Magic, according to the faithful, can be found in all the world’s little corners, given that the seeker in question is adept at finding it. Virtually every culture has sought to influence the course of nature with hope of benefiting from the miracles afforded us by the unseen; in the modern Western world, science and technology have greatly expanded such resources for our disposal. Elsewhere, more primitive cultures have employed rituals over time, in the absence of a more complete scientific understanding of their surroundings, with hope of appeasing gods, nature spirits, and elementals, whose pleasure might allow favor to shine upon humble human worshipers nearby.

Thus, the mysterious practice of utilizing supernatural techniques of controlling and fashioning natural laws comes into question, and with it the creation of magical arts, supposedly employed since time immemorial by only the most enlightened and adept among us. Again, we see that there is something of a separation between the Eastern and Western worlds that emerges here, since the materialism often touted in the West is presented as a means of explaining away all observable phenomenon as being in accordance with known (or soon to be known) scientific laws; the rest is the stuff of pseudoscience, or worse, the outright creations of overactive, and perhaps at times less civilized imaginations that remain ignorant to mankind’s long-sought mastery of the universe.

Still, perhaps there are remnants of “something else” which exist. These holdovers from archaic times often do invoke the notion of forces at work in the world around us that seem to escape the modern man of this new era in which we live. For instance, there is the supposed ability to travel outside the body, visiting places far remote to our immediate surroundings, and obtaining knowledge about people and places in the absence of any physical interactions we may have had with them. There are also the stories of mysterious creatures said to haunt the extremities of terra firma, which are believed by the modern man to be the stuff of mere myth and legend; and yet in some parts of the world, there is a persistent belief in manlike beasts that may traverse the deep forests and high mountains of Earth’s most remote corners.

Such things are indeed the stuff of magic… and thus, if one in modern times were ever to take these sorts of things seriously, where better to look for evidence of utter impossibilities than in the heart of the orient? And arguably, if magic–or Jadoo, as it is often called in the native Hindi–is the object of one’s pursuit, who better to go in search of it than a practicing magician?

bookThe story that unfolds within the pages of John Keel’s first published book, Jadoo, while less well-known by modern fans of Keel, involves no lost-and-then-recovered tome from Keel

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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at

6 Replies to “Across the Occulted Orient: John Keel’s Search for Jadoo

  1. I’m in the middle of Jadoo, and while I’ve enjoyed Keel’s narrative of his bold search of the ‘dark arts’, I must confess I’m disappointed with Anomalist Books: the text is PLAGUED with unforgivable typos, making me suspect they used some sort of scanning software in a previous copy of the book, and that no one bother to proof-read it.

    I’m sorry to rant, and let me just add that overall I admire Anomalist Books’ commitment to the publication of Forteana. But let’s just hope that such problems are fixed soon, so that future generations of Keelian enthusiasts can remain inspired with his tremendous legacy.

  2. RPJ,

    Always so negative, dude! Ha ha…

    Obviously, a typo here or there has completely ruined the legacy of John Keel… his career is now in disrepute, and his unsavory ghost is recoiling in horror at the merciless destruction of his good name… 😉

    In truth, there were a few problems with early printings of the new edition of Jadoo. Patrick Huyghe, Publisher of Anomalist books, has already been in touch with me to note that all the problems will be corrected soon, based on proof reads completed by myself and a few others. Plagued with “unforgivable” typos? Come on dude… ha ha. I’m giving you a little hell here, but keep in mind, Anomalist is a small operation. Would you rather just not be able to read the sorts of books they put out at all?

    Now quit yer gripin’, dammit! 😛

  3. Some perhaps but not all. There are always great magicians among a generation but not all seek fame or riches.

    1. Along those who seek to control, there will always be the selfless Justified Ancients of Mumu trying to keep them in check 😉

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