Richard Maurice Bucke

Dr. Bucke, a medical physician and psychical researcher, was born in Methworld, Norfolk, England on March 18, 1837. When only a year old his father took him to Canada where he received his education at the London Grammar School and McGill University, where he graduated in 1862. Then he traveled to England and France where he took further professional studies.

When returning to Canada in 1864 he began his medical practice. In 1876 Bucke became superintendent of the insane asylum in Hamilton, Ontario, and in 1878 medical superintendent of the asylum in London, Ontario.

The book Cosmic Consciousness, for which Bucke is noted, first published in 1901, has become a classic work on the subject. He also became a good friend of Walt Whitman, who was among the thirteen individuals that Bucke considered possessed cosmic consciousness.

Bucke’s book Cosmic Consciousness was written as a result of his own personal metaphysical experiences, which led to his study of similar mythical experiences experienced by other individuals and his formulation of a theory of a higher consciousness being a natural faculty in men at a certain state of development.

Pandit Gopi Krishna has further developed this initial concept who writes on the subject from the perspective of personal experiences of illumination.

Bucke was Whitman’s literary executor, and in 1902 assisted in the editing of the complete works of Whitman. Bucke died February 19, 1902. A.G.H.


Shepard, Leslie A., ed, Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, 3rd ed, Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1991. p. 230