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America Eats Its Young: Funkadelic’s dark dalliance with the Process Church of the Final Judgment
05.08.2015
10:34 am

Topics:
Music
Occult

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“Sometimes you have to lose your mind to gain your soul”: a magazine ad for America Eats Its Young
 
One of the most enigmatic aspects of Funkadelic’s career is the group’s short-lived association with the Process Church of the Final Judgment. The occult organization, which provided the liner notes to Funkadelic’s third and fourth albums, achieved notoriety after Ed Sanders devoted a chapter to it in The Family, tying the Process to Charles Manson. The Process sued Sanders’ publisher and succeeded in having the offending chapter removed from subsequent editions of The Family, but the lawsuit seems only to have intensified suspicions that the Process was hiding something about its relationship with Manson.
 

 
So not everyone thought the Process was groovy in 1972. Critic Robert Christgau slammed Funkadelic for their association with the Process in his review of America Eats Its Young:

[Funkadelic’s] racial hostility is much preferable to the brotherhood bromides of that other Detroit label, but their taste in white people is suspect: it’s one thing to put down those who “picket this and protest that” from their “semi-first-class seat,” another to let the Process Church of the Final Judgment provide liner notes on two successive albums. I overlooked it on Maggot Brain because the music was so difficult to resist, but here the strings (told you about their taste in white people), long-windedness (another double-LP that should be a single), and programmatic lyrics (“Miss Lucifer’s Love” inspires me to mention that while satanism is a great antinomian metaphor it often leads to murder, rape, etc.) leave me free to exercise my prejudices.

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘Twin Peaks’ Tarot cards and other cult TV tarot goodies
05.06.2015
05:20 am

Topics:
Occult
Television

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If you’re in need of an inspired and unique new tarot deck, (and who isn’t?) we’d like to recommend a Twin Peaks-derived set of cards from etsy seller MaiafirePrints. She has a full deck of cards inspired by David Lynch’s epic TV series.
 

 

 

 

 
Many more after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Norway’s monument to 91 ‘witches’ killed nearly 400 years ago
05.04.2015
01:18 pm

Topics:
Art
Occult

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Just like New England in 1692-1693, the little town of Vardø, located far north of the Arctic circle, in the extreme northeastern part of Norway—it’s actually much closer to Russia than it is to Sweden, which is unusual for a Norwegian town—experienced a witch crisis all its own in the 17th century. The witch trials ended up affecting an unusually high percentage of the local townspeople—the entire county of Finnmark had a population of 3,000 people, but 135 people were accused of practicing witchcraft, 91 of whom were executed. As in Salem, the method of “pond dunking” was used:
 

it was often part of the process to include “trial by water”—the result being seen as “God’s will”. Those accused were bound hand and foot and thrown into the water. If the person floated, it was sign of their guilt. If they sank, they were innocent. During the Vardø witch trials, all those that were subjected to “trial by water” floated—thus guilty in the eyes of God.

 
In 2011 a memorial for the victims of the witch trials was erected and unveiled by the Queen of Norway. The designers of the memorial were two highly esteemed artists, Peter Zumthor of Switzerland and Louise Bourgeois, born in France but active in the United States. The memorial, known as the Steilneset Memorial, is located next to what is believed to be the execution site of many of the 91 victims.

The memorial consists of two parts, a long hallway suspended near the beach, Zumthor’s “Memory Hall,” a long cross-hatched frame containing a corridor with 91 lamps, each one illuminates a window and a plaque that tells the story of the men and women killed with testimony from their trials. That is connected to the Bourgeois contribution, a black box made of glass with a constantly burning chair in the middle, with mirrors suspended above it. This part is called, “The Damned, The Possessed, and The Beloved.”

Of the artists’ process, Zumthor has said, “I had my idea, I sent it to her, she liked it, and she came up with her idea, reacted to my idea, then I offered to abandon my idea and to do only hers, and she said, ‘No, please stay.’ So, the result is really about two things—there is a line, which is mine, and a dot, which is hers…. Louise’s installation is more about the burning and the aggression, and my installation is more about the life and the emotions [of the victims].”

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Witch’s Cradle’: Watch Maya Deren and Marcel Duchamp’s stunning occult short
05.01.2015
06:40 am

Topics:
Movies
Occult

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Surrealist filmmaker Maya Deren’s 1943 short, The Witch’s Cradle, is the stuff of sexy nightmares. A terrified young ingenue appears in a romantic Grecian dress—or is it a nightgown? The dreamy setting is unclear, and time is not linear. Strings creep and weave throughout—the literal thread that binds the otherwise erratic series of shots. An old man—played by Marcel Duchamp—manipulates the string into webbing. Elusive shots and occult imagery leave everything in a mysterious haze. The girl reappears—possibly performing a ritual—with a pentagram on her head.

The film is the product of an interesting partnership—Deren from the Greenwich Village avant-garde scene and Duchamp, the conceptual artist and Dadaist. I had originally assumed this was a directorial collaboration, but Duchamp (the more established artist at this point), actually only has an acting credit, with Deren as writer and director. It speaks well of Duchamp that he’d work with a younger, lesser known and female peer. It’s all hard to make heads or tales of—but it’s creepy and cool.
 

 
Thanks to Barms!

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Baptist exorcist explains why playing Dungeons & Dragons will curse your great-grandchildren
04.30.2015
07:43 am

Topics:
Belief
Games
Occult

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Dungeons & Dragons was invented in 1974 by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, but it wasn’t until the early 1980s that the legendary table game became a national phenomenon worthy (just like Elvis and the Beatles) of an organized backlash from religious authorities. As would also happen to Harry Potter a generation later, some concerned parents heard the word “spells” and concluded “witchcraft” or “Satan.” Groups like Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons generated fantastic pamphlets like this one. Jack Chick got involved too (see below). Of course there was also the early Tom Hanks TV movie Mazes and Monsters that purported to tell the true tale of the 1979 disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III but got the story totally wrong (Egbert’s D&D experience was limited, and it had nothing to do with his death).

Why it took him so long we’ll never know, but Win Worley, pastor at the Hegewisch Baptist Church in Highland, Indiana, took up the cause in 1992, as seen in this video. It probably wasn’t his main gig, but this article here calls him a “pioneer in exorcism,” a fact confirmed in this eye-popping volume.

You may be expecting the full-on fire/brimstone treatment but Worley here is unexpectedly engaging and likeable. This is the kind of demonizer I can get behind! (Almost.) In the first few seconds Worley is reading from some text and the result is a remarkable word salad that I’ve highlighted in bold below:
 

Satanic salute, and the unicorn, flying horse rainbows. Of course, that’s new age symbols. Enchantments, strategies, potions, spells, Dungeons & Dragons they’ll call games like that. Psychic readings, reincarnations, pyramid, clairvoyance, mental science, false visions, superstitions, talismans, Satanism, karma. These are some of the occult spirits. Now if you’ve dabbled in any of these, then you’re cursed, your children are cursed, your grandchildren are cursed, your great grandchildren are cursed. Now, there’s a way to take care of that, and we’re gonna do that. It’s quite simple, really. There’s—Satan is a legal expert, and as long as he has legal rights to be somewhere, you cannot budge him, I don’t care who you are. You can throw your coat on him or blow on him or whatever, he’s not gonna go anywhere. You’ve got to take away the legal grounds, that’s what we’re doing. Now we’re gonna take away the legal grounds on the occult, if you’ve ever been involved. You say, “Well, I don’t think I’ve never been involved.” Well, your ancestors may have been, so take no chances, let’s renounce it, it’s not gonna hurt you to renounce it. It might hurt you not to.

 
Watch it for yourself, it’s short and ends in a prayer.
 

 
After the jump, a great Chick tract on D&D…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘The Ghetto Tarot’: Haitian artists transform classic tarot deck into stunning real life scenes
04.29.2015
11:05 am

Topics:
Art
Games
Occult

Tags:


Death
 
Welcome to the Ghetto Tarot, a project from award-winning documentary photographer Alice Smeets and a group of Haitian artists known as Atis Rezistans. The idea was to take the classic Rider-Waite tarot deck of 78 cards and create a photographic version of each card using settings and objects in the vibrant ghetto of Haiti.

As Smeets says, “The spirit of the Ghetto Tarot project is the inspiration to turn negative into positive while playing. The group of artists ‘Atiz Rezistans’ use trash to create art with their own visions that are a reflection of the beauty they see hidden within the waste. They are claiming the word ‘Ghetto,’ thus freeing themselves of its depreciating undertone and turning it into something beautiful.”

Smeets also related some of the memorable incidents while executing the photo shoots:
 

There have been plenty of little, funny moments. One example: when we were shooting the scene of the Death card, I asked the artists if they had real skulls to place them in the picture. Five minutes later, Claudel, one of the artists and my dearest assistant, came along holding a plastic bag filled with skulls in his hands as if it was the most normal thing in the world to carry dead peoples heads around.

It constantly surprised me how the artists almost always found immediately what I asked for. For the picture of the High Priestess, we needed horns to place them next to her feet. I hadn’t let them known beforehand that we would be in need of them. As soon as Claudel found out, he ran and came back a moment later with two horns in his hands. They never told me where they found all of the materials, they just happened to lay around somewhere in the Ghetto.

 

The Ghetto Tarot has been fully funded on indiegogo, and you can place an order for a full deck at the price of 32 euros (about $36).

(Clicking on any image in this post will spawn a larger image.)
 

The Nine of Cups
 

Justice
 

The Nine of Swords
 

The King of Swords
 
After the jump, more vivid pics as well as a brief video featuring interviews with some of the photo subjects…...

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Welcome to the Witch House: Occult rock pioneers Black Widow live on Germany’s ‘Beat-Club,’ 1970
04.27.2015
08:22 am

Topics:
Music
Occult
Television

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Black Widow, formed in Leicester, England, in 1969, were both more prog and more authentically occult than Black Sabbath (who formed a year earlier) but lacked that ineffably heavy quality (as well as the righteous hooks of Tony Iommi) that would make their Birmingham rivals a rock band for the ages.

Black Widow was probably best known for their collaborations with Alex Sanders, who was known as “King of the Witches,” and his wife Maxine Sanders, who was sort of the poster girl for black magic back in the early 1970s. It is said that Alex warned them that they were in danger of evoking a “she devil” with their rock.

I thought that perhaps it was a skyclad Maxine Sanders who joins them around the start of “Seduction,” about halfway through the set, but it was, in fact, a local Leicester lass named “Katie,” according to an article from the time.

In this 55-minute video that appeared on the terrific rock show Beat-Club in 1970 on the German TV channel ARD, Black Widow plays their latest album Sacrifice in full. As befits any proper black magic prog performance, it ends with a 15-minute sacrifice.
 

Singer Kip Trevor engaging in the show-stopping “Sacrifice” at the end of the program
 
In an interview a while back, Clive Jones, the band’s resident woodwind guy (he plays sax, clarinet, and flute on the Beat-Club show) who unfortunately passed away in 2014, spoke with some bitterness about Black Sabbath (“I just wish they would stop blocking us in books”) and also dropped an interesting tidbit:
 

Q: How black was Black Widow?

A: Black Widow was the real thing we learnt about the occult and all the words and rituals are correct. Alex Sanders always warned us we could invoke the Devil, and I have met the devil twice, once when i was alone in the daytime and once when I was with another band at night and most of us saw him (a long story).

 
Wouldn’t mind hearing more about that!

One of the Satanic high points of the show surely comes around the 21st minute, during “Come to the Sabbat,” when the chorus intones, “Come, come, come to the Sabbat / Come to the Sabbat, Satan’s there” over and over again—it’s actually quite catchy.

Got to hand it to ARD, they gave zero fucks, presenting without the slightest tinge of irony or judgment the most Satanic musical performance I have ever seen on television.
 

 
via {feuilleton}

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Man, Myth & Magic: The evil encyclopedia sold in 1970s supermarkets
04.13.2015
11:48 am

Topics:
Occult
Pop Culture

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Everyone knows that the 1970s was a very “interesting” decade. An era of druggy, sexual excess that saw the “Me Generation” do their collective thing, no matter how far out that sort of behavior would have seemed just ten years earlier. But it wasn’t just that sex, drugs and rock and roll went mainstream in a big way in the 70s, the occult was so… well commonplace then that the likes of LOOK magazine would publish entire issues on the subject, with Anton LaVey as the cover boy. Even the normally staid women’s magazine McCall’s published a quite remarkable (and lengthy) round-up article on not merely “new agey” or culty belief systems, but the more “evil” side of things as well. TIME magazine had a 1972 cover story declaring “Satan Returns.” (First TIME was wondering aloud if God was dead, now this!)
 

 
But if you REALLY want to get across the point of just how far the occult craze penetrated American popular culture at the time, look no further than the Man, Myth & Magic publication. Originally sold as a newsstand magazine in the UK, Man, Myth & Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Supernatural was reformatted by the publisher for the US market as 23 hardback volumes with a 24th being the very detailed and cross-referenced index. Exorcism. Indian snake charmers. Astrology. Voodoo. Weird ghostly voices appearing on tape recordings. Witchcraft. Cargo cults. Nostradamus. Alchemy. Hypnosis. Tarot. Demonology. Aleister Crowley. Norse gods. Buddhism. ESP. UFOs. Zombies. Paganism. Telekinesis. Drugs. Rituals. Stonehenge, etc. You get the idea. But as sensationalist (and DARK!) as the trappings of the publication generally were, the editorial was scholarly, even academic, and lavishly illustrated in full color.

But what most people don’t recall (but many will) is that Man, Myth & Magic was actually sold in drugstores and supermarkets. It was also heavily advertised on television with a commercial featuring the demonic face you see above, painted by Austin Osman Spare. Imagine that! (Actually you don’t have to imagine anything, the commercial’s embedded at the end of this post).
 

 
This… happened! Although I was far too young for it at the time, I can vividly recall a huge display in the cereal aisle (natch) for Man, Myth & Magic at the local Kroger in my hometown of Wheeling, WV. If it got as far as a podunk town Wheeling, with a very large in-store display to boot, that’s a pretty good indication of what sort of distribution they had for it. Note at the end of the TV commercial they mention that you can buy it at the Walgreens chain, indicating that Walgreens was probably underwriting part of the cost to air the spot.

This would, of course, NEVER happen today, but back then? Man, Myth & Magic was sold next to the Count Chocula!
 

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Neighborhood council receives letter asking them to do something about their Satanist problem
04.13.2015
06:37 am

Topics:
Kooks
Occult

Tags:


 
The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council of Los Angeles posted a letter, written by either a child or someone rather child-like, to their Facebook page with the caption “We enjoy reading your letters and emails, like this one that came all the way from Milwaukee.”
 

 
Apparently dog, cat, and human sacrifices are not wanted by anyone in Eagle Rock, or the rest of the United States, for that matter—and besides, human sacrifice is illegal!

LAist.com reported on the supposed “Satanic cult”:

A little internet-sleuthing reveals that a group with an Eagle Rock P.O. box made the cut of an old list of Satanic cults. It seems that along with JNCO jeans and the X-Files, Satanic ritual abuse panic is making a comeback. The group is called Feraferia and it was formally chartered by Fred Adams in 1967 who lived in Pasadena and used to take groups up into the San Gabriel Mountains for rituals, according to a website dedicated to the group. The group was an offshoot of neopaganism dedicated to Hellenic goddess. It is big on being in touch with nature, the Goddess, faeries, vegetarianism and optional nudity.

Adams eventually moved up north to Nevada City with to be with his soul mate and co-ritualist Lady Svetlana in the 90s and he died in the late aughts.

So apparently the author of that letter has some out-dated information on cult activity in Eagle Rock—which is a welcome relief! With that problem out of the way, the neighborhood can now get to the more pressing matter of building that desalination plant and the sabotage-proof pipeline nets.

H/T: LAist.com

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
The dark art of H.P. Lovecraft illustrator Lee Brown Coye
03.21.2015
02:06 pm

Topics:
Art
Books
Occult

Tags:


 
Even in the twisted milieu of pulp illustration, Lee Brown Coye was an outlier. His was not a world of square-jawed detectives or musclebound Tarzan manqués, nor was he one to luridly but lovingly render the adipose flesh of reanimated dead in colorful gouaches. Coye did ten darkly expressionistic covers for Weird Tales between the mid ‘40s and early ‘50s, in dolefully subdued shades that emerged from dense, nihilistic black fields to coalesce into nightmarish wraiths. It was strong stuff that recalled Emil Nolde and Georges Roualt, and even if he’d never done anything else, those covers and his black and white interior work for that publication surely would have made him the cult figure who inspired Mike Mignola, Guillermo del Toro, and Stephen King. But there were also his macabre black and white ink drawings that graced book covers for the likes of Arkham House and Farrar & Reinhart. Coye secured his reputation with his work for the Sleep No More anthology before going on to produce definitive covers for H.P. Lovecraft works like The Dunwich Horror, At the Mountains of Madness, and perhaps his masterpiece, his work on Three Tales of Horror, which sports 19 Coye illustrations, all more than sufficiently disquieting to merit accompanying Lovecraft’s dark mythos.
 

 

 
More eldritch darkness after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
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