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Deganawidah (fl. 1450), Huron spiritual leader and mystic, and, according to Iroquois legends, principal founder of the League of the Hau-Dé-No-Sau-Nee, or People of the Longhouse. The oral traditions reveal little about his youth, personal life, or events after the formation of the league....

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Grierson, Francis (18 September 1848–29 May 1927), musician, writer, and mystic, was born Benjamin Henry Jesse Francis Shepard in Birkenhead, England, the son of Joseph Shepard and Emily Grierson. When Grierson was less than a year old, the Shepards migrated to central Illinois, where they took up frontier farming and became active in local abolitionist activities. The boy’s parents taught him to read, using the Anglican catechism as a text. In 1858, when the family lived in Alton, Illinois, and during their first residence in St. Louis from 1859 to 1863, he may have had—the record is not clear—a little more than five years of formal schooling....

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Heard, Gerald (06 October 1889–14 August 1971), writer and mystic, was born Henry Fitzgerald Heard in London, England, the son of Henry James Heard, a clergyman, and Maud Bannatyne. He received a B.A., with honors, from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in 1911 and did a further year of graduate work. He never married. In the first part of his life Heard worked with the Agricultural Cooperative Movement in Ireland (1919–1923), edited the ...

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Kelpius, Johannes (1673–1708), mystic and communitarian leader, was born in the Schässburg region of Transylvania-Saxony, the son of Georg Kelp, a Lutheran pastor (mother’s identity unknown). Young Kelp (Latinized as Kelpius) studied at three universities (Tübingen, Leipzig, and Altdorf) and received a master’s degree from Altdorf in 1689 with a treatise on natural theology. The scholarly world was also impressed by two more technical publications on ethics and theology, which he completed by the age of seventeen. He met the learned Johann Jakob Zimmermann, with whom he shared a deep interest in the theosophy of the shoemaker-mystic Jakob Boehme and the cabalistic speculations of the Rosicrucians. Kelpius accepted the calculations of Zimmermann, a noted mathematician, that the millennium would arrive in 1694, and he joined the pietist brotherhood of scholars (the Chapter of Perfection), who decided that the New World was the right place to await the Second Coming....

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Urrea, Teresa (15 October 1873–11 January 1906), healer, psychic, and mystic, was born on a ranch near Ocoroni, Sinaloa, Mexico, the daughter of Tomás Urrea, a wealthy rancher, and Cayetana Chavez, a poor mestiza of Tehueco origin. Her parents were not married. Born in a humble ...