(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.
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.”