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Periodical: The Occult Digest

Summary:  From Pat Deveney's database:

Occult Digest, The.
A Monthly Digest for Everybody / Dedicated to the Laws of Higher Mind-Soul Expansion / A Periodical of Reprint and Research.
The One Magazine that is Daringly Different. We Stand for Truth Unmasked. Make the World Safe for Intelligence
1925--1947 Monthly, then quarterly
Chicago, IL. Publisher: Occult Digest Company, 1939- Maha Publishing Company. Editor: Effa E. Danielson; Jacob E. Bonggren, Chell Crozier assistant editors; Ross K. New, managing editor.
Succeeds: Psychic Leader-->Psychic Power (1925); The Telepathic Magazine (merged into, 1939) Succeeded by: World Philosophy
1/1, January 1925-23/1, January-March 1947. 42 pp. (reduced during the Depression to 16 pp.), 8 1/2 x 11. $3.00 a year, 25 cents a copy.

This is the finest example of the transformation of spiritualist and occult journals into commercial vehicles addressed to the American mass market. It was well laid out and, at least in the first few months, had beautiful color covers (they vanished when the magazine cut back in 1926). Although the journal carried articles by or excerpts from some notable authors--"Frater Achad" (Charles Stansfield Jones, whose "The Chalice of Ecstacy. A Magical Interpretation of 'Parzival'" ran throughout 1926), C.H.A. Bjerregaard, Max Heindel, Rudolf Steiner, Annie Besant, Sherwood Anderson(!), Brown Landone, Elbert Benjamine, Sylvan J. Muldoon, Krishnamurti, Holden E. Samson, Ida Mingle, Dion Fortune, Franz Hartmann, A.E. Waite, H. Spencer Lewis, W.J. Colville, Israel Regardie, Reuben Swinburne Clymer, et al.--these were mere window dressing for advertisements and a stream of articles by unknown pulp authors (probably paid per word or by allowing them free advertising space for their books and lessons) who wrote on numerology, spirit photography, astrology, astral travel, palmistry, slate writing (with photographs of slates), "Rudolph Valentino's Last Message to the World," and especially sex. The journal regularly featured articles (or short fiction) on Kundalini, "The Astral Lover," the danger of being "Vamped" by ghosts, "An Occult Interpretation of Life's Secrets: Sex the Mystery of Mysteries Revealed," and the like. Like The New York Magazine of Mysteries which preceded it by a decade, the Occult Digest carried a massive number of advertisements for everything from trumpets through which spirits could communicate to "The French Method to Develop Your Bust," mail-order know how, "Electric Health Generators," "Perfect Vision without Glasses," means of enhancing magnetic attraction between the sexes, etc.

Throughout it all, Mrs. Danielson (1869-1939), who began as a medium in St. Louis before moving to Chicago, contributed editorials on "The Aquarian Age," "The War against Progress," liberalized divorce, opposition to capital punishment, and the like--all throwbacks to the reform heyday of early spiritualism. On Danielson, see the note under Psychic Power. The journal under her aegis ceased with 15/6, June 1939, and Danielson died on October 9th. The journal was then taken up by Marie Harlowe (the MaHa of the publishing company), a spiritual lecturer and perhaps medium, who merged it with The Telepathic Magazine (which she was perhaps already publishing), cheapened the paper, reduced the page size to 5 x 8 and the number of pages to 30, eliminated the fancy illustrations and penny-a-word articles. Harlowe was obviously in desperate straits, lecturing her subscribers on "rats leaving sinking ships" and offering a "life subscription" to the magazine for $100.00--certainly an unpromising investment. The journal survived into 1942 and was revived for a few issues after the war before being absorbed into World Philosophy.

Bonggren (1854-1940), one of the editors, is notable because of a letter he addressed to The Canadian Theosophist in 1940 discussing the rules (abstinence from meat, alcohol and sex--or at least from illegal sexual activity) in the early Theosophical Society, of which he was a member in the 1880s, and the structure of grades of initiation through which the members were to progress. NYPL; LOC; Theosophical Society, Wheaton, IL; Harvard University; University of Illinois; Ohio State University; Free Library of Philadelphia; University of Waterloo.

Occult Digest V1 N1 Jan 1925
Occult Digest V1 N2 Feb-Mar 1925
Occult Digest V1 N3 Apr 1925
Occult Digest V1 N4 May 1925
Occult Digest V1 N5 Jun 1925
Occult Digest V1 N6 Jul 1925
Occult Digest V1 N7 Aug-Sep 1925
Occult Digest V1 N8 Oct 1925
Occult Digest V1 N9 Nov 1925
Occult Digest V1 N10 Dec 1925
Occult Digest V2 N1 Jan 1926
Occult Digest V2 N2 Feb 1926
Occult Digest V2 N3 Mar 1926
Occult Digest V2 N4 Apr 1926
Occult Digest V2 N5 May 1926
Occult Digest V2 N6 Jun 1926
Occult Digest V2 N7 Jul 1926
Occult Digest V2 N8 Aug 1926
Occult Digest V2 N9 Sep 1926
Occult Digest V2 N10 Oct 1926
Occult Digest V2 N11 Nov 1926
Occult Digest V3 N1 Jan 1927
Occult Digest V3 N2 Feb 1927
Occult Digest V3 N3 Mar 1927
Occult Digest V3 N4 Apr 1927
Occult Digest V3 N5 May 1927
Occult Digest V3 N6 Jun 1927
Occult Digest V3 N7 Jul 1927
Occult Digest V3 N8 Aug 1927
Occult Digest V3 N9 Sep 1927
Occult Digest V3 N10 Oct 1927
Occult Digest V3 N11 Nov 1927
Occult Digest V3 N12 Dec 1927
Occult Digest V9 N1 Jan 1933

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