OAHSPE and the Remarkable Mr Newbrough
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Posted 21 December 2009 - 08:06 PM
What is OAHSPE? The answer to that question is a complicated one. For starters, it is a book by a man named John Ballou Newbrough, who claims it is a New Bible. It is also an extremely long and complex mixture of religious history and prophecy that has at times the feel of science fiction as it grapples faithfully with ancient scripture while at the same time adding a whole new mythology of creation and the ethics God requires of his Chosen People today.
There are those who claim it is the most arch kind of blasphemy and must be thoroughly denounced so that no one is taken captive by its enthralling yet "demonic" rewriting of some of the Biblical stories as we know them.
Let us begin with the story of OAHSPE’s "sort of" author, John Ballou Newbrough. An entry from the "Occultism and Parapsychology Encyclopedia" is posted on a website called Answers.com and gives the reader an excellent history of Newbrough and his controversial take on the ultimate spiritual truths of God as handed down to mankind through the ages.
Newbrough was born near Springfield, Ohio, on June 5, 1828, the son of a schoolteacher. He was educated in the local schoolhouse and devoted much time to self-education as well. He attended the Cincinnati Medical College and practiced both medicine and dentistry. In 1949, he migrated to California and was fortunate to be there for the great Gold Rush of that historic year.
He married a woman named Rachel Turnbull and the couple moved to New York where Newbrough resumed his medical and dental practice. Around this time he began to devote himself to the emerging Spiritualist movement and became a trustee of the New York Spiritualist Assocation. His Spiritualist interests were not shared by his wife and may have contributed to their eventual divorce.
It is claimed that Newbrough had remarkable psychic gifts. He could allegedly paint in total darkness with both hands at once. He was also able to close his eyes and read printed pages of any book in any library as well as to bring back recollections of astral travels or projections. He was even said to be able to lift weights of as much as a ton without apparent effort while under the control of certain spirits.
But Newbrough grew bored with the standard forms of contact with the spirits and wanted to engage them in gathering more important metaphysical information. Thus he set in motion the events that resulted in "OAHSPE: A Kosmon Bible in the Words of Jehovah and His Angel Ambassadors."
He told the story of what had happened in a letter to the editor of a publication called "The Banner of Light." Dated January 21, 1883, the letter said, "I was crying for the light of Heaven. I did not desire communication for friends or relatives or information about earthly things; I wished to learn something about the spirit world, what the angels did, how they traveled, and the general plan of the universe. I was directed to get a typewriter which writes by keys, like a piano. This I did, and I applied myself industriously to learn it, but with only indifferent success. For two years more the angels propounded me with questions relative to heaven and earth, which no mortal could answer very intelligently."
One morning the die was cast for real. A light struck the backs of both of Newbrough’s hands and led him to his typewriter for fifteen minutes of a vigorous pounding of the keys. Though he had never mastered the art of typing on his own, suddenly he was serving as a channel for a very competent typist. He was told not to read what he was typing, and, fearful of losing his spiritual connection to his source, he obeyed that order reverently. The basic pattern repeated itself morning after morning.
He spoke little to the people around him about the typewriter channeling process or perhaps more accurately "automatic writing." One morning he looked out the window and saw that the light animating his hands extended out his window and up into the heavens. Three pairs of hands materialized physically over his head, and a female angel stood behind him with her hands on his shoulders.
"For 50 weeks," Newbrough’s letter continued, "this continued, every morning, half an hour or so before sunrise, and then it ceased. I was told to read and publish the book, "OAHSPE." The peculiar drawings in "OAHSPE" were made with pencil in the same way."
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