Falk, Samuel Jacob Chayyim (1710-1786)

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Falk, Samuel Jacob Chayyim (1710-1786)

Samuel Falk, a Kabbalistic magician, was a prominent figure in the occult community of London in the late eighteenth century. He had been born in Poland amid a community of followers of the Jewish messianic figure Sabbatai Zvi, and as a young man had learned the occult arts as perpetuated through the Kabbalah. Along the way he settled in Germany (Westphalia), where he ran into trouble for his beliefs and only narrowly escaped being executed as a heretic. He fled to Holland in the early 1730s and in 1742 took up residence in London.

Falk ran a secret occult group out of his home on London's East Side and had an alchemical laboratory in one of the houses on London Bridge. He led a colorful career as a magician and appeared as the teacher of a number of prominent people such as Theodore, the pretender to the throne of Corsica. Falk did various rituals to assist Theodore in his efforts to regain his royal inheritance. He also worked with the Duke of Orleans, also known as Philippe Egalité, to whom he gave a ring of lapis lazuri (some accounts suggest a talisman) to assist in the process of gaining the French throne. Though he did not succeed, supposedly he passed the ring to his son who in 1830 became the king of France as Louis Philippe.

Some have speculated that Falk met the Swedish seer Emanuel Swedenborg during his residency in Holland in the 1730s. Among Swedenborg's early books was On the Infinite (1734), which discusses his meetings with several referred to as "other minds." Swedenborg also settled in England in 1744, just two years after Falk moved there. In the 1770s, Falk also seemed to have joined the list of the associates of Alessandro Cagliostro, the Italian occultist.

While experiencing periods of poverty, Falk died in relative wealth. He owned a large home on Wellclose Square in London and is known to have given a silver Torah to the Great Synagogue of London. He died in the city in 1786.


Godwin, Joscelyn. The Theosophical Enlightenment. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1995. Schuchard, Marsha Keith. "Freemasonry, Secret Societies and the Continuity of the Occult Tradition in English Literature." Ph.D. diss., University of Texas, 1975.