Index to Occult Sciences (A New Library of the Supernatural) (Doubleday, 1977)

Occult 1977-1

Occult 1977-2

Occult 1977-3

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Occult 1977-6

The first popular, mass market encyclopedia of the occult was Man, Myth & Magic, a 112-issue weekly magazine published in the UK starting in 1970. A 24-volume hardcover set collecting the magazines soon followed. The series, edited by Richard Cavendish and a board of respected academics, was extremely successful—hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on advertising—and the magazine debuted in the U.S. in 1974.

A New Library of the Supernatural was one of many copycats. The 20 volumes in the series were published by Aldus Books (Doubleday in the US) between 1975 and 1977 and follow the same template as Man, Myth & Magic: lucid, generally responsible, heavily illustrated accounts of the en vogue arcana and personalities of the day. Who might have aroused the most curiosity? Look no further than the cover note on my copy, originally from Ligonier Public Library in Indiana:

DEAR PATRON,

Page 39 has the insert of Anton LaVey removed. We regret this situation. Thank you!

LaVey, of course, founded the Church of Satan in 1966 and was widely reported to be devilishly charming.

The occult in popular culture is yet another major interest of mine, and I plan to start—eventually—another blog dedicated to serious exploration of the subject.

4 Responses to “<em>Index to Occult Sciences</em> (<em>A New Library of the Supernatural</em>) (Doubleday, 1977)”


  1. 1 Riley J March 7, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I recall seeing this books in libraries. I think my university still has a copy or two. These would have made a precursor to Time-Life’s Mysteries of the Unknown series. I’m currently putting together a set of them. It’s the stuff that used to scare the hell out of me as a child, but fascinated me as a teen. I’m skeptical these days, and view it as entertainment. Fun stuff to peruse late at night!

    • 2 2W2N March 7, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      I have a few of the Mysteries of the Unknown books as well! You’re not planning on scanning them, are you? I find it very interesting that an entire generation was raised on these kinds of books, and none of us seem to be worshipping Satan.


  1. 1 The Hamlyn Book of Ghosts in Fact and Fiction by Daniel Farson (Hamlyn, 1978) | 2 Warps to Neptune Trackback on February 2, 2016 at 3:45 pm

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