In Chapter 1 we briefly mentioned Napoleon Hill. He was not seeking contact with spirit beings when he was suddenly confronted in his study by an unexpected and uninvited intruder. Hill claims that an emissary came across the astral plane. In a voice that “sounded like chimes of great music,” this visitor from another dimension declared: “I come from the Great School of Masters. I am one of the Council of Thirty-three who serve the Great School and its initiates on the physical plane.”
Hill was informed that he had been “under the guidance of the Great School” for years and had been chosen by them to give the formula of success, the “Supreme Secret,” to the world: that “anything the human mind can believe, the human mind can achieve.” Here again is the same lie that turns one from God to the alleged power of the human mind. Peale and Schuller try to link this occult power with prayer and faith. Hill was not praying, but was introduced to a mysterious source of “guidance” claiming to inhabit a spiritual dimension (“a region beyond the power of our five senses to know”) from which “unseen, silent forces influence us constantly.”
Although he spoke and wrote a great deal about “mind power” and “positive mental attitude” (a phrase he was inspired by these entities to coin), Hill was convinced that behind these forces were “unseen watchers” guiding the destiny of those who were willing to submit to their leadership. There was no limit to the success and wealth which these allegedly higher beings would give in exchange for following their principles. Hill claims to have gotten these secrets from contact with “The Great School of Masters,” of which he wrote:
“Sometimes known as the Venerable Brotherhood of Ancient India, it is the great central reservoir of religious, philosophical, moral, physical, spiritual and psychical knowledge. Patiently this school strives to lift mankind from spiritual infancy to maturity of soul and final illumination.”
Still a perennial bestseller even after 60 years, Hill’s best-known book, Think and Grow Rich, has been credited with changing the lives and influencing the careers of a large percentage of America’s top business executives. Its 1941 edition contains endorsements from United States Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Harding, Wilson, and Taft; and from some of the world’s greatest scientists and founders of America’s leading corporations: Thomas A. Edison, Luther Burbank, John D. Rockefeller, F. W. Woolworth, William Wrigley, Jr., George Eastman (of Eastman Kodak), Robert Dollar (of Dollar Steamship Lines), and others.
The Venerable Brotherhood of Ancient India taught Hill the power of visualization. Following their advice, Hill visualized nine famous men from the past sitting around a table as his “advisers.” And their advice proved to be remarkably sound and profitable for Hill to follow.
As a result, Hill became very successful, and millions of other people (including many of America’s leading business, professional, and political leaders) adopted and proved the astonishing power of this ancient shamanic technique in every area of their lives. Though he clung to the idea that it was all imagination, from what Hill wrote it is clear that visualization had opened the door to the world of the occult:
“These nine men were Emerson, Paine, Edison, Darwin, Lincoln, Burbank, Napoleon, Ford, and Carnegie. Every night…I held an imaginary council meeting with this group whom I called my ‘Invisible Counselors.’ In these imaginary council meetings I called on my cabinet members for the knowledge I wished each to contribute, addressing myself to each member…. After some months of this nightly procedure, I was astounded by the discovery that these imaginary figures became apparently real. Each of these nine men developed individual characteristics, which surprised me…. These meetings became so realistic that I became fearful of their consequences, and discontinued them for several months. The experiences were so uncanny, I was afraid if I continued them I would lose sight of the fact that the meetings were purely experiences of my imagination. This is the first time I have had the courage to mention this…I still regard my cabinet meetings as being purely imaginary, but…they have led me into glorious paths of adventure…[and] I have been miraculously guided past [scores] of difficulties…. I now go to my imaginary counselors with every difficult problem which confronts me and my clients. The results are often astonishing….”
Carl Jung also tried to deny the reality of the entities that visited and guided him. Jung finally was forced to admit their objective reality. Surely Hill could not really believe that his imagination gave each one of his nine counselors “individual characteristics,” characteristics which he confessed surprised him. And whence the wisdom that proved so beneficial on so many occasions when problems beyond his ability to solve were presented to his “imaginary” advisers? Of course, it is much more comfortable to believe in the power of imagination than to accept the fact that one has become the victim of an occult invasion.