Occult New York: A Manhattan Walking Tour with Mitch Horowitz


PLEASE NOTE: SOLD OUT - please email phantasmaphile [at] gmail.com if you’d like to be added to the waitlist

Date: Sunday, Sept 12th
Time: 2pm sharp - approx 5pm
Admission: $20 cash per person

Presented by Phantasmaphile

*We will be meeting at 2 pm at the front gates of Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue just north of East 29th Street, in front of the bronze statue of Norman Vincent Peale.

Long before the “Aquarian Age” hit California, America’s laboratories of spiritual experiment were in the tenements of Hell’s Kitchen, the metaphysical churches built in New York’s old cow pastures, and the lodges nestled among Manhattan office buildings. Join Mitch Horowitz, author of Occult America, for a walking tour to explore New York City’s astonishing – and overlooked – role in igniting the occult revival and the revolutions in alternative spirituality that swept America (and the world) from the nineteenth century to the present day.

Discover little-known landmarks of our underground spiritual legacy, such as:

The New York New Church - This beautifully restored Renaissance-revival Swedenborgian church was a wellspring of supernatural ideas in America in the mid-nineteenth century, when its pulpit was presided over by Spiritualist minister George Bush – ancestor to the Bush presidential clan.

The Lamasery - In the 1870s this westside tenement housed the salon of the occult Theosophical Society, whose earliest members included Thomas Edison, Major-General Abner Doubleday, and the mysterious Russian noblewoman Madame Blavatsky. This is where Civil War-era Colonel Henry Steel Olcott said he was visited by mysterious “Masters” who heralded the dawn of a new spiritual age.

Marble Collegiate Church - From the pulpit of this Romanesque church (and one of America’s earliest congregations) the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale spread the philosophy of “positive thinking” throughout America – a spiritual system built on American mystical teachings.

Fred F. French Building - This crowning edifice of the art deco movement of the early-twentieth century forms a temple of esoteric imagery, designed by an aficionado of the occult who left his mysterious markings on apartment and office buildings across New York City.

New York Theosophical Society - The site of New York’s premier library on matters of the esoteric and occult, and home to the New York branch of the oldest occult organization in America. This stop will include time to browse the building’s emporium of esoterica, The Quest Bookshop.

This tour provides an unforgettable opportunity to experience a lively and up-close overview of the “secret history” found right in our own neighborhoods. Plus a few surprises along the way…

A widely known writer and speaker on the history and impact of alternative spirituality, Mitch Horowitz is the editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin and the author of Occult America (Bantam 2009), which The Washington Post Book World called: “Fascinating…a serious, wide-ranging study of all the magical, mystical, and spiritual movements that have arisen and influenced American history in often-surprising ways.” Horowitz has written for U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, Parabola, and BoingBoing. He has recently appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, Dateline NBC, and All Things Considered. You can visit him online at Mitch Horowitz. The paperback version of Occult America will be released on October 5th, 2010.

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