Dion Fortune – Sane Occultism

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‘the material plane, as we see it, is the end result of a long chain of evolutionary processes that have gone on in the subtler planes, the realms of spirit, mind and astral ether’

Dion Fortune, (1890 – 1946) otherwise known as Violet May Firth, continues to cast her formidable influence over seekers of the Old Wisdom. An early practitioner of psychotherapy, Fortune was introduced to The Path through the Theosophical Society during the First World War. Blessed with both powerful intellect and steely volition, she would become one of the most prolific and widely read Occult writers of all time.

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The Qabalah forms the basis of Western Occultism

In 1924 Fortune co-founded the Fraternity of the Inner Light with Charles Loveday. The group continues to function today as The Society of the Inner Light and offers spiritual guidance for those so inclined. Promoting a Christian morality, the order draws from the teachings of the Golden Dawn and utilises the Qabalah as a framework for personal development.

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Like Madame Blavatsky, Dion Fortune claimed to commune with higher entities.

Indeed, like Madame Blavatsky before her, Fortune believed that she had communed with Masters beyond the physical realms who imparted great wisdom and insight. ‘The Cosmic Doctrine’ (eventually published in 1949) provides an explanation of the creation and machinations of the universe itself. The text also reveals the individual’s place and role within the great cosmic schemata.

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‘The Mystical Qabalah’ has long been essential reading for those seeking spiritual guidance.

‘The Mystical Qabalah’ (1935) is arguably Fortune’s tour-de-force and candidly demonstrates her tremendous talents and profound appreciation of the Western Esoteric Tradition.  Regarded as a classic of the esoteric cannon, it is still widely studied throughout the world nearly a century after publication.

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‘Through The Gates of Death’ is an extraordinary text.

Other texts of note include: ‘Through The Gates of Death’ (1930) and ‘Psychic Self Defence’ (1930). The former is an extraordinary exposition of the astral realms and the process we all must face upon shedding this mortal coil. Fortune addresses this subject with tremendous insight and sensitivity. The latter is essential reading for anyone who decides to embark upon the practice of ceremonial magic, or who may suspect they are a victim of psychic attack.

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Fortune’s novels remain highly entertaining and readable.

Like all the great occultists, Fortune understood and appreciated how ancient wisdom can be communicated to students via the medium of art. The author of several novels such as ‘The Winged Bull’ (1935) and ‘The Secrets of Dr Taverner’ (1926), they are still highly entertaining, readable, and contain invaluable pearls of wisdom for us all to absorb and appreciate.

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During the dark years of World War Two, Fortune and her associates used magick to thwart the enemy.

Throughout the dark years of World War Two, Fortune drew upon her immense occult knowledge and magical talents to combat the menace of the Third Reich. Her travails are documented in ‘The Magical Battle of Britain’ ( a collection of letters from the war period advising members of her society on how to assist the nation through powerful visualisation techniques). A proud patriot, much of Fortune’s work is influenced by the rich folklore of the British Isles.

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In the 1940s Fortune struck up a friendship with Aleister Crowley.

During the 1940s Fortune initiated a fruitful correspondence with the Great Beast 666, Aleister Crowley who was now in his twilight years. Indeed, such a relationship between two seemingly diametrically opposed personalities may appear bizarre to the casual observer. However, both Fortune and Crowley appreciated each other’s genius and would later meet in Hastings. Fortune became sympathetic to Crowley’s doctrine of Thelema (Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law) and was sophisticated enough to see beyond the Beast’s notoriety – recognising his exceptional intellect and wisdom.

The Society of the Inner Light’s website provides details of their aims and philosophy: www.innerlight.org.uk

Dion Fortune’s works and rare occult texts can be purchased from Thoth Publications of Loughborough: www.thoth.co.uk Visit their website for an extensive range of titles or contact them for expert advice today.

The author of the article is David Fox, a professional entertainer and freelance writer based in the UK. Visit David’s website for more details now: www.davidfoxmagician.co.uk

Superstition and Football – Bizarre Beliefs of the Beautiful Game

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Zidane is well-known for his curious pre-match rituals

The great Bill Shankly famously stated that football is ‘much more serious’ than a matter of life and death. Perhaps this is the reason why superstition abounds within the realms of the beautiful game. From Zidane and Maradona’s much publicised pre-match rituals, to Johan Cruyff’s charmed chewing gum, footballers the world over are well known for embracing the weird and the wonderful in the hope it will ensure good fortune once the white line is traversed.

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Elland Road was said to be cursed.

Leeds United’s legendary manager Don Revie was renowned for his lucky blue suit and superstitious nature. However, on receiving a letter from a gypsy in 1971, Revie decided to take things a stage further. The author insisted that Elland Road (Leeds’ stadium) was cursed as a group of gypsies had been forced off the land prior to its construction. Suffering from an unexpected loss of form at the time and dropping points, the manager duly invited a gypsy to the stadium in order to remove the curse. ‘Now you’ll start winning things’ she said after conducting a peculiar ritual on the pitch. Leeds would subsequently go on to produce some of the finest displays of Revie’s tenure and secure three more major trophies. Did the gypsy work her magic, or was it merely coincidental?

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Bela Gutman. Did he curse Benfica?

Perhaps Portuguese giants Benfica should take note of Revie’s faith in the supernatural. In the early 1960s the club was a major superpower and won the European Cup twice under the management of the mythical Bela Guttman. However, after achieving such incredible success, the Hungarian impresario was incandescent when the board denied him a pay rise. On leaving the club, he angrily proclaimed that Benfica would not win another European trophy for one hundred years. To date, the Portuguese side have been losers in eight major finals. Many Benfica fans now firmly believe that their club has been cursed.

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The great Pelé insisted his lucky shirt be found and returned

Even items of clothing take on mystical properties in the high pressure world of professional football. The sensational Pelé’s dramatic decline in form over several matches during the mid 1960s was attributed to the loss of his ‘lucky shirt’. The Brazilian master had kindly presented this to an adoring Santos supporter after a match. A close friend was hastily called upon to track down the special jersey. On its return, Pelé felt rejuvenated and his genius swiftly reappeared. Little did he know that his concerned companion had committed an act of chicanery by procuring another used shirt and pretending it was the lucky one!

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England Captain Bobby Moore

England’s World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore always insisted on being the last player in the changing room to put on his shorts, whilst striker Gary Lineker requested a shirt change at half time if he had yet to find the net. Both players boast a combined total of 188 international caps between them, so perhaps there really is a mysterious link between superstition and success?

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Raymond Domenech openly declared his belief in astrology.

Nonetheless, no matter how much footballers may be willing to embrace the irrational to win matches, they clearly do have their boundaries, as French international manager Raymond Domenech discovered. His reliance on astrology when selecting which players to include in his squad frequently attracted ridicule. The dramatic fall out between Domenech and his team at the 2010 World Cup finals ultimately lost him his job. Another international manager who would fall foul to sceptics was Glenn Hoddle. His policy of calling upon the services of faith-healer Eileen Drewery (who had assisted him with a knee injury as a young player) left him open to scathing criticism.

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Kolo Touré insisted on being the last man out.

Touching wood, putting a right boot on first and sporting a lucky charm are all common-place superstitions. Indeed, the same habits will be repeated in dressing rooms across the land throughout the highs and lows of the footballing season. One such belief, strangely held by many players, is that they will have a good game if they are the last man out of the dressing room. Arsenal defender Kolo Touré took this to the extreme during his side’s 2009 Champions League clash with Roma. Team-mate William Gallas was receiving treatment at half time and Touré insisted on waiting until this was finished. His obstinance resulted in Arsenal starting the second half with nine men and him receiving a yellow card for entering the field of play late without the referee’s permission. Fortunately for Touré, Arsenal finished 1 – 0 winners.

Do you have any strange superstitions or unusual stories you would like to share? Why not email them to us at: email@magician-midlands.co.uk

The author of the article is David Fox a professional entertainer and freelance writer based in the UK. For more about David, visit his website at:

www.magician-midlands.co.uk

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Voodoo – Priests, Potions and Papa Doc

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‘There is not a shred of doubt in my mind today that the African, in his own mysterious ways, has harnessed one of the strangest powers of all — the thing they call Ju-ju.’

James H. Neal

Thousands of men were at work constructing the new harbour at Tema Port, Ghana. The colossal project involved the clearance of vast swathes of land with state-of-the-art bulldozers and machinery. However, in the midst of the bustling industry, one solitary tree trunk refused to budge. Despite being subjected to numerous attempts to uproot it from the ground, it appeared to defy all logic, and stood obstinately intact in the centre of the barren landscape.

‘This tree be Fetish’ explained a local tribesman to a government official who had been assigned to oversee the work. The civil servant was bemused and clearly did not understand this curious statement.

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A Fetish is said to represent a powerful spirit (loa).

Essentially, the man was suggesting that a powerful spirit (loa) dwelled within the tree. In Voodoo tradition if an object is said to be ‘Fetish’ it is effectively the host of such an entity. The only way that the tree could be removed successfully would be if a Fetish Priest was called in order to conduct an appropriate ceremony. Such a Holy Man was duly summoned. On arrival, the Priest explained that he would speak to the spirit and see if he could persuade it to move to another tree.

After entering a trance-like state, the Priest concluded that the ceremony had been a success, the spirit believed that the new harbour would bring many benefits to the local people and agreed to move on. Then, amazingly with minimal effort, the workmen were able to perform what was unthinkable a few hours before. The tree yielded obediently in the baked solid soil revealing a massive lattice of jagged roots for all to see.

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Baron Samedi the loa of the dead. Mainstream representations of Voodoo are much distorted.

There are many such incredible anecdotes regarding the mysterious religion most commonly known as ‘Voodoo’. In West Africa (where it originated) it is often called Vodun. As Alfred Metraux has noted, the peoples of this region have ‘kept alive beliefs and rituals inherited from the ancient religions of the classical East and the Aegean world.’ Voodooists identify with a sophisticated pantheon of Gods and spirits. Indeed, the religion may have evolved in the New World in countries such as Haiti, Brazil and the USA, but there remain clear similarities with the root practices. Christianity has been synthesised with Voodoo and particular saints have come to be associated with the loa (spirits) of Voodooism. For example Saint Patrick often represents Damballah-Wedo (the snake God) on account of his affinity with the reptiles.

Ceremony, ritual and trance are vital components of Voodoo, and the hunsi (initiates) meet at hunfort (a secluded place) to pay homage to the spirits. A clear hierarchy exists, and the hungan (priest) and/or mambo (priestess) will oversee the proceedings. Indeed, the sacrifice of animals, lively music and often frenzied dancing, led many westerners in the past to look down upon the religion and dismiss it as mere ‘sorcery’ or ‘black magic’. However, with an estimated half a billion followers throughout the world, Voodoo is clearly a vital aspect of daily existence for many.

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Papa Doc who ruled Haiti from 1957 to 1971 used Voodoo to exert his control over the masses.

Many may view Voodoo with suspicion and disdain on account of its distorted mainstream image. Popular media representations such as Ian Fleming’s Bond novel ‘Live and Let Die’ have fuelled both intrigue and fear. The infamous Voodoo Doll, amulets, potions and the casting of spells represent a belief system which appears to be the complete antithesis of Christianity. Nonetheless, it must be understood that a true Voodooist is  aware and respectful of the subtle forces which exist in nature. The axiom of ‘do unto others as you would have them do to you’ should always apply.

Clearly more serious study is required regarding the origins, evolution and influence of Voodoo throughout the world. Alfred Metraux’s research on Haitian practices throughout the 1940s and 1950s is most illuminating. However, it is understandable that practitioners may choose to be less than forthcoming to academics when Voodoo is often regarded with such suspicion and contempt. In nations which ostensibly champion Christianity as the official religion, Voodoo is frequently dismissed as a cult and deliberately marginalised from mainstream consciousness.

The author of the article is David Fox, a professional entertainer and freelance writer based in the UK. Visit David’s website for more information: www.magician-midlands.co.uk.

Vincent Price’s Peculiar Premonition

A dramatic case of deja vu…

The great Vincent Price (1911 to 1993) achieved legendary status in classic horror movies such as Dracula, The Fly, The Masque of the Red Death and The Witchfinder General. He also famously provided the narration for Michael Jackson’s Thriller and was a colossus of the acting profession. However, for a man who became synonymous with the Horror genre, Price initially had very little interest in the paranormal. That was until a most peculiar event occurred in 1958.

A storm over New York delayed landing.

Price was flying to New York when a storm flared up causing the pilot to delay landing. As the aircraft circled high above the seething cauldron of dark clouds, the actor felt a curious urge to look out of the window. As he peered into the darkness, a sudden flash of lightning seemed to dance through the twilight and reveal a cryptic message which hung ominously in the sky:

 TYRONE POWER IS DEAD

Shocked and startled, Price asked the passenger beside him to look out and verify that the message was real. Bizarrely when they both looked out into the gloom, the sinister words had vanished. The performer was extremely perturbed and distressed by this weird event. Had he imagined this? Was it merely some sort of queer trick of the light? His mind turned to Tyrone Power himself (a close friend) and a terrible feeling of dread began to grip his entire being.

Hollywood star Tyrone Power

Power lived near Price in Los Angeles, and the two superstars had struck up a close and enduring friendship. Well known for his roles in classic movies such as The Mark of Zoro, Tyrone Power had established himself as one of Hollywood’s biggest box office draws, and was a household name the world over.

On alighting from the aircraft, Price frantically asked police and staff at the airport if they had seen the strange message in the sky. His inquiries were promptly dismissed and the actor was quickly ushered through the terminal. Even a fleeting consultation of the most recent newspapers on display did not yield any mention of Tyrone Power. Was he going mad? He was certain he had seen those terrifying words high above the Big Apple.

Vincent Price in one of his most famous roles as Count Dracula.

Later that evening Vincent Price checked into his hotel in central New York and had just about managed to forget the disturbing events of his journey. Suddenly in the lobby he spotted an old acquaintance from his early years in acting striding anxiously towards him.

‘Vincent, have you heard the news?’ inquired the man. ‘Tyrone Power died of a heart attack in Madrid tonight.’

The author of the article is David Fox who is a freelance writer and entertainer based in the UK. Visit David’s website at:

http://www.magician-midlands.co.uk

Elvis Presley Ghost Sightings

‘even in the darkest of night, you can always hear the King’s call’

Phil Lynott

Everyone loves Elvis. His star shines brighter than ever before, and both young (and not-so-young) rock and rollers the world over continue to affectionately embrace his legend. At the time of writing it is estimated that The King has sold over ONE BILLION records worldwide! An astonishing legacy and a fitting testament to his enduring appeal. But since his untimely demise in 1977, has Mr Presley returned to this earth for a posthumous encore (or several) from beyond those pearly rhinestone-studded gates?

It’s time for a Little Less Conversation folks! Let’s slip on those Blue Suede Shoes and investigate some weird and wonderful events which are guaranteed to leave you All Shook Up…

The ghost of Elvis sitting in a doorway?

This mysterious photograph was taken on new year’s eve 1977 at Graceland. Many believe that it is an apparition of the beloved musician gazing out across the pool area. However, Suspicious Minds conclude that it is simply a trick of the light and merely wishful thinking. Nonetheless, this image fuelled much speculation at the time.

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Elvis behind the blind, or just the Devil in Disguise?

There have been numerous reports of paranormal phenomena at Graceland over the past forty years. Mysterious images have been captured on film, inexplicable sounds are often heard, and a peculiar presence is frequently encountered in the kitchen area. Most reports are promptly debunked and stamped ‘Return to Sender’ but some remain unexplained…

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Who is the mysterious quiffed figure who was captured on security camera at Graceland?

Apparently Las Vegas is another popular haunt for The King, and residents of the Hilton Hotel have witnessed his appearance in the lobby and casino. This was where Elvis performed his final show on 12th December 1976 and, if these claims are to be believed, he remains attached to the venue. Even more outlandish sightings around the city involve Elvis’s ghost driving a Cadillac!

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Viva Las Vegas! The Hilton Hotel was the venue of Elvis’s final gig.

Poltergeist-type activity often occurs in the RCA Recording Studios at Nashville, Tennessee, where the great man cut his early recordings and paved the way for superstardom. Objects frequently move as if they have a mind of their own, loud banging and footsteps are heard which cannot be explained, doors are opened by unseen hands, and lights switch on and off by their own accord! It is widely accepted throughout the studio that it is Elvis himself causing everything to Shake, Rattle and Roll!

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Elvis recording his early classics at the RCA Recording Studios, Nashville, Tennessee

Such spooky tales are likely to leave many of us sleeping with the lights on and reaching for our Teddy Bear. There are truly many things in this world that cannot be explained, and eye-witnesses are convinced that they have been blessed with a visitation from The King of Rock and Roll himself. That said, those with a Wooden Heart would argue that such tales can be readily explained after scientific investigation. Graceland is one of the most filmed and photographed locations on the planet so the occasional queer image is bound to surface from time to time.

Nonetheless, the spirit of The King lives on. We will all continue to celebrate the great music and talents of Mr Elvis Aron Presley regardless. That truly is The Wonder of You…

The author of the article is David Fox. A professional entertainer and freelance writer who is based in the UK. For more about David, visit his website:

David Fox Magic

The Ten Spookiest Churches in the World

Are you brave enough to read this? Are you easily ‘spooked’ out? Would you dare to visit one of these spine-chilling churches late at night? Because… when the congregation’s away, the ghosts come out to play…

  1. Newby Church, North Yorkshire, UK

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A hologram of the Emperor from Star Wars? No, it’s the ghost of a medieval monk! Conclusive evidence that some spirits are not camera shy. Taken in 1963 by the Reverend Lord, this spectral snap-shot continues to perplex experts the world over. Psychics have speculated that it may be the ghost of a 16th century friar who treated plague victims.

  1. Westminster Abbey, London, UK

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Westminster Abbey may be an iconic British landmark, but with over 3000 burials registered on the site, it boasts an impressive array of terrifying tenants! Notable inhabitants include: a Benedictine monk who mysteriously materialises in the early evening, and a sombre soldierly spirit (said to be the ghost of the ‘Unknown Warrior’ who is entombed inside the abbey itself).

  1. Christ Church, Alexandria, Virginia, USA

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The perfect setting for Stephen King’s next blood-curdling blockbuster, Christ Church, Virginia, is sensationally spooky! Sinister sightings of spectral civil-war soldiers in the graveyard are commonplace and ensure that this national monument is a popular haunt for avid ghost hunters. Thirty four Confederate troops were interred in a mass grave, and some tourists even claim to have captured their armed apparitions on celluloid.

7. Borley Church, Essex, UK

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Borley became world famous thanks to ghost hunter extraordinaire Harry Price. Mysterious tapping sounds and unexplained footsteps around the building have been reported by witnesses. But perhaps the most disturbing phenomenon of all has taken place in the crypt. Investigators have been unable to explain how coffins have been bizarrely moved from their original positions despite the door being locked!

6. Most Holy Trinity Church, New York, USA

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Anyone who has seen ‘Poltergiest’ will know the occupational hazard that comes with disrespecting the deceased. The spirits of those interred in an old burial ground beneath the school of Most Holy Trinity Church are said to linger after dark. Spine-tingling tones of eerily ethereal voices coupled with disturbingly disembodied footsteps resonate. Lights in the gym hall mysteriously switch on and off, as if the dead protest a denial of dignity.

  1. Frauenkirche, Munich, Germany

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The black sinister footprint at the doorway of the Frauenkirche in Munich is said to have been made by the Devil himself! Legend has it that he offered to pay for the building of the church provided it had no windows. The builder accepted his satanic salary and slyly positioned the columns so that the church windows cannot be seen from the Devil’s position! When the wind howls eerily around the Gothic towers it is believed to be Lucifer expressing his anger.

  1. Church of St Wystan, Repton, UK

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From the ghoulish goblin who lives atop the spire, to the peculiar misty spirits who dwell in the graveyard, St Wystan’s Church is a hive of weirdness. Locals speak of strange supernatural figures appearing during the witching hour around the church. The spirit of a seventeenth century grave-digger is also said to linger among the tombstones.

  1. Basilique du Bois-Chenu, Domremy La-Pucelle, France

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Dedicated to Joan of Arc who was burnt alive at the stake after being accused of witchcraft by the English, the Basilique du Bois-Chenu is a well known spooky hotspot. Joan was said to have experienced divine visions as a young girl living in the village. Her ghost has been sighted on numerous occasions around the church, returning to visit her childhood home.

2. Mont Saint Michel, Normandy, France

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Divine intervention played a role in the building of the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel when the Arch Angel Gabriel appeared before the Bishop Aubert of Avranches and instructed him to build a holy structure. Mysterious monks and the ghost of Captain Louis d’Estouteville (who defeated the English in 1434) now haunt this unique location. The ghost of the soldier is often sighted guarding the ramparts, loyally performing his duty to the King of France.

1. Lucedio Abbey, Trino, Italy

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Terrifying tales of torture, murder and dark rituals prompted the Pope to close Lucedio Abbey in the eighteenth century. Its horrifying history is equally as disturbing as the weird inexplicable fog which appears around the building, and the sinister evil ‘presence’ which can be experienced in the crypt. Several monks were found buried in a perfect circle and were all seated! Even more bizarrely, their bodies were naturally preserved. Italy’s most haunted place… were the abbots practising some sort of sinister sorcery?

The author of this article is David Fox who is a freelance writer and entertainer based in the UK. Visit David’s website for more details: David Fox Magician.

Magician Mystic Soldier Spy – The extraordinary life of Uri Geller

‘Nowadays even presidents, vice-presidents and heads of big agencies are opening their minds to accept psychic phenomena because they know it works.’ 

Uri Geller

Uri Geller needs no introduction. A household name the world over, the indefatigable Israeli has been amazing audiences for the past five decades. Minds are read, metal mysteriously bends, watches and clocks which have not worked for many years suddenly spring to life and impossible predictions are made which will soon come to pass. These are the hallmarks of the mild-mannered entertainer’s sensational performances. However, recent revelations of Geller’s involvement with secret intelligence agencies, most notably the CIA, have further enhanced his legendary status.

Oscar winning director Vikram Jayanti’s documentary The Secret Life of Uri Geller  charts the charismatic mystery man’s meteoric rise from humble origins to worldwide super-stardom. From an early age Geller developed a heightened sense of perception and an awareness of his psychic capabilities. After serving in the Israeli army during the Six Day War in 1967, he was invited by Mossad (the Israeli secret service) to demonstrate his preternatural talents. Hardened military men were perplexed by Geller’s telepathic abilities and he would later be called upon to assist the state of Israel during times of emergency. Subsequent CIA interest in his inexplicable aptitudes followed, and Geller was promptly summoned to the USA to participate in a rigorous course of scientific experimentation.

Uri Geller at the Stanford Research Institute circa 1973

It was during this intense period of investigation at Stanford Research Institute in California during the early 1970s that Geller would develop his reputation as a man of extraordinary capabilities. Scientists were amazed by his propensity to read minds, find hidden objects and successfully conclude experiments in remote viewing (observing objects, places and people many miles away by using the power of his mind). The experts were unable to discern any logical explanation for these seemingly miraculous feats and conceded that Uri Geller must possess some sort of extra sensory perception (ESP). These findings would eventually culminate with Geller being invited to assist with covert intelligence operations throughout the world.

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Salvator Rosa’s famous painting of Saul’s visit to the Witch of Endor.

Inevitably many will find such a disclosure difficult to digest. However, governments calling upon the aid of psychics and paranormal experts, particularly at times of crisis, is certainly not a novel concept. Since time immemorial, powerful leaders have sought to gain the upper hand against an adversary by invoking the mysterious forces of the unseen. Indeed, one of the earliest accounts of this practice is King Saul’s clandestine meeting with the Witch of Endor in the First Book of Samuel. The King sought divine inspiration prior to a major battle with the Philistines and was terrified by the witch’s ominous prediction. The next day the prophecy was fulfilled: the battle was lost and the King took his own life shortly afterwards.

Dr John Dee. The original 007 and confidant of Queen Elizabeth I.

Thankfully not all interactions between great leaders and soothsayers have ended in disaster. The reign of Queen Elizabeth I is now celebrated as a golden age of British history, and perhaps this can be credited in no small part to the travails of the enigmatic Dr John Dee. Highly regarded throughout Europe as one of the most learned men of his age, it is believed that Dee provided Shakespeare with the inspiration for Prospero in his final play The Tempest. He was a trusted confidant of the Queen and used the number 007 (later to be adopted by Ian Fleming for his fictional character James Bond) when serving as a spy for the Crown. Dee possessed a deep knowledge of the occult arts and was said to have conversed with angelic beings from another dimension. He foresaw the coming of a great British Empire and provided Sir Francis Drake with tactical advice on how to defeat the mighty Spanish Armada in 1588. It is said that he may even have used his magical powers to summon the storm which assisted Her Majesty’s fleet.

Aleister Crowley. Most people are still unaware of his work as a British spy.

The English occultist and self styled ‘Great Beast 666’ Aleister Crowley gained notoriety during the early twentieth century and revelled in his sobriquet of the ‘Wickedest Man in the World’. But was Crowley really so wicked? In recent years academics have begun to appreciate that he may in fact have been a misunderstood genius. Crowley was also a secret agent who worked with British intelligence during both world wars. Whilst masquerading as a German sympathiser in New York during the early years of World War One, Crowley secretly lobbied to ensure that the USA came into the war on the side of the British Empire. Crowley’s close connections with occult groups in Germany during the 1930s naturally made him a person of interest for MI5. The Nazi’s obsession with the occult is well documented and Ian Fleming (the creator of James Bond who then worked with British Naval Intelligence) contacted Crowley in order to entice Rudolf Hess (deputy Fuhrer and a man with a deep interest in the occult) to come to the UK. Hess’s ill-fated clandestine flight to Scotland in 1941 soon followed and was said to have had a devastating impact upon Hitler when he learnt of this betrayal. It is widely believed that Crowley used his mysterious influence to draw him to the UK in order to discuss possible peace negotiations.

The mysterious Wolf Messing who amazed Josef Stalin.

The cessation of hostilities in 1945 would pave the way for a new world order and the dawning of the Cold War era. A tense stand-off between the two major Super Powers naturally intensified the covert activities of intelligence agencies across the globe. The campaign to identify and utilise people who exhibited extra sensory perception and psychic abilities would unearth some exceptional individuals. One such person was the Polish entertainer Wolf Messing who came into the orbit of the KGB (the Russian secret intelligence agency). Messing had been amazing audiences throughout Europe for many years before being forced to flee to the USSR during the Second World War. His ability to influence the thoughts of others, read minds and cast accurate predictions became legendary in Soviet Russia. Josef Stalin was said to have been mesmerised by his incredible talents and it is widely believed that Messing assisted the KGB during the post-war years.

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Jonathan Margolis’ recent publication.

In the early 1970s Uri Geller was invited to a meeting with Wolf Messing in Berlin. The Polish master was clearly amazed by the young Israeli’s amazing talents as well as the fact that Geller is a distant relative of Sigmund Freud (who Messing had mesmerised alongside Albert Einstein many years before). The exchange shared between the two men will perhaps forever remain classified, but it is a great testimony to the respect Messing had for Geller that he chose to divulge the secret techniques he used to perform some of his incredible feats.

As the world enters an era of political uncertainty, Uri looks certain to remain very busy.

Thus, it could readily be argued that governments and leaders who do not take the powers of the unseen seriously do so at their peril. Indeed, with Brexit negotiations looming and some challenging times ahead, perhaps Uri Geller can expect a phone call from Prime Minister Theresa May very soon?

*Special thanks to Uri for his kind assistance with this article.

Recommended Reading

Uri Geller’s website: http://www.urigeller.com/

Uri Geller’s Little Book of Mind Power Uri Geller, Robson Books, 1998

The Secret Life of Uri Geller – CIA Masterspy?  John Margolis, Watkins Publishing London, 2013

The Queen’s Conjurer: The Science and Magic of Dr John Dee Benjamin Woolley, Flamingo, 2002

Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult Richard Spence, Feral House, 2008

Aleister Crowley: The Beast in Berlin Tobias Churton, Inner Traditions, 2014

Wolf Messing: The True Story of Russia’s Greatest Psychic Tatiana Lungin, Glagoslav Publications, 2014

The author of the article is David Fox, a professional entertainer and freelance writer based in the UK. Visit David’s website at: www.magician-midlands.co.uk

Wolf Messing: The Man Who Mesmerised Stalin. Clairvoyant or Conjurer?

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‘The future shapes itself from the past and the present, and there are certain models or bonds between.’

Adolf Hitler placed a 200,000 Reichsmark bounty upon his head, Josef Stalin was mesmerised by his extraordinary talents, and Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein were baffled by his telepathic abilities. He gained an international reputation as a psychic entertainer par excellence and enjoyed celebrity status in the former Soviet Union. The legend of Wolf Messing continues to mystify and astound, but why are so few people in the West aware of this incredible individual?

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Messing’s performances were legendary in both pre-war Europe and Soviet Russia

Messing was born in Poland in 1899 into a respectable middle class Jewish family, and from an early age he exhibited extraordinary talents: an uncanny ability to predict future events, divine the thoughts of others, and find concealed items. But it was Messing’s curious capability to inexplicably influence the actions of friends, relatives and neighbours which caused the most amazement. The eccentric young man eventually defied his parent’s wishes to become a rabbi and travelled west to Berlin to seek his fortune.

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Messing is said to have amazed both Einstein and Freud with telepathy.

Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Messing toured extensively with a circus and quickly established himself as a sensational showman. Audiences throughout Europe marvelled at what appeared to be genuine feats of telepathy, psychic ability and clairvoyance. His act was unique and clearly very different from that of a classic conjurer or illusionist. Indeed, Messing’s famous meeting with Freud and Einstein illustrates this fact. Both men were extremely curious about his purported ability to read minds and they set him a task. Freud would attempt to transmit a thought to Messing and he would then have to reveal this. The Polish man of mystery successfully completed the task by leaving the room, collecting a pair of tweezers, and returning to pluck a hair from Einstein’s moustache – which was exactly what Freud had ‘willed’ him to do! However, as Messing’s star was rising, so too was the tyranny of the Third Reich, and he was forced to return to his homeland.

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Hitler was said to be wary of Messing and the Nazis placed a bounty upon his head.

 ‘If Hitler declares war in the east, his death awaits him.’

Messing’s potent prediction did not endear him to the Fuhrer and, after the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, he was hunted down by the Gestapo. Nonetheless, sanctuary would be found to the east and, after crossing the Russian border, Messing received a summons from the Man of Steel himself. Having escaped the brutality of Hitler, he was now faced with the prospect of a precarious meeting in Moscow with Josef Stalin. Mercifully, the Russian leader was deeply impressed and intrigued by his now legendary status – not to mention his captivating performances. He decided to set the Pole a task to prove he truly had the ability to influence the thoughts of others…

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Stalin was amazed by Messing’s extraordinary feats and apparent psychic abilities.

On a typically bitter Moscow morning, Messing answered a brusque knock on his apartment door to be greeted by the ominous figures of two secret police officers. He was then tersely ordered to rob 100,000 roubles from a bank using only his powers of suggestion and influence. Stalin had devised a seemingly impossible test. Nonetheless, never a man to shirk from a challenge, Messing accepted the task and promptly proceeded to relieve the bank of this massive sum. Somehow he managed to convince the teller that the blank piece of paper he presented was in fact an ‘official document’ which authorised the gargantuan transaction. Stalin was amazed and invited Messing to visit him at his dacha (country retreat) on the outskirts of Moscow.

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Stalin’s dacha was heavily fortified but Messing defied the odds and mysteriously appeared in the Soviet leader’s study.

One of the most heavily fortified places on the face of the planet during this period, and until his death in 1953 – Stalin’s dacha was an impregnable citadel. A perimeter fence was manned constantly, and no fewer than 300 agents of the NKVD (later to be the KGB) prowled the compound ensuring maximum safety for their leader. Indeed, Stalin seldom left his office in the heart of the complex and was profoundly bewildered when Wolf Messing mysteriously materialised in his study unannounced. The Soviet leader was in awe of the Polish wizard and demanded to know how he had achieved the unachievable. Messing calmly explained how he had used his powers of suggestion to convince Stalin’s guards that he was in fact Bera (the head of the secret police). Clearly they had believed him and some accounts state that this sensational feat would earn Messing a commission working for the NKVD. However, he would refute this claim in his biography in later life. Legend has it that he taught the officers of the Soviet secret police the dark arts of telepathy, mind-reading and psychological influence, but Messing dismissed this forcefully as nonsense to his biographer Tatiana Lungin.

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Messing had visions of Russian tanks entering Berlin during the early years of conflict and successfully predicted the date the war ended.

 ‘The war will end on 9th May 1945’

Messing was famous for his predictions, but the one he made in Novosibirsk on 7th March 1944 would cement this reputation. The war did indeed end on the day he said after the cessation of German military operations at 23.01 on 8th May 1945. He had also spoken of having visions of Russian tanks in Berlin throughout the early years of Operation Barbarossa. Messing was now celebrated as a national icon, and would also gain a reputation beyond the Iron Curtain, proudly claiming prominent post-war admirers such as Mahatma Ghandi and Marilyn Monroe. Stalin’s favourite psychic continued to tour and amaze audiences until his death in 1974.

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Wolf Messing claimed to have the ability to see the future and that science could not currently explain this.

Messing’s phenomenal life-story is surely just as astonishing as the incredible feats he is reported to have performed on-stage. There are many Russians today who still believe that he was a true mystic who was blessed with some sort of preternatural power. However, sceptics would argue that his act consisted of effects which are very much the stock-in-trade of mentalists and magicians. Indeed, contemporary entertainers readily convince audiences that they can predict future events, read minds and influence actions. Was Wolf Messing genuinely a man with a wonderful psychic capability? Or was he merely a highly talented magician/mentalist who managed to dupe one of the most powerful dictators the world has ever known? To this day much of his life remains a mystery and there are said to be secret KGB files concerning his famous talents which have yet to be disclosed to the public…

For a documentary click the link: Wolf Messing Psychically Robs a Bank.

The author of the article is David Fox. A professional magician and freelance writer who is based in the UK. For more details, visit his website at: http://www.magician-midlands.co.uk

‘Wolf Messing: The True Story of Russia’s Greatest Psychic’ by Tatiana Lungin is available from Glagoslav Publications

Tutbury Castle: Britain’s Most Haunted

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Tutbury Castle in Staffordshire has developed a reputation as one of the finest wedding and events venues in the Midlands. Every year this majestic medieval monument attracts visitors from around the world who marvel at its exquisite charm and rich heritage.

A fortification has existed on this hilltop since the eleventh century, and the castle boasts a long and illustrious history. Its most notable past resident is Mary Queen of Scots who was incarcerated in Tutbury during the late 16th century after abdicating the throne of Scotland and being forced into exile. Indeed, there is much to amaze historians in and around the ruins, and lively re-enactments of historical events are commonplace in the spacious castle grounds on summer days. However, perhaps it is matters of a more mysterious nature which have generated most intrigue in recent years…

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Mary Queen of Scots was held at Tutbury Castle

No fewer than five ghosts are said to haunt Tutbury Castle. The apparition of a soldier wearing armour has been sighted on numerous occasions, along with a spectral white lady and the phantoms of a young boy and girl respectively. In 2004 a large group of visitors saw the spectre of Mary Queen of Scots herself peering down from the South Tower. Furthermore, her celebrity spirit has been witnessed frequently at other locations and is always said to be immaculately attired. Thus, Tutbury can rightfully claim to be one of the British Isles’ most haunted venues, and it is now a site of very special interest for ghost hunters.

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Orbs and a ghostly figure captured at Tutbury Castle

Recently the events team at Tutbury announced they will be resuming ghost hunts at the castle. This will provide an excellent opportunity for paranormal investigators to explore this extraordinary location and seek out evidence of the afterlife.

Professional psychical investigators deploy a rigorous regime when investigating such a venue. State-of-the-art technology is utilised to record potential supernatural phenomena, and a strict scientific methodology is observed. Indeed, such ghost hunters believe that evidence can be captured on film, but this theory is certainly controversial and challenged by sceptics. Nonetheless, there are ample video clips and photographs of weird occurrences at the venue.

Whilst shooting a wedding reception at Tutbury Castle, professional photographer David Green was amazed to find this mysterious image appear in a nocturnal photograph of the newlyweds. David was unaware of the queer ‘fog’ whilst photographing the couple and, to date, there is no logical explanation for this peculiar phenomenon…

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Professional photographer David Green captured some peculiar white mist during a wedding reception.

 

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A closer inspection of the fog… What do you think?

For more details about Tutbury Castle and the tremendous facilities it has to offer, visit the website at: Tutbury Castle

David Green is one of the UK’s top photographers and boasts an exceptional portfolio. Contact David now for your next photo-shoot: David Green Corporate Photography

The author of the article is David Fox. A professional magician and freelance writer who is based in the East Midlands: David Fox Magic

An article posted on 12th January 2017 in the Burton Mail regarding the resumption of ghost hunting at Tutbury Castle: Ghost Hunts Make Spooky Return

The Society of Psychical Research offers guidance for those interested in exploring hauntings and haunted venues: Society of Psychical Research

 

Harry Price: Dweller on the Threshold

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‘Harry fought a long, lone battle against, on the one hand, the Victorian educated scientists who derided the occult and, on the other, fanatical believers in spiritualism whose favourite mediums he exposed as frauds.’

Dennis Wheatley

Harry Price (1881 to 1948) is remembered today as perhaps the most famous ghost hunter and psychical investigator of all time. The intrepid scientist’s study of Borley Rectory in Suffolk, purported to be ‘The Most Haunted House in England’, from 1929 until his death brought him international recognition and cemented his reputation as a colossus within the field of occult research. Nonetheless, this extraordinary figure became an object of both acclaim and disdain during his lifetime. Some commentators viewed Price merely as a sensationalist who sought publicity by courting the supernatural, whilst others championed him as a genuine truth seeker – selflessly dedicated to unlocking the mysteries of the universe.

Indeed, Price’s commitment and dedication to the investigation of preternatural phenomena cannot be understated. He founded The National Laboratory for Psychical Research, compiled one of the largest libraries of the occult in the world, and was one of the first scientists to apply a rigorous and methodical approach when testing the authenticity of psychics and hauntings. Price utilised state-of-the-art technologies such as pressure sensors and infra red photography in his quest into the unpredictable and inhospitable shadow realm of spirits, poltergeists and demons. His capacity and appetite for conducting painstaking research – in often freezing and isolated locations in the dead of night – has set the bench mark exceptionally high for all psychical explorers. In Borley Rectory alone Price recorded no fewer than sixty different types of supernatural occurrence.

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Borley Rectory in Suffolk – The Most Haunted House in England.

 

Contemporary ‘ghost hunters’ frequently pay homage to Price’s considerable influence and achievements, but few are actually aware of his background in the art of conjuring and legerdemain. A lifelong member of the prestigious Magic Circle, his interest in this amazing art form began at an early age when he witnessed a performance of The Great Sequah in Shrewsbury market place. The young Price was mesmerised by the magician and this profound experience clearly catalysed an inner yearning for the mysterious.

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‘The Conjurer’ by Bosch. Magic and the Occult have always been closely linked.

 

Thus, like the great Harry Houdini (who successfully debunked numerous fraudulent psychics in the US), an understanding of the art of magic allowed Price to deduce what secret artifices or methods, if any, were being deployed by supposed soothsayers and mediums during his research. The story of the famous ‘spirit photographer’ William Hope is well documented and is an example of one of Price’s many skirmishes with Spiritualists who normally felt threatened by his research. The scientist was more than aware of how accomplished magicians can surreptitiously ‘switch’ objects, undetected by audiences, in order to achieve startling outcomes. This was precisely what Hope was doing with the photographic plates, and Price quickly concluded that his ‘spirit images’ were actually frauds. Indeed, this damning revelation set the tone for most of Price’s investigations into Spiritualists and clairvoyants. He attended hundreds of séances and was rarely convinced by the authenticity of the spectacle. Lifelong friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (best known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes – but himself an ardent Spiritualist) frequently expressed his anger at Price’s findings and urged him to be more sympathetic towards individuals of a psychical disposition.

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Like the Great Houdini, Price’s knowledge of magic helped him ‘debunk’ fraudulent mediums.

Nonetheless, in the midst of a seemingly incessant tide of fraudulence and deceit, Price did encounter some incredible individuals who genuinely appeared to possess exceptional extra sensory talents. The most notable is perhaps Ms Stella C who, unlike the majority of clairvoyants and mediums, did not accept money for conducting séances and was not interested in forging a career in this field. Price and others observed the occurrence of genuine telekinetic phenomena in her presence, and she also incredibly predicted (with an uncanny accuracy which startled even Price) what would appear on the front page of The Daily Mail several weeks in advance.

Price was further led to speculate that it may be ‘highly probable’ that some individuals actually can communicate with the deceased. A séance in 1930 with the clairvoyant Mrs Eileen Garrett, who was not a Spiritualist, provided some of the most extraordinary results ever obtained in the field of psychical exploration. Garrett claimed to be in communion with Flight-Lieutenant H Carmichael Irwin, the captain of the doomed R101 Airship which had tragically crashed in France two days earlier. All the crew and passengers had been killed, but the psychic was accurately able to relay intricate details about the sequence of events which led to the fatal accident. Specialised technological information about the airship itself, of which Garrett could not possibly have known, were also provided. Price contacted the RAF with his findings and they concluded that 70% of Eileen Garrett’s account was exactly precise, 20% was ‘most likely’ and the remainder was rather confused.

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The medium Eileen Garrett recounted intricate details of the R101 disaster.

Such examples of Price’s work reveal that as well as earning a reputation as a sceptical man of science, he did have a sensitivity towards psychics and was prepared to reveal instances of what appeared to be genuine ‘supernatural’ phenomena. Indeed, his feud with fellow magicians the Maskelynes would reveal how he was often prepared to defend psychics who he believed were genuine. Nevil Maskelyne had long claimed that his brother Clive could duplicate all types of ‘supposed spiritual phenomena’ a medium could create in a séance. However, Price challenged this statement and alleged that he had witnessed events in séance rooms which even the most accomplished of conjurers would struggle to produce.

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Magicians can amaze audiences with seemingly ‘psychical phenomena’.

Enigmatic and complex, the life of Harry Price is arguably even more perplexing than the mediums, spirits and poltergeists he documented along the way. It is intensely intriguing when a talented and highly intelligent individual is drawn to devote his entire life to the study of a fringe subject such as the occult. They run the risk of being ostracised, condemned and ridiculed by their peers. So why did Harry Price decide to embark upon such an atypical and arduous journey which would ultimately lead him to the bowels of desolate dilapidated mansions, the icy spectral solitude of cemeteries, and the sinister sultry environs of fraudulent medium’s séance parlours? Was he merely a deluded moonstruck eccentric shying away from the harsh realities of life? Or should we celebrate him as a heroic pioneer who conducted invaluable research into an area which has been largely ignored or overlooked by many of the greatest minds over the centuries?

 

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Psychical researchers can easily become objects of ridicule. Why did Price choose this path?

For an interview with Harry Price click the link: Harry Price Interview YouTube.

A radio production about Price’s life: Are You There Harry Price?

The author of the article is David Fox, a professional magician and freelance writer.

www.magician-midlands.co.uk