Saturday, August 25, 2012

New website - Occult Guide

Hello, everyone!

I recently got back into town from our honeymoon in Vienna, which was completely amazing.  Upon arrival back home, my wife and I are now launching a new website dedicated to mapping locations of occult significance worldwide.

I have received quite a few messages from people outside of Chicago telling me that they wished a resource like this blog existed for their own city.  Likewise, we have traveled and wished that such things existed so that we would know of good places to visit.

So now we present to you, OCCULT GUIDE

Occult Guide is a site powered by member submissions:  add locations in your own hometown to be added to the worldwide maps.  Occult Guide is also a fully functional social media website, complete with forums, member profiles, user groups and more.

We are incredibly proud of our new creation, and hope that you find it interesting enough to join in.  Help us to map the unseen hiding in plain view!

Monday, August 6, 2012


Hello to all of the amazing followers of Occult Chicago!

If things have been just a little bit slow around here lately, they are bound to be even slower as my wedding quickly approaches.  Not only will posts here resume when life settles down, but a brand new project will also be unveiled - something of interest to every single person who has ever read this blog.  Really!

I'll still be around for a few days, so please continue to contact me with questions and submissions for the Occult Chicago calendar.

Thank you again for reading!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chicago, Satan's Sanctum

Unfortunately this 1899 book is about local crime.  Still, the cover is charming enough. 
The entire book is available to download as PDF from archive.org

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Nature of Ghosts and the Human Spirit

Speaking of Leadbeater, he's mentioned in this offer to make some cash in exchange for proving that ghosts exist.  Take a look at this wonderful artwork!

Chicago Examiner, 1908

And for even more amazing artwork...  "After You Are Dead."

Also from the Chicago Examiner, 1908. 

Steinway Hall

Built in 1896, Steinway Hall was located at 64 E Van Buren St.  The building went through a variety of name changes over the years and also housed a number of activities of interest to readers here.

Image courtesy the Steinway Hall Wikipedia page.

In its early days, the 11-story office building housed a number of architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright (who remained in the building until 1908). During this time, Steinway Hall was briefly being advertised as a "Temple of Magic."

Image courtesy the Chicago Magic blog.  While focusing on stage magic, there is definitely information of interest.

Image of the theater during it's run as the "Punch and Judy Theater" courtesy the Cinema Treasures website.

The 850-seat theater in the building originally was a branch of Ziegfeld's theaters (while the Follies were taking off in New York, Flo Ziegfeld was originally from Chicago).  The theater was home to acts such as Sophie Tucker and Fatty Arbuckle.  In 1915 the theater's name was changed and Shakespearean plays were produced.

The same theater was rented out by the Theosophical Society, who secured every Sunday for a six month period of time.  During this time, Charles Leadbeater lectured on a variety of subjects relating to the occult and Theosophy.  Leadbeater, having just arrived from England, packed the theater to the extent that would-be listeners regularly had to be turned away at the door.  His lectures here in Chicago would be published as the book Some Glimpses of Occultism Ancient and Modern.

In 1941, after the schism of C.F. Russell's Choronzon Club, one of the splinter groups housed itself at Steinway Hall (practically around the corner from the Fine Arts Building where they had previously met).  They would remain here until the 1960s, when they would return to the Fine Arts Building.    For more information on this, please visit my previous post regarding C.F. Russell and the Fine Arts Building.

Around this time the theater was being used to show adult movies.  Public sentiment had swayed against the building, and it was demolished on April 5, 1970.  Apparently it was written in the Chicago Tribune that “Few, if any, will mourn it.”

In its place, we now have a parking lot.