Manly P. Hall and The Secret Teachings of All Ages
Observatory (543 Union St., Brooklyn)
It is one of the strangest and most beguiling books of the twentieth century: The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Privately printed in 1928 by a 27-year-old occult scholar named Manly P. Hall, the table-top sized volume – brimming with arcane diagrams, otherworldly illustrations, and detailed entries on everything from Pythagorean mathematics and Egyptian geometry to the origins of the Tarot and the secret authorship of the Shakespearean plays – became one of the most successful underground books ever published. Passing through many printings and versions, including a compact “reader’s edition” in the twenty-first century, it reigns as the Encyclopedia Arcana of the modern age – a must-read for every acolyte of mythical traditions, esoterica, and the occult.
Who was the young and preternaturally gifted author of this massive and impactful work? And what were the circumstances behind the early genius of Hall, a man with little conventional schooling who went on to become the most influential occult voice of the last century? In this vibrant and intellectually lively evening, author Mitch Horowitz (Occult America) – who has written widely about Hall’s life and published the recent “reader’s edition” of The Secret Teachings of All Ages – explores the remarkable persona behind this mysterious tome.