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‘The Witch’s Cradle’: Watch Maya Deren and Marcel Duchamp’s stunning occult short
05.01.2015
06:40 am

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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

Tags:


 
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

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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
Invoke the paranormal: Occult jewelry of Ouija boards, seeing eyes, crystal balls and pentagrams
03.07.2015
10:36 am

Topics:
Fashion
Occult

Tags:

Hello Goodbye Ouija rings
 

When I was a kid I was told that Ouija boards were portals to Hell. That used to really freak me out, until I realized that I don’t believe in Hell.

Now that I’m past all that superstitious mumbo-jumbo, I’m completely charmed by the jewelry of UK punk and Occult artist Bex Ling which features Ouija boards, crystal balls, seeing eyes, palmistry, and the hands of fortune tellers. Not one piece of it emits a whiff of bad juju to me.

Her jewelry, sold under her company Misfit Makes, is crafted out of the same material that Shrinky Dinks are made of, so I doubt that it’s opening any windows of evil.

I predict you’ll take a look at some of her pieces:

Crystal ball jewelry
 
“Gypsy-inspired” fortune teller’s necklace

Ouija board necklace
 
Ouija board necklace

Palmistry Brooch
 
Palmistry brooch

Pentagram earrings
 
Pentagram earrings

Posted by Rusty Blazenhoff | Leave a comment
For sale: Travel on the highway to Hell in this sweet, satanic ride
03.07.2015
10:35 am

Topics:
Occult

Tags:

666 LIMO
 
If “Subtle” and/or “Danger” is your middle name, there’s a vehicle in South Los Angeles perfect for you. Described as an “awesome project that you can drive as you restore,” this 1969 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 limousine is priced to sell at $2999. 

Wait, did you see that custom paint job? Let’s stop to appreciate this badass Caddy. Not only is this limo’s tail fin spray-painted in red to read, “I’m gonna f*cking kill you” and the side, “Go to Hell,” its hood has been tastefully decorated with an (upside down) satanic pentagram. Additionally, its Craigslist ad explains that there is a working partition window which “makes drinking legal in the back.”

666 Cadillac
 
Want a really good story? Talk the owner down to $2666.

via Deke Dickerson

Posted by Rusty Blazenhoff | Leave a comment
‘80s ‘sicko, freako’ goth band hilariously hardtrolls this kooky conservative TV host
03.04.2015
11:30 am

Topics:
Music
Occult
Television

Tags:


 
Submitted for your approval are two priceless videos from the cusp of the late ‘80s “Satanic Panic” era which, despite the outrageously ridiculous performances, are an insight into just how seriously some folks took the threat of creeping occultism at the time. Placed in historical context, this was the start of a cycle of hysteria so real that many high-profile arrests were made based on groundless allegations of “Satanic ritual abuse,” most notably the McMartin Preschool and West Memphis Three cases. It was a heavy time for followers of the left-hand path, but these clips remain utterly hilarious.
 

Wally George, host of ‘Hot Seat’

Hot Seat was a syndicated talk show, running from 1983 to 1992, hosted by over-the-top reactionary conservative commentator (and estranged father of actress Rebecca De Mornay), Wally George, who termed his delivery “combat TV.” The show’s format was a precursor to the popular “shock talk” shows hosted by the likes of Morton Downey, Jr. and Jerry Springer, with a profoundly right-wing posture. Hot Seat‘s studio audience was generally comprised of aggressively out-of-control meatheads, as you will see in these clips.

In the segments, Wally brings ‘80s uproarious cult goth band, Radio Werewolf - led by Nikolas Schreck, onto the program, and is given the treatment.

Since the mid 80’s Schreck has been a major figure in occult circles, having been a public spokesman at times for the Church of Satan, the Temple of Set, and his own Werewolf Order.

Schreck married Zeena, daughter of Church of Satan founder, Anton LaVey, and the two of them together have published several acclaimed books on occult and esoteric subjects such as The Manson File: Myth and Reality of an Outlaw Shaman and Demons of the Flesh: The Complete Guide to Left-Hand Path Sex Magic.

 

Schreck, pictured here with wife Zeena, who co-directed Radio Werewolf from 1988-93. Both renounced Satanism and occultism in the late ‘90s and today are artists and Buddhist teachers.
 
I had the opportunity to discuss Radio Werewolf’s Hot Seat appearances with Nikolas, in this exclusive Dangerous Minds interview:

I was initially aware of one appearance Radio Werewolf made on Hot Seat, but your webmaster informed me that you actually appeared on the show twice.

Nikolas Schreck: Well, thank God you turned to me to correct your appalling ignorance on these matters of earth-shaking importance! Now future historians can use your article to confirm that in fact, Radio Werewolf battled Wally George an unholy three times. Our first titanic Hot Seat struggle took place on April 25, 1987. That went over so well that he then invited us on his radio program, where Wally started things off with a bang with a little flattery, introducing me as more dangerous than Hitler, Jim Jones and Manson. The other guest that night was a Baptist minister who officially declared me possessed. Our final Armageddon of the airwaves occurred in the Fall of ‘87, when Radio Werewolf returned to Hot Seat to declare our triumphant return to the stage after the little obstacle of my ear getting cut off during that eventful summer. And that event led to a kind of “Brides of Radio Werewolf” spinoff, since Wally, admirer of the ladies that he was, was so taken with two of my stripper girlfriends who accompanied me to the show that he later had them on as guests so that he could pretend moral outrage at our sinful ménage à trois. If I’d paid Wally to be Radio Werewolf’s publicist, he couldn’t have done a better job.

Wally George’s presentation is so exaggerated that at times he comes off as, what would be known in the world of professional wrestling, a “heel.” Did you ever get the impression that there was any insincerity or fakery to George’s act?

NS: Wally was a consummate showman, no more or less insincere or fake than his showbiz idol Ronald Reagan, who both cunningly played exaggerated roles for their niche Neanderthal audience in the grand old tradition of American populist demagoguery. Offstage, Wally was unfailingly courteous to me, and was actually genuinely supportive of my career, despite his on-the-air hostility. Hard to say which one of us was “the heel” or “the face”. Our encounters were definitely “kayfabe” professional wrestling at its finest though. The difference being that what we did when the cameras rolled was completely improvised. We served each others needs. I understood that Radio Werewolf couldn’t be “The Most Evil Band in the World” without a worthy Van Helsing adversary such as Wally to oppose us. And he needed me to be the “Man You Love To Hate” so that he could be the “Good Guy” for his fans. Really, the supposedly more legitimate network news journalists who interviewed me were all just as contrived and two-faced as Wally.  At least he was honest about it.
 

 
In the OC Weekly article on Wally George you are quoted “the audience was whipped into a genuine frenzy. They did not take it as a joke, and it felt very dangerous to be there.” Do you feel there was a closed loop between exploitative infotainers such as Wally George and Geraldo Rivera, and a fearful Cold War era public that created the Satanic Panic of the 80’s? Did you personally experience repercussions as a result of your appearances on Hot Seat?

NS: The live audiences watching the Radio Werewolf appearances on Hot Seat could easily have turned into lynch mobs, but I was as recklessly irresponsible as Wally in feeding fuel to the fire. It’s astute that you place all this in its Cold War context, because looking at these and other wacky ‘80s clips today without understanding the panicky fear of imminent nuclear Armageddon permeating the USA under the Reagan regime, it’s hard to understand the hysterical theological intensity driving the Satanic Panic. Wally and Geraldo were both simply fear-mongering entertainers making a living by giving the terrified audience exactly what they wanted. And I was part of the same closed loop, in that I collaborated with them by consciously embodying their worst fears, since that early phase of Radio Werewolf was designed as a self-parodying, mirroring manifestation of that society’s deepest nightmares about “occult music”. As for repercussions, Wally first invited us on Hot Seat after the horrified reaction in Los Angeles to my public announcement of Radio Werewolf’s “Free Manson” benefit concert at a Friday the 13th performance in March of ‘87. That was immediately followed by many months of death threats, LAPD surveillance and harassment of me and my friends, blacklisting and banning from certain clubs, the need to have security guards patrol our concerts, so I can’t determine how much of these shenanigans were inspired by the Wally vs. Werewolf broadcasts specifically.
 
More interview and those amazing clips after the jump.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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