SPIRITUALISMCOPTIC FELLOWSHIP OF AMERICA.
BEY, HAMID (NALDINO BOMBACCI). Large archive of material related to spiritualist, performer, and founder of the Coptic Fellowship of America, Hamid Bey. The present archive includes: a large oil portrait painting of Bey, 27¾ x 23½ inches (sight) framed to 38 x 34 inches; 18 gelatin silver print photographs, most 8 x 10 inches, 1920s-60s, including several portraits of Bey, as well as photos of Bey with his flesh skewered, standing atop a bed of nails, and mesmerizing animals, some light scratching and wear at edges; approximately 250 staple bound lessons, 1950s, 4to, 6-10 pp each, issued by the Coptic Fellowship of America as part of a home study course, the majority by Bey, comprising Bey's public teachings on Coptic thought; Coptic Fellowship of America / Egypt's Master Voice, n.d., 7 volumes, 8vo, original yellow wrappers, comprising additional lessons; United States Certificates of Naturalization for Hamid and Nada Bey, Los Angeles, December 13, 1940 and November 8, 1940, listing the couple's former nationality as Italian, with signed passport photos affixed to document, and an extra signed photo of Hamid loose; Certificate of Marriage between Naldino Bombacci [Hamid Bey] and Nada Segatori [Nada Bey], New York, June 6, 1929; Certificate of Baptism for Doris Bombacci Bey, Hamid and Nada's daughter, New York, July 24, 1930; an album of press clippings and advertisements related to Bey's demonstrations and lectures.
Provenance: Hamid Bey; by descent to present owner.
A revealing collection of material relating to the life and shadowy origins of the spiritualist and founder of the Coptic Fellowship of America, Hamid Bey [1897-1976]. According to most accountsincluding his 1933 autobiography My Experiences Preceding 5,000 BurialsBey was born and raised in Cairo, and at an early age went underwent training in an Egyptian Coptic Temple. Ultimately emerging as a "seven-ring Master," Bey traveled to America in 1926 intending to demonstrate to Harry Houdiniwho had launched a campaign aimed at debunking spiritualist phenomenafeats of mind over matter that Houdini would be unable to explain. When Houdini died before Bey found an audience with him, Bey remained in America and caused a sensation with a series of public demonstrations, including multiple live burials, permitting skewers to be stuck into his flesh, and mesmerizing animals, which are well documented by photos and newspaper clippings in the present archive. In 1937, Bey moved to Los Angeles and founded the Coptic Fellowship of America, through which he continued his demonstrations and disseminated his teachings, in part via a home study course titled "How to Master Your Life," with topics that included "The Law of Vibration: Energy, Electricity, Magnetism," "Metaphysics and Mysticism," and "The Magical Power of the Mind to Form and Re-Form." In addition to documenting Bey's public career and teachings, this archive provides an intriguing revelation: Bey's certificate of marriage and the naturalization certificates issued to he and his wife show that Bey's real name was "Naldino Bombacci," and that his former nationality was not Egyptian but Italianfacts which heretofore have never been made public.