ADVENTURES IN ARABIA: AMONG THE BEDOUINS, DRUSES, WHIRLING DERVISHES, & YEZIDEE DEVIL WORSHIPERS – By W.B. Seabrook — 1st Edition / 1st Printing, 1927 — Middle East / Travel / Occult Devil Worship
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace and Co., New York (1927)
In very well preserved condition. The boards and binding are solid and tight, save for light shelfwear. The pages are crisp and clean. Some old water staining at top of of pages, which in no way effects text of images. 347, with photographs and illustrations throughout. In this personal
travelogue, William Seabrook chronicles his adventures in the Middle East in
the early part of the twentieth century. Specifically he focuses on his time
among four Arabic groups: the Bedouins, Druses, Dervishes, and Yezidees. A truly fascinating account, with beautiful images. Please see below for more information on WB Seabrook.
In the 1920s,
Seabrook traveled to West Africa and came across a tribe who partook in the
eating of human meat. Seabrook writes about his experience of cannibalism in
his novel, Jungle Ways; however, later on Seabrook admits the tribe did not
allow him to join in on the ritualistic cannibalism. Instead, he obtained
samples of human flesh from a hospital and cooked it himself.
In autumn 1919,
English occultist Aleister Crowley spent a week with Seabrook at Seabrook's
farm. Seabrook went on to write a story based on the experience and to recount
the experiment in Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today.
In 1924, he
travelled to Arabia and sampled the hospitality of various tribes of Bedouin
and the Kurdish Yazidi. His account of his travels, Adventures in Arabia: among
the Bedouins, Druses, Whirling Dervishes and Yezidee Devil Worshipers was
published in 1927; it was sufficiently successful to allow him to travel to
Haiti, where he developed an interest in Haitian Vodou and the Culte des Mortes,
which were described at length in his book The Magic Island. The book is
credited with introducing the concept of a zombie to popular culture.
Seabrook had a
lifelong fascination with the occult practices of satanism and Haitian Vodoo,
which he witnessed and described firsthand both in Third World countries, as
documented in The Magic Island (1929), and Jungle Ways (1930). He later
concluded that he had seen nothing that did not have a rational scientific explanation,
a theory which he detailed in Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today (1940).
In Air Adventure
he describes a trip on board a Farman with captain Renč Wauthier, a famed
pilot, and Marjorie Muir Worthington, from Paris to Timbuktu, where he went to
collect a mass of documents from Father Yacouba, a defrocked monk who had an
extensive collection of rare documents about the obscure city at that time
administered by the French as part of French Sudan. The book is replete with information
about French colonial life in the Sahara and pilots in particular.
1933, Seabrook was committed at his own request and with the help of some of
his friends to Bloomingdale, a mental institution in Westchester County, near
New York City, for treatment for acute alcoholism. He remained a patient of the
institution until the following July and in 1935 published an account of his
experience, written as if it were no more than another expedition to a foreign
locale. The book, Asylum, became another best-seller. In the preface, he was
careful to state that his books were not "fiction or embroidery".
Marjorie Muir Worthington in France, in 1935, after they had returned from a
trip to Africa on which Seabrook was researching a book. Due to his alcoholism
and sadistic practices they divorced in 1941. She later wrote a biography, The
Strange World of Willie Seabrook, which was published in 1966.
On September 20,
1945, Seabrook committed suicide by drug overdose in Rhinebeck, New York.