iOS app Android app

Mitch Horowitz
M itch Horowitz is the editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin and the author of Occult America (Bantam), awarded the 2010 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for literary excellence. Horowitz has recently written for The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, and BoingBoing. You can visit him online at his website.

Entries by Mitch Horowitz

What? It's Friday the 13th Again?

(1) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 3:33 PM

It's baaaaack...

This Friday we mark our second Friday the 13th of the year. If you feel like we just observed the dreaded day, you're not imagining things.

2015 is an unusual calendar year in which we experience three Fridays-of-the-feared-number (as opposed to the usual one or two). And...

Read Post

13 Superstitions That Still Scare the Bejesus Out of Us

(4) Comments | Posted February 10, 2015 | 8:30 AM

This week marks the arrival of the first Friday the 13th of 2015. For many of us, even the mention of this "unlucky day" brings a quiver of anxiety. We say it's hoo-hah, but a little voice in us whispers, "what if?..."

Superstitions retain surprising power today. Next time...

Read Post

WATCH: New Documentary "The Seer of Poughkeepsie"

(0) Comments | Posted January 31, 2014 | 5:06 PM

One of the most quietly monumental figures of the nineteenth-century was the American trance medium Andrew Jackson Davis (1826-1910), known (sometimes jokingly) in the press as the "Poughkeepsie Seer" for his Hudson Valley, New York, home.

Davis coined the term "Law of Attraction," though in a subtler sense from...

Read Post

The 7 Biggest Myths About Positive Thinking

(24) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 7:46 AM

Positive thinking is at once the most influential and maligned philosophy in American life.
The positive-thinking outlook, which grew out of New England mental-healing experiments in the mid-nineteenth century, extols one key principle: thoughts are causative. Whether embraced or dismissed, this insight has reshaped our political campaigns ("Yes,...

Read Post

WATCH: Occult New York: Gotham's Hidden History

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 9:59 AM

My lecture on the history of the occult in New York delivered at the 2013 International Theosophy Conference in Manhattan explores how New York City served as a surprising springboard for alternative spiritual ideas in the Victorian era and beyond.

Read Post

VIDEO: Halloween As a Religious Holiday: A Lecture at the New York Public Library

(1) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 3:44 PM

Halloween is increasingly observed as a religious holiday in the United States -- including within the U.S. military. In my Halloween-eve lecture at the New York Public Library, delivered October 30, 2013 at the Mid-Manhattan Branch, I highlight the ancient roots of Halloween and its rebirth in modern America.

Read Post

My Occult Boyhood

(4) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 4:02 PM

For me Halloween has always been more than just a holiday for costumes, parties, and trick-or-treating. It is a time of year that summons up occult interests that grew deep in me in childhood -- that stage of life when mysteries could appear wherever you looked. Especially when you weren't...

Read Post

How to Take a Massive Leap Forward in Your Writing Through One Simple Exercise

(1) Comments | Posted September 19, 2013 | 3:23 PM

As a historian of alternative spiritual movements, I strive to understand the careers of people who lived by unusual -- and often misunderstood -- ideas. I analyze individuals, from occultists to positive-thinkers, whose inner lights, depending on one's perspective, can appear eccentric, brilliant or some mixture of the two. Navigating...

Read Post

How the Occult Brought Cremation to America

(52) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 11:00 AM

Cremation has become so popular in America that if current trends continue it will be the funerary choice of half of Americans within four years. Time Magazine reported this surprising fact in a recent cover story on the rise of cremation -- yet the otherwise probing story omitted,...

Read Post

10 Positive-Thinking Books That Might Change Your Life

(43) Comments | Posted August 23, 2013 | 5:07 PM

Positive thinking is at once the most widely embraced and the most frequently reviled philosophy in America. As I explore in my forthcoming book, One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life (Crown, Jan 2014), the gospel of positivity grew out of mystical and occult subcultures in...

Read Post

Why Rod Serling Still Matters

(42) Comments | Posted August 21, 2013 | 5:38 PM

I doubt there's anyone born in the age of television syndication who doesn't have a haunting, dream-intruding memory of a Twilight Zone episode. We all know them: ventriloquist dummies who talk on their own, gremlins on airplane wings, neighbors who are space aliens or -- worse still -- who accuse...

Read Post

Positive Thinking, Seriously

(2) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 3:42 PM

The power of positive thinking. It is a phrase first popularized in 1952 in the title of the mega-selling book by the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale. While outwardly a conservative Dutch Reform minister, Peale drew upon a metaphysical tradition with powerful and deep roots in America. Peale's concept of "positive...

Read Post

Top 10 Myths About 2012

(287) Comments | Posted January 4, 2012 | 5:11 AM

Or why you shouldn't stop contributing to your 401k plan

The ancient Mayan people, whose empire extended across much of Central America from late-antiquity to the 1500s, maintained a complex system of calendars -- which, oddly enough, ended with this year, 2012. This anomaly in Mayan timekeeping has...

Read Post

The Occult In American History: More Than Just Bumps In The Night

(1) Comments | Posted October 28, 2010 | 12:41 PM

Whatever interests you at age eight or nine tells you who really are. It's a time when you are old enough to start thinking independently but young enough not to feel the full grip of peer pressure. Growing up in the 1970s in Queens, New York, my tender interest was...

Read Post