Posted by David Metcalfe at 18:33, 09 Dec 2012
The Mysterious Influence of One Human Mind: Mapping the Occult City
- William Walker Atkinson, from Practical Mental Influence & Mental Fascination (Advanced Thought Publishing Co., Chicago, IL, 1908)
De Laurence: sb dial, also attrib; <De Laurence, a Chicago publisher of books on occult subjects, banned from Jamaica. Witch-craft; loosely, obeah.- from the Dictionary of Jamaican English, by Frederic Gomes Cassidy, R. B. Le Page (University of West Indies Press, 2002)
"Lottery scammers in Montego Bay, St James, are digging deep into their pockets to pay local 'witch doctors' to protect them against evil forces rumoured to be plaguing their colleagues.Some scammers are said to be paying as much as $600,000 to get rid of DeLaurence spells, THE STAR has learnt.The streets of Montego Bay are buzzing with talk that the scammers, who have made millions from conning persons out of their money, are now being haunted or even killed by duppies and spells said to have been 'sent' by those affected by their operations.Some scammers are said to be having thousands of dollars mysteriously becoming ablaze in their pockets, short spells of insanity and having visitations from 'foreign duppies' (foreign ghosts or spirits.)In one report from a resident, a scammer is said to have fainted after people complimented him for travelling around with a "pretty white girl" (a type of duppy or ghost) on the back of his motorcycle. The scammer, however, had no knowledge that the girl was riding around with him.One witch doctor with whom THE STAR spoke on the condition of anonymity said the scammers have been paying between $200,000 and $600,000 to protect them against the spells."Mi work wid de majority a dem man deh. Some top man inna de scam link mi fi mi 'seal dem up'. Anywhere mi deh, dem find mi," he said. He further said that the price of the job varied according to the type of seal the scammers were seeking."All $500,000 or so they have to pay sometimes because you have different seals. You have the seven seals and then the 21 seals, so it vary."After explaining the process where coffins, bottles, jewellery and fire were used to perform the rituals for the clients, he noted that the affected men did not hesitate to fork out the cash when he named his price."
"The many grim De Laurence stories come mainly from rural areas. Some say that their clothes have been shredded to bits even while hanging in the wardrobe. Others speak of stone throwing attacks on their houses, with no view of the stone thrower. And others speak of rain falling only on a particular house in a district.Some strange stories speak of rain falling on one particular house.Even recently in the Media, there was a report of a house in the Corporate Area on fire, and the witnesses which included neighbours and the fire brigade unit which rushed to the scene, could not offer an explanation as to how the fire started. The house on fire had no stove, no lamp and no electrical connection. And no one was at home at the time. Some speculated a "high science"connection.The rationale for strange acts such as these were usually one of the following:(1) The victim had offended someone and the person offended consulted De Laurence to take revenge.(2) The victim owed De Laurence money. And according to some, if you owed De Laurence money, you could just place it in an envelope and address it. It would go through the postal system without any chance of being tampered with and go directly to its destination."
"The practice of Obeah influenced by de Laurence became very prevalent during the 1930s in Jamaica. Numerous instances are documented where it was believed that de Laurence was “set on” persons in order to inflict harm on them. However, as the practice was considered to be a branch of Obeah, it was illegal to practice it here as Obeah was outlawed from 1760.Nevertheless, this did not curtail the number of de Laurence-related incidents and many persons were imprisoned as a result. It is possible that, it was the increase in the number of court cases of this nature that led to the British authorities implementing further legislation which banned the importing, publishing, selling, distributing and reproducing of all de Laurence publications relating to divination, magic, occultism, supernatural arts or other esoteric subjects as they were classified as being “instruments of Obeah”. Persons found to be in breach of this new legislation were sentenced to flogging and/or up to one year imprisonment.There are aspects of the practice of Obeah, and by extension, de Laurence that still remain a mystery to this day. However, what is certain is that despite its illegality, the practice of Obeah is still common in Jamaica, making it an integral part of our heritage."
"I became so intrigued by the mental image in my mind of their company I couldn't resist taking a train ride to downtown Wabash Avenue and seeing it for myself. I had visions of a large dark showroom with candles burning everywhere, incense smoke drifting across the room with swamis, mystics and masters floating around the room with their shopping carts full of strange goods.Instead of that I found the store was on the 2nd floor of an old building. Instead of a turban wearing mystic greeting me at the door I found a short fat bald man chomping on a cigar and reading a horse racing paper! He looked up at me and using his cleverly hidden psychic powers read my mind and said "no store sales, catalog mail order only".What I did see behind him was a medium size storeroom lined with metal warehouse shelves holding the inventory of their huge catalog, all in a space about 20 by 30 feet."
"Among the Golden Dawn authors whom De Laurence ripped off shamelessly, the foremost were S.L. Macgregor Mathers (who translated portions of Von Rosenroth's German translation of Hebrew Kabbalistic texts into English) and Arthur Edward Waite, who translated magical texts from Latin and French originals (e.g. "The Book of Black Magic and Pacts"), and also wrote many original works, including "The Key to the Tarot," which De Laurence issued with his own name on as author!At some point around WW I, De Laurence was either threatened by the Golden Dawn authors in question or the copyright law changed, for on later books he affixed the actual English authors' names to the works, although he may have cheated them out of royalties. Eventually, as the list of titles by the original Golden Dawn authors played out, De Laurence hired ghostwriters who were associated with other occult orders to produce new works under his name.For instance, I have been told on good repute that several of the circa 1920s books De Laurence claimed as his own were written by Charles Stansfield Jones a.k.a. Frater Achad, a disciple of Aleister Crowley, the latter a former member of the Golden Dawn."
"The police raided de Laurence's 'temple' at 3340 Michigan Avenue yesterday after the story told by Mrs. Augusta Muerie, who escaped from the 'temple.'De Laurence, his wife and a gang of negroes, Indians and white women were arrested.The chief deity of the temple was found to be a regular cigar store Indian, before which de Laurence worshiped and forced his followers to worship."
"Just as in novels and movies, the alternate versions of the history of Rennes-le-Château describe its priest Bérenger Saunière as a member of secret societies, a wizard of old Egyptian cults, and the area is full of hidden tombs, chests full of treasures and clues on their trail, all linked through complex geometries, anagrams, and mysterious inscriptions. All the characters involved show a double personality: the public and the esoteric one. The esoteric side is one which cannot be found in official biographies, but only through a reinterpretation of the clues found somewhere in the area surrounding Rennes-le-Château (e.g. Nicolas Poussin and Pope John XXIII, but even Jean Cocteau and Jesus Christ)."