Newbrough, Dr. John Ballou

Newbrough, Dr. John Ballou (1828–1891)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Dr. John Ballou Newbrough was a New York dentist. As a child he was clairvoyant and clairaudient. When he grew older, he found that he was also an automatic writer and painter. He could paint in total darkness, using both hands at the same time. It is said that he could also read printed materials with his eyes closed. He could lift tremendous weights, as much as a ton, and had memory of astral projections.

In 1882, at the age of fifty-four, Newbrough published OAHSPE: A Kosmon Bible in the words of Jehovah and his Angel Ambassadors, the book for which he is best known. This new Bible was written on a typewriter, a new invention at that time. The book was written in the style of the King James version of the Bible. Newbrough described the composing of the book, saying,

I was crying for the light of Heaven. I did not desire communication from friends or relatives or information about earthly things; I wished to learn something about the spirit world; what the angels did, how they traveled, and the general plan of the universe … I was directed to get a typewriter which writes by keys, like a piano. This I did and I applied myself industriously to learn it, but with only indifferent success. For two years more the angels propounded to me questions relative to heaven and earth, which no mortal could answer very intelligently … One morning the light struck both my hands on the back, and they went for the typewriter for some fifteen minutes very vigorously. I was told not to read what was printed, and I have worked myself into such a religious fear of losing this new power that I obeyed reverently. The next morning, also before sunrise, the same power came and wrote (or printed rather) again. Again I laid the matter away very religiously, saying little about it to anybody. One morning I accidentally (seemed accidental to me) looked out of the window and beheld the line of light that rested on my hands extended heavenward like a telegraph line towards the sky. Over my head were three pairs of hands, fully materialized; behind me stood another angel with her hands on my shoulders. My looking did not disturb the scene, my hands kept right on printing. printing … For fifty weeks this continued, every morning, half an hour or so before sunrise, and then it ceased, and I was told to read and publish the book Oahspe. The peculiar drawings in Oahspe were made with pencil in the same way.

The Kosmon Church was founded to practice the teachings of Oahspe. It has since become known as the Confraternity of Faithists or the Universal Brotherhood of Faithists. According to Melton, “In 1883, a convention was held in New York City to work toward founding a communal group to care for orphans and foundlings, as directed in Oahspe.” A settlement was started in New Mexico but only lasted a couple of years.

There are several hundred Faithists in the United States, according to Melton. There are also groups in Britain and in Canada. They issue a quarterly publication, The Faithist Journal, and The Kosmon Church Service Book, which contains “the Kosmon ritual including liturgy for various masses, healing, marriage and dedication of children.”

Sources:

Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
Melton, J. Gordon: The Encyclopedia of American Religions. Wilmington: McGrath, 1978
Newbrough, John B.: Oahspe. Los Angeles: 1935; London: Kosmon Press, 1960
New England Spiritual Campmeeting Association see National Spiritual Alliance of the United States of America
Mentioned in ?