The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
Bardon, Franz (December 1, 1909—July 10, 1958)
Witchcraft Hall of Fame
Franz Bardon, a highly influential author and occultist, was born near Opava, now in the Czech Republic, the oldest and only son of thirteen children. His father, Viktor Bardon, was a devout Christian mystic. Allegedly when Franz was 14, his father performed a ritual whereby the soul of a Hermetic adept entered Franz’s body.
Bardon is well known among magical adepts, although largely unknown to the general public. Partly this is a result of his nature: Bardon was a modest, private man. His four books, published in the 1950s, focus on magic rather than on the magician who wrote them.
Bardon’s books teach a complete magical system, described as deriving from Holy Egyptian Mysteries once reserved for the elite few, and taught by Christ to his disciples. All his books have been translated from their original German into English.
Bardon places emphasis on the tangible results of magic as well as on magical theory. Among the influences he cites are Alexandra David-Neel’s work on Tibetan magic and mysticism. Other powerful influences included traditional Jewish Kabalah and the works of Eliphas Levi. He did not cite Aleister Crowley as an influence although Bardon’s motto, “Love is the law but love under a strong will,” obviously compares with Crowley’s (see page 720).
During the 1920s and 1930s, Bardon worked as a stage magician in Germany, using the name Frabato, while pursuing his occult interests. Following the ascension to power of the Nazis in 1933, Masonic and occult organizations were closed and persecuted (although individual occultists were sometimes cultivated by the Third Reich).
According to Bardon’s legend, he was arrested sometime in late 1941 or early 1942 and tortured. When he and a compatriot demonstrated true occult ability, the compatriot was executed but Bardon was offered a position within the Third Reich, which he refused. After the war ended, he returned to what was then Czechoslovakia and worked as a mechanic, naturopath, and graphologist.
Bardon is a classic example of the archetypal “wounded healer.” He was allegedly able to heal cancer patients using his own botanical/alchemical formulas, although he had severe health problems of his own which he was unable to cure, including pancreatic disorders and periods of debilitating overweight.
He fell foul of local medical authorities who felt that he was usurping their positions and cutting in to their income. After his books were published in 1956 foreign visitors, especially from Germany, flocked to see him. He was arrested in Opava early in 1958, although exactly why is unclear. The following are among reasons offered:
Competing physicians accused Bardon of being a Western spy.
He was accused of illegal production of pharmaceuticals (his healing potions).
He was accused of failing to pay taxes on alcohol purchased for herbal extraction.
He was arrested specifically because he was an occultist; scientists wished to experiment on him to determine whether he, in fact, did have special powers.
Bardon, imprisoned in Brno on March 26, 1958, died in jail of unexplained causes. He is buried in Opava. His personal possessions, including many occult articles, were confiscated at his arrest and were never returned to his family.