By Hans Holzer
Dr. Hans Holzer, PhD. was one of the early American writers to play a prominent role in the spread of contemporary Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism during the late 1960’s and early 70’s. A prolific writer of over 145 books, mainly on associated Occult, Paranormal and Supernatural subjects, his early books on Witchcraft, namely: The Truth about Witchcraft (1969), The New Pagans: An Inside Report On the Mystery Cults of Today (1972) and Inside Witchcraft (1980) were written when few other books on witchcraft were available. As such he did much to boost and pave the way for many future contemporary writers to follow him.
Holzer is perhaps best known as the famed Ghost-hunter and Paranormal-investigator associated with the “Amityville House” horror investigations, which later became the subject of several popular horror films. In January 1977, Holzer working with the well-known trance medium Ethel Johnson-Meyers, entered 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York. In 1974 this had been the place of a horrific murder, when the then occupant “Ronald DeFeo Jr” murdered his own parents and four siblings. After entering the premises, Meyers allegedly made contact the spirit of an old American Indian Chief, who revealed that the site had once been a sacred Indian burial ground.
During his investigation Holzer discovered bullet holes created during the 1974 murders and took some photos, these when developed showed some rather unusual anomalies, for mysterious halos seemed to hover above them. Holzer believed that Ronald Defeo Jr. may have been possessed by the old American Indian chief, and that unscrupulous property developers had built the house on a sacred Indian burial site, a claim that the Amityville Historical Society strenuously tried to discredit. Later while filming the documentary, Holzer managed to get a representative from the property development company to reveal that the property at 112 Ocean Ave. had indeed been built on a sacred burial ground.
Hans Holzer was born in Vienna, Austria on the 26th January 1920. He claimed his interest in all things supernatural developed from childhood stories about ghosts and fairies recited to him by his uncle Henry. After completing his early education, Holzer went on to study Archaeology, Ancient History and Numismatics at the University of Vienna, but with Germany threatening war on his boarders, he left Austria in 1938 and settled in New York.
In New York he entered Columbia University were for the next three years he studied Japanese and Journalism. His main interest at the time was in musical theatre, for which he wrote a short-lived revue called “Safari”, and the book and music for “Hotel Excelsior”, a minor musical about a group of young Americans in Paris, which opened for a brief time in Provincetown, Mass. He also wrote theatre reviews for The London Sporting Review.
To complete his education Holzer then studied at the London College of Applied Science from where he received a Masters degree in Comparative Religion and a Doctorate degree in Philosophy. A year later he was offered a Professorship at the New York Institute of Technology were he specialized in teaching Biblical Archaeology and Parapsychology, he was also a guest lecturer at many other Colleges and Universities.
It was during his tenure at the Institute of Technology that Holzer began his life long pre-occupation and investigations into Haunted Houses. Working with Eileen Garrett, a famous medium and psychic investigator, he received a grant from the Institute to research and investigate Haunted Houses all across the eastern United States. The result of their investigations led to the publication of his first best selling book “Ghost Hunter” published in 1963. Psychic Investigator is the book following on to “Ghost Hunter.”