The Occult vs. the Churches

April 24, 1970

Report Outline
Superstition in Technological society
Parapsychology Terms and Meanings
The Supernatural: Profane and Divine
Relation of Religion with the Occult
Special Focus

Superstition in Technological society

‘Occult Boom’ in Twentieth Century America

Despite the rationalism of society today, and perhaps partly because of it, belief in occult matters not only persists but is growing. Many theologians and social thinkers are worried about the new interest Americans show in astrology, mediums and seances, witches covens, Satanism and black masses. There is abundant evidence that millions of persons half-believe, are willing to believe or do indeed believe in mysterious forces that are dismissed by science and most Western religions as superstition.

The present “occult boom” seems to have tapped a hidden reservoir of the mind. Classes in the history of witchcraft, sorcery and the black arts are being taught in many high schools and universities, and they are usually over-enrolled. Bookstore shelves are laden with occult books, both sensational and academic. More than 1,200 daily newspapers in the United States publish columns on astrology for upward of 40 million readers, whose interest may range from that of casual diversion to wholehearted commitment.

Toy manufacturers report that the closest thing to a trend in playthings being readied for sale next Christmas involve astrology, witchcraft, and other aspects of the supernatural. Rosemary's Baby, a best-selling novel by Ira Levin about witchcraft, was made into a movie that had grossed $15 million by the end of 1969 and placed 38th on Variety's list of all-time “boxoffice champs.” Jeane Dixon, who claims a gift of prophecy, has sold more than three million copies of her books.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
May 07, 1993  Cults in America
Apr. 13, 1979  Cults in America and Public Policy
Apr. 24, 1970  The Occult vs. the Churches
Religious Movements