As children, Richard and Rose were to be sacrificed by a Satanic cult on New Year's Eve in 1899. Instead of summoning the Devil, they accidentally summoned the Demonic entity known as Koth before being rescued by a member of an Eastern clandestine mystical group knows as "the Seven", who themselves were mortal enemies of Koth.
Recognizing the magic potential in both the children and lead by follower Zator, the Seven named them Richard Occult and Rose Psychic and trained them in the ways of magic, even granting Richard the powerful Mystic Symbol of the Seven.
By the 1920's, Richard had earned his doctorate and opened a private investigating firm In New York City with Rose as his partner. They took on several cases involving vampires, magic, monsters and all variety of mysterious happenings. They also joined several wartime hero groups such as The All-Star Squadron to fight evil.
Sometime during his adventures, Dr. Occult met his end, only to be restored to life by his partner, Rose, bonding their two souls together, living as two entities within the same body.
One of the earliest characters to be created for DC Comics, Dr. Occult first appeared in New Fun Comics #6 in October 1935. Created by Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster three years before Superman made his debut. His later expanded upon and developed backstory can be credited to writer Roy Thomas.
Doctor Occult, the "Ghost Detective", is a private investigator who specializes in cases involving the supernatural and whose recorded exploits began in 1935. Although Doctor Occult usually wore normal clothing, until a group of mystics known as the Seven gave him a costume to wear into battle against the evil alien Koth. Hence, Doctor Occult lays claim to having been the first costumed hero of the Golden Age! Doctor Occult often provided assistance to Detective Captain Ellsworth of the police department of his home city on cases involving the paranormal and was sometimes aided by his close friend, Rose Psychic, who, like himself, possessed certain mystical abilities. In the course of his career, Doctor Occult battled vampires, ghosts, zombies, mystical cults and various criminal scientists who used methods that were apparently supernatural.
In the 1980's, after nearly 50 years of no appearances, Roy Thomas revived the character as part of the World War II team The All-Star Squadron developing further his back story with the Seven.
He was revived once again in the 1990's by Neil Gaiman for his Books of Magic mini-series where he was of one of the mystical guides of the DC Universe for the boy Tim Hunter. Gaiman introduced the character as being bonded with Rose Psychic in one body, as male and female aspects of the same spirit. Other writers later explained this as occurring during an indecent when one was dying, thus bonding their souls to restore the other.
Major Story Arcs
Books of Magic
Dr. Occult, along with John Constantine, Mister E and the Phantom Stranger appears to guide the boy Tim Hunter into the magic aspects of the
DC Universe, as he has the potential to become the greatest wizard of all time. Dr. Occult specifically takes Tim through a portal to the land of Faerie where he teaches him the rules of the dimension. Upon entering the Faerie dimension he switches from into Rose Psychic.
Vertigo Visions: Doctor Occult
The demon Koth returns once again and seduces Occult's other personality, Rose, tearing his two personalities apart. Dr. Occult has to race against time to figure out how to return himself the way he was before he dies.
The Trenchcoat Brigade
When Mister E has a vision of an apocalyptic future, Dr. Occult, Constantine, and The Phantom Stranger reunite with him and travel into the future to save the world.
Day of Judgement
Dr. Occult joins the group of magic users known as the Sentinels of Magic. During the story line, he battles to protect the earth from an invasion of Hell's demons, including Asmodel, who had usurped the power of the Spectre.
JSA: Black Baptism
Richard teams up with the Justice League once again to battle more demons. He goes on the run, disguised as Rose Psychic until he is rescued.
Reign In Hell
During the main backup story of the mini-series, Dr.Occult traveled to Hell to find Rose Psychic. He conjured up the Yellow Peri as a spirit guide and caused her to lose her legs from the knee down. They found Rose helping the Purgatory based group to conquer Hell. She chose to stay in Hell on her own accord, condemning her soul to eternal damnation. Dr. Occult would later leave Hell for his own plane of existence.
The New 52
Dr Occult recently appeared in the pages of Justice League Dark. He was the current owner of the House of Secrets until he is killed by an unseen (by the reader) attacker. The attacker is revealed to be Nick Necro, an arch-enemy to John Constantine. Dr. Occult can also be seen in Constantine #17 when John gets sent back in time to WWI, he manages to send John back to his own time.
Powers and Abilities
- Astral projection
- Mystical hypnosis
- Teleportation (Occult can travel through the Astral Plane)
- Mystical senses (danger sense)
He also carries an amulet (symbol of the Seven) that can
- Generate mystical blasts
- Create shields
- Spellbreak (it's anti-magic and can undo any spell)
- Cast minor spells