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Cursed BritainA History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times$
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Thomas Waters

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300221404

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300221404.001.0001

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Occultists Study Dark Arts

Occultists Study Dark Arts


(p.139) Six Occultists Study Dark Arts
Cursed Britain

Thomas Waters

Yale University Press

This chapter shows that witchcraft did not beguile only rustic simpletons during the Victorian era. In cities and suburbs, behind expensive curtains and in bay-windowed houses, avant-garde types experimented with new forms of occultism. Spiritualism, theosophy, Christian Science, and extremely complex ritual magic — these types of mysticism are often seen as positive, therapeutic, and emancipating. In many ways they were, but the late Victorian occult revival had dark sides too. Many occultists were intrigued by evil powers and some were absolutely obsessed with them. These characters, with their strange theories and esoteric investigations, helped to refresh the idea of witchcraft, rendering it in terms that befitted the modern age.

Keywords:   Victorian occult, occultism, mysticism, occult revival, occult revival, evil, modern witchcraft

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