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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”!
 
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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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Tricky dicks and flying vaginas: The satanic erotica of ‘Les Diables de Lithographies’


An image of a restored illustration from Eugène Modeste Edmond Le Poitevin ‘Les Diables de Lithographies.’
 
You might think that I’ve finally gone crazy after reading the title of this post, but you’d be wrong. I’ve been slightly crazy for quite a while—mostly due to the occupational hazards of my “job” here at Dangerous Minds which occasionally expose my eyes to such things as illustrations depicting disembodied flying vaginas. But I’m okay with that, especially since we can all write off this experience as “educational” due to the historical relevance of the vintage illustrations in this post.

In 1832, French painter and Lithographer Eugène Modeste Edmond Le Poitevin published Les Diables de Lithographies—a collection of 80 illustrations on twelve different lithograph plates. A short time later that same year Le Poitevin would put out fourteen more lithograph plates containing 115 additional illustrations for Les Diables de Lithographies. The images are as diabolical as they come and would bring Le Poitevin his greatest success as an artist. His illustrations of Satan showing off his huge penis, or perhaps carting it around in a wheel barrel was quite the departure for the artist who was known for his paintings comprised primarily of landscapes, marine life, sailors, and fishermen.

At the time of Les Diableries de Lithographies’ publication, the city of Paris was in upheaval. In June of 1832, an event referred to as the “June Rebellion” (aka the “Paris Uprising” which writer Victor Hugo in part based his 1862 novel Les Misérables on) was initiated by rebels opposing the liberal-minded monarchy of Louis Philippe I. Philippe I came to power in 1830 after Charles X was forced to abdicate his position as King. French Republicans were pissed. But that was nothing compared to other dire issues in Paris such as the horrific eruption of cholera that killed over eighteen thousand residents of the city (primarily poor people, of course) and another hundred thousand who resided outside the city. Word on the street was that the government was poisoning the water wells.

Despite the all the dead bodies and rumors of poison water, Le Poitevin’s Les Diables de Lithographies was incredibly popular which led to a demand for more from his adoring fans. The artist would respond with several other fiendish publications such as Les diableries érotiques, Petits sujets des diableries, Bizarreries diaboliques, and Encore des Diableries. I’ve included images from both Les Diables de Lithographies and Les diableries érotiques by Le Poitevin below which are without question, very NSFW.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.31.2017
10:06 am
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Horror Scope: Manly P. Hall’s occult murder mystery, ‘When Were You Born?’
07.28.2017
11:12 am
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One of Elvis’ favorite books, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, was the work of Manly Palmer Hall, a Los Angeles-based esotericist who tried to break into the moving picture business long before Elvis did. In 1938, Hall appeared in an astrological murder mystery based on a story he sold Warner Bros., When Were You Born?

Anna May Wong plays Mei Lei Ming, a Chinese astrologer who uses her total omniscience to help the San Francisco police solve a crime. Each of the movie’s 12 characters has a different sun sign—awfully convenient for the plot, but an ingenious way of teaching the zodiac to an audience nonetheless. Hall defended the movie as “the first picture ever made by a major motion picture studio of the world dealing with the subject of astrology except as a joke or fraud.”
 

 
Master of the Mysteries: New Revelations on the Life of Manly Palmer Hall says the original version of Hall’s story “depicted astrologer Evangeline Adams as a ‘kind, old lady’ who happened to be a powerful influence on the stock exchange,” but the studio had other ideas:

The plot would be more saleable as a murder mystery, [the powers-that-be] said, and more believable with a mysterious and sultry female lead. Hall grudgingly agreed, and came back with a revised version that became the only one of his original stories that was ever actually produced[...]

[The script] called for a pet marmoset, but since the only marmoset available had already been rented out, Hall compromised on a little brown monkey named Venus.

Hall consulted the stars for the best starting date and time: exactly 11:26 a.m. Feb. 9. It was reported that he must have gotten his stars mixed up because leading lady Wong was in bed with a cold that day. Hall insisted that although the studio had lived up to the letter of his starting time, it had not observed it in spirit. Director William McGann had shot the first scene at the prescribed moment, Hall agreed, but he had spent an hour or more rehearsing his cast before that. He complained that only one actor in the film was actually born under the character he played—in his case, Pisces, the fish.

As a final touch, it was decided that the movie should open with Hall making an introductory on-camera speech explaining how astrology can forecast future events and, as he says, solve crime. Hall lamented having to do the scene, calling his cameo appearance a final blow to the project that had been tinkered with so much that he barely recognized it as his own. But the movie’s producers felt it was needed to help the public understand what the movie was all about.

When Were You Born? is not yet available from Warner Archive, but Finders Keepers Classics offers a DVD-R with reasonably sharp picture and sound for $6.99. Manly P. Hall sets it up in the trailer below.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.28.2017
11:12 am
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Sex, Satan and surrealism: The unsettling erotica of Michael Hutter
07.24.2017
10:41 am
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“The Weight of the Head and Heart.” A painting by German artist Michael Hutter.
 
German artist Michael Hutter‘s fantasy-based paintings are distinctly reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch. Filled with imagery associated with the occult or perhaps demons doing their time in purgatory, Hutter’s work is utterly mesmerizing.

Sex, death, erotica and science fiction scenarios run amock in Hutter’s work which the artist says is inspired by the “logic of dreams.” He has also been inspired by the fictional city of “Carcosa,” the mystical port dreamed up by Ambrose Bierce in his 1886 short story “An Inhabitant of Carcosa.” In 1895 author Robert W. Chambers published a book full of horror short stories called The King in Yellow which referenced Carcosa and other aspects of Bierce’s work. Later H.P. Lovecraft would incorporate Carcosa into his various Cthulhu mythos tales. Even George R. R. Martin got in on the supernatural fun when he named a city Carcosa (noted on an intricate map) in his book series A Song of Ice and Fire. Now that you have some perspective on all that, and how his art is part of this cool Carcosa continuum, here’s more from Hutter on the basis for his surreal, often sexually charged artwork: 

“I don’t care for reality or the probability that something is true, only for its potential to stimulate my thought. In my opinion, the truth is somehow an illusion anyway. I mix that with my obsession, passions, desires, and fears and choke what happens in the abyss of my personality back on the surface.”

Hutter has also applied his considerable artistic skills to photography using digital manipulation to bring some of his chilling witches and demon-like characters to life. The images that follow are NSFW.
 

“The Cuckold.”
 

“Alien Sex.”
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.24.2017
10:41 am
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Doctor Faust’s handy guide to conjuring up demons

00faustpraxis.jpg
 
The story of Doctor Johann Georg Faust is better known through literature and legend than by the few existing facts which document his life. Even his birth date is an estimate ranging from 1466 to 1480, which covers two broken mirrors’ worth of supposition. Anyway, what little is known can be roughly put down thus:

Faust was a scholar and a Doctor of Philosophy. He was an itinerant alchemist, astrologer, magician, and occultist. He performed magic tricks in shows and wrote horoscopes on commission. During his life, he was variously described as a trickster, a fraud, and a con man—-mainly due to customers dissatisfied with their horoscopes. He was denounced by the Church as being “in league with the Devil,” a necromancer, a practitioner of Black Magic, and a “sodomite” who corrupted and abused his students. This latter accusation almost led to his arrest and imprisonment.

He wrote several grimoires and chapbooks, including the chapbook featured here Praxis Magia Faustiana (1527) in which he described how to conjure up demons like “Mephistopheles.” This was the very first time the name “Mephistopheles” was ever documented. According to legend, Mephistopheles was the demon to whom Faust sold his soul in return for unlimited knowledge and wealth. We don’t what exactly happened when Faust “conjured” up this demon, we do, however, have Faust’s description of him as one of the Seven Great Princes of Hell who:

...stands under the planet Jupiter, his regent is named Zadikel, an enthroned angel of holy Jehovah…his form is firstly that of a fiery bear, the other and fairer appearance is as of a little man with a black cape and a bald head.

Doesn’t sound so terribly demonic, does it?

Faust did have some fans—including one bishop who considered his astrological work very convincing and some academics who praised his medical knowledge. But generally, he was greatly feared and was banished from Ingolstadt in 1528. Faust died in an explosion during an alchemical experiment circa 1541. His body was hideously scarred. This gave rise to the legend he had died during a conjuring rite and the Devil had sent his emissary Mephistopheles to bring Faust’s soul to Hell.

Faust’s chapbooks provided the source material for Christopher Marlowe‘s play The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (circa 1588), in particular the following volume that first detailed Faust’s dealing with the tricky Mephisopheles.

The text opens with a long list of the names of angels and demons before invoking the “Spirit by the power and virtue of the letters which I have inscribed - do I command thee to give me a sign of thy arrival.”

Then more names:

Larabay + Belion + Sonor + Soraman + Bliar + Sonor + Arotan + Niza + Raphael + Alazaman + Eman + Nazaman + Tedoyl + Teabicabal + Ruos, Acluaar + Iambala + Cochim

Zebaman + Sehemath + Egibut + Philomel + Gazaman + Delet + Azatan + Uriel + Facal + Alazamant + Nisia + By the most sacred and holy mercy of God + Zeyhomann + Acluaas + Niza + Tachal + Neciel + Amatemach + Her somini +

By this I compel thee to appear unto me before this circle and to do what I command thee…

Before finishing:

Now do I conjure and command thee O Evil Spirit by the powers of Heaven and by the words of life…Mephistophilis and by the power off the words +Tetragram + Agla + Adonay + Amin

~Snip!~

Now I conjure thee to come from thy abode even from the farthest parts by these great and mighty names - Tetragrammaton - Adonai - Agla - and to appear before me receiving and executing my demands truly and without falsehood I command thee O Spirit Rumoar -, even by t[h]y great sovereign Lucifer.

A full transcript can be read here.
 
01faustpraxis.jpg
 
02faustpraxis.jpg
 
More of Faust’s conjuring tricks, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.14.2017
10:39 am
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Professor Hindu, the corpse-reviving sorcerer who was once Fela Kuti’s ‘spiritual advisor’
06.30.2017
09:08 am
Topics:
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DJ Jumbo Vanrenen’s flyer from Professor Hindu’s London show, via thisisafrica.me
 
A few years ago, Suzanne Moore devoted a column in the New Statesman to her memories of a special event Fela Kuti once hosted in London. Inside a small club in Belsize Park, Fela’s favorite sorcerer, Professor Hindu, was slicing out his own tongue; out front, men were digging a grave. “Some poor guy had volunteered to be killed and resurrected,” she writes. After doing some card tricks, Professor Hindu slit the volunteer’s throat and buried him in the cold, cold ground.

Moore didn’t return for the Lazarus routine two days later, but she heard about it from wonderful Vivien Goldman (who published her own account in NME) long after the fact:

Not only had she been there, but she’d gone back to see the dead man raised. He’d jumped out of the grave in a suit all covered in earth and propositioned her. “Being buried alive makes you horny,” he exclaimed. That makes sense, when you think about it.

Fela’s death and resurrection show made its debut at his Lagos club, the Shrine, in May of ‘81. According to Michael E. Veal’s Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon, during Professor Hindu’s first engagement at the Shrine, the magician “reportedly hacked open one man’s throat and fatally shot another.” In both instances, the victims were revived after apparently spending days and nights buried in the ground.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.30.2017
09:08 am
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