Occult study

Occult study DEFAULT

The paranormal, the occult and the magical

The Library’s collections in parapsychology and the paranormal began with the deposit of psychical investigator and author Harry Price’s collection of books and papers in the late 1930s. The Harry Price Library of Magical Literature has grown since then and includes over 13,0000 items on psychical research and parapsychology, the occult, spiritualism, the paranormal, the unexplained, phenomena, magic and witchcraft. The Archives contain several collections on psychical research and spiritualism including the research and correspondence of Eric John Dingwall and manuscripts related to séances and spiritualist circles. The Modern Collections and e-book collections include recent and current scholarship on parapsychology, the paranormal, the occult, magic and witchcraft. New works, antiquarian books and archival material continue to be added to the collections.

Locating and accessing material

The Harry Price Library and archive collections are part of the Library’s Special Collections and can be requested for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room on the 4th floor. Books on this subject can be found in many parts of the Library’s collections including Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Art and Literary Studies as well as in our e-book collections. Books and journals can be searched for in the Library Catalogue and Archive collections in the Archive Catalogue.

A guide to the Library’s classification scheme by classmark and subject can be found here. These can be used to browse the collections on the shelves and via the catalogue.

The foundation collection of the Library’s holdings on The Paranormal, the Occult and the Magical was built by author, psychical researcher and book collector Harry Price over many years before he gave it to the University of London in the late 1930s for the purpose of encouraging research and investigation into the unexplained. The Harry Price Library collection includes over 13,000 books, pamphlets, cuttings, offprints and periodicals dating from the 15th century onwards. Price collected in many areas and the collection is rich on magic, witchcraft, psychical research, parapsychology, prognostication, the occult , hauntings and the paranormal. The 19th and early 20th century are particularly well represented in the areas of spiritualism and psychical research. Price was also a collector of antiquarian material. Among the early books are two copies of a 1494 edition of Malleus Maleficarum and other early works on witchcraft and demonology, a 1572 English translation of Ludwig Lavater's De Spectris, Lemuribus et Magnis atque Insolitis Fragoribus on ghosts and spirits and rare pamphlets by Oliver Goldsmith on the Cock-Lane Ghost and by Jonathan Swift on charlatans. Thanks to a bequest from Price the collection continues to grow with new books and objects reflecting the wide-range of the subjects covered.

In addition to the Library collection, the Harry Price Archive includes his working papers and correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks, film shot by Price, artwork and objects. Much of the archive documents his work in psychical research with files on some of his most famous investigations such as spirit photography, Borley Rectory, the mediumships of the Schneider Brothers and Helen Duncan and Gef, the talking mongoose.

Further information on the Library collection can be found here and the Archive can be searched or browsed here.

Since the arrival of The Harry Price Library, the Library has continued to acquire archive collections on related subjects. Among these are the papers of psychical investigator and anthropologist Eric Dingwall. The papers include his extensive and wide-ranging scrapbooks, records of the Society for the Study of Supernormal Pictures, prints and slides of psychic and anthropological photographs and Dingwall’s kit of essentials for investigations. The collection also includes Dingwall’s correspondence with many major figures of psychical research in the 20th century including Mollie Goldney, Trevor Hall, Guy Lyon Playfair, James Randi, Geroge Zorab and organisations such as the BBC, the Magic Circle and Society for Psychical Research. The correspondence is closed under the terms of Dingwall’s will until 2025 when it will be open to researchers. Other archive collections include records and transcripts of the Edinburgh circle of Emmeline Vyner in the 1920s and 1930s, papers relating to the psychic and author Matthew Manning, including automatic drawings and diaries of Caroline Rhys-Davids concerning automatic writing and the afterlife. A guide to archive sources can be found here.

Harry Price’s library began with one of the most famous and popular books on magic of the 19th century: Professor Hofman’s Modern Magic, first published in 1871. Price continued to collect books, pamphlets and periodicals on all forms of performance magic and allied arts. The collection is a rich source for researchers in the history of magic and popular culture covering many aspects of performance, stagecraft, biography and the visual culture of magic.

Books in the collection date from the 16th to the 20th century and the collection is one of the most significant for the subject in an academic library. Some of the rare works include a first edition of Reginald Scott’s The Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584), the first printed book in English to feature descriptions or conjuring tricks and Hocus Pocus Junior(1634), the first work dedicated to conjuring with illustrations. Alongside these are 18th century ‘exposés’ of the conjuror’s arts and 19th century manuals of magic, including numerous editions of Modern Magic. As well as books, the collection includes pamphlets, journals, posters, ephemera and a small number of conjuring manuscripts from the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  New works, particularly on the history and psychology of magic, are regularly added to the collection.

In 2019 the exhibition Staging Magic celebrated this aspect of the collection and more information on magic in the collection can be found here.

From first editions of classic 18th and 19th century texts to 21st century interpretations, Senate House Library’s collections are strong in representations of gothic and supernatural literature. The subject is broad-ranging and intersects with studies of medicine, psychology and cultural memory. One of the earliest gothic texts is Horace Walpole’s 1764/5 the Castle of Otranto which the library holds in both first and second editions, the latter subtitled A Gothic Story, while the first edition of Matthew Lewis’s 1796 work the Monk is also held. One of the most famous gothic stories, Mary Shelley’s 1818 Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus is held in its first edition but also in reimagined form as a 19th century play entitled Frankenstein: a Romantic Drama and published by Dick’s Standard Plays. The first edition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) is held alongside an earlier literary vampire, John Polidori’s 1819 The Vampyre: a Tale (also later reinterpreted as a Dick’s Standard Play).

Many of these books are held within the Sterling Library, a collection of c.7000 volumes of first editions of English Literature; section I of this collection contains works published prior to 1900. The Dick’s Standard Plays are held within the Malcolm Morley collection, some of which is also available online via the resource Victorian Popular Culture.

Another source of gothic and supernatural literature is the Harry Price Library of Magical Literature an extensive collection which contains works on all aspects of magic, the occult, psychic research and related phenomena and ideas. This collection is strongest in 19th and early 20th century works but is still added to so also contains more contemporary tales. Fiction features within the collection, including tales of the supernatural. Authors featured include spiritualist and Theosophist Violet Tweedale and Algernon Blackwood, but also more contemporary voices such as Susan Hill and Michelle Paver.

The library’s modern collections, much of which is on open access, are also rich in reprinted primary gothic and supernatural literature, many secondary works on the themes, and also first editions from the latter half of the 19thcentury onwards. Writers featured include Arthur Machen, Olivia Howard Dunbar and Lord Dunsany. Adam Scovell’s Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange (2017) is a key text, focussing primarily on film but with literary relevance, while collections published by Tartarus Press and Swan River Press provide both reprints and new literary voices. A recent re-igniting of literary small and independent press publishing is represented by zine-like publications Hellebore, Fiddler’s Green, Weird Walk, Ignota Books’s Spells: 21st-Century Occult Poetry (2018) and Camp Books’s poster Sigils For Queers (2019).

The library’s growing collection of e-books contain many that are relevant to the subject. Perhaps a good starting point is A Research Guide to Gothic Literature in English: Print and Electronic Sources.

Spiritualism and Psychical Research

From its beginnings in early 19th century America, spiritualism became a major movement in 19th and early 20thcentury with believers searching for contacts with those ‘beyond the veil’. Mediums and séances attracted both believers and the curious, becoming a sensation of popular culture, with ‘dark séances’ a popular part stage and parlour performances. Alongside the rise of spiritualism grew an interest in scientifically testing and finding evidence for phenomena such as telepathy and the existence of the afterlife. Organisations such as the Society of Psychical Research aimed "to approach these varied problems without prejudice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned enquiry which has enabled science to solve so many problems, once not less obscure nor less hotly debated." 

The Library’s collections are rich with contemporary material on these subjects. These include publications of the Society of Psychical Research, spiritualist journals and pamphlets, investigations of mediums and cuttings and offprints from the popular press.  The Harry Price Library includes early works on communicating with spirits and ‘table rapping’, works by American spiritualists Andrew Jackson Davis and John W. Edmonds and works on and by many mediums and practitioners including D.D. Home, the Davenport Brothers, the Bang Sisters, Emma Hardinge Britten, Mina Crandon and Helen Duncan. Works by the founders and members of the Society of Psychical are well represented including Frederick Myers, Henry Sidgwick, William Crookes, Edmund Gurney and Oliver Lodge and subjects including telepathy, spirit communication, hypnotism, phrenology and hauntings are covered extensively.

The archive collections include accounts of séances, investigations and case studies of mediums and phenomena, photographs and letters, including Harry Price’s correspondence with many key figures in early 20th century psychical research and spiritualism including Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Harry Price Library and the Modern Collections include many studies and histories of these subjects as well as contemporary works on parapsychology. Starting points for research include Janet Oppenhiem’s The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England, 1850–1914 (1985), Roger Luckhurst’s The Invention of Telepathy, 1870-1901 (2002) and The Spiritualist Movement : Speaking with the Dead in America and Around the World (2013). From the Fox Sisters in 1848 on, woman played important roles in spiritualism and many titles in the collection cover this subject including Victorian Women and the Theatre of Trance (2009) by Amy Lehman,  The Darkened Room : Women, Power and Spiritualism in late Nineteenth Century England (1989) by Alex Owen and The Sympathetic Medium (2010) by Jill Galvan.

LibGuides eresources by subject

The Library subscribes to a range of full-text and bibliographical resources to support your research in the paranormal, occult and magical. These include collections of digitised journals and archives, e-books and specialist resources such as Victorian Popular Culture covering ‘Spiritualism, Sensation and Magic.’ View the A to Z Database list on our LibGuides platform.

Sours: https://london.ac.uk/senate-house-library/our-collections/research-strengths-of-our-collections/the-paranormal-the-occult-and-the-magical

Blunt traumatic occult pneumothorax: is observation safe?--results of a prospective, AAST multicenter study

Background: An occult pneumothorax (OPTX) is found incidentally in 2% to 10% of all blunt trauma patients. Indications for intervention remain controversial. We sought to determine which factors predicted failed observation in blunt trauma patients.

Methods: A prospective, observational, multicenter study was undertaken to identify patients with OPTX. Successfully observed patients and patients who failed observation were compared. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify predictors of failure of observation. OPTX size was calculated by measuring the largest air collection along a line perpendicular from the chest wall to the lung or mediastinum.

Results: Sixteen trauma centers identified 588 OPTXs in 569 blunt trauma patients. One hundred twenty-one patients (21%) underwent immediate tube thoracostomy and 448 (79%) were observed. Twenty-seven patients (6%) failed observation and required tube thoracostomy for OPTX progression, respiratory distress, or subsequent hemothorax. Fourteen percent (10 of 73) failed observation during positive pressure ventilation. Hospital and intensive care unit lengths of stay, and ventilator days were longer in the failed observation group. OPTX progression and respiratory distress were significant predictors of failed observation. Most patient deaths were from traumatic brain injury. Fifteen percentage of patients in the failed observation group developed complications. No patient who failed observation developed a tension PTX, or experienced adverse events by delaying tube thoracostomy.

Conclusion: Most blunt trauma patients with OPTX can be carefully monitored without tube thoracostomy; however, OPTX progression and respiratory distress are independently associated with observation failure.

Sours: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21610419/
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For other uses, see Occult (disambiguation).

Knowledge of the hidden or the paranormal

The occult, in the broadest sense, is a category of supernatural beliefs and practices which generally fall outside the scope of religion and science, encompassing such phenomena involving otherworldly agency as mysticism, spirituality, and magic. It can also refer to supernatural ideas like extra-sensory perception and parapsychology.

The term occult sciences was used in 16th-century Europe to refer to astrology, alchemy, and natural magic, which today are considered pseudosciences. The term occultism emerged in 19th-century France,[1] where it came to be associated with various French esoteric groups connected to Éliphas Lévi and Papus, and in 1875 was introduced into the English language by the esotericist Helena Blavatsky.

Throughout the 20th century, the term was used idiosyncratically by a range of different authors, but by the 21st century was commonly employed – including by academic scholars of esotericism – to refer to a range of esoteric currents that developed in the mid-19th century and their descendants. Occultism is thus often used to categorise such esoteric traditions as Spiritualism, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and New Age.

Use of the term as a nominalized adjective has developed especially since the late twentieth century. In that same period, occult and culture were combined to form the neologismocculture by Genesis P-Orridge.


The occult (from the Latin word occultus "clandestine, hidden, secret") is "knowledge of the hidden".[2] In common usage, occult refers to "knowledge of the paranormal", as opposed to "knowledge of the measurable",[3] usually referred to as science. The term is sometimes taken to mean knowledge that "is meant only for certain people" or that "must be kept hidden", but for TheosophistHelena Blavatsky it is simply the study of a deeper spiritual reality that extends beyond pure reason and the physical sciences.[4] The terms esoteric and arcane can also be used to describe the occult,[5][6] in addition to their meanings unrelated to the supernatural. The term occult sciences was used in the 16th century to refer to astrology, alchemy, and natural magic, which today are considered pseudosciences.

The earliest known usage of the term occultism is in the French language, as l'occultisme. In this form it appears in A. de Lestrange's article that was published in Jean-Baptiste Richard de Randonvilliers' Dictionnaire des mots nouveaux ("Dictionary of new words") in 1842. However, it was not related, at this point, to the notion of Ésotérisme chrétien, as has been claimed by Hanegraaff, but to describe a political "system of occulticity" that was directed against priests and aristocrats.

In 1853, the Freemasonic author Jean-Marie Ragon had already used occultisme in his popular work Maçonnerie occulte, relating it to earlier practices that, since the Renaissance, had been termed "occult sciences" or "occult philosophy", but also to the recent socialist teachings of Charles Fourier. The French esotericist Éliphas Lévi then used the term in his influential book on ritual magic, Dogme et rituel de la haute magie, first published in 1856. Lévi was familiar with that work and might have borrowed the term from there. In any case, Lévi also claimed to be a representative of an older tradition of occult science or occult philosophy. It was from his usage of the term occultisme that it gained wider usage; according to Faivre, Lévi was "the principal exponent of esotericism in Europe and the United States" at that time. The term occultism emerged in 19th-century France, where it came to be associated with various French esoteric groups connected to Éliphas Lévi and Papus,

The earliest use of the term occultism in the English language appears to be in "A Few Questions to 'Hiraf'", an 1875 article published in the American Spiritualist magazine, Spiritual Scientist. The article had been written by Helena Blavatsky, a Russian émigré living in the United States who founded the religion of Theosophy.

Various twentieth-century writers on the subject used the term occultism in different ways. Some writers, such as the German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno in his "Theses Against Occultism", employed the term as a broad synonym for irrationality. In his 1950 book L'occultisme, Robert Amadou used the term as a synonym for esotericism, an approach that the later scholar of esotericism Marco Pasi suggested left the term superfluous. Unlike Amadou, other writers saw occultism and esotericism as different, albeit related, phenomena. In the 1970s, the sociologist Edward Tiryakian distinguished between occultism, which he used in reference to practices, techniques, and procedures, and esotericism, which he defined as the religious or philosophical belief systems on which such practices are based. This division was initially adopted by the early academic scholar of esotericism, Antoine Faivre, although he later abandoned it; it has been rejected by most scholars who study esotericism.

By the 21st century the term was commonly employed – including by academic scholars of esotericism – to refer to a range of esoteric currents that developed in the mid-19th century and their descendants. Occultism is thus often used to categorise such esoteric traditions as Spiritualism, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and New Age.

A different division was used by the Traditionalist author René Guénon, who used esotericism to describe what he believed was the Traditionalist, inner teaching at the heart of most religions, while occultism was used pejoratively to describe new religions and movements that he disapproved of, such as Spiritualism, Theosophy, and various secret societies. Guénon's use of this terminology was adopted by later writers like Serge Hutin and Luc Benoist. As noted by Hanegraaff, Guénon's use of these terms are rooted in his Traditionalist beliefs and "cannot be accepted as scholarly valid".

The term occultism derives from the older term occult, much as the term esotericism derives from the older term esoteric. However, the historian of esotericism Wouter Hanegraaff stated that it was important to distinguish between the meanings of the term occult and occultism. Occultism is not a homogenous movement and is widely diverse.

Over the course of its history, the term occultism has been used in various different ways. However, in contemporary uses, occultism commonly refers to forms of esotericism that developed in the nineteenth century and their twentieth-century derivations. In a descriptive sense, it has been used to describe forms of esotericism which developed in nineteenth-century France, especially in the Neo-Martinist environment. According to the historian of esotericism Antoine Faivre, it is with the esotericist Éliphas Lévi that "the occultist current properly so-called" first appears. Other prominent French esotericists involved in developing occultism included Papus, Stanislas de Guaita, Joséphin Péladan, Georges-Albert Puyou de Pouvourville, and Jean Bricaud.

Occult sciences[edit]

The idea of "occult sciences" developed in the sixteenth century. The term usually encompassed three practices—astrology, alchemy, and natural magic—although sometimes various forms of divination were also included rather than being subsumed under natural magic. These were grouped together because, according to the Dutch scholar of hermeticismWouter Hanegraaff, "each one of them engaged in a systematic investigation of nature and natural processes, in the context of theoretical frameworks that relied heavily on a belief in occult qualities, virtues or forces." Although there are areas of overlap between these different occult sciences, they are separate and in some cases practitioners of one would reject the others as being illegitimate.

During the Age of Enlightenment, occultism increasingly came to be seen as intrinsically incompatible with the concept of science. From that point on, use of "occult science(s)" implied a conscious polemic against mainstream science. Nevertheless, the philosopher and card game historian Michael Dummett, whose analysis of the historical evidence suggested that fortune-telling and occult interpretations using cards were unknown before the 18th century, said that the term occult science was not misplaced because "people who believe in the possibility of unveiling the future or of exercising supernormal powers do so because the efficacy of the methods they employ coheres with some systematic conception which they hold of the way the universe functions...however flimsy its empirical basis."

In his 1871 book Primitive Culture, the anthropologist Edward Tylor used the term "occult science" as a synonym for magic.[22]

Occult qualities[edit]

Occult qualities are properties that have no known rational explanation; in the Middle Ages, for example, magnetism was considered an occult quality.[23][24]Aether is another such element.[25]Newton's contemporaries severely criticized his theory that gravity was effected through "action at a distance", as occult.[26]


The French esotericist Éliphas Lévipopularised the term "occultism" in the 1850s. His reinterpretation of traditional esoteric ideas has led to him being called the origin of "the occultist current properly so-called".

In the English-speaking world, prominent figures in the development of occultism included Helena Blavatsky and other figures associated with her Theosophical Society, senior figures in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn like William Wynn Westcott and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, as well as other individuals such as Paschal Beverly Randolph, Emma Hardinge Britten, Arthur Edward Waite, and—in the early twentieth century—Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, and Israel Regardie. By the end of the nineteenth century, occultist ideas had also spread into other parts of Europe, such as the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, and the Kingdom of Italy.

Unlike older forms of esotericism, occultism does not reject "scientific progress or modernity". Lévi had stressed the need to solve the conflict between science and religion, something that he believed could be achieved by turning to what he thought was the ancient wisdom found in magic. The French scholar of Western esotericism Antoine Faivre noted that rather than outright accepting "the triumph of scientism", occultists sought "an alternative solution", trying to integrate "scientific progress or modernity" with "a global vision that will serve to make the vacuousness of materialism more apparent". The Dutch scholar of hermeticism Wouter Hanegraaff remarked that occultism was "essentially an attempt to adapt esotericism" to the "disenchanted world", a post-Enlightenment society in which growing scientific discovery had eradicated the "dimension of irreducible mystery" previously present. In doing so, he noted, occultism distanced itself from the "traditional esotericism" which accepted the premise of an "enchanted" world. According to the British historian of Western esotericism Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, occultist groups typically seek "proofs and demonstrations by recourse to scientific tests or terminology".

In his work about Lévi, the German historian of religion Julian Strube has argued that the occultist wish for a "synthesis" of religion, science, and philosophy directly resulted from the context of contemporary socialism and progressive Catholicism. Similar to spiritualism, but in declared opposition to it, the emergence of occultism should thus be seen within the context of radical social reform, which was often concerned with establishing new forms of "scientific religion" while at the same time propagating the revival of an ancient tradition of "true religion". Indeed, the emergence of both modern esotericism and socialism in July Monarchy France have been inherently intertwined.

Another feature of occultists is that—unlike earlier esotericists—they often openly distanced themselves from Christianity, in some cases (like that of Crowley) even adopting explicitly anti-Christian stances. This reflected how pervasive the influence of secularisation had been on all areas of European society. In rejecting Christianity, these occultists sometimes turned towards pre-Christian belief systems and embraced forms of Modern Paganism, while others instead took influence from the religions of Asia, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. In various cases, certain occultists did both. Another characteristic of these occultists was the emphasis that they placed on "the spiritual realization of the individual", an idea that would strongly influence the twentieth-century New Age and Human Potential Movement. This spiritual realization was encouraged both through traditional Western 'occult sciences' like alchemy and ceremonial magic, but by the start of the twentieth century had also begun to include practices drawn from non-Western contexts, such as yoga.

Although occultism is distinguished from earlier forms of esotericism, many occultists have also been involved in older esoteric currents. For instance, occultists like François-Charles Barlet and Rudolf Steiner were also theosophers,[a] adhering to the ideas of the early modern Christian thinker Jakob Bohme, and seeking to integrate ideas from Bohmian theosophy and occultism. It has been noted, however, that this distancing from the Theosophical Society should be understood in the light of polemical identity formations amongst esotericists towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Etic uses of the term[edit]

See also: Emic and etic

In the 1990s, the Dutch scholar Wouter Hanegraaff put forward a new definition of occultismfor scholarly uses.

In the mid-1990s, a new definition of "occultism" was put forth by Wouter Hanegraaff. According to Hanegraaff, the term occultism can be used not only for the nineteenth-century groups which openly self-described using that term but can also be used in reference to "the type of esotericism that they represent".

Seeking to define occultism so that the term would be suitable "as an etic category" for scholars, Hanegraaff devised the following definition: "a category in the study of religions, which comprises "all attempts by esotericists to come to terms with a disenchanted world or, alternatively, by people in general to make sense of esotericism from the perspective of a disenchanted secular world". Hanegraaff noted that this etic usage of the term would be independent of emic usages of the term employed by occultists and other esotericists themselves.

In this definition, occultism covers many esoteric currents that have developed from the mid-nineteenth century onward, including Spiritualism, Theosophy, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and the New Age. Employing this etic understanding of "occultism", Hanegraaff argued that its development could begin to be seen in the work of the Swedish esotericist Emanuel Swedenborg and in the Mesmerist movement of the eighteenth century, although added that occultism only emerged in "fully-developed form" as Spiritualism, a movement that developed in the United States during the mid-nineteenth century.

Marco Pasi suggested that the use of Hanegraaff's definition might cause confusion by presenting a group of nineteenth-century esotericists who called themselves "occultists" as just one part of a broader category of esotericists whom scholars would call "occultists".

Following these discussions, Julian Strube argued that Lévi and other contemporary authors who would now be regarded as esotericists developed their ideas not against the background of an esoteric tradition in the first place. Rather, Lévi's notion of occultism emerged in the context of highly influential radical socialist movements and widespread progressive, so-called neo-Catholic ideas. This further complicates Hanegraaff's characteristics of occultism, since, throughout the nineteenth century, they apply to these reformist movements rather than to a supposed group of esotericists.

Modern usage[edit]

The term occult has also been used as a substantivized adjective as "the occult", a term that has been particularly widely used among journalists and sociologists. This term was popularised by the publication of Colin Wilson's 1971 book The Occult. This term has been used as an "intellectual waste-basket" into which a wide array of beliefs and practices have been placed because they do not fit readily into the categories of religion or science. According to Hanegraaff, "the occult" is a category into which gets placed a range of beliefs from "spirits or fairies to parapsychological experiments, from UFO-abductions to Oriental mysticism, from vampire legends to channelling, and so on".


The neologism occulture used within the industrial music scene of the late twentieth century was probably coined by one of its central figures, the musician and occultist Genesis P-Orridge. The scholar of religion Christopher Partridge used the term in an academic sense, stating that occulture was "the new spiritual environment in the West; the reservoir feeding new spiritual springs; the soil in which new spiritualities are growing".

Occultism and technology[edit]

Recently scholars have offered perspectives on the occult as intertwined with media and technology. Examples include the work of film and media theorist Jeffrey Sconce and religious studies scholar John Durham Peters, both of whom suggest that occult movements historically utilize media and apparati as tools to reveal hidden aspects of reality or laws of nature.Erik Davis in his book Techgnosis gives an overview of occultism both ancient and modern from the perspective of cybernetics and information technologies. Philosopher Eugene Thacker discusses Agrippa's 'occult philosophy' in his book In The Dust Of This Planet, where he shows how the horror genre utilizes occult themes to reveal hidden realities.

See also[edit]



  1. ^This theosophy, which is a Christian esoteric tradition adhered to by theosophers, is a distinct movement from Theosophy, the occultist religion adhered to by Theosophists, despite the shared name.


  1. ^Pasi, Marco (2007). "Occultism". In von Stuckrad, Kocku (ed.). The Brill Dictionary of Religion. Leiden and Boston: Brill Publishers. doi:10.1163/1872-5287_bdr_COM_00321. ISBN .
  2. ^Crabb, G. (1927). English synonyms explained, in alphabetical order, copious illustrations and examples drawn from the best writers. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co.
  3. ^Underhill, E. (1911). Mysticism, Meridian, New York.
  4. ^Blavatsky, H. P. (1888). The Secret Doctrine. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing.
  5. ^Houghton Mifflin Company. (2004). The American Heritage College Thesaurus. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Page 530.
  6. ^Wright, C. F. (1895). An outline of the principles of modern theosophy. Boston: New England Theosophical Corp.
  7. ^Hanegraaff, Wouter J. (2006). Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism. Leiden: Brill. p. 716. ISBN .
  8. ^Religion, Science, and Worldview: Essays in Honor of Richard S. Westfall, Margaret J. Osler, Paul Lawrence Farber, Cambridge University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-521-52493-8
  9. ^Henry, John (1 December 1986). "Occult Qualities and the Experimental Philosophy: Active Principles in Pre-Newtonian Matter Theory". History of Science. 24 (4): 335–381. doi:10.1177/007327538602400401. S2CID 142925825.
  10. ^Gibbons, B. J.; Gibbons, Brian (25 October 2018). Spirituality and the Occult: From the Renaissance to the Modern Age. Psychology Press. ISBN  – via Google Books.
  11. ^Gerd Buchdahl, "History of Science and Criteria of Choice" p. 232. In Historical and Philosophical Perspectives of Science v. 5 (ed. Roger H. Stuewer)


  • Classen, Albrecht (2017). "Magic in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age – Literature, Science, Religion, Philosophy, Music, and Art. An Introduction". In Classen, Albrecht (ed.). Magic and Magicians in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Time: The Occult in Pre-Modern Sciences, Medicine, Literature, Religion, and Astrology. Fundamentals of Medieval and Early Modern Culture. 20. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter. pp. 1–108. doi:10.1515/9783110557725-001. ISBN . ISSN 1864-3396.
  • Davis, Erik (2015). TechGnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism in the Age of Information. North Atlantic Press. ISBN .
  • Dummett, Michael (1980). The Game of Tarot. London: Duckworth. ISBN .
  • Faivre, Antoine (1994). Access to Western Esotericism. SUNY Series in Western Esoteric Traditions. Albany, New York: SUNY Press. ISBN .
  • Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas (2008). The Western Esoteric Traditions: A Historical Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN .
  • Hanegraaff, Wouter (1996). New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought. Numen Book Series: Studies in the History of Religions. LXXII. Leiden: Brill Publishers. ISBN .
  • Hanegraaff, Wouter (2006). "Occult/Occultism". In Wouter Hanegraaff (ed.). Dictionary of Gnosis and Western Esotericism. Leiden: Brill Publishers. pp. 884–889. ISBN .
  • Partridge, Christopher (2004). "Occulture". The Re-Enchantment of the West: Alternative Spiritualities, Sacralization, Popular Culture, and Occulture. 1. London: T&T Clark. pp. 62–84. ISBN .
  • Partridge, Christopher (2014) [2013]. "Occulture is Ordinary". In Asprem, Egil; Granholm, Kennet (eds.). Contemporary Esotericism. Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge. pp. 113–133. ISBN .
  • Pasi, Marco (2006). "Occultism". In von Stuckrad, Kocku (ed.). The Brill Dictionary of Religion. Leiden: Brill Publishers. pp. 1364–1368. doi:10.1163/1872-5287_bdr_COM_00321. ISBN .
  • Peters, John Durham (2012). Speaking Into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication. University of Chicago Press. ISBN .
  • Sconce, Jeffrey (2000). Haunted Media: Electronic Presence from Telegraphy to Television. Duke University Press. ISBN .
  • Strube, Julian (2016a). "Socialist Religion and the Emergence of Occultism: A Genealogical Approach to Socialism and Secularization in 19th-Century France". Religion. Routledge. 46 (3): 359–388. doi:10.1080/0048721X.2016.1146926. S2CID 147626697.
  • Strube, Julian (2016b). Sozialismus, Katholizisimus und Okkultismus im Frankreich des 19. Jahrhunderts - Die Genealogie der Schriften von Eliphas Lévi. Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten. 69. Berlin: De Gruyter. doi:10.1515/9783110478105. ISBN .
  • Strube, Julian (2017a). "Occultist Identity Formations Between Theosophy and Socialism in fin-de-siècle France". Numen. Brill Publishers. 64 (5–6): 568–595. doi:10.1163/15685276-12341481.
  • Strube, Julian (2017b). "Socialism and Esotericism in July Monarchy France". History of Religions. University of Chicago Press. 57 (2): 197–221. doi:10.1086/693682. S2CID 166078608.
  • Thacker, Eugene (2011). In the Dust of This Planet: Horror of Philosophy (Volume 1). Zero Books. ISBN .

Further reading[edit]

  • Forshaw, Peter, "The Occult Middle Ages", in Christopher Partridge (ed.), The Occult World, London: Routledge, 2014 [1]
  • Kontou, Tatiana – Wilburn, Sarah (ed.) (2012). The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism and the Occult. Ashgate, Farnham. ISBN 978-0-7546-6912-8
  • Partridge, Christopher (ed.), The Occult World, London: Routledge, 2014. ISBN 0415695961

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Occultism
Look up occult in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Occult.
  • University of Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO)
  • ESSWE European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism, with many links to associated organizations, libraries, scholars etc.
  • Joseph H. Peterson, Twilit Grotto: Archives of Western Esoterica (Esoteric Archives: Occult Literature)
  • Occult Science and Philosophy of the Renaissance. Online exhibition from the Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections.
  • Occult Science at Rudolf Steiner archive.
  • Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Occult Art, Occultism" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • eLibrary of ancient books on occultism, spiritism, spiritualism, séances, development of mediumship in the Western and Oriental Traditions. Much technical advice on ITC and EVP, and practical tips concerning the development of different forms of Mediumship provided by medium Maryse Locke.
  • the MYSTICA.ORG An on-line encyclopedia of the occult
Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occult
(H)EX-LIBRIS: Tracing Occult Identities


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