Philosophical Research Society - Atlas Obscura

Philosophical Research Society

A library of rare occult books in Los Angeles. 


Los Angeles has long been home to mystics, far-out spirituals, and occult practices. The Philosophical Research Society has been at the center of the city’s occult since its inception in 1934.

Founded by scholar Manly P. Hall who traveled the globe amassing esoteric texts and artifacts, PRS is a hub for “the ensoulment of all arts, sciences, and crafts.” Even for those who aren’t trying to tap into the spirit world, the library of the Philosophical Research Society provides a wealth of information on obscure, rare religions and philosophies.

The society has long attracted recognition. Elvis Presley was a fan and sent his wife Priscilla on a fact-finding mission. Charles Bukowski was married by Hall on the premises. A ring belonging to Rudolph Valentino from The Son of the Sheik hides away in their collection.

The library is non-circulating, as it is solely a research facility, but deep-dive classes and events abound on the storied grounds and online, keeping today’s seekers hungry for more. 

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January 18, 2010

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