Seabrook, William (Buehler) (1886-1945)

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Seabrook, William (Buehler) (1886-1945)

American traveler and author who explored paranormal phenomena and occultism many years before the occult revival of the 1960s and 1970s. From the 1920s onward, he lived with a Bedouin tribe in Arabia, witnessed whirling dervish dancing at a monastery in Tripoli, saw Yezidee devil worshipers in Kurdistan, studied voudou in Haiti for a year, and also investigated black magic in West Africa. Born February 22, 1886, in Westminster, Maryland, he was educated at Mercersburg Academy; Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia (Ph.B.); Newberry College, South Carolina (M.A.); and the University of Geneva.

In 1908 he worked as a reporter on the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle and became city editor at the age of 22. He went on to become a partner in an advertising agency in Augusta, then enlisted in the French Army in 1915. He was discharged after a gas attack at Verdun and awarded a Croix de Guerre. After a period as a farmer in Georgia, he went to New York, where he worked as a reporter for the New York Times, then as a writer for King Features Syndicate.

In 1924, he visited Arabia, where he lived with a Bedouin tribe, and thereafter he devoted himself to traveling and writing. In 1933, he committed himself to a New York hospital where he was treated for alcoholism; his seven-month treatment became the basis of his book Asylum (1935). He died on September 20, 1945, at Rhinebeck, New York, by committing suicide.


Seabrook, William Buehler. Adventures in Arabia Among the Bedouins. New York, Blue Ribbon Books, 1930.

. Jungle Ways. N.p., 1931.

. The Magic Island. 1929. Reprint. New York: Paragon House, 1989.

. No Hiding Place. Philadelphia; New York: J. B. Lippencott, 1942.

. These Foreigners. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1938.

. The White Monk of Timbuctoo. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1934.

. Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1940.