Date: Friday, December 4th
From its earliest days, America has been a laboratory for new or unusual religious ideas – particularly of an occult or esoteric bent. From the spirit medium who became the nation’s first female religious leader in 1776 and the placement of the mysterious eye-and-pyramid on the back of our dollar bill, to the growth of the African-American magical system of hoodoo and the uses of mind-power mysticism among political reformers (including back-nationalist hero Marcus Garvey), the United States has been one nation under many gods. Mitch Horowitz, the author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation, will explore the people, ideas, and episodes that gave America its unusual religious character and show how magical and esoteric religious ideas have shaped so many aspects of our culture, politics, and lives.
Mitch Horowitz is the editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin and the author of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation (Bantam). He has recently written for U.S. News and World Report, Parabola, and BoingBoing, and has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, The History Channel, The Montel Williams Show, All Things Considered, and Air America Radio.