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Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others

Hans Holzer



Written and compiled by George Knowles


Dr. Hans Holzer, PhD. was one of the early American writers to play a prominent role in the spread of contemporary Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism during the late 1960’s and early 70’s.  A prolific writer of over 145 books, mainly on associated Occult, Paranormal and Supernatural subjects, his early books on Witchcraft, namely:  The Truth about Witchcraft (1969), The New Pagans: An Inside Report On the Mystery Cults of Today (1972) and Inside Witchcraft (1980) were written when few other books on witchcraft were available.  As such he did much to boost and pave the way for many future contemporary writers to follow him.


Holzer is perhaps best known as the famed Ghost-hunter and Paranormal-investigator associated with the “Amityville House” horror investigations, which later became the subject of several popular horror films.  In January 1977, Holzer working with the well-known trance medium Ethel Johnson-Meyers, entered 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York.  In 1974 this had been the place of a horrific murder, when the then occupant “Ronald DeFeo Jr” murdered his own parents and four siblings.  After entering the premises, Meyers allegedly made contact the spirit of an old American Indian Chief, who revealed that the site had once been a sacred Indian burial ground.


During his investigation Holzer discovered bullet holes created during the 1974 murders and took some photos, these when developed showed some rather unusual anomalies, for mysterious halos seemed to hover above them.  Holzer believed that Ronald Defeo Jr. may have been possessed by the old American Indian chief, and that unscrupulous property developers had built the house on a sacred Indian burial site, a claim that the Amityville Historical Society strenuously tried to discredit.  Later while filming the documentary, Holzer managed to get a representative from the property development company to reveal that the property at 112 Ocean Ave. had indeed been built on a sacred burial ground.


Hans Holzer was born in Vienna, Austria on the 26th January 1920.  He claimed his interest in all things supernatural developed from childhood stories about ghosts and fairies recited to him by his uncle Henry.  After completing his early education, Holzer went on to study Archaeology, Ancient History and Numismatics at the University of Vienna, but with Germany threatening war on his boarders, he left Austria in 1938 and settled in New York.


In New York he entered Columbia University were for the next three years he studied Japanese and Journalism.  His main interest at the time was in musical theatre, for which he wrote a short-lived revue called “Safari”, and the book and music for “Hotel Excelsior”, a minor musical about a group of young Americans in Paris, which opened for a brief time in Provincetown, Mass.  He also wrote theatre reviews for The London Sporting Review.


To complete his education Holzer then studied at the London College of Applied Science from where he received a Masters degree in Comparative Religion and a Doctorate degree in Philosophy.  A year later he was offered a Professorship at the New York Institute of Technology were he specialized in teaching Biblical Archaeology and Parapsychology, he was also a guest lecturer at many other Colleges and Universities.


It was during his tenure at the Institute of Technology that Holzer began his life long pre-occupation and investigations into Haunted Houses.  Working with Eileen Garrett, a famous medium and psychic investigator, he received a grant from the Institute to research and investigate Haunted Houses all across the eastern United States.  The result of their investigations led to the publication of his first best selling book “Ghost Hunter” published in 1963.


In 1962 Holzer married the Countess Catherine Genevieve Buxhoeveden, a descendant of Catherine the Great, with who he fathered two daughters Nadine and Alexandra.  His wife Catherine was an accomplished illustrator/artist and drew many of the illustrations for his future books, but after the birth of his second daughter, their marriage ended in divorce.



Hans Holzer (c.1969)


Holzer spent the next five decades traveling around the world obtaining first hand accounts of paranormal experiences.  During this time he authored over 145 books on the occult and other associated supernatural subjects.  Throughout the years he has worked with some of the worlds best-known mediums, including:  Ethel Johnson-Meyers, Sybil Leek and Marisa Anderson, and interviewed most of the occult worlds leading experts and researchers.  Little wonder then that the popular press dubbed him “Father Paranormal”.  Aside from his occult books, Holzer also penned several theatre plays, musicals, films and documentaries, and at the same time hosted hundreds of Radio and Television shows.


Outside of his books on paranormal subjects, many modern Pagans may be surprised to know that through the late 1960’s Holzer was one of the early writers to promote contemporary Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism in a new light, and through his books connected hundreds of new seekers with covens and teachers.  He also led the way for a skeptical publishing industry to allow other academic Pagan authors, such as Margot Adler and Aidan Kelly, among others, to write serious examinations of what we now call the “Pagan community”.  Holzer was himself an initiated High Priest in several pagan traditions, to who he was considered an Elder statesman.  His last book on witchcraft is a tome called “Witches:  True Encounters with Wicca, Wizards, Covens, Cults and Magick (2002).


Holzer passed peacefully to the other side on the 26th April 2009 at his home in Manhattan in New York.  He leaves behind his two daughters Nadine and Alexandra, and five grandchildren.  His younger daughter Alexandra Holzer, like her father, is also a noted author, artist, lecturer, spiritual consultant and paranormal investigator.


A select bibliography:


Ghost Hunter (1963)
Ghosts I’ve Met (1965)
Yankee Ghosts (1966)
The Lively Ghosts of Ireland (1967)
ESP and You (1968)
The Truth about Witchcraft (1969)
Window to the Past: Exploring History Through ESP (1969)
The Aquarian Age: Is There Intelligent Life on Earth? (1971)
The New Pagans: An Inside Report On the Mystery Cults of Today (1972)
Beyond Medicine (1973)
Great British Ghost Hunt (1975)
The UFO-NAUTS: New Facts on Extraterrestrial Landings (1976)
The Psychic Side of Dreams (1976)
Murder In Amityville (1979)
Inside Witchcraft (1980)
In the Terrifying Tradition of the Amityville Horror: Houses of Horror (1983)
Where the Ghosts Are: The Ultimate Guide to Haunted Houses (Library of the Mystic Arts) (1984)
Ghosts of New England: True Stories of Encounters With the Phantoms of New England and New York (1989)
Haunted House Album: A Ghostly Register of the World’s Most *Frightening Haunted Houses (1992)
America’s Mysterious Places (1992)
Love Beyond the Grave (1992)
Life Beyond: Compelling Evidence for Past Lives and Existence After Death (1994)
The Directory of Psychics: How to Find, Evaluate, and Communicate with Professional Psychics and Mediums (1995)
The Secret of Healing: The Healing Powers of Ze’Ev Kolman (1996)
Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond (1997)
Are You Psychic?: Unlocking the Power Within (1997)
Hans Holzer’s Travel Guide to Haunted Houses (1998)
More Where The Ghosts Are: The Ultimate Guide to Haunted Houses (2001)
Beyond Death (2001) (with Phillip Solomon)
Hans Holzer’s Psychic Yellow Pages: The Very Best Psychics, Card Readers, Mediums, Astrologers, and Numberologists (2001) 

Witches:  True Encounters with Wicca, Wizards, Covens, Cults and Magick (2002)
Hans Holzer’s The Supernatural: Explaining The Unexplained (2003)
Hypnosis: Controlling the Inner You (2007)
Growing Up Haunted: A Ghostly Memoir (by Alexandra Holzer and Countess Catherine Buxhoveden - with an introduction by Hans Holzer) (2008).




Plus to many others to mention.


Written and compiled on the 03rd May 2009 © George Knowles


Best wishes and Blessed Be



Site Contents - Links to all Pages


Home Page


A Universal Message:


Let there be peace in the world  -   Where have all the flowers gone?


About me:

My Personal PageMy Place in England / My Family Tree (Ancestry)


Wicca & Witchcraft


Wicca/Witchcraft /  What is Wicca What is Magick


Traditional Writings:


The Wiccan Rede Charge of the Goddess Charge of the God  /  The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) /  The Witches Chant The Witches Creed Descent of the Goddess Drawing Down the Moon The Great Rite Invocation Invocation of the Horned GodThe 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief /  The Witches Rede of Chivalry A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality


Correspondence Tables:


IncenseCandlesColours Magickal Days Stones and Gems Elements and Elementals




Traditions Part 1  -  Alexandrian Wicca /  Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) /  Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) /  Blue Star Wicca /  British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) /  Celtic Wicca /  Ceremonial Magic /  Chaos Magic /  Church and School of Wicca /  Circle Sanctuary /  Covenant of the Goddess (COG) /  Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) /  Cyber Wicca /  Dianic Wicca /  Eclectic Wicca /  Feri Wicca /


Traditions Part 2 Gardnerian Wicca /  Georgian Tradition /  Henge of Keltria /  Hereditary Witchcraft /  Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) /  Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) /  Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition /  Nordic Paganism /  Pagan Federation /  Pectic-Wita /  Seax-Wica /  Shamanism /  Solitary /  Strega /  Sylvan Tradition /  Vodoun or Voodoo /  Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /


Other things of interest:


Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) /  Esbats & Full Moons Links to Personal Friends & Resources Wicca/Witchcraft Resources What's a spell? Circle Casting and Sacred Space  Pentagram - Pentacle Marks of a Witch The Witches Power The Witches Hat An esoteric guide to visiting London SatanismPow-wowThe Unitarian Universalist Association /  Numerology:  Part 1  Part 2  /  Part 3A history of the Malleus Maleficarum:  includes:  Pope Innocent VIII  /  The papal Bull  /   The Malleus Maleficarum  /  An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum  /  The letter of approbation  /  Johann Nider’s Formicarius  /  Jacob Sprenger  /  Heinrich Kramer  /  Stefano Infessura  /  Montague Summers  /  The Waldenses  /  The Albigenses  /  The Hussites /  The Native American Sun DanceShielding (Occult and Psychic Protection)  The History of ThanksgivingAuras  - Part 1 and Part 2 Doreen Valiente Witch” (A Book Review) /   


Sabbats and Festivals:


The Sabbats in History and Mythology /  Samhain (October 31st)  /  Yule (December 21st)  /  Imbolc (February 2nd)  /  Ostara (March 21st)  /  Beltane (April 30th)  /  Litha (June 21st)  /  Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st)  /  Mabon (September 21st)


Rituals contributed by Crone:


Samhain / Yule Imbolc Ostara /  Beltane Litha Lammas Mabon




Tools of a Witch  /  The Besom (Broom) /  Poppets and DollsPendulums / Cauldron Magick Mirror Gazing




Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar and Totem Animals) /  AntelopeBatsCrow Fox Frog and Toads Goat / HoneybeeKangarooLion OwlPhoenix Rabbits and HaresRaven Robin RedbreastSheep Spider SquirrelSwansUnicornWild Boar Wolf /  Serpent /  Pig /  Stag /  Horse /  Mouse /  Cat /  Rats /  Unicorn




In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar.  For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following:  Birch /  Rowan / Ash /  Alder /  Willow Hawthorn /  Oak /  Holly /  Hazel /  Vine /  Ivy /  Reed /  Elder


Sacred Sites:


Mystical Sacred Sites  -  Stonehenge /  Glastonbury Tor /  Malta - The Hypogeum of Hal Saflieni /  Avebury /  Cerne Abbas - The Chalk Giant /  Ireland - Newgrange /


Rocks and Stones:


Stones - History, Myths and Lore


Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:


Apophyllite  / Amber Amethyst Aquamarine Aragonite Aventurine Black Tourmaline Bloodstone Calcite Carnelian Celestite Citrine Chrysanthemum StoneDiamond  /  Emerald / Fluorite Garnet /  Hematite Herkimer Diamond Labradorite Lapis Lazuli Malachite Moonstone Obsidian Opal Pyrite Quartz (Rock Crystal) Rose Quartz Ruby Selenite Seraphinite  /  Silver and GoldSmoky QuartzSodalite Sunstone ThundereggTree AgateZebra Marble


Wisdom and Inspiration:


Knowledge vs Wisdom by Ardriana Cahill I Talk to the TreesAwakening The Witch in YouA Tale of the Woods I have a Dream by Martin Luther King /


Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:


Murdered by Witchcraft The Fairy Witch of Clonmel A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) /  Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife /  The Story of Jack-O-Lantern The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) /  The Two Brothers - Light and Dark


Old Masters of Academia:


Pliny the ElderHesiodPythagoras





A "Who's Who" of Witches, Pagans and other associated People

(Ancient, Past and Present)


Remembered at Samhain

(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)


Pagan Pioneers:  Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others


Abramelin the Mage /  Agrippa Aidan A KellyAlbertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” /  Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” /  Alison Harlow /   Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda MetteyyaAllan Kardec (Spiritism) /  Alphonsus de SpinaAmber KAnn Moura /  Anna FranklinAnodea JudithAnton Szandor LaVey /  Arnold CrowtherArthur Edward Waite /  Austin Osman SpareBalthasar Bekker /  Biddy EarlyBarbara Vickers /  Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel /  Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke Cecil Hugh WilliamsonCharles Godfrey Leland /   Charles WaltonChristopher PenczakChristina Oakley Harrington Cornelius Loos /  Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" /  Dion Fortune /  Dolores Aschroft-NowickiDonald Michael Kraig Doreen ValienteDorothy MorrisonDr. John Dee & Edward Kelly /  Dr. Leo Louis Martello /  Edain McCoy /  Edward FitchEleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” Eliphas Levi /  Ernest Thompson Seton /  Ernest Westlake /  Fiona Horne /   Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia Friedrich von Spee /  Francis Barrett /  Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca /  Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft /  Gwydion Pendderwen Hans HolzerHelen Duncan /   Herman Slater - Horrible Herman /  Heinrich KramerIsaac Bonewits Israel RegardieIvo Domínguez Jr. /  Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick /  James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches /  Janet Farrar and Gavin BoneJean Bodin Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer  / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" /   Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim  -  the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) /  John Belham-Payne John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" /  John Gerard /  John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred /  John Michael Greer /  John Score /  Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson /  Joseph John Campbell /  Karl von Eckartshausen Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" /   Laurie Cabot  - "the Official Witch of Salem" /  Lewis SpenceLodovico Maria Sinistrari Ludwig LavaterMadeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star /  Margaret Alice MurrayMargot AdlerMichael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" /  Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” /  Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" /  Marion WeinsteinMartin Antoine Del Rio Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” /   Max Ehrmann and the "Desiderata" /  Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set /  Monique WilsonMontague Summers /  Nicholas CulpeperNicholas RemyM. R. SellarsMrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" /  Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning GloryOld Dorothy Clutterbuck /  Old George PickingillOlivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis /  Paddy SladePamela Colman-SmithParacelsus /  Patricia CrowtherPatricia Monaghan /  Patricia “Trish” TelescoPaul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school /  Peter Binsfeld /  Philip HeseltonRaven GrimassiRaymond Buckland /  Reginald Scot /  Richard BaxterRobert CochraneRobert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" /  Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” /  Rossell Hope Robbins /   Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) /  Rudolf SteinerSabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" /  Scott CunninghamSelena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" /  Silver RavenwolfSir Francis Dashwood /  Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough"S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” /  Starhawk /  Stewart Farrar /  Sybil LeekTed Andrews The Mather Family - (includes:  Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) /   Thomas AdyT. Thorn CoyleVera ChapmanVictor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" /  Vivianne CrowleyWalter Brown GibsonWalter Ernest ButlerWilliam Butler YeatsZsuzsanna Budapest /  



Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete.  If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below.  Many thanks for reading  :-)



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