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True Crime: God Fraud

Updated on June 8, 2013

Once I wrote an article on the occult for a publication I worked for, and as part of my research I decided to visit a New Age bookstore. As a result of that, and more recent experiences, I have learned five important things about the occult. They are:

  1. The occult can crack you up
  2. The occult makes other people suspect you’re on crack
  3. The occult makes you think crackheads are sexy
  4. The occult can be more dangerous than crack;
  5. The occult is all it’s cracked up to be.

I will explain:

I doubt that it was incense.
I doubt that it was incense.

1. The occult can crack you up

The New Age bookstore I visited was a small, secretive establishment whose windows were covered over -- I suspect because the sight of customers browsing in floor-length black robes might have startled passers-by. Or possibly because the heavy smoke might not have been incense, in spite of assurances to that effect from the excessively mellow cashier. For this and other reasons, the New Age bookstore scored pretty high on my wack-o-meter.

I could just hear my grandmother shrieking “heathens!” as black-robed witches (yes, floor-length, black robes) browsed spell-casting magazines. I picked one up out of curiosity: the spells were somewhat like recipes (just not as happy as grandma’s – mostly they were about cursing love rivals or making somebody puke up their lunch.) Plus, lots about fertility goddesses, their purported powers, and attendant rituals. I will not elaborate.

So there I was, browsing the magazines, learning what ancient Babylonian goddesses, or Druid incantations, or aura balancing, could do for me. It boiled down to: “Try anything! It doesn’t matter what – all of them are paths to Power! Tap into your Power! Feeeeellll your supernatural Power!”

I was tempted, after reading them, to believe I could fly like Wonder Woman.

And as I stood there reading, considering what my article should say, slowly something dawned on me about the occult, something fundamental: Why – the occult isn’t really about ritual orgies or human sacrifice or becoming a vampire (though these were certainly favorites). No, it’s lust for power, pure and simple!

Yes, stupid lust! Way, way-over-the-top, Genghis Khan, global domination lust! It wasn’t enough to see the future or contact the dead or make some unsuspecting slob your love slave. No, you had to go for the gusto!

Because when I looked up from my magazine, there on the store bulletin board was a flyer that cut right to the chase. “Take our Avatar Course,” it trumpeted, “and at the end of 10 days we’ll declare you a god!” (For only $2,000, which was a deal when you considered that most people lusting for godlike power had to wait much longer than 10 days to get it.)

Yes, godlike power! Amaze your friends!

Now I have every faith that the thieves of the world are diligent and creative. But I defy them all to concoct a more ridiculous scam than the “10-day godhood course.” It will be Number One until the crack of doom. And I will always regret not calling the number on that flyer. I could’ve had some real fun with those people.

As it was, I laughed out loud, even though I was in the middle of a room full of witches who could’ve read my mind and cursed me.

2. The occult makes other people suspect you’re on crack

When it was finished, the article I wrote could be distilled down to this: Occult bad. Occult make stupid. The first day it appeared in print one of my co-workers came to argue with me because --

“You say it’s wrong to worship the devil!”

I admitted that was true, and suggested that the Bible frowned on devil worship. Even this, however, he disputed.

“The Bible says it’s okay to worship the devil!”

I assured him that it did not, and offered to eat any part of it that he could produce to support that idea. He went away to search, and I beat my head on the desk for awhile.


3. The occult makes you think crackheads are sexy

Since visiting the New Age bookstore, I notice that occult-inspired books have grown and multiplied. Lots of romances these days are supernatural porn, usually involving vampires. They have lurid covers depicting women getting their necks bitten by lean, mysterious men. The most popular young-adult book in the country is about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire.

The only trouble is, there’s no such thing as a vampire. So if you want a vampire, you’ll have to find some real-world approximation. Some wild-eyed, wormy-looking guy who’s filed his teeth down to points. I saw several such men at the New Age bookstore.

Of course, they were crackheads.

4. The occult can be more dangerous than crack

Not far from my home there lives a woman who works out of her house as a palm reader. Every time I drive by I stare at her house, not just because it’s pink and bat-ugly, but because the police found a body buried in her backyard.

Yes, I said found a body in her backyard. It made the front page of the local paper.

Incredibly, she’s still open for business. And if I ever needed confirmation that palm readers are in league with the devil, I have it now. Because if the police found a body buried in my backyard, we all know how that story would end.

In any case, I think the takeaway here is, going to the palm reader can be hazardous to your health.

5. The occult is all it’s cracked up to be

I left the New Age bookstore that day feeling as if I needed to wash my hands, as if I’d come into contact with something profoundly unclean. Probably that was because they had done more smoking than dusting; but there was more to it than that.

As a Christian I had to consider that while many of the New Age ‘gurus’ were hucksters, about as concerned with the supernatural as my dog, still – some others probably were genuine witches -- all that they were cracked up to be.

And as I considered the implications of that, I felt a sense of nastiness I can’t adequately describe. The Bible uses words like “defiled” and “unclean” for that sort of spirit. And unclean was the overwhelming sense I got.

Unclean, and dangerous. In spite of its absurdities, the occult still delivers for the other side, and that part isn’t a bit funny. The ridiculous, transparent shell game sometimes actually works.

Or at least, it will if left unchallenged. But the good news is, even when its followers are genuine, the occult is a big, fat bull’s-eye, a honking bad deal begging to be laughed away.

I’m happy to do my small part.

And maybe – I can’t help it – have just a little fun in the process.


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    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      5 years ago from The Shire

      Michele, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I wrote this tongue-in-cheek, but the bookstore was seriously a strange place, filled with people who looked like they were dealing with major issues. Maybe I should add a postscript to my readers -- "please pray for the people who visit these places. They are in trouble too big for them."

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Great hub. The New Age Religion is strange to me. Thank you for describing it. Now I don't have to look at one myself!

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      5 years ago from The Shire

      Pamela, I agree with you. The bookstores have a very strange vibe. I came away with the feeling that people go there because they're greedy, scared or angry -- they want power, protection or revenge, no matter *what* it costs them. And yes, why do that, when God is more powerful, and waaaay more pleasant!

      Thank you for looking in!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Molly, When my sister and I visited Salem, MA many years ago we went into two occult bookstores, and they were just kind of creepy. I don't want to live on the evil side. Being a Christian makes me joyful and happy despite my circumstance and no magic can match that. Very interesting hub.

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      5 years ago from The Shire

      Thank you, Hyph! It did feel weird to be there, and I couldn't help wondering why people get sucked in when so much of it is honestly ridiculous. But on the other hand, if I hadn't gone in, I would have missed out on the 10-day godhood flyer ;-) learning how to curse love rivals :-0 and whatever secondhand smoke exposure I got from the mystery weed burning on the counter . Oh well -- you live and learn!

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I have never been in one of these stores and hope to always avoid the experience. I just love how you write and your sense of humor. On the serious side though, the occult is really dangerous and those young people you mentioned are being indoctrinated.

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      5 years ago from The Shire

      Hi Cogerson, and thank you for the visit! I'm glad you enjoyed it. And I don't think I'll make a second trip, either. I think I'd be pushing my luck. :-)

    • Cogerson profile image


      5 years ago from Virginia

      A very interesting look at your visit to occult stores....I have never visited such a store...but after reading your hub.....I am pretty sure I never will either...but I now feel like I have been to one....I liked all the humor you included with the information.....very well done.

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      5 years ago from The Shire

      Drbj, you're a poet! And I'm afraid you're right. I'm one of those who believes in supernatural beings, both good and bad, and it beats me why anyone would want to call on the bad ones. They'll have to chase me down if they want to catch me! :-)

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you for this enthralling read, molly, which inspired this:

      Those who deeply practice the occult,

      May end up sooner in a burial vault.

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      5 years ago from The Shire

      Lol Gypsy!! Yes, there was probably a trap door hidden somewhere in the floor. Lucky for us we didn't trip the trigger! Seriously though -- I got that sense too. It didn't strike me as a happy place, or even a safe place, at all. You have to wonder about people who come in to read magazines about spells and curses. Thanks for looking in!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Occult book stores actually scare me. I've looked into one or two while I was living in NYC and in my opinion if you went into one you might never come out again.

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      5 years ago from The Shire

      Hi Blossom! Thank you for dropping by. Yes, it did feel odd to be there. Nothing was off limits, according to the magazines I read. Some of them mentioned substances like mescaline and magic mushrooms in glowing terms as a doorway to the spirit realm, as they were used extensively by native cultures in religious rites, etc. Others encourage readers to call up spirit guides using their ancient names (some you'd recognize, no doubt -- Ashtoreth, Baal and Molech!) Now there's an instance of modern archaeology!

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      There seems to be an occult store in just about any good sized town. I could only wish that there were as many Christian stores. I guess I'm not qualified to write on the occult ones as I've never visited one, but I do feel that they're not good places and I can't imagine why - apart from your idea of people wanting to gain power, probably over other people - anyone would frequent them. A funny article, yes, but also a very serious matter, especially when they entice our young people to explore what they have on offer. Bless you for writing about it.

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      5 years ago from The Shire

      Thank you Faith! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think it's going to be my last visit, though. The women wearing the party store gowns had me concerned. Every once in a while you hear of some who take the human sacrifice tradition seriously. :-0

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      LOL, molly, I am so glad you are back!!! I missed the good belly laughs from reading your hubs!

      Your hub is funny, but the reality that there are those who really participate in such, and their lives lead to destruction, as you mentioned in your comment.

      Very interesting read. I am glad you have not lost your sense of humor!

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • mollymeadows profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Strain 

      5 years ago from The Shire

      Hi Always, and thank you for looking in. I wrote this as humor, because some parts of what I saw were genuinely funny, but in the end I think the occult is incredibly destructive. I didn't include this, but I was reading articles in some magazines there that described hallucinogenic drugs as an "aid to a spiritual experience." Yup -- and a hospital visit!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Interesting read. I have never seen an occult store and really have no desire to see one. The smoke would turn me off more than the robes. I enjoyed reading about your visit and i agree, the people who are in an occult are sick, and their way of life cracks me up too.. Cheers..


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