Columbia Scientific Academy

From Kook Science

Columbia Scientific Academy

Letterhead of the CSA

Motto Haec Via Ad Potentiam Ducit ("This Road Leads to Power")
Formation 29 October 1900
New Jersey
Dissolution 15 March 1907 [1][2]
Purpose/focus Personal Magnetism - Ki Magi - Occult Secrets
Headquarters New York City
President R. F. Robertson
Secretary W. Leslie French
Key people E. Virgil Neal (New York), A. Victor Segno (California)[3]
Goddess of Fortune Bestowing a Ki-Magi Wreath of Success and a Cornucopia of $20 Gold Pieces on the 'Willing Mind.'

The Columbia Scientific Academy was a mail-order concern that offered courses and degrees in the studies of personal magnetism, palmistry, hypnosis, and occult science, which together formed the basis of their proprietary "Ki Magi" system. The academy was incorporated at New York in late 1900 and operated from offices in New York for some four years before being banned from the U.S. postal system on the basis of fraud, the corporation then ultimately being dissolved three years later.

Despite the collapse of the academy, the men behind it went on to attain great wealth and success in the years that followed: E. Virgil Neal, the founder and operational manager of the outfit, made a fortune in cosmetics as the proprietor of To-Kalon Mfg. Co.; and R. F. Robertson, the president, became a successful stock trader and broker as an associate of Charles Stoneham.

Selected Publications

  • Robertson, R. F. (1901), The "Ki-Magi" System of Personal Influence (Columbia Scientific Academy)
  • Neal, E. Virgil (1901), Chirology: or, The Scientific Study of Character from the Hand (Columbia Scientific Academy)
  • -- (1901), A Course in Personal Magnetism and Physical Culture (Columbia Scientific Academy)
  • -- (1901), The Secret of Power: A Scientific Treatise on the Reading of Character from the Hand, Face, Head, and Handwriting (Columbia Scientific Academy)
  • -- (1901), Success and How to Win It (Columbia Scientific Academy)

Administration and Lecturers

Credited in "Ki-Magi" System Booklets

  • Aaron Fay Green
  • Nestor A. Young
  • Jessie A. Fowles (Fowler & Wells)
  • Mrs. Franklin Hall
  • S. Dutton Whitney
  • L. Betram Hawley
  • Mrs. Jean H. Tucker
  • Mrs. Carolyn Showerman
  • F. T. McIntyre

Diploma Holders

  • Joe Shelby Riley,[4] went on to claim M.D., M.S., Ph.D.,LL.D., N.D., F.A.S., D.M.T., D.P., D.O., B.D., D.C., Ph.C., founded the Riley School of Spinal Therapy, credited with improvements in Zone Therapy and reflexology generally
  • L. H. S. Brown, palmist and phrenologist in Des Moines, Iowa, 1908
  • Professor Lewis, the "Eminent Palmist and Life Reader" in Napa, California, 1909
  • Madams Petite and Carrida, palmists and clairvoyants who advertised their services in New Mexican papers in 1910.
  • Professor Patrick, solicited himself in New Zealand papers from 1916-1917 as a clairvoyant, physiognomist, phrenologist, etc., with specific note of his being a student of the Columbia Scientific Academy[5]

Press Coverage

  • "Tribune's Answer in Libel Suit Calls E. Virgil Neal a Quack - Newspaper's Pleading to Patent Medicine Proprietor's Action for Damages Set Up Justification as Defence and Denies the Article Sued On Was False, Malicious or Did the Plaintiff Any Damage - Papers On File Traced Complainant's Career in Selling to the Public", New York Tribune (New York, NY): 18, 23 June 1919, 

    [...] In October, 1900, [E. Virgil Neal] had founded with [Thomas F. Adkin] and one Charles S. Clark the "Columbia Academy of Science," a corporation organized under the laws of New Jersey, and doing business in 1981 Broadway. The purpose of the "Columbia Academy of Science," as stated in the certificate of Incorporation, was as follows:

    "To give instruction in, or teach either by correspondence, in person or otherwise, chirology, physiognomy, phrenology, graphology and any or all scientific subjects." The Tribune alleges that one of the chief courses of instruction was the "Ki-Magi System" of physical culture or human development, proclaimed as being the greatest discovery of the age.

    One of the products of this corporation was a book, entitled "Secret of Power." The "Columbia Academy of Science" advertised it as revealing startling secrets, which enabled persons who read it to make great fortunes, develop will power, improve the memory and eradicate all bad habits. Morgan, Vanderbilt and Rockefeller and other multimillionaires had read "Secret of Power" from cover to cover and used its formulas daily in amassing wealth and influence. Here is a paragraph of advertisement telling just what the "Ki-Magi System," of which Neal was one of the sponsors, could do for you, as quoted in The Tribune's defence:

    "A course that develops the nerves, muscles and brain simultaneously. It gives you a most beautiful physique and symmetrical form; it gives you rosy cheeks; it makes you cheerful and happy; it brings to you a healthy flow of blood; a healthy action of each member of the body; it brings back lost vitality; it makes pale, bloodless women who lack vitality and strength attractive, fascinating young ladies or strong, vigorous, happy and healthy wives who love their husbands and make their husbands love them."

    In addition to this rather full programme the "Columbia Academy of Science" offered a course in "character reading," enabling students to read a man's character at a glance. It also advertised instruction in "personal magnetism and magnetic healing."





  1. "Columbia Scientific Academy; Charter declared null and void by proclamation, March 15, 1907.", Corporations of New Jersey, 1905-07, 
  2. "Columbia Scientific Academy", Obsolete American Securities and Corporations, 1911, p. 242,, "Columbia Scientific Academy, New York, N. Y. Barred from U. S. mails, May 12, 1904. New Jersey Charter void 1907. For non-payment of taxes." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 E. Victor Neal and A. Victor Segno were listed in The Trow directory for 1901 as the President and Secretary respectively.
  4. Brown, John Thomas (1904), "JOE SHELBY RILEY, Minco, I. T.", Churches of Christ, Louisville, Ky.: John P. Morton & Co., p. 613,