Sacred Precinct

"San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality" – Paul Kantner

Month: March, 2018

Twilight Mages Pt. 3: Byoir and Associates

Carl Byoir, a founding father of the profession of Public Relations, and the man who would serve nearly a decade as E. Virgil Neal’s right hand man, was a child prodigy of the newspaper business. He started working in the industry when he was 14 years old and made managing editor of the Iowa Times by the time he was 17. He first worked under the legendary editor Joseph Pulitzer, and then worked his way up to become circulations manager for the entire Hearst newspaper empire, where he was known as the “Miracle Man” for his ability to get things done. He then studied under the educator Maria Montessori, and bought the first Montessori franchise in the United States. Because of his thorough understanding of mass media, when America joined the Allied forces in 1917, Byoir was hired as Associate Chairman of the Creel Committee of Public Information, which launched an unprecedented propaganda campaign to sell America to the world. There Byoir gained the sobriquet of “M.D.” which stood for “Multiple Director,” because of his capacity to oversee many initiatives at once.

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Twilight Mages Pt. 2: The Dark Arts of Persuasion

“The Machiavelli of the mid-20th century will be an advertising man; his Prince, a textbook of the art and science of fooling all the people all the time.”

– Aldous Huxley

The “Twilight Mages” were a group of practical occultists that emerged in the 1890s, who commercialized the occult by making previously esoteric or forbidden knowledge available to the masses – for a price.  The Twilight Mages promised to reveal the secrets to success, and to help develop one’s latent powers and hidden talents.  Using the same business model that Scientology would later perfect, the Mages sold elaborate mail order lesson plans in esoteric subjects as diverse as personal magnetism, telepathy, and hypnosis.  A single topic would typically consist of an average of 30 lessons, and mastering the “complete system of personal influence” required the completion of nearly 200 lessons.

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