Editor's Note: This article was written by Louis T. Culling during the 1970s. His book, The Complete Magick Curriculum of the Secret Order B∴G∴B∴, is being re-released. Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, publisher of Culling's original edition of this book, has edited, revised, and expanded the original version.
Dr. Carl Jung has written about the large impact that occultism has had upon western thought, but this article refers to the lost opportunities of occultism and its low image. We may consider, as examples, therapeutic psychology and hypnotism.
Many cities and states in the US have passed legislation against the practice of hypnotism except by an MD or under the direction of a physician. This is because reckless or ill-advised suggestions by the operator may harm the subject. Originally, hypnotism was practiced only by medicine men or magicians, and it really should still be under the jurisdiction of occultism. The competent conscientious occultist would know more about both the good and the bad aspects of hypnotism than doctors of medicine.
Therapeutic psychology originally belonged to occultism; this pursuit should still be recognized. My good friend, Dr. F.I Regardie, is one of the very best practicing psychologists in Los Angeles. Take note that he served his apprenticeship in the Golden Dawn as well as having been a prize disciple of Aleister Crowley for a year.
The loss of hypnotism to psychology is water under the bridge, but there are other present-day preoccupations to which occultism can contribute—and gain good image also. Let us consider ESP, for example.
Already, there are books, magazines, and articles devoted to ESP, not from the standpoint of occultism but from the ubiquitous and inept preoccupations of the Rhines of Duke University. Even their invention of the words behind ESP is founded on unscientific, unwarranted assumptions.
ESP stands for Extra-Sensory Perception. The dictionary and language usage defines “extra-sensory” as “something other than the five senses” and “perception” as the product of brain thinking. The thing is a non sequitur piled upon itself. The big joke is that there is no scientific basis for assuming or declaring for more than the established senses. The scientific rule of “Parsimony of Thought” rules against using unknowns to bolster a thesis. Until demonstrated otherwise, the rule is to exhaust the possible knowledge of the potentials and refinements of the known senses, even though, at present, they are beyond the comprehension of man—it could even be beyond reasonable imagination.
The main point, however, is that this badly named ESP belongs properly in occultism, and, furthermore, occultism should be able to make a name for itself in this field. I do not mean a collection of biased or half-baked theories. We need a collection of case histories stored in a central archive where they will be critically and competently evaluated and cataloged.
Much has been learned about various subjects by first determining what “it is not;” this limits the possibilities as to what “it is.” In this article, I’ve presented a few case histories (critically authenticated) in which I can state a few things that “it is not.” First, because most people do not know how to figure mathematical odds, and because it can be quite complicated, one must either take my word for the mathematical calculations or the word of some other competent mathematician.
I had been in a small town, Florence, Kansas, only long enough to recognize a dozen faces—no friends. Six years later, upon making my semi-annual trip from San Diego, California to Los Angeles, while walking down five blocks to change bus lines, suddenly a strong impression gripped me: “I am going to run into some person from Florence, Kansas.” Within two more blocks of walking, I saw the man from Florence and spoke with him. The route on which he had been walking proved that I could not have “unconsciously” seen him, nor did he know that I was living in California; he had not even known me personally. The odds are only one in billions that this could have been only haphazard chance. What it was not is mental projection and reception as so recognized. What is it?
There is not much difference between this case and case number 1. This case involves relatives; there was no “prediction,” but an exact spot and an exact minute are involved factors, which again gives odds of one in billions. My friend Bill Kelsoe of Los Angeles has a sister living in New York. They had not corresponded for six years, nor had taken a long trip during this time. Without mutual notification they had both planned an automobile trip to the state of Oregon. Both of them arrived together at the same minute at the entrance of the Golden State Bridge. Again, evidence of thought transmission and reception, as we know it, is ruled out. What is it?
In the work of exorcising houses, I had always endeavored to find out which was the first, or most “sensitive,” person who was seeing, hearing, or feeling the ghost. Unless this person was present or full aware of my talking the ghost out of the notion of hanging around, there was no good resolution. On the other hand, this person being present and hearing my words, five different houses were easily exorcised. Are “afflicted” persons mostly responsible for hauntings? If other people in the house see and hear the same thing, we have the following questions: 1) Are the other people also strange characters? 2) Is the affliction strongly communicable to others? 3) Is there something that acts as a spook is supposed to act?
Most authorities state that there is no evidence that the hypnotic subject “reads the mind” of the operator, but rather only responds to words. This is the case of my subject Lily Vinet of Los Angeles. Under hypnosis, I requested her to go on what, for convenience, I call “astral travel.” At a certain point, I asked her what she was seeing. I had the Tarot card The Star in mind. She described the main points of the scene of this card with astounding accuracy. Now it so happens that I have some personal concepts of this card (as they are personal, they are not in print). Upon pressing her to give her impression of the meaning of the scene, she described my referenced personal concepts.
The conditions of the “séance” were as follows: The subject knew nothing of Tarot cards. There is one relevant condition. I had been conducting an open forum discussion on occultism, particularly magick. The subject had faithfully attended the weekly meetings and there had been an established rapport between us—more than between a professional hypnotist and any of his subjects. We might admit that, lacking close rapport, mental transference is unlikely, but it invariably “worked” in two different cases that I put to the test.
In these two cases it was determined that, under the said conditions, thought transference was far more successful than under normal waking state. Why and how?
To repeat, if enough cases of like nature are compared and evaluated it should lead to added empirical knowledge, and to the cutting out of so many theories. More than this, it could contribute to a better “image” of occultism—something that is sadly lacking.