Cover image for Encyclopedia of occultism & parapsychology
Encyclopedia of occultism & parapsychology
Melton, J. Gordon.
Fifth edition.
Publication Information:
Detroit : Gale Research Inc., [2001]

Physical Description:
2 volumes ; 29 cm
General Note:
"A compendium of information on the occult sciences, magic, demonology, superstitions, spiritism, mysticism, metaphysics, psychical science, and parapsychology."
v. 1. A-L -- v.2. M-Z.
Added Author:


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF1407 .E52 2001 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference
BF1407 .E52 2001 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference

On Order



More than 5,000 entries cover recent phenomena, concepts, cults, personalities, organizations and publications in this updated work. New features include an Internet resources index and a general bibliography.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Considerably expanded and updated from its three-volume second edition of 1984-85 [RBB Ja 1 85 and Ap 15 86], the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology continues to provide informative articles on persons, organizations, publications, phenomena, mythical beings, etc. The subtitle says it all: A Compendium of Information on the Occult Sciences, Magic, Demonology, Superstitions, Spiritism, Mysticism, Metaphysics, Psychical Science, and Parapsychology, with Biographical and Bibliographical Notes and Comprehensive Indexes. Shepard is neither advocate nor debunker but gives balanced descriptions that include both cautions, evidences of fraud, and discussion of still-unexplained happenings. All original subjects from the Spence and Fodor encyclopedias of 1920 and 1934, which formed the base of the first edition of this work, were retained and are of historical value for researchers, although they now are updated and modified by new information and research. The alphabetical entries range from one-line definitions ("neurypnology--James Braid's first term for hypnotism") to many pages. See and see also references follow some entries, while many cross-references are indicated by boldface print when those terms or persons appear as entries. Bibliographies are provided for many entries; these also have been updated to include recent publications and even video and audiotapes. Among the more than 500 new entries are such persons as Shirley MacLaine and J. Z. Knight, her psychic guide, as well as Jack the Ripper and Melvin Harris, who recently uncovered the killer's probable identity and published a book about his murders for occult rites. Other new entries include Channeling, Ramtha, Rapping, Tutankhamen Curse, and Rasputin. Updatings include death dates, address changes for organizations and publications, additional publications, expanded biographical details, and additional information that has come to light or come to pass. For instance, the entry Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shree is now expanded by two full pages that detail his ashram, its scandals, and his downfall. As in previous editions, both the general and topical indexes continue to provide helpful detail. The extensive updating will make this revision of the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology an important purchase for libraries with a clientele interested in magic, the New Age, the supernatural, or psychic phenomena. (Reviewed Sept. 1, 1991)

Choice Review

The three volumes of the second edition (CH, Jul'86) are now two, and this new edition reflects many internal changes. There are more than 500 new entries. The editor claims, "In essence, every entry from the second edition has been researched again. In this process careful attention has been given to points made by readers and critics" (introd.). If this is true, it would greatly improve this set, which has been marred by careless editorial control over the sources used for the earlier editions. This encyclopedia originated from a combination of two one-volume works both still in print (N. Fodor, Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science, 1933; L. Spence, Encyclopaedia of Occultism, 1920) plus editor's contributions. The problem was that Fodor and Spence often did not agree with each other, resulting in a work that contradicted itself, inexcusable in a reference book. This new edition has been greatly improved. Birth and death dates have been supplied and corrected. However, many major articles remain unrevised (e.g., "Daniel Dunglas Home," "Atlantis," "Kirlian Auras"). The encyclopedia clearly and thoroughly presents the occult and parapsychological view of things, but it can be faulted in many cases by its ignoring of evidence and conclusions critical to the supporters of those fields. An example is the lack of mention of the pioneering study of Kirlian photography by J.O. Pehek et al. in 1976, completely discrediting such photographs. There are still mistakes (e.g., "David O. Abbot" in one place, and "David P. Abbott" in another). Other articles (e.g., "Fraud") are entirely too credulous to be accurate. If this encyclopedia is used carefully, and supplemented by the use of critical studies, it will be a valuable resource. In any case, it is the most comprehensive and useful encyclopedia on the occult and paranormal by far. It is therefore an essential purchase for college and university reference collections, as well as for larger public libraries. -G. Stein, University of Rhode Island