Doctor Richard Occult, a.k.a. the "Ghost Detective", is a private investigator who specializes in cases involving the supernatural, and whose recorded exploits started in 1935. But the story began 36 years earlier.
On December 31, 1899, a cult intended to sacrifice two kidnapped infants to Satan. The cultists attracted the attention of the demonic Koth, who rejected the offering and killed the cultists. Zator, a disciple of the mystic cult known as the Seven, rescued the infants, and brought them to a hidden citadel. The Seven recognized mystic potential in the infants, and decided to raise them, naming them Richard Occult and Rose Psychic. When they were of age Doc proved the most adept at magic, so the Seven bestowed him with the Mystic Symbol of the Seven, and the name "Doctor Occult". On the same day, they were also told to leave the Citadel, part from Zator, and use their abilities to battle evil in the world.
Traveling from the Citadel to China and then by boat to America, the two young magicians soon found themselves in New York City of the 1920s. Taking the name "Richard Occult", Doc started studying science at college and further schools, eventually earning the "doctor " title formally as well. Richard Occult set himself up as a private investigator with Rose as his assistant.
Together they fought many supernatural menaces from 1935 onward. Although nobody took their business seriously in the beginning, they finally got to prove themselves solving the case of a mass murdering vampire. In 1936, the devilish Koth returned from his realm, this time almost overpowering the Seven. Had it not been for the interference of Dr. Occult and Zator, they would all have perished. Koth managed to flee, and the Seven quickly assigned Doc and Zator to secure an ancient Egyptian belt of miraculous powers from the evil entity. For this special case, Dr. Occult donned a magic sword and a battle costume with a cloak and a chest emblem, hence becoming the first costumed hero of the Golden Age. With combined forces, Doc, Zator and the Seven succeeded in defeating Koth, and the demon was dispersed across a large number of alien dimensions.
In the early 1940s, Doctor Occult joined the wartime hero-team known as the All-Star Squadron, as one of their few plainclothes members. He remained an All-Star, although mostly a semi-active one, until the war ended in 1945. With the Squadron, he encountered many other great mystics of the era, like Doctor Fate, Zatara, Sargon the Sorcerer, Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt, the Flying Fox, Merlin the Magician, Tor the Magic Master, and the almost almighty Spectre.
In 1945, Doctor Occult assisted the Justice Society of America in defeating the inter-dimensional soulless entity known as the Stalker, sacrificing his own soul to do so. Following Stalker's defeat, Rose appeared before Doctor Occult and shared her soul with him. Since that day, Doc and Rose have remained one physical being, sometimes walking around as a man, sometimes as a woman.
Dr. Occult was summoned by John Constantine to help thwart the return of the Original Darkness, which had preceded the Creation of the Universe, when it attempted to return to the world.
Phantom Stranger recruited Dr. Occult to help teach the young mystic Tim Hunter. Occult transformed Tim's yo-yo into an animal familiar named Yo-Yo to aid the boy in his learning. He also showed the boy the magical realms of Faerie, Gemworld, Skartaris and the Dreaming.
John Constantine called together Occult and the Trenchcoat Brigade to have a talk with Mister E. E told them he suffered from visions of a world eaten up by the cancer god M'nagalah, and knew that Pyotr Konstantin somehow caused it. E took the Trenchcoat Brigade on a trip to the possible future of his vision, where the only person left alive was Pyotr. Pyotr summoned the Whining Ones to attack the Brigade. The Brigade won the fight and Pyotr told them they could avert the tragedy he caused if they took him back in time to the 1600s. In the past Pyotr cast a spell to force the Brigade to confront and deal with each other's past failures and guilt while he set off to prevent his past self from setting off the chain of events that unleashed M'nagalah. The Brigade conquered each other's guilt and found Pyotr, who'd failed to stop his past self. The Brigade traveled to the time of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, when Pyotr's past self and Elliana of the Leshy, whose people had been destroyed by mankind, would bring M'nagalah to Earth. The Brigade used a containment spell on M'nagalah but Phantom Stranger, who'd dealt with Occult's guilt over never being able to touch Rose again and felt he was in a similar situation, was ready to abandon the fight. Occult changed into Rose and convinced Stranger that where there was life there was hope. The Brigade vanquished M'nagalah.
Dr. Occult noted weeping statues, crimson lightning and other signs of the apocalypse. He was recruited by Zatanna to join the Sentinels of Magic, whose purpose was to battle Spectre / Asmodel, who'd unleashed Hell on Earth. Dr. Occult recruited Mary Marvel, CM3, Captain Marvel, Star-Spangled Kid and S.T.R.I.P.E. to fight the horde of demons that was threatening N.Y. during the Day of Judgment. The Sentinels separated Asmodel from most of the Spectre-Force, imprisoning it in Madame Xanadu's globe. It was only a temporary solution, and the Sentinels knew they needed the Spear of Destiny to defeat Asmodel. Spectre was wounded by the Spear, allowing the soul of Green Lantern Hal Jordan to become Spectre's new host, but a new threat emerged when Neron possessed Superman. Hal defeated Neron, sending him back to Hell.
During the Imperiex War Occult was called in as a JSA reserve on a mission to disrupt Imperiex's link to his ship's power supply. The JSA found that Imperiex's ship was leeching it's power from the planet Daxam, which Imperiex had pulled out of its' orbit. Occult managed to send Daxam back into proper orbit, and Imperiex's ship, no longer having a power supply, imploded.
As a JSA reservist Occult battled Kobra cultists who were launching terrorists attacks against Philadelphia after the Princes of Darkness pulled the moon from its' orbit and Kobra declared the event signaled the impending end of the world. Occult used teleportation spells to keep Philadelphia's citizens well away from the carnage. Doctor Fate sent a psychic transmission asking Hawkgirl, Dove and Power Girl to come to Gemworld and free the soul of Arion, so Dr. Occult opened a portal to Gemworld, allowing the heroines to cross over. Occult and the JSA defeated the Kobra cultists, and Sand undid the damage to displaced moon did to the Earth. Occult aided the JSA in defeating Mordru.
Some time after the Infinite Crisis, Doctor Occult moved to Central City, were he settled in a ramshackle neighborhood. Within six months, everyone else had moved out; the only other people in that neighborhood are the few friends who can survive the disasters he attracts, the few clients who don't know about them yet, and Gladys, his receptionist (who is a zombie). At the beginning of Blaze and Satanus' campaign against Neron, he was contacted by the late Ralph and Sue Dibny, fellow detectives whose specialty is the occult. Deciding that he needs a guide before he will set foot in Hell, he has decided to contact Yellow Peri.
- Investigation: Dr. Occult had an analytic mind, and was a proficient detective.
- Science: In the late 1930s, Doctor Occult invented a crime detection device, which keyed in on psychic vibrations, thus developing artificial clairvoyance.
- Sword and Belt: For a brief period the Seven equipped Dr. Occult with a sword and belt possessing mystic powers, including flight and the ability to turn people to stone.
- Mystic Symbol of the Seven: With it he can repel and exorcise various supernatural beings, and even repel certain natural forms of energy.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-Two era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and no longer apply.
- Doctor Occult was the first DC "mystery man".
- For reasons unknown, one Dr. Occult story was actually published by Centaur Publications in The Comic Magazine #1. While the character in that story was called "Dr. Mystic", it was the beginning of a story line that continued in Dr. Occult's stories in More Fun Comics #14–17.
- 131 Appearances of Richard Occult (New Earth)
- 14 Images featuring Richard Occult (New Earth)
- 2 Quotations by or about Richard Occult (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Richard Occult (New Earth)