This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.
Lewis de Claremont is credited as the author on several occult books from the early 20th-century including Legends of Incense, Herbs, and Oils. The image of an “artist’s conception of Lewis de Claremont in tunic and turban with Spirit Guide” appeared as the frontispiece in his books. Henri Gamache another author from that time published The Magic of Herbs, Protection Against Evil and Harm, and The Master Key to Occult Secrets. What is interesting is that apparently neither one of these men were real, both were supposedly a nom de plume of a man named Young. The story goes that Young turned over the copyright and publication rights to Joseph Kay, of Dorne Publishing, to clear up a debt.
What makes it more confusing is that at one point Joseph Kay under the name of Joseph Spitalnick claimed authorship, but the fact that some of the De Claremont books were previously published under a different house clearly disproves his claim. There is still yet another theory that has been posited which comes from Ed Kay, son of Joseph, who says that Henri Gamache was actually a college educated young Jewish woman who worked for Joseph and wrote books for him. Regardless of who authored this text it says volumes about popular interest in the early 20th-century.
Legends of Incense, Herbs, and Oils instructs the layperson on certain herbs and oils and how they are related to magic and the occult. Of course the author helpfully directs the reader on where they can purchase these items or recommends that they consult another one of his books for clarification or proper usage. Capitalism at work!
Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.