beneficiaries of Gardner’s estate were Patricia and Arnold Crowther (his old friends), and “Jack L. Bracelin” the author of his biography written in 1960 entitled, “Gerald Gardner: Witch”.……/articles/g/gardner_gerald_b.html

Margaret Murray



Margaret Alice Murray (1863 – 1963) was a prominent British anthropologist and Egyptologist, well known in academic circles for scholarly contributions to Egyptology and the study of folklore. Although her reputation as a witchcraft historian is poor and she has been roundly criticized by contemporary historians (as well as by many Wiccans and Neopagans), her works became popular bestsellers from the 1940s onwards and were popularly believed to be accurate. Although her thesis of a highly organized universal Pagan cult existing throughout early modern Christian Europe (and particularly the idea of a pan-European, pre-Christian Pagan religion that revolved around the Horned God) remains largely discredited and rejected, her theories have significantly influenced the emergence of Wicca and reconstructionist Neopagan religions during the 20th Century.

She was born in Calcutta, India on 13 July 1863, and she attended the University College of London as a student of linguistics and anthropology. As a young woman, she was a pioneering campaigner for women’s rights, and her scholarly interests and her willingness to pursue them against the barriers of the day were quite atypical for a Victorian woman, indicating considerable personal strength. She accompanied the renowned Egyptologist Sir William Flinders Petrie on several archaeological excavations in Egypt and Palestine during the late 1890s and was named Assistant Professor of Egyptology at the University College of London in 1924, a post she held until her retirement in 1935. She became a fellow of Britain’s Royal Anthropological Institute in 1926, and was voted President of the Folklore Society in 1953 at the age of 90.

However, Murray’s best known and most controversial legacy was her book, “The Witch-Cult in Western Europe”, published in 1921 during a period in which she was unable to find field work in Egypt. It laid out the essential elements of her thesis that there was a common pattern of underground Pagan resistance to the Christian Church across Europe, and that the European witch-hunts and the associated trials had not been the result of superstitious delusion and social pressures, but were an attempt by the Roman Catholic (and later the nascent Protestant) churches to eliminate a rival sect. She also maintained that Pagan beliefs and religions dating from Neolithic times through to the medieval period secretly practised human sacrifice until exposed by the witch hunt around the middle of the 15th Century.

The book may well have been influenced by “La Sorcière” (published in English as “Satanism and Witchcraft”), an 1862 book by Jules Michelet, which, although largely inaccurate, was still notable for being one of the first sympathetic histories of witchcraft. According to Michelet, medieval witchcraft was an act of popular rebellion against the oppression of feudalism and the Roman Catholic Church, taking the form of a secret religion inspired by Paganism and fairy beliefs and organized in the main by women.

Her “The God of the Witches” of 1931, clearly written for a more popular audience than standard academic works, expanded on her claims that the witch cult had worshipped a Horned God whose origins went back to prehistory, and claimed that reports of Satan during the witch trials of the Middle Ages actually represented Pagan gatherings, with their priest wearing a horned helmet to represent their Horned God.

In “The Divine King in England” of 1954, she expanded further on her earlier claims there was a secret conspiracy of Pagans among the English nobility, the same English nobility which provided the leading members of the Church. Her theories of secret conspiracies involving early English sovereigns and nobles, and her re-writing of the deaths of Thomas à Becket and Joan of Arc as Pagan martyrdom, however, have not been taken seriously as history even by her staunchest supporters.

Critical analysis of Murray’s work, mainly published in obscure journals, often failed to influence the reception of her books, and she became popularly regarded as a leading expert on witchcraft, and many found her theories attractive for the stress laid on freedom for women, open sexuality and resistance to Church oppression. Her work strongly influenced Gerald Gardner and later Wiccan pioneers, and the use of terms, concepts and phrases like the “Old Religion”, “coven” (as well as the specification of a thirteen-member coven), “Esbat”, the “Wheel of the Year” and the “Horned God” are largely influenced by, or derived directly from, Murrayite theory.

It is generally agreed today that, although her work did much to alert attention to the previously concealed history of European religion, Murray’s ideas (heavily influenced as they were by the ideas of the anthropologist Sir James Frazer in “The Golden Bough”, also largely discredited) extrapolated more than could be supported from her limited sources. Her questionable methodology, poor sourcing, selective quoting from the testimony of accused witches and subjective interpretation or manipulation of evidence in order to conform to her theories have been roundly criticized, and there have even been accusations of deliberate falsification of evidence.

Murray died on 13 November 1963 at the age of one hundred.

Jack Parsons


jparsonsJack Parsons (1914-1952), an explosives expert, pioneer in rocket propulsion, and follower of the thelemic magic of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), was born Marvel Whiteside Parsons, the son of Marvel and Ruth Whiteside Parsons in Los Angeles, California, on October 2, 1914. Shortly after his birth, his parents separated, and his mother raised him as John Parsons. His friends and magical associates would know him as Jack.

During his teen years he developed an interest in rocketry and explosives, and carried out a number of amateur experiments. In 1932, while still in high school, he landed a job with the Hercules Powder Company. He graduated the following year and entered Pasadena Junior College and then spent two years at the University of Southern California, though he never graduated. In 1935 he married Helen Northrup and shortly thereafter left school to take a job at the California Institute of Technology, even though he lacked the formal training that such a job usually required. He took the lead in the development of liquid-fuel propellants, and made a secure place for himself in the history of rocket science.

In 1939 Parsons discovered a book by Crowley and then met Winifred Smith, a resident of Pasadena, who also led what was then the only active chapter of Crowley’s organization, the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), then in existence. Thus began his double life, rocket scientist by day and magical student by night. In 1941 he and his wife both formally joined the OTO. From that time forward he would be the occasional object of surveillance by law enforcement officials who were concerned with his keeping explosive materials at his home. Also, neighbors and some who had attended various events at Parsons’ home reported that he was engaged in immoral actions and black magic. As a whole, the police discounted them. In 1943, Parsons and his wife divorced, and he began a relationship with Helen’s sister Sara Elizabeth “Betty” Northrup.

In the months immediately after World War II (1939-45), Parsons began a set of independent magical operations that would become known collectively as the Babalon Workings. These workings brought him into contact with a preternatural entity and also coincided with another shift in his personal relations. Betty was attracted to a new friend of Parsons’, L. Ron Hubbard. Soon after the workings began, Marjorie Cameron came to Pasadena, and Parsons introduced her to magic work. They would eventually marry.

The results of the Babalon Workings were manifold. Parsons channeled a document, “Liber 49,” which he came to believe was a fourth chapter to Crowley’s basic magic text, The Book of the Law. As the workings became more involved, Crowley, then living out his last years in England, became concerned and sent a representative to examine the situation with the Pasadena OTO. Parsons formed a company with Hubbard and Betty to purchase boats on the East Coast and transport them to California. This company failed after Parsons and Hubbard had a disagreement and the assets were divided in a court settlement. Hubbard would later go on to found the Church of Scientology.

Parsons went through a period of disillusionment with magic and the OTO and resigned. He became convinced that the organization had proven itself an obstacle to reach its own magical goals. He began to work his magic outside of the OTO system. In 1948 he lost his security clearance at the California Institute of Technology. It was reinstated the following year, but in January of 1952, he lost it again. His involvement in magic was the stated reason for his lost status. Then on June 17, 1952, Parsons died when his home was destroyed in an explosion. The exact nature of what occurred has never been satisfactorily explained. His mother committed suicide after hearing of his death.

Parsons was a minor figure in the magical world at the time of his death. However, in the wake of the revival of interest in Crowley and magic in the 1970s, his work was rediscovered and in the early 1980s published. It has remained in print and been reproduced widely on the Internet. A first biography appeared in 1999.

Dion Fortune

fortuneDion Fortune was born Violet Mary Firth in Llandudno, North Wales on 6th December 1890, the daughter of parents with an active interest in the Christian Science and Garden City movements and the running of hydro-therapeutic establishments. Her interest in occultism was sparked in 1916 when, as a psychotherapist, she came across the startling work of Dr. Theodore Moriarty, who became her first esoteric teacher and inspired her series of short stories The Secrets of Dr Taverner.

Once having embarked upon the occult path she cast her net wide and became a member both of the Theosophical Society and of the Alpha et Omega Temple of the former Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, but becoming discontented with the performance of existing organisations she set about founding her own esoteric group. This was based in an old officer’s mess hut erected at the foot of Glastonbury Tor, that they named Chalice Orchard, and which was the first headquarters of the Community (later Fraternity and then Society) of the Inner Light. Soon afterwards they also acquired a house in the Bayswater district of London which was big enough to accommodate some members in as well as to contain office facilities and a magical lodge.

The Fraternity soon became an initiatory school of high calibre. Members attracted during the 1930s included such later well known figures as W.E.Butler, Colonel C.R.F. Seymour and Christine Hartley, whilst even the 14 year old W.G. Gray knocked upon its doors, but was turned away on account of his youth. Working in trance mediumship Dion Fortune made contacts with certain inner plane adepts, or Masters, whose influence on the Western Esoteric Tradition is still vital to this day.

During this period Dion Fortune wrote several esoteric novels to illustrate the possible practical application of the content of her textbooks and articles in her house journal, the Inner Light Magazine. She pioneered the popular exposition of the Qabalah as a key to the Western Mystery Tradition with her book The Mystical Qabalah, which is still one of the best texts available on the subject. Her other important work, The Cosmic Doctrine, which was mediumistically received early on in her career was at first reserved for senior initiates; its text is abstract and difficult to follow and is intended for meditation rather than as a straight textbook.

During the 2nd World War she organised her own contribution to the war effort on a magical level, with an extended meditation group, and continued to operate in the midst of the Blitz despite a bomb bringing down the roof of her headquarters in 1940. This period was well covered by a series of weekly and then monthly letters to students, later published as Dion Fortune’s Magical Battle of Britain. Any book publishing, and even issue of her magazine, was curtailed by wartime shortage of paper, so that much of what she wrote at this time had to wait until comparatively recently for book publication.

In early January 1946 Dion Fortune returned from Glastonbury feeling tired and unwell, was admitted to Middlesex Hospital in London and died a few days later from leukaemia, at the comparatively young age of 55. She is buried in the municipal cemetery at Glastonbury, with the remains of her close friend and colleague Charles Thomas Loveday close by. Her last novel, Moon Magic, unfinished at her death, was allegedly channelled by her through one of the society’s mediums.

The Society of the Inner Light (the name was changed for legal reasons) continued to operate in much the same way for some years after Dion Fortune’s death, largely under the inspiration of the remarkable mediumship of Margaret Lumley Brown. During this time a new generation of well known writers and teachers such as Gareth Knight, Charles Fielding, Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki, Kathleen Raine and Peter Valentine Timlett passed through its doors. It continues today as an initiatory school with much the same principles as those upon which it was originally founded.

Arthur Edward Waite


aewaiteArthur Edward Waite (2 October 1857 – 19 May 1942) was a British poet and scholarly mystic who wrote extensively on occult and esoteric matters, and was the co-creator of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. As his biographer R. A. Gilbert described him, “Waite’s name has survived because he was the first to attempt a systematic study of the history of western occultism—viewed as a spiritual tradition rather than as aspects of proto-science or as the pathology of religion.”

Early life
Waite was born in the United States. Waite’s father, Capt. Charles F. Waite, died when he was very young, and his widowed mother, Emma Lovell, returned to her home country of England, where he was then raised. As they were not well off, Waite was educated at a small private school in North London. When he was 13, he was then educated at St. Charles’ College. When he left school to become a clerk he wrote verse in his spare time. In 1863 Waite’s mother converted to Catholicism. The death of his sister Frederika Waite in 1874 soon attracted him into psychical research. At 21, he began to read regularly in the Library of the British Museum, studying many branches of esotericism.

When Waite was almost 30 he married Ada Lakeman (also called “Lucasta”), and they had one daughter, Sybil. Some time after Lucasta’s death in 1924, Waite married Mary Broadbent Schofield. He spent most of his life in or near London, connected to various publishing houses, and editing a magazine The Unknown World. In 1881 Waite discovered the writings of Eliphas Lévi.

Golden Dawn
Waite joined the Outer Order of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in January 1891 after being introduced by E.W. Berridge. In 1893 he withdrew from the Golden Dawn. In 1896 he rejoined the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn. In 1899 he entered the Second order of the Golden Dawn. He became a Freemason in 1901, and entered the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia in 1902. In 1903 Waite founded the Independent and Rectified Order R. R. et A. C. This Order was disbanded in 1914. The Golden Dawn was torn by internal feuding until Waite’s departure in 1914; in July 1915 he formed the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, not to be confused with the Societas Rosicruciana. By that time there existed some half-dozen offshoots from the original Golden Dawn, and as a whole it never recovered.

Aleister Crowley, Waite’s foe, referred to him as the villainous “Arthwate” in his novel Moonchild and referred to him in his magazine Equinox. Lovecraft has a villainous wizard in his short story “The Thing on the Doorstep” called Ephraim Waite; according to Robert M. Price, this character was based on Waite.

Author and scholar
Waite was a prolific author and many of his works were well received in academic circles. He wrote occult texts on subjects including divination, esotericism, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and ceremonial magic, Kabbalism and alchemy; he also translated and reissued several important mystical and alchemical works. His works on the Holy Grail, influenced by his friendship with Arthur Machen, were particularly notable. A number of his volumes remain in print, including The Book of Ceremonial Magic (1911), The Holy Kabbalah (1929), A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (1921), and his edited translation of Eliphas Levi’s 1896 Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual (1910), having seen reprints in recent years. Waite also wrote two allegorical fantasy novels, Prince Starbeam (1889) and The Quest of the Golden Stairs (1893), and edited Elfin Music, an anthology of poetry based on English fairy folklore.

Tarot deck
Waite is best known as the co-creator of the popular and widely used Rider-Waite Tarot deck and author of its companion volume, the Key to the Tarot, republished in expanded form the following year, 1911, as the Pictorial Key to the Tarot, a guide to Tarot reading. The Rider-Waite-Smith tarot was notable for being one of the first tarot decks to illustrate all 78 cards fully, in addition to the 22 major arcana cards. Golden Dawn member Pamela Colman Smith illustrated the cards for Waite, and the deck was first published in 1909. It remains in publication today.

It is known that the inspiration for this deck was partly provided by Sola-Busca Tarot (Northern Italy, 1491), the first and only fully illustrated Tarot deck up to the time of publication of the Rider-Waite Tarot.

Pamela Colman Smith


pamcPamela Colman Smith was born on February 16th 1878 in Pimlico, central London to Charles Edward Smith and Corinne Colman. In lieu of her father’s career, a merchant for the West India Improvement Company, the three of them would move frequently between Brooklyn, London, Manchester, and Jamaica. By the age of ten her mother had passed away leaving her in the care of the Ellen Terry, Henry Irving, and Bram Stoker; three senior members of the Lyceum Theatre. It would seem that her father was far too preoccupied with his work to watch after her at that time. For the next five years she would travel extensively throughout much of England. This it appears would greatly affect her later art work so that instead of clearly having formal training in one movement or another she was exposed to a larger view of what art is.

In 1893 at the age of fifteen Smith would return to her father’s care in Brooklyn enrolling at the then new Pratt Institute studying Fine Arts under Arthur Wesley Dow, a prominent teacher in his own right. He would inspire her to work by means of synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is the crossing of sensory signals (e.g. hearing colors, tasting images, seeing sounds etc.) Oftentimes this considered a deficiency, not so in Smith’s case; she was noted as saying “Once I begin to focus on the drawing instead of the music, I loose the image.”

In most cases Smith was noted as part of the Symbolist movement which occurred towards the end of the 19th century.

Many of the tenets of the Symbolist movement include but are not limited to:
a) The reaction against the dominant materialist, naturalist, and determinist ethos of the epoch
b) A focus on the internal, symbolical world rather than the external, empirical one
c) introspection rather than observation; suggestive rather than nominative
d) A highly individualized execution
e) Personal and enigmatic visions and mystical themes expressed through private symbol rather than public, consensual allegory or metaphor, and
f) Ideographic content over purely formal statements reflecting the primacy of spirit, soul, or imagination.
These ideas are clearly expressed in her published work: The Golden Vanity, The Green Bed, Widdicombe Fair, and Annancy Stories. Of these Jamaican folk tales the first two were limited editions published with hand-colored prints.

In 1901 she was initiated into the Golden Dawn with the motto: Quod Tibi Id Allis or ‘Whatever You Would Have Done to Thee.’. Her largest contribution to the Golden Dawn came in 1909 when in April she was commissioned by A.E. Waite to design arguably the most recognizable tarot deck in history: The Rider-Waite-Smith Deck. At the time it consisted of 80 drawings and by 1911 black and white prints would appear with Waite’s book entitled The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. What was most remarkable about the deck is that it illustrated the minor cards or pips of the tarot. So, instead of seeing two cups for ‘The Two of Cups’ you would find a couple holding chalices separated by a Caduceus. While there is little in the way of documentation surrounding the first 80 prints that would later become The Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck we do know that A.E. Waite was working on a new tarot deck at the time that he intended for mass production. It may be speculated that Waite took notice of Colman Smith due to her illustrations in some of W.B. Yeats work. What becomes apparent when looking at any of her work is that it appears highly intuitive. Her speedy inked lines evoke a sense more akin to the ethereal than accurate. According to Stuart R. Kaplan one influence may have been the Sola Busca Tarot from the fifteenth century. It seems she redid at least ten images from that deck. Another suggestion is that Waite wanted a more codified version of Book T so that when such persons were ready to begin there tarot studies all he might have to do is give them Smith’s prints so they could be colored in. What is clear is that according to U.S. Games Inc. their deck, Waite and Smith’s, has nearly sold 500 to 1 in comparison to other decks.

She never married. After the end of the First World War, Smith received an inheritance, most likely from her father although unclear, that enabled her to move to Cornwall, an area popular with artists. She died in Bude, Cornwall on September 18th, 1951. After her death, all of her personal effects, including her paintings and drawings, were sold at auction to satisfy her debts.…/…/PamColemanSmith.htm

Samual Liddel Mathers


mathers2Samual Liddel Mathers was born in 1854 at what is now 108 De Beauvoir Road, London, N.I.. His birthday is January the eighth, making him a Capricorn. Mathers claimed to be a descendant of the clan MacGregor and of Highland Scottish blood. Thus, this is why he added the name “MacGregor.” Mathers, according to William Butler Yeats, had two ruling passions in his life: “magic and the theory of war.” (It is interesting to note that although Mathers studied and wrote about military techniques, he was a strong vegetarian and avid anti-vivasectionist.)

It was Mathers who made the first English translation of Knorr Von Rosenroth’s, “Kabbalah Denudata.” This work was commissioned by Dr. Woodman and Dr. Westcott. It was about that time that the first discussions of the Golden Dawn were taking place. Mathers had an additional mentor who probably had the most impact on his life. This was Dr. Anna Kingsford (1846 – 1888), and it was to her that he dedicated the “Kabbalah Unveiled.”

Dr. Anna Kingsford was one of the early fighters for women’s rights. This characteristic was adopted by Mathers who demanded that women share equally in all ways in the Golden Dawn. She was also an anti-vivisectionist and a vegetarian. And, at a time when almost every male in English society smoked a pipe or cigar, Mathers was a non-smoker. Without a doubt that Dr. Kingsford, as a friend and as the leader of the Hermetic Society, was of great influence on the young and impressionable MacGregor Mathers.

Mathers used two mottos in the Golden Dawn. One was his Outer Order motto and was the motto of the entire MacGregor clan. The other comes from a mars talisman. They are respectfully:

S.R.M.D. which stands for S’ Rioghail Mo Dhrem, meaning “Royal is my race.”

D.D.C.F. which stands for Deo Duce Comite Ferro, meaning “God as my guide, my companion a sword.”

Unlike many back then and even now, Mathers dedicated his entire life to the Western Mystery Tradition and to the magical way of life. He was not only the Chief of the Second Order of the Golden Dawn, he was the author of almost all of the important Golden Dawn teachings and documents. He masterfully took a dry system of angelic magic brought forth by the early British Astrologer Dr. John Dee and developed it into what may very well be one of the most powerful magical systems in the world.

Much of what we know of the Tarot comes from Mathers and his wife. Today, we take the Tarot for granted, but without the ground breaking work of Mathers and the Golden Dawn, our Tarot symbolism might be basic and trite. Also, the Z Documents of the Order were gigantic contributions in the area of magical methods and techniques. To this day, most reputable sources on invocation, skrying, divination etc. borrow from the Z Documents knowingly or unknowingly. (The Z Documents should not be confused with Z-5, a series of books by Patrick Zawelski.)

Mathers was an eccentric. He loved the drama of good ritual. He often dressed in his Highlander garb when working on or with the Celtic pantheon. Later, he would change his living decor to Egyptian as he produced the public invocation to Isis in Paris. These invocations were very successful, and it was Mathers who brought forth the Egyptian pantheon into the Golden Dawn.

Mathers was seemingly very good with language. He was able to read and translate English, Hebrew, Latin, French, Celtic, Coptic and Greek. This, in itself, is quite interesting in that there is no record of him being taught so many languages in school. He must have learned them through another source or in another way.

Here is a list of books and material Mathers authored:

  • Practical Instruction in Infantry Campaigning Exercise (1884) (French)
  • The Tarot: A Short Treatise on Reading Cards (French)
  • The Fall of Granada: A Poem in Six Duans (1885) (French)
  • The Qabbalah Unveiled (1888) [Originally in Chaldee, but he translated the seventeenth century version of the Kabbala Dunatta by Knorr Von Rosenroth from Latin.
  • Egyptian Symbolism (Published in Paris)
  • The Grimoire of Armadel (French)
  • The Tarot, Its Occult Significance and Methods of Play (1888) (French?)
  • The Key of Solomon the King: Clavicula Solomonis (1889) (Hebrew)
  • The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage (1896) (French)
  • Astral Projection Ritual Magic and Alchemy -(Credit) Original Writings of the Golden Dawn Volume #1

Mathers has been much maligned by authors such as Crowley. Even many modern authors have portrayed a negative view of him. However, many of these authors had connections to organizations that broke away from Mathers and the Golden Dawn.

S.L. MacGregor Mathers, in many ways, remains somewhat of a private individual. No one really knows how he died. Violet Firth (Dion Fortune) claimed it was from the Spanish Influenza of 1918, but at best this is probably just a guess on her part. Moina Mathers claimed he was coherent right up unto the time of his death and that exhaustion from years of work with the secret Chiefs of the Third Order was responsible. It is very peculiar indeed that no body or grave site has ever been located of MacGregor Mathers, and there is no cause of death on his death certificate.

Whatever Mathers was or has become, in our minds, his work lives on in the life and Light of the Golden Dawn.

For more information about Mathers, please read the article The Truth about S.L. MacGregor Mathers.

Sybil Leek


sybSybil Leek (February 22, 1917 – October 26, 1982) was an English witch, astrologer, psychic, and occult author. She wrote more than 60 books on occult and esoteric subjects. She was dubbed “Britain’s most famous witch” by the BBC.

Sybil Leek was born in Normacot Staffordshire to a well-to-do family. The family had a long history of witchcraft, which can be traced back to the 16th century to her ancestor Molly Leigh.

Sybil’s immediate family all played a part encouraging her to follow the craft. She learned much from her father about nature, animals and the power of herbs, and even discussed eastern philosophies. Her grandmother taught her astrology, by decorating biscuits and cakes with astrological symbols and asking Sybil to put them in order and describe what each symbol meant.

She only had 3 years of orthodox schooling. Her family continued to school her at home, but her grandmother focused on her esoteric training, such as the knowledge of herbs, astrology, the psychic arts, and divination much more than she did mathematics and English.

Sybil’s family played host to some very scholarly characters. H. G. Wells, Sybil and her father used to take long walks discussing all things metaphysical. Another famous friend of the family was Aleister Crowley. Aleister was a regular visitor to the family home, and used to read his poetry to Sybil. She first met him when she was 9. It was Aleister who encouraged Sybil to begin writing herself. Sybil became a keen poet, and she published her first book, a slim volume of poetry, while she was still a teenager.

Sybil soon met a prominent concert pianist who became her music teacher, and she married him when she was 16. He died two years later, and stricken with grief Sybil returned home to her grandmother’s house.

Shortly after, she was sent by her grandmother to a French coven based at Gorge du Loup (Wolf Canyon) in the hills above Nice, to replace a distant relative of hers as High Priestess.

Eventually she returned to England. For a short while she stayed with an acquaintance in Lyndhurst, in the New Forest, but soon found the lifestyle there tiresome and decided to run away.

She became friends with the Romany Gypsies in the forest. Sybil learnt much from the Gypsies about the forest, ancient folklore, and even more about the practical use of herbs than she had learnt from her grandmother. She lived with the Gypsies for a year, and attended rituals with the Horsa coven in the New Forest, of which for a short time she was High Priestess, and therefore a member of the Nine Covens council.

When she was 20, Sybil returned to her family, who had now moved to the edge of the New Forest. She then opened three antique shops; one in Ringwood, one in Somerset, and one in the heart of the New Forest in Burley. She then moved to Burley herself. She refused to sell anything to do with witchcraft in the antique shops, much to the disappointment of visitors.

However, her open attitude about being a witch caused problems, too. As media interest grew, Sybil found herself constantly being pestered by news reporters and tourists, who traveled to Burley and would turn up on her doorstep, day and night. Sybil even had to create decoys in order to be able to escape out of the village to go to the secret coven meeting places, for fear of being pursued by cameramen. Although the village itself thrived on the extra tourism and visitors, some people were not so happy about the extra traffic and noise being caused. Her landlord eventually asked her to move out.

At the same time, an American publishing house had approached Sybil to speak about her new antique book ‘A Shop in the High Street’ on a TV programme in the States. She took the opportunity to go, and flew to New York. While in New York, she was contacted by Hans Holzer, a parapsychologist, who invited her to join him investigating psychic phenomena. They went on to do numerous TV and radio programmes on the subject.

She then moved to Los Angeles where she met Dr. Israel Regardie, an authority on Kabbalah and ritual magic, and they spent much of their time together discussing and practicing the Golden Dawn rituals together.

Strong in defense of her beliefs, Sybil sometimes differed and even quarreled with other witches. She disapproved of nudity in rituals, a requirement in some traditions, and was strongly against the use of drugs, but she was at odds with most other witches in that she did believe in cursing. She was also one of the first of the modern day witches to take up environmental causes.

Sybil died at her Melbourne, Florida home on 26 October 1982.

Austin Osman Spare


austAustin Osman Spare (30 December 1886 – 15 May 1956) was an English artist and occultist who worked as both a draughtsman and a painter. Influenced by symbolism and the artistic decadence of art nouveau, his art was known for its clear use of line, and its depiction of monstrous and sexual imagery.] In an occult capacity, he developed idiosyncratic magical techniques including automatic writing, automatic drawing and sigilization based on his theories of the relationship between the conscious and unconscious self.

Born into a working-class family in Snow Hill in London, Spare grew up in Smithfield and then Kennington, taking an early interest in art. Gaining a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art in South Kensington, he trained as a draughtsman, while also taking a personal interest in Theosophy and the wider Western Esoteric Tradition, becoming briefly involved with Aleister Crowley and his A∴A∴. Developing his own personal occult philosophy, he authored a series of occult grimoires, namely Earth Inferno (1905), The Book of Pleasure (1913) and The Focus of Life (1921). Alongside a string of personal exhibitions, he also achieved much press attention for being the youngest entrant at the 1904 Royal Academy summer exhibition.

After publishing two short-lived art magazines, Form and The Golden Hind, during the First World War he was conscripted into the armed forces and worked as an official war artist. Moving to various working class areas of South London over the following decades, Spare lived in poverty, but continued exhibiting his work to varying success. With the arrival of surrealism onto the London art scene during the 1930s, critics and the press once more took an interest in his work, seeing it as an early precursor to surrealist imagery. Losing his home during the Blitz, he fell into relative obscurity following the Second World War, although continued exhibiting till his death in 1956.

Spare’s esoteric legacy was largely maintained by his friend, the Thelemite author Kenneth Grant in the latter part of the 20th century, and his beliefs regarding sigils provided a key influence on the chaos magic movement and Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth. Spare’s art once more began to receive attention in the 1970s, due to a renewed interest in art nouveau in Britain, with several retrospective exhibitions being held in London. Various books have been written about Spare and his art by the likes of Robert Ansell (2005) and Phil Baker (2011).

Childhood: 1886–1900
Austin’s father, Philip Newton Spare, was born in Yorkshire in 1857, and moved to London, where he gained employment with the City of London Police in 1878, being stationed at Snow Hill Police Station. Austin’s mother, Eliza Osman, was born in Devon, the daughter of a Royal Marine, and married Philip Newton Spare at St Bride’s Church in Fleet Street in December 1879. Together they moved into a tenement called Bloomfield House on Bloomfield Place, King Street in Snow Hill, which was inhabited by the families of police officers, drivers, clerks and market workers.The Spare’s first child to survive was John Newton Spare, born in 1882, with William Herbert Spare following in 1883 and then Susan Ann Spare in 1885.

The couple’s fourth surviving child, Austin Osman Spare was born shortly after four o’clock on the morning of 30 December 1886. Spare first attended the school attached to St. Sepulchre’s Church, at the top of Snow Hill (1891), and each day he would pass by Smithfield meat market, which being an animal lover, he detested. In 1894, when Spare was seven, the family moved from Smithfield to Kennington, South London, setting up home at 15 Kennington Park Gardens. Here, Spare attended St. Agnes School, attached to a prominent High Anglican church, and as a child he was brought up within the Anglican denomination of Christianity. In later life he claimed to have met an elderly woman, Mrs Patterson (known as “Witch Patterson”) at this time. Patterson claimed to be a descended from a line of Salem witches that Cotton Mather had failed to extirpate. She seduced him and first taught him how to practice magic, although later biographer Phil Baker has noted that there is “very little evidence” that she was ever a real figure, instead perhaps being a later fictional invention of his. Spare, who did not get on well with his real mother as a child, referred to Patterson as his ‘second mother’ or ‘witch-mother’. Taking an interest in drawing, from about the age of 12, he began taking evening classes at Lambeth School of Art under the tutorship of Philip Connard.

Artistic training: 1900–1905
In 1900, Spare left St. Agnes School and gained employment at Sir Joseph Causton and Sons, a company that focused on the design of posters. Not wanting the commitment of an apprenticeship, after nine months he quit this job and instead began working as a designer at Powell’s glass-working business in Whitefriars Street, which had links to the Arts and Crafts movement and William Morris. In the evenings he attended the Lambeth School of Art.Two visitors to Powell’s, Sir William Blake Richmond and FH Richmond RBA, came across some of Spare’s drawings, and impressed, they recommended him for a scholarship to the Royal College of Art (RCA) in South Kensington. He achieved further attention when his drawings were exhibited in the British Art Section of the St. Louis Exposition and the Paris International Exhibition, and in 1903 he won a silver medal at the National Competition of Schools of Art, where the judges, who included Walter Crane and Byam Shaw, praised his “remarkable sense of colour and great vigour of conception.”

Soon, he began studying at the RCA, but was dissatisfied with the teaching he received there, becoming a truant and being disciplined by his tutors as a result. Influenced by the work of Charles Ricketts, Edmund Sullivan, George Frederick Watts and Aubrey Beardsley, his artistic style focused on clear lines, which was in stark contrast to the College’s emphasis on shading. Still living in his parent’s home, he began dressing in unconventional and flamboyant garb, and became popular with other students at the college, with a particularly strong friendship developing between Spare and Sylvia Pankhurst, a prominent Suffragette and leftist campaigner.

Rejecting Christianity and developing an interest in western esotericism, he read several books on Theosophy by Madame Blavatsky, namely Isis Unveiled, and wanting to explore the topic further, he also read the works of prominent occultists Cornelius Agrippa and Eliphas Levi. Becoming a practicing occultist, during his college years he wrote and illustrated his first grimoire, titled Earth Inferno (1905), in which he took as his premise Blavatsky’s idea that Earth already was Hell. The work exhibited a variety of influences, including Theosophy, the Bible, Omar Khayyám, Dante’s Inferno and his own mystical ideas regarding Zos and Kia. Self-published by Spare through the Co-Operative Printing Society, copies of Earth Inferno were purchased by Pankhurst and other friends from the college.

In May 1904, Spare held his first public art exhibition in the foyer of the Newington Public Library in Walworth Road. Here, his paintings illustrated many of the themes that would continue to inspire him throughout his life, including his mystical views about Zos and Kia. His father then surreptitiously submitted two of Spare’s drawings to the Royal Academy, one of which, a design for a bookplate, was accepted for exhibition at that year’s prestigious summer exhibition. Journalists from the British press took a particular interest in his work, highlighting the fact that, at seventeen years of age, he was the youngest artist in the exhibition, with some erroneously claiming that he was the youngest artist to ever exhibit at the show. According to the media, G.F. Watts allegedly stated that “Young Spare has already done enough to justify his fame”, while Augustus John was quoted as remarking that his draughtsmanship was “unsurpassed” and John Singer Sargent apparently thought that Spare was a “genius” who was the greatest draughtsman in England. Gaining a significant level of press attention, journalists arrived at the Spare family household in Kennington to interview him, leading to a string of articles in which he was praised as an artistic prodigy. One alleged that he aspired to eventually become the President of the Royal Academy itself, something he would quickly deny. In 1905, in the midst of this media interest, he left the RCA without having received any qualifications.

Early career: 1906–1910
Having left higher education, Spare became employed as a bookplate designer and illustrator, with his first book commission being for Ethel Rolt Wheeler’s Behind the Veil, published by the company David Nutt in 1906. In ensuing years he would also illustrate such texts as Charles Grindrod’s The Shadow of the Raggedstone (1909) and Justice Darling’s On the Oxford Circuit and other Verses (1909). In 1905, he once more exhibited at the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition, having submitted a drawing known as The Resurrection of Zoroaster, featuring beaked serpents swirling around the figure of the ancient Persian philosopher who founded Zoroastrianism.Diversifying his employment, In 1906, Spare published his first political cartoon, a satire on the use of Chinese wage slave labourers in British South Africa, which appeared in the pages of The Morning Leader newspaper.When not involved in these jobs, he devoted much of his time to illustrating a second publication, A Book of Satyrs, which consisted of a series of nine satirical images lampooning such institutions as politics and the clergy. The volume contained a number of self-portraits; he also filled many of the images with illustrations of bric-a-brac, of which he was a great collector. The book was finished off with an introduction authored by Scottish painter James Guthrie. Proud of his son’s achievement, Spare’s father would later inquire as to whether the publisher John Lane of Bodley Head would be interested in re-printing A Book of Satyrs, leading to the release of an expanded second edition in 1909.Meanwhile, in 1907 Spare produced one of his most significant illustrations, a drawing titled Portrait of the Artist, featuring himself sitting behind a table covered in assorted bric-a-brac. His later biographer Phil Baker would later characterise it as “a remarkable work of Edwardian black-and-white art” which was “far more confidently drawn and better finished than the work of the Satyrs”.

In October 1907 Spare held his first major exhibition, titled simply “Black and White Drawings by Austin O Spare”, at the Bruton Gallery in London’s West End. Attracting widespread interest and sensational views in the press, he was widely compared to Aubrey Beardsley, with reviewers commenting on what they saw as the eccentric and grotesque nature of his work. The World commented that “his inventive faculty is stupendous and terrifying in its creative flow of impossible horrors”, while The Observer noted that “Mr. Spare’s art is abnormal, unhealthy, wildly fantastic and unintelligible”. On the other hand, he could, and often did, produce straightforward works of art as fine as any by Durer or Rembrandt, as his friend Hannen Swaffer once observed.

One of those attracted to Spare’s work was Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), an occultist who had founded the religion of Thelema in 1904, taking as its basis Crowley’s The Book of the Law. Crowley introduced himself to Spare, becoming a patron and champion of his art, which he proclaimed to be a message from the Divine. Spare subsequently submitted several drawings for publication in Crowley’s Thelemite journal, The Equinox, receiving payment in the form of an expensive ritual robe. Spare would also be invited to join Crowley’s new Thelemite magical order, the A∴A∴ or Argenteum Astrum, which had been co-founded with George Cecil Jones in 1907. Becoming the seventh member of the order in July 1907, where he used the magical name of Yihovaeum, it was through doing so that he befriended the occultist Victor Neuburg, but although he remained in A∴A∴ until 1912, ultimately Spare never became a full member, disliking Crowley’s emphasise on strict hierarchy and organisation and becoming heavily critical of the practice of ceremonial magic.Spare would grow to dislike Crowley, with some rumours arising within the British esoteric community that Crowley had actually made sexual advances toward the young artist, something Spare had found repellent, although these have never been proven. In turn, Crowley would claim that Spare was only interested in “black magic” and for that reason had kept him back from fully entering the Order.

Spare’s major patron during this period was the wealthy property developer Pickford Waller, although other admirers included Desmond Coke, Ralph Strauss, Lord Howard de Walden and Charles Ricketts. Spare became popular among avant-garde homosexual circles in Edwardian London, with several known gay men becoming patrons of his work. In particular he became good friends with the same-sex couple Marc-André Raffalovich and John Gray, with Spare later characterising the latter as “the most wonderful man I have ever met.” Gray would introduce Spare to the Irish novelist George Moore, whom he would subsequently befriend. The actual nature of Spare’s sexuality at the time remains debated; his friend Frank Brangwyn would later claim that he was “strongly” homosexual but had suppressed these leanings. In contrast to this, in later life Spare would refer to a wide variety of heterosexual encounters that took place at this time, including with a hermaphrodite, a dwarf with a protuberant forehead and a Welsh maid.He would unsuccessfully also attempt to woo both Sybil Waller, the daughter of Pickford Waller, as well as a younger girl named Constance “Connie” Smith.

Marriage and The Book of Pleasure: 1911–1916
On one occasion, Spare met a middle-aged woman named Mrs Shaw in a pub in Mayfair. Eager to marry off her daughter, who already had one child from an earlier relationship, Mrs Shaw soon introduced Spare to her child, Eily Gertrude Shaw (1888-1938). Spare fell in love, producing a number of portraits of Eily, before marrying her on 4 September 1911. There are differing accounts as to where the wedding took place, with Spare claiming that it occurred in St George’s, Hanover Square, although later biographer Phil Baker suggested that it might instead have been at St George’s Register Office. At the wedding, Spare choked on his wedding cake, something his bride thought hilarious. Together, they moved into a flat at 8b Golders Green Parade, located in the North London suburb of Golders Green. Here, they became neighbours to Spare’s old friend Sylvia Pankhurst, with Spare also befriending several local Jews, reading works of Jewish literature such as the Zohar and The Song of Solomon in order to impress them. Within a few years they would move to a ground floor flat at 298 Kennington Park Road.However, the relationship between Spare and his wife was strained; unlike him, she was “unintellectual and materialistic”, and disliked many of his friends, particularly the younger males, asking him to cease his association with them.

Around 1910, Spare illustrated The Starlit Mire, a book of epigrams written by two doctors, James Betram and F. Russell, in which his illustrations once more displayed his interest in the abnormal and the grotesque. Another notable work from this period was an illustration known as A Fantasy, which included a self-portrait of Spare surrounded by a variety of horned animals and a horned hermaphrodite creature, visually depicting his belief in the innate mental connection between humanity and our non-human ancestors.

Over a period of several years, Spare began work on his third tome, The Book of Pleasure (Self Love): The Psychology of Ecstasy, which he self-published in 1913. Exploring his own mystical ideas regarding the human being and their unconscious mind, it also discussed magic and the use of sigils. In a note included in the publication, Spare stated that there were still many sections of the book missing, including a proposed introduction written by Daniel Phaer, but that he hoped these would be included in a second edition; ultimately this would never come about.”Conceived initially as a pictorial allegory the book quickly evolved into a much deeper work, drawing inspiration from Taoism and Buddhism, but primarily from his experiences as an artist.”The book sold poorly, and received a mixed review from the Times Literary Supplement, which while accepting Spare’s “technical mastery”, was more critical of much of the content.

In July 1914, Spare held another exhibition of his work, this time at the Baillie Gallery in Bruton St, London. This was his first one-man exhibition. At the same time, he was involved in a newly launched popular art magazine known as Colour, which was edited in Victoria Street, submitting a number of contributions to its early issues. He soon developed the idea of founding his own art magazine, suggesting the idea to the publisher John Lane, who had formerly produced The Yellow Book, an influential periodical that had appeared between 1894 to 1897. Envisioning his new venture, titled Form, as a successor to The Yellow Book, he was joined as co-editor by the etcher Frederick Carter, who used the pseudonym of Francis Marsden. The first issue appeared in the summer of 1916, containing contributions from Edmund Joseph Sullivan, Walter de la Mare, Frank Brangwyn, W.H. Davies, J.C. Squire, Ricketts and Shannon. Spare and Carter co-wrote an article discussing automatic writing, arguing that it allowed the unconscious part of the mind to produce art, a theme that Spare had previously dealt with in The Book of Pleasure.Generally, Form was poorly received by the critics and the public, being described as a “very horrible publication” by George Bernard Shaw, who proclaimed its design and layout to be “ancient Morrisian” and thereby out of fashion. Although initially designed to be a quarterly, the second edition of Form only emerged in April 1917, and soon after, Carter would resign due to arguments with Spare.

World War I, The Focus of Life and The Anathema of Zos: 1917–1927
In 1917, with the First World War still raging, the British government implemented the Military Service Act III, conscripting into the armed forces men who had previously been rejected on medical grounds. As a result, Spare was forced to join the Royal Army Medical Corps, initially being stationed at its depot in Blackpool, where he worked as a medical orderly, giving tetanus vaccine injections to British troops before they were sent abroad. At Blackpool, he was reprimanded for scruffiness, and complained that a part of his pay was being taken away for a “sports fund.” Towards the end of 1918 he was posted back to London, where he was based at the King George’s Hospital Barracks in Stamford Street, Waterloo. Here, he was appointed to the position of Acting Staff-Sergeant, and given the task of illustrating the conflict along with other artists based in a studio at 76 Fulham Road. In later life, he would glamorize his time serving in the army during the conflict, falsely claiming that he served in Egypt, where he studied ancient hieroglyphics, and that he fought on the Western Front, claiming he had to hide under a pile of corpses in No Man’s Land.

Spare de-mobbed in 1919. Following the victory of Britain and its allies, Spare had moved into a small flat at 8 Gilbert Place in Bloomsbury, Central London, where he lived alone; although they never gained a divorce, Spare had separated from his wife Eily, who had begun a relationship with another man. Focusing on the writing and illustration of a new book, 1921 saw the publication of The Focus of Life The Mutterings of AOS by Morland Press. Edited and introduced by Frederick Carter, the book once more dealt with Spare’s mystical ideas, continuing many of the themes explored in The Book of Pleasure.The success of this book led Spare to decide to revive Form, with the first issue appearing in a new format in October 1921, edited by Spare and his friend W.H. Davies. Intended to be populist in tone, contributions came from Sidney Sime, Robert Graves, Herbert Furst, Laura Knight, Frank Brangwyn, Glyn Philpot, Edith Sitwell, Walter de la Mare, J.F.C. Fuller and Havelock Ellis. However, Spare discontinued the magazine after the third issue, which was published in January 1922.He then moved on the production of another art journal, The Golden Hind, co-edited with Clifford Bax and published by Chapman and Hall. The first issue appeared in October 1922, featuring a lithograph from Spare titled “The New Eden.” Faced with problems, the journal eventually decreasing in size from a folio to a quarto, and in 1924 it folded after eight issues.

Spare had moved to South London, to a run-down council flat at 52 Becket House, Tabard Street in Southwark, describing his life there as that of “a swine, with swine.” Here, he developed a great love of radio after the launch of Radio 2LO in 1922.The summer of 1924 saw Spare produce a sketchbook of “automatic drawings” titled The Book of Ugly Ecstasy, which contained a series of grotesque creatures; the sole copy of the book would be purchased by the art historian Gerald Reitlinger.The spring of 1925 then saw the production of a similar sketchbook, A Book of Automatic Drawings, and then a further suite of pictures, titled The Valley of Fear. He also began work on a new book, a piece of automatic writing titled The Anathema of Zos: The Sermon to the Hypocrites, which served as a criticism of British society influenced by the ideas of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Spare would self-publish it in an edition of 100 copies from his sister’s house in Goodmayes, Essex, in 1927. That year he also produced a series of six pictures, each depicting a female head in a different pose, which biographer Phil Baker thought were particularly good; Baker remarked that, during the late 1920s, Spare was actually producing “some of his finest drawing”, reminiscent in many respects of the work of the Pre-Raphaelites.

Surrealism and World War II: 1927–1945
Spare held exhibitions of his work at the St. George’s Gallery in Hanover Square in 1927, and then at the Alex, Reid and Lefevre Gallery in 1929, but his work received little praise in the press or attention from the public. Two major supporters of Spare died around this time, in the form of his father in 1928, and then his primary patron Pickford Waller in 1930, although at his 1927 exhibit (titled “The Journey of the Soul Through Death to Rebirth”) he did gain an important new patron and friend in the form of journalist Hannen Swaffer. Living in poverty and with his work becoming unpopular in the mainstream London art scene, Spare contemplated suicide. He then undertook a series of anamorphic portraits, predominantly of young women, which he termed the “Experiments in Reality”. Influenced by the work of El Greco, they were exhibited at the Godfrey Phillips Galleries in St James’s, Central London in November 1930, an exhibit that proved to be Spare’s last in London’s West End. In 1932, he moved into a flat at 148 York Road, Waterloo, from where he would hold art shows that had been co-organised by G.S. Sandilands of the Royal College of Art. He proceeded to move to Lambeth for a while, and then in 1936 to Elephant and Castle, a poverty-stricken working class area of South London, where he set up his home in the flat at 56a Walworth Road, situated above the loading bay of a Woolworth’s store. He would often be visited at his flat by friends and people interested in purchasing his work, and formed friendships with both Dennis Bardens, whom he had met through Victor Neuberg, Oswell Blakeston and Frank Letchford.

In the summer of 1936, the artistic movement known as surrealism first appeared in London as Salvador Dalí held his first British exhibition at the Alex, Reid and Lefevre Gallery, while the International Surrealist Exhibition opened at the New Burlington Gallery. Surrealism took an interest in automatism and the unconscious, just like Spare’s work, and although he did not think highly of the surrealists, he was often described at the time as a British forerunner of the surrealist movement; indeed, the reporter Hubert Nicholson ran a story on him titled “Father of Surrealism – He’s a Cockney!”.Jumping onto this new craze for surrealism, Spare released a set of what he described as “SURREALIST Racing Forecast Cards” for use in divination. The renewed interest benefited him, with his 1936, 1937 and 1938 exhibitions in Walworth Road proving a success, and he began teaching students at his studio in what he called his Austin Spare School of Draughtsmanship.

Spare would later claim that the German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler took an interest in his work after one of his portraits was purchased by the German embassy in London. According to this story, (the accuracy of which has never been verified), in 1936 Hitler requested that Spare travel to Berlin to produce a portrait of the Nazi leader, but that Spare refused, remarking that “If you are a superman, let me be forever animal.” In the late 1930s, Spare would again tell this story, but changed several components of it, claiming that he had actually traveled to Berlin and produced the portrait, but that he had returned to London with it, where he had actually made use of it in the production of an anti-Nazi artwork. When the Second World War broke out against Nazi Germany in 1939, Spare, an ardent anti-Nazi, tried to enlist into the army, but was deemed too old. In the ensuing Blitz of London by the German Luftwaffe, Spare’s flat and all the artwork in it was destroyed by a bomb on 10 May 1941, leaving him homeless. His arms were also injured in the blast. At first taking up residence at the working men’s hostel in Walworth Road, he then moved into a sculptor’s studio in Spitalfields and finally the Brixton basement of his friend Ada Pain at 5 Wynne Road. In these cramped confines, Spare had to sleep on two chairs in lieu of a bed, and was regularly surrounded by stray cats, whom he fed. Despite his personal problems, with this period marking a growing poverty for Spare, he continued working, and proposed the creation of a new art journal with his friend, the poet Vera Wainright, although this never materialised.

Kenneth Grant and later life: 1946–1956
Following the culmination of the war, Spare held a come-back show in November 1947 at the Archer Gallery. A commercial success, the works on display showed the increasing influence of Spiritualism on his thought, and included a number of portraits of prominent Spiritualists like Arthur Conan Doyle and Kate Fox-Jencken. He also featured a number of portraits of famous movie stars in the exhibit, leading him to later gain the moniker of “the first British Pop Artist”.In the spring of 1949, a recently married woman named Steffi Grant introduced herself to Spare, having developed a fascination with what she read about him in the press. She introduced him to her husband Kenneth Grant (1924–2011), a former disciple of Aleister Crowley’s who was greatly interested in the occult. Spare and the Grants became great friends, frequenting a number of London pubs together and sharing books on the subject of the esoteric. Grant gave Spare the title of “Zos vel Thanatos”, meaning “Zos or Death”, something typical of Grant’s “dark sensibility.” The Grants’ influence led Spare to begin writing several new occult manuscripts, the Logomachy of Zos and the Zoetic Grimoire of Zos, which remained unpublished. Under Grant’s influence, Spare began to show an increasing interest in witchcraft and the witches’ sabbath, producing artworks with titles such as “Witchery”, “Walpurgis Vampire” and “Satiated Succubi” and claiming that on a bus he had encountered a group of female witches on their way to the Sabbath. Interested in witchcraft, he was introduced to Gerald Gardner, the founder of Gardnerian Wicca, but remained unconvinced that he offered anything of spiritual worth. In his later publications, Grant would make a variety of different claims regarding Spare that have been widely considered to be dubious or erroneous. Notably, Grant claimed that Spare had been a member of the secretive Cult of Ku, a Chinese occult sect who met in Stockwell to worship a serpent goddess. Spare also apparently painted an altar piece for Grant’s magical Nu Isis Lodge.

Spare held his first pub show at the Temple Bar in Walworth Road in late 1949, which again proved successful, earning Spare 250 guineas. One of those who had seen the show was publisher Michael Hall, and impressed by Spare’s work, he commissioned him to help provide illustrations for his new periodical, The London Mystery Magazine. The fifth issue, for August–September 1950, contained an article on Spare and his work, while the sixth contained an article written by Algernon Blackwood that was illustrated by Spare. Much of the art that Spare produced in what the biographer Phil Blake called “the Grant period” reflected Spare’s interest in tribal art, which both Grant and Spare collected. Many of these works were exhibited in the summer of 1952 at the Mansion House Tavern in Kennington, and then at The White Bear pub in the autumn of 1953, but the latter proved to be a commercial failure. In 1954 he would write that he was fed up of exhibiting in pubs, wishing to return to selling his works from actual galleries. That year he organised a home show, followed by another exhibition at the Archer Gallery in October 1955, displaying his increasing interest in works executed in pastels.

In April 1955, Spare was asked to give an interview for the BBC radio show People Talking, presented by Dennis Mitchell. A great fan of the wireless, he eagerly agreed, but was deeply upset by the result, which appeared on an episode titled “Unusual Beliefs”, believing that he had been ridiculed. In failing health, in May 1956 he was submitted to the South Western Hospital in Stockwell with a burst appendix; the doctor noted that he had also been suffering from anaemia, bronchitis, high blood pressure and gall stones. Rushing to see him at his hospital bed, it was here that Spare’s two dearest friends, Kenneth Grant and Frank Letchford, met one another for the first time. Spare died on the afternoon of 15 May 1956, at the age of 69. In his will, Spare left Letchford his first choice of 15 pictures, with Grant getting the second choice of 10 others, along with all of his books and papers. His funeral was paid for by his friend Hannen Swaffer, and he was buried alongside his father at St. Mary’s Church in Ilford.

As artist
Spare’s work is remarkable for its variety, including paintings, a vast number of drawings, work with pastel, a few etchings, published books combining text with imagery, and even bizarre bookplates. He was productive from his earliest years until his death. According to Haydn Mackay, “rhythmic ornament grew from his hand seemingly without conscious effort.”

Spare was regarded as an artist of considerable talent and good prospects, but his style was apparently controversial. Critical reaction to his work in period ranged from baffled but impressed, to patronizing and dismissive. An anonymous review of The Book of Satyrs published in December 1909, which must have appeared around the time of Spare’s 23rd birthday, is by turns condescending and grudgingly respectful, “Mr. Spare’s work is evidently that of young man of talent.” However, “What is more important is the personality lying behind these various influences. And here we must credit Mr. Spare with a considerable fund of fancy and invention, although the activities of his mind still find vent through somewhat tortuous channels. Like most young men he seems to take himself somewhat too seriously”. Our critic ends his review with the observation that Spare’s “drawing is often more shapeless and confused than we trust it will be when he has assimilated better the excellent influences upon which he has formed his style.”

Two years later another anonymous review (this time of The Starlit Mire, for which Spare provided ten drawings) suggests, “When Mr. Spare was first heard of six or seven years ago he was hailed in some quarters as the new Beardsley, and as the work of a young man of seventeen his drawings had a certain amount of vigour and originality. But the years have not dealt kindly with Mr. Spare, and he must not be content with producing in his majority what passed muster in his nonage. However, his designs are not inappropriate for the crude paradoxes that form the text of this book. It is far easier to imitate an epigram than to invent one.”

In a 1914 review of The Book of Pleasure, the critic (again anonymous) seems resigned to bewilderment, “It is impossible for me to regard Mr. Spare’s drawings otherwise than as diagrams of ideas which I have quite failed to unravel; I can only regret that a good draughtsman limits the scope of his appeal”.

From October 1922 to July 1924 Spare edited, jointly with Clifford Bax, the quarterly, Golden Hind for Chapman and Hall publishers. This was a short-lived project, but during its brief career it reproduced impressive figure drawing and lithographs by Spare and others. In 1925 Spare, Alan Odle, John Austen, and Harry Clarke showed together at the St George’s Gallery, and in 1930 at the Godfrey Philips Galleries. The 1930 show was the last West End show Spare would have for 17 years.

Spare’s obituary printed in The Times of 16 May 1956 states:

Thereafter Spare was rarely found in the purlieus of Bond St. He would teach a little from January to June, then up to the end of October, would finish various works, and from the beginning of November to Christmas would hang his products in the living-room, bedroom, and kitchen of his flat in the Borough. There he kept open house; critics and purchasers would go down, ring the bell, be admitted, and inspect the pictures, often in the company of some of the models – working women of the neighbourhood. Spare was convinced that there was a great potential demand for pictures at 2 or 3 guineas each, and condemned the practice of asking ₤20 for “amateurish stuff”. He worked chiefly in pastel or pencil, drawing rapidly, often taking no more than two hours over a picture. He was especially interested in delineating the old, and had various models over 70 and one as old as 93.

But Spare did not entirely disappear. During the late 1930s he developed and exhibited a style of painting based on a logarithmic form of anamorphic projection which he called “siderealism”. This work appears to have been well received. In 1947 he exhibited at the Archer Gallery, producing over 200 works for the show. It was a very successful show and led to something of a post-war renaissance of interest.

Public awareness of Spare seems to have declined somewhat in the 1960s before the slow but steady revival of interest in his work beginning in the mid-1970s. The following passage in a discussion of an exhibit including Spare’s work in the summer of 1965 suggests some critics had hoped he would disappear into obscurity forever. The critic writes that the curator of the exhibit

has resurrected an unknown English artist named Austin Osman Spare, who imitates etchings in pen and ink in the manner of Beardsley but really harks back to the macabre German romanticism. He tortured himself before the first war and would have inspired the surrealist movement had he been discovered early enough. He has come back in time to play a belated part in the revival of taste for art nouveau.

Robert Ansell summarized Spare’s artistic contributions as follows:

During his lifetime, Spare left critics unable to place his work comfortably. Ithell Colquhoun supported his claim to have been a proto-Surrealist and posthumously the critic Mario Amaya made the case for Spare as a Pop Artist. Typically, he was both of these – and neither. A superb figurative artist in the mystical tradition, Spare may be regarded as one of the last English Symbolists, following closely his great influence George Frederick Watts. The recurrent motifs of androgyny, death, masks, dreams, vampires, satyrs and religious themes, so typical of the art of the French and Belgian Symbolists, find full expression in Spare’s early work, along with a desire to shock the bourgeois.

The Zos-Kia Cultus
From his early years, Spare developed his own magico-religious philosophy which has come to be known as the “Zos-Kia Cultus”, a term coined by the occultist Kenneth Grant. Raised in the Anglican denomination of Christianity, Spare had come to denounce this monotheistic faith when he was seventeen, telling a reporter that “I am devising a religion of my own which embodies my conception of what; we are, we were, and shall be in the future.”

Zos and Kia
Key to Spare’s magico-religious views were the dual concepts of Zos and Kia. Spare described “Zos” as the human body and mind, and would later adopt the term as a pseudonym for himself. Biographer Phil Baker believed that Spare derived the word from the Ancient Greek words zoe, meaning life, and zoion, meaning animal or beast, with Spare also being attracted to the exotic nature of the letter “z”, which rarely appears in the English language. The author Alan Moore disagreed, believing that the term “ZOS” had instead been adopted by Spare to counterbalance his own initials, “AOS”, in which the A would represent the beginning of the alphabet, and the Z would represent the end. In this way, Moore argued, Spare was offering an “ultimate and transcendent expression of himself at the extremities of his own being.”

Spare used the term “Kia”, which he pronounced keah or keer, to refer to a universal mind or ultimate power, akin to the Hindu idea of Brahman or the Taoist idea of the Tao. Phil Baker believed that Spare had developed this word either from Eastern or Cabalistic words such as ki,chi, khya or chiah. Alternately, he thought that it might have been adopted from Madame Blavatsky in her book The Secret Doctrine, which refers to the idea of an ultimate power as Kia-yu.

The Unconscious Mind
Spare placed great emphasis on the unconscious part of the mind, believing that it was the source of inspiration. He considered the conscious part of the mind to be useless for this, believing that it only served to reinforce the separation between ourselves and that which we desire.

It has been argued that Spare’s magic depended (at least in part) upon psychological repression. According to one author, Spare’s magical rationale was as follows, “If the psyche represses certain impulses, desires, fears, and so on, and these then have the power to become so effective that they can mold or even determine entirely the entire conscious personality of a person right down to the most subtle detail, this means nothing more than the fact that through repression (“forgetting”) many impulses, desires, etc. have the ability to create a reality to which they are denied access as long as they are either kept alive in the conscious mind or recalled into it. Under certain conditions, that which is repressed can become even more powerful than that which is held in the conscious mind.”

Spare believed that intentionally repressed material would become enormously effective in the same way that “unwanted” (since not consciously provoked) repressions and complexes have tremendous power over the person and his or her shaping of reality. It was a logical conclusion to view the subconscious mind as the source of all magical power, which Spare soon did. In his opinion, a magical desire cannot become truly effective until it has become an organic part of the subconscious mind.

Despite his interest in the unconscious, Spare was deeply critical of the ideas put forward by the psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, referring to them as “Fraud and Junk.”

Atavistic Resurgence
Spare also believed in what he called “atavistic resurgence”, the idea that the human mind contains atavistic memories that have their origins in earlier species on the evolutionary ladder. In Spare’s worldview, the “soul” was actually the continuing influence of “the ancestral animals” that humans had evolved from. For this reason, he believed in the intimate unity between humans and other species in the animal world; this was visually reflected in his art through the iconography of the horned humanoid figures. Although this “atavistic resurgence” was very different from orthodox Darwinism, Spare greatly admired the evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin, and in later life paid a visit to the Kentish village of Downe, where Darwin had written his seminal text On the Origin of Species (1859).

Magic and sigils

A sample of sigils created by Austin Osman Spare
Spare “elaborated his sigils by condensing letters of the alphabet into diagrammatic glyphs of desire, which were to be integrated into postural (yogalike) practices—”monograms of thought, for the government of energy.” Spare’s work is contemporaneous with Hugo Ball’s attempts “to rediscover the evangelical concept of the ‘word’ (logos) as a magical complex image”—as well as with Walter Benjamin’s thesis that “Mediation, which is the immediacy of all mental communication, is the fundamental problem of linguistic theory, and if one chooses to call this immediacy magic, then the primary problem of language is its magic. Spare’s ‘sentient symbols’ and his ‘alphabet of desire’ situate this mediatory magic in a libidinal framework of Tantric—which is to say cosmological—proportions.” (An alphabet of desire modelled after Spare’s ideas has since been developed by Peter J. Carroll (amongst others), especially in his influential Liber Null, a sourcebook of Chaos Magic.)

Following his experience with Aleister Crowley and other Thelemites, Spare developed a hostile view of ceremonial magic and many of those occultists who practiced it, describing them as “the unemployed dandies of the Brothels” in The Book of Pleasure.

Personal life
Spare was often described as “down-to-earth” by friends, and often made note of his kindness. Throughout his life, Spare was an animal lover, taking care of any animals that he found near his home. He was a member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), and in many photographs can be seen wearing his RSPCA badge.

Legacy and Influence
In art
In 1964, the Greenwich Gallery held an exhibition of Spare’s work accompanied by a catalogue essay by the Pop Artist Mario Amaya, who believed that Spare’s artworks depicting celebrities, produced in the late 1930s and 1940s, represented “the first examples of Pop art in this country.” Furthermore, he proclaimed that Spare’s automatic drawings “predicted Abstract Expressionism long before the name of Jack [sic] Pollock was heard of in England.”

In esotericism
Some of Spare’s techniques, particularly the use of sigils and the creation of an “alphabet of desire” were adopted, adapted and popularized by Peter J. Carroll in the work Liber Null & Psychonaut. Carroll and other writers such as Ray Sherwin are seen as key figures in the emergence of some of Spare’s ideas and techniques as a part of a magical movement loosely referred to as chaos magic.

Pagan priest and poet, David William Parry, has both written about Spare and spoken of him as a spiritual and aesthetic influence.

In music
Bulldog Breed, a British psychedelic band, have a song entitled “Austin Osmanspare” on their one and only album Made In England (1969).

John Balance of the influential early industrial music group Coil described Spare as being his “mentor,” and claimed that “what Spare did in art, we try to do through music.”

The Polish Death Metal band Behemoth recorded a studio album entitled Zos Kia Cultus in Warsaw in September 2002.

Zos Kia Cultus
Zos Kia Cultus is a term coined by Kenneth Grant, with different meanings for different people. One interpretation is that it is a form, style, or school of magic inspired by Spare. It focuses on one’s individual universe and the influence of the magician’s will on it. While the Zos Kia Cultus has very few adherents today, it is widely considered an important influence on the rise of chaos magic.

Reuben Swinburne Clymer


reubReuben Swinburne Clymer (November 25, 1878 – June 3, 1966) was an American occultist and modern Rosicrucian responsible for either reviving or creating the Fraternitas Rosae Crucis, perhaps the oldest continuing Rosicrucian organization in the Americas. He practiced alternative medicine, and wrote and published works on it as well as (his version of) the teachings of Paschal Beverly Randolph, sex magic, vegetarianism, religion, alchemy, and Spiritualism. This lead to a number of conflicts with Harvey Spencer Lewis and the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, FUDOSI, Aleister Crowley, and even the American Medical Association.

Clymer was born in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. He studied medicine in Chicago, Illinois, and registered as an osteopath in New York in 1910. His work with alternative medicine regularly brought him into trouble with the United States government and the American Medical Association. As an osteopath, he opposed vaccination, and claimed that meat was the primary cause of cancer, and (especially when combined with beans, bread, potatoes, and beer) immorality and insanity.

Randolph and the FRC
Clymer joined the FRC in 1897, becoming a grand master of it in 1905 at age 27.

In either 1900 or 1904, Clymer got into publishing with his Philosophical Publishing Company, which he used to keep Paschal Beverly Randolph’s books in print well into the 20th century. Clymer was deeply influenced by Randolph, who he created a hagiographic (and mostly fictitious) history of. Clymer claimed that his orders were originally founded by Randolph (although many were completely unrelated), tying their already mostly fictional histories together under Randolph,[9] particularly the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light orders in Quakertown.

Clymer created a more consistent and palatable belief system from Randolph’s thoughts, cleaning up the problematic sex magic practices Randolph espoused at times, as well as Randolph’s self-contradictions on numerous points. The pseudo-history assembled by Clymer cast Randolph as the legitimate heir of an ancient Rosicrucian tradition in America. This was accomplished by turning many people Randolph mentioned running into members of various occult organizations secretly connected to ancient Egyptian Rosicrucians, known members into masters of groups they were members of, and an unknown young man who met Eliphas Levi into none other than a young Randolph. If Clymer lacked a starting point or could not fill a plot hole, he claimed that such gaps were the result of the desctruction of records by enemies of Randolph’s (and Clymer’s) Fraternitas. In addition to the standard claims of Western Occultism of ties to famous Neoplatonists, alchemists, magicians, Clymer also connected Randolph’s “order” to Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon III, Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, Papus, Albert Pike, and the Count of St. Germain. Although Clymer apparently believed his biography of Randolph to be absolutely historical, it is understood now to be largely fictitious.

According to Clymer, Randolph founded the FRC in 1858, with control passing onto Freeman Dowd in 1875, then Edward Brown in 1907, then Clymer in 1922. Unlike a number of fraternal orders (particularly the Shriners), Clymer explicitly denied that Rosicrucians had any special ornamentation or jewelry. As a result, the FRC is noted for its lack of self-promotion and advertising.

Other organizations founded by Clymer include the Church of the Illumination, the College of the Holy Grail, and the Sons of Isis and Osiris. The Church of the Illumination serves as an outer body for the FRC, spreading its teachings under the name of “Divine Law” in hopes of bringing about a new era through symbolic alchemy.

Rivalry with Harvey Spencer Lewis and AMORC
Clymer’s claim to being the true leader of American Rosicrucianism put Clymer in direct competition with Harvey Spencer Lewis, founder of Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis. This competition was turned to bitter rivalry thanks to disagreement of the role of sex in magic, both sides accusing the other of perverse teachings while holding that their sexual practices were enlightened and pure. Clymer’s views, largely lifted from Rudolph, were that bodily fluids produced by a married couple needed to be regularly exchanged for the physical and spiritual health of each partner.

Clymer and Lewis competed for the attention of different national branches of the Ordo Templi Orientis for official ties, with both finding comparable success and neither being able to use their ties to the O.T.O. to claim legitimacy over the other. When Lewis co-founded FUDOSI (which recognized Lewis’s AMORC as the true heirs of American Rosicrucianism), Clymer co-founded FUDOFSI with Constant Chevillon and Jean Bricaud (which favored Clymer’s FRC), and claimed that Lewis’s FUDOSI was a failed and mistaken grab at legitimization. In response to these attacks, AMORC published material calling Clymer’s ideas “some of the weirdest notions that a human mind ever harboured,” further pointing out that his positions were “self-appointed and self-devised.” Clymer retaliated by raising suspicion about Lewis’s doctorate, accusing Lewis of hocking inauthentic works, and (due to Lewis’s association with Aleister Crowley) practicing black magic. Crowley initially responded by offering to help Lewis fight Clymer, though Crowley’s later attempt claim control of Lewis’s AMORC, resulting in a rift between them.

The American rivalry eventually created a rift in European Rosicrucianism as well.

Later life
By 1939, Lewis’s death and legal attacks by the American Medical Association brought the rivalry between Clymer and AMORC to an end. Clymer continued to practice alternative medicine and lead the FRC until his death in 1966, succeeded by his son.

Clymer’s more popular writings include A Compendium of Occult Law, Mysteries of Osiris, and The Rosicrucian Fraternity in America. The Rosicrucian Fraternity in America, with emphasis on a single fraternity, was an attack on AMORC and Lewis.

He also translated some works of Ludovico Maria Sinistrari, though changing Sinistrari’s incubi and succubi to elementals and suggesting that the virgin birth of Jesus was the result of a Salamander impregnating Mary.

Clymer wrote books on nutrition (such as Dietetics and Diet, the Way to Health), as well as authorizing a Rose Cross Aid cookbook. In 1904, he wrote an anti-vaccinationist pamphlet titled “Vaccination Brought Home to You,” which documented two cases of children’s bad reactions to vaccines.

Clymer’s involvement in new religious movements, the drama that invariably followed Clymer and similar leaders (such as Father Divine), inspired a number of early 20th century detective stories, such as Dashiell Hammett’s The Dain Curse.

Clymer’s works are also standard reading for American Rosicrucians, and his interest in medicine is continued by the FRC to this day, with the Beverly Hall headquarters housing chiropractic and naturopathic clinics. His prolific writing about Paschal Beverly Randolph and his teachings remain influential in the study of Randolph, in part because little is known about Randolph (even by Clymer).

Harvey Spencer Lewis


yeah(November 25, 1883 – August 2, 1939), a noted Rosicrucian author, occultist, and mystic, was the founder in USA and the first Imperator of Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC), from 1915 until 1939.

Life and career
Lewis was born in Frenchtown, New Jersey. He worked in advertising as an illustrator (the modern term commercial artist best describes his line of work), and he used this experience later to promote the early AMORC, through print ads and booklets. Lewis first learned of the Rosicrucians through his interest in paranormal phenomena. Contacted while on a trip to Europe, he later related that he was initiated into a Rosicrucian order during that trip.

Given the mission to both bring Rosicrucian ideas back to America (an early group had a settlement in Pennsylvania during the 17th century, but it had long been dissolved), and to promote them in a modern way, Lewis established AMORC, becoming its first Imperator and writing what became the order’s first canon of lessons in mysticism, and spending the rest of his life working on AMORC’s behalf. Lewis also founded the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, still a popular attraction in San Jose, California.

His second wife was Martha, and they were married at least from 1937. Martha travelled with Lewis during the AMORC Grand Tour of Egypt.

In the past Lewis had a radio station broadcasting from Rosicrucian Park, and he was also speaking at other radio stations. One of his programs was called “The Pristine Church”, appearing on Sundays, with sermon-style talks on interfaith and secular topics.

Lewis was also one of the three Imperators of FUDOSI, and his nomen mysticum was Sar Alden. He held a number of earned and honorary ordinations, titles and degrees, many granted in recognition of his goodwill work. His son Ralph Maxwell Lewis became the second Imperator of AMORC, and wrote a biography of his father titled Cosmic Mission Fulfilled.

According to Michael Nowicki (F.R.C.)’s Mysterious Inventions of Dr. Lewis page (located at the Rosicrucians Salon WebSite), H. Spencer Lewis built several scientific devices.

They included:

The Luxatone or Color Organ was a device which converted audio signals into colours, displayed on a triangular screen. Dr. Lewis used it to demonstrate mystical and philosophical ideas. The audio signal was input with the aid of a microphone.

A booklet titled “The Story of Luxatone – The Master Color Organ” was printed and sent to AMORC members and to newspapers.

Cosmic Ray Coincidence Counter
This device was a prototype of a Geiger counter and was built in the 1930s.

Sympathetic Vibration Harp
The Sympathetic Vibration Harp was built by Dr. Lewis to demonstrate the AMORC’s principle of sympathetic vibration.

In addition to his other works, on June 22, 1916 Lewis hosted what was announced as a “transmutation” of zinc into gold – a demonstration of classic alchemical principles, in New York City. A team of AMORC Grand Masters, members, one scientist and one journalist assembled, a chosen few bringing selected ingredients, which were then mixed in a brief procedure. The scientist declared the results to have the “properties of gold”, and an account appeared in the American Rosae Crucis. (The ingredients for the gold recipe were not revealed; Rosicrucian Questions and Answers explained that while the necessary materials weren’t hard to obtain, transmutation wasn’t cost-effective; buying elemental gold was more sensible.)

In 1931 Lewis, under the pen name Wisar Spenle Cerve wrote a book (published by the Rosicrucians) about the hidden Lemurians of Mount Shasta that a bibliography on Mount Shasta described as “responsible for the legend’s widespread popularity.”

Israel Regardie


regardieIsrael Regardie (1907-1985) became infamous among the occultists of his day for breaking his oath of secrecy and publishing the order’s complete rituals in his book “The Golden Dawn”. Today this book is a classic best seller and has been revised and reissued several times. Overshadowed by his association with Crowley, much of Regardie’s work has been left unappreciated by those outside of the realms of high magic and occultism.

Francis Israel Regudie was born in England but emigrated to the United States with his family at age 13. Ritual magician, student of Aleister Crowley, and later a chiropractor who utilizes the thought of Wilhelm Reich in his work. Beginning in 1928 he traveled through Europe as Aleister Crowley’s lover, secretary and student. In 1934, after parting with Crowley, Regardie joined the Stella Matutina, a schismatic offshoot of the former Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Regardie eventually broke his vows of secrecy, and published the order’s rituals and magical teachings in 1937.

Despite his rationalizations, this act nearly destroyed both the Stella Matutina and the Alpha et Omega. In 1937, at the age of 30, Regardie returned to the U.S., entering Chiropractic College in New York. In addition, he studied psychoanalysis with Dr. E. Clegg and Dr. J. L. Bendit, and psychotherapy with Dr. Nandor Fodor. He opened a chiropractic office and taught psychiatry — Freudian, Reichian and Jungian — retiring in 1981 at the age of 74, when he moved to Sedona, AZ. He died from a heart attack in the presence of close friends during a dinner at a restaurant in Sedona, Arizona on March 10, 1985 at the age of 77.

The publications of Israel Regardie have recently engendered a host of modern, American groups on the Internet calling themselves “Golden Dawn,” but having no connection to the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in Europe in 1888. In move to give themselves at least some veneer of legitimacy, certain Regardie-based groups have deliberately created a myth of a “Regardie Golden Dawn lineage.” Such a notion, however, is highly problematic.

Israel Regardie knew that he had no authority to initiate or grant a charter to anyone and honestly admitted this on numerous occasions, as for example in the attached letter. To begin with, Regardie was never even initiated in the Golden Dawn but rather only in the schismatic Stella Matutina, founded by former Golden Dawn Adept turned rogue, R.W. Felkin. Moreover, Regardie was never granted dispensation to initiate anyone by the G.H. Chiefs of the Stella Matutina and certainly had no authority to grant any sort of charter or even to consecrate a Vault of the Adepti.

Fully aware of these facts, Israel Regardie nonetheless did consecrate a Vault of the Adepti in 1982 in order to initiate his student, Cris Monnastre, into the Adeptus Minor (5=6) grade. These events provided fertile soil for a myth of a “Regardie Golden Dawn lineage” to be deliberately cultivated by certain Regardie-based groups following Regardie’s death. It should be noted that, in his life, Regardie only had four students. These were Cris Monnastre, William Kennedy, Larry Epperson, and Alan Miller (Christopher Hyatt). Regardie never endorsed any “Regardie-based” Golden Dawn group or order, although this imprimatur has been putatively claimed by a variety of organizations following his death.

One could potentially argue with some legitimacy that Israel Regardie has become the progenitor of his own occult school with its own lineage deriving exclusively from Israel Regardie, as is the case with numerous lineages deriving from teachers in Zen and Tibetan Buddhism in the East. In this limited sense, the Regardie-based groups could perhaps honestly claim a “Regardie lineage.” Dishonesty enters and public confusion arises, however, when Regardie-based groups deliberately attempt to conflate such a “Regardie lineage” with a “Golden Dawn” lineage, which by his own clear admission, was never Regardie’s to bestow.…

Wilhelm Reich


WILHELM REICH (1892-1957)
He was a quack psychiatrist, although he had an impressive pedigree, and had actually studied under Dr. Sigmund Freud himself. Reich claimed he discovered a new form of energy called “orgone”, and cited evidence of its existence. Reich claimed, for instance, if a you stare at the sky long enough, the ripples you see are the “orgone enregy”. In reality, doctors know the ripples are just an optical illusion due to eye strain, nothing more!

Orgone seemed to be the building blocks of the universe, and could also cure practically every disease, according to Reich. To date, no one has ever verified orgone’s existence, although Reich’s cult of followers continue to claim they have. In 1940 Reich invented a device that he claimed could cure everything from impotence to cancer called the “Orgone collector”…which was actually just an empty wooden box. Reich charged his clients around $250 per session of sitting in this phony miracle box. He also sold “Orgone blankets” and “Orgone pillows”, which also boasted curative powers, and were just ordinary blankets and pillows. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration obtained an injunction against Reich selling his products in 1954, but Reich defiantly continued to do so. In between Orgone research, Reich also claimed to have stopped a UFO invasion with a secret ray weapon he developed. You think the FDA would have been grateful to Reich for keeping us from being turned into pod people, but they still had him arrested. He died in Prison in 1957 for failing to obey a court order.

Edgar Cayce


cayceEdgar Cayce (pronounced Kay-Cee, 1877-1945) has been called the “sleeping prophet,” the “father of holistic medicine,” and the most documented psychic of the 20th century. For more than 40 years of his adult life, Cayce gave psychic “readings” to thousands of seekers while in an unconscious state, diagnosing illnesses and revealing lives lived in the past and prophecies yet to come. But who, exactly, was Edgar Cayce?

Cayce was born on a farm in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in 1877, and his psychic abilities began to appear as early as his childhood. He was able to see and talk to his late grandfather’s spirit, and often played with “imaginary friends” whom he said were spirits on the other side. He also displayed an uncanny ability to memorize the pages of a book simply by sleeping on it. These gifts labeled the young Cayce as strange, but all Cayce really wanted was to help others, especially children.

Later in life, Cayce would find that he had the ability to put himself into a sleep-like state by lying down on a couch, closing his eyes, and folding his hands over his stomach. In this state of relaxation and meditation, he was able to place his mind in contact with all time and space — the universal consciousness, also known as the super-conscious mind. From there, he could respond to questions as broad as, “What are the secrets of the universe?” and “What is my purpose in life?” to as specific as, “What can I do to help my arthritis?” and “How were the pyramids of Egypt built? His responses to these questions came to be called “readings,” and their insights offer practical help and advice to individuals even today.

Many people are surprised to learn that Edgar Cayce was a devoted churchgoer and Sunday school teacher. At a young age, Cayce vowed to read the Bible for every year of his life, and at the time of his death in 1945, he had accomplished this task. Perhaps the readings said it best, when asked how to become psychic, Cayce’s advice was to become more spiritual.

Although Cayce died more than 60 years ago, the timeliness of the material in the readings — with subjects like discovering your mission in life, developing your intuition, exploring ancient mysteries, and taking responsibility for your health — is evidenced by the hundreds of books that have been written on the various aspects of this work as well as the dozen or so titles focusing on Cayce’s life itself. Together, these books contain information so valuable that even Edgar Cayce himself might have hesitated to predict their impact on the contemporary world. In 1945, the year of his passing, who could have known that terms such as “meditation,” “Akashic records,” “spiritual growth,” “auras,” “soul mates,” and “holistic health” would become household words to millions?

The majority of Edgar Cayce’s readings deal with holistic health and the treatment of illness. As it was at the time Cayce was giving readings, still today, individuals from all walks of life and belief receive physical relief from illnesses or ailments through information given in the readings — some readings were given as far back as 100 years ago! Yet, although best known for this material, the sleeping Cayce did not seem to be limited to concerns about the physical body. In fact, in their entirety, the readings discuss an astonishing 10,000 different topics. This vast array of subject matter can be narrowed down into a smaller group of topics that, when compiled together, deal with the following five categories: (1) Health-Related Information; (2) Philosophy and Reincarnation; (3) Dreams and Dream Interpretation; (4) ESP and Psychic Phenomena; and (5) Spiritual Growth, Meditation, and Prayer.

Further details of Cayce’s life and work are explored in the classic book, There Is a River (1942), by Thomas Sugrue, available in hardback, paperback, or audio book versions.

Karl Johannes Germer


kohnsKarl Johannes Germer, successor to Aleister Crowley as outer head of the order of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), was born January 22, 1885, in Germany. His college career at the Sorbonne, University of Paris, was interrupted by World War I, when he was drafted into the German army. He served as a reserve officer and was awarded the Iron Cross, both first and second class, possibly for intelligence activity in regards to Russia.

After the war Germer joined the publishing firm Barth Verlag in Munich as a manager. In the early 1920 he worked with Tränker, a member of the OTO in the publication of several short works by Crowley, including Der Meister Therion: Eine biographische Nachricht (1925). By this means Germer became acquainted with Crowley and moved to England, where he worked publishing Crowley’s writings. Also with the help of Martha Küntzel, a former Theosophist, he founded Thelema-Verlag in Leipzig to publish German translations of Crowley’s books. In 1935, on a visit to Leipzig, he was arrested by the Nazi government, which was in the process of suppressing occult work. Germer was confined at Alexanderplatz prison and Esterwegen concentration camp for ten months and kept his sanity by reciting the Thelemic Holy Books, the essential writings of thelemic magic as taught by Crowley. Shortly before his release, he was given a vision of his Holy Guardian Angel, a major early magical step for all thelemites. (The word thelema, the central concept of Crowley’s magic, is derived from the Greek word for will.)

Germer then moved to Brussels and tried to keep in touch with the scattered OTO groups, but all of these were finally closed in 1937. In 1941 he was arrested again and spent ten months in an internment camp before he was allowed to get out of the country. He migrated to the United States, and Crowley named him the Grand Treasurer of the order. Germer concentrated on raising money to continue the fragile publication program of the OTO. He wrote an account of his experiences in prison but was never able to find a publisher. Among his duties as the highest ranking officer in the United States was mediating a dispute in the Pasadena lodge concerning the magical work of Jack Parsons. Germer worked through Grady McMurtry as his representative.

Crowley named Germer his successor as head of the order, then died in 1947. Germer lived quietly in rural California and seemed unwilling and uninterested in carrying out his duties as chief administrator of the OTO. In 1955 he chartered a lodge in England under Kenneth Grant, who formed the New Isis Lodge with instructions to limit his work to the first three of the eleven OTO degrees. When Grant began to work higher degrees, Germer withdrew his charter. He also chartered a Swiss lodge, but otherwise remained aloof from the members, many of whom were unaware for several years of his death on October 25, 1962.

Germer died without naming a clear successor or establishing a process for appointing a successor. His work was carried by several claimants, including Metzger in Switzerland, Kenneth Grant in England, Marcelo Ramos Motta in Brazil, and eventually Grady McMurtry in California, each of whom would head a separate branch of the OTO.

Aleister Crowley


crowleyAleister Crowley (/ˈkroʊli/; born Edward Alexander Crowley; 12 October 1875 – 1 December 1947) was an English occultist, ceremonial magician, poet, painter, novelist, and mountaineer. He was responsible for founding the religion and philosophy of Thelema, in which role he identified himself as the prophet entrusted with guiding humanity into the Æon of Horus in the early 20th century.

Born to a wealthy Plymouth Brethren family in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, Crowley rejected this fundamentalist Christian faith to pursue an interest in Western esotericism, poetry, and mountaineering. He was educated at the University of Cambridge, where some biographers allege that he was recruited by a British intelligence agency, further claiming that he remained a spy throughout his life. In 1898 he joined the esoteric Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, where he was trained in ceremonial magic by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and Allan Bennett. Moving to Boleskine House by Loch Ness in Scotland, he travelled to Mexico and then India to study Hindu and Buddhist practices. He married Rose Edith Kelly and they honeymooned in Cairo, Egypt in 1904. There, Crowley claimed to have been contacted by a supernatural entity named Aiwass, who provided him with The Book of the Law, a sacred text that served as the basis for Thelema.

After an unsuccessful attempt to climb Kanchenjunga and a visit to India and China, Crowley returned to Britain where he and George Cecil Jones co-founded the A∴A∴ as a Thelemic order in 1907. After spending time in Algeria, in 1912 he was initiated into another esoteric order, the Ordo Templi Orientis, rising to become the leader of its British branch, which he reformulated in accordance with his Thelemic beliefs. After spending the First World War in the United States, where he later claimed to have worked for British intelligence services in infiltrating the pro-German lobby, in 1920 he moved to Cefalù in Sicily, to run a commune known as the Abbey of Thelema. His libertine lifestyle led to denunciations in the British press, and the Italian government evicted him in 1923. He divided the following two decades between France, Germany, and England, and continued to promote Thelema until his death.

Crowley gained widespread notoriety during his lifetime, being a recreational drug experimenter, bisexual and an individualist social critic. As a result, he was denounced in the popular press as “the wickedest man in the world” and erroneously labelled a Satanist. Crowley has remained a highly influential figure over western esotericism and the counter-culture, and continues to be considered a prophet in Thelema. In 2002, a BBC poll ranked him as the seventy-third greatest Briton of all time.

Early life
Youth: 1875–94
Crowley was born as Edward Alexander Crowley at 30 Clarendon Square in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, on 12 October 1875. His father, Edward Crowley (1834–87), was trained as an engineer but never worked as one, instead owning shares in a lucrative family brewing business, Crowley’s Alton Ales, which allowed him to retire before his son was born. His mother, Emily Bertha Bishop (1848–1917), came from a Devonshire-Somerset family and had a strained relationship with her son; she described him as “the Beast”, a name that he revelled in. The couple had been married at London’s Kensington Registry Office in November 1874, and were evangelical Christians. Crowley’s father had been born a Quaker, but had converted to the Exclusive Brethren, an ultra-conservative faction of the Plymouth Brethren who emphasized the concept of election (Christianity), with Emily joining him upon marriage. Crowley’s father was particularly devout, spending his time as a travelling preacher for the sect and reading a chapter from the Bible to his wife and son after breakfast every day. Following the death of their baby daughter in 1880, in 1881 the family moved to Redhill, Surrey. At age 8, Crowley was sent to H.T. Habershon’s evangelical Christian boarding school in Hastings, and then to the preparatory Ebor school in Cambridge, run by the Reverend Henry d’Arcy Champney, whom Crowley considered a sadist.

In March 1887, when Crowley was 11, his father died of tongue cancer. Crowley described this as a turning point in his life, and he always maintained an admiration of his father, describing him as “his hero and his friend”. Inheriting a third of his father’s wealth, he began misbehaving at school and was harshly punished by Champney; Crowley’s family removed him from the school when he developed albuminuria. He then attended Malvern College and Tonbridge School, both of which he despised and left after a few terms. He became increasingly sceptical regarding Christianity, pointing out inconsistencies in the Bible to his religious teachers, and went against the Christian morality of his upbringing by smoking, masturbating, and having sex with prostitutes from whom he contracted gonorrhea.Sent to live with a Brethren tutor in Eastbourne, he undertook chemistry courses at Eastbourne College. Crowley developed his interests in chess, poetry, and mountain climbing, and in 1894 climbed Beachy Head before visiting the Alps and joining the Scottish Mountaineering Club. The following year he returned to the Bernese Alps, climbing the Eiger, Trift, Jungfrau, Mönch, and Wetterhorn.

Cambridge University: 1895–98
Having adopted the name of Aleister over Edward, in October 1895 Crowley began a three-year course at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was entered for the Moral Science Tripos studying philosophy. With approval from his personal tutor, he changed to English literature, which was not then part of the curriculum offered. Crowley spent much of his time at university engaged in his pastimes, becoming president of the chess club and practising the game for two hours a day; he briefly considered a professional career in the sport.Crowley also embraced his love of literature and poetry, becoming a particular fan of Richard Francis Burton and Percy Bysshe Shelley, and many of his own poems appeared in student publications The Granta, Cambridge Magazine, and Cantab. He continued his mountaineering, going on holiday to the Alps to climb every year from 1894 to 1898, often with his friend Oscar Eckenstein, and in 1897 he made the first ascent of the Mönch without a guide. These feats led to his recognition in the Alpine mountaineering community.

Crowley later claimed to have had his first significant mystical experience while on holiday in Stockholm in December 1896. Several biographers, including Lawrence Sutin, Richard Kaczynski, and Tobias Churton, believed that this was the result of Crowley’s first homosexual encounter, enabling him to recognise his bisexuality. At Cambridge, Crowley maintained a vigorous sex life, largely with female prostitutes, from one of whom he caught syphilis, but eventually he took part in same-sex activities, despite their illegality. In October 1897, Crowley met Herbert Charles Pollitt, president of the Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club, and the two entered into a relationship. They broke apart because Pollitt did not share Crowley’s increasing interest in Western esotericism, something Crowley regretted for years.

In 1897, Crowley travelled to St Petersburg in Russia, later claiming that he was trying to learn Russian as he considered a future diplomatic career there. Biographers Richard Spence and Tobias Churton suggested that Crowley had done so as an intelligence agent under the employ of the British secret service, speculating that he had been enlisted while at Cambridge.

In October 1897, a brief illness triggered considerations of mortality and “the futility of all human endeavour”, and Crowley abandoned all thoughts of a diplomatic career in favour of pursuing an interest in the occult. In March 1898, he obtained A.E. Waite’s The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts (1898), and then Karl von Eckartshausen’s The Cloud Upon the Sanctuary (1896), furthering his occult interests. In 1898 Crowley privately published 100 copies of his poem Aceldama: A Place to Bury Strangers In, but it was not a particular success. That same year he published a string of other poems, including the collection White Stains, a piece of decadent erotica that had to be printed abroad in case it caused trouble with the British authorities. In July 1898, he left Cambridge, not having taken any degree at all despite a “first class” showing in his 1897 exams and consistent “second class honours” results before that.

The Golden Dawn: 1898–99
In August 1898, Crowley was in Zermatt, Switzerland, where he met the chemist Julian L. Baker, and the two began discussing their common interest in alchemy. Back in London, Baker introduced Crowley to George Cecil Jones, a member of the occult society known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which had been founded in 1888. Crowley was initiated into the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn on 18 November 1898 by the group’s leader, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. The ceremony took place at the Isis-Urania Temple in London’s Mark Masons Hall, where Crowley accepted his motto and magical name of “Frater Perdurabo”, a Latin term meaning “Brother I shall endure to the end”.Biographers Richard Spence and Tobias Churton have suggested that Crowley joined the Order under the command of the British secret services to monitor the activities of Mathers, who was known to be a Carlist.

Crowley moved from the Hotel Cecil to his own luxury flat at 67–69 Chancery Lane. He soon invited a senior Golden Dawn member, Allan Bennett, to live with him as his personal magical tutor. Bennett taught Crowley more about ceremonial magic and the ritual use of drugs, and together they performed the rituals of the Goetia, until Bennett left for South Asia to study Buddhism. In November 1899, Crowley purchased Boleskine House in Foyers on the shore of Loch Ness in Scotland. He developed a love of Scottish culture, describing himself as the “Laird of Boleskine” and took to wearing traditional highland dress, even during visits to London. He continued writing poetry, publishing Jezebel and Other Tragic Poems, Tales of Archais, Songs of the Spirit, Appeal to the American Republic, and Jephthah in 1898–99; most gained mixed reviews, and the latter was a critical success.

Crowley soon progressed through the grades of the Golden Dawn, and was ready to enter the inner Second Order.He was unpopular in the group; his bisexuality and libertine lifestyle had gained him a bad reputation, and he developed feuds with members like W.B. Yeats. When the London Golden Dawn refused to initiate Crowley into the Second Order, he visited Mathers in Paris, who personally upgraded him. A schism had developed between Mathers and the London members of the Golden Dawn, who were unhappy with his autocratic rule. Acting under Mathers’ orders, Crowley – with the help of his mistress and fellow initiate Elaine Simpson – attempted to seize the Vault of Rosenkreutz, a temple space at 36 Blythe Road, from the London rebels. When the case was taken to court, the judge ruled in favour of the rebels, as they had paid for the space’s rent, leaving both Crowley and Mathers isolated from the group. Spence suggested that the entire scenario was part of an intelligence operation to undermine Mathers’ authority.

Mexico, India, Paris, and marriage: 1900–03
In 1900, Crowley travelled to Mexico via the United States, settling in Mexico City and taking a local woman as his mistress. Developing a love of the country, he continued experimenting with ceremonial magic, working with John Dee’s Enochian invocations. He later claimed to have been initiated into Freemasonry while in the city, and spending time writing, he wrote a play based on Richard Wagner’s Tannhäuser as well as a series of poems, published as Oracles (1905). Eckenstein joined him later that year, and together they climbed several mountains, including Iztaccihuatl, Popocatepetl, and Colima, the latter of which they had to abandon owing to a volcanic eruption. Spence has suggested that the purpose of the trip might have been to explore Mexican oil prospects for British intelligence. Leaving Mexico, Crowley headed to San Francisco before sailing for Hawaii aboard the Nippon Maru. On the ship he had a brief affair with a married woman named Mary Alice Rogers; claiming to have fallen in love with her, he wrote a series of poems about the romance, published as Alice: An Adultery (1903).
Briefly stopping at Japan and Hong Kong, Crowley reached Ceylon, where he met with Allan Bennett, who was there studying Shaivism. The pair spent some time in Kandy before Bennett decided to become a Buddhist monk in the Theravada tradition, travelling to Burma to do so.Crowley decided to tour India, devoting himself to the Hindu practice of raja yoga, from which he claimed to have achieved the spiritual state of dhyana. He spent much of this time studying at the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madura, and also wrote poetry which was published as The Sword of Song (1904). He contracted malaria, and had to recuperate from the disease in Calcutta and Rangoon. In 1902, he was joined in India by Eckenstein and several other mountaineers: Guy Knowles, H. Pfannl, V. Wesseley, and Jules Jacot-Guillarmod. Together the Eckenstein-Crowley expedition attempted K2, which had never been climbed. On the journey, Crowley was afflicted with influenza, malaria, and snow blindness, and other expedition members were also struck with illness. They reached an altitude of 20,000 feet (6,100 m) before turning back.

Arriving in Paris in November 1902, he associated largely with the painter Gerald Festus Kelly, and through him became a fixture of the Parisian arts scene, authoring a series of poems on the work of an acquaintance, the sculptor Auguste Rodin, published as Rodin in Rime (1907). One of those frequenting this milieu was W. Somerset Maugham, who after briefly meeting Crowley later used him as a model for the character of Oliver Haddo in his novel The Magician (1908).Returning to Boleskine in April 1903, in August Crowley wed Gerald’s sister Rose Edith Kelly in a “marriage of convenience” to prevent her entering an arranged marriage; the marriage appalled the Kelly family and damaged his friendship with Gerald. Heading on a honeymoon to Paris, Cairo, and then Ceylon, Crowley fell in love with her and set about to successfully prove his affections. He wrote her a series of love poems, published as Rosa Mundi and other Love Songs (1906), also authoring Why Jesus Wept.

Developing Thelema Egypt and The Book of the Law: 1904
In February 1904, Crowley and Rose arrived in Cairo. Claiming to be a prince and princess, they rented an apartment in which Crowley set up a temple room and began invoking ancient Egyptian deities, also studying Arabic and Islamic mysticism.According to Crowley’s later account, Rose regularly became delirious and informed him “they are waiting for you”. On 18 March, she explained that “they” were the god Horus, and on 20 March proclaimed that “the Equinox of the Gods has come.” She led him to a nearby museum, where she showed him a seventh-century BCE mortuary stele known as the Stele of Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu (Crowley later termed it the “Stele of Revealing”); Crowley was astounded, for the exhibit’s number was 666, the number of the beast in Christian belief.

According to later claims, on 8 April Crowley heard a disembodied voice claiming to be coming from Aiwass, an entity who was the messenger of Horus, or Hoor-Paar-Kraat. Crowley said that he wrote down everything the voice told him over the course of the next three days, and titled it Liber AL vel Legis or The Book of the Law. The book proclaimed that humanity was entering a new Aeon, and that Crowley would serve as its prophet. It stated that a supreme moral law was to be introduced in this Aeon, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”, and that people should learn to live in tune with their “True Will”. This book, and the philosophy that it espoused, became the cornerstone of Crowley’s religion, Thelema. Crowley was unsure what to do with The Book of the Law, and often came to resent it. He ignored the instructions that it commanded him to perform, which included taking the Stele of Revealing from the museum, fortifying his own island, and translating the book into all the world’s languages. Instead he sent typescripts of the work to several occultists he knew, and then “put aside the book with relief”.

Kangchenjunga and China: 1905–06
Returning to Boleskine, Crowley came to believe that Mathers had begun using magic against him, and the relationship between the two broke down. On 28 July 1905, Rose gave birth to Crowley’s first child, a daughter named Lilith, with Crowley authoring the pornographic Snowdrops From a Curate’s Garden to entertain his recuperating wife. He also founded a publishing company through which to publish his poetry, naming it the Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth in parody of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Among its first publications were Crowley’s Collected Works, edited by Ivor Back. His poetry often received strong reviews (either positive or negative), but never sold well. In an attempt to gain more publicity, he issued a reward of £100 for the best essay on his work. The winner of this was J.F.C. Fuller, a British Army officer and military historian, whose essay, The Star in the West (1907), heralded Crowley’s poetry as some of the greatest ever written.
Crowley decided to climb Kangchenjunga in the Himalayas of Nepal, widely recognised as the world’s most treacherous mountain. Assembling a team consisting of Jacot-Guillarmod, Charles Adolphe Reymond, Alexis Pache, and Alcesti C. Rigo de Righi, the expedition was marred by much argument between Crowley and the others, who felt that he was reckless. They eventually mutinied against Crowley’s control, with the other climbers heading back down the mountain as nightfall approached despite Crowley’s warnings that it was too dangerous. Crowley was proved right as Pache and several porters were killed in an accident, something for which Crowley was widely blamed by the mountaineering community.

Spending time in Moharbhanj, where he took part in big game hunting and wrote the homoerotic work The Scented Garden, Crowley met up with Rose and Lilith in Calcutta before being forced to leave India after shooting dead a native who tried to mug him.Briefly visiting Bennett in Burma, Crowley and his family decided to tour Southern China, hiring porters and a nanny for the purpose. Spence has suggested that this was part of Crowley’s job as an intelligence agent, in order to report on the region’s opium trade.Crowley smoked opium throughout the journey, which took the family from Tengyueh through to Yungchang, Tali, Yunnanfu, and then Hanoi, before sailing to Hong Kong. On the way he spent much time on spiritual and magical work, reciting invocations from the Goetia on a daily basis.

While Rose and Lilith returned to Europe, Crowley headed to Shanghai to meet old friend Elaine Simpson, who was fascinated by The Book of the Law; together they performed rituals to contact Aiwass. Crowley then sailed to Japan and Canada, before continuing to New York City, where he unsuccessfully attempted to gain support for a second expedition up Kangchenjunga. Upon arrival in Britain, Crowley learned that his daughter Lilith had died of typhoid in Rangoon, something he later blamed on Rose’s increasing alcoholism. Heartbroken, his health began to suffer, and he underwent a series of surgical operations. He began short-lived romances with actress Vera “Lola” Stepp and author Ada Leverson, and Rose gave birth to Crowley’s second daughter, Lola Zaza, in February 1907.

The A∴A∴ and the Holy Books of Thelema: 1907–09
With his old mentor George Cecil Jones, Crowley continued performing the Abramelin rituals at the Ashdown Park Hotel in Coulsdon, Surrey. Crowley claimed that in doing so he attained samadhi, or union with Godhead, thereby marking a turning point in his life. Making heavy use of hashish during these rituals, he wrote an influential essay on “The Psychology of Hashish” (1909). He also claimed to have been contacted once again by Aiwass in late October and November 1907, resulting in two further texts, “Liber VII” and “Liber Cordis Cincti Serpente”, which was later classified in the corpus of Holy Books of Thelema. Crowley wrote down more received Thelemic Holy Books during the last two months of the year, including “Liber LXVI”, “Liber Arcanorum”, “Liber Porta Lucis, Sub Figura X”, “Liber Tau”, “Liber Trigrammaton” and “Liber DCCCXIII vel Ararita”. In June 1909, when the manuscript of The Book of the Law was rediscovered at Boleskine, Crowley finally came to fully accept Thelema as objective truth.

Crowley’s inheritance was running out. Trying to earn money, he was hired by George Montagu Bennett, the Earl of Tankerville, to help protect him from witchcraft; recognising Bennett’s paranoia as being based in his cocaine addiction, Crowley took him on holiday to France and Morocco to recuperate. In 1907, he also began taking in paying students, whom he instructed in occult and magical practice. Victor Neuburg, whom Crowley met in February 1907, became his closest disciple and sexual partner; in 1908 the pair toured northern Spain before heading to Tangier, Morocco. The following year Neuburg stayed at Boleskine, where he and Crowley engaged in sadomasochism. Crowley continued to write prolifically, producing such works of poetry as Ambergris, Clouds Without Water, and Konx Om Pax, as well as his first attempt at an autobiography, The World’s Tragedy.Recognising the popularity of short horror stories, Crowley wrote his own, some of which were published, and he also published several articles in Vanity Fair, a magazine edited by his friend Frank Harris. He also wrote Liber 777, a book of magical and Qabalistic correspondences that borrowed from Mathers and Bennett.
In November 1907, Crowley and Jones decided to found an occult order to act as a successor to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, being aided in doing so by Fuller. The result was the A∴A∴. The group’s headquarters and temple were situated at 124 Victoria Street in central London, and their rites borrowed much from those of the Golden Dawn, but with an added Thelemic basis. Its earliest members included solicitor Richard Noel Warren, artist Austin Osman Spare, Horace Sheridan-Bickers, author George Raffalovich, Francis Henry Everard Joseph Feilding, engineer Herbert Edward Inman, Kenneth Ward, and Charles Stansfeld Jones. In March 1909, Crowley began production of a biannual periodical that acted as the “Official Organ” of the A∴A∴, titled The Equinox, which was billed as “The Review of Scientific Illuminism”. The philosophy it espoused was described as “The Method of Science, the Aim of Religion”, and it contained both articles on occultism, non-fiction pieces, and artworks.

Meanwhile, unable to stand her alcoholism, Crowley divorced Rose in November 1909, on the grounds of his own adultery. Lola was entrusted to Rose’s care; the couple remained friends and she continued to live at Boleskine. Her alcoholism worsened, and as a result she was institutionalised in September 1911.

Algeria and the Rites of Eleusis: 1909–11
In November 1909, Crowley and Neuburg travelled to Algeria, touring the desert from El Arba to Aumale, Bou Saâda, and then Dā’leh Addin, with Crowley reciting the Quran on a daily basis. During the trip he performed the 19 Calls of Enochian magic, with Neuburg recording the results, later published in The Equinox as The Vision and the Voice. Following a mountaintop sex magic ritual, Crowley also performed an invocation to the demon Choronzon involving blood sacrifice, considering the results to be a watershed in his magical career. Returning to London in January 1910, Crowley found that Mathers was suing him for publishing Golden Dawn secrets in The Equinox; the court found in favour of Crowley. The case was widely reported on in the press, with Crowley gaining wider fame.Crowley enjoyed this, and played up to the sensationalist stereotype of being a Satanist and advocate of human sacrifice, despite being neither.

The publicity attracted new members to the A∴A∴, among them Frank Bennett, James Bayley, Herbert Close, and James Windram. The Australian violinist Leila Waddell soon became Crowley’s lover. Deciding to expand his teachings to a wider audience, Crowley developed the Rites of Artemis, a public performance of magic and symbolism featuring A∴A∴ members personifying various deities. It was first performed at the A∴A∴ headquarters, with attendees given a fruit punch containing peyote to enhance their experience. Various members of the press attended, and reported largely positively on it. In October and November 1910, Crowley decided to stage something similar, the Rites of Eleusis, at Caxton Hall, Westminster; this time press reviews were mixed. Crowley came under particular criticism from West de Wend Fenton, editor of The Looking Glass newspaper, who called him “one of the most blasphemous and cold-blooded villains of modern times.” Fenton’s articles suggested that Crowley and Jones were involved in homosexual activity; Crowley did not mind, but Jones was incensed and unsuccessfully sued for libel. Fuller broke off his friendship and involvement with Crowley over the scandal, and Crowley and Neuburg returned to Algeria for further magical workings.

The Equinox continued publishing, and various books of literature and poetry were also published under its imprint, like Crowley’s Ambergris, The Winged Beetle, and The Scented Garden, as well as Neuburg’s The Triumph of Pan and Ethel Archer’s The Whirlpool. In 1911, Crowley and Waddell holidayed in Montigny-sur-Loing, where he wrote prolifically, producing poems, short stories, plays, and 19 works on magic and mysticism, including the two final Holy Books of Thelema. In Paris, he met Mary Desti, who became his next “Scarlet Woman”, with the two undertaking magical workings in St. Moritz; Crowley believed that one of the Secret Chiefs, Ab-ul-Diz, was speaking through her. Based on Desti’s statements when in trance, Crowley wrote the two-volume Book 4 (1912–13) and developed the spelling “magick” to differentiate what he practised from the tricks of illusionists.

Ordo Templi Orientis and the Paris Working: 1912–14
In early 1912, Crowley published The Book of Lies, a work of mysticism that biographer Lawrence Sutin described as “his greatest success in merging his talents as poet, scholar, and magus”. The German occultist Theodor Reuss later accused him of publishing some of the secrets of his own occult order, the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), within The Book. Crowley convinced Reuss that the similarities were coincidental, and the two became friends. Reuss appointed Crowley as head of the O.T.O’s British branch, the Mysteria Mystica Maxima (MMM), and at a ceremony in Berlin Crowley adopted the magical name of Baphomet and was proclaimed “X° Supreme Rex and Sovereign Grand Master General of Ireland, Iona, and all the Britons”. With Reuss’ permission, Crowley set about advertising the MMM and re-writing many O.T.O. rituals, which were then based largely on Freemasonry; his incorporation of Thelemite elements proved controversial in the group. Fascinated by the O.T.O’s emphasis on sex magic, Crowley devised a magical working based on anal sex and incorporated it into the syllabus for XI° level initiates.

In March 1913 Crowley acted as producer for The Ragged Ragtime Girls, a group of female violinists led by Waddell, as they performed at London’s Old Tivoli theatre. They subsequently performed in Moscow for six weeks, where Crowley had a sadomasochistic relationship with the Hungarian Anny Ringler. In Moscow, Crowley continued to write plays and poetry, including “Hymn to Pan”, and the Gnostic Mass, a Thelemic ritual that became a key part of O.T.O. liturgy. Churton suggested that Crowley had travelled to Moscow on the orders of British intelligence to spy on revolutionary elements in the city. In January 1914 Crowley and Neuburg settled in to an apartment in Paris, where he was involved in the controversy surrounding Jacob Epstein’s new monument to Oscar Wilde, and they performed the six-week “Paris Working”, in which they invoked the gods Mercury and Jupiter. Involving strong drug use, they performed sex magic themselves and with journalist Walter Duranty. Crowley wrote down the results of the working, among them Liber Agapé, a treatise on sex magic. Following the Working, Neuburg began to distance himself from Crowley, resulting in an argument in which Crowley cursed him.

United States: 1914–19
By 1914 Crowley was living a hand-to-mouth existence, relying largely on donations and the membership fees from the O.T.O. and A∴A∴. In May he transferred ownership of Boleskine House to the MMM for financial reasons, and in July he went mountaineering in the Swiss Alps. During this time the First World War broke out. After recuperating from a bout of phlebitis, Crowley set sail for the United States aboard the RMS Lusitania in October 1914. Arriving in New York City, he moved into a hotel and began earning money writing for the American edition of Vanity Fair and undertaking freelance work for the famed astrologer Evangeline Adams. In the city, he continued experimenting with sex magic, through the use of masturbation, female prostitutes, and male clients of a Turkish bathhouse; all of these encounters were documented in his diaries.

Professing to be of Irish ancestry and a supporter of Irish independence from Great Britain, Crowley began to espouse views supporting Germany in their war against Britain. He became involved in New York’s pro-German movement, and in January 1915 German spy George Sylvester Viereck employed him as a writer for his propagandist paper, The Fatherland, which was dedicated to keeping the US neutral in the conflict. In later years, detractors denounced Crowley as a traitor to Britain for this action. In reality, Crowley was a double agent, working for the British intelligence services to infiltrate and undermine Germany’s operation in New York. Many of his articles in The Fatherland were hyperbolic, for instance comparing Kaiser Wilhelm II to Jesus Christ; in July 1915 he orchestrated a publicity stunt – reported on by The New York Times – in which he declared independence for Ireland in front of the Statue of Liberty; the real intention was to make the German lobby appear ridiculous in the eyes of the American public. It has been argued that he encouraged the German Navy to destroy the Lusitania, informing them that it would ensure the US stayed out of the war, while in reality hoping that it would bring the US into the war on Britain’s side.

Crowley entered into a relationship with Jeanne Robert Foster, with whom he toured the West Coast. In Vancouver, headquarters of the North American O.T.O., he met with Charles Stansfeld Jones and Wilfred Talbot Smith to discuss the propagation of Thelema on the continent. In Detroit he experimented with anhalonium at Parke-Davis, then visited Seattle, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tijuana, and the Grand Canyon, before returning to New York. There he befriended Ananda Coomaraswamy and his wife Alice Richardson; Crowley and Richardson performed sex magic in April 1916, following which she became pregnant and then miscarried. Later that year he took a “magical retirement” to a cabin by Lake Pasquaney owned by Evangeline Adams. There, he made heavy use of drugs and undertook a ritual after which he proclaimed himself “Master Therion”. He also wrote several short stories based on J.G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough and a work of literary criticism, The Gospel According to Bernard Shaw.

In December he moved to New Orleans, his favourite US city, before spending February 1917 with evangelical Christian relatives in Titusville, Florida. Returning to New York, he moved in with artist and A∴A∴ member Leon Engars Kennedy, in May learning of his mother’s death. After the collapse of The Fatherland, Crowley continued his association with Viereck, who appointed him contributing editor of arts journal The International. Crowley used it to promote Thelema, but it soon ceased publication. He then moved to the studio apartment of Roddie Minor, who became his partner and Scarlet Woman. Through their rituals, Crowley believed that they were contacted by a preternatural entity named Alamantrah. The relationship soon ended.

In 1918, Crowley went on a magical retreat in the wilderness of Esopus Island on the Hudson River. Here, he began a translation of the Tao Te Ching and experienced past life memories of being Ge Xuan, Pope Alexander VI, Alessandro Cagliostro, and Eliphas Levi, also painting Thelemic slogans on the riverside cliffs. Back in New York, he moved to Greenwich Village, where he took Leah Hirsig as his lover and next Scarlet Woman. He took up painting as a hobby, exhibiting his work at the Greenwich Village Liberal Club and attracting the attention of the New York Evening World. With the financial assistance of sympathetic Freemasons, Crowley revived The Equinox with the first issue of volume III, known as “The Blue Equinox.” He spent mid-1919 on a climbing holiday in Montauk before returning to London in December.

Abbey of Thelema: 1920–23
Now destitute and back in London, Crowley came under attack from the tabloid John Bull, which labelled him traitorous “scum”; several friends aware of his intelligence work urged him to sue, but he decided not to. When he was suffering from asthma, a doctor prescribed him heroin, to which he soon became addicted. In January 1920, he moved to Paris, renting a house in Fontainebleau with Leah Hirsig; they were soon joined in a ménage à trois by Ninette Shumway, and also by Leah’s newborn daughter Anne “Poupée” Leah. Crowley had ideas of forming a community of Thelemites, which he called the Abbey of Thelema after the Abbaye de Thélème in François Rabelais’s satire Gargantua and Pantagruel. After consulting the I Ching, he chose Cefalù (on Sicily, Italy) as a location, and after arriving there, began renting the old Villa Santa Barbara as his Abbey on 2 April.

Moving to the commune with Hirsig, Shumway, and their children Hansi, Howard, and Poupée, Crowley described the scenario as “perfectly happy … my idea of heaven.”They wore robes, and performed rituals to the sun god Ra at set times during the day, also occasionally performing the Gnostic Mass; the rest of the day they were left to follow their own interests. Undertaking widespread correspondences, Crowley continued to paint, wrote a commentary on The Book of the Law, and revised the third part of Book 4. He offered a libertine education for the children, allowing them to play all day and witness acts of sex magic. He occasionally travelled to Palermo to visit rent boys and buy supplies, including drugs; his heroin addiction came to dominate his life, and cocaine began to erode his nasal cavity. There was no cleaning rota, and wild dogs and cats wandered throughout the building, which soon became unsanitary. Poupée died in October 1920, and Ninette gave birth to a daughter, Astarte Lulu Panthea, soon afterwards.

New followers continued to arrive at the Abbey to be taught by Crowley. Among them was film star Jane Wolfe, who arrived in July 1920, where she was initiated into the A∴A∴ and became Crowley’s secretary. Another was Cecil Frederick Russell, who often argued with Crowley, disliking the same-sex sexual magic that he was required to perform, and left after a year. More conducive was the Australian Thelemite Frank Bennett, who also spent several months at the Abbey. In February 1922, Crowley returned to Paris for a retreat in an unsuccessful attempt to kick his heroin addiction. He then went to London in search of money, where he published articles in The English Review criticising the Dangerous Drugs Act 1920 and wrote a novel, Diary of a Drug Fiend, completed in July. On publication, it received mixed reviews; he was lambasted by the Sunday Express, which called for its burning and used its influence to prevent further reprints.

Subsequently, a young Thelemite named Raoul Loveday moved to the Abbey with his wife Betty May; while Loveday was devoted to Crowley, May detested him and life at the commune. She later claimed that Loveday was made to drink the blood of a sacrificed cat, and that they were required to cut themselves with razors every time they used the pronoun “I”. Raoul drank from a local polluted stream, soon developing a liver infection resulting in his death in February 1923. Returning to London, May told her story to the press. John Bull proclaimed Crowley “the wickedest man in the world” and “a man we’d like to hang”, making various slanderous accusations against him, but he was unable to afford the legal fees to sue them. As a result, John Bull continued its attack, with the stories also being picked up by newspapers in North America and throughout Europe. The Fascist government of Benito Mussolini learned of Crowley’s activities and in April 1923 he was given a deportation notice forcing him to leave Italy; without him, the Abbey closed.

Later Life
Tunisia, Paris, and London: 1923–29
Crowley and Hirsig went to Tunis, where, dogged by continuing poor health, he unsuccessfully tried again to give up heroin, and began writing what he termed his “autohagiography”, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. They were joined in Tunis by the Thelemite Norman Mudd, who became Crowley’s public relations consultant.Employing a local boy, Mohammad ben Brahim, as his servant, Crowley went with him on a retreat to Nefta, where they performed sex magic together. In January 1924, Crowley travelled to Nice, France, where he met with Frank Harris, underwent a series of nasal operations, and visited the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man, thinking positively of its founder, George Gurdjieff. Destitute, he took on a wealthy student, Alexander Zu Zolar,before taking on another American follower, Dorothy Olsen. Crowley took Olsen back to Tunisia for a magical retreat in Nefta, where he also wrote To Man. After spending the winter in Paris, in early 1925 Crowley and Olsen returned to Tunis, where he wrote The Heart of the Master. In March Olsen became pregnant, and Hirsig was called to take care of her; she miscarried, following which Crowley took Olsen back to France. Hirsig later distanced herself from Crowley, who then denounced her.

According to Crowley, Reuss had named him head of the O.T.O. upon his death, but this was challenged by leader of the German O.T.O., Heinrich Tränker. Tränker called the Hohenleuben Conference in Thuringia, Germany, at which Crowley attended. There, prominent members like Karl Germer and Martha Küntzel championed Crowley’s leadership, but others opposed it, resulting in a split in the O.T.O. Moving to Paris, where he broke with Olsen in 1926, Crowley went through a large number of Scarlet Women over the following years, with whom he experimented in sex magic. Throughout, he was dogged by poor health, largely caused by his heroin and cocaine addictions. In 1928, Crowley was introduced to young Englishman Israel Regardie, who embraced Thelema and became Crowley’s secretary for the next three years. That year, Crowley also met Gerald Yorke, who began organising Crowley’s finances; he never became a Thelemite. He also befriended Thomas Driberg; Driberg did not accept Thelema either. It was here that Crowley also published one of his most significant works, Magick in Theory and Practice, which received little attention at the time.

In December 1929 Crowley met the Nicaraguan Maria Teresa Sanchez, who became his most significant Scarlet Woman of the period. Crowley was deported from France by the authorities, who disliked his reputation and feared that he was a German agent. So that she could join him in Britain, Crowley married Sanchez in August 1929. Now based in London, Mandrake Press agreed to publish his autobiography in a limited edition six-volume set, also publishing his novel Moonchild and book of short stories The Stratagem. Mandrake went into liquidation in November 1930, before the entirety of Crowley’s Confessions could be published.Mandrake’s owner P.R. Stephenson meanwhile wrote The Legend of Aleister Crowley, an analysis of the media coverage surrounding him.

Berlin and London: 1930–38
In April 1930, Crowley moved to Berlin, where he took Hanni Jaegar as his new Scarlet Woman; the relationship was troubled. In September he went to Lisbon in Portugal to meet the poet Fernando Pessoa. There, he decided to fake his own death, doing so with Pessoa’s help at the Boca do Inferno rock formation. He then returned to Berlin, where he reappeared three weeks later at the opening of his art exhibition at the Gallery Neumann-Nierendorf. Crowley’s paintings fitted with the fashion for German Expressionism; few of them sold, but the press reports were largely favourable. In August 1931, he took Bertha Busch as his new lover; they had a violent relationship, and often physically assaulted one another. He continued to have affairs with both men and women while in the city, and met with famous people like Aldous Huxley and Alfred Adler. After befriending him, in January 1932 he took the communist Gerald Hamilton as a lodger, through whom he was introduced to many figures within the Berlin far left; it is possible that he was operating as a spy for British intelligence at this time, monitoring the communist movement.

Crowley left Busch and returned to London, where he took Pearl Brooksmith as his new Scarlet Woman. Undergoing further nasal surgery, it was here in 1932 that he was invited to be guest of honour at Foyles’ Literary Luncheon, also being invited by Harry Price to speak at the National Laboratory of Psychical Research. In need of money, he launched a series of court cases against people whom he believed had libelled him, some of which proved successful. He gained much publicity for his lawsuit against Constable and Co for publishing Nina Hamnett’s Laughing Torso (1932) – a book he thought libelled him – but lost the case. The court case added to Crowley’s financial problems, and in February 1935 he was declared bankrupt. During the hearing, it was revealed that Crowley had been spending three times his income for several years.

Crowley developed a platonic friendship with Deidre Patricia O’Doherty; she agreed to bear his child, who was born in May 1937. Named Randall Gair, Crowley nicknamed him Aleister Atatürk. Crowley continued to socialise with friends, holding curry parties in which he cooked particularly spicy food for them. In 1936, he published his first book in six years, The Equinox of the Gods, which contained a facsimile of The Book of the Law and was considered to be volume III, number 3, of The Equinox periodical. The work sold well, resulting in a second print run. In 1937 he gave a series of public lectures on yoga in Soho. With the A∴A∴ effectively defunct, Crowley was now living largely off contributions supplied by the O.T.O.’s Agape Lodge in California, led by rocket scientist John Whiteside “Jack” Parsons. Crowley was intrigued by the rise of Nazism in Germany, and influenced by his friend Knüsel believed that Adolf Hitler might convert to Thelema; when the Nazis abolished the German O.T.O. and imprisoned Germer, who fled to the US, Crowley then lambasted Hitler as a black magician.

Second World War and death: 1939–47
When the Second World War broke out, Crowley wrote to the Naval Intelligence Division offering his services, but they declined. He associated with a variety of figures in Britain’s intelligence community at the time, including Dennis Wheatley, Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, and Maxwell Knight, and claimed to have been behind the “V for Victory” sign first used by the BBC; this has never been proven. In 1940, his asthma worsened, and with his German-produced medication unavailable, he returned to using heroin, once again becoming addicted. As the Blitz hit London, Crowley relocated to Torquay, where he was briefly hospitalised with asthma, and entertained himself with visits to the local chess club.Tiring of Torquay, he returned to London, where he was visited by American Thelemite Grady McMurty, to whom Crowley awarded the title of “Hymenaeus Alpha.” He stipulated that though Germer would be his immediate successor, McMurty should succeed Germer as head of the O.T.O. on the latter’s death. With O.T.O. initiate Lady Frieda Harris, Crowley developed plans to produce a tarot card set, designed by him and painted by Harris. Accompanying this was a book, published in a limited edition as The Book of Thoth by Chiswick Press in 1944. To aid the war effort, he wrote a proclamation on the rights of humanity, Liber Oz, and a poem for the liberation of France, Le Gauloise. Crowley’s final publication during his lifetime was a book of poetry, Olla: An Anthology of Sixty Years of Song.Another of his projects, Aleister Explains Everything, was posthumously published as Magick Without Tears.

In April 1944 Crowley briefly moved to Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire,where he was visited by the poet Nancy Cunard,before relocating to Hastings in Sussex, where he took up residence at the Netherwood boarding house. He took a young man named Kenneth Grant as his secretary, paying him in magical teaching rather than wages.He was also introduced to John Symonds, whom he appointed to be his literary executor; Symonds thought little of Crowley, later publishing negative biographies of him. Corresponding with the illusionist Arnold Crowther, it was through him that Crowley was introduced to Gerald Gardner, the future founder of Gardnerian Wicca. They became friends, with Crowley authorising Gardner to revive Britain’s ailing O.T.O. Another visitor was Eliza Marian Butler, who interviewed Crowley for her book The Myth of the Magus. Other friends and family also spent time with him, among them Doherty and Crowley’s son Aleister Atatürk. On 1 December 1947, Crowley died at Netherwood of chronic bronchitis aggravated by pleurisy and myocardial degeneration, aged 72. His funeral was held at a Brighton crematorium on 5 December; about a dozen people attended, and Louis Wilkinson read excerpts from the Gnostic Mass, The Book of the Law, and “Hymn to Pan”. The funeral generated press controversy, and was labelled a Black Mass by the tabloids. Crowley’s ashes were sent to Germer in the US, who buried them in his garden in Hampton, New Jersey.

Beliefs and thoughts
Crowley’s thought was not always cohesive, and was influenced by a variety of sources, ranging from eastern religious movements and practices like Hindu yoga and Buddhism, scientific naturalism, and various currents within Western esotericism, among them ceremonial magic, alchemy, astrology, Rosicrucianism, Kabbalah, and the Tarot.Philosopher John Moore opined that Crowley’s thought was rooted in Romanticism and the Decadent movement, an assessment shared by historian Alex Owen, who noted that Crowley adhered to the “modus operandi” of the decadent movement throughout his life.

Crowley believed that the twentieth century marked humanity’s entry to the Aeon of Horus, a new era in which humans would take increasing control of their destiny. He believed that this Aeon follows on from the Aeon of Osiris, in which paternalistic religions like Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism dominated the world, and that this in turn had followed the Aeon of Isis, which had been maternalistic and dominated by goddess worship.Thelema revolves around the idea that human beings each have their own True Will that they should discover and pursue, and that this would exist in harmony with the Cosmic Will that pervades the universe. The moral code of “Do What Thou Wilt” is believed by Thelemites to be the faith’s ethical law, although academic Marco Pasi noted that this was not anarchistic or libertarian in structure, as Crowley saw individuals as part of a wider societal organism.

Crowley believed in the objective existence of magic, which he chose to spell “Magick”. In his book Magick in Theory and Practice, Crowley defined Magick as “the Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will.” He also told his disciple Karl Germer that “Magick is getting into communication with individuals who exist on a higher plane than ours. Mysticism is the raising of oneself to their level.”Crowley saw Magick as a third way between religion and science, giving The Equinox the subtitle of “The Method of Science; the Aim of Religion”.

Both during his life and after it, Crowley has been widely described as a Satanist, usually by detractors. Crowley stated he did not consider himself a Satanist, nor did he worship Satan, as he did not accept the Christian world view in which Satan was believed to exist. He did use Satanic imagery, such as referring to himself as the ‘Great Beast’, and picturing the Beast trampling on images of saints in the ‘Lust’ card of his Thoth tarot deck, his motives for doing so are debated. He was also accused of advocating human sacrifice, largely because of a passage in Book 4 in which he stated that “A male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence is the most satisfactory victim”. This was intended as a veiled reference to male masturbation.

Personal life
Crowley biographer Martin Booth asserted that Crowley was “self-confident, brash, eccentric, egotistic, highly intelligent, arrogant, witty, wealthy, and, when it suited him, cruel.” Similarly, Richard Spence noted that Crowley was “capable of immense physical and emotional cruelty”. Biographer Lawrence Sutin noted that Crowley exhibited “courage, skill, dauntless energy, and remarkable focus of will” while at the same time showing a “blind arrogance, petty fits of bile, [and] contempt for the abilities of his fellow men”. The Thelemite Lon Milo DuQuette noted that Crowley “was by no means perfect” and “often alienated those who loved him dearest.”

Crowley enjoyed being outrageous and flouting conventional morality,with John Symonds noting that he “was in revolt against the moral and religious values of his time”. Crowley’s political thought was subjected to an in-depth study by academic Marco Pasi, who noted that for Crowley, socio-political concerns were subordinate to metaphysical and spiritual ones. Pasi argued that it was difficult to classify Crowley as being either on the political left or right, but he was perhaps best categorised as a “conservative revolutionary” despite not being affiliated with the German-based conservative revolutionary movement. Pasi noted that Crowley sympathised with extreme ideologies like Nazism and Marxism-Leninism, in that they wished to violently overturn society, and hoped that both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union might adopt Thelema. Crowley described democracy as an “imbecile and nauseating cult of weakness”, and commented that The Book of the Law proclaimed that “there is the master and there is the slave; the noble and the serf; the ‘lone wolf’ and the herd”. In this attitude he was influenced by the work of Friedrich Nietzsche and by Social Darwinism. Crowley also saw himself as an aristocrat, describing himself as Lord Boleskine; he had contempt for most of the British aristocracy, and once described his socio-political views as “aristocratic communism”.

Crowley was bisexual, and exhibited a sexual preference for women. In particular he had an attraction toward “exotic women”, and claimed to have fallen in love on multiple occasions; Kaczynski stated that “when he loved, he did so with his whole being, but the passion was typically short-lived.” Even in later life, he was able to attract young bohemian women to be his lovers, largely due to his charisma. During same-sex anal intercourse, he usually played the passive role, which Booth believed “appealed to his masochistic side.” Crowley argued that gay and bisexual people should not suppress their sexual orientation, commenting that people “must not be ashamed or afraid of being homosexual if he happens to be so at heart; he must not attempt to violate his own true nature because of public opinion, or medieval morality, or religious prejudice which would wish he were otherwise.” On other issues he adopted a more conservative attitude; he opposed abortion on moral grounds, believing that no woman following her True Will would ever desire one.

Views on race and gender
Biographer Lawrence Sutin stated that “blatant bigotry is a persistent minor element in Crowley’s writings”. Sutin thought Crowley “a spoiled scion of a wealthy Victorian family who embodied many of the worst John Bull racial and social prejudices of his upper-class contemporaries”, noting that he “embodied the contradiction that writhed within many Western intellectuals of the time: deeply held racist viewpoints courtesy of their culture, coupled with a fascination with people of colour”. He insulted his close Jewish friend Victor Neuburg using anti-Semitic slurs, and he had mixed feelings for Jews as a group. Although he praised their “sublime” poetry and claimed that the “Jewish race” contained “imagination, romance, loyalty, probity and humanity in an exceptional degree”, he also thought that centuries of persecution had led some Jews to exhibit “avarice, servility, falseness, cunning and the rest”. He was also known to praise various ethnic and cultural groups, for instance he claimed that the Chinese people exhibited a “spiritual superiority” to the English, and praised Muslims for exhibiting “manliness, straightforwardness, subtlety, and self-respect.”

Crowley also exhibited a “general misogyny” that Booth believed arose from his bad relationship with his mother. Sutin noted that Crowley “largely accepted the notion, implicitly embodied in Victorian sexology, of women as secondary social beings in terms of intellect and sensibility”. Crowley described women as “moral inferiors” who had to be treated with “firmness, kindness and justice.” Conversely, Crowley also wrote that “We of Thelema say that ‘Every man and every woman is a star.’ We do not fool and flatter women, we do not despise and abuse them. To us, a woman is herself, absolute, original, independent, free, self-justified, exactly as a man is.”

Legacy and influence
Crowley has remained an influential figure, both amongst occultists and in popular culture, particularly that of Britain, but also of other parts of the world. In 2002, a BBC poll placed Crowley seventy-third in a list of the 100 Greatest Britons. Richard Cavendish has written of him that “In native talent, penetrating intelligence and determination, Aleister Crowley was the best-equipped magician to emerge since the seventeenth century.” Wouter Hanegraaff asserted that Crowley was an extreme representation of “the dark side of the occult”, while philosopher John Moore opined that Crowley stood out as a “Modern Master” when compared with other prominent occult figures like George Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Rudolf Steiner, or Madame Blavatsky, also describing him as a “living embodiment” of Oswald Spengler’s “Faustian Man”. Biographer Tobias Churton considered Crowley “a pioneer of consciousness research”, and Sutin thought that he had made “distinctly original contributions” to the study of yoga in the West.

Thelema continued to develop and spread following Crowley’s death. In 1969, the O.T.O. was reactivated in California under the leadership of Grady Louis McMurty; in 1985 its right to the title was unsuccessfully challenged in court by a rival group, the Society Ordo Templi Orientis, led by Brazilian Thelemite Marcelo Ramos Motta. Another American Thelemite was the filmmaker Kenneth Anger, who had been influenced by Crowley’s writings from a young age. In the United Kingdom, Kenneth Grant propagated a tradition known as Typhonian Thelema through his organisation, the Typhonian OTO, later renamed the Typhonian Order. Also in Britain, an occultist known as Amado Crowley claimed to be Crowley’s son; these claims have been refuted by academic investigation. Amado argued that Thelema was a false religion created by Crowley to hide his true esoteric teachings, which Amado claimed to be propagating.

Several Western esoteric traditions other than Thelema were also influenced by Crowley. Gerald Gardner, founder of Gardnerian Wicca, made use of much of Crowley’s published material when composing the Gardnerian ritual liturgy, and the Australian witch Rosaleen Norton was also heavily influenced by Crowley’s ideas. L. Ron Hubbard, the American founder of Scientology, was involved in Thelema in the early 1940s (with Jack Parsons), and it has been argued that Crowley’s ideas influenced some of his early work. Two prominent figures in religious Satanism, Anton LaVey and Michael Aquino, were also influenced by Crowley’s work.

Crowley also had a wider influence in British popular culture. He was included as one of the figures on the cover art of The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), and his motto of “Do What Thou Wilt” was inscribed on the vinyl of Led Zeppelin’s album Led Zeppelin III (1970) David Bowie made reference to Crowley in the lyrics of his song “Quicksand” (1971), while Ozzy Osbourne and his lyricist Bob Daisley wrote a song titled “Mr Crowley” (1980).Jimmy Page, the guitarist and co-founder of 1970s rock band Led Zeppelin, was rumoured to be fascinated by Crowley. In 1971 he bought Boleskine House, in the grounds of which part of the band’s movie The Song Remains the Same was filmed. He sold the house in 1992.

Rudolf Walter Richard Hess


hessRudolf Walter Richard Heß, also spelled Hess (26 April 1894 – 17 August 1987), was a prominent politician in Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, he served in this position until 1941, when he flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom during World War II. He was taken prisoner and eventually was convicted of crimes against peace, serving a life sentence.

Hess enlisted in the 7th Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment as an infantryman at the outbreak of World War I. He was wounded several times over the course of the war, and won the Iron Cross, second class, in 1915. Shortly before the war ended, Hess enrolled to train as an aviator, but he saw no action in this role. He left the armed forces in December 1918 with the rank of Leutnant der Reserve.

In autumn 1919 Hess enrolled in the University of Munich, where he studied geopolitics under Karl Haushofer, a proponent of the concept of Lebensraum (“living space”), which later became one of the pillars of Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party; NSDAP) ideology. Hess joined the NSDAP on 1 July 1920, and was at Hitler’s side on 8 November 1923 for the Beer Hall Putsch, a failed Nazi attempt to seize control of the government of Bavaria. Whilst serving time in jail for this attempted coup, Hess helped Hitler write his opus, Mein Kampf, which became a foundation of the political platform of the NSDAP.

After the Nazi Seizure of Power in 1933, Hess was appointed Deputy Führer of the NSDAP and received a post in Hitler’s cabinet. He was the third most-powerful man in Germany, behind only Hitler and Hermann Göring. In addition to appearing on Hitler’s behalf at speaking engagements and rallies, Hess signed into law much of the legislation, including the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, that stripped the Jews of Germany of their rights in the lead-up to the Holocaust.

Hess continued to be interested in aviation, learning to fly the more advanced aircraft that were coming into development at the start of World War II. On 10 May 1941 he undertook a solo flight to Scotland, where he hoped to arrange peace talks with the Duke of Hamilton, whom he believed was prominent in opposition to the British government. Hess was immediately arrested on his arrival and was held in British custody until the end of the war, when he was returned to Germany to stand trial in the Nuremberg Trials of major war criminals in 1946. Throughout much of the trial, he claimed to be suffering from amnesia, but later admitted this was a ruse. Hess was convicted of crimes against peace and conspiracy with other German leaders to commit crimes and was transferred to Spandau Prison in 1947, where he served a life sentence. Repeated attempts by family members and prominent politicians to win him early release were blocked by the Soviet Union. Still in custody in Spandau, he died of an apparent suicide in 1987 at the age of 93. After his death the prison was demolished to prevent it from becoming a neo-nazi shrine.

Early Life
Hess, the eldest of three children, was born 26 April 1894 in Alexandria, Egypt, into the ethnic German family of Fritz Hess, a prosperous merchant from Bavaria, and Clara Hess (née Münch). His brother, Alfred, was born in 1897 and his sister, Margarete, was born in 1908. The family lived in a villa on the Egyptian coast near Alexandria, and visited Germany often from 1900, staying at their summer home in Reicholdsgrün (now part of Kirchenlamitz) in the Fichtel Mountains. Hess attended a German language Protestant school in Alexandria from 1900 to 1908, when he was sent back to Germany to study at a boarding school in Bad Godesberg. He demonstrated an aptitude for science and mathematics, but his father wished him to join the family business, Hess & Co., so he sent him in 1911 to study at the École supérieure de commerce in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. After a year there, Hess took an apprenticeship at a trading company in Hamburg.

World War I
Within weeks of the outbreak of World War I Hess enlisted in the 7th Bavarian Field Artillery Regiment, becoming an infantryman. His initial posting was against the British on the Somme; he was present at the First Battle of Ypres. On 9 November 1914 Hess was transferred to the 1st Infantry Regiment, stationed near Arras. He was awarded the Iron Cross, second class, and promoted to Gefreiter (corporal) in April 1915. After additional training at the Munster Training Area, he was promoted to Vizefeldwebel (senior non-commissioned officer) and received the Bavarian Military Merit Cross. Returning to the front lines in November, he fought in Artois, participating in the battle for the town of Neuville-Saint-Vaast. After two months out of action with a throat infection, Hess served in the Battle of Verdun in May, and was hit by shrapnel in the left hand and arm on 12 June 1916 in fighting near the village of Thiaumont. After a month off to recover, he was sent back to the Verdun area, where he remained until December.

Hess was promoted to platoon leader of the 10th Company of the 18th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment, which was serving in Romania. He was wounded on 23 July and again on 8 August 1917; the first injury was a shell splinter to the left arm, which was dressed in the field, but the second was a bullet wound that entered the upper chest near the armpit and exited near his spinal column, leaving a pea-sized entry wound and a cherry stone-sized exit wound on his back. By 20 August he was well enough to travel, so he was sent to hospital in Hungary and eventually back to Germany, where he recovered in hospital in Meissen. In October he received promotion to Leutnant der Reserve and was recommended for, but did not receive, the Iron Cross, first class. At his father’s request, Hess was transferred to a hospital closer to home, arriving at Alexandersbad on 25 October.

While still convalescing, Hess had requested that he be allowed to enrol to train as a pilot, so after some Christmas leave with his family he reported to Munich, where he passed the required tests and underwent aeronautical training. By 14 October he had been assigned to Jagdstaffel 35b, a Bavarian fighter squadron equipped with Fokker D.VII biplanes. He saw no action with Jagdstaffel 35b, as the war ended on 11 November 1918, before he had the opportunity.

Hess was discharged from the armed forces in December 1918. The family fortunes had taken a serious downturn, as their business interests in Egypt had been expropriated by the British. Hess joined the Thule Society, an antisemitic right-wing Völkisch group, and a Freikorps, one of many such volunteer paramilitary organisations active in Germany at the time. Bavaria witnessed frequent and often bloody conflicts between right-wing groups such as the Freikorps and left-wing forces as they fought for control of the state during this period. Hess was a participant in street battles in the spring of 1919 and led a group which distributed thousands of antisemitic pamphlets in Munich.

In autumn 1919 Hess enrolled in the University of Munich, where he studied history and economics. His geopolitics professor was Karl Haushofer, a proponent of the concept of Lebensraum (“living space”), which Haushofer cited to justify the proposal that Germany should forcefully conquer additional territory in Eastern Europe. Hess later introduced this concept to Adolf Hitler, and it became one of the pillars of Nazi Party ideology. Hess became friends with Haushofer and his son Albrecht, a social theorist and lecturer.

Ilse Pröhl, a fellow student at the university, met Hess in April 1920 when they by chance rented rooms in the same boarding house. They married on 20 December 1927 and their son Wolf Rüdiger Hess was born ten years later, in 1937.

Relationship with Hitler
After hearing NSDAP leader Hitler, a powerful orator, speak for the first time in 1920 at a Munich rally, Hess became completely devoted to him. They held a shared belief in the stab-in-the-back myth, the notion that Germany’s loss in World War I was caused by a conspiracy of Jews and Bolsheviks rather than a military defeat. Hess joined the NSDAP on 1 July as member number 16. As the party continued to grow, holding rallies and meetings in ever larger beer halls in Munich, he focused his attention on fundraising and organisational activities. On 4 November 1921 he was injured while protecting Hitler when a bomb planted by a Marxist group exploded at the Hofbräuhaus during a party event. Hess joined the Sturmabteilung (SA) by 1922 and helped organise and recruit its early membership.

Meanwhile, problems continued with the economy; hyperinflation caused personal fortunes to be rendered worthless. When the German government failed to meet their reparations payments and French troops marched in to occupy the industrial areas along the Ruhr in January 1923, widespread civil unrest was the result. Hitler decided the time was ripe to attempt to seize control of the government with a coup d’état modelled on Benito Mussolini’s 1922 March on Rome. Hess was with Hitler on the night of 8 November 1923 when he and the SA stormed a public meeting organised by Bavaria’s de facto ruler, Staatskommissar (state commissioner) Gustav von Kahr, in the Bürgerbräukeller, a large beer hall in Munich. Brandishing a pistol, Hitler interrupted Kahr’s speech and announced that the national revolution had begun, declaring the formation of a new government with World War I General Erich Ludendorff. The next day, Hitler and several thousand supporters attempted to march to the Ministry of War in the city centre. Gunfire broke out between the Nazis and the police; fourteen marchers and four police officers were killed. Hitler was arrested on 11 November.

Meanwhile, Hess and some SA men had taken a few of the dignitaries hostage on the night of the 8th, driving them to a house about 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Munich. When Hess left briefly to make a phone call the next day, the hostages convinced the driver to help them escape. Hess, stranded, called Ilse Pröhl, who brought him a bicycle so he could return to Munich. He went to stay with the Haushofers and then fled to Austria, but they convinced him to return. He was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in the attempted coup, which later became known as the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler was sentenced to five years imprisonment, and the NSDAP and SA were both outlawed.

Both men were incarcerated in Landsberg Prison, where Hitler soon began work on his memoir, Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”), which he dictated to fellow prisoners Hess and Emil Maurice. Edited by publisher Max Amann, Hess and others, the work was published in two parts in 1925 and 1926. It was later released in a single volume, which became a best-seller after 1930. This book, with its message of violent antisemitism, became the foundation of the political platform of the NSDAP.

Hitler was released on parole on 20 December 1924 and Hess ten days later. The ban on the NSDAP and SA was lifted in February 1925, and the party grew to 100,000 members in 1928 and 150,000 in 1929. They received only 2.6 per cent of the vote in the 1928 election, but support increased steadily up until the seizure of power in 1933.

Hitler named Hess his private secretary in April 1925 at a salary of 500 Reichsmarks per month, and named him as personal adjutant on 20 July 1929. Hess accompanied Hitler to speaking engagements around the country and became his friend and confidante. In December 1932 Hess was named party Political Central Commissioner.

Retaining his interest in flying after the end of his active military career, Hess obtained his private pilot’s licence on 4 April 1929. His instructor was World War I flying ace Theodor Croneiss. In 1930 Hess became the owner of a BFW M.23b monoplane sponsored by the party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter. He acquired two more Messerschmitt aircraft in the early 1930s, logging many flying hours and becoming proficient in the operation of light single-engine aircraft.

Deputy Führer
On 30 January 1933 Hitler was appointed Reich Chancellor, his first step in gaining dictatorial control of Germany. Hess was named Deputy Führer of the NSDAP on 21 April and was appointed to the cabinet, with the post of Reich Minister without Portfolio, on 1 December.With offices in the Brown House in Munich and another in Berlin, Hess was responsible for several departments, including foreign affairs, finance, health, education and law. All legislation passed through his office for approval, except that concerning the army, the police and foreign policy, and he wrote and co-signed many of Hitler’s decrees. An organiser of the annual Nuremberg Rallies, he usually gave the opening speech and introduced Hitler. Hess also spoke over the radio and at rallies around the country, so frequently that the speeches were collected into book form in 1938. Hess acted as Hitler’s delegate in negotiations with industrialists and members of the wealthier classes.As Hess had been born abroad, Hitler had him oversee the NSDAP groups such as the NSDAP/AO that were in charge of party members living in other countries. Hitler instructed Hess to review all court decisions that related to persons deemed enemies of the Party. He was authorised to increase the sentences of anyone he felt got off too lightly in these cases, and was also empowered to take “merciless action” if he saw fit to do so. This often entailed sending the person to a concentration camp or simply ordering the person killed. Hess was given the rank of Obergruppenführer in the Schutzstaffel (SS) in 1934, the second-highest SS rank.

The Nazi regime began to persecute Jews soon after the seizure of power. Hess’s office was partly responsible for drafting Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws of 1935, laws that had far-reaching implications for the Jews of Germany, banning marriage between non-Jewish and Jewish Germans and depriving non-Aryans of their German citizenship. Hess’s friend Karl Haushofer and his family were subject to these laws, as Haushofer had married a half-Jewish woman, so Hess issued documents exempting them from this legislation.

Hess did not build a power base or develop a coterie of followers. He was motivated by his loyalty to Hitler and a desire to be useful to him; he did not seek power or prestige or take advantage of his position to accumulate personal wealth. He lived in a modest house in Munich. Although Hess had less influence than other top NSDAP officials, he was popular with the masses. After the Invasion of Poland and the start of World War II in September 1939, Hitler made Hess second in line to succeed him, after Hermann Göring. Around the same time, Hitler appointed Hess’s chief of staff, Martin Bormann, as his personal secretary, a post formerly held by Hess.

Hess was obsessed with his health to the point of hypochondria, consulting many doctors and other practitioners for what he described to his captors in Britain as a long list of ailments involving the kidneys, colon, gall bladder, bowels and heart. Like Hitler, Hess was a vegetarian, and he did not smoke or drink. He brought his own food to the Berghof, claiming it was biologically dynamic, but Hitler did not approve of this practice, so he discontinued taking meals with the Führer.

Hess was interested in music, enjoyed reading and loved to spend time hiking and climbing in the mountains with Ilse. He and his friend Albrecht Haushofer shared an interest in astrology, and Hess also was keen on clairvoyance and the occult. Hess continued to be interested in aviation. He won an air race in 1934, flying a BFW M.35 in a circuit around Zugspitze Mountain and returning to the airfield at Munich with a time of 29 minutes. He placed sixth of 29 participants in a similar race held the following year. With the outbreak of World War II, Hess asked Hitler to be allowed to join the Luftwaffe as a pilot, but Hitler forbade it, and ordered him to stop flying for the duration of the war. Hess convinced him to reduce the ban to one year.

Attemped Peace Mission
As the war progressed, Hitler’s attention became focused on foreign affairs and the conduct of the war, to the exclusion of all else. Hess, not directly engaged in either of these endeavours, though he felt qualified to do so, became increasingly sidelined from the affairs of the nation and from Hitler’s attention; Bormann had successfully supplanted Hess in many of his duties and usurped his position at Hitler’s side. Also concerned that Germany would face a war on two fronts as plans progressed for Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union scheduled to take place in spring 1941, Hess decided to boldly attempt to bring Britain to the negotiating table by travelling there himself to seek meetings with the British government. He asked the advice of Albrecht Haushofer, who suggested several potential contacts in Britain. Hess settled on fellow aviator Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, the Duke of Hamilton, whom he had never met. On Hess’s instructions, Haushofer wrote to Hamilton in September 1940, but the letter was intercepted by MI5 and Hamilton did not see it until March 1941. Hamilton was chosen in the mistaken belief that he was one of the leaders of an opposition party opposed to war with Germany, and because he was a friend of Albrecht.

A letter Hess wrote to his wife dated 4 November 1940 shows that in spite of not receiving a reply from Hamilton, he intended to proceed with his plan. He began training on the Messerschmitt Bf 110, a two-seater twin-engine aircraft, in October 1940 under instructor Wilhelm Stör, the chief test pilot at Messerschmitt. He continued to practice, including logging many cross-country flights, and found a specific aircraft that handled well—a Bf 110E-1/N—which was from then on held in reserve for his personal use. He asked for a radio compass, modifications to the oxygen delivery system, and large long-range fuel tanks to be installed on this plane, and these requests were granted by March 1941.

After a final check of the weather reports for Germany and the North Sea, Hess took off at 17:45 on 10 May 1941 from the airfield at Augsburg-Haunstetten in his specially prepared aircraft. It was the last of several attempts to depart on his mission; previous efforts had to be called off due to mechanical problems or poor weather. Wearing a leather flying suit bearing the rank of captain, he brought along a supply of money and toiletries, a torch, a camera, maps and charts, and a collection of 28 different medicines, as well as dextrose tablets to help ward off fatigue and an assortment of homeopathic remedies.

Flight to Scotland
Initially setting a course towards Bonn, Hess used landmarks on the ground to orient himself and make minor course corrections. When he reached the coast near the Frisian Islands, he turned and flew in an easterly direction for some twenty minutes to stay out of range of British radar. He then took a heading of 335 degrees for the trip across the North Sea, initially at low altitude, but travelling for most of the journey at 5,000 feet (1,500 m). At 20:58 he changed his heading to 245 degrees, intending to approach the coast of North East England near the town of Bamburgh, Northumberland. As it was not yet sunset when he initially approached the coast, Hess backtracked, zigzagging back and forth for some 40 minutes until it grew dark. Around this time his auxiliary fuel tanks were exhausted, so he released them into the sea. Also around this time, at 22:08, the British Chain Home station at Ottercops Moss near Newcastle upon Tyne detected his presence and passed along this information to the Filter Room at Bentley Priory. Soon he had been detected by several other stations, and the aircraft was designated as “Raid 42”.

Two Spitfires of No. 72 Squadron RAF, No. 13 Group RAF that were already in the air were sent to attempt an intercept, but failed to find the intruder. A third Spitfire sent from Acklington at 22:20 also failed to spot the aircraft; by then it was dark and Hess had dropped to an extremely low altitude, so low that the volunteer on duty at the Royal Observer Corps (ROC) station at Chatton was able to correctly identify it as an Me 110, and reported its altitude as 50 feet (15 m). Tracked by additional ROC posts, Hess continued his flight into Scotland at high speed and low altitude, but was unable to spot his destination, Dungavel House, so he headed for the west coast to orient himself and then turned back inland. At 22:35 a Boulton Paul Defiant sent from No. 141 Squadron RAF based at Ayr began pursuit. Hess was nearly out of fuel, so he climbed to 6,000 feet (1,800 m) and parachuted out of the plane at 23:06. He injured his foot, either while exiting the aircraft or when he hit the ground. The aircraft crashed at 23:09, about 12 miles (19 km) west of Dungavel House. He would have been even closer to his destination had he not had trouble exiting the aircraft. Hess considered this achievement to be the proudest moment of his life.

Before his departure from Germany, Hess had given his adjutant, Karlheinz Pintsch, a letter addressed to Hitler that detailed his intentions to open peace negotiations with the British. Pintsch delivered the letter to Hitler at the Berghof around noon on 11 May. Albert Speer later said Hitler described Hess’s departure as one of the worst personal blows of his life, as he considered it a personal betrayal. Hitler was worried that his other allies, such as the Italians and the Japanese, would perceive Hess’s act as an attempt by Hitler to secretly open peace negotiations with the British. For this reason, Hitler ordered that the German press should characterise Hess as a madman who made the decision to fly to Scotland entirely on his own, without Hitler’s knowledge or authority. Some members of the government, including Göring and Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, believed this only made matters worse, because if Hess truly were mentally ill, he should not have been holding an important government position. Hitler stripped Hess of all of his party and state offices, and secretly ordered him shot on sight if he ever returned to Germany. He abolished the post of Deputy Führer, assigning Hess’s former duties to Bormann, with the title of Head of the Party Chancellery. Hitler initiated Aktion Hess, a flurry of hundreds of arrests of astrologers, faith healers and occultists that took place around 9 June. The campaign was part of a propaganda effort by Goebbels and others to denigrate Hess and to make scapegoats of occult practitioners.

American journalist H. R. Knickerbocker, who had met both Hitler and Hess, speculated that Hitler had sent Hess to deliver a message informing Winston Churchill of the forthcoming invasion of the Soviet Union, and offering a negotiated peace or even an anti-Bolshevik partnership. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin believed that Hess’s flight had been engineered by the British. Stalin persisted in this belief as late as 1944, when he mentioned the matter to Churchill, who insisted that they had no advance knowledge of the flight.

Hess landed at Floors Farm, Eaglesham, where he was discovered still struggling with his parachute by local ploughman David McLean. Identifying himself as “Hauptmann Alfred Horn”, Hess said he had an important message for the Duke of Hamilton. McLean helped Hess to his nearby cottage and contacted the local Home Guard unit, who escorted the captive to their headquarters in Busby, East Renfrewshire. He was next taken to the police station at Giffnock, arriving sometime after midnight; he was searched and his possessions confiscated. Hess repeatedly requested to meet with the Duke of Hamilton during questioning undertaken with the aid of an interpreter by Major Graham Donald, the area commandant of Royal Observer Corps. After the interview Hess was taken under guard to Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow, where his injuries were treated. By this time some of his captors suspected Hess’s true identity, though he continued to insist his name was Horn.

Hamilton had been on duty as Wing Commander at RAF Turnhouse near Edinburgh when Hess had arrived, and his station had been one of those that had tracked the progress of the flight. He arrived at Maryhill Barracks the next morning, and after examining Hess’s effects, he met alone with the prisoner. Hess immediately admitted his true identity and outlined the reason for his flight. Hamilton told Hess that he hoped to continue the conversation with the aid of an interpreter; Hess could speak English well, but was having trouble understanding Hamilton. After the meeting, Hamilton examined the remains of the Messerschmitt in the company of an intelligence officer, then returned to Turnhouse, where he made arrangements through the Foreign Office to meet with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was at Ditchley for the weekend. They had some preliminary talks that night, and Hamilton accompanied Churchill back to London the next day, where they both met with members of the War Cabinet. Churchill sent Hamilton with foreign affairs expert Ivone Kirkpatrick, who had met Hess previously, to positively identify the prisoner, who had been moved to Buchanan Castle overnight. Hess, who had prepared extensive notes to use during this meeting, spoke to them at length about Hitler’s expansionary plans and the need for Britain, in exchange for being allowed to keep their overseas possessions, to let the Nazis have free rein in Europe. Kirkpatrick held two more meetings with Hess over the course of the next few days, while Hamilton returned to his duties. Hess, in addition to being disappointed at the apparent failure of his mission, began claiming that his medical treatment was inadequate and that there was a plot afoot to poison him.

Hess’s flight, but not his destination or fate, was first announced by Munich Radio in Germany on the evening of 12 May. On 13 May Hitler sent Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop to give the news in person to Mussolini, and the British press was permitted to release full information about events that same day. On 14 May Ilse Hess finally learned that her husband had survived the trip when news of his fate was broadcast on German radio.

The wreckage of the aircraft was salvaged by 63 Maintenance Unit between 11 and 16 May 1941 and was taken to Oxford to be stored. The aeroplane was armed with four machine guns in the nose but carried no ammunition. Several pieces of the plane are still extant, including the two engines, one of which is at the Royal Air Force Museum London. The other engine and a piece of the fuselage is at the Imperial War Museum in London.

Trial and imprisonment
Prisoner of war
From Buchanan Castle, Hess was transferred briefly to the Tower of London and then to Mytchett Place in Surrey, a fortified mansion, designated “Camp Z”, where he stayed for the next thirteen months. Churchill issued orders that Hess was to be treated well, though he was not allowed to read newspapers or listen to the radio. Three intelligence officers were stationed onsite and 150 soldiers were placed on guard. By early June Hess was allowed to write to his family. He also prepared a letter to the Duke of Hamilton, but it was never delivered, and his repeated requests for further meetings were turned down. Dr Henry V. Dicks and Dr John Rawlings Rees, psychiatrists who treated Hess during this period, note that while he was not insane, he was mentally unstable, with tendencies toward hypochondria and paranoia. Hess repeated his peace proposal to John Simon, 1st Viscount Simon, then serving as Lord Chancellor, in an interview on 9 June. Lord Simon noted that the prisoner’s mental state was not good; Hess claimed he was being poisoned and was being prevented from sleeping. He would insist on swapping his dinner with that of one of his guards, and attempted to get them to send samples of the food out for analysis.

In the early morning hours of 16 June Hess rushed his guards and attempted suicide by jumping over the railing of the staircase at Mytchett Place. He fell onto the stone floor below, fracturing the femur of his left leg. The injury required that the leg be kept in traction for twelve weeks, with a further six weeks bed rest before he was permitted to walk with crutches. Captain Munro Johnson of the Royal Army Medical Corps, who assessed Hess, noted that another suicide attempt was likely to occur in the near future. Hess began around this time to complain of amnesia. This symptom and some of his increasingly erratic behaviour may have in part been a ruse, because if he were declared mentally ill, he could be repatriated under the terms of the Geneva Conventions.

Hess was moved to Maindiff Court Hospital on 26 June 1942, where he would remain for the next three years. The facility was chosen for its added security and the need for fewer guards. Hess was allowed walks on the grounds and car trips into the surrounding countryside. He had access to newspapers and other reading materials; he wrote letters and journals. His mental health remained under the care of Dr Rees. Hess continued to complain on and off of memory loss and made a second suicide attempt on 4 February 1945, when he stabbed himself with a bread knife. The wound was not serious, requiring two stitches. Despondent that Germany was losing the war, he took no food for the next week, only resuming eating when he was threatened with being force-fed.

Germany unconditionally surrendered on 8 May 1945. Hess, facing charges as a war criminal, was ordered to appear before the International Military Tribunal and was transported to Nuremberg on 10 October 1945.
The Allies of World War II held a series of military tribunals and trials, beginning with a trial of the major war criminals from November 1945 to October 1946. Hess was tried with this first group of twenty-three defendants, all of whom were charged with four counts—conspiracy to commit crimes, crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity, in violation of international laws governing warfare.

On his arrival in Nuremberg, Hess was reluctant to give up some of his possessions, including samples of food he claimed had been poisoned by the British; he proposed to use these for his defence during the trial. The commandant of the facility, Colonel Burton C. Andrus of the United States Army, advised him that he would be allowed no special treatment; the samples were sealed and confiscated. Hess’s diaries indicate that he did not acknowledge the validity of the court and felt the outcome was a foregone conclusion. He was thin when he arrived, weighing 65 kilograms (143 lb), and had a poor appetite, but was deemed to be in good health. As one defendant, Robert Ley, had managed to hang himself in his cell on 24 October, the remaining prisoners were monitored around the clock. Because of his previous suicide attempts, Hess was handcuffed to a guard whenever he was out of his cell.

Almost immediately after his arrival, Hess began exhibiting amnesia, which may have been feigned in the hope of avoiding the death sentence. Medical personnel who examined Hess reported he was not insane and was fit to stand trial. At least two examiners, the British doctor and the Russian one, noted their belief that Hess’s amnesia might be fake. Efforts were made to trigger his memory, including bringing in his former secretaries and showing old newsreels, but he persisted in showing no response to these stimuli. When Hess was allowed to make a statement to the tribunal on 30 November, he admitted that he had faked memory loss as a tactic. He spoke to the tribunal again on 31 August 1946, the last day of closing statements.

The prosecution’s case against Hess was presented by Mervyn Griffith-Jones beginning on 7 February 1946. By quoting from Hess’s speeches, he attempted to demonstrate that Hess had been aware of and agreed with Hitler’s plans to conduct a war of aggression in violation of international law. He declared that as Hess had signed important governmental decrees, including the decree requiring mandatory military service, the Nuremberg racial laws, and a decree incorporating the conquered Polish territories into the Reich, he must share responsibility for the acts of the regime. He pointed out that the timing of Hess’s trip to Scotland, only six weeks before the German invasion of the Soviet Union, could only be viewed as an attempt by Hess to keep the British out of the war. Hess resumed showing symptoms of amnesia at the end of February, partway through the prosecution’s case.
The case for Hess’s defence was presented from 22–26 March by his lawyer, Dr Alfred Seidl. He noted that while Hess accepted responsibility for the many decrees he had signed, he said these matters were part of the internal workings of a sovereign state and thus outside the purview of a war crimes trial. He called to the stand Ernst Wilhelm Bohle, the man who had been head of the NSDAP/AO, to testify on Hess’s behalf. When presented by Griffith-Jones with questions about the organisation’s spying in several countries, Bohle testified that any warlike activities such as espionage had been done without his permission or knowledge. Seidl called two other witnesses, former mayor of Stuttgart Karl Strölin and Hess’s brother Alfred, both of whom refuted the allegations that the NSDAP/AO had been spying and fomenting war. Seidl presented a summation of the defence’s case on 25 July, in which he attempted to refute the charge of conspiracy by pointing out that Hitler alone had made all the important decisions. He noted that Hess could not be held responsible for any events that took place after he left Germany in May 1941. Meanwhile Hess mentally detached himself from what was happening, declining visits from his family and refusing to read the newspapers.

The court deliberated for nearly two months before passing judgement on 30 September, with the defendants being individually sentenced on 1 October. Hess was found guilty on two counts: crimes against peace (planning and preparing a war of aggression), and conspiracy with other German leaders to commit crimes. He was found not guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was given a life sentence, one of seven Nazis to receive prison sentences at the trial. These seven were transported by aircraft to the Allied military prison at Spandau in Berlin on 18 July 1947. The Soviet member of the tribunal, Major-General Iona Nikitchenko, filed a document recording his dissent of Hess’s sentence; he felt the death sentence was warranted.

Spandau Prison
Spandau was placed under the control of the Allied Control Council, the governing body in charge of the military occupation of Germany. It consisted of representatives from four member states: Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union. Each country supplied guards for the prison for a month at a time on a rotating basis. After the inmates were given medical examinations—Hess refused his body search, and had to be held down—they were provided with prison garb and assigned the numbers by which they would be addressed throughout their stay. Hess was Number 7. The prison had a small library, and inmates were allowed to file special requests for additional reading material. Writing materials were limited; each inmate would be allowed four pieces of paper per month for letters. The prisoners were not allowed to speak to one another without permission and were expected to work in the facility, helping with cleaning and gardening chores. The inmates were taken for outdoor walks around the prison grounds for an hour each day, separated about 10 yards (9 m) apart. Some of the rules became more relaxed as time went on.

Visits to Spandau of half an hour per month were allowed, but Hess forbade his family to visit until December 1969, when he was a patient at the British Military Hospital in West Berlin for a perforated ulcer. By this time Wolf Rüdiger Hess was 32 years old and Ilse 69; they had not seen Hess since his departure from Germany in 1941. After this illness, he allowed his family to visit regularly. His daughter-in-law Andrea, who often brought photos and films of his grandchildren, became a particularly welcome visitor. Hess’s health problems, both mental and physical, were ongoing during his captivity. He cried out in the night, claiming he had stomach pains. He continued to suspect that his food was being poisoned and complained of amnesia. A psychiatrist who examined him in 1957 deemed he was not ill enough to be transferred to a mental hospital. Another unsuccessful suicide attempt took place in 1977.

Other than his stays in hospital, Hess spent the rest of his life in Spandau Prison. His fellow inmates Konstantin von Neurath, Walther Funk and Erich Raeder were released because of poor health in the 1950s; Karl Dönitz, Baldur von Schirach and Albert Speer served their time and were released, Dönitz in 1956, Schirach and Speer in 1966. The 600-cell prison continued to be maintained for its lone prisoner from Speer and Schirach’s release until Hess’s death in 1987, at an estimated cost of DM 800,000. Conditions were far more pleasant in the 1980s than in the early years; Hess was allowed to move more freely around the cell block, setting his own routine and choosing his own activities, which included television, films, reading and gardening. A lift was installed so he could more readily access the garden, and he was provided with a medical orderly from 1982 onward.

Numerous appeals for Hess’s release were launched by his lawyer, Dr Seidl, beginning as early as 1947. These were denied, mainly because the Soviets repeatedly vetoed the proposal. Spandau was located in West Berlin, and its existence gave the Soviets a foothold in that sector of the city. Additionally, Soviet officials believed Hess must have known in 1941 that an attack on their country was imminent. In 1967 Wolf Rüdiger Hess began a campaign to win his father’s release, garnering support from notable politicians such as Geoffrey Lawrence, 1st Baron Oaksey[a] in Britain and Willy Brandt in Germany, but to no avail, in spite of the prisoner’s advanced age and deteriorating health.

Death and Aftermath
Hess died on 17 August 1987 at the age of 93 in a summer house that had been set up in the prison garden as a reading room. He took an extension cord from one of the lamps, strung it over a window latch, and hanged himself. Death occurred by asphyxiation. A short note to his family, thanking them for all they had done, was found in his pocket. The Four Powers released a statement on 17 September ruling the death a suicide. Initially buried at a secret location to avoid media attention or demonstrations by Nazi sympathisers, Hess was re-interred in a family plot at Wunsiedel on 17 March 1988, and his wife was buried beside him when she died in 1995. Spandau Prison was demolished to prevent it from becoming a Nazi shrine.

His lawyer, Dr Seidl, felt Hess was too old and frail to have managed to kill himself. Wolf Rüdiger Hess repeatedly claimed that his father had been murdered by the British Secret Intelligence Service to prevent him from revealing information about British misconduct during the war. Abdallah Melaouhi, who served as Hess’s medical orderly from 1982 to 1987, was dismissed from his position at his local district parliament’s Immigration and Integration Advisory Council after he wrote a self-published book on a similar theme. According to an investigation by the British government in 1989, the available evidence did not back up the claim that Hess was murdered, and Solicitor General Sir Nicholas Lyell saw no grounds for further investigation. Further, the autopsy results support the conclusion that Hess had killed himself. A report released in 2012 again raised the question of whether Hess was murdered. Historian Peter Padfield claims the suicide note found on the body appears to have been written when Hess was hospitalised in 1969.

After the town of Wunsiedel became the scene of pilgrimages and neo-Nazi demonstrations every August on the date of Hess’s death, the parish council decided not to allow an extension on the grave site’s lease when it expired in 2011.] With the consent of his family, Hess’s grave was re-opened on 20 July 2011 and his remains exhumed, then cremated. His ashes were scattered at sea by family members; the gravestone, which bore the epitaph “Ich hab’s gewagt” (“I have dared”), was destroyed.
From Hess’s son