Aradia, the Gospel of the Witches, by Charles Godfrey Leland (1899).
Leland was researching Tuscan folklore when a woman named Maddelena gave him a handwritten copy of the supposed gospel of an ancient pagan religion reportedly still surviving underground in Christian Italy. The gospel tells the myths of the goddess Diana and her daughter Aradia (Herodias), and describes a whole spirit world of fairies and goblins, even offering practical advice about holding a witches’ sabbat. Whatever its origins, it is a major source of later claims that witchcraft represents a genuinely ancient religious faith, making Aradia the great-grandmother of modern neo-paganism. Fans of The Da Vinci Code will be delighted to discover yet another religion in which a woman named Magdalene plays a critical apostolic role.
The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, by Levi H. Dowling (1907).
Dowling, an Ohio-born doctor and pastor, claimed to access the whole truth of Jesus of Nazareth’s mission through a kind of channeling. The Aquarian Gospel records Jesus’ extensive pilgrimages, through western India and Persia, Greece and Egypt, during which he taught the universal truth of human divinity, realized gradually through a process of repeated rebirth. Dowling’s work helped establish the popular New Age notion of Jesus as a displaced guru, who must have at least visited Tibet.