follow us in feedly
‘American Horror Story’ tarot cards
05.23.2016
01:02 pm

Topics:
Occult
Television

Tags:
tarot
American Horror Story


 
‎Ligne claire whiz Derek Eads has concocted a gorgeous tarot set for fans of FX’s creepy shudder-fest American Horror Story.

Using the stately Art Nouveau AHS typeface and precise red/white/black drawings on a muted dark slate gray background, Eads has wittily taken some of the gore and shock out of the familiar cast of bone-chilling monster (and their victims).

In the deck, Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) from season 2 occupies the role of Judgement, while The Hermit is the “pinhead” Pepper from seasons 2 & 4 (Naomi Grossman); triple-breasted Desiree Dupree from season 4 (Angela Bassett) is the Chariot, and Iris the hotel clerk from season 5 (Kathy Bates) is the Hierophant. Eads changed the title of season 5’s Elizabeth Bathory (Lady Gaga) from Countess to Empress, whereas the High Priestess is journalist Lana Winters from season 2 (Sarah Paulson).

There’s no better choice for the Devil than season 3’s Papa Legba (Lance Reddick), and the AHS may have had a tarot deck in mind when they introduced the winged Angel of Death (Frances Conroy) in season 2.

The rest, we’ll let you figure out for yourself.

You can purchase the full set from Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles for just $25.
 

The Fool/The Magician
 

The High Priestess/The Empress
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Hoodoo,’ John Fogerty’s lost, occult-tinged disco rock album
05.20.2016
09:00 am

Topics:
Music
Occult

Tags:
Creedence Clearwater Revival
John Fogerty


 
I won’t hear any badmouthing of John Fogerty on my internet. John Fogerty is tops. If he’d drunk a bottle of poison after recording “Proud Mary,” we’d still remember him as a peer of Bob Dylan and the Beatles. But Fogerty left the cyanide on the shelf and led Creedence Clearwater Revival for an astonishing run of hit singles and albums, every last one of which (okay, maybe not Mardi Gras, but that leaves six LPs of quality) belongs in the collection of even the most half-assed, fair-weather, penny-pinching, Sunday-driving, miserable, mean, craven self-abnegating rock fan. I guarantee it!

So it is not to mock Fogerty that I draw your attention to a low point in his career, but to praise him. Behold: this lowly nth-generation bootleg of this ridiculous album, Hoodoo, which was to have been his second solo LP before he destroyed the tapes—even this sorry thing, with its stiff beats, gratuitous synths and friendly gestures toward the disco audience, is like unto one of Paul Bunyan’s labors compared with the bleats of today’s puny “Americana” people. It’s pretty good!

Hoodoo sure is weird, though. Since none of the surviving images of the cover are up to DM’s standards, let me tell you about it. Picture Fogerty’s name (in yellow) and the album title (in blood red) printed in the kind of Gothic script you’d expect to find on a Hellhammer LP. Below stands Fogerty, his sunburst-finish Fender slung over a black jacket embroidered with a crescent and a pentagram, his right hand raised in warning to point at some haint or zombie lurking just over your shoulder. And if you were there with him at the photo shoot, you’d be pointing at the exact same spot, because there’s a fucking knight in a full suit of armor over Fogerty’s right shoulder. The overall effect: you’re gazing into a magic mirror that reveals you to yourself as John Fogerty, trapped between worlds in the Pit of Souls.
 

 
In 1976, “You Got The Magic” b/w “Evil Thing,” the lone single from Hoodoo, “managed to escape,” in Fogerty’s words, before he and the label agreed to flush the album down history’s toilet. Here’s how it happened, according to last year’s Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music:

Joe Smith was now the head of Asylum, and just before my new album Hoodoo was to be released, he requested to meet with me in Los Angeles. Very gingerly, he said, “This isn’t very good, John. We’ll put it out if you want us to. We just kind of feel like it’s not up to your level.” You can’t be any more generous or diplomatic than the way Joe Smith handled it. That was hard for him to do. You have to be able to be brutally honest if you’re ever going to be worth a crap.

It was hard for me to hear it, too. Nobody likes to hear, “You stink!” But they didn’t really have to twist my arm too much. I kind of knew it in my heart. “On the Run” was one of the songs on Hoodoo. I could never quite get the words to make sense. Funny: about a week before I wrote this chapter I was still trying to write that song. People under duress will do stuff because of a deadline, let it go, call it finished when they really don’t think it’s finished. My head just wasn’t right. I was in a bad way. The one-man-band thing was really hard. And the stuff with [Fantasy Records owner] Saul [Zaentz] was eating me up. Those were the hardest times I ever went through up to that point.

Joe Smith was right, of course, and I knew it, so I went back home and instructed my engineer, Russ Gary, to destroy all the Hoodoo tapes. Some things in life it’s better not to get snagged by. It’s better to move on. I didn’t want to have this come out after I’d died in some plane crash. One of the things Joe said to me was, “Why don’t you go home and fix whatever it is that’s bothering you?”

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Sun Ra invokes the Egyptian sun god at the Pyramids
05.13.2016
09:16 am

Topics:
Music
Occult

Tags:
Sun Ra
Egypt


 
One of my favorite bits of Sun Ra lore is this story from the bandleader’s 1971 trip to Egypt. John F. Szwed’s biography Space Is The Place recounts how customs officials, perplexed by Sun Ra’s passport (“To be named after the sun god twice was really a bit too much”), held most of the Arkestra’s instruments and luggage after letting the band into the country.

But jazz drummer Salah Ragab, “the head of military music in the Egyptian army,” came to the rescue, lending the Arkestra his gear and assisting them at some personal risk. Their shows in Egypt generated material for a trilogy of live albums, since collected on the CD releases Nidhamu + Dark Myth Equation Visitation and Horizon, and a dozen years later, during a subsequent visit, Ra collaborated with Ragab on an album with the truth-in-advertising title The Sun Ra Arkestra Meets Salah Ragab in Egypt.
 

 
At some indeterminate time, Ra, who could see the pyramids from his hotel outside Cairo, had decided that during the trip he would invoke his divine namesake in one of antiquity’s most sacred places. In an undated interview with Atlanta’s WREK, Ra gives his version of the Egyptian space theurgy:

...while I was there, I went in the [Great] Pyramid, up in the King’s Chamber, and I said, “Now, this pyramid was made for the name Ra. And it hadn’t been said in here in thousands of years, so let’s say it nine times and see what’ll happen.” So we said “Ra” nine times and all the lights went out in the pyramid. So I had a psychic experience there.

Ra says the guide then led the party in darkness along a dangerous path with a twelve-story drop and through the narrow entrance to the Queen’s Chamber, where the lights miraculously came on again.
 

 
With the evenhandedness that is one of his biography’s strengths, Szwed at once casts doubt on Ra’s version of events and adds a strange detail that seems to confirm his supernatural powers:

They climbed the staircase, crawled through the low entrances, and slipped through the narrow corridors in order to reach the King’s Chamber, and as they did the lights suddenly went out. Sun Ra later said that he had chanted the name of Ra nine times when it happened, although [eyewitness Hartmut] Geerken remembered only Sun Ra saying, “Why do we need light, Sun Ra, the sun is here.” Whatever, they managed to walk back out through the darkness. (When Sun Ra recounted this story to writer Robert Palmer in 1978 at the Beacon Theater in New York, the lights went out in the theater, leaving a dead spot in the middle of the tape recording as evidence.)

After the jump, candid footage of the Sun Ra and his Arkestra visiting the pyramids…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
H.R. Giger’s nightmarish tarot cards (NSFW)
05.11.2016
12:24 pm

Topics:
Art
Occult

Tags:
H.R. Giger
tarot


 
Sometime in the 1990s the Swiss occultist who goes by the name Akron suggested to his countryman H.R. Giger that he create a set of tarot cards. Giger demurred, claiming a lack of time as well as a lack of interest in the subject—all the while insisting that he was “too superstitious” to take on such a project.

Giger did, however, regard tarot as an interesting venue for his artworks, and he was willing to re-purpose some of his pre-existing images as a tarot deck. The tarot deck featuring Giger’s artworks covers only the major arcana and is known as the Baphomet deck, named after the pagan god you can see depicted in the Alchemy and Devil cards at the top of this post.

It is currently out of print but like most anything, used sets can be purchased online. It seems that a detailed description of Giger’s cards written by Akron is included with the decks. 
 

 
Lauren Davis at io9 surely hit on something when she observed that when you use a deck like Giger’s, it doesn’t matter what cards you draw, they “always predict an unsettling future.”

My favorite part of Giger’s deck is actually the design for the back:
 

 
You can purchase a set for about $50 and up.
 

 
More of Giger’s tarot cards after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Fabulous modern illustrations of Witches (and their familiars)
05.03.2016
11:26 am

Topics:
Art
Occult

Tags:
witches
Camille Chew

witch01.jpg
Broomstick.
 
Throughout history witches have generally been described in word and illustration by men. It’s the male eye that has conjured up portraits of witches as cackling hags with bad orthodontists and hygiene problems in written works by authors as different as Shakespeare and Roald Dahl or by artists such as Henry Fuseli or Walt Disney.

In truth, any woman who was deemed to have subverted patriarchal control was called a witch—and the stereotypical image devised for such women was created by a deep and fearful misogyny.

Artist and illustrator Camille Chew has created a series of beautiful portraits of modern day Witches (and their familiars) that subverts inherited misconceptions. Chew’s witches are independent, strong women who give help and succour with their occult powers.

Chew’s illustrations are created “entirely in Photoshop CS6 with a Wacom Bamboo tablet.”

The brush I use most often is just the standard round brush with the spacing set all the way down to 1% for smooth edges. I also sometimes overlay scanned in watercolor washes, hand drawn patterns, etc. (usually on layer mode>soft light) to add texture.

A graduate of Alfred University, Camille’s art work explores themes of mythology, fantasy, and the occult. Her illustrations are available to buy as prints and even as tattoos—details here
 
witch02.jpg
Spell Book.
 
witch03.jpg
Palm Reader.
 
More of Camille Chew’s witches after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Satanic strippers: Vintage burlesque performers dance with the devil
05.03.2016
10:35 am

Topics:
Dance
Occult
Sex

Tags:
Satan
burlesque
1930s
1950s
1940s

Actress Marian Martin and a burlesque cape featuring our pal, Satan, 1930s
Actress Marian Martin in a Satan-themed burlesque cape. Martin actually played a dancer named ‘Pinky Lee’ in the 1943 film, ‘Lady of Burlesque’ which was based on the novel ‘The G-String Murders’ written by strip tease queen Gypsy Rose Lee. Martin was not a burlesque performer, but her costume is in the satanic burlesque spirit of this post.
 
Of the many fun things that comes along with being a part of the diverse compendium that is Dangerous Minds, those rare days when my feet hit the floor, and I have no idea what I’m going to write about that day, are not among them. Which is why I try to stockpile posts concerning the guy who should have built my hotrod, Satan, for those kinds of days. Because let’s face it—Satan is a big crowd pleaser among DM’s readership.
 
Burlesque performer Diane de Lys in a publicity photo for her show
Burlesque performer Diane de Lys in a publicity photo for her show ‘The Devil and the Virgin,’ 1953.
 
I hate to admit it, but sadly I know very little about the world of burlesque despite having a few friends who actually work in the field professionally. So the discovery that dancers back in the 1920s and 1930s (and beyond) used an unusual prop—a costume that was split into two distinctly different styles that was used for a “1/2 and 1/2” style of dance performance was sort of new to me.

One side would feature a “normal” kind of stage dress, and the other could be anything from a man or a maybe a gorilla (apparently, after King Kong was released in 1933, the popularity of girl/gorilla acts skyrocketed. Go figure). Or in the case of the images in this post, Satan himself! That said, I’d personally love to see this trend return to the burlesque stage (if it hasn’t already). Many of the photos you are about to see also feature burlesque performers all dolled up like the devil dating as far back as the early 1930s. They are also slightly NSFW. YAY!
 
H/T: To the burlesque treasure trove that is Burly Q Nell.
 
Burlesque performer with satan costume/cape
 
Devil and the Dancer, 1932
Early 1930s.
 
More devilish dancers and their demonic debonair dance partner after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Séance Fiction: Vintage ‘ghostly’ photos of ‘con artist’ spiritualist medium at work

07may2_13.jpg
 
There are at least two unacknowledged prerequisites for a successful career as a spiritualist medium. Firstly, the ability to “deep throat”—essential for hiding the yards of cheesecloth, newspapers and other materials the medium will regurgitate during a séance as “ectoplasm.”  And the iron discipline not to laugh—no matter how ridiculous the situation.

Eva Carrière was adept at both and had a successful though highly controversial career as a spiritualist medium at the turn of the 1900s. Carrière was so convincing she managed to expunge any reference from her biography to her previous attempt at a career as a medium—which led her to be exposed in the press as a fraud.

This was in 1905 when Carrière first exhibited her psychic powers in Algiers. She gained considerable attention for her ability to apparently make the spirit of a 300-year-old Brahmin Hindu called Bien Boa appear at her séances. Bien Boa was exposed by a local newspaper to be no more than a cardboard cutout and an Arab coachman named Areski. To avoid the ensuing bad publicity, Carrière merely changed her name to “Eva C” which (somehow) worked and she was able to re-established herself as a highly respected medium whose believers included Sherlock Holmes author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the renowned psychic researcher Baron Albert von Schrenck-Notzing. Of course, not everyone was so easily fooled. Harry Houdini described Carrière as a con artist—claiming her whole act was no more than cheap theatrical magic tricks.

In a bid to prove the authenticity of Carrière’s psychic powers, Baron von Schrenck-Notzing documented a series of test séances between 1909-1913. The results were eventually published in his book Phenomena of Materialisation in 1923. The Baron’s photographs of these sessions purported to show Carrière expelling ectoplasm and causing spirits to “materialise.”

Carrière’s séances were said to verge on the pornographic. She often stripped naked and demanded the participants insert their fingers into her vagina to ensure no ectoplasm or other materials had been hidden there. A similar examination was offered after each séance, but as the Public Domain Review notes:

Whether the audience members were obliging is up for debate, but reports that Carrière would run around the séance room naked indulging in sexual activities with her audience suggests perhaps so. One can imagine that this deliberate eroticisation of the male audience might go some way to explaining the ease with which these “investigators” believed the psychic reality of the seances. A decision of fraud on their part would distance their involvement somewhat from the special and heightened context of the séances and so cast their complicity in, or at the least witnessing of, sexual activities in the sober (and more judgemental) cold light of day.

When “spiritualist debunker” Harry Price examined Schrenk-Notzing’s photographs of Carrière’s alleged psychic powers, he dismissed them as tawdry fakes and denounced Carrière as a fraud. He also suggested the images of spirit faces were photographs clipped from newspapers. This was to prove a moot point.

In 1920 Eric Dingwall with V. J. Woolley of the Society for Psychical Research in London, investigated Carrière’s claims. An analysis of her “ectoplasm” was shown to be nothing more than “chewed paper.” The ghostly apparitions were photographs from the magazine Le Miroir—whose masthead was often visible in Schrenk-Notzing’s photographs.

Back issues of the magazine matched some of Carrière’s ectoplasm faces, including Woodrow Wilson, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria and the French president Raymond Poincaré. This is something Schrenk-Notzing tries to address in his book, but with not much success. A 1913 newspaper article explained how “Miss Eva prepared the heads before every séance, and endeavoured to make them unrecognizable. A clean-shaven face was decorated with a beard. Grey hairs became black curls, a broad forehead was made into a narrow one. But, in spite of all her endeavours, she could not obliterate certain characteristic lines.”

The Society for Psychical Research’s report proved Carrière was a fraud. However, it was covered up thus allowing Eva Carrière and her supporters like Baron Schrenk-Notzing to claim her psychic powers were genuine.
 
01mar13_11.jpg
March 13th, 1911.
 
03jun7_11.jpg
June 7th, 1911.

Many more of the Baron’s photos of ‘ectoplasm’ and ‘ghosts’ from Eva Carrière’s séances, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Awesome vintage ouija boards
04.04.2016
04:20 pm

Topics:
Design
Games
History
Occult

Tags:
ouija board


Mecca Answer Board, Lee Industries, Chicago, c. 1940
 
There are two facts that a visit to the incredibly terrific Museum of Talking Boards website will cement in any viewer—the high point for ouija consumption was the 1940s and Chicago was the place where most ouija boards were manufactured.

The Museum of Talking Boards has done an excellent job wrangling what must be a chaotic field with a lot of damaged or substandard exemplars. Every board is lovingly photographed, and informational details about the time and place each board was created are always easy to find. Truly, a tremendous job.

These images are enough to drive me to eBay, where you can get many of these design marvels for prices ranging between $20 and $500.

ADIOS, FAREWELL, AU REVOIR, LATER DUDE, RECEPTION BAD, uhhhh, STATIC?
 

Black Magic Talking board, Gift Craft, Chicago, c. 1944
 

Crystal Gazer, A Barrel of Fun, c. 1940
 

Father Time Mystery Talking Board, T. Eaton Company, Toronto, 1945
 

Guiding Star Board, Palmer and Associates, Chicago
 
Many more after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Devil’s Reign’: Demonic art exhibit curated by Church of Satan’s High Priest
04.01.2016
09:38 am

Topics:
Art
Occult

Tags:
Satanism
Howl Gallery
Peter H. Gilmore


Pale Horse, “Through the Gateway,” screenprint

Peter H. Gilmore has long been among the world’s leading authorities on LaVeyan Satanism. An author of countless works on the subject, most notably The Satanic Scriptures, Gilmore was appointed the High Priest of the Church of Satan 15 years ago, and has since served—not without controversy, unsurprisingly—as caretaker of the Anton LaVey legacy, even writing a new introduction to The Satanic Bible, the book that changed his life in his early teens (say what you will about that, hey, at least it wasn’t Atlas Shrugged).

Gilmore has recently endeavored to curate a Satanic art exhibit called “The Devil’s Reign” (a cheeky nod to an old film) for Howl Gallery, a combination exhibition space/tattoo shop in Ft. Myers. FL. The show is traveling, and it opens tonight, April 1, 2016 at Stephen Romano Gallery In Brooklyn, and it’ll travel to Eridanos Gallery & Tattoo in Boston for an opening on May 6th. The show seeks to acquaint viewers with expressions of devils from many cultures, though deities that were turned to devils and demons by Christianity are by far the most often featured, and curiously, figures from the Lovecraft mythos make appearances. “Since all deities and devils are invented,” Gilmore writes in his foreword to the exhibit’s companion book, “Satanists can employ any, from whatever fiction they find inspirational, as a means for emotional excitement in ritual.” He continues:

Whether the artists crafted these images to purge themselves of some withheld impulses or as celebrations of others, they function as visual rituals, offering viewers much over which to ruminate. Of this tenebrous throng, some will have been or will be inscribed upon human flesh. Their bearers might wish to absorb and dominate them, or to boldly proclaim allegiance to these sovereigns of Hell.

Devilish art has long been said to mock authority, to frighten the gullible into beliefs contrary to their nature, and to both embody and expose complex elements of the human animal and his frequently savage societies. The Church of Satan proposes that one can explore and fulfill one’s desires when they are experienced as controlled indulgence, not frenzied compulsion—an Epicurean rather than Hedonistic approach. Each artwork here can thus be a means for self-reflection, or for seeing worldly perspectives that may previously have remained hidden.

 

Herb Auerbach, untitled, ink & watercolor on paper
 

Uncle Allan, “Mephisto,” pen, ink, watercolor
 

Dusty Neal, “Naamah,” ink, liquid acrylic
 
More demonic art after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The black magic ‘hexing party’ to kill Adolf Hitler with voodoo, 1941
03.28.2016
12:50 pm

Topics:
History
Media
Occult

Tags:
Adolf Hitler
black magic
voodoo


Florence Birdseye chants above an effigy of Hitler, 1941.
 
William Seabrook was a well-known occultist (and, not coincidentally, a buddy of Aleister Crowley) who in 1940 had published a fairly popular book called Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today.

On a wet evening in January 1941, Seabrook and “a youthful band of idealists” convened at a cabin in the Maryland woods—they made sure to bring a whole bunch of rum from Jamaica, land of voodoo—with a single, lofty aim: “to kill Adolf Hitler by voodoo incantation.” A report of the event, complete with photographs, made for one of the odder features ever to appear in LIFE Magazine, under the title “LIFE Goes to a Hexing Party.”

The event had curious connections to the federal government, it seems. The tom-tom drums were borrowed, according to LIFE, from the U.S. Department of the Interior. Furthermore, LIFE described the group of voodoo practitioners as “respectable residents of Washington, D.C.,” and the cabin in which it all took place belonged to a man named Charles Tupper, who was an employee in a naval factory. The group brought, in LIFE’s words, “a dressmaker’s dummy, a Nazi uniform, nails, axes, tom-toms and plenty of Jamaica rum.” The dummy and the uniform were needed for the life-sized effigy that the group was going to create of Hitler.

One fascinating thing about this escapade is that the United States was not yet at war with Germany. That would have to wait nearly a year, when the Japanese attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7.

The ritual, prepared by Seabrook, invoked a pagan deity named Istan and incorporated the following phrases, to be intoned at the effigy:

“You are Hitler; Hitler is you! ... The woes that come to you, let it come to him! ... Hitler! You are the enemy of man and of the world; therefore we curse you. ... We curse you by every tear and drop of blood you have caused to flow. We curse you with the curses of all who have cursed you!”

After every line the whole group would repeat, “We curse you!”

They also chanted in unison: “We are driving nails and needles into Adolf Hitler’s heart!”

Incidentally, one of Seabrook’s claims to fame was that he once ... dined with cannibals! According to him, human flesh is pretty tasty: “It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef . . . and it was not like any other meat I had ever tasted.” Not chicken?

It took several years, but the United States and its allies France, Great Britain, and the USSR defeated the Axis Powers in 1945.

Here is a gallery of images from this oh-so-peculiar event. Clicking will spawn a larger version, for all images not in portrait orientation.
 

Revelers make their way to a “hex party” in the Maryland woods, 1941.
 

Chief hexer Ted Caldwell intones an incantation. On the right, in dark shirt and tie, is author William Seabrook. Hitler’s effigy sits with its back to the window.
 
More of these remarkable pictures after the jump….......

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 25  1 2 3 >  Last ›