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Ghosted? My French interview that wasn’t. (Photo by Dana Veraldi)

Ghosted? A Very French Interview on the Occult

I’m a Francophile. So when the editor of the French magazine Science et Inexpliqué asked to interview me as a historian of the occult I was happy to comply.

My correspondent, perhaps expecting more sensationalistic replies, was apparently less happy. After I returned my responses he ghosted me (no pun intended). Hence, I offer our exchange for your judgment. Or, as my hero Rod Serling used to say, “submitted for your approval.”

  • What drove your interest in occult and esoteric themes ?

I became interested as a young child — I was fascinated with folklore, mythology, and mysticism. I wanted to learn the history behind daily horoscope columns and the origins of popular superstitions. That fascination remained with me into adulthood.

  • You pretend that “mysticism shaped the United States.” What are your main discoveries in this field?*

The American colonies developed an early reputation as a safe-harbor for people with radical religious ideas. As early as the mid-to-late 1600s the colonies were a destination for people fleeing religious persecution in the Old World. Some of the nation’s first cities, such as Philadelphia, were founded by people accused of heresy in Europe. Hence, outsider traditions were always formative in American life.

  • Is “The President’s Book of Secrets” a reality ?

I don’t know that term, but I have found that any widely discussed “secret” is usually a piece of drama.

  • If so, where would it be and what would it contain ?

Most things that we consider “secrets” are misunderstood or neglected pieces of history, such as the prominence of Freemasonry among some of the nation’s founders.

  • What are your views on “pedo-Satanist networks”?

The “Satanic abuse” scandals are complete calumny and fiction. The world is filled with so many real problems that I have to wonder at the emotional needs and ethical lives of people who feel impelled to point fingers at problems that do not exist.

  • To your opinion, what are the main goals of the “elite”? Enslave mankind?

I do not believe there is a “global elite” — that is a simplistic reading of history and current crises.

  • Skeptics say that you’re a “conspiracy theorist” (which is of course absolutely ridiculous…). What do you respond?

Actually that’s the one thing I’ve never been accused of! At least not to my knowledge. I’ve probably taken a plainer stand against paranoid thinking than anyone in American culture, including skeptics.

  • What is your current work?

I am writing about extra-physical modes of existence, such as ESP, thought causation, and quantum selection, and what role these things may play in our lives.

[*In French, “pretend” is closer to claim, with thanks to Jon Graham. -MH]

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"Treats esoteric ideas & movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness"-Washington Post | PEN Award-winning historian | Censored in China

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