Saturday, July 29, 2023

Hans Holzer's "Charismatics"

Here's another in an occasional series about the more obscure paperbacks penned by parapsychologist and ghost hunter Hans Holzer. The most recent post before this examined The Psychic World of Bishop Pike.

In bad news, this copy of Charismatics was pristine when I got it, but it had clearly never been read and it was dry as a bone. Through the mere process of me opening it and examining it, it fell apart at the binding. But at least now it's more documented in cyberspace than it was previously. There's almost nothing about it on the internet.

  • Title: Charismatics
  • Additional cover text: "How to make things happen for you by developing your untapped Sensory and Extrasensory powers...!"
  • Author: Hans Holzer (1920-2009)
  • What is Charismatics: According to the back cover, it was created by Holzer and is "a new approach to a magnetic personality which lets you use both your sensory and extrasensory powers to create a new and exciting identity, expand your mind, and develop a better, strong, more convincing You!"
  • Publication date: 1971
  • Publisher: Ace Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 190
  • Cover price: 95 cents
  • A few of the chapter titles: "The Art of Giving and the Art of Receiving," "Charismatics and the Sex Drive," "Charismatics and Illness," "The Nature of Sleep," "How to Expand Your Mind," "How to Apply Charismatic Techniques Without Even Half Trying" and "The Seven Deadly Hang-Ups."
  • First sentence: "Charismatics is an attempt to bridge the gap between concept and reality and to help individuals a little further toward the desired goal of perfection."
  • Last sentence: "When the basis for greed is removed, when guilt no longer has validity, when there are no suppressed feelings or desires left, man can indeed speak to man almost as clearly as nature speaks to us all, if we would only listen."
  • Questionable excerpt #1: "If you are a woman, you have another avenue of fortifying your charisma. Perfumes and aromatics are not merely adornments or fashionable expressions. They are quite definitely supporting tools to personality relationships in that scents penetrate through the aura of electromagnetic field of the human personality and create emotional responses. ... A friend of mine in California who is a high priestess of a witchcraft coven uses specially brewed perfumes to stimulate sexual response."
  • Questionable excerpt #2: "Marxism, one of the forms in which materialism appears among us, has always put forth the theory that the physical part of man is practically all there is of him. The mind exists, to be sure, even to Communists, but it is somehow still a physiological adjunct to the body.  ... But there are now eight schools of learning in Russia where parapsychology is a legitimate science and where matters of mind are studied seriously."
  • Less questionable excerpt #3: "To begin with, we should become aware of the fact that we are not always good observers. One of the first exercises consists of learning how to observe properly. I suggest that one stand in front of a store window with paper and pencil in hand. Look at the window for thirty seconds, and then write down everything that you have observed inside the window, price tags if any, color, size, anything in the way of detail. Then check back with the observed details and see how much you have missed."
  • What are the Seven Deadly Hang-Ups? They are all based around fear. Holzer writes, "The medieval church created the idea of the seven deadly sins. ... I would like to replace the seven deadly sins with today's seven deadly hang-ups ... fear of death, fear of sex, fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of loneliness, fear of ridicule, and fear of responsibility. ... When you have removed the seven deadly hang-ups and are free from the fears that have until now caused you to fail, and when you have learned the techniques of charismatics to advance your aims more forcefully and more successfully, you will find that you are living a much fuller life, and with this realization comes a sense of well-being and joy. You are getting closer to the natural concept of what human life is all about."
  • Ebullient online review: The only review I found was on Amazon, written in 2014 by Dragonrand: "Undeniably Remarkable! I have had this book for years! It is a tome of brilliance and enlightenment. In the aspect of a melancholy society of which clouds society today, this book is a muse on the ear of the creatively drained."

If this post has piqued your interest, the good news is that you don't necessarily have to track down a crumbling 1971 paperback to learn more about Charismatics. The book is available on Kindle and Audible (read by Beth Stewart, who also narrates Glamour Ghoul: The Passions and Pain of the Real Vampira, Maila Nurmi)

BONUS: Here are some of the advertisements from inside Charismatics, which no doubt helped Ace Books to underwrite its publication. (See more of the psychedelic Kotex Kotique advertisements on Retro Musings.)

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