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Periodical: Aegyptus (The Coptic Fellowship of America)

Summary:

From Pat Deveney's journal database:

Aegyptus.
Portal of Invisible Power
Life, Health, Wisdom, Success
1939--1942 Monthly
Hollywood, CA. Publisher: Coptic fellowship of America. Corporate author: Coptic fellowship of America 1/1, January 1940 - 2/6, December 1942 (3/1 is January 1941 and 2 volumes were issued a year).

The last issue announced the immediate discontinuation of the journal for the duration of the war. It was never re-started. $3.00 a year, 34 pp. The Coptic Fellowship of America proclaimed that it was "dedicated to the upliftment of mankind. Its [journal's] pages carry the wisdom of the East together with the knowledge of the West, thereby revealing a better understanding of life and living. The name Aegyptus was that of a Lybian king who conquered and gave his name to Egypt." The chief and founder of the Fellowship was "Hamid Bey,"whointroduced himself in humble fashion to his readers. "I do not present myself to you as a Savior or a Messiah. I simply come to you as one who has embraced and practiced this pure philosophy, and found it to promote my development and happiness. My teaching naturally contains the religious element that man's spiritual nature demands, but it is based on creative principles and is without artificial limitations."

This pure philosophy was that preserved by the Egyptian Copts for more than 9,000 years in their hidden, Secret Temple, as Hamid Bey interminably narrated in the story of his life (as published serially in the journal): "My Experiences Preceding 5,000 Burials, The Story of My Life: What I Learned in the Egyptian Temple." As the eminent scholar John Benedict Buescher re-tells that story, Hamid Bey's "parents felt he had great spiritual potential, so they sent him to the grand master of the temple of the reclusive Coptic Brotherhood, where he spent years learning the ancient secrets of the genuine fakirs, secrets that allowed some to achieve complete control of mind over matter. By exerting his will he learned to enter a state of catatonic suspension. To prove his mastery, Hamid had to pass through six temples of preparatory learning, and then enter into a last one, the Temple of Divine Wisdom. However, the only entrance to it was at the end of an underwater tunnel at the bottom of the Nile. He could only reach it by avoiding crocodiles, which he located in the murky water through his psychic power. Having reached the temple, Hamid approached its holy sanctum,where grew a unique white flower at the center of eleven concentric circles. The flower's perfume was pleasant, but was poisonous to humans. Hamid's test was to approach ever closer to it and sit in each circle for an hour to determine how close he could get to the flower without dying. He reached the seventh circle [there were eleven in all], and so became a Seven-Ring Master. Emerging from the temple, he took on a mission to the West.”

To establish the bona-fides of his mission Hamid Bey exhibited his seventh-circle powers around the vaudeville circuits of the United States: "Hamid Bey demonstrates his ability to withstand or not to feel pain; to control the heart and general circulation of the blood, preventing the flow of blood at will, and general catalepsy. He submits himself to the ordeal of being buried six feet under the ground for hours at a time and is no worse for the experience, as far as anyone can observe, and he, himself, says that it is good exercise and improves his health." In his later lectures he advertised: "Are You Financially Limited? Are You Sick or Are You Unhappy? . . . Let Hamid Bey show YOU how simple and easy it is to learn self-mastery! Mind is supreme power: It creates and controls everything! Be master of your life and conditions!”

These efforts were rather astonishingly successful in spreading the ancient Coptic wisdom and by 1941 the journal listed Coptic Fellowship Centers in Toledo, Oakland, Philadelphia and other cities, more than a dozen in all. Students were offered more than 100 private lessons (”Egypt's Master Voice”) and could buy various of the Fellowship's public literature (for prices ranging from 25 cents to $2.50) on "Personality Development,""Concentration,""Proper Nutrition," "The Science of Physiognomy,” ”Marriage and Procreation" and the "Law of Attraction." The secret of these last was the conscious appropriation and proper use of the Cosmic Energy, the Breath of Life -- sex in other words. Students were not taught celibacy in the lower levels of the Fellowship but were informed that in the higher levels the sex function was "the Judas of the personality"(the "Set" of ancient Egyptian mythology) and must be transformed under the guidance of "Anup" or "Anubis.”

"Few Christians realize that the Old Testament in Oriental symbology tells the story that the sex function is the Judas of the personality since, when it demands its own expression, it robs the entire being. Few realize that in it is symbolized the ‘Rejected stone, which is yet to be the keystone of the arch, or the cornerstone of the building.' Few realize that this sex energy is the most high powered energy which the body is capable of making, and that it is infinitely convertible and applicable. And only those who are Wise in this subject know how the race today is reducing body, mind, and impulses into inferiority and slavery to sex demands, nor how vital and free one can be who conquers the traitor and harnesses his energies.”

Hamid's success was exemplified by his move to Hollywood in the mid-1930s, where he counted Roy Rogers and Humphrey Bogart as his neighbors. He died in Hollywood in 1979 and his burial, presumably, was conducted with full Coptic panoply.

The mystery of who Hamid Bey really was and what his origins were awaited resolution until the recent work of John Buescher who has discovered that Hamid Bey actually was Naldino Bombacci (1897-1979), an Italian (Florentine) stage magician who came to the United States in 1926 as assistant of another Italian magician, Rahman Bey, who arrived with great fanfare to surpass Houdini's record of remaining underwater. He did (sealed in a coffin in the swimming pool of a hotel for 60 minutes), and his assistant, Bombacci, then went out on his own as Hamid Bey with a close imitation of Rahman Bey's act.

The journal was a generic product of the inter-war period, a mix of generalizations about New Thought, occultism and astrology, coupled with encomiums of Hamid Bey. It was notably devoid of anything specifically Coptic, and carried, besides articles by and about Hamid Bey and his powers (like Edward McCollum's "The Secret of Hamid Bey's Mental Power”), undistinguished discourses on astrology, exhortations by Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, short discourses on "The Way, the Truth, and the Life" by F. Homer Curtiss, and short pieces on Ancient Egypt, Physio-Psychology, the Great Pyramid, and a great deal of filler on the common cold, the Wright Brothers, the explanation of hieroglyphics, etc. The journal's makeup followed the pattern, common at the time, of exchanging articles for advertising space. For example, Orio, who wrote on astrology, also appeared in a half-page back cover advertisement that proclaimed him "Professional Astrologer, Amateur Astronomer and Artist" and gave his Buffalo, New York, address, promising a "philosophical analysis"for $5.00. LOC.

Issues:Aegyptus S1 V3 N1 Jan 1941
Aegyptus S1 V3 N2 Feb 1941
Aegyptus S1 V3 N3 Mar 1941
Aegyptus S1 V3 N4 Apr 1941
Aegyptus S1 V3 N5 May 1941
Aegyptus S1 V3 N6 Jun 1941
Aegyptus S1 V4 N1 Jul 1941
Aegyptus S1 V4 N2 Aug 1941
Aegyptus S1 V4 N3 Sep 1941
Aegyptus S1 V5 N4 Oct 1941
Aegyptus S1 V5 N5 Nov 1941
Aegyptus S1 V6 N6 Dec 1941
Aegyptus S2 V1 N1 Jan 1942
Aegyptus S2 V1 N2 Feb 1942
Aegyptus S2 V1 N3 Mar 1942
Aegyptus S2 V1 N4 Apr 1942
Aegyptus S2 V1 N6 Jun 1942
Aegyptus S2 V2 N1 Jul 1942
Aegyptus S2 V2 N2 Aug 1942
Aegyptus S2 V2 N3 Sep 1942
Aegyptus S2 V2 N4 Oct 1942
Aegyptus S2 V2 N5 Nov 1942
Aegyptus S2 V2 N6 Dec 1942

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