ENCYCLOPEDIA OF OCCULTISM & PARAPSYCHOLOGY: A Compendium of Information on the Occult Sciences, Magic, Demonology, Superstitions, Spiritism, Mysticism, Metaphysics, Psychical Science, and Parapsychology, with Biographical and Bibliographical Notes and Comprehensive Indexes / Edited by J. Gordon Melton – FIFTH EDITION (VOLUME TWO M-Z)
The preseni-day view of the occult is highly influenced by the history of the paranormal in the West during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Through the seventeenth century, most people believed in the active operation of occult (then termed “supernatural”) entities and forces.
This belief brought comfort to some; but, for others, it became a source of fear, leading to suffering, and even death, for many. It allowed some people to rule by their reported ability to manipulate supernatural powers, and made it possible for the Inquisition to persecute thousands as witches and Satanists.
It also enabled unscrupulous religious leaders to deceive people with sham relics and miracles. By the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, however, there began a serious critique of the more questionable supernatural phenomena, beginning with relics and extending to the actions of the witchfinders.
As Protestantism secularized (denied sacred value to) the world, and the acceptance of scientific observation and organization of natural phenomena spread, a general spirit of skepticism was created. In the eighteenth century, this skeptical spirit created the first significant movement to challenge the role of the supernatural in human society—Deism.
The entries in this edition are organized in a letter-by-letter sort. For biographical entries, birth and death dates are given where known. Many of the people covered in this volume were unfortunately not subject to the standard data-gathering sources of their time. Individuals often came out of obscurity, briefly participated in a controversial event(s), and then retreated back into obscurity; therefore, such basic information is often elusive.
Every effort has been made to locate that basic data, and numerous new references have been added and others corrected in this edition. Where dates arc highly debatable, the abbreviation “ca.” followed by a century or year indicates the period during which the person flourished.
A question mark in lieu of a death date indicates that the individual was born before 1900 and a death date is not known. When Internet research has been used, the source has been cited. Most importantly, the editor has attempted to track down the home pages of all of the living people and contemporary movements included in this edition.
Unfortunately, Internet addresses become obsolete at a rapid rate; so the user may find listed Internet addresses to be non-operative. In such cases, using a search engine to locate person or topic in question may lead to newer Internet postings.
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