Mitch Horowitz



Alternet reviews Mitch Horowitz’s Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation:

If witch-burning Puritans are the original jocks of American history, then the mystics surrounding Johannes Kelpius are the first goths. While the rest of the British colonies were still dutifully worshipping their angry Christian god, Kelpius and his followers—who fled Austria to settle in Philadelphia during the late seventeenth-century—busied themselves with astrology, alchemy, Kabbalah, and other “dark arts” with tangled roots in the Italian Renaissance, the Rosicrucian Enlightenment, and various (often fabricated) antiquities. We meet Kelpius early in Mitch Horowitz’s Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation, an uneven but always interesting account of 400 years of New World Strange. Among the several misconceptions Horowitz seeks to dispel, the most foundational is the idea that Colonial America provided shelter only for persecuted Christian sects. Almost from the beginning, North America was also home to a fair number of those who, like Kelpius, had more arcane spiritual interests.

Horowitz never claims that these beliefs were as formative an influence as Christianity in the making of America, but after finishing his book, one can’t help but wonder if maybe Ouija boards don’t belong next to King James in every motel room…


After a pretty lengthy break from the world of podcasting, Ken Eakins (Sitting Now) and Raymond Wiley (disinformation) return with a real 90 minute treat!

This weeks guest, Mitch Horowitz, is the author of the excellent new book Occult America: How Mysticism Shaped our Nation. Mitch has held a lifelong interest in the Occult and Supernatural, and after pursuing the subject for as long, naturally, became the editor of one of the largest publishers of Occult and Supernatural works Tarcher/Penguin.

In this weeks episodes we discuss: Freemasons, Mesmirism, Theosophy, Astrology and the dark side of American occultism…