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The occult art of Austin Osman Spare
09.15.2017
09:59 am
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Austin Osman Spare was an outsider artist, an occultist, a writer, a philosopher of sorts, and a clarinet player in a jazz band called the Bulldog Breed. His career as an artist burst like a firework against a full dark night—a quick, bright, early success fading to a slow and unworthy decline into poverty, dirt, and virtual obscurity. The myths about Spare and his involvement with the occult often take precedence over his talents as an artist. This is a pity, as Spare was a tremendously complex artist who deserves far greater recognition than being tagged merely as someone who is collected by Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page.

Spare was born into a working class family in London on December 30th, 1886. His father was a policeman, his mother the daughter of a Royal Marine. This was a no-nonsense, square-headed family who lived in a tenement in Smithfield—the city’s meat market district. Every day on his way to school, Spare had to wander through the busy market with its hanging flesh and blood splattered cobblestones. As an animal lover, he hated this brutal bloody carnage.

As a child, Spare showed a prodigious talent for drawing, which eventually led to his exhibiting work at the Royal Academy in his teens. There’s a story that his father, who was a stickler for correct English grammar, saw a news vendor selling papers with the headline “Local Boy Hung.” His father being an utter jobs-worth made his way across to the vendor to correct the word “hung” to “hanged.” It was only when he read the story did he realize this was not about some ghastly execution of a murderous youth but a report on his very own son having work exhibited at the RA.

His technique for line drawings saw Spare hailed as the new Aubrey Beardsley—who was then the fashionable Decadent artist of polite London society. This should have been a caveat. Fashionable artists tend to bloom and fall with the season. Spare’s startling early success—where it seemed nearly every art critic hailed him as the next big thing—soon vanished. It must have been galling and utterly confusing for him. In some respects, it could be argued that his background and his class went against him in the London art world. Add to this Spare’s growing interest in the occult, which saw George Bernard Shaw dismiss his work as “strong medicine” that was not to everyone’s taste.

His interest in the occult started with his early reading of Madame Blavatsky before moving onto Agrippa and then becoming friends with Aleister Crowley. Whatever happened between these two men to sour their relationship isn’t fully known other than Crowley described Spare as a “Black Brother”—an occultist who had failed to submit his ego for the advancement of learning—or in plain English, to submit himself to the will of the “Great Beast” or one Mr. A. Crowley.

A dabbling in the occult is always good copy when explaining why things turned out the way they did. Though Spare did devise his own magical rituals (which heavily influenced modern Chaos Magic) and beliefs involving Zos (“the body considered as a whole”) and its complementary force Kia—which were “symbolised anthropomorphically by the hand and the eye”—it is fair to say, he was ultimately probably a bit of a confabulist about his magical powers. He was later aided and abetted in this myth-making by fellow occultist and writer Kenneth Grant, who believed he had found his own personal magus in Spare. Unfortunately, Grant made up so much of Spare’s alleged magical powers that it is unclear as to what Spare actually did believe and what he actually practiced. For example, it was claimed Spare was inducted into the occult by an octogenarian witch who seduced him when he was a boy. Great story, but most likely false. Similarly, Grant wrote eloquently about Spare’s use of magical sigils where “any wish may be given symbolic form,” which was to a large extent true but never seemed to deliver the “particular desire in question.” Spare’s use of magic never extricated him from anything but seemed to keep him in the direst poverty, obscurity, and near starvation. A life of painting in a tiny darkened basement, where he collected stray cats and drawing portraits in pubs for beer and sandwiches. After Spare’s death in 1956, Grant claimed this kind of “intense disappointment” was the way by which Spare attained greater enlightenment. But of course!

Spare was a unique and consummate artist. He was a visionary in the tradition of William Blake or even to an extent Stanley Spencer. And while his belief in magic and the occult has relevance to his artwork it shouldn’t become the determining factor when appreciating Austin Osman Spare’s art which has an impressive range of styles and techniques, which has led some to describe him as “the first Surrealist” and even (surprisingly) the first Pop Artist.

But in truth, he wasn’t any of those things. He was just Austin Osman Spare, artist.
 
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See more of AOS’s work after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.15.2017
09:59 am
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New documentary about Jayne Mansfield and Anton LaVey from the makers of ‘Room 237,’ a DM exclusive!
09.14.2017
06:40 am
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The violent end Jayne Mansfield met in a cloud of insecticide has all the elements of a good story. Sex, violence, fame, blackmail, a Satanic curse, death by decapitation (well, severe haircut, anyway)—why, the LA Times obit reads like 12-year-old Glenn Danzig wrote it:

Jayne Mansfield Killed

Jayne Mansfield, blonde and buxom, almost a caricature of a sex symbol who lived in a glass bowl of publicity for 13 years as a Hollywood actress was decapitated last week in a grotesque car crash in a New Orleans swamp. She had been appearing at a night club in Biloxi, Miss. leaving there en route to New Orleans for a morning television appearance when the 2:30 a.m. collision occurred. Her car came around a curve at high speed and smashed into the trailer of a truck which had slowed on entering a cloud of white anti-mosquito mist. The trailer sheared off the top of the auto killing instantly the three adults in the front seat: Miss Mansfield, her friend, Samuel S. Brody, 40, a Los Angeles lawyer and their driver, Ronnie Harrison, 20, a student at the University of Mississippi. Three of her five children (in the back seat of the car) were injured but not seriously.

[...] Last year, her son Zoltan, 6, (while posing with her for a publicity stunt) was mauled by a lion and almost died when he developed meningitis. Several weeks ago, her daughter Jayne Marie, 16, left home complaining that she had been beaten by her mother’s boyfriend lawyer Brody. Miss Mansfield’s second husband was Mickey Hargitay, who flew to New Orleans after the accident to be with his children. On the French Riviera last week, Francoise Dorleac, 25-year-old French film actress, was also killed in a car crash. Her car skidded on a wet highway, struck a sign post and burst into flames.

The legend of Mansfield’s death is the subject of the latest documentary from P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes, the creative powerhouse behind Room 237, Hit So Hard: The Life & Near Death Story of Patty Schemel, and the live-action Chick tract feature Hot Chicks. Ebersole and Hughes’ Mansfield 66/67: A True Story Based on Rumor and Hearsay focuses on the actress’s relationship with the Black Pope of the Church of Satan, Anton LaVey, and the tale that sorcery caused her fatal car crash. She is portrayed by “over fifty actors and dancers.”
 

 
Mansfield 66/67 appears, like Room 237, to be about a particular kind of 20th century folklore: “Paul is dead” cases of private obsessions, nourished by mass media, passing into folk belief. Conditions were favorable. Dead Jayne was in no position to refute any stories about her entirely sensationalized life, and LaVey was in no hurry to disclaim supernatural powers. Interviewed by Jack Fritscher in the 1972 book Popular Witchcraft, LaVey suggested his curse was responsible for the car crash, though he’d laid it not on Jayne but Sam Brody—the man the LA Times identified as Mansfield’s “friend”:

LAVEY: I know I have been rumored to have cursed Jayne Mansfield and caused her death in that car crash. Jayne Mansfield was a member of the Church of Satan. I have enough material to blow sky-high all those sanctimonious Hollywood journalists who claim she wasn’t. She was a priestess in the Church of Satan. I have documentation of this fact from her. There are many things I’ll not say for obvious reasons.

FRITSCHER: Say what you can.

LAVEY: Her lover [lawyer Sam Brody, also killed in the front seat of the car], who was a decidedly unsavory character, was the one who brought the curse upon himself. There was decidedly a curse, marked in the presence of other people. Jayne was warned constantly and periodically in no uncertain terms that she must avoid his company because great harm would befall him. It was a very sad sequence of events in which she was the victim of her own—as we mentioned earlier—inability to cope with her own success. Also the demonic self in her was crying out to be one thing, and her apparent self demanded that she be something else. She was beaten back and forth in this inner conflict between the apparent self and the demonic self. Sam Brody was blackmailing her.

FRITSCHER: About what?

LAVEY: He was blackmailing her. I have definite proof of this. She couldn’t get out of his clutches. She was a bit of a masochist herself. She brought about her own demise. But it wasn’t through what I had done to curse her. The curse, that she asked me to cast, was directed at him. And it was a very magnificent curse.

Watch the trailer after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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09.14.2017
06:40 am
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Anton LaVey, Son of Satan & Vampirella make for fantastically weird ‘Illegal Mego’ action figures
08.30.2017
12:17 pm
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One of Todd Waters’ customized Anton LaVey “Illegal Mego” action figures.
 
Michigan native Todd Waters started collecting action figures made by toy giant Mego in the 1970s when he was just a toddler and simply never stopped. He and his brother were so obsessed with the action figures put out by Mego that they started tricking out their own characters together as kids. In a 2007 interview Waters recalled that his very first custom figure was Spider-Man which he customized with ripped clothing and a removable mask which he still owns.

Eventually, Waters learned to sew which allowed him to make more creative costumes for his action figures, which he also hand-paints. After clicking through Waters’ Flickr, I was delighted to discover the wide variety of action figures he has made that include some cool, fringe characters such as two different versions of Anton LaVey, the supernatural “Brother Voodoo” from Marvel Comics, and his self-proclaimed favorite, a customized “Dr. Zachary Smith” as played by actor Jonathan Harris in the vintage television series, Lost in Space. As I’m sure you may be wondering, yes, Waters does occasionally sell his figures—but only does so to raise the funds to create more of his wacky custom treasures. If you’re interested in trying to acquire one of Waters’ unique figures, he can be contacted via his Flickr page.
 

“Man-Thing” figure. “Man-Thing” made his first appearance in the Marvel comic ‘Savage Tales’ in 1971.
 

“The Son of Satan” figure. “The Son of Satan” made his debut in 1973 in ‘Ghost Rider’ #1.
 
More Mego madness after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.30.2017
12:17 pm
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Meet the Swedish mystic who was the first Abstract artist

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The artist and mystic Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) never described the 193 paintings she produced between 1906-15 as “Abstract art.” Instead, af Klint thought of these paintings as diagrammatic illustrations inspired by conversations she (and her friends) conducted with the spirit world from the late 1890s on.

That af Klint did not call her work “Abstract art” is enough for some art historians to (foolishly) discount her art as the work of the first Abstract artist. In fact af Klint was painting her Abstract pictures long before Wassily Kandinsky made his progression from landscapes to abstraction sometime around 1910, or Robert Delaunay dropped Neo-Impressionism for Orphism and then moseyed along into Abstract art just a year or two later. But these men were members of voluble artistic groups and Kandinsky was a lawyer who knew the importance of self-promotion. Unlike af Klint who worked alone, in seclusion, and stipulated that her artwork was not to be exhibited until twenty years after her death. Af Klint died in 1944. In fact, it took forty-two years for her work to be seen by the public as part of an exhibition called The Spiritual in Art in Los Angeles, 1986.

And there’s the issue. The word “spiritual.” In a secular world where anything with a whiff of bells and candles is considered irrelevant, contemptible, and generally unimportant, it has been difficult for af Klint to be seen as anything other than an outsider artist or a footnote to the boys who have taken all the credit. Of course, a large part of the blame for this must rest with af Klint herself and her own prohibition on exhibiting her work. It’s very unfortunate, for this self-imposed ban meant that although af Klint may have been (I’ll say it again) the very first Abstract artist, her failure to share her work or exhibit it widely meant she had no or very limited influence through her artistic endeavors.

But now that af Klint has been rediscovered, it’s probably the right time to rip up the old art history narrative about Kandinsky and Delaunay and all the other boys and start all over again with af Klint at the top of that Abstract tree.

Hilma af Klint was born in Sweden in 1862 into a naval family. Her father was an admiral with a great interest in mathematics, who could play a damn fine tune on the violin. Her family were Protestant Christians but took considerable interest in the rapid advances made by science into the world—from medicine and x-rays to the theory of evolution. Unlike today, religious belief and scientific investigation were not mutually exclusive. In the same way, there was (at the time) a scientific interest in the spiritual.

Af Klint was passionate about mathematics, botany, and art. Some of her earliest paintings were detailed examinations of plants. Her father had little understanding of his daughter’s passion for art and would ruefully shake his head when she enthused about painting. Af Klint studied portraiture and landscape at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm 1882-87, graduating with honors. Her paintings are exceedingly good and technically very fine but not extraordinary or even offering much of a hint of what was to come.

The turning point for this great change roughly stemmed from the death of her younger sister. After her sister’s death in 1880, af Klint joined a group of women known who shared an interest in the spiritual, in particular, the occult theories and Theosophical ideas of Madame Blavatsky who promoted a unity of the scientific and the spiritual. These women became known as “The Five.” They held séances together with af Klint often acting as the medium. The group made contact with spirit entities which they called the “High Masters.” Under their guidance, these women started producing works created by automatic writing and automatic painting—this was almost four decades before the Surrealists laid claim to inventing such techniques.

It was through her contact with these High Masters that af Klint began her series of Abstract paintings in 1906. These pictures, she claimed, were intended to represent “the path towards the reconciliation of spirituality with the material world, along with other dualities: faith and science, men and women, good and evil.”

Af Klint detailed her conversations with these spirits including one with a spirit called Gregor who told her:

All the knowledge that is not of the senses, not of the intellect, not of the heart but is the property that exclusively belongs to the deepest aspect of your being […] the knowledge of your spirit.

In 1906, af Klint began painting the images these spirits instructed her to set down. Her first was the painting Ur-Chaos which was created under the direction of the High Master Amaliel, as af Klint wrote in her notebooks:

Amaliel sign a draft, then let H paint. The idea is to produce a nucleus from which the evolution is based in rain and storm, lightning and storms. Then come leaden clouds above.

Between 1906 and 1915, af Klint produced a total of 193 paintings and an outpouring of thousands of words describing her conversations with the High Masters and the meaning of her paintings. Her work depicted the symmetrical duality of existence like male/female, material/spiritual, and good/evil. Blue represented the feminine. Yellow the masculine. Pink signified physical love. Red denoted spiritual love. Green represented harmony. Spirals signified evolution. Marks that looked like a “U” stood for the spiritual world. While waves or a “W” the material world. Circles or discs meant unity. Af Klint believed she was creating a new visual language, a new way of painting, that brought the spiritual and scientific together.

These paintings were often over ten feet in height. Af Klint stood around five feet. She painted her pictures on the floor—the occasional footprint can be seen smudged on the canvas. Af Klint worked like someone possessed. She believed her work was intended to establish a “Temple.” What this temple was or what it signified she was never exactly quite sure. All af Klint knew was that she was being guided by spirits:

The pictures were painted directly through me, without any preliminary drawings, and with great force. I had no idea what the paintings were supposed to depict; nevertheless, I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke.

All through this, af Klint continued her own rigorous investigation into new scientific and esoteric ideas. This brought her to the work of Rudolf Steiner who was similarly following a path towards creating a synthesis between the scientific and the spiritual. When af Klint showed her paintings to the great esoteric, Steiner was shocked and told her these paintings must not be seen for fifty years as no one would understand them.

Steiner’s response devastated af Klint and she stopped painting for four years. Af Klint spent her time tending to her blind, dying mother. She then returned to painting but kept herself and more importantly her work removed from the world. After her death in 1944, the rented barn in which she kept her studio was to be burnt by the landlord farmer. A relative quickly decanted all of af Klint’s paintings and notebooks into wooden crates and stored them in a tin-roofed attic for the next thirty years.

In 1970, af Klint’s paintings were offered to the Moderna Museet (Museum of Modern Art) in Stockholm which was surprisingly (some might say foolishly) knocked back. Thankfully, through the perseverance of her family and the art historian Åke Fant, af Klint’s work was eventually exhibited in the 1980s. In total, Hilma af Klint painted over 1,200 abstract paintings and wrote some 23,000 words, all of which are now owned and managed by the Hilma af Klint Foundation.
 
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‘The Ten Largest #3’ (1907).
 
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‘The Ten Largest #4’ (1907).
 
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‘The Ten Largest #7.’ (1907).
 
More Abstract art from Hilma af Klint, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.30.2017
10:27 am
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‘Turbulence 3’: The (pre-9/11) stinker of an airplane hijack film starring a fake Marilyn Manson!
08.24.2017
09:07 am
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Weekend at Bernies II. Blues Brothers 2000. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2. These are movies that should have never been made. and speaking of horrible film sequels, let me tell you a little bit about Turbulence, the plane-hijacking film franchise that just couldn’t escape total obscurity. Although it probably should have.

Turbulence, the series’ namesake, was released in 1997. The film starred Ray Liotta as a trial-bound prisoner on transport to Los Angeles who breaks free mid-flight and threatens to take the plane down with him. The pulsating drama grossed about $11 million domestically, a climatic nosedive compared to its $55 million overall budget. Hoping to give it another go-round with a direct-to-Vhs release in 1999, Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying raised the altitude a little with a plane that was transporting a goddamn chemical bomb. It fared a solid 14% on the Tomatometer.

In the new millennium and despite two previous commercial failures, there had to be one more way to capitalize on the thrill of hijackers at death-defying heights. The third installment to round out this disastrous trilogy of airplane suspense films, Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal was released to home the home video market fewer than four months prior to the events of 9/11, on May 13th, 2001. This time around, however, creators took lead from the trends of a post-Y2K America, with hopes of appeal to the youth’s dominant subcultures.


 
The DVD jacket copy reads:

Turbulence 3 brings a mid-air crisis crashing onto the Web and into the lives of millions of stunned Internet viewers when an airborne rock concert goes disastrously wrong.

Slade Craven - the rock superstar and reigning king of ‘Death Metal’ music has planned a farewell concert unlike anything the world has ever seen: He’ll be performing onboard a 747 jumbo jet as it flies from Los Angeles to Toronto. The entire spectacle will be broadcast live on Web music network ZTV - a first for the Internet and the TV industry.

Murder and mayhem take over as the flight is hijacked by a sadistic fan, who randomly starts killing anyone who gets in his way. Proving to be the ultimate white-knuckle fight for the passengers and millions of Web viewers, the aptly numbered Flight 666 continues off course and toward imminent disaster.

 

“Let’s do the hustle” is Slade Craven’s signature catchphrase
 
File under for fans of heavy (nu)metal, hackers, Satanism, cyberculture, reality television, and cheapo action films. The growing popularity of Marilyn Manson in the late 90s was (clearly!) a major influence on the film’s lead character of Slade Craven, considering that he is almost identical in nature to the Ohio-born, Florida-bred “God of Fuck.” But what happens when a devout follower of the Antichrist hopes to release the Dark Spirit by crashing his airborne farewell concert into an abandoned church (all while being streamed to ten million people on the Internet)? One FBI agent must put complete faith into a notorious criminal hacker to tap into the mainframe and land the plane safely via Flight Simulator. Sometimes even the “reigning king of Death Metal” needs to flip his cross right-side-up and pray for the safety of his fans.
 
Fasten your seatbelt. Watch Turbulence 3 in its stupid entirety after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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08.24.2017
09:07 am
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Black cats, black magic, and bad luck: Spellbinding occult-themed embroidery
08.10.2017
10:32 am
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A fantastic embroidered piece by Australian artist, Adipocere.
 
Based in Melbourne, Australia, the embroidery artist known as “Adipocere,” adopted a word that has several somewhat sinister synonyms such as “grave wax,” “corpse wax,” or “mortuary wax.” By definition, adipocere is a light-gray substance produced by a cadaver as their fatty tissue decomposes—making the word a perfect match for the artist’s delightfully dreadful embroidery.

Adipocere (aka “Josh”) has been involved in the craft of embroidery since 2014 and currently his Instagram has 63.7K followers. On his Instagram feed the artist makes note of the fact that he also does embroidery on human skin. His work has been shown in galleries across the world, and according to the artist himself, he is aware of at least 60 people who have tattooed images of his dark embroidery onto their own skin. I understand that he occasionally sells his pieces and also has a few other items up for purchase via Big Cartel. The images below are slightly NSFW.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.10.2017
10:32 am
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Spectropia, the popular 19th-century method of conjuring demons and ghosts
08.08.2017
10:13 am
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The world is ever divided into the superstitious and the enlightened, and while the enlightened have shown the clear trend of being on the rise, it doesn’t always seem so. Ghosts and horoscopes and good-luck charms abound, and poindexterish explanations of why they are all poppycock merely tend to make one an un-adored party pooper—even though this is certainly the correct view.

There’s a tendency to consign all of pre-modernity to the superstitious (one might say “religious”) camp, but that really isn’t the case. Mathematicians and scientists have existed for the entirety of recorded history, which must be the case since language and writing technologies are products of the experimental mindset. The Enlightenment was a turning point, as rationality was increasingly given a central place in the arrangement of social affairs, and even if irreligious skeptics were (and are) outnumbered, you could still always count on finding someone in the vicinity willing to scoff at the hocus-pocus of superstition.

In the 19th century, some scholars were able to use interest in the paranormal to undermine its premises entirely. One such person was J.H. Brown, who published a book in New York City under the title Spectropia; or, Surprising spectral illusions showing ghosts everywhere and of any colour in 1864. The book was popular enough to merit a print run in London in 1865 and a Dutch edition in 1866.

Here is the cover of the U.S. edition:
 

 
To produce his popular occult-adjacent book, Brown relied on the optical phenomenon of “cone fatigue,” whereby prolonged exposure to an image of a specific color produces an afterimage (with reversed colors) in the eye for a few seconds after the initial image is replaced with a white field. A common example is an inverted image of the U.S. flag, which produces a more or less color-accurate version in the eye afterward.
 

 
Brown didn’t use the flag—he used pictures of demons and angels and skeletons. In the book Brown stated that his goal was
 

the extinction of the superstitious belief that apparitions are actual spirits, by showing some of the many ways in which our senses may be deceived, and that, in fact, no so-called ghost has ever appeared, without its being referable either to mental or physiological deception, or, in those instances where several persons have seen a spectre at the same time, to natural objects

 
Here are Brown’s instructions on how to see the “spectres”:
 
To see the spectres, it is only necessary to look steadily at the dot, or asterisk, which is to be found on each of the plates, for about a quarter of a minute, or while counting about twenty, the plate being well illuminated by either artificial or day light. Then turning the eyes to the ceiling, the wall, the sky, or better still to a white sheet hung on the wall of a darkened room (not totally dark), and looking rather steadily at any one point, the spectre will soon begin to make its appearance, increasing in intensity, and then gradually vanishing, to reappear and again vanish ; it will continue to do so several times in succession, each reappearance being fainter than the one preceding. Winking the eyes, or passing a finger rapidly to and fro before them, will frequently hasten the appearance of the spectre, especially if the plate has been strongly illuminated.
 
Here’s an amusing item from the New York Daily Tribune of September 13, 1864, in which the publisher introduces to the public “the new ghost marvel” that can produce “without apparatus, machine, or expense” all manner of demons and ghosts “upon the wall, the doors, the curtains, or any white surface whatever!!”
 

 
I figure this was sort of the Magic Eye of its day. Below are some of the images from Spectropia, but you can see the whole book at Public Domain Review.
 

 
More spectral demons and skeletons after the jump…....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.08.2017
10:13 am
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Dutch master: The grotesque & twisted surrealism of Johfra Bosschart
08.07.2017
02:27 pm
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“The genius of Port Lligat.” A painting done in 1985 by Dutch painter Johfra Bosschart. Johfra is pictured to the left of the giant Dalí head.
 
Up until his death at the age of 78, Dutch painter Johfra Bosschart was driven to create his art by mystical and occult ideologies. The artist himself has said that he has been inspired by many things, including astrology, magic, and organized religion—specifically citing the Bible as a creative force in his work. Following his passing, his large portfolio, including writings and never-before-seen paintings were shown in public eventually leading to the publication of a book in 2001 that compiled 60-plus-years of Bosschart’s inspiring endeavours, Johfra: Highest Lights and Deepest Shadows.

Like his art, Johfra’s life was a bit strange. Born Franciscus Johannes Gijsbertus van den Berg in 1919, he would work under the moniker “Johfra” beginning in 1945—a name he devised by borrowing the first three letters from his first two names, Franciscus Johannes. Later that same year his home in the Hague and approximately 400 of his paintings were blown to bits by a bomb, thankfully while the artist was not in it. During the German occupation of Holland, Johfra and his fellow artists were rightfully afraid to showcase their work and had little contact with the world beyond their homeland. It was during this time that the artist got his hands on a copy of a German publication that condemned the work of various artists whom the Nazis had labeled “degenerate” such as Salvador Dalí, Rudolf Schlichter, and Yves Tanguy. Deeply moved by the work of Dalí, Johfra began to cultivate his inner-surrealist once the war was over. His obsession with Dalí would culminate in Johfra traveling to Dalí‘s mythical home that he shared with his wife and muse Gala in Port Lligat, Catalonia, Spain. At the time, Dalí was working on his massive masterpiece, “The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.” The eccentric artist welcomed Johfra into his studio to see the painting, though the fairy-tale meeting with his idol left Johfra rather underwhelmed, prompting him to write an entry in his diary about it. Here’s an excerpt from the entry below:

“This visit left a storm of conflicting thoughts and feelings behind us. I found him repulsive yet sympathetic and tragic. An imprisoned person who is forced to be the figure that he himself has created. A victim of a world in which he is the fool, and of himself through his boundless vanity, making him impossible to break out of this situation. What I missed completely was every trace of joy and humour.”

Johfra would marry twice—both times to other influential painters, Diana Vandenberg in 1952 and later Ellen Lórien in 1973. This would be the same year that Johfra would receive a commission to paint posters based on the twelve astrological signs of the zodiac. The series was wildly popular and the artist and his wife—who often appears in Johfra’s paintings—would live out their days in a remote mountainous region in the French Alps. Sounds dreamy. I’ve included a collection of Johfra’s incredible, perplexing work below for you to peruse. Some of the images are NSFW.
 

“The Apotheosis of Dalí “1971.
 

 

 
More Johfra after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.07.2017
02:27 pm
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Breaking news: EVERYONE can own Glenn Danzig’s house

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Well, since everyone is talking about wishing they could buy Glenn Danzig’s now iconic house since yesterday’s popular Dangerous Minds post—good news! We all can!

Well, sorta. The weird folks at Meth Syndicate, one of the top new companies that does the enamel metal pins that are so popular with the kids (along with their friends at Pizzaships) have come up with a way for all people to buy Glenn’s house! Yup, the “Danzig’s House hard enamel pin”!
 
jdjfhg
 
It’s posted on their Instagram page along with this text:
 
ssadclhfy
 
As some of you reading this know, I used to be in Danzig and I lived in the guest house there for quite a while and it was bat shit crazy! Not because of Glenn, mind you, but because of YOU! YOU PEOPLE are crazy!

A little after I started living there we had to start chaining the driveway gate to keep the nuts out. I’d wake up many mornings to “the spray can girl” who would walk up and down the driveway slowly shaking a spraypaint can (KA-CHUNK, KA-CHUNK, KA-CHUNK) like some kinda tribal death march. Notes, records, dead things, you name it. When people showed up and were calm and friendly, Glenn was always unfailingly nice. I have known him since 1978 and he’s super cool, he was always fair and generous as a bandleader and I think all the kookoo fans that come up with these weird trips about him are both a blessing and a curse. It’s great to have fans but put yourselves in Glenn’s hooves, imagine being bugged by creepy nuts who all have your address, day and night? Just living with it was pretty unnerving. So remember “Do what thou wilt” unless thou art an idiot! Then do the opposite!

Leave your dark idol the hell alone!!
 

Posted by Howie Pyro
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08.04.2017
05:34 pm
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That time Franz Kafka visited Rudolf Steiner to talk about Theosophy


Franz Kafka c. 1911
 
So here is something I learned wallowing in London Review of Books’ digital archive: Franz Kafka had enough of an interest in Theosophy to visit Rudolf Steiner at his hotel and ask whether to devote his life to study of the occult sciences. Kafka wrote about the meeting in his diary. It’s just like one of his short stories.

In March of 1911, Steiner, who had not yet founded the Anthroposophical Society, delivered a series of lectures in Prague, later published as An Occult Physiology. The date of Kafka’s first diary entry on the lectures, March 26, puts him in the audience for the sixth talk, “The Blood as Manifestation and Instrument of the Human Ego.” Two days later, Kafka met Steiner at the Victoria Hotel on Jungmannstrasse:

In his room I try to show my humility, which I cannot feel, by seeking out a ridiculous place for my hat, I lay it down on a small wooden stand for lacing boots. Table in the middle, I sit facing the window, he on the left side of the table. On the table papers with a few drawings which recall those of the lectures dealing with occult physiology. An issue of the Annalen für Naturphilosophie topped a small pile of the books which seemed to be lying about in other places as well. However, you cannot look around because he keeps trying to hold you with his glance. But if for a moment he does not, then you must watch for the return of his glance. He begins with a few disconnected sentences. So you are Dr Kafka? Have you been interested in theosophy long?

But I push on with my prepared address: I feel that a great part of my being is striving toward theosophy, but at the same time I have the greatest fear of it. That is to say, I am afraid it will result in a new confusion which would be very bad for me, because even my present unhappiness consists only of confusion. This confusion is as follows: My happiness, my abilities, and every possibility of being useful in any way have always been in the literary field. And here I have, to be sure, experienced states (not many) which in my opinion correspond very closely to the clairvoyant states described by you, Herr Doktor, in which I completely dwelt in every idea, but also filled every idea, and in which I not only felt myself at my boundary, but at the boundary of the human in general. Only the calm of enthusiasm, which is probably characteristic of the clairvoyant, was still lacking in those states, even if not completely. I conclude this from the fact that I did not write the best of my works in those states. I cannot now devote myself completely to this literary field, as would be necessary and indeed for various reasons. Aside from my family relationships, I could not live by literature if only, to begin with, because of the slow maturing of my work and its special character; besides, I am prevented also by my health and my character from devoting myself to what is, in the most favourable case, an uncertain life. I have therefore become an official in a social insurance agency. Now these two professions can never be reconciled with one another and admit a common fortune. The smallest good fortune in one becomes a great misfortune in the other. If I have written something good one evening, I am afire the next day in the office and can bring nothing to completion. This back and forth continually becomes worse. Outwardly, I fulfil my duties satisfactorily in the office, not my inner duties, however, and every unfulfilled inner duty becomes a misfortune that never leaves. And to these two never-to-be-reconciled endeavours shall I now add theosophy as a third? Will it not disturb both the others and itself be disturbed by both? Will I, at present already so unhappy a person, be able to carry the three to completion? This is what I have come to ask you, Herr Doktor, for I have a presentiment that if you consider me capable of this, than I can really take it upon myself.

He listened very attentively without apparently looking at me at all, entirely devoted to my words. He nodded from time to time, which he seems to consider an aid to strict concentration. At first a quiet head cold disturbed him, his nose ran, he kept working his handkerchief deep into his nose, one finger at each nostril.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.03.2017
09:05 am
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