ozy.com recently posted an article about NYC’s Warlock Shop, and its flamboyant, controversial owner, Herman Slater. While Slater was Wiccan, he made the Warlock Shop a gathering place and major resource for the whole range of occultists living and working in New York. O.T.O. members worked at the Shop, performed the Gnostic Mass there, hosted lectures there and so forth. A lot of this is documented in Simon’s Dead Names, an “account” of creation of The Necronomicon and of the New York occult scene it was created within. The article begins:
“The Western world has always had a special place in its capacious bosom for outré religious beliefs. The country was founded by those partially moved by the same. So it’s no surprise that from spiritualists and mediums to Freemasons, Wiccans, members of Ordo Templi Orientis or half a dozen other secret societies, a prevailing belief in life after death has engendered a certain mania for undiscovered, only partially revealed truths about the shadow play sometimes called reality. A reality where things that are easy to find and understand are easily dismissed, and where esoteric knowledge — the harder to find, the better — is prized.
“Such was the business model that Herman Slater, along with his lover Ed Buczynski, put into play when, in the early 1970s on the edge of Brooklyn Heights, they opened a special kind of curio shop. The Warlock Shop, full of fairly standard hippie fare for the time — candles, herbs, incense and oils — also offered a smattering of books, and it was around these books that people, so-called occultists, cohered. So much so that by 1976 Slater was making enough to make a move for the big time, in this instance a down-market place in the upmarket New York neighborhood of Chelsea. Four blocks from the Chelsea Hotel, where one of Slater’s more famous customers, Robert Mapplethorpe, lived with punk priestess and poet Patti Smith for a time, the shop, renamed the Magickal Childe, was a perfect vehicle for playing out Slater’s hard-core beliefs in the occult.”
Read the entire article here: