AUSTRIA
(For ancient magic among the Teutonic people of Austria,
see the entry on the Teutons; see also Hungary).
Mesmerism
As Spiritualism spread across Europe in the 1860s and
1870s, it also spread into Austria. The movement was first promulgated
by Constantine Delby of Vienna, an adherent of the
French Spiritism of Allan Kardec. Delby founded a Spiritualist
society and started a journal. Despite his efforts, the society
found little support and was kept alive primarily by Delby’s enthusiasm.
Spiritualism never obtained much foothold in Vienna.
A number of Austrians, particularly the world-famous mediums
and brothers, Willi and Rudi Schneider (from Braunau)
began their work in Austria, but received most of their fame
outside the country. In fact, experts in Great Britain where
much of the investigation into Rudi’s abilities were conducted
have offered the opinion that had he been allowed to remain
in the comfortable world of his native country, his gift might
have developed better. Still, he was never caught in any sort of
fraud, as was often the case during the seances he conducted.
Two other famous Austrians involved in the world of the
paranormal and parapsychology worth mentioning were Erik
Jan Hanussen, and Hans Holzer. Hanussen was known as the
‘‘Prophet of the Third Reich,’’ who had written a book on stage
Australian Satanic Council Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
124
telepathy, based on his experience in performance since the
age of 12. He had successfully defended himself against fraudulent
clairvoyance in court by demonstrating his long-practiced
techniques well-enough to have the charges dismissed. He reportedly
believed in Hitler and his plan to lead Germany so
strongly, that while some reports indicate he might have been
Jewish, Hanussen donated money to Nazi officials in order to
get to meet him. That meeting occured in 1931 and Hanussen
spoke to the leader on the occult. By 1933 as a favorite of the
Third Reich, he opened his ‘‘Palace of the Occult’’ and presented
his vision of the burning of a large public building—only
the day before the Reichstag (the seat of the German government)
was burned. The day after that, Hitler declared himself
dictator. That was in February. One month later, he fell into
disfavor and was arrested. On April 7, he was found dead. How
much he truly influenced Hitler, another famous Austrian, in
his belief in the occult cannot be confirmed.
Holzer who was born in 1920, and a naturalized American,
became famous in the 1960s for his work as a ‘‘ghost-hunter,’’
appearing on television talk shows and serving as a favorite of
celebrities. While he continued to pursue his work, his investigations
were considered unreliable, in great part due to his
faulty historical data.
It was quite otherwise in Budapest (and at this time Hungary
was then part of the larger Austrian Empire). Here a considerable
amount of interest was awakened, and many persons of
note began to take part in the circles that were being formed
there. Among these persons were Anton Prohasker and Dr.
Adolf Grunhut. At length a society was formed, and Baron Edmund
Vay was elected president. A Mr. Lishner, of Budapest,
built a séance room, which the society rented. At that time there
were some 110 members, all professing Christians. Vay served
as the honorary president, and Grunhut as the active president.
The principles of the society, indeed the basis of it, were taken
from the Geist Kraft Stoff of Baroness Adelma Vay and the
works of Kardec. It never encouraged paid mediumship. All the
officers were voluntary and honorary. It had no physical medium,
but good trance, writing, and seeing mediums.
Psychical Research
Though Austria has not been a center of parapsychology,
there is an Austrian Society for Psychic Research (co Prof. Dr.
H. Hofman, co Technische Hochschule, Gusshausstr. 25, Vienna).
Possibly the best known figure in Austrian parapsychology
is Andreas Resch, who edited Imago Mundi (former publication
of the International Society for Catholic
Parapsychologists). Resch has conducted courses in parapsychology
at Lateran University in Rome. Resch now edits Grenzgebiete
der Wissenschaft as the organ of the Institut für Grenzgebiete
der Wissenschaft und von Imago Mundi (Resch Verlag,
Maximilianstr. 8. Postfach 8 A-6020 Innsbruck).
There is also an International School for Psycho-Physical
Training (Bartlemae 17, 9110 Poertschach Woerthersee, Kaernten,
Austria) and the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Parapsycholige
(Himmelspfortgasse 9Tür 11, A-1010 Vienna) headed
by Gustav Pscholka. Franz Seidl, an electronics engineer from
Vienna, has experimented with paranormal taped voices (now
generally known as electronic voice phenomenon).
Sources
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Noah’s Ark Society. ‘‘The Mediumship of Rudi Schneider.’’
httphome.freeuk.netnoahsarkschneidr.htm. June 6, 2000.
Institut für Grenzgebiete der Wissenschaft. http
info.uibk.ac.atccbcb26. June 6, 2000.

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