IAPSOP collects and publishes private lessons and teachings from occult schools and mages from time to time, as material is donated.
This genre of occult material is uncatalogued and largely unstudied, the most in-depth examinations to date being those of philatelists.
Private lessons and teachings boomed after the mail order revolution of the 1880s and 1890s, but were related to far older practices like phrenological, astrological and psychometric readings-by-mail. Private lessons and teachings allowed a mage to develop an apparently more intimate relationship with his or her students, to reach sparse markets of students scattered, literally, all over the globe, and to monetize his or her teachings more effectively, by selling the same material, over and over again, in dozens, hundreds or thousands of transactions. Private lessons and teachings also had other beneficial effects, for the mage and the movement, promoting regular interchange between a student and the movement's leader or headquarters, and reducing the cost of the production of materials (little more than paper, a typewriter and a method of duplication was required to produce lessons). Occult lessons-by-mail also opened up new suppression mechanisms for the State, making occult teachers subject to postal fraud regulations, and served as further evidence, in the hands of mail-order detractors, that the mail-order business model was a serious social ill that needed to be legislated out of existence.
One of the first genres of mail-order lessons to arise was, not surprisingly, about the mail-order business model itself. Lessons on mail-order were available from about 1900 well into the 1930s, and included -- in addition to Sydney Flower's seminal work, listed below -- titles like The Men Who Advertise (1870), Secrets of the Mail-Order Trade (1900), Principles of the Mail Order Business (1901), Conducting a Mail Order Business (1921), Mail Order Organization (1922), and Mail-Order Made Easy (1928). These lessons on mail-order were sometimes produced by successful practitioners (like Flower) but were, as often, mail-order schemes themselves, or the product of correspondence colleges specializing either in mail-order education or serving the rising class of bootstrap enterpreneurs with business knowledge (e.g., Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd).
Dr. Richard Kielbowicz's A History of Mail Classification and its Underlying Policies and Purposes (1995) provides a wealth of relevant background information on postal rates and regulations, in the US.
For a portion of the period covered by the Archive, mail-order operators were subject to investigation, in the US, only by US Postal Service inspectors (until the FBI, SEC and FTC were enabled to investigate them). The US Postal Service inspectors were in many cases unable to penetrate the schemes and identify the actual operators, and focused instead on the fictional cutouts that appeared in the various schemes' advertisements.
Nonetheless, many operators had their mail stopped, at one time or another, via US PS fraud orders. In the Archive, we have a wide selection of these fraud orders and case files (which are discussed in Postmaster George B. Cortelyou's 1907 text Frauds in the Mail, listed in the National Archives Mail Fraud Order Case Files Hand List and analyzed in our USPS Fraud Order Data Set), including orders, case files and docket records for:
NB: As private lessons and teachings are often undated, all assigned dates are approximate (a) unless supported directly by intrinsic evidence in the material itself (e.g., copyright statements or explicit dating).
|James A. Bliss||James A. Bliss -- one of the most notorious Spiritualist mediums of the 1880s -- has some claim to precedence in the occult-lessons-by-mail business with his National Developing Circle scheme, and his How To Become A Medium (1885, Boston) exhibits the advertisement-heavy "instructional material" produced by the NDC.|
Sydney Flower's mastery of the genre of lessons, and the art of mail-order demand creation and fulfillment, combine in his widely-read text The Mail-Order Business: A Series of Lessons (1902, 1912, 1922). Lessons authored or published by Flower or his organizations, particularly the Psychic Research Company (in the US and UK) and the New Thought Publishing Co. Ltd., include:
A complete "Series B" Course in Personal Magnetism,
A Course in Personal Magnetism (1900),
Home Study Course in Osteopathy, Massage and Manual Therapeutics (1900),
The Perfect Course of Instruction in Hypnotism, Mesmerism, Clairvoyance, Suggestive Therapeutic and the Sleep Cure... (1900) and a significantly-different 1902 reissue ,
A Course of Instruction in the Development of Power Through Clairvoyance (1901),
A Complete Course in the Art of Mind-Reading... (1901),
A Course of Instruction in Magnetic Healing (1901),
A Course of Instruction in the Development of Power Through Concentration (Series C) (1901),
A Course of Instruction in the Development of Power Through Auto-Suggestion (Series C) (1901),
A Course of Practical Psychic Instruction (Series B) (1901) with a variant,
A Course of Instruction in the Development of Power Through Psychometry (Series D) (1901),
The Power Within (1903),
Larobok i Personlig Magnetism (1903), and
Will-Power, Personal Magnetism, Memory-Training and Success (1921). We also have promotional material associated with Flower's schemes, including a promotional flyer for The Power Within, and a promotional sampling of letters from satisfied customers of the Series B lessons.
|E. Virgil Neal (X. Lamotte Sage)||
One of the pioneers of mail-order scammery, E. Virgil Neal began his professional life as a business school teacher in Sedalia, Missouri, and then -- with his wife -- worked for years as the traveling hypnotist X. Lamotte Sage, before starting a number of mail-order companies with his former college colleague C. S. Clark, as well as Frederick T. McIntyre and E. S. Prather (see below) -- most of which operated out of Rochester, New York, or New York City. You can get a sense of Neal's stage act -- performed with his wife -- by looking at some of their tour promotional materials. Neal went on, after his period as a mail order fraud operator, to reinvent himself as a cosmetics magnate. Neal's Hypnotism and Hypnotic Suggestion (1900) contained solicited articles from orthodox academics (including J. Mark Baldwin), within which Neal hid credential-building promotional material from "E. Virgil Neal, A. M., LL. D", the magnetist Carl Sextus, his partner (and the inventor of Vitaopathy) Thomas F. Adkin, and his partner Charles S. Clark. Selections of that material were immediately produced, by the Neal vehicle the American College of Sciences (and Clark's New York State Publishing Company) as Advanced Course of Instruction in Personal Magnetism and Hypnotic Suggestion (with the addition of material by James R. Kenney, the front man for the American College of Sciences, and J. S. Wharton, another American College of Sciences "faculty" member), which was used as a "free" reward in several of Neal's mail-order schemes. Simultaneously, the material was parted out into five sections and salted with new promotional material -- including material by X. Lamotte Sage (who enjoys the same credentials as E. Virgil Neal), L. E. Kasseall (an early female mail-order fraudster) and J. C. Herbert's "Hypnotic Cure for Hiccoughs" -- before being wrapped with advertisements for "Sage's Revolving Mirror -- Endorsed by the Largest Schools of Hypnotism in the World," titled A Course of Instruction in Personal Magnetism, Hypnotism, Suggestive Therapeutics, Magnetic Healing, etc. and given away as part of yet, different, mail-order schemes (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five). Not surprisingly, the academics hoodwinked in this manner objected to this misuse of their contributions, a factor that contributed to the US Postal Service denying the American College of Sciences the use of the mails in 1904. Until that time, the American College of Sciences apparently granted credentials to teachers of suggestive therapeutics, mesmerism and hypnotism (H. Spencer Lewis, the founder of AMORC Rosicrucianism, claimed credentials from the College) -- and the use of those credentials was, for some years after the College's demise, a clear indication of chicanery at work.
The network of schemes deployed by Neal, Clark and Adkin was vast, and has not yet been well-documented, but a social network graph of these three and their colleagues (which includes many of the figures in the Lessons wing) gives one some idea of the scope and scale of their work. Of Neal's lessons as X. Lamotte Sage, we have A Higher Course in Personal Magnetism, Hypnotism, Suggestive Therapeutics and Magnetic Healing (1900). We also have a c. 1905 full-size advertisement for the New York Institute of Science's courses in personal magnetism, which provides an indication of the sophistication and expense of the promotion of materials by Neal, Clark and Adkin, as well as the NY Institute of Science's `907 Philosophy of Influence, which contains -- among other gems -- wonderful shots of the Neal-Clark-Adkin mail-order operations.
Ed Grabowski's detailed exploration of the operations of the Neal-Clark-Adkin New York Institute of Science in Hungary provides a rare, and wonderfully-evidenced, look at how successful the Neal-Clark-Adkin operations could be, outside the United States.
Like E. Virgil Neal and C. S. Clark, Sidney Weltmer (1859-1930) was an employee of the Central Business College of Sedalia, Missouri. Like Neal and Clark, Weltmer became aware of the money-making potential of hypnotism during a visit made by the traveling hypnotist Sylvan. A. Lee to Sedalia in May of 1895. And like Neal and Clark, Sidney Weltmer built an international money-making empire out of mail-order lessons in magnetism. Unlike Neal and Clark, however, Weltmer stayed put in the midwest, setting up the American School of Mental Healing in Nevada, Missouri, augmenting his mail-order lessons business with a sanitarium and with absent-treatment-by-letter, at $5 a treatment. By 1900, when the US Postal Service denied Weltmer the use of the mails, he was collecting as much as $4000 a day from his mail order operation. We have Weltmer's 1897 The Weltmer Method of Magnetic Healing in its orginal 10-lesson format, and The Weltmer Brief Course in Practical Psychology (1924) by Signey and his son Ernest, written after the Weltmers transitioned from magnetic healing to more generalized New Thought beliefs, and became significant actors in the New Thought Federation.
|E. S. Prather (Elmer S. Knowles)||One of the most prolific mail-order fraudsters of his generation, Prather and his wife Abby (like E. Virgil Neal/X. Lamotte Sage) worked for a time as traveling mesmerists, under the surname Knowles. Later, Prather -- who had a dozen or more schemes operating at any one time -- used the Knowles persona to sell occult lessons. From this period of Prather's life, we have Knowles' Complete System of Personal Influence (1891), his Special Instructions upon the Use of Post-Hypnotic Suggestion (c. 1922), and his Basic Principles of Suggestion, Hypnotism, Telepathy, Personal Magnetism, Character Building.... (Branch One) (1926). Prather also operated cut-out operations, from Europe, placing advertisements in US newspapers for his Knowles persona, as well as for at least two astrologers: Randolph Roxroy (who was presented as operating out of London and the Hague) and Clay Burton Vance (who was presented as operating out of Paris). Like Knowles, neither Roxroy nor Vance existed. In this latter category we have a standard form-response Clay Burton Vance "life reading" sent to an US patron who responded to one of Prather's Clay Burton Vance adverts in 1913.|
|A. Victor Segno||A. Victor Segno (William James Albert Hall, 1870-?), editor of The Segnogram and later Opportunity, colleague of William Walker Atkinson, promoter of vegetarianism, soul-culture, mentalism, memory calisthenics, eclectic medicine and spirit communications (see his Life in the Great Beyond, or the Law of Life and Death) frequently produced lessons, some likely associated with his Segno Success Club; included here are his How to Live 100 Years (1903, Los Angeles), The Secret of Memory (1906, Los Angeles) Cours Scientifique de l'Analyse du Caractere (1908, Los Angeles), and L'Indice de la Main -- Un Course (1908, Los Angeles). Promotional material associated with Segno's American Institute of Mentalism includes marketing literature on remote treatment and, courtesy of Ed Grabowski, a pamphlet promoting the Segno Success Club scheme, dating from the period after Anne Del Segno divorced A. Victor Segno and took over the operations of the American Institute of Mentalism. Earlier Segno Success Club material, notably the 1902 Instructions from the Segno Success Club, are also available.|
|Frederick T. McIntyre||Frederick T. McIntyre, the President and Principal of the Metropolitan Institute of Sciences, in his Complete Course of Instruction in Radial Character Reading (1904, New York), combined elements of palmistry, graphology, physiognomy, and phrenology into "a quick method of reading human nature" for "those who wish to read the characters and lives of those they desire to influence." McIntyre's Practical Instruction in Suggestion, Hypnotism and Healing included information on the use of his "Occular Fatigue Inducer," a (likely inert) device of a sort that was commonly sold by suppliers of lessons on magnetism, and his Metropolitan Institute of Sciences' A Complete Course of Lessons Embracing Hindoo and Oriental Methods in Telepathy... (1904), as by "Maharajah," included some information on a similar device, the Yogi Magnetic Pipe, which retailed for fifty cents. We also have his instructions for students wishing to perform public demonstrations, The Hypnotic Ball System, which dates from the period after E. S> Prather (see above) has taken control of the Metropolitan Institute of Science. McIntyre was also an early worker in fraternal insurance schemes, including the Il(l)ic Brotherhood of Hartford, Connecticut, which was forcibly wound up by New York State regulators. After a stint as a "journalist" in Europe, McIntyre took his skills to their logical buyer, and became an advertising industry hack for the duration of his life.|
|William Walker Atkinson||Perhaps the single most important New Thought figure in the US, William Walker Atkinson published under multiple pseudonyms as well as under his given name. His lessons, as William Walker Atkinson, include: A Series of Lessons in Personal Magnetism (1901), Thought Force in Business and Everyday Life (1903), Mental Fascination (1907), Practical Mental Influence (1908), Practical Mind-Reading (1908), The Inner Consciousness (1908), The Arcane Teaching Lessons 1-3 (1909), and Practical Psychomancy and Crystal Gazing (1909). As Yogi Ramacharaka, they include: Correspondence Class Course in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism (1903), A Series of Lessons in Raka Yoga (1905), and A Series of Lessons in Gnani Yoga (1906). WWA worked with both A. Victor Segno and Sydney Flower at different points in his career, but avoided being co-opted by both men.|
|Lloyd Jones||At one time the head of the Psychic Research Company, which published The Journal of Suggestive Therapeutics, a close collaborator of Sydney Flower, and later the head of the Magnetic Publishing Company -- all based in Chicago -- Lloyd Jones was a prolific publisher of lessons, including this Course of Instruction in Psychometry (1901, Chicago) and his A Course of Instruction in the Development of Power through Clairvoyance (1900).|
|T. H. White||In the archives, we have T. H. White's 1904 Higher Correspondence Course in Spiritualism, Hypnotism, Personal Magnetism, Mental Healing and Magnetic Spiritual Planet Reading....|
|Guillaume A. Mann||G. A. Mann was an employee of C. S. Clark and Thomas F. Adkin (see E. Virgil Neal, above), who struck out on his own in the mail-order lessons business, first in Canada and the US (where his Radiopathy operations were shut down by authorities) and later in Europe. Examples of Mann's later work include La Force Pensee (1910), La Radiopathy (1910), and Le Chapeau de la Volunte (1913).|
|Levi Dowling||Known primarily, today, for his Aquarian Gospel, Levi Dowling turned his attention to mail-order schemes, from time to time, producing at least two versions of his Complete Course in Biopneuma: the first amd the second. These lessons promised an "opening of the Golden Gate unto the Healing of all Diseases, the Forgiveness of Sins, and Divine Illumination."|
|Thomas Robert Gaines||Largely forgotten today, Thomas Robert Gaines (1877-1965) was an Irish-American dry goods merchant and prolific inventor who authored Vitalic Breathing (1921, in in SSOC) and a dozen or so other texts during his career, while lecturing across the US on health and New Thought topics. In the lessons archive, we have three of Gaines' mail order lessons from 1942: Number 8 and Number 12 of his Intelligence lessons series, and Lesson 2 of Gaines' Higher Mental Action lessons.|
We have many of the original serialized lessons from Helen Wilmans' famous c. 1900 Home Course in Mental Science:
Lesson 17, and
These two lessons are, as evidence, sufficient to gauge the accuracy of Benedict Lust's transcription of Wilmans' course, when he republished her material in 1921.
|Webster Edgerly||Webster Edgerly is best known as a social and dietary reformer, but, writing as Edmund Shaftesbury, he produced quite a few occult-influenced lessons, including Lessons in the Art of Facial Expression (1889, Washington DC), Our Existences (a Home Course in Philosophy) (1893), and his private lessons in Universal Magnetism (1900).|
|Hamid Bey (Naldino Bombacci)||The Italian Naldino Bombacci (1897-1976) performed as the stage magician Hamid Bey, in England and the US, from 1925 until the middle 1930s, when he moved his family to Hollywood, became a naturalized US citizen, began consulting to the studios, and -- in 1937 -- founded the Coptic Fellowship of America, a church-like organization with branches in many US cities, founded on Bombacci's peculiar blend of New Thought teachings, wrapped in an elaborate backstory centered on Bombacci's occult training by a reclusive Coptic brotherhood, in Egypt. Bombacci, who used his Hamid Bey stage name as his legal identity after the middle 1930s, lectured, appeared on television from time to time, and consistently promoted the Coptic Fellowship of American from 1937 until a year or two before his death in 1976, after which -- according to someone who might be one of his grandchildren -- Bombacci's wife sold the Coptic Fellowship of America to a third party, which continued to promote the organization and its teachings as the Coptic Fellowship International. In the lessons archive, we have lessons 1 through 104 of the Coptic Fellowship of America, assembled from partial collections once in the possession of devoted students of Bombacci's teachings.|
|Harry J. Gardener||Perhaps the longest continuously-operating mail-order mage, Harry J. Gardener (born Harry Lawrence Juhnke) operated his Golden Dawn Press, in Los Angeles, from the mid 1930s until his death in the later 1960s, producing a large and remarkably consistent body of lessons -- factual and fictional -- under his own name and as Frater VIII, covering a melange of Christian, New Thought and UFOlogy topics. Included in the IAPSOP archives are: Dynamic Numbers (1934), Don't Be Yourself (1934), Mastering Mental Magic (1934), The Fear Crusher (1935), Streamline Minds (1936), Wings Of Aquarius (1936), Turn Back The Years (1937), 1938 What's Next (1937), Radio Magnetism (1938), Invisible Dictator (1942), The White Forces Revealed (1942), Beyond The Veil (1942), Secret Science Of Life (1942), Turn Back The Years (1942), Golden Gate To The Garden Of Allah (1944), Outwitting Tomorrow (1944),Secret School Of The Masters (1948), Become Your Millenial Self Now (1950), Karma And Darma And You (1950), This Final War (1950), Initiated At Midnight (1951), The Seals Were Broken (1951), The Secret Of Security Now (1951), Their Judgement Day (1951), The Teachers Are Coming (1951), Five-fold-life Extension Course (1952), Money Magic And Mystery In My Life (1957), Outwitting Tomorrow (1957), 1959 Whats Next (1959), 1961 Whats Next (1961), From Creation To Re-creation (1964), Magic -- Black White Gray And Green (1964), Your Future-Unlimited (1965), Togetherness (1967), Prevue Of Prophecy (1969).|
|L. H. Anderson||As the principal of the Chicago College of Psycho-Therapeutics and National Institute of Science, and head of the National Hygienic Institute, L. H. Anderson produced reams of material, including Raphael's Private Instructions in Animal Magnetism (1896, Chicago), which -- despite its claim to have been published in London, and its "hand-written" look -- is a mass production of Anderson's College and Institute. Also available is a piece of Anderson's promotional material, dating from about 1909, a Catalog of Books Worth While (1910) describing Anderson's publications, and his The Lady's Friend (1911) which he published in conjunction with the Webster Specialty Company. A 1910 flyer for The Secret of Power and the Wisdom of Life, promoting a series of lessons on personal magnetism, features an address for the National Institute of Science in both the US (35-37 Randolph Street, Chicago) and London (256 High Holborn).|
|Arthur F. Sheldon||
Sheldon (1867-1935) was a one-time salesman and sales manager who, in the late 1890s, moved his family to Helen Wilmans' Mental Science colony in Florida, becoming one of five members of the Executive Committee of Wilmans' Mental Science Association, and later the publisher of
|William Marcus Taylor (Bio-Psychology)||Taylor, an ordained Christian minister from Tennessee, produced, marketed and sold his 20-part Bio-Psychology course and related materials from his homes in Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee (which served as the headquarters of the Taylor School of Bio-Psychology and the Taylor University of Bio-Psycho-Dynamic Sciences) from 1923 (through a Federal Trade Commission action for false advertising in 1941) until his death in 1947, when the business was taken over by his second wife, Ruby Shearer Taylor, who maintained it until the late 1970s. Bio-Psychology is premised on the notion that "That soul which knows itself is able to unify its powers in such a manner as to successfully meet any situation. This System of Life and Mind embraces all the principles needed to make men and women well, happy, and successful. in a scientific manner, and to this end I have drawn upon every school of biology and psychology. and drafted every author ~ on these and kindred subjects. in the world" in the preparation of his lessons. Taylor's eclecticism is, to say the least, breath-taking. In the Archive, we have the original editions of Lesson 1 and Lesson 10 of Taylor's Bio-Psychology.|
|Marc Edmund Jones||Jones (1888-1890), a highly influential astrologer who turned his attention to the science of the stars after a successful career as a Hollywood screenwriter. In the Archive, we have what appear to be early typescript lessons for several of Jones' courses.|
|Mayan Order (Rose Dawn)||In the Archive, we have a large set of the lessons of Rose Dawn's Mayan Order.|
|Ivan August Eichwaldt (Mental Dynamics)||Eichwaldt (1870-1941) was born in Estonia and emigrated to the US c. 1889. By the end of the century, he had served an apprenticeship in magery with Ernest Yates Loomis, and was selling magnetic medicines and publishing the journal Thought (in the Periodicals wing), before turning to foreign plantation promotion and anti-vaccination agitation to raise his personal profile, and more cash to fund his lifestyle. After a series of personal and financial reversals, and while working as a Federal Prohibition inspector, Eichwaldt ran a New Thought organization known as the Resumin Club (about which little is know) and published his lessons on the Systematic Re-education of the Subconscious Mind (1921), available in the Lessons Archive. These lessons promised a course of "study and training [in which] the student will be taken step by step through all the essentials for individual achievements of the requisites for success and happiness. If you, dear reader, are in ear nest in your desire to do away with sickness, ill-luck, misfortune, poverty, and misery in every form, if you really desire health -— that buoyant condition of aliveness which but few of this bedrugged, doctored, manipulated, operated upon humanity are enjoying —- then follow this course like many have before you, and become one of the pioneers in mentalism, an inspiring example and object-lesson for those who will follow the same road in years to come." Some have argued that Eichwaldt's teachings influenced L. Ron Hubbard's notion of the reactive mind.|
|Frank B. Robinson||As the founder and principal of "Psychiana" (the quotation marks were part of the trademark), based in Moscow, Idaho, Robinson taught a religious system based on "the great fundamental Law governing and controlling HEALTH, HAPPINESS and MATERIAL ABUNDANCE" which "takes no cognizance of a person's circumstances," and taught his students instead how to take the gifts of the Spirit of God around them, and awaken the Spirit of God within themselves. Robinson and Psychiana are amply documented elsewhere; in the Archives, we have a complete run of his 20-part 1932 "Psychiana" course: Introductory Letter, Lesson 1, Lesson 1 B, Lesson 2, Lesson 3, Lesson 4, Lesson 5, Lesson 6, Lesson 7, Lesson 8, Lesson 9, Lesson 10, Lesson 11, Lesson 11 B, Lesson 12, Lesson 13, Lesson 14, Lesson 15, Lesson 16, Lesson 16 B, Lesson 17, Lesson 17 B, Lesson 18, Lesson 19, Lesson 19 B, and Lesson 20. We also have a complete run of Robinson's 1946 re-write of the course labeled for the most part "New 'Psychiana'", which is significantly different in structure, tone and (explicitly Christian) theme from the 1932 original: New Psychiana Lesson 1, New Psychiana Lesson 2, New Psychiana Lesson 3, New Psychiana Lesson 4, New Psychiana Lesson 5, New Psychiana Lesson 6, New Psychiana Lesson 7, New Psychiana Lesson 8, New Psychiana Lesson 9, New Psychiana Lesson 10, New Psychiana Lesson 11, New Psychiana Lesson 12, New Psychiana Lesson 13, New Psychiana Lesson 14, New Psychiana Lesson 15, New Psychiana Lesson 16, New Psychiana Lesson 17, New Psychiana Lesson 18, New Psychiana Lesson 19, New Psychiana Lesson 20, New Psychiana Lesson 21, New Psychiana Lesson 21a, New Psychiana Lesson 22, New Psychiana Lesson 23, New Psychiana Lesson 24, New Psychiana Lesson 25, and New Psychiana Lesson 26.|
In the mid-1940s, in the wake of the the publication of Psychic Dictatorship in America, the indictment of Edna and Donald Ballard for mail fraud, and the collapse of the Ballards' I AM movement, Geraldine Innocente (1916-1961) -- a member of the I AM movement living in New York state -- began transmitting teachings from the Ascended Masters of the Ballards and the Theosophical Society, which led to the establishment of the Bridge to Freedom Activity, initially as a DBA for Innocente's publishing operation, but eventually as an incorporated entity. The Bridge to Freedom Activity itself spawned the Summit Lighthouse, and in the fullness of time produced Elizabeth Clare Prophet, the Church Universal and Triumphant and the infamous Karmic Board. Innocente's teachings were published for the most part in the early 1950s, were masked behind pseudonyms (Thomas Printz) that were later assigned by her followers to ascended masters rather than Innocente herself (who was reduced to a kind of passive medium) and were cut short by her suicide in 1961. In the archive we have Bridge to Freedom Activity Publication List, as well as Lesson 1, Lesson 2, and Lesson 7 of the Bridge to Freedom Primary Instruction course.
NB: Innocente's Bridge to Freedom Activity predates Scientology's Bridge to Freedom/Bridge to Total Freedom nomenclature.
|H.C. Murphy||Professor H. C. Murphy, who was a student of E. V. Neal and C. S. Clark at the Sedalia, Missouri Central Business College, clearly followed his teachers' careers, opening his American Institute of Science, in Nevada, Missouri (also the home of Sidney Weltmer's Institute of Suggestive Therapeutics) in 1900. He hired typists, stenographers and office workers for his mail-order operation from the Central Business College, and attempted to build a nationwide network of agents for his materials (who were promised "to be independent, [and] learn the grandest paying profession of the age"), but appears to have failed to make a going concern of the Institute, which ceases to advertise after 1903. A later incarnation of the American Institute of Science (c. 1909) was based in Rochester, NY; it is possible that Neal and Clark purchased the concern from their former student.|
|Professor Albert Vernon||The inventor, "great master and exponent" of Psychratism, and the author of Psychic Phenomena of the Twentieth Century, Albert Vernon (Albert Vernon Hart, 1864-1917) promoted his Vernon Academy of Mental Sciences, located in that strange attractor of mail-order schemes, Rochester, NY. Vernon, like E. V. Neal and other mail-order scamsters, began his career in the trade as an itinerant magnetic demonstrator, founding his Academy in 1900, and carving out a position for it that focused on "Psychratism (Mind Power), Personal Magnetism, Will Force, Mental and Magnetic Healing and all Occult Sciences, Taught either in classes at our Academy or through a correspondence course. We are not teaching simply the silly side of Hypnotism, but a general development of man's mind and influencing power. Personal Will Force which is the great secret of success. This information will wonderfully help you either socially or financially. Develop your Mind Power and you are a power, a master not a slave. Learn how to be a leader." Vernon had some success producing adherents, credentialed by the Vernon Academy, as Institutes of Psychratism advertised their services in the US secular press, in various cities in the US, in the period 1900-1920. Albert Vernon himself shifted his focus from personal magnetism to automobile sales, c. 1910. In the collection, we have Vernon's detailed and practical Correspondence Course of Instruction in the Science of Psychratism (1902).|
|Prof. Zach Shed||
Zach Shed (1840-1929), having worked as a shoemaker, lawyer and merchant in Iowa and Nebraska, moved to Denver in the 1880s, and after a decade or so as a dry-goods merchant in Denver, became a magnetic doctor, possibly through exposure to the then-embryonic parascience of magnetic osteopathy. When Colorado medical licensure laws impacted his practice, he shifted to mail-order lessons and medical products, and for a time ran the World's Cure Co., which sold -- via for-the-time explicit advertisements -- women's health products and sexual aids -- all while acting as treasurer for a Denver auction company and offering to loan "private money to private persons at private rates." We have Shed's 1900 Concise and Rational Course in Hypnotism.
|Frank Evarts Wilcox||
F. Evarts Wilcox incorporated the American Scientific Institute of Buffalo, NY in 1900 (with Dwight Odell, Jr. and Arthur J. Breen) to merchandise self-study in hypnotism, and prepared his Correspondence Course of Lessons on Hypnotism and the Occult Sciences (1900) as a money-making mail-order proposition.
|Thomas Cobb Cole||
T. C. Cole (1870-1918?), a native of Arkansas, toured with his partner J. P. Abernathy giving demonstrations and private lessons in hypnotism in 1900. His Complete Mail Order Course in Hypnotism (1900) owes much to both L. A. Harraden and the Neal-Clark-Adkin syndicate's materials.
|F. W. Sears||
At one time the pastor of the New Thought Church in Manhattan, and a contemporary and colleague of Harry Gaze, F. W. Sears produced his correspondence course in The Psychology of Use or the Extravagance of Economy in 1921, as part of his "Sears Philosophy" series.
The dean of instruction at the First College of Psychic Science in Hollywood, William Lindsay Gordon claimed to have learned the occult arts of the Australian aboriginals, wrote books entitled Love Through Diet and Living Through Your Children, and operated "a group of Spanish churches entitled the Church of Religious Science." Gordon produced, in 1932, this remarkable series of lessons entitled A Course in Psychic Unfoldment, which provides an excellent snapshot of California occult syncretism in the early 1930s.
A professional teacher of hypnotism for much of his adult life, Harry Arons produced The Master Course in Hypnotism in 1948, under the auspices of an organization called the Eduard Vilk School of Psychology of Newark, NJ, of which no trace remains in the public records.
An English hypnotist of whom little is known, Professor Williams produced, in 1905, Prof. Williams' Complete Hypnotism. Comprising Twenty Lessons
|Henry Knight Miller||
A New Thought-Christian crossover, prohibitionist, and for a time editor of Psychology and proponent of "Vitalic Culture," Henry Knight Miller left us a partial copy of his Practical Psychology -- A Course of Lessons (1924).
|Helen Butler Wells||A Spiritualist who reactivated and managed Helen M. T. Brigham's Spiritual and Ethical Society, and a well-known spirit artist, Helen Wells in her twilight years crafted and sold lessons received from her spirit guides, including The Eternal Harmonics (1936) and The Stairway of the Gods (1936), through a company called The Helen Wells Thought Extension Library of Psychic Science. Her papers are in the NY State Historical Society's archives.|
|Ernest Yates Loomis||
A serial swindler who specialized in forming corporations, raising money in stock sales, and absconding with the corporations' cash and fixed assets, Ernest Yates Loomis tried his hand at mail-order lessons as well, producing Life Science -- A Practical Course of Instruction (1904), which he offered in installments for $1.00 per issue, or in toto for $12. Like other lessons in this collection, Loomis' were entirely derivative, and dealt with every developmental topic related to the "magic self" within the New Thought movement.
|Charles Edgar Prather||
At one time a leader in the Unity movement, and later the editor of the New Thought publication Power, Charles Edgar Prather self-published his spiritual healing articles in the form of lessons, as Spiritual Healing (1909).
The Rev. Francis King, Presbyterian minister, proprietor of the Temple of Truth in San Francisco, and ardent cooperatist, published in 1897 The Secret of Life, or Harmonic Vibration touching on nearly every self-development subject contained within the then-nascent New Thought movement.
The hypnotist M. Young, about whom little is known, produced in 1899 a 25 Lessons in Hypnotism noteworthy for its detailed instructions on "How to Give an Entertainment" -- 50 hypnotic demonstrations designed to be performed on stage.
|W. E. Harlow||
The Rev. W. E. Harlow, "Professor of Psychology, Doctor of Suggestive Therapeutics and Superintendent of the Teaching Department of the Parsons School of Suggestion," produced, in 1899, a Complete Course in Suggestive Therapeutics for his employer, the Parsons School, which was at the time run by Dr. J. W. Tinder.
|S. E. Buswell||The turn-of-the-(twentieth)-century Spiritualist S. E. Buswell produced his The Adept's Twenty-Two Laws of Mediumship At A Glance (1904, California?), asking his students to refer to their "sense of honor" and to take on the obligations to "never use this knowledge of this work to take advantage of my fellow-men... never to instruct any one in this work outside of my own family for less than this amount, i. e., $15.... never to loan outside of my own family these instructions for copy or other purposes...."|
|The Zancigs||A husband-and-wife team of stage performers who billed themselves as "the famous Danish Hypnotists and Mind Readers" early in their career, who pioneered the use of stage magic as a lead generation technique (performing at department store openings and the like), and who had successful careers in vaudeville, the Zancigs later produced lessons, including their Forty Lessons in Palmistry (1914, Chicago). The Zancigs promoted palmistry as a business, promising to teach their students the art of chiromancy, and the art of building and running a chiromantic practice. Through Albert H. Postel (who worked for/with the Zancigs for a time), the Zancigs are connected -- unknowingly on their part -- with the New York mail fraud rings centered on Neal, Clark, Adkin, Prather and McIntyre.|
|Sidney Gaylor||Sidney Gaylor's Institute of Telepathy in Denver, Colorado produced this early First Four Outline Lessons in [the] First Book of Telepathy, the Science of Life Vibration (1892, Denver). Gaylor claimed to run the first formal institute of telepathy "on earth," and claimed applications for his "science of life vibration" in education, healing and "business and social affairs."|
|John D. Barnes||Little or nothing is known of John D. Barnes and the Progressive Publishing Company, the author and publisher respectively of The Secrets of Animal Magnetism, Mesmerism, Clairvoyancy and Mind Reading (1903, Chicago).|
|Annie Rix Militz and Harriet Hale Rix||The widely known and prolific Annie Rix Militz reproduced a series of lessons she had originally written for a Unity publication as Primary Lessons in Christian Living and Healing (1904, Los Angeles) via her equally prolific Master Mind Publishing Company, of Los Angeles, which was also used by her sister, Harriet Hale Rix, to publish books and lessons, including Rix's Christian Mind Healing (1914, Los Angeles)|
|Frank H. Randall||Little is known about Frank H. Randall, the author of Your Mesmeric Forces and How to Develop Them (1904, New York); this text was a part of Fowler and Wells' inventory from 1901 onward.|
|J. W. Winkley, MD||The first organizational meetings of the Boston Metaphysical Club, which included many of the leading lights of New Thought, were held, in 1895, in the home of J. W. Winkley, MD, who issued his (Christian healing) First Lessons in the New Thought (1904, Boston) through James West, a prolific publisher of New Thought material.|
|Ernest Charles Feyrer||Like William Walker Atkinson, Ernest C. Feyrer, the founder of Auto-Science, used pseudonyms in his work, including that of Fernando, the "Swiss hypnotist," who published his lessons on Practical Psychology (1913) from Feyrer's then-current base of operations in Erie, Pennsylvania.|
|Fritzi Remont||Although she made her living as a magazine writer in Hollywood, focused on the emerging film industry, Fritzi Remont also published lessons on graphology, including The Revelation of Character in Handwriting (1918, Los Angeles).|
|Frank Earl Ormsby||Best known as the editor and publisher of Planets and People, Ormsby was also the founder -- in both Chicago and California -- of the Pyramid (and) Cube University, some of the teachings of which survive, including The Sage's Key to Character at Sight (1919, Chicago).|
|Jay Williams Cook||Jay W. Cook, his wife Elizabeth Carrick and various of their followers ran the Absolute Science Center in San Francisco and later in Los Angeles, giving public lectures and bringing students into the movement via lessons like Lessons in Absolute Demonstration (1934, Los Angeles).|
|Della Marie Pence||A proponent of Jay W. Cook's Absolute Science, with a base of operations in Los Angeles, Della Marie Pence promoted her practice via lessons like Advanced Lessons in Absolute Science (1933, Los Angeles) .|
|Parsifal Braun||Parsifal Braun's early Correspondence-Course in Telepathy (1898, Kansas). Braun also published these lessons, and others, in German, in conjunction with his Grail Order.|
|Ida Mingle||Ida Mingle (1884-1948) founded the School of Liveable [sic] Christianity, a Christian School of Interpretation, in Chicago in the 1920s. After her death, the teachings of the school were taken in hand and promoted by Alma Burch, who developed Mingle's latent millenialism, nationalism and racialist thinking. Mingle's movement has active promoters and followers today. In the archive, we have Mingle's Science and Art of Regeneration, her supplementary interpretation of Revelation (c. 1924), her interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles (c. 1938), her Life Efficiency Lessons (c. 1926) and her Interpretation of Ephesians (undatable). For information on the rationale for the dating Mingle's material here, see the compiler's notes.|
|Nancy McKay Gordon||Nancy McKay Gordon (1850-1931), best known as the author of The Majesty of Sex (1902), was a close associate of W. P. Phelon, and a major contributor to the body of material associated with the Hermetic Brotherhood of Atlantis, Luxor and Elephanta. In the archive, we have Lessons 1-7 and 12 of McKay Gordon's "Twelve Center's of Consciousness" lessons (1900), which were almost certainly distributed to members of the HBALE.|
|Paul Foster Case||Paul Foster Case (1884-1954) founded the School of Ageless Wisdom and the Builders of the Adytum (BOTA), which is active today. In the archive, we have Case's Seven Steps in Practical Occultism (c. 1936), Tarot Fundamentals (c. 1936), The Master Pattern (c. 1950 from internal evidence), Tarot Interpretation Lessons 1-32 (c. 1940, from internal evidence), 32 Paths Lessons 1-17 (c. 1950, from internal evidence), The Tree of Life (c. 1950, from internal evidence), introduction to tarot (c. 1935), and lessons 1-4, 6 and 9 of his The Great Work (c. 1930). Case's material is undated, anonymous and without copyright or ownership statements. We have identified Case as the author from [a] explicit references to BOTA within the text and [b] explicit reuse of material in these lessons, in published Case texts.|
|John Craig Whitfield||John Craig Whitfield ran a successful mail-order hypnotic lessons scheme, centered around his Victorian College of Sciences in Geelong, Victoria, Australia from c1905 until 1914 or so. He also operated, during the latter part of that period, as "Kalma, the Healer," until his exposure in 1914 in Truth. From Whitfield's Victorian College of Sciences, we have A Course of General Instruction in Practical Hypnotism (1907) and Success and How to Win It (c. 1910). A careful reading of these texts will show, clearly, that Whitfield was using the core material produced by the E. Virgil Neal/Charles S. Clark/Thomas F. Adkin mail-order operation described above, and this is confirmed by press accounts of Whitfield's schemes, which feature the same apparatus -- sand-filled "hypnoscopes" -- used by Neal/Clark/Adkin, and E. S. Knowles. Whitfield also published the sine qua non of the Neal/Clark/Adkin syndicate: The Ki-Magi System material, circa 1911. Whether Whitfield was thieving from the Neal/Clark/Adkin group, or operating as their Australian arm, remains to be determined. Whitfield was denied the use of the Australian mails in 1916.|
|Edwin J. Dingle||
Edwin J. Dingle (1881-1972?) was an enterprising journalist, working mostly in China (1910-1914), who -- after a mysterious seven year period during which he would later claim he was trained by Tibetan occultists, and a further period from 1922-1929 as an itinerant secular lecturer and writer and a brief stint as president of the Church of Universal Truth, a Christian School of Interpretation based in Oakland, CA. -- founded the Institute of Mentalphysics [sic] in Los Angeles, the teachings of which centered on a "faultless philosophy of life" based on proper breathing, and promised "a perfect mind in a perfect body" -- the which got Dingle, known as Ding Le Mei to his followers, in some trouble with the US FDA in 1938. The Institute is in operation today. In the archive, we have Dingle's Science of Mentalphysics lessons (1930), the introductory course for his students; the Inner Chamber Lessons (c. 1938) which "Junior Initiates" or "Nobles of the Light" took after they completed the Science of Mentalphysics lessons, and his Mentalphysics Preceptor Course 1 (c. 1948). We also have promotional literature (The Secret That Cannot Be Told), two revealing letters to students, and several examples of student tests. Inasmuch as Mentalphysics is a likely source for material, and the business model, for Scientology, Dingle's work is of first importance in the history of the twentieth century occult.
|Yacki Raizizun||Yacki (or Yacke) Radix Raizizun (1892-1966), who may have been born in Australia of Indian parents, began his career as a traveling occult mage, in the US, in the early 1920s, pursuing the old mesmerist business model of free (or collection-supported) lectures, followed by for-fee private consultations. He operated in Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s, in New Mexico in the 1940s and in Texas from the early 1950s until his death, teaching and lecturing on every imaginable occult topic, wrapped in period-appropriate language: as "applied psychology," "metaphysics," "yoga philosophy" and the like. In the Archive, we have Raizizun's Manual on Occult Development (1924).|
|Harry Owen Saxon||Harry Owen Saxon (1868-1940), "the Love Professor," operated the Triangle Psychological Publishing Co. in Chicago in the 1920s and early 1930s, producing a variety of lessons and pamphlets. His chief claim to fame, unfortunately, was his 1929 divorce: his wife, Maude Depue Winchell of Zanesville, Ohio, married him (and became the treasurer of the Triangle Psychological Publishing Co. as well) on the strength of his The Master Key of Love, or the Psychology of Human Behavior -- lessons on marital love -- but divorced Owen after three months, citing multiple instances of physical abuse, and Saxon's theft of her alimony from a former husband. The wide and gleeful coverage of the divorce in the US papers no doubt dampened demand for Owen's lessons. In the archive we have Saxon's Vibrations: Every Brain its Own Radio Station (1924). Saxon's advertisements are few and far between -- featuring most commonly in George Chainey's World Liberator. Oddly enough, J. Gordon Melton's 1990 Roscrucianism in America reprints -- in addition to Paschal Beverly Randolph and George Winslow Plummer (Khei) -- Saxon's Master Key of Love.|
|Charles H. Mackay||Charles H. Mackay (1859-after 1940) started his occult career as a disciple of Hiram Erasmus Butler, and for a time was managing editor of Hiram Erastus Butler's The Esoteric. He publicly rose to Butler's defense when sexual scandals enveloped Butler in 1889-1890, but chose to remain on the East Coast when Butler fled to California. In the early 1890s he founded his own New Thought society under the name "The West Gate Philosophy" or "West Gate Brotherhood," with its own journal, The Oracle, offering the usual mixture of psychological uplift and conservation of sexual energy in a series of books and private lessons on mind control, astrology, vegetarianism, and sexual abstinence. The society's goal, apparently, was to solve the esoteric mysteries of the microcosm, and re-open Eden -- that is, to undo the consequences of The Fall and the Expulsion from Eden. The archive's manuscript on "Esoteric Development" survives, bound with a manuscript version of Thomas Henry Burgoyne's "Mysteries of Eros," one of the H.B. of L.'s teaching manuscripts, which may imply a connection between the groups (Butler had been a member of the H.B. of L.) or, at least, a communality of goals among those who joined them. Mackay's practical instructions, like those of the H.B. of L., had a central sexual element, which in Mackay's case consisted in exciting and arousing the sexual energy and then directing and controlling it, without ejaculation. Gould, in Notes and Queries (August 1896): 209, quotes the following from Mackay on the purposes of the order: "The Three Mysteries -- Wisely studied and harmonized will speedily usher the occult student into the higher and broader spheres of life. By the 'three mysteries' we refer to physical, mental, and spiritual attributes. Our private lessons and our monthly journal The Oracle, furnish methods, drills, concentrations, etc., making a wonderfully clear system for the developing of students and teachers desirous of taking active part in the world's uplifting." The emphasis on "methods, drills, concentration," etc. are a telling indication of the practical intention of the West Gate Brotherhood. Mackay's published lessons include directions on controlling dreams, mediumship, Higher Theosophy, vibration, telepathy, crystal gazing and the like. The archive's copy of Mackay's manuscript lessons on esoteric development concentrates on “the fundamental principles of true healing and teaching, [which] may be used not alone for the purpose of re-constructing and re-generating your own temples, but will inspire you to reach Out and show your fellow traveller the same divine way. They teach that here, in present environment, you are to build the foundation for growth into the wisdom and power of the Adept. Simple and easily applied methods, drills, concentrations, etc." Although not stated expressly in "Esoteric Development," the ultimate goal of this "regeneration" is physical immortality and restoration of the Edenic state of man before the Fall.|
|National Spiritualist Association||Dr. Victoria Barnes' prospectus for the National Spiritual Association's 1941-ish advanced correspondence course "for those who are aspiring to the ministry of Spiritualism, and for the Degree of National Spiritualist Teacher, but who are so circumstanced that they are unable to attend the Morris Pratt Institute."|
|The Mystic Brotherhood University||The Mystic Brotherhood of Tampa, Florida, an offshoot of the AMORC Rosicrucians, conducted the Mystic Brotherhood University (as well as the Church of the Illuminati), which published lessons in the form of weekly letters to students from, at least, 1931 through 1945, when the organization disbanded. IAPSOP provides a selection of the MBU's private lessons, and a sample of the organization's correspondence, from a private correspondence file recently acquired at auction. Other lessons may be found elsewhere (Warning: sign-up wall).|
|The Brotherhood of the White Temple, Inc.||Claude D. Dodgin (Dr. M[aurice] Doreal, 1902-1963) conducted the Brotherhood of the White Temple from the early 1940s until his death in the early 1960s, promoting a melange of Atlantis, mystic Christianity, large-T and small-t theosophical concepts, apocalypse and extraterrestrials that, in some ways, foreshadows Scientology. Charmaine Ortega Getz has backgrounded Doreal and the Brotherhood well; the organization still exists, and still offers lessons, as a "internationally acclaimed metaphysical organization nestled in the Colorado Rocky Mountains," near Sedalia, Colorado. In the Lessons wing we have Instruction Letters 1-10, 13-14, and 16-18 for the Brotherhood of the White Temple's Truth Workers Guild -- the folks responsible (as far as can be gleaned, from reading the lessons) for bringing new followers to the Brotherhood, as well as Doreal's Instructions of a Master to his Chela (1940)|
|The Brotherhood of Light||Founded by Benjamin Parker Williams (Elbert Benjamine | C. C. Zain, 1882-1951) c. 1920, and the precursor to the Church of Light. In the Lessons wing, we have approximately half of the 21 volumes of the Brotherhood of Light lessons.|
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