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Gorgeous color Autochromes of American women from over 100 years ago
07.18.2017
08:50 am
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‘Woman’s face’ (circa 1915).
 
A clairvoyant once told me I’d soon be working on a very big book. Her words sounded good. I considered their promise. I was a would-be middleweight tyro hoping to type out my magnum opus by twenty-one. A month or two later, there I was, just as she had said, working on a very big book in a university library but not the one I had imagined. This was a big book of last wills and testaments. My job was to work through this massive tome, transcribing the details by hand and then typing them up into a computer file.

The work was repetitive, dull, and mind-numbingly boring. The only respite was smoking weed with a workmate every lunchtime to loosen up the old synapses into some creative daydreams. There weren’t even the luxury of pictures to make the work just a wee bit more interesting. I’d spend the afternoons imagining faces of the people named in the book. Names like:

Ada Derwent, spinster, 79, born 1798, died intestate July 18th, 1876.
Robert MacFarlane, lamplighter, 46, born 1823, died intestate August 1st, 1869.

Who were these people? What did they look like? Where did they live? What were their lives like? That kinda thing. Nothing too original, or too taxing—just giving long-forgotten names substance. Up popped Cruickshank illustrations, scratchy-nibbed sketches that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Dickens’ novel or b&w photographs of grimy-faced Victorian laborers.

I worked my way through two or three of these thousand page books before quitting. I was none the wiser to what all these people looked like or discovering more about the lives they lived other than the written facts of birth, death and what they left behind.

If there had been pictures, my understanding may have been better. By which meander, I come to these beautiful color Autochromes of women from over a hundred years ago. We can see their faces, their clothes, their surroundings, and glean a sense of their lifestyle. Photographic portraits can tell us more about the subject than a listing of the facts as we tend to look at pictures in a far more positive way than we do at words. We look for connections that tell us about who we are, what we feel, and what we think.
 
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‘Dancer wearing Egyptian-look costume with wings reaching to the floor’ (ca. 1915).
 
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‘Woman posed as sphinx’ (ca. 1910).
 
More century-old color Autochromes, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.18.2017
08:50 am
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Sex, Drugs & Clowns: A masked rock band and the Soup Nazi star in sleazy slasher, ‘Terror on Tour’
07.18.2017
08:50 am
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Terror on Tour
 
Terror on Tour (1980) is a really bad slasher flick about a series of murders that take place during events that revolve around the Clowns, an up-and-coming rock band. Each member wears white makeup, a partial mask, costumes that include a cape, and afro wigs—! They’ve also got a wild stage show, that includes female mannequins that they dismember and toss to the crowd as souvenirs. The Clowns are in the midst of a residency at a concert hall, and when the killing starts on the premises, the band members are immediately considered suspects. The reason why is pretty ridiculous, but we’ll get into that in a moment.

The Clowns were actually a real band called the Names, though they didn’t wear makeup or costumes like they do in the film. In 1977, Fiction Records put out a Names 45, which ended up being the group’s only release. The A-side, “Why Can’t It Be,” later appeared on a Rhino power pop compilation. The music in Terror on Tour ain’t half bad, though there is surprisingly little of it (only a handful of songs). The Clowns resemble a harder-edged version of Cheap Trick, who, like the Names, are from Rockford, Illinois.
 
The Clowns on stage
 
While the Clowns’ appearance and stage show most obviously recall the theatrical rock of KISS and Alice Cooper, the partial masks they wear also conjures up Phantom of the Opera, which, in turn, made me think of the lead character in Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise, as well as the film’s ghoulish band, The Undeads. That Richard Pryor Show sketch also popped into my head.

One of the frustrating aspects of Terror on Tour is that since the band members all look the same when they’re made up it’s difficult to tell them apart during scenes when they have dialogue.
 
The Clowns off stage
 
Much of Terror on Tour is just BAD: Bad dialogue, bad character development, bad storytelling—I could go on. Okay, I will! The acting is bad, too, as many of the cast members had little-to-no experience. One such first-time actor was Larry Thomas, who played the Clowns’ manager, “Tim.” Years later, Thomas portrayed what is now one of the most iconic characters of ‘90s TV—the hilariously terrifying “Soup Nazi” on Seinfeld.
 
The Soup Nazi
Larry Thomas in ‘Terror on Tour,’ and as the ‘Soup Nazi.’

Thomas has stated publicly how crappy he thinks Terror on Tour is. He’s especially critical of his own acting skills—or lack thereof.  In 2007, an IMDb user with the screen name “soupnazi-4” wrote about their experience working on Terror on Tour. The title of the post is “My apology for my performance” (edited for clarity and length):

For anyone who makes the mistake of sitting though this movie: I had just decided to become an actor and I knew very little about it. I was majoring in journalism in Junior college and took a theatre class to get a date with a girl I liked and got interested in acting. I drove a friend to the audition of “Terror on Tour’ (originally called “Clowns”) and the director (Don Edmonds) asked me to read. I told him I wasn’t ready as an actor to do a film and didn’t know anything about acting much less film acting. He cast me and talked me into doing it. I was patently awful. I over acted every word and indicated like crazy.

Above that, a year after initial filming, when I knew a little more about acting, they called me back to shoot two pick up scenes (easy to spot, as my hair was much shorter—it went from ‘79 to ‘80, nuff said). I was told to yell my dialog as there would be loud rock music playing in the background. The other guy in the scene was producer Sandy Cobe, who wasn’t an actor and couldn’t really handle yelling while imagining loud music. In the end, they forgot to add the music so it seemed like I was over acting even more than in the rest of the film. When I saw the film, I came very close to quitting trying to be an actor altogether. The only reason I didn’t quit is that I figured if I could spot how awful I was maybe I had a chance to learn to do it right. The band members were a real band and had never acting before, so you could forgive them their acting. Again, I hope whoever has to see me in this film will understand my horror that it still exists.

 
Fun with knife
 
The filmmakers did do at least some homework on how to make a slasher film. The image of the masked maniac became standard after the success of Halloween (1978), and everybody is freaked out by creepy clowns, so kudos there. Another hallmark of the slasher genre, the killer’s point of view shot, is used to dramatic effect, and the Italian giallo trope of showing the killer prepare for a murder is incorporated. But that’s where any positives taken from those types of films ends.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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07.18.2017
08:50 am
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No tears: Tuxedomoon’s Peter Principle dead at 63
07.17.2017
02:45 pm
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Sad to learn that Peter Principle (real name Peter Dachert), the bassist and guitar player of the great American avant-garde musical group Tuxedomoon died today at the age of 63. His passing was announced on Facebook by fellow band member and longtime friend Blaine Reininger, the violinist and keyboardist of the group.

It is my very sad duty to inform the world that our colleague and brother, Peter Principle has left this world behind. He died this morning, July 17, 2017, apparently of natural causes. We are all stunned.

A further statement on the Tuxedomoonnews blog indicated that he…

“... was found in his room at Les Ateliers Claus in Brussels, where Tuxedomoon has been preparing a new tour and new music. He was the apparent victim of a heart attack or stroke.”

Dachert’s stage name was inspired by the so-called “Peter principle” management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter and published in the 1969 book The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong which describes how many corporate managers “rise to the level of their incompetence.”

When the Sex Pistols and the Ramones were churning out retread rock-n-roll, Tuxedomoon was in San Francisco doing something truly dangerous, pioneering “new wave” and post-punk before either term existed. Principle became a member the band in 1979 and joined the others when they chose to go into exile in Europe after Ronald Reagan’s election. They finally settled in Belgium where they founded a record label, Crammed Discs. After some years apart, the band reformed in 2000 and has been productive and active since, touring and releasing new music, film scores and archival box sets.

After Tuxedomoon’s Bruce Geduldig died in 2016, they continued on with David Haneke taking over Geduldig’s visual duties onstage with the band during their 2016 tour. The group’s continuing status is unknown with an August 4th show planned for London now in question. Peter Principle lived in New York City where he was born. He will be missed.
 

Tuxedomoon appear on Glenn O’Brien’s ‘TV Party’ cable access program.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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07.17.2017
02:45 pm
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Super cheesy photos of male Chippendales dancers from the 1980s
07.17.2017
12:14 pm
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A vintage shot of Chippendales dancers from the 1980s.
 
I’ve always found the phenomena of the Chippendales all-male striptease ensemble one of the weirdest 1980s things. And that’s saying a lot when you consider all that decade bestowed upon us—whether we wanted it or not. I mean, the music scene was pretty amazing—and if you want to arm-wrestle me over that fact, you will lose because it’s a fact. Prince put out Controversy and 1999 and Purple Rain. MTV played music videos and Larry Bird was named the MVP of the NBA Finals in 1986 after the Boston Celtics took town the Houston Rockets in Game Six. Okay, that last one is one of my favorite moments from the 80s, but it just proves my point that a lot of great things happened back then. And love them, hate them, or just plain don’t fucking get them, the dancers of Chippendales were everywhere. Just like shoulder pads and spandex.

Much like Gene Simmons and his devotion to slapping the word KISS on anything and everything, the Chippendales’ empire did the very same thing. From calendars to a board game and even a mini hand-held movie viewer so you could watch the beefy dancers in the privacy of your own home, there was something “Chippendales” for everybody. The calendars were incredibly popular items, and are nearly impossible to find now. I’ve included a few choice color photos from the calendars as well as some black and white print ads (which you can buy here) featuring individual dancers. Lastly, I included footage from a workout tape put out by Chippendales called Muscle Motion that is about as cornball as anything I’ve ever laid my eyes on. And trust me, these eyes have seen some cornball shit that you can never unsee. I hope you enjoy this gyrating trip down memory lane!
 

 

 

 

 
More totally 80s himbo action after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.17.2017
12:14 pm
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‘Sperm juice,’ drinks that stare back at you & ‘Roast Beef Pussy’ at Japan’s scariest restaurant
07.17.2017
11:31 am
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A waitress taking an order from one of Alcatraz ER’s many dining “cells.”
 
Because Japan truly strives to keep things weird, Alcatraz ER is one of two different jail-themed eateries in Shibuya, a bustling trendy neighborhood in Tokyo. As its name implies, Alcatraz ER incorporates both a jail and hospital setting theme going as far as to handcuff incoming patrons as they lead them to their drinking and dining “cell.”

The interior of Alcatraz ER looks like a set design from the horror film franchise Saw, and the shock tactics don’t stop with the decor. Just opening the menu is a glimpse into hell with items such as “Sausage in the shape of a bowel” that comes with a pair of scissors so you can cut it up and eat it, and a dessert item called “Napkin Jelly” that is served on a sanitary pad. Beer is served in bedpan urinals and a drink called “Sperm Juice” comes to you in a cup with a banana protruding out of it that looks like a penis that just blew a money shot. As much as I love the grotesque, just writing this post made my gut churn. And I suspect the images I’ve posted below of Alcatraz ER may have the very same effect on your digestive system and are without a doubt, quite NSFW.
 

“Boob Rice.”
 

“Beef Brain.”
 
More… much much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.17.2017
11:31 am
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Klassic KISS megapost: KISS annihilate the senses with explosive live versions of ‘Firehouse’
07.17.2017
10:25 am
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Spirit of 76
 
Since their early days, KISS have been known for their live performances. One song—one moment, in particular—has played an important role in THE KISS SHOW, a larger-than-life spectacular consisting of flashing lights, flamethrowers, explosions, fire breathing, smoking guitars, and levitating drums. It’s a moment in their concerts that’s designed for maximum entertainment by overwhelming the audience with sights and sounds.

“Firehouse” was written by Paul Stanley when he was just sixteen years old. One day in 1968, Stanley was listening to a radio program that focused on British music, when he heard the new single by the Move, “Fire Brigade”.

What I was doing at that point in terms of song writing was taking inspiration from songs I remembered from the radio. When I heard “Fire Brigade,” I loved the concept. So I sat down and began to hash out a song of my own using the same idea. I hadn’t heard the song enough to actually copy it musically, but I had grasped something that I really liked. (from Face the Music: A Life Exposed)

Stanley would later bring “Firehouse” to Wicked Lester, the pre-KISS band he was in with Gene Simmons. When KISS formed, it became one of their earliest songs, and was played at their first show, which took place at club called the Coventry in Queens on January 30th, 1973. That September, it was their closing number during a showcase performance for Casablanca Records, the label that would soon sign them. A heavy track with a Black Sabbath-like tempo and a killer groove, “Firehouse” was among the numerous standout cuts from KISS’s self-titled debut.
 

 
The original KISS lineup, which existed as a live act from 1973-1979, played “Firehouse” on every tour. The song appears on Alive (1975), the double live album that went multi-platinum and made KISS a success. Part of the appeal of Alive was that it had enough audible effects, like the sirens heard at the end of “Firehouse,” that listening to in your bedroom was the next best thing to being at a KISS concert.
 
More KISS after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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07.17.2017
10:25 am
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A preposterous Paul McCartney parody by Melvins drummer Dale Crover
07.17.2017
09:44 am
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In 1980, Paul McCartney released his first solo album since 1970’s eponymous McCartney. Cleverly titled McCartney II, it’s a so-so album at best, as a fair few Sir Paul’s albums are, and it remains noteworthy mostly because he recorded it entirely by himself while Wings was in stasis pending their breakup a year later, and because it contains “Temporary Secretary,” a wonderfully bonkers experiment in synth based electro-pop that’s held up well enough to have earned some overdue respect in recent years.

The lead-off single from that album was the kinda crappy but virulently catchy “Coming Up.” It boasted a chipmunk vocal effect that struck a lot of people as so weird that Columbia records promoted the single’s B-Side, a 1979 live version of the song performed by Wings in Scotland, as the US single, which actually worked, and the live version became the one that ended up on best-of comps. There’s a great story about John Lennon hearing the song for the first time, related by Tom Doyle in Man on the Run:

Lennon was being driven by [personal assistant] Fred Seaman through Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, when he first heard “Coming Up” on the radio. “Fuck a pig, it’s Paul,” he exclaimed, before turning up the volume and nodding along. “Not bad,” he decided at the song’s conclusion. He asked Seaman to buy him a copy of McCartney II and set up a new stereo system in his bedroom specifically so he could listen to it. The next day, “Coming Up” was still rattling around John’s head. “It’s driving me crackers,” he told Seaman, before venturing the opinion that even if its parent album was patchy, at least Paul was back trying to do something eclectic and experimental.

“Fuck a pig, it’s Paul”: The immortal words of one of popular music’s most politically aware and sensitive bards.

That McCartney album is credited by some sources as one of the factors that motivated Lennon to get off his ass and record the music that would find its way onto Double Fantasy, his last album of new music released in his lifetime. But lest anyone think all was hunky-dory between Lennon and McCartney, Lennon also had some sharp words about the cringeworthily goofy “Coming Up” promotional clip—in which a video-composited McCartney played every instrument (except Linda McCartney’s backing vocals) in a band called “The Plastic Macs,” a dig at Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band—saying that it must have been a dream come true for McCartney, who always wanted to be the only member of the band.
 

 
Trainspotters will note that in addition to portraying his own younger self in that video, McCartney also pays homage to Ron Mael of Sparks, Hank Marvin of The Shadows (easily mistaken for Buddy Holly), and Andy Mackay of Roxy Music, among others. In 1980, that was a difficult technical feat which won that video a lot of attention. Now, of course, such compositing techniques are far more effortless, and director Adam Harding has used them to pay ridiculous homage to (or make fun of?) that classic McCartney video with Melvins drummer Dale Crover, in a hilariously stripped-down way. “Bad Move” is Crover’s first solo video, from his first full length solo album The Fickle Finger of Fate on Joyful Noise. (Yes, he did a solo E.P. in 1992 as part of a KISS parody the Melvins did. And then there was last year’s six minute $100 record/art object Skins…) In Crover’s video, he plays three members of his band, sharing his stage with Acid King bassist Dan Southwick in costume as The Birthday Party’s Tracy Pew (!!!), and producer Toshi Kasai as keyboardist—well, I honestly can’t say who that’s supposed to be.
 
Take a look for yourself, after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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07.17.2017
09:44 am
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When a glimpse of stocking was something shocking: Vintage erotic postcards of 1920’s flappers
07.17.2017
09:24 am
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Before the First World War, postcards were the Twitter of the day. They were used to share personal news, arrange appointments, or pass on messages of love—though thankfully, there was very little of the trolling we all have to endure today. There was also a small but highly profitable cottage industry for erotic postcards which increased dramatically during the War years. This was one way by which governments and generals thought they could keep the boys on the frontline happy by giving them some reason for fighting—saving the sexy young maidens of France from the hairy, uncouth hands of the Hun, and so forth. Millions of such cards were produced by the French during the War, which led to the moniker “French postcards” being applied to all erotic postcards whether they were made in France or not.

After the War, these naughty French postcard were still popular. This popularity offered some young women some independence and an easy way to make a quick franc or three. There is a genuine innocence about these photographs of young women flashing a white thigh above stocking top, or posing nude like a Greek goddesses, or playacting as a saucy French maid, which make them far more erotic than the bare-all, gynecological pictures of today’s cynical world of porn.
 
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More dirty French postcards, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.17.2017
09:24 am
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Artists pay homage to the legendary artwork of Heavy Metal magazine
07.14.2017
03:07 pm
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‘Metal Head’ by artist Brian Viveros. One of over 80 pieces that you can see at the Heavy Metal 40th Anniversary show at the Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, California starting on Saturday
 
A show featuring works inspired by 40 years of artwork from Heavy Metal Magazine kicks off this Saturday, July 15th at the Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, California. The massive show features more than 80 artists and their collective takes on the mythical artwork that has graced the pages of the magical and legendary magazine which put out its very first issue in April of 1977.

In addition to art inspired by of Heavy Metal’s artistic contributors, such as Boris Vallejo, Luis Royo, H.R. Giger and Spanish illustrator Esteban Maroto, there will also be lots of other eye candy to ogle such as animated cells from the 1981 film Heavy Metal, assorted collectibles related to the magazine and live body painting. The show itself features contributions from a dazzling array of incredibly talented modern masters that include Brian Viveros, Chet Zar, Ron English, and Travis Louie, as well a few of their predecessors, most notably the great French artist and cartoonist Jean Henri Gaston Giraud, better known as Moebius. I’ll say this much—if I were anywhere near Santa Monica during this event, I would already be waiting outside with my face pressed against the door of the gallery in anticipation.

Below, an extensive selection of some pieces from the upcoming show below which are all for sale for those of us with deep enough pockets and a great appreciation for the foundational artwork that Heavy Metal helped put on the map. Like the magazine itself, much of what follows is NSFW.
 

“Bad Blood” by Matthew Bone.
 

“Heavy Metal Naga” by the great Shawn Barber.
 

“The Artist” by Ryan Brown.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.14.2017
03:07 pm
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Doctor Faust’s handy guide to conjuring up demons
07.14.2017
10:39 am
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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.
 
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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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