By Sean Casteel

Mystic Utopian “Supermen”

The cover of this new release from Inner Light/Global Communications pretty much says it all. The book’s title is “Mystic Utopian ‘Supermen,’” with the subtitle “A Private Training Course in the Use of Universal Magnetism and the Mental Control of Others.” The book is a reprint of “Universal Magnetism: Embracing All Human Powers,” from 1924.

What’s here, essentially, is a tutorial on developing one’s “inner Nazi,” learning how to dominate by sheer force of the will using telepathy and mental “magnetism.”

The author is Edmund Shaftesbury, and he was himself a real piece of work. While some of what Shaftesbury teaches is similar to what one might encounter in a 21st century New Age self-help course, there is a darkness hanging over his teachings that it is not possible to dispel. Prolific researcher and author Nick Redfern opens the book with the history of that darkness and the man who conjured it. More about Redfern’s introduction later in this article.


The cover of “Mystic Utopian Supermen” boasts that the book contains material that exposes the “Dark Side” of the occult. To the modern reader, who rejects outright the teachings of Hitler and his crazed vision of German/Aryan Supermen, it is mainly useful as an historical document.

Shaftesbury believed that there were two types of people…the “magnetic” and the inferior “hypnotic.”

Like many a cult leader before and after him, Shaftesbury portrays the world as an “Us versus Them” combative state of affairs. The people who follow him develop their personal and psychic capabilities and become “magnetic,” a quality imparted to the Supermen. Those who fail to become magnetic are the “hypnotic,” a lesser class of human whose failings must be avoided by their magnetic superiors. With these teachings, Shaftesbury gathered a following of hundreds of people in his cult and conceivably could have been another Jim Jones.  

“There are in fact only two classes of human beings on Earth,” Shaftesbury writes, “and from the beginning of time there have never been more than these two. If you are in the hypnotic class, you cannot be magnetic. And the chances are ninety out of a hundred that you are in the hypnotic class. If you are in the magnetic class by virtue of birth or the gift of Nature, or the result of acquired power through habits that beget it, then you are in a position to go on with these studies.”

One can see that from the outset that Shaftesbury is seeking to create in the minds of his students the notion that they are a privileged minority who can always look down on the hypnotic majority. The hypnotic class falls prey to, ridiculously enough, “eye strain” and “monotony of gaze.” Also, various other forms of monotony, to include “monotony of physical activity” and “monotony of mental activity,” as well as “lapses of mental activity.” Which lead the hypnotic person to the DARK SECTION OF THE MIND – to the Estate of Hell.

To condemn the “non-enlightened” to literal damnation is a sinister form of bigotry, but not unexpected when one considers the darkness of the idea’s source. More about that later.


Shaftesbury teaches that the ideal his students should aim for is called the “crystal mind,” or a state of complete mental clarity.

“A complete machine,” he writes, “is a work of the highest skill; it is an example of integrity. Were some part missing or defective, the integrity of its construction would be marred of broken. There is but one item in the moral code of the universe, and that is honesty.

“The Ten Commandments,” he continues, “are different ways of saying, ‘Be honest.’ The criminal codes of the world, with their thousands of restrictions, are all variations of the one command, ‘Be honest.’ The man or woman who is perfectly honest needs no creed, no Decalogue, no code, no religion. Grand and ennobling as all true theology must ever be, it crumbles into dust before the standard of integrity; it pales and is lost in the light of perfect honesty. When a human being has reached that moral stage where nothing can deviate him from this one quality, he has outstripped all others in the race to heaven.”

Shaftesbury foresees a time in the 20th century (obviously proven wrong by the passage of time) when men and women are using their crystal minds and are able to see into the motives of their fellow beings. When that happens, there will be a “burning light” shedding its piercing rays into all brains and hearts, at which point all the criminal codes of the world will have but one interpretation, “Be honest.” The various religions, Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, pagan and all, will cluster around the rock-built temple of God, whose every stone bears the whole story of salvation, “Be honest.”

“That we can see minds and motives now,” he writes, “is true. That the faculty is coming rapidly to the front is true. That its development will be far and wide is true. And then it must also be true that humanity, with its guise thrown off, must be honest.”

In a world where people who have attained a crystal mind and can read the thoughts of their fellow man, a certain kind of “honesty” would be inevitable. In an interview I did several years ago with alien abduction researcher Dr. David Jacobs, he talked about how an abductee sometimes develops unwanted psychic abilities after their encounter, including the “gift” of telepathy. He posited that, if the world ever becomes truly telepathic, very few of us could endure not having the privacy of our thoughts. 

One must pity the “inferior” hypnotic among us whose minds would be easily read and controlled by the supermen/women Shaftesbury is trying to indoctrinate into his strange and sinister view of humankind. He further believes that by employing the exalted state of the crystal mind he could rebuild the human race and give it “the powers of omniscience and omnipotence, relatively speaking.”  

A race of people who are omniscient and omnipotent would indeed be Utopian Supermen, would they not? We should perhaps count ourselves lucky that we remain un-super and continue to be as we were created, without exalted powers of the mind. Nevertheless, would it be possible to use Shaftesbury’s techniques without an ideological agenda? In some morally neutral way that did no harm? One can only wonder.


Edmund Shaftesbury, whose real name was Webster Edgerly.

And just who is the prophet of this coming transformation of the human race? The aforementioned Nick Redfern provides an excellent summation of Shaftesbury’s life and legacy in his introduction to “Mystic Utopian Supermen.”

Redfern informs us that Shaftesbury was born in 1852 in Massachusetts as one Webster Edgerly. He would go on to become a social-reform activist who sought to perfect the ultimate human being. Edgerly, having graduated from Boston University’s School of Law in 1876, became obsessed with the idea that via certain highly controversial, and at times distinctly occult-based, techniques largely of his own design, the latent powers of both the human mind and body could be elevated to near superhuman levels. Based on this obsession, Edgerly founded a now-obscure movement that became known as Ralstonism.

Edgerly would proclaim to anyone who would listen that Ralstonism is as “necessary” as food, light, or water.

Redfern quotes Edgerly as boasting that “This movement is the grandest, noblest and already the most far-reaching power that has originated in the present age. Ralstonism is the grandest movement that man is capable of establishing.”

According to the 1900 edition of “The Book of General Membership of the Ralston Health Club,” the letters which comprised the word “Ralston” had their origins in the words Regime, Activity, Light, Strength, Temperance, Oxygen and Nature. Curiously, however, editions of the book published prior to 1900 were credited to one Everett Ralston, a pseudonym of Edgerly’s. The implication was that Ralstonism was named after Edgerly’s wholly fictitious alter ego.


At least in Edgerly’s mind, his disciples, devotees and followers were all the founding members of what he firmly hoped would become a new order – possibly a new race and a new breed of human, even – that would be solely Caucasian-based and completely free from what he disturbingly referred to as “impurities.” His further declared that if Ralstonism was to work successfully and elevate its new Caucasian supermen to truly stratospheric levels, then all non-Caucasian males should be castrated at birth – and with absolutely no exceptions whatsoever.

Edgerly published numerous “self-help” books under yet another pseudonym, Edmund Shaftesbury, and it is the name used for this new Inner Light/Global Communications edition of his book “Universal Magnetism.” His books encompassed such seemingly unconnected issues as diet, exercise, punctuation, sexual magnetism, artistic deep breathing, facial expressions, and even, strangely enough, ventriloquism. He also founded the Magnetism Club of America, which was established with the intent of giving its members mental power over others by way of what he termed “Personal Magnetism.”     

In the book that concerns us here, Edgerly outlines how the procedures that had to be followed to ensure such personal power could be successfully attained and maintained:

“The better way is to train the will at home and alone, always basing it on some principle in the study of magnetism. With this in view, seclude yourself so as to be free from disturbing influences.”

Operations of the Other Mind

Further along, Edgerly praises another of his books, called “In Operations of the Other Mind,” by saying, “Against the growing errors, vagaries, morbid theories, occult teachings, and wild beliefs that are darkening present-day life, depressing the mind, weakening the nerves, preying on the health, and creating gloomy forebodings, this work comes as an inspiring guide and a practical instructor. It has been our wish and purpose to make this course of training one of the most important and valuable ever published. So, into the book we have put the great study ‘HOW TO EMPTY THE MIND.’ Recall the countless times you have been mentally upset, worried and bothered with troubles. Think of what it would have meant – and will mean – to   know how to cast off all such mental torture out of your mind. The relief and peace of mind this one study alone can bring you can be worth thousands of dollars.”

Another of the stranger aspects of Ralstonism was the dietary regulations handed down by Edgerly. For example, watermelons, which he one day decided were somehow poisonous to Caucasians, as, supposedly, were pickles, crabs, cranberries, cookies, tea and “anything with crisp surfaces.” It was only through a strict dietary regimen and regular physical exercise that a perfect body, and the ability to “read” and control the minds of others, could be firmly achieved, he told his followers. Essentially, eating right was part of what was required for the sake of developing “mind control” powers that could be used to mentally oppress the weaker people found outside of the Ralston community.

Between 1894 and 1895, Edgerly purchased areas of farmland in New Jersey on which he built a large and imposing house intended to contain a whole community of Ralstonites which he envisioned as becoming the heart and soul of a futuristic metropolis that would be christened the City of Ralston. None of this came to pass, however.


The cover of “Physical Culture” magazine from June 1934. Today, eugenics brings to mind the Nazis and the death camps, but it was in Britain and America that modern eugenics developed.

Nevertheless, according to Redfern’s introduction, Edgerly was certainly a visionary ahead of his time – albeit without doubt a deranged and racist visionary. Edgerly died in 1926, in Trenton, New Jersey, and his theories predated the later racist/eugenic principles but forth many years later by Hitler in the 1930s.

Hitler’s Nazi Germany held that the collective Germanic and Nordic populations were the closest thing that existed to a pure race. This particular philosophy of hatred had its origins in a 19th century scenario that placed African Bushmen and Australian Aborigines at the foot of the ladder and the Nordics firmly at the very top. Aside from in the minds of those racists that adhered to the theory (and who, in some cases, still adhere to it), it was utterly lacking in any scientific merit.

As was the case with Edgerly, the Nazis were also as fascinated with the occult as they were with the concept of creating the perfect superman.

Redfern contributes even more on the history of “supermen” and the occult, to include beliefs practiced by the Nazis, Josef Stalin and others who sought to control the world in absolute terms.

And while we cannot recommend “Mystic Utopian Supermen” as a work of common decency that the average person could embrace in good conscience, the reader may find some of the advice the book gives interesting on a personal level. Does any of it strike you as being true, once it is removed from its ugly, racist, mind control context? Is there anything useful to learn here? It is a conundrum for the individual reader to decide on his own, even as he resigns himself gratefully to an “un-super” existence. 

Sean Casteel.







Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.