1st Edition

Religion, the Occult, and the Paranormal

ISBN 9781138015098
Published July 27, 2015 by Routledge
1814 Pages 21 B/W Illustrations

USD $1,655.00

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Book Description

The field encompassed by ‘Religion, the Occult, and the Paranormal’ is both fascinating and frustrating. The fascination stems from the contested nature of the content, and the multi-disciplinary nature of the existing scholarly literature. The frustration stems chiefly from the misunderstood and much-maligned nature of the content, and the way in which specific elements are taken out of context, or treated in a frivolous manner as is often the case with tabloid journalism.

This new collection from Routledge addresses these and other urgent questions by bringing together the best foundational and cutting-edge scholarship on religion, the occult, and the paranormal. 


Table of Contents


Part 1: General

1. Michael Jindra, ‘Natural/Supernatural Conceptions in Western Cultural Contexts’, Anthropological Forum: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Comparative Sociology, 2003, 13, 2, 159–66.

2. Jess Hollenback, ‘The Nature of Mystical Experience’, Mysticism: Experience, Response and Empowerment (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1996), pp. 33–119.

3. Wouter Hanegraaff, ‘Forbidden Knowledge: Anti-Esoteric Polemics and Academic Research’, Aries, 2005, 5, 2, 225–54.

Part 2: Methodology—The Occult

4. Edward A.Tiryakian, ‘Toward the Sociology of Esoteric Culture’, American Journal of Sociology, 1972, 78, 3, 491–512.

5. Marcello Truzzi, ‘The Occult Revival as Popular Culture: Some Random Observations on the Old and the Nouveau Witch’, Sociological Quarterly, 1972, 13, 1, 16–36.

6. Barry Singer and Victor Benassi, ‘Occult Beliefs: Media Distortions, Social Uncertainty, and Deficiencies of Human Reasoning Seem to Be at the Basis of Occult Beliefs’, American Scientist, 1981, 69, 1, 49–55.

7. Colin Campbell and Shirley McIver, ‘Cultural Sources of Support for Contemporary Occultism’, Social Compass, 1987, 34, 1, 41–60.

8. Antoine Faivre, ‘From Romantic Knowledge to Programmatic Occultism’, Access to Western Esotericism (State University of New York Press, 1994), pp. 82–94.

Part 3: Methodology—Paganism and the New Age

9. Sarah M. Pike, ‘Rationalizing the Margins, a Review of Legitimation and Ethnographic Practice in Scholarly Research on Neo-Paganism’, in James R. Lewis (ed.), Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft (State University of New York Press, 1996), pp. 353–72.

10. Michael Strmiska, ‘Modern Paganism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives’, in M. Strmiska (ed.), Modern Paganism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives (ABC-CLIO, 2005), pp. 1–53.

11. Nadia Bartolini, Robert Chris, Sara McKian, and Steve Pile, ‘Psychics, Crystals, Candles and Cauldrons: Alternative Spiritualities and the Question of Their Esoteric Economies’, Social & Cultural Geography, 2013, 14, 4, 367–88.

Part 4: Methodology—The Paranormal

12. David J. Collins, ‘Magic in the Middle Ages: History and Historiography’, History Compass, 2011, 9, 5, 410–22.

13. Michael Perry, ‘Religion’, in Jane Henry (ed.), Parapsychology: Research on Exceptional Experiences (Routledge, 2005), pp. 233–42.

14. Charles F.Emmons and Jeff Sobal, ‘Paranormal Beliefs: Functional Alternatives to Mainstream Religion?’, Review of Religious Research, 1981, 22, 4, 301–12.

15. David A. Snow and Richard Machalek, ‘On the Presumed Fragility of Unconventional Beliefs’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1982, 21, 1, 15–26.

16. William Sims Bainbridge, ‘After the New Age’, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2004, 43, 3, 381–94.

17. F. Carson Mencken, Christopher D. Bader, and Rodney Stark, ‘Conventional Christian Beliefs and Experimentation with the Paranormal’, Review of Religious Research, 2008, 50, 2, 194–205.

18. James Houran, et al., ‘Haunted by Somatic Tendencies: Spirit Infestation as Psychogenic Illness’, Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 2002, 5, 2, 119–33.


Part 1: Ancient World and Middle Ages

19. Georg Luck, ‘General Introduction: Exploring Ancient Magic’, Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Collection of Ancient Texts (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), pp. 1–29.

20. Arthur Versluis, ‘Antiquity’, Magic and Mysticism: An Introduction to Western Esotericism (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007), pp. 11–22.

21. Robert Bartlett, ‘The Boundaries of the Supernatural’, The Natural and the Supernatural in the Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 1–33.

22. Robert David Sack, ‘Magic and Space’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 1976, 66, 2, 309–21.

Part 2: Renaissance and Early Modern

23. Donald R. Dickson, ‘Johann Valentin Andreae’s Utopian Brotherhoods’, Renaissance Quarterly, 1996, 49, 4, 760–802.

24. Egil Asprem, ‘False, Lying Spirits and Angels of Light: Ambiguous Mediation in Dr Rudd’s Seventeenth-Century Treatise on Angel Magic’, Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft, 2008, 3, 1, 54–80.

25. Kocku von Stuckrad, ‘Esotericism in the Confessional Age’, Western Esotericism: A Brief History of Secret Knowledge (Equinox Publishing, 2005), pp. 62–98.

26. David Allen Harvey, ‘Beyond Enlightenment: Occultism, Politics, and Culture in France from the Old Regime to the Fin-De-Siècle’, The Historian, 2003, 65, 3, 665–94.

27. Simon R. Jones and Charles Fernyhough, ‘Talking Back to the Spirits: The Voices and Visions of Emanuel Swedenborg’, History of the Human Sciences, 2008, 21, 1, 1–31.

Part 3: Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

28. Cathy Gutierrez, ‘Spiritualism: Communication with the Dead’, Religion Compass, 2010, 4, 12, 737–45.

29. Frederik Gregorius, ‘Inventing America: Esotericism and the Creation of an Afrocentric Tradition in America’, in Egil Asprem and Kennet Granholm (eds.), Contemporary Esotericism (Equinox Publishing, 2013), pp. 49–71.

30. Robert Galbreath, ‘Traditional and Modern Elements in the Occultism of Rudolf Steiner’, Journal of Popular Culture, 1969, 3, 3, 451–67.

31. Jo Pearson, ‘Resisting Rhetorics of Violence: Women, Witches and Wicca’, Feminist Theology, 2010, 18, 2, 141–59.

Part 4: Occult Orders

32. Henrik Bogdan, ‘The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’, Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation (State University of New York Press, 2007), pp. 121–44.

33. Marco Pasi, ‘Varieties of Magical Experience: Aleister Crowley’s Views on Occult Practice’, Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft, 2011, 6, 2, 123–62.

34. Paris Mawby, ‘The Worm in the Bud: Esotericism, Secrecy, and the Rosicrucians’, in Edward F. Crangle (ed.), Esotericism and the Control of Knowledge (Sydney Studies in Religion, 2008), pp. 287–305.


Part 1: The Occult as a Political Ideology

35. Heather Wolffram, ‘Crime, Clairvoyance and the Weimar Police’, Journal of Contemporary History, 2009, 44, 4, 581–601.

36. Nicholas Goodrick Clarke, ‘Julius Evola and the Kali Yuga’, Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity (NYU Press, 2003), pp. 52–71.

Part 2: Religious and Regional Manifestations of the Paranormal and the Occult

37. John P. Ferguson and E. Michael Mendelson, ‘Masters of the Buddhist Occult: The Burmese Weikzas’, in John P. Ferguson (ed.), Contributions to Asian Studies: Essays on Burma (Brill, 1981), pp. 62–80.

38. Jean Comeroff and John L. Comaroff, ‘Occult Economies and the Violence of Abstraction: Notes from the South African Postcolony’, American Ethnologist, 1999, 26, 2, 279–303.

39. Unia Api, ‘"Occult Sindaun", in a Papua New Guinea Secondary School’, Catalyst, 2010, 8, 1, 65–84.

Part 3: The Relationship Between Occultism, Sexual Intercourse, and Deviancy

40. David Gordon White, ‘Tantra in its South Asian Contexts’, Kiss of the Yogini: Tantric Sex in its South Asian Contexts (University of Chicago Press, 2006), pp. 1–26.

41. Hugh B. Urban, ‘The Recurring Nightmare, the Elusive Secret: Historical and Imaginary Roots of Sex Magic in Western Tradition’, Magia Sexualis (University of California Press, 2006), pp. 21–54.

Part 4: Astrology, Tarot, Kabbalah

42. Nick Allum, ‘What Makes Some People Think Astrology is Scientific?’, Science Communication, 2011, 33, 3, 341–66.

43. Helen Farley, ‘Out of Africa: Tarot’s Fascination with Egypt’, Literature & Aesthetics, 2011, 21, 1, 175–95.

44. Boaz Huss, ‘The New Age of Kabbalah: Contemporary Kabbalah, the New Age and Postmodern Spirituality’, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 2007, 6, 2, 107–25.

Part 5: Ghosts, Angels, Aliens

45. Julian Holloway, ‘Legend-tripping in Spooky Spaces: Ghost Tourism and Infrastructures of Enchantment’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 2010, 28, 4, 618–37.

46. Scott Draper and Joseph O. Baker, ‘Angelic Belief as American Folk Religion’, Sociological Forum, 2011, 26, 3, 623–43.

47. Jennifer E. Porter, ‘Spiritualists, Aliens and UFOs: Extraterrestrials as spirit guides’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 1996, 11, 3, 337–53.

Part 6: Reincarnation and Magic

48. Helen Waterhouse, ‘Reincarnation Belief in Britain: New Age Orientation or Mainstream Option?’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 1999, 14, 1, 97–109.

49. Gerhard Mayer and René Gründer, ‘Coming Home or Drifting Away: Magical Practice in the Twenty-First Century—Ways of Adopting Heterodox Beliefs and Religious Worldviews’, Journal of Contemporary Religion, 2010, 25, 3, 395–418.

Part 7: Contemporary Groups

50. Martin Stoddard, ‘L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology’, Orthodox Heresy: The Rise of ‘Magic’ as Religion and its Relation to Literature (St Martin’s Press, 1989), pp. 195–224.

51. Jesper Aagaard Petersen, ‘The Seeds of Satan: Conceptions of Magic in Contemporary Satanism’, Aries, 2012, 12, 1, 91–129.

52. Patricia A Hartman, ‘Social Dimensions of Occult Participation: The Gnostica Study’, British Journal of Sociology, 1976, 27, 2, 169–83.

53. Carole Cusack, ‘Discordian Magic: Paganism, the Chaos Paradigm and the Power of Imagination’, International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 2011, 2, 1, 125–45.


Part 1: Occulture: Approaches and Theory

54. Sabine Doering-Manteuffel, ‘Survival of Occult Practices and Ideas in Modern Common Sense’, Public Understanding of Science, 2011, 20, 3, 292–302.

55. Christopher Partridge, ‘Occulture’, The Re-Enchantment of the West, Vol. 1 (T&T Clark, 2004), pp. 62–83.

Part 2: Supernatural Themes in Media/Art

56. Asbjorn Dyrendal, ‘Devilish Consumption: Popular Culture in Satanic Socialization’, Numen, 2008, 55, 1, 68–98.

57. Helen Farley, ‘Demons, Devils and Witches: The Occult in Heavy Metal Music’, in Gerd Bayer (ed.), Heavy Metal Music in Britain (Ashgate, 2009), pp. 73–88.

58. Steven Sutcliffe, ‘Religion in The Wicker Man: Context and Representation’, in Jonathan Murray et al. (eds.), Constructing the Wicker Man (Crichton Publications, 2005), pp. 37–53.

59. Carroll Lee Fry, ‘"I See Dead People": Spiritualism in Film’, Cinema of the Occult: New Age, Satanism, Wicca and Spiritualism in Film (Rosemont, 2008), pp. 200–44.

60. J’annine Jobling, ‘Metaphysics and Transcendence: His Dark Materials’, Fantastic Spiritualities : Monsters, Heroes and the Contemporary Religious Imagination (T&T Clark, 2010), pp. 63–83.

61. Iver B. Neumann, ‘Pop Goes Religion: Harry Potter Meets Clifford Geertz’, European Journal of Cultural Studies, 2006, 9, 1, 81–100.

62. Annette Hill, ‘Paranormal in Popular Culture’, Paranormal Media: Audiences, Spirits and Magic in Popular Culture (Routledge, 2011).

Part 3: Media-themed Religion

63. Markus Altena Davidsen, ‘Fiction-based Religion: Conceptualising a New Category Against History-based Religion and Fandom’, Culture and Religion, 2013, 14, 4, 378–95.

64. Justin Woodman, ‘Alien Selves: Modernity and the Social Diagnostics of the Demonic in "Lovecraftian Magick"’, Journal for the Academic Study of Magic, 2004, 1, 2, 13–47.

65. Lynn Schofield Clark, ‘The Mystical Teens’, From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural (Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 95–116.

Part 4: Miscellaneous

66. Peter Dendle, ‘Cryptozoology in the Medieval and Modern Worlds’, Folklore, 2006, 117, 2, 190–206.

67. Deborah Dixon, ‘A Benevolent and Sceptical Inquiry: Exploring Fortean Geographies with the Mothman’, Cultural Ceographies, 2007, 14, 2, 189–210.

68. George Gmelch, ‘Baseball Magic’, Transaction, 1971, 8, 8, 39–43.

69. Dawn Perlmutter, ‘The Politics of Muslim Magic’, Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2013, 73–80.

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