This fifth edition of the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology (EOP) continues the tradition established by its predecessors in providing the most comprehensive coverage of the fields of occultism and parapsychology. The first edition, published in 1978, brought together the texts of two of the standard reference works in the field, Lewis Spence’s Encyclopedia of Occultism (1920) and Nandor Fodor’s Encyclopedia of Psychic Science (1934). Later, editor Leslie Shepard took on the task of updating their observations and supplementing the volume with new entries. The production of this massively ambitious work was sparked by a heightened interest in psychic phenomena, the occult, witchcraft, and related topics in the 1970s. This interest, which led directly to the New Age movement of the 1980s, provided a continued wealth of material for parapsychologists to examine. It also led to a reaction by a group of debunkers to form the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of the Claims of the Paranormal. This group believed that they were spokesmen for the scientific establishment. Defining the Terms - The term “occult” remains suspect in many circles. The word derives from Latin and simply means “to shut off from view or exposure.” However, it eventually came to refer to realities specifically hidden from common sight; the occult realm is invisible to the physical eye but can be seen by an inner “spiritual” vision and/or grasped by psychic intuition. The occult is the opposite of “apocalypse,” which means “to uncover.” The last book of the Christian Bible is alternatively called The Apocalypse or The Revelation. To many religious people, the term occult denotes that which is opposite of what God has revealed; hence, the realm of Satan and his legions of demons. Some substance for this observation has been provided by religious leaders who combine an exploration of the occult with open opposition to the more traditional religions and religious institutions.
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