Tuesday, 13 August 2013

In Memoriam: Dr. Dave Evans

It is with a heavy heart that I must publicly announce the passing of Dr. Dave Evans, a brilliant scholar of western esotericism who made a substantial contribution to the field by documenting the various twists and turns of the British occult milieu since 1947. A practising magician as well as a historian, Dave was the author of both Aleister Crowley and the 20th Century Synthesis of Magic (2001) and The History of British Magick After Crowley (2007), works based on his doctoral thesis undertaken at Bristol University under Ronald Hutton.

He was also the co-editor of Ten Years of Triumph of the Moon (2009), and editor of The Enduring Problems with Prophecy (2012), publishing articles and papers in a wide range of different sources, both academic and popular. Furthermore, he was the mastermind behind the Academic Study of Magic list-serve, and with Alison Butler was responsible for creating the Journal for the Academic Study of Magic; both of these ventures have been of real importance in bringing academics interested in the study of western esotericism, witchcraft, and other allied areas together in constructive dialogue.

Although I never met Dave face to face - living in different parts of Europe prevented that - we corresponded on many issues over the past couple of years, and I'd like to think that we became friends of a sort. He was a genuinely nice, down-to-earth, and funny guy. He was also famously straight talking, always willing to give a forthright answer or honest opinion, which was probably part of what made him so endearing. He kindly gave an interview with me here at Albion Calling last December, in which he reflected on his life and work; reading it back now, I feel that there is an added poignancy to many of his comments. I can just hope that the interview acts as something of a tribute to him, and plays a small part in encouraging a new readership for Dave's work, which is something that it certainly deserves.

Having been diagnosed with a terminal illness earlier this summer, Dave decided to live out his last days amongst the beautiful scenery of New Zealand, where he passed away yesterday on his own terms. Dave, I hope you are finally at peace. Thank you for everything that you achieved and gave to the world. You are going to be missed.

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