The Secret, exposed a century ago
The Secret has been out for three years now. I thought all the nonsense about this book would go away quickly, it's just an old rehashed concept which has been debunked before. But, three years later the book remains in the top 100 on the Amazon best seller list. Not only that, two other related books (The Secret to Teen Power, & The Vortex) are also in the top 100.
And it's all pure nonsense.
I was reminded of The Secret in going through the 1910 Punch. In the November 30, 1910 issue, was this fake letter to the editor.
THE POWER OF THOUGHT.
A CASE OF POSSESSION.
Bow Street, Nov. 25.
DEAR MR. PUNCH,
— Dr. JULIA SETON SEARS, M.D., the founder of the New Thought Church and School, U.S.A., is over here on a crusade. She expounded her views at a "small parlour audience" yesterday afternoon to a select few disciples and others. She holds that if you want a thing badly enough you get it. All you have to do is to concentrate your thoughts, visualise whatever you want to occur, and "see yourself in instant possession."
Fortified with this simple programme of procedure I determined to put it into practice at the earliest opportunity It occurred to me this morning, while strolling through the National Gallery, that I badly wanted ROMNEY'S portrait of Lady HAMILTON.
I concentrated hard for forty seconds, and visualised the occurrence most successfully.
No sooner thought than done.
I lifted the picture off its hook and walked away with the precious acquisition under my arm, feeling really immensely grateful to Dr. SEARS. I was, however, observed by an officious attendant.
The next moment I was practically " in instant possession " of the police, and am now waiting to be bailed out. Will the leader of the New Thought kindly think me out ? The case is urgent—or rather, it is proceeding, and it will soon be too late.(Signed) A MARTYR TO THE CAUSE.
Julia Seton Sears was real as was her visit to England at that time. Her New Thought Church and School were real and successors still exist today. And in 1910 she toured England giving her version of "The Secret." (And Romney's portrait of Lady Hamilton is also real.)
Punch's exposure of the silliness of The Secret nearly a hundred years ago is as valid today as it was then. But nothing changes. Suckers bought this mystical claptrap back then, and they still do today.