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Charles Dickens & The Train of Death: The rail crash behind the classic ghost story ‘The Signal-Man’
01.15.2016
10:33 am

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Books
Literature
Occult
Television

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Charles Dickens suffered from siderodromophobia—a fear of traveling by train—the result of his being involved in a rail crash in 1865. If you suffer from a fear of flying, then you will appreciate the dread Dickens sometimes endured—panic, foreboding, sheer white knuckle terror. His son later claimed that Dickens never quite fully recovered from the crash—and he died exactly five years to the day of the accident.

The Staplehurst train wreck took place at 3:13pm on June 9th, 1865. It happened at a viaduct on the South Eastern Railway linking London to the coastal town of Folkestone. A section of rail track had been removed. The foreman in charge of replacing the missing track misread the train timetable—believing his crew had sufficient time to finish the job before the arrival of the next train. His mistake had fatal consequences.
 
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Illustration of the Staplehurst train wreck.
 
Apart from the shock and trauma, the accident had highly personal implications for Dickens. He was accompanying his mistress Ellen Ternan and her mother to Folkestone where they were to catch a boat back to France.

Long before the 50-Mile Rule—which suggests one should never an affair with someone within a 50 mile radius of home—Dickens had been careful to keep the 27-year-old Ellen well out of the public eye in France—in an effort to avoid any possibility of discovery of affair by his wife or by a prying press. The three were sitting in the first carriage when the train jumped the tracks and crashed over the side of a viaduct. Ten passengers were killed, forty were injured.
 
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Photograph of the accident.
 
Once he had ensured Ellen and her mother were safe, Dickens busied himself aiding the injured and the dying. He described the accident in a letter to his old schoolfriend Thomas Mitton on June 13th, 1865:

My dear Mitton,

I should have written to you yesterday or the day before, if I had been quite up to writing. I am a little shaken, not by the beating and dragging of the carriage in which I was, but by the hard work afterwards in getting out the dying and dead, which was most horrible.

I was in the only carriage that did not go over into the stream. It was caught upon the turn by some of the ruin of the bridge, and hung suspended and balanced in an apparently impossible manner. Two ladies were my fellow passengers; an old one, and a young one. This is exactly what passed: you may judge from it the precise length of the suspense. Suddenly we were off the rail and beating the ground as the car of a half emptied balloon might. The old lady cried out “My God!” and the young one screamed.

I caught hold of them both (the old lady sat opposite, and the young one on my left) and said: “We can’t help ourselves, but we can be quiet and composed. Pray don’t cry out.” The old lady immediately answered, “Thank you. Rely upon me. Upon my soul, I will be quiet.” The young lady said in a frantic way, “Let us join hands and die friends.” We were then all tilted down together in a corner of the carriage, and stopped. I said to them thereupon: “You may be sure nothing worse can happen. Our danger must be over. Will you remain here without stirring, while I get out of the window?” They both answered quite collectedly, “Yes,” and I got out without the least notion of what had happened.

Fortunately, I got out with great caution and stood upon the step. Looking down, I saw the bridge gone and nothing below me but the line of the rail. Some people in the two other compartments were madly trying to plunge out of the window, and had no idea there was an open swampy field 15 feet down below them and nothing else! The two guards (one with his face cut) were running up and down on the down side of the bridge (which was not torn up) quite wildly. I called out to them “Look at me. Do stop an instant and look at me, and tell me whether you don’t know me.” One of them answered, “We know you very well, Mr Dickens.” “Then,” I said, “my good fellow for God’s sake give me your key, and send one of those labourers here, and I’ll empty this carriage.”

We did it quite safely, by means of a plank or two and when it was done I saw all the rest of the train except the two baggage cars down in the stream. I got into the carriage again for my brandy flask, took off my travelling hat for a basin, climbed down the brickwork, and filled my hat with water. Suddenly I came upon a staggering man covered with blood (I think he must have been flung clean out of his carriage) with such a frightful cut across the skull that I couldn’t bear to look at him. I poured some water over his face, and gave him some to drink, and gave him some brandy, and laid him down on the grass, and he said, “I am gone”, and died afterwards.

Then I stumbled over a lady lying on her back against a little pollard tree, with the blood streaming over her face (which was lead colour) in a number of distinct little streams from the head. I asked her if she could swallow a little brandy, and she just nodded, and I gave her some and left her for somebody else. The next time I passed her, she was dead.

 
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Front cover of ‘London Illustrated’ showing Dickens tending to the injured.
 
The accident caused Dickens to lose his voice for two weeks. From then on he was often visibly panicked on train journeys—on one occasion hurling himself to the floor of the carriage convinced another crash was about to take place. However, he was not a man to waste his personal experience—no matter how painful—and he used the events in his ghost story The Signal-Man—one of literature’s most famous tales of the supernatural.

The Signal-Man describes an encounter between the unnamed narrator and a signalman who recounts his haunting by ghostly premonitions prior to a series of dreadful train accidents. The story formed part of Dickens’ Mugby Junction series of stories. It is a subtle and beautifully told tale, and was adapted by the BBC in 1976 for Ghost Story, starring Denholm Elliott and Bernard Lloyd. Elliott is perfect as the man haunted by a ghostly visitor, whose message he tries to understand.
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Sex, death & fishnets in the surreal film ‘Satan bouche un coin’ (NSFW)
01.12.2016
09:53 am

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Art
Movies
Occult
Sex

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Paris 1968: While students riot on the streets and fight pitched battles with the police, journalist, filmmaker and writer Jean-Pierre Bouyxou was making an improvised short film—Satan bouche un coin—in collaboration with Raphael Marongiu and a group of their friends. It was a bit of fun—a surrealist home movie for their own entertainment, to be watched over a bottle of wine and a joint or two.

The pair had filmed in Bordeaux, Paris and Belgium and had even enlisted the involvement of the infamous fetishistic artist Pierre Molinier to perform in front of the camera.

The 68-year-old Molinier was a member of the surrealists, who had gained considered notoriety for his artworks and through the stories of his scandalous personal life—for example he once admitted to masturbating over the corpse of his sister. More recently, Molinier had started a highly personal and explicit photographic investigation into his auto-erotic transvestite and transsexual fantasies.
 
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Pierre Molinier.
 
In Satan bouche un coin Molinier appears as Androgyne. Bouyxou filmed one of Molinier’s auto-erotic performance pieces, which he used as the opening sequence to his film. Bouyxou’s intention was to put together a series of short unconnected sequences—or as he called them “stories”—editing them into a series of rhythmic patterns dictated by the music—Camille Saint-Saëns Danse macabre.
 
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While owing much to the work of Kenneth Anger, Bouyxou does invest Satan bouche un coin with some devilish charm and a little humor.

Bouyxou—who celebrates his 70th birthday this week—went on to become an actor and screenwriter, and making movies with such legendary filmmakers as Jean Rollin and Jesus Franco. 

Satan bouche un coin is a mesmerizing twelve minutes—one to watch before it’s pulled.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
The auto-erotic art of Pierre Molinier
 
Thanks to Brian Beadie!
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Anton LaVey’s drawing of a typical ‘70s male is pretty funny
01.11.2016
10:45 am

Topics:
Art
Occult

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Several drawings attributed to The Satanic Bible’s notorious author Anton LaVey, dating from the late ‘60s and early 1970s, have turned up on eBay. As provenance goes, they’re purportedly from the collection of the late iconoclast’s namesake grandson, Stanton LaVey, a controversial figure himself—but none of the works are signed. That, or the perhaps high-ish opening bid requests could be why they’ve not attracted any action thus far—$666 is a fittingly cheeky asking price, but arguably a bit much for a 3.5” doodle, even one by so infamous a figure. And that’s the lowest price point for any of these items.

None of the works offered are what you’d call finished drawings, which is fair enough, art isn’t what the man was known for. Some are simply doodle pages, but the most interesting pieces are the more fully realized:
 

 

 

 

 
The best piece of all, though, is LaVey’s annotated caricature of the typical ‘70s male, a witty sketch that sums up LaVey’s famous contempt for normalcy and trend-obeisance.
 

 

 

 

 
After the jump, incredible footage of LaVey from—I shit you not—an ACTUAL CHILDREN’S TV SHOW in the 1960s…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Fire destroys Aleister Crowley’s former home Boleskine House
12.23.2015
05:18 pm

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Current Events
Occult

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A fire has destroyed much of Boleskine House, the former home of occultist Aleister Crowley and later Led Zepplin guitarist Jimmy Page. Firefighters were called to the house situated on the banks of Loch Ness at 13:40. hours GMT today, after flames were spotted engulfing the historic building.

A member of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Services told BBC News:

“A large part of the property has already been destroyed by fire and crews are concentrating their efforts on the west wing of the building.

“Crews in breathing apparatus are using four main jets to tackle the blaze and the incident is ongoing.”

 
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Aleister Crowley bought Boleskine House in 1899—then named the Manor of Boleskine and Abertarff—as he considered the building in the ideal location for carrying out the “Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage” from the grimoire The Book of Abramelin. Crowley said the building fitted the necessary requirements for the rite to work:

...the first essential is a house in a more or less secluded situation. There should be a door opening to the north from the room of which you make your oratory. Outside this door, you construct a terrace covered with fine river sand. This ends in a ‘lodge’ where the spirits may congregate.

For Crowley, Boleskine House was a “Thelemic Kiblah,” a “Magical East” where he could do his thing. The intention of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage is to invoke “one’s Guardian Angel.” The rite takes six months of abstinence and celibacy to prepare for. It is claimed that during the ritual Crowley was called away on an emergency to Paris—leaving the rite unfinished and causing a strange, monstrous disruption to the loch.

...the spirits he summoned got out of hand, causing one housemaid to leave, and a workman to go mad. He also insinuates he was indirectly responsible for a local butcher accidentally severing an artery and bleeding to death. Crowley had written the names of some demons on a bill from the butcher’s shop.

Some have said these “demons” are also responsible for the Loch Ness monster.
 
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In 1970, Jimmy Page bought Boleskine House—which was then in considerable disrepair. Page was fascinated by Crowley’s ideas and had the property renovated—though he rarely stayed at the house. He sold the property in 1992.
 
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In 200, BBC Scotland produced a documentary on Boleskine House Aleister Crowley: The Other Loch Ness Monster, which traced the occult history of the property and the story of the infamous unfinished ritual that unleashed evil forces.
 

 
Via BBC

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Salvador Dali’s signs of the Zodiac
12.15.2015
11:14 am

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Art
Occult

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Always with his eye keenly trained to make a quick buck, Salvador Dali noted the sixties zeitgeist for all things astrological and produced a limited edition portfolio of 250 lithographs on woven paper depicting the signs of the zodiac. Though Dali claimed to be interested in science and its investigations into the atom—he was well-known to be superstitious to the point of paranoia. As a young man he kept a talisman to ward off evil spirits; he also had a phobia about showing his feet, which made buying new shoes difficult; plus he believed he was the “reincarnation” of his dead older brother—which was most probably caused by his having to wear his dead sibling’s clothes.

Dali claimed in an interview with Mike Wallace that the Spanish were a superstitious nation which explained his own personal superstitions. His one-time friend and film collaborator Luis Buñuel agreed with Dali about the Spanish, claiming in his autobiography My Last Breath that religious indoctrination had caused many Spaniards to live their lives under the terrible fear of retribution. It has been claimed that towards the end of Dali’s life he became even more superstitious—only agreeing to meet visitors in a darkened room or communicating with people through a closed door.

Dali would return to the zodiac as a money-making source in the late 1960s and again in the 1970s. These works are primarily simple, direct and illustrative—other than a Dalinian lobster replacing a crab for sign of Cancer—though there is little doubt over the skill and talent of the artist who produced them.
 
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Aries.
 
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Taurus.
 
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Gemini.
 
More of Dali’s zodiac, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Trump cash contributor: ‘The Illuminati killed my mind-controlled sex slave girlfriend’
12.11.2015
02:20 pm

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Occult
Politics

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The last two days have brought us two absolute must-reads on the idiocy of the typical Trump voter—articles that also clarify why they may be unusually difficult to divert away from their current white knight in shining armor. The first is yesterday’s terrific account by Dave Weigel of the Washington Post of a Frank Luntz focus group gone horribly wrong, in which all the efforts to tear down the candidate that usually prove so effective in this case had the horrifying effect of increasing the group’s adherence to Trump. Among other things you’ll learn that Obama wasn’t born in the United States and took his oath of office on a Koran, while Hillary Clinton has, for sure, “committed crimes.”

Oh yeah, and also, Trump would be a shoo-in if he were the GOP nominee against Hillary.

Today we have Olivia Nuzzi’s essential bit of reportage in The Daily Beast into the Trump voter’s mindset, in which she called up 100 of Trump’s donors to see what was on their mind. Not too surprisingly, as a group they detest Muslims (which is one reason why Trump’s call to ban Muslim immigration into the United States hasn’t hurt him yet), but maybe more surprisingly, there’s a strong strain of 9/11 truther-ism in the mix (logically, if you think that Dick Cheney perpetrated 9/11, you would think that this would make you more tolerant of Muslims, but it doesn’t seem to work that way).

Amusingly, they also wanted to know if Nuzzi herself was a Muslim.

The most unusual of the Trump donors was a fellow from Oregon named John Captain, who claimed to have sent money to the billionaire candidate because he wanted Trump to “look into” the death of his girlfriend, as he suspects she was a Project Monarch mind control sex slave who was assassinated by “her family, part of the Illuminati and the New World Order.”

It’s worth quoting this passage in full:

John Captain, of Portland Tub and Tan, home of “Portland’s premier hot tubbing and tanning specialists with exclusive outdoor hot tubs year round,” was glad that I called because he wanted to talk about his girlfriend, who he believes was a monarch [sic] mind control slave who was murdered by her family, part of the Illuminati and the New World Order.

Captain talks a mile a minute in run-on sentences that jump from one topic to another—an effect of his ADHD, he said. He explained, in record time, that he had been on Trump’s website, trying to contact him to ask for help in his fight against the Illuminati, when he decided to send him $1,000. (He donated in the past to Ross Perot.)

He had recordings to prove that his girlfriend was a robot, he said. He’d been sent tapes of her sessions with a therapist who told her to, “follow the yellow brick road,” but said he would let me ask about Trump before he explained all of that.

Captain liked Trump, he said, “because our government’s out of control in terms of spending and unaccountability and I have no belief in the government that’s currently in power.” Being a small business owner, Captain said, has made him wary of “anybody who gets a check from the government: federal, city, county, state, people who collect leaves. Anything they do is wrong.”

Captain thinks, he said, “on my own,” but he said he agreed with Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. “What I would say is anybody that’s a concurrent threat to our country should be stopped.” Why would we let people in, he said, who are “statistically” more likely “to hate us”?

“If, consistently, we’re having an issue with Muslims that hate Americans…” he trailed off.

“A part of me hoped that Donald Trump would take over and maybe he would help look into my case,” Captain said, his pace slowing down. “I don’t know what to do, you know? I’m at a loss because not only is this over my head, the facts surrounding her murder, but America is ruined as a whole.”

I don’t suppose this is exactly typical of Trump’s voters, but it is suggestive…....
 

 
via Death & Taxes

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Of Man, myth and magic: Prague’s creepy alchemy museum
12.10.2015
02:21 pm

Topics:
Occult

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In 1576, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II chose Prague to be his home. More than any other person, Rudolf made Prague a hotbed of alchemical interest. Rudolf lived in the Prague Castle, where he welcomed not only astrologers and magicians but also scientists, musicians, and artists. In addition to noted alchemists Edward Kelley and John Dee, Prague was also home to the astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, the painter Arcimboldo, the poet Elizabeth Jane Weston, among others. Rudolf arguably spawned the most intense period of occult activity in history.

If you want to know more about the reign of Rudolf II, you could do a lot worse than Peter Marshall’s The Magic Circle of Rudolf II: Alchemy and Astrology in Renaissance Prague.

Celebrating this alchemical contributions of Rudolf II is the Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague, located at Jansky Vrsek 8 on the western side of the Vltava. The museum consists of two levels of displays and tableaux that document Rudolf’s alchemists in Prague, especially Kelley. (There is a sister museum called the Speculum Alchemiae Museum, but that’s on the other side of the river, at Hastalska 1.)

Quoting Altas Obscura,

The main floor has displays and replica artifacts of the trade alongside such fantastical scenes as a failed magician being stolen up into the ceiling by the Devil while cackling sorcerers huddle around the glowing runes beneath. The second floor, which claims to be the actual tower where the real Kelley performed his esoteric experiments if decked out like an alchemists lab, all aged scrolls and stacked grimoires, complete with a half-completed homunculus, the ultimate alchemical achievement.

The museum is more than a little sensational in its presentation, but to be fair these alchemists were likely more than a little bit showmen themselves. What better way to remember and learn about their arcane history than with a little bit of magical realism?

Here’s a peek at some of the treasures within. The first six pictures here come from Altas Obscura; all of the others (including the picture at the top of the post) come from TripAdvisor users. The mechanical model of the solar system is known as an “orrery.” Strictly speaking, you didn’t need to know that, but if you know the word orrery and along comes a reason to use it, you’re damn well going to use it!


 

 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
For the Satanist who has everything: An Anton LaVey ventriloquist dummy
12.10.2015
09:26 am

Topics:
Amusing
Occult

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Anton Lavey ventriloquist dummy
Anton LaVey ventriloquist dummy
 
In the eBay listing for this spendy Anton LaVey ventriloquist dummy, the seller, “haunt-master” makes the creepy claim that the dummy’s eyes have the ability to “move on their own” as if they were “haunted.” Because, of course they can.
 
Anton Lavey ventriloquist dummy with pentagram necklace and skull
 
Anton Lavey ventriloquist dummy smiling
 
In addition to the eye movement (as if this thing isn’t off-putting enough) the Satanic dummy can also crack a smile thanks to a pull string in the back of his head. Each Anton LaVey ventriloquist dummy is made-to-order, stands about 30 inches tall and comes dressed in black with a large silver pentagram necklace. Sadly, the skull pictured with lil’ LaVey is not included although I’m sure if you’ve read this far you probably leave at least one decorative skull out all year round. The bespoke LaVey toy is currently up for auction for $509.99 (which if you flip the nines around you get “666”) and ships from, you guessed it, Hell on Earth, Las Vegas.

I also included images of a few other notable dummies in the haunt-master’s shop that follow (the run from $300 - $550 bucks), such as “Regan” from The Exorcist, one of the disfigured doctors from the 1960 Twilight Zone pisode, “Eye of the Beholder,” the uber villain “Jigsaw” from the horror film franchise Saw and, a disturbing Michael Jackson that comes with straight or curly hair. Yikes.
 
Regan MacNeil (from the 1973 film The Exorcist) ventriloquist dummy
Regan MacNeil (from the 1973 film The Exorcist)
 
Wait until you see the creepy Michael Jackson ventriloquist dummy, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Behold the evil glory of the Baphomet, Krampus and Cthulhu tree toppers!
12.07.2015
08:48 am

Topics:
Amusing
Occult

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Baphomet glass tree topper
Baphomet glass tree topper
 
The good folks over at Middle of Beyond have a pretty sweet collection of anti-Christmas decorations—but nothing says “fuck jolly old St. Nick” quite like a glass Baphomet or Cthulhu tree topper. Ah, being on the the naughty list really is the best
 
Cthulhu glass tree topper
Cthulhu glass tree topper
 
Little Baphomet and this cutie Cthulhu are both 7.5 inches high and will run you $19.99 (which if you flip the nines around is $16.66, nice one Middle of Beyond). There are also a few other notable and refreshingly evil Christmas ornaments in MOB’s shop such as a variety of Krampus designs and a glass-blown homage to Room 237, the mythical room at the Overlook Hotel in Stanely Kubrick’s The Shining that gave the fascinating 2012 documentary film, Room 237 its title.
 

‘The Shining’ hotel key glass ornament
 

Glass Krampus devil tree topper

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Kenneth Anger launches official ‘Lucifer Rising’ baseball jacket in time for the holidays
11.23.2015
10:40 am

Topics:
Fashion
Movies
Occult

Tags:


 
The headline above came straight from the press release because it made me laugh. Can’t think of what to buy your favorite magus for Christmas? [Or Noel Fielding, wait, he’s already got one.] Yes that’s right, Kenneth Anger, avant garde underground filmmaker is now in the fashion business. Back in September Kenneth Anger “signature” tees went on sale, and now you can keep warm this winter with an “official” Lucifer Rising baseball jacket available only at his website.

Hollywood, CA November 23, 2015 – The story behind Kenneth Anger’s undisputed masterpiece, Lucifer Rising, is as exciting and bizarre as the film itself. Featuring such pop icons as Jimmy Page, Marianne Faithfull, Donald Cammell (co-director of the film Performance) and Bobby Beausoleil (member of the Charles Manson family and convicted murderer), the production was plagued with bizarre coincidences and sinister backlashes. After thirteen years of filming Kenneth Anger was determined to complete the film despite the almost surreal obstacles that materialized every step of the way.

A recognized master of avant garde film, Kenneth Anger’s influence can be seen in filmmakers as diverse as Martin Scorsese (who calls him “without a doubt, one of our greatest artists”), Roger Corman, George Lucas, Gus Van Sant, Guy Maddin, and David Lynch, not to mention the pop art of Andy Warhol, and almost every music video. He also gained notoriety as the author of the bestseller, Hollywood Babylon, a tell-all book revealing scandals and controversies in Hollywood among the rich and famous. The interest in Anger’s work shows no sign of abating in 21st century. The objects seen in his films, such as Anger’s custom made ‘Lucifer’ and Scorpio Rising jackets have now become cult icons in themselves.

I’ve been told that the Lucifer Rising jackets are already selling like the proverbial hotcakes and they aren’t planning a second run of these puppies, so if you want one you might not want to hesitate. The production run was described to me as “just a handful.”

In addition, there’s a second newly listed Lucifer Rising item for sale on kennethanger.org, a signed reproduction of “The Magick Lantern Cycle” poster, as originally painted by Page Wood.
 

 
Each poster will be signed in the area with the negative space by Kenneth Anger personally. Can an official Scorpio Rising motorcycle jacket be far behind?

Below, a clip from Brian Butler’s Raising Lucifer documentary:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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