MAN, MYTH & MAGIC
Marshal Cavendish Ltd./BPC Publishing Ltd
Editor: Richard Cavendish
Cover: "Demonic Elemental" by Austin Osman Spare
Cover price: 95 cents
Subtitled, "The Most Unusual Magazine Ever Published", in 1974 it certainly was. Yes, thanks to the resurgence of the occult in the 1960's, there were encyclopedias of mysticism and magic, some that ran into the hundreds of pages. MAN, MYTH & MAGIC, however, ran into the thousands (4480 to be exact) by the time its planned 112-issue run was over.
The basic premise was this: "In 112 weekly issues (it was published weekly in the UK and bi-weekly in the US), MAN, MYTH & MAGIC builds into the first comprehensive encyclopedia of its kind; more than 1000 articles, totaling over 1,750,000 words, in 8 volumes; some 5,000 illustrations, many of them in full colour, drawn from ancient manuscripts, rare books, private collections, museums." Often within its pages were entries that included all manner of legendary beasts and mythical monsters.
The wizard behind this ambitious project was Richard Cavendish, whose book The Black Arts, among others, were very popular in the day. He is described in the magazine as being "a leading authority on magic and witchcraft." His editorial board consisted of a number of other experts in a wide variety of occult and paranormal fields:
- Glyn Daniel, archaeologist and editor of 'Antiquity'.
- E. R. Dodds, former Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford.
- Mircea Eliade, professor of the History of Religion at University of Chicago.
- William Sargant, past Physician in Charge of the Department of Psychological Medicine, St. Thomas' Hospital.
- John Symonds, author and literary executor of Aleister Crowley.
- R. J. Zwi Werblowsky, professor of Comparative Religion, Dean of Faculty of Humanities, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
- Robert Charles Zaehner, Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics, Oxford.
- Cottie Arthur Burland, formerly of the Department of Ethnography at the British Museum.
Contributing editors numbered in the hundreds. Among them were numerous educators and academics. Consequently, the material is written in a slightly elevated style (it is an encyclopedia after all), but nevertheless accessible for the general consumer. Some contributors were popular contemporary personalities, and many were even practitioners of the fields they specialized in.
This, the first issue of the first volume, begins with the entry, "Aberdeen Witches", and includes a long entry on Africa. Other entries are on "Abominable Snowman", "Agrippa", "Ahriman", and the demonic possession of the "Aix-en-Provence Nuns", by author Eric Maple.