In attempting to compile a volume which might serve as a handbook or work of reference to the several occult sciences, I have not lost sight of the extensive character ot the subject, which, now that I have completed my task, is more than ever painfully perceptible. Excursions into the literature of the occult, of a somewhat extensive kind, led me to the belief that popular misconceptions concerning its several branches were many and varied. Regarding definitions there did not appear to be any substantial agreement, and application to encyclopaedias and ordinary works of reference generally resulted in disappointment. That a department of human thought so pregnant with interest and so abounding in vitality should not hitherto have been reduced to presentation in reference form struck me as singular ; and I resolved to do what I could to supply what seemed to me a very real literary and scientific necessity. That I have been entirely successful is too much to hope. But I have made a beginning, and this volume may inspire a more worthy hand to the compilation of a more perfect handbook of the subject.
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