William Buehler Seabrook  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Wiki Commons

Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
William Buehler Seabrook (February 22 1884–1945) was an American Lost Generation occultist, explorer, traveller, and journalist, born in Westminster, Maryland. He began his career as a reporter and City Editor of the Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. He later became a partner in an advertising agency in Atlanta.

In 1915 he joined the French Army in what was to become The Great War. He was gassed at Verdun in 1916, and was later awarded the Croix de Guerre.

The following year he took up the post of reporter for The New York Times, and his curiosity and wanderlust soon led him to take up the life of an itinerant traveller. Besides his books, Seabrook had articles published in popular magazines including Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest and Vanity Fair.

In the interests of research, he obtained from a hospital intern at the Sorbonne a chunk of human meat from the body of a healthy human killed by accident, and cooked and ate it. He reported that, "It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef. It was very definitely like that, and it was not like any other meat I had ever tasted. It was so nearly like good, fully developed veal that I think no person with a palate of ordinary, normal sensitiveness could distinguish it from veal. It was mild, good meat with no other sharply defined or highly characteristic taste such as for instance, goat, high game, and pork have. The steak was slightly tougher than prime veal, a little stringy, but not too tough or stringy to be agreeably edible. The roast, from which I cut and ate a central slice, was tender, and in color, texture, smell as well as taste, strengthened my certainty that of all the meats we habitually know, veal is the one meat to which this meat is accurately comparable."

Around 1920, English occultist Aleister Crowley spent a week with Seabrook at Seabrook's farm. Seabrook went on to write a story based on the experience, and to recount the experiment in Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today.

In 1924, he travelled to Arabia and sampled the hospitality of various tribes of Bedouin and the Kurdish Yazidi. His account of his travels, Adventures in Arabia: among the Bedouins, Druses, Whirling Dervishes and Yezidee Devil Worshipers was published in 1927; it was sufficiently successful to allow him to travel to Haiti, where he developed an interest in voodoo and the Culte des Mortes which were described at length in his book Magic Island.

Although Seabrook had a lifelong fascination with the occult practices of satanism and voodoo, as he saw firsthand both in third-world countries (documented in his books The Magic Island (1929), and Jungle Ways (1930)) as well as in London, Paris, and New York, he later concluded that he had seen nothing that did not have rational scientific explanation, a theory that he detailed in Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today (1940)

In December 1933, Seabrook was committed at his own request and with the help of some of his friends to Bloomingdale, a mental institution in Westchester County, near New York City for treatment for acute alcoholism. He remained a patient of the institution until the following July and in 1935 published an account of his experience, written as if it were no more than another expedition to a foreign locale. The book, Asylum, became another best-seller. In the preface, he was careful to state that his books were not "fiction or embroidery."




  • Diary of Section VIII (1917)
  • Adventures in Arabia (1927)
  • The Magic Island (1929)
  • Jungle Ways (1930)
  • Air Adventure (1933)
  • The White Monk of Timbuctoo (1934)
  • Asylum (1935)
  • These Foreigners: Americans All (1938)
  • Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today (1940)
  • Doctor Wood: Modern Wizard of the Laboratory (1941)
  • No Hiding Place: An Autobiography (1942)

Short stories

  • Wow (1921)

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "William Buehler Seabrook" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools