Book Recommendations: The Occult / Occultism


Justified & Ancient
Aug 7, 2002
My wife has developed an interest in the history of the occult: apart from Colin Wilson's book, can any kind soul provide any recommendations?

Best wishes
I'll bet Alan Moore and Steve Moore (no relation) magnum opus The Moon and Serpent Bumper Book of Magic shows up, it will be exactly the book your wife wishes to read!
It may be a while yet... but I'm certainly looking forward to the day it is available!
Here is one - but it's pricey - The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult
In the early days of photography, many believed and hoped that the camera would prove more efficient than the human eye in capturing the unseen. Spiritualists and animists of the nineteenth century seized on the new technology as a method of substantiating the existence of supernatural beings and happenings. This fascinating book assembles more than 250 photographic images from the Victorian era to the 1960s, each purporting to document an occult phenomenon: levitations, apparitions, transfigurations, ectoplasms, spectres, ghosts, and auras. Drawn from the archives of European and American occult societies and private and public collections, the photographs in many cases have never before been published.

The Perfect Medium studies these rare and remarkable photographs through cultural, historical, and artistic lenses. More than mere curiosities, the images on film are important records of the cultural forces and technical methods that brought about their production. They document in unexpected ways a period when developing photographic technology merged with a popular obsession with the occult to create a new genre of haunting experimental photographs.
I really enjoyed Mythago Wood and other books by Holdstock...can anyone suggest books in that style....?
'Horror' but with a mystical/ occult edge and well written, not just a gore fest.
I really enjoyed Mythago Wood and other books by Holdstock...can anyone suggest books in that style....?
'Horror' but with a mystical/ occult edge and well written, not just a gore fest.

The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce, nice, unsettling bit of hauntology.
It's been a long time coming, but the final book of The Queen's Thief series, which I recommended here ages ago, came out in October, and it wraps things up in a satisfactory way. The latest narrator is straight out of Rosemary Sutcliff and shows us Eugenides at his most scary and at his most loveable.
Thank you for starting this thread. This is a subject that fascinates me and so the suggestions will be very helpful to expand my reading
I forgot to mention before, Arkon Darual's A history of Secret Societies - an oldy but a goody should be in everyone's occult library particularly with the nonsense going around these days,
It's not really a subject that I'm much familiar with, so I don't know how he's regarded by those in the know, but the author Nigel Pennick might be worth a looking at. He's a pretty prolific writer, and I have one or two books of his on other subjects - which are very interesting and eminently readable. He seems to have written many works on the occult and esoteric - and he generally gets very good reviews, but, like I said, on this particular topic I wouldn't be much of a judge myself.
This book has been around for over 50 years and considered a (modern) classic on the topic of things unusual ( I've cut & pasted this straight from Amazon - U.S):

The Black Arts: A Concise History of Witchcraft, Demonology, Astrology, Alchemy, and Other Mystical Practices Throughout the Ages

The Classic Study of the Occult Reintroduced in a 50th Anniversary Edition

The Black Arts is a fascinating and wonderfully readable exploration of the practice, theory, and underlying rationale of magick and occultism in all its branches, including witchcraft, spells, numerology, astrology, alchemy, kabbalah, tarot, charms, and summoning and control of spirits. This edition features a 50th anniversary introduction by historian of alternative spirituality Mitch Horowitz, who frames the book for a new generation of readers.