Sorcery and Witchcraft
In considering sorcery and witchcraft we leave behind the domain of white magic
and gray magic; for sorcery implies the aid of evil spirits, and witchcraft is a type of
the black art. Nor do we approach these subjects for the purpose of instructing
anyone in these nefarious practices. Instead, let us hope to become so familiar with
the processes and principles involved that there will be no more inclination to dabble
in such dark matters than there is to fondle a mad dog; and at the same time, through
such understanding, let us become immune to injury and free from any fear of them.
In evil magic of this kind the three elements mentioned in connection with
ceremonial magic are present. Ceremony, of a nature appropriate to the purpose is
nearly always present. Some method of directing the attention to the purpose to be
accomplished is commonly used. And usually entities of the astral plane are
contacted and their assistance procured in the work to be accomplished.
Sorcery and witchcraft can hardly be set entirely apart from other ceremonial magic
by drawing a strict line of demarcation; but in one respect, at least, they present a
contrast to ordinary magical processes. This is the great accentuation of the
emotional element, by which energy is generated and directed into channels of evil.
For the purpose of arousing the emotions to the highest possible activity, the most
horrible rites are conducted, the most frightful excesses encouraged, and the most
terrible practices are followed.
Because emotion generates and liberates electromagnetic energy that can be used
magically, and because the type of electromagnetic energy used in black magic has
need of great volume and low-frequency, those who practice the black art exhaust
every possible avenue by which the emotions can be increased to a pitch of frenzy.
Revolting deeds, crimes which are usually repugnant, actions which engender
horror; everything is made use of that is terrifying. Anything they are capable of
imagining which is against decency and the welfare of society is employed in the
effort to arouse the emotions sufficiently to produce diabolical phenomena or to
Emotions, as analytical psychologists have discovered, are ambivalent. That is, an
emotion and its opposite are closely linked together. Hate and love, courage and fear,
and so on. Thus in affectional matters, it is not infrequent to find people who at first
violently hate each other, to end by violently falling in love. And people who have
been violently in love and who become enemies, often hate quite as energetically.
The coward, also, when he is cornered, may convert his fear into desperate courage.
And thus it is, also, that religious aspirations, under certain circumstances, are given
an inversive trend, and the individual delights and thrills in the perverse, the wicked,
the evil and the horrible, quite as thoroughly as he might have enjoyed high ecstasy
had his energies been directed into a truly spiritual channel.
Considering that it is not pleasant emotion, nor socially acceptable emotion, that is
desired for black magic, but merely volume of emotion, the more destructive in
quality the better, do you think the Congo initiation of a sorcerer, as described by
Dean R. Allier, is sufficiently arousing?
“In the Congo, the initiation of sorcerers gives occasion for horrible scenes. Among
other tests the candidate is compelled to make a human sacrifice, the victim chosen
from among his nearest relatives, usually his mother or his eldest daughter, and being
immolated upon the stalk of euphorbium, a small tree from which flows a sap which
is viscous and narcotic. When arteries and veins are emptied, and the victim’s last
struggles have ceased, sap and blood are mingled together; the neophyte drinks the
sap, then in turn those present do likewise, until the body is entirely drained of its
blood. It is then placed on a pyre, is slowly roasted, and is then divided into as many
portions as there are participants in the rites, generally twelve. The flesh is at once
devoured, the bones being carefully set aside; again they are placed upon the pyre
and left there until they are almost charred; then they are once more removed and
divided into twelve parts. All evidences of the hideous feast are carefully removed
and the participants all return to the village. These bones, ground in fine powder, will
later be used in the preparation of powerful charms.
“As a final test, the corpse of a female, or a man-prisoner, or of a stolen child, is
bound to the neophyte sorcer, breast to breast, head to head, mouth to mouth, and the
two bodies are hastily lowered to the bottom of a ditch, which is then covered with
branches. During three whole days, the neophyte remains in that position; sometimes
he becomes insane before the expiration of the time! Then there succeed three days of
trial during the course of which, in his hut, but ever bound to the corpse which is now
putrefying, he may neither eat nor drink without making use of the corpse’s right
“After six days, the test having been ended, the initiate is removed from the corpse
and washed with lustral water; his entire body is painted with red powder and oil
(baza), and in a clearing of the forest, he performs a sacred dance. The body is
brought to him. With a knife employed in initiation he cuts off the corpse’s hand at
the wrist and, seizing it, performs another dance. The hand is put to dry, to be used by
him henceforth in certain magic practices. It will be a powerful fetish.”
There is a wide literature upon the practices of sorcerers; but the above single
quotation serves my purpose of drawing attention to the common practice among
primitive sorcerers of doing the most horrifying things they can imagine. Dancing on
the graves of the dead, and defilement of every variety, is thus employed. The end
attained is a terrific and perverse emotion, which generates electromagnetic energy
for their purpose.
Everyone, at least by mention, is familiar with the outbreak of witchcraft at Salem,
Massachusetts. In the abstract of the laws of New England printed in 1655 appears
this article: “III. Witchcraft, which is fellowship by covenant with a familiar spirit, to
be punished with death.” The earliest execution for witchcraft in the U. S. appears to
have been still earlier, in 1648. In the Salem epidemic of witchcraft, 1691-1692, in
which Cotton Mather became so energetic as a witch finder, nineteen persons were
executed for witchcraft, Giles Cory, who refused to plead, being the only person in
America who legally was tortured to death. In 1692, fifty persons were tried for
witchcraft, but only three were convicted, and these three were later pardoned by the
The Salem epidemic of witchcraft, while the most notable outbreak in America, is
not an isolated example, but represents a condition that frequently occurred in
Europe all through the dark ages. In France the clergy obtained drastic laws, such that
public rumor, or the accusation of a single witness, was sufficient to cause the
suspected witch to be subjected to torture, the legislative power for witchcraft being
given solely to the Church.
Under authority of an act of Parliament, which was passed in 1281, Nicholas
Remigius burned 900 persons in Lorraine; in less than six weeks the Bishop of
Geneva burned 700 victims in 1596, earlier in the same century Grillandu, the
inquisitor of Arezzo, admitted over 2,000 victims, and Sprenger and Pierre de Lancre
were responsible for other thousands of deaths of those charged with witchcraft.
Between 1320 and 1350, four hundred witches were put to death in the city of
Carcassonne; in 1485, 85 witches were burned at the stake in the district of Worms.
Also in Germany we find in 1659 there were 900 victims in the diocese of Wurtburg,
600 in the bishopric of Bamberg, and that children from one to six years of age were
included among those burned.
These are a few instances cited from the many, merely to indicate the prevalence of
witch persecution at that time. But before proceeding to explain the cause of these
manifestations, and the principles involved in the crime of witchcraft, it should be
mentioned that in addition to the evil influence these witches were reputed to
exercise upon others, there were two other standard characteristics.
It was generally believed that a witch had entered into a compact with the devil. It
was also believed that in witness of this pact Satan placed his brand upon the skin of
his new subject. Thus in the trials it was not uncommon to search for this devil’s
mark. For example, at the trial of Elise Guyon, March 11, 1660, the master
executioner was ordered to examine her whole body before putting her to torture. On
March 13, Jacob Fleurdelys, the executioner, as a result of this examination, found
“at a certain point below the back, a mark like a little scar, in the middle of which
could be seen a little black point, into which having thrust a pin, the accused felt
nothing, and the executioner having withdrawn it, there followed it neither blood nor
It was still further believed that witches commonly, and rather regularly, went to a
certain meeting place, riding through the air, perhaps on a broomstick, to take part in
a diabolical orgy, called the sabbat. This witches, sabbat was as horrible and
revolting as a tortured imagination could make it, a very curtailed description being
sufficient to show its general nature:
“It is not enough for the women to rush into such devilish practices; into them they
must also drag their children. One can divine the growth of a forbidden emotion
when it is thus allowed to defile innocence! The little beings are presented to the
Devil, who rebaptizes them in his own way and brands them with his claw or horn. As
the novices are as yet unable to participate in the essential rites, they mind the toads.
On occasion they will be incited to incestuous unions.”
Orgies and the most shameless libertinage are thus given free rein in the sabbat.
Now frightful devils dressed in blue, wearing caps surmounted with cock feathers,
give themselves over to acts which may be guessed; now sorcerers and witches
satisfy without the least scruple, their lubricity. According to the testimony of one of
these victims of hallucinations, finally they perform a dance two by two with
interchange of couples.
“As Satan is determined above all things to justify his title of King of Evil, often in
the sabbat he, or those affiliated with him, not content to excite their adepts against
wretched human beings, command them to trouble the elements and to unchain
storms, which bring ruin and devastation upon the fields. One of these witches says
that whenever she went to the Goutte Benoist near a spring, or assembled the people
of Etobon and of the neighboring villages, their masters the devils would force them
to beat the waters with white clubs, pronouncing the words: Hail! Hail! come and fall
upon the woods or the seeds! Then there formed a sort of vapor which rose in the air
and fell again as hail.”
The Birth of Modern Spiritualism
–That witches are not more prevalent today is largely due to the better
understanding of psychical phenomena which followed the birth of modern
spiritualism in 1848. In all ages and in all climes there have been many individuals
whose nervous systems generated an excess of low-frequency electro-magnetic
energy which could be used by astral plane entities to produce phenomena of a
physical nature. In earlier times these individuals either were witches, or innocent of
any wrong were branded as witches. Now they become mediums.
The Neptune period of the Piscean Age commenced with the discovery of Neptune in
1846. In 1843 and 1844 a Mr. and Mrs. John C. Bell lived in a house in Hydesville,
New York. One day a peddler called, the next day Mrs. Bell and her servant girl left
for a visit, leaving the peddler and Mr. Bell alone in the house. No one ever saw the
peddler again.In 1846–the year Neptune, the psychic planet was discovered–Mr. and Mrs.
Weekman took the house, but were so constantly disturbed by mysterious knocking
and rappings that they moved in 1847. The house was next taken on December 11,
1847, by Mr. and Mrs. John Fox. They had two daughters, Kate, aged twelve, and
Margaretta, aged fifteen. The rappings heard by the Weekmans continued.
Every effort was made to discover what caused the rapping, and on Friday, March 31,
1848–which date I suppose may be considered the birth of modern
spiritualism–Kate Fox found out that whatever made the noises could see and
answer questions. A man by the name of Isaac Post thought that by means of a code
alphabet it might be possible to talk with the entity responsible for the haunting, and
devised such a method. The entity claimed to be the spirit of the peddler. He gave
many details of his life, and said he had been murdered for $500 and buried in the
cellar.His rapped out accounts caused quite a furor in the community; and there was much
digging in the cellar. No skeleton was found, although some human bones and some
quicklime were unearthed.
While the importance of these events relates to the commencement of a new
religion–Spiritualism–they also have an interesting sequel. Over half a century
later–in 1904–a false wall which had been built across the cellar a few feet from
the true east wall partly tumbled down, and behind this false wall the existence of
which the diggers in 1848 had not suspected, the skeleton of a man and a peddler’s
pack were found. Whatever had done the haunting, even if it could not reveal the
false wall, knew the body of the peddler had been placed in the cellar.
After the unsuccessful digging in the cellar in 1848, interest in what might have
happened to the peddler at once gave way to wonderment that in the presence of Kate
Fox raps gave answers to questions. Men of science were called in to investigate the
raps. They pronounced them genuine; and were attacked in the press by skeptics.
Kate Fox began to give seances for money, and following all this publicity, mediums
who professed to give messages from those who were no longer of earth began to
spring up everywhere.
Those capable of generating low-frequency electromagnetic energies had at all times
been present, but the idea of a person being a medium for the transmission of
messages or forces from the next plane of life, as that term is now understood, was
quite foreign to earlier days. From the time of the Witch of Endor, whom Saul
consulted, those who had converse with the unseen world, or through whom the
invisible world was able to exert its influence upon the physical world, down to the
time of the Fox sisters, were looked upon solely as agents of the devil.
The Church decreed that any communication from other than physical sources that
was spiritual and constructive in character could only come through it. Any other
communication from, or manifestation of, any entity not of the earth, and any
manifestation of supernormal power outside the sacred precincts of the Church,
came from the devil. And the individual or individuals responsible for it must be
ferreted out at any cost, and must die a horrible death.
Today in America there are many thousands of natural mediums, and thousands of
others who have become such through training. Also, because of their peculiar
negativeness, supernormal phenomena sometimes takes place as records from all
parts of the world show-in the presence of certain children. Course I, THE LAWS OF
OCCULTISM, describes the various types, and explains the cause, of such
phenomena. Here I merely wish to point out that they do take place, even when the
natural medium has no notion of the fact that he is a medium.
We should face what obviously is the fact; that the Church alone is entirely
responsible for the various epidemics of witchcraft that once took place in Europe
and America. Cotton Mather, in the early days of New England, I feel convinced, was
chiefly responsible for the Salem outbreak. His furious diatribes against it kept the
minds of people focused on it, and directed the trend of what otherwise would have
been harmless mediumship into questionable channels. The furor he created helped
it to spread. There have always been what now are known as spirit mediums; but the
Church condemned each and every one of them. The Church persecuted them, and
branded everything that came through them as a manifestation of the devil.
These mediums of yesterday were essentially no different from the mediums of
today; but unlike mediums of today the only explanation of the phenomena that
manifested through them was that offered by the Church; that it came from the devil.
Mediums are the most suggestible class of people in the world. And the suggestion
had been hammered into their minds from childhood by Church teachings, and by all
their associates, that any supernormal phenomena were from the King of Evil.
What more natural then, when such strange phenomena began to manifest as is now
the rather common experience of mediums, that they, as well as their associates,
should attribute it to the devil. And fear that they had thus lost their souls, in some
incomprehensible manner, riveted their minds to this conviction. They were thus set
apart from the balance of mankind by the possession of strange powers that, because
of their religious teachings, they believed could only come from the evil one. There
could be no doubt about it in their minds; they, for some inexplicable reason, were
Believing this centered their minds the more firmly on the devil and hell. And a
medium with his mind thus occupied quite quickly does “tune in” on the actual astral
hells. Or, if he is an individual preoccupied with wicked desires, he likewise easily
“tunes in” on the slums and iniquitous dens of the invisible world.
The wicked individual could attract nothing higher to him than wicked entities. And
the really innocent and well-meaning medium, under the Church teaching that all
such communications and influences came from the devil, had his thoughts so
centered on evil entities and regions that he could contact nothing else. His
imagination, fevered by Church doctrines, pictured devils and obnoxious regions so
strongly that he of necessity attracted them.
On the high-velocity inner plane the principle of resonance supercedes that which on
the low-velocity outer plane we call gravitation. The soul of the individual always
moves to the basic vibratory level of the inner plane which has the frequency of its
own dominant vibratory rate. Regardless of the material locality of his physical
body, the soul, the real individual, lives on the astral level to which it has adjusted its
dominant vibrations. These dominant vibrations are determined by the habitual
mood.The thought of the individual that he is eternally damned, that he is an outcast, and is
unutterably evil, develops a feeling that so lowers his dominant vibrations that his
soul moves to, and lives on, a level which supports the so-called astral hells.
Furthermore, intently thinking of something or someone on the vibratory level where
the soul functions, brings the soul, through the principle of resonance, into contact
with the thing or person thought about. Due to one of the most outstanding properties
of inner-plane existence, if a person thinks persistently about the devil, or about all
manner of evil, his soul will be brought into contact with evil entities. And if at the
same time he is mediumistic, these evil entities will take control of him, and may
perform much mischief.
The same mediumistic individual, if his mind had been directed to thinking about
saints, might very well, through the feeling of exaltation induced, have moved his
consciousness and soul to function on a high basic level of the inner plane, and might
have contacted benign intelligences that would have assisted him in healing the sick,
and in performing other works quite beneficial to mankind.
But before the advent of modern spiritualism, the Church so insisted that outside its
precincts nothing supernormal could be contacted other than the devil, that those
who contacted inner-plane entities of any kind through what is now recognized as
extra-sensory perception were easily convinced that because of such contacts, which
they often were unable to prevent, they were unutterably evil and forever damned.
Now if some naive individual should visit the slums of earth while under the
impression that he had lost all moral responsibility; and under the belief that he could
gain the things he wished by making some kind of an agreement with a gangster or
crook thus contacted; he would find little difficulty in finding someone to make such
an agreement with, if he offered sufficient service in return. And the poor, innocent
medium of days gone by, who imagined he had lost his soul anyway–because the
Church said so–and who had been taught by that same Church that it was possible
for a man to gain in material things by forming a compact with the devil, had no great
difficulty in contacting some being from the astral slums who assumed the role of
devil and sealed such a bargain.
Because there are beings who have passed to the next life who are quite as cunning,
evil, and destructively inclined as any remaining yet on earth, the individual who
trains his mind on such entities is quite sure to make the contact, and if, at the same
time, he is an irresponsible medium, this entity will probably be able to obsess him
and compel him to acts of which he otherwise never would even think.
Today the followers of modern spiritualism select certain meeting places where they
congregate and hold seances. Even today it is not uncommon–although protected
by a State Spiritualistic Church Charter–for a seance room where materializations
are held to be raided by the police. The mediums producing the most amazing
phenomena are still subject to considerable persecution by those in authority. And in
the days before spiritualism became recognized as such, all those attending a seance
were in danger of death by torture at the hand of the emissaries of the Church.
The Witches’ Sabbat
–It is not strange, there fore–knowing that many people who now attend seances
do so only in secret for fear of public condemnation–that those of an earlier day who
were familiar with such phenomena should hold their meetings in secret. Their lives
depended on keeping their activities from the knowledge of the Church. Mediums
were then called witches, and their seances were called sabbats.
But because of Church doctrines they believed they were working under the auspices
of the devil. At these seances, therefore, they contacted no influence of good and
light, but only such dark and perverse creatures as were called to them by their terror
stricken imaginations. These mediums, like those today who develop the
disintegrative forms of mediumship, had no power to resist forces from the inner
plane who desired to debauch them. We can well imagine, then, from what we know
of present-day irresponsible mediums who have lost their wills and their characters
through permitting complete control by low entities, that these seances, held in the
olden days by such mediums under the control of debased invisible entities, were
obscene, revolting and terrible in every way.
No doubt, to some of these seances thus held, these benighted mediums of old
sojourned in their physical bodies. But mediums at the present day who go into the
trance state are not confined to their physical bodies and the earth. They can leave the
physical and travel through space to regions of the astral realm. And in making such a
journey either to a distant locality on earth, or to some place of congregation in the
astral world, the sensation is not that of walking, but more nearly that of flying.
It seems probable, then, that all cases of witches flying through the atmosphere to
their place, were either actual instances of astral travel, or were merely imaginary
journeys of those who entered a trance-like condition. Yet because it is well attested
that people at the present day can and do visit distant places on earth in their astral
bodies and there manifest their presence; and because it is not uncommon for those
advanced in occult matters, as well as those who are negative mediums, to travel to
localities on the astral plane in their astral bodies, we can assume that the witches of
medieval times also had the same power, and actually visited the sabbat, either on the
physical plane or on the astral plane, as the case called for, in their astral bodies, and
there took part in its iniquitous ceremonies.
The Witches’ Ointment
–As additional testimony to this probability, we know that certain drugs have the
power to release the astral body from the physical. People, for instance, while under
the influence of anesthetics, sometimes leave their bodies and go elsewhere, and are
able to recount what they there saw when they regain consciousness. And one of the
traditions that persists about witchcraft, and which has been commemorated in
various famous paintings of witches, is that it was common practice for them to
anoint their bodies with an unguent, which enabled them to travel through the air to
What really happened, no doubt, was that the drug thus applied caused them to lose
physical consciousness and enabled them to travel to the desired spot in their astral
bodies. When they returned to their physical bodies they retained a memory of all
they had done at the sabbat, as well as the aerial journey to it. But quite likely they
were not aware that their physical bodies had been left behind, as they had no
knowledge of any other body, and they had appeared in a body at the sabbat.
The Church Was Responsible For Most Witches
–The Church had branded all mediums as lost souls, and they had no information
with which to contradict this doctrine. The Church and the populace related that
witches at certain appointed times had the custom of attending a meeting presided
over by the devil. The medium, already believing her soul to be lost because of the
supernormal phenomena so expressly forbidden by the Church, felt attracted to
others of her kind. These she was able perhaps to contact physically, who instructed
her in the . Or if they were not thus contacted, the suggestion was sufficient that when
she went into trance she traveled to such a meeting place. And you may be sure,
having heard the details of such diabolical meetings since childhood, that she was
attracted by the very power of the images in her mind to just such a place in the astral
Furthermore, if anyone is so insane as to wish to visit such scenes as are described in
accounts of the sabbat, you may be sure, if he gets out of the body, that he can still
attend them. In the hells and slums of the lower astral spheres, there still exist almost
any terrible condition that can be imagined. But because people who are mediumistic
now nearly all know that the invisible world is divided into realms of comparative
darkness and light, of evil and of good, of bestiality and spirituality; when mediums,
or occult neophytes, leave their bodies for visits to the astral plane, they have their
minds fixed on brighter realms, and take as much pains to avoid the astral slums as
they would to avoid a den of venomous serpents.
There is another feature of the modern seance room which offers an adequate
explanation also of the epidemic nature of witchcraft outbreaks. This is the
developing circle. That is, those who have little mediumistic ability, by associating
with mediums and attending circles devoted to supernormal manifestations, develop
that ability. Furthermore, the constant thinking about such phenomena tends to
attract invisible entities, and hastens to develop whatever latent quality is present.
And in particular fear, because fear is so negative an emotion, quicker than any other
attitude, tends to break down the power of resistance to any encroaching force and
place the individual in its power and control.
So we find many historical cases in which witchcraft swept a whole village, so that
most of the women and children were possessed. And in particular were such
outbreaks more frequent in religious communities and convents. In religious
communities, the suggestions of the Church that all supernormal phenomena
indicated a compact with the devil were highly forceful. In convents, the suppression
of natural functions by confinement and abstinence encouraged every variety of
In such convents, occasions arose in which, one nun being seized by convulsions,
and accusing some priest of casting a spell over her, the contagion spread to all the
nuns in the institution. In the rather famous case of Urban Grandier, for instance, who
committed indiscretions with one nun; all the other nuns were possessed with
convulsions. And they all accused the unfortunate priest of sorcery. Perhaps the
unnatural conditions of his life did cause him to endeavor to gain satisfaction for
suppressed desires through magical means. But nothing was ever proved against
him. Nevertheless, he was tortured horribly, and later burnt at the stake.
A village swept by an epidemic of witchcraft, that is, by a wide development of
mediumship directed into perverse channels through Church teachings, was Mohra
in Sweden. This case was examined in all its details by the legal authorities in
1669-1670, and the records enter into all its phases; investigating where the sabbat
was held, the diabolical rites which were there performed, and the evil which these
witches promised to do to other persons.
As was common to those initiated into the sabbat, the neophytes were baptized, this
time by priests of the devil, confirming this new baptism with fearful oaths and
imprecations. They were required to write their names in their own blood in the
devil’s book, and to do various things which plainly were the inverse of Church
ritual. This is the common practice of those devoted to the destructive principle; they
invert all constructive practices. Thus we have the traditions of the Black Mass, of
prayers said backward, and of every manner of perversion. As to the manner in which
these misdirected epidemics of mediumship were handled, a short quotation from the
investigation at Hohra is enlightening:
“On the fourteenth of August the Commissioners met again consulting how they
might withstand this dangerous flood. After long deliberation, an order coming also
from His Majesty they did resolve to execute such as the matter of fact could be
proved upon examination being made. For there were discovered no less than three
score and ten in the village aforesaid, three and twenty of which freely confessed
their crimes and were condemned to die. The rest, one pretending that she was with
child and the other denying and pleading, were sent to Fahluma where most of them
were afterwards executed.
“Fifteen children who likewise confessed that they were engaged in this witchery
died as the rest. Six and thirty of them between nine and sixteen years of age who had
been less guilty were forced to run the gauntlet; twenty more had no great inclination
and yet had been seduced to those hellish enterprises, because they were very young
were condemned to be lashed with rods upon their hands for three Sundays together
at the church door, and the aforesaid six and thirty were also deemed to be lashed in
this way once a week for a whole year The number of seduced children was about
three hundred. The examination was conducted as follows:
“First the commissioners and the neighboring justices went to Prayers; this done the
witches, who had most of them children with them which they either had seduced or
attempted to seduce, were set before them. Some of the children complained
lamentably of the misery and mischief they were thus forced to suffer sometimes of
the witches. The children being asked if they were sure of being at any time carried
away by the devil, they all declared that they were begging from the commissioners
that they might be freed from that intolerable yoke.”
The inclusion of children even younger than those mentioned in this instance, I
believe, is sufficient evidence that many witches were not persons unusually selfish,
or unusually wicked in character. They were merely people of average morals in
whom, either naturally, or because of contact with other mediums, was exhibited the
phenomena nowadays common to private and professional mediums. But because of
the attitude of the Church, they were driven to consort with entities on the inner
plane, who actually were wicked. The appalling ignorance concerning the inner
plane and the next life, left them no alternative but to become affiliated with entities
who were enemies of society. The Church thus drove them into a life of debauchery
But, without doubt, there were others in those days, just as there are at present, who
were unusually selfish, wicked and cruel by nature, who voluntarily turned to sorcery
and witchcraft in the premeditated attempt to gain power and wealth, or for the
purpose of satisfying lust and wreaking vengeance upon enemies. We may be sure
such then existed, for we find their counterparts in the sorcerers and black-art
fraternities of present-day uncivilized tribes.
Yet whether the individual was wickedly inclined to start with or not, knowing
himself ostracized from the society of normal persons by reason of his occult
practices, for the purpose of self-preservation he allied himself with others who also
were similarly ostracized. Today if a man unwittingly commits a crime for which the
law demands his life, even though he is not naturally criminally inclined, he is very
apt to ally himself with some existing criminal organization the better to escape
punishment. And once having joined such a band, and taken oath of allegiance
thereto, the band is in a position to compel him to actual criminal activities. Should he
refuse to do so he would instantly be under suspicion, and subject to punishment
from them, or exposure. It is common knowledge how almost impossible it is even in
our present so-called civilization for one who is a criminal, or even a member of a
criminal gang, ever afterwards to go straight.
Thus it is that those who in innocence become affiliated with fraternities of sorcerers,
or who attend the witches, sabbat, continue loyal to these gangs of the slums of the
invisible world, participate in their debaucheries, and aid in their crimes. They do so
for the fundamental purpose of self-preservation. And in such instances as the belief
in the mark of the devil is strong, there is as much reason to believe that some such
mark does appear upon the bodies as there is to believe that stigmata appeared, as is
well attested, on the bodies of some of the medieval saints. One familiar with
phenomenal mediumship in its more startling form, as exhibited by certain public
mediums, will find no difficulty in believing that through such agencies a mark might
be placed upon the body of the medium.
Debaucheries of the Sabbat
–The debaucheries which are described as attendant upon the sabbat no doubt
served somewhat in the gratification of unhallowed desires. Even criminal gangs on
earth have their wild parties. But they served also a magical purpose; for magical
phenomena of any kind depend upon the energy available, and such terrible
carousals and horrible practices could not fail to cause shudders, to set up powerful
emotional revulsions, and to drain the mind and nervous system of its last reserve of
emotional intensity. And the energy thus liberated in frenzy, if directed
concentratedly by means of an appropriate ceremony which kept the unconscious
mind fixed upon the thing to be accomplished, would have a powerful leverage for
the production of low-grade, or criminal, physical phenomena.
The initiatory rites of the sorcerer, in which he is driven almost insane of horror,
serve a similar purpose, as well as cementing, through a common crime, his bond of
fealty to the sorcerer band. One passing through such an experience, or attending the
sabbat, undergoes a change, and is never the same afterwards. Henceforth, the
emotions are easily aroused to a pitch of intense excitement. Witches, according to
tradition, when they pronounce curses, are worked up to a point where they are
crazed with wrath.
The priests of certain oriental religions apply the same principles in a much milder
way. They keep dancing girls, not to satisfy their lascivious inclinations; but through
the contortions of their dancing to arouse the priests to a high degree of passion; the
intensity of emotion thus engendered being used by the priests in the performance,
not of injury to others, but of such magical phenomena as will awe the multitude and
serve the ends of the temple.
As to the manner in which sorcerers injure others there is a wide literature available.
The chief method is through sympathetic magic. That is, a miniature image of the
enemy to be disconcerted is made, and the injury is performed upon this miniature
image; the affliction thus being thought to register upon the astral body of the one
attacked. In one region of Africa, as an instance of another type of sympathetic
magic, the sorcerer follows the one to be injured and drives thorns in the tracks his
feet have left in the dust. The one so to be afflicted is supposed to suffer as if the
thorns were actually driven into his feet. And, as the sorcerer after a time lets it be
known what he is doing, the one so attacked, in his fright, no doubt soon does begin to
Black Magic Feeds Upon Fear
–For, after all, the greatest aid black magic has ever had, and upon which it must rely
in great measure for its effectiveness, is the fear of its victim. Take, for instance, the
regions of America and Africa where voodooism is most prevalent. The white man,
because he does not believe in it, and therefore has no fear of it, is seldom harmed by
such practices. But in the same vicinity it may be very common for Negroes, who
believe in and fear it, to be its victims.
If I were to say that society has no cause to consider that it may occasionally be
injured by an evil sorcerer, I should have to claim also that society is free from injury
from the professional criminal. If I were to say that magicians are not banded
together for mutual advantage and protection on the inner plane, I should have to say
that criminals are too ignorant to organize into efficient groups.
But as a matter of fact, criminals on both planes often organize into bands. And those
of the inner plane are quite willing to impersonate the devil if they can dupe some
unfortunate of earth into signing a compact with them; for, of course, a personal devil
is a myth. It is merely the personification of the force of destruction and
disintegration. But there are actual entities on both planes whose hands are against
society, whose efforts are chiefly toward destruction, and whose energies attempt to
turn everything into perverted channels. Call these physical “big shot gangsters” and
“dope addicts” devils, if you choose; and also their contemporaries on the inner
Anyone who follows this path of evil, also, certainly is ignorant. For an individual on
the physical plane who, with full recognition as to what he is doing, becomes
addicted to drugs so that he can be compelled to use a machine gun in the murder of
people in order that his boss will supply him with the drug he is unable to live
without, certainly may be considered crazy. Those who arrive at such a state of
affairs certainly are in a bad way.
But they are still much more fortunate than the habitual sorcerer Such a one has
placed his hand against the evolutionary forces of the cosmos; he is allied with all
forces of destruction. He cannot know happiness, for he has joined forces with the
creatures of the astral hells, and to these hells he will go when he passes from the
earth. And surrounded by others of his ilk, it will be eons, perhaps, before he can
break the chains of his evil attractions and gradually and painfully crawl out of the
murky pit into which his awful deeds have plunged him. Anyone, anytime, who uses
magic to injure another, or who allies himself with the invisible gangsters of magic
for some fancied gain, I unhesitatingly say is either grossly ignorant or else
This is certainly not a pleasant subject to discuss. It is full of morbid conditions and
revolting thoughts. But we cannot sanely ignore a wound because it festers. We
cannot shut our eyes to the widespread crime and lawlessness existing in America.
Nor can we dismiss with a shrug the crimes of sorcery and witchcraft.
Instead, we need to know why all these conditions exist; to the end of removing their
cause. And I trust that this explanation of the cause and practices of black art may
deter some who otherwise in a spirit of curiosity might dabble in such matters to their
Protection From Black Magic
–Having discovered the cause of any obnoxious condition and how best to remove
that cause, which in this case I believe to be through full enlightenment, the next
thing is to devise adequate means of protection. For ignorance is never full
So in matters magical it should be recognized that effects produced, either good or
bad, depend upon the impact of astral energies. But these astral energies can only
affect a human being when they establish sufficient rapport with his astral body to be
able to transmit to him their energies. And unless he is unduly negative, through
cultivating irresponsible mediumship, he has the power within himself of preventing
the formation of such conditions of rapport.
If he has cultivated directed thinking to any degree, he is able to turn his attention to
whatever matters he desires to think about. And if he completely turns his inner and
outer attention to some elevating subject, to some pleasant emotion, or to some
problem requiring concentration, he automatically destroys all rapport with
vibrations of a lower or destructive nature. Magical injury can take place only
through the principle of resonance, best illustrated by the radio. A low and harmful
vibratory rate cannot tune in on a high and constructive rate. Therefore, while one is
absorbed in high aspiration, or with some thought of a constructive nature, this
automatically tunes out destructive magical influences, and renders them ineffective
and harmless.Fear, however, more than anything else except thoughts similar to those of the
magician, focuses the mind to the vibration of the thing feared, and forms a rapport
with the very thing that should be avoided. Fear effectively tunes in on the thing
Faith in some higher protecting power, however, effectively tunes the vibratory rate
to a higher frequency, and shuts off those that are pernicious.