Archive for December, 2010

Remembering Ida Craddock

Posted in Crowley, Esoterica, Spotlight & Reviews with tags , , , on December 15, 2010 by cairnwood

Ida Craddock was a visionary. Bold, intelligent, provocative, Craddock quite literally sacrificed herself in the name of women’s liberation and sacred spirituality. That this woman has descended into obscurity is a true miscarriage. She was at the vanguard of free thought and expanded consciousness, whose work championed feminism and social progress. That she was ultimately martyred for these ideas should have placed her in the pantheon of the most exalted revolutionary thinkers, but alas she became but a footnote, known primarily by those who studied within the  outer fringes of paganism and the occult sciences alone.

Vere Chappell in Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic reintroduces us to this extraordinary woman by collecting her most important writings, combining them with a thorough, insightful, and impassioned biography. Chappell handles the subject of Ms. Craddock’s life and suicide, her triumphs and trials with a sure and competent hand. The picture painted here is one of exaltation for a life lived without compromise.

In his review of Ida Craddock’s Heavenly Bridegrooms, Aleister Crowley wrote that it was “one of the most remarkable human documents ever produced”. Coming from the Great Beast, that’s saying a lot. He went on to write that the book was “of incalculable value to every student of occult matters. No Magick library is complete without it.” I couldn’t agree more.

Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock is a monumental achievement and a bloody brilliant account of one of the most important spiritual philosophers of the modern age.

Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic by Vere Chappell is published by Red Wheel/Weiser and available wherever books are sold.

Oddfellows Serenade Redux

Posted in Comics, Illustration, Occult Detective Genre on December 14, 2010 by cairnwood

Yesterday’s thumbnail, now with words…
because so many of you asked.

And no, I really can’t share any  more than that.

Oddfellows Serenade

Posted in Comics, Illustration, Occult Detective Genre on December 13, 2010 by cairnwood

Thumbnail Sketch for Oddfellows Serenade
A Landon Connors Supernatural Thriller

The House Above Seven Pillars, Chapter Eleven

Posted in Free Fiction, Occult Detective Genre, Teen Detective Stories with tags , , on December 10, 2010 by cairnwood

Chapter Eleven


Dale Parker was relieved to see Detective Joe Franklin standing beneath the exterior light outside of the Winger Estate. Detective Franklin was one of his father’s oldest friends and had been a valuable ally in the elder Parker’s research. He and Sarah made their way along the roadside and passed through the main gate leading up to the house.

“A little easier this time in, huh?” Dale said.

Sarah didn’t respond. She was still in shock. Dale couldn’t blame her. He was a bit in shock himself. He had helped his father on a number of cases but he had never experienced anything like this.

He waved to the detective as they drew near. Franklin wore a gruff expression on his face and that worried the young man. Dale hoped that Allen wasn’t hurt worse than he’d appeared to be before he’d gone to call for help.

“Evening Dale,” the detective said, offering his hand.

“Good evening, Detective Franklin. Thanks for getting here so fast. Is Allen okay?”

“The boy’s fine. He’s been admitted to Duke Memorial and your mother’s on her way.”

“I can’t tell you how great that is to hear. After everything that’s happened tonight, I wasn’t…”

“Dale, that’s where things go sort of south for me,” the detective interrupted. “Your story doesn’t exactly play out as you told it to me on the phone.”

“How so?” Sarah asked. She stepped forward, trying to look past the man and into the house. “Where’s Cassidy? Dale said he left her with Allen.”

“And you are, Miss…?”

“Jones. Sarah Jones.”

“Right,” the detective said, glancing at a small notepad. “You called in the 911.”

“That’s right.”

“According to dispatch, you claim that your aunt, Mrs. Martin, was attacking Allen Parker and you and he entered into a struggle with her, that Parker in fact struck her repeatedly to the face and yet she kept coming. That’s when you ran for help.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Anything you want to add, Dale?”

“Just what I told you on the phone. When Cassidy and I came downstairs, the place was covered in blood and Allen was pretty roughed up. I caught up with Sarah down at the Kenyon place after she’d called emergency response. Then I called you.”

“Walk with me, kid,” the detective said. He put his arm around Dale’s shoulder and led him through the front door of the Winger house.

“No, no, no… this isn’t right,” Dale said, taken aback by the state of the Great Room. “I don’t understand.” There was no blood, no piece of furniture out of place, no candles… in fact, the whole room was well lit by chandeliers overhead and what shadows there were clung to the corners without menace. “Joe, this place was dripping in blood. I swear to you… this doesn’t make any sense.”

“Where’s Cassidy?” Sarah said from the doorway.

Detective Franklin turned to face her. “She’s in her mother’s room. She didn’t want to go upstairs. In fact, she was in near hysterics. Mrs. Martin administered a sedative to calm her down.”

“A sedative?” Sarah was livid. “Are you kidding me? That’s what started all this mess.”

“Dale, Cassidy Martin has some deep rooted psychological problems.” The detective motioned for them to follow him upstairs. “From what her mother told me, the girl’s borderline schizophrenic. Do you understand? She hears voices. Sees things that aren’t there.”

“But we saw them too. I heard…” Dale responded, climbing the marble steps after his father’s best friend. Sarah was right on his heels. “Are you saying we imagined all this?”

“Suggestion is a powerful thing, Dale. I’ve seen it happen to seasoned veterans on the force. Sometimes our minds play tricks on us.”

“That’s bull,” Sarah muttered.

Detective Franklin stopped before Michelle’s bedroom door. It was whole and unmarked from their earlier escape. The detective turned the knob revealing an undisturbed room. Everything was perfectly placed. Even the bed appeared freshly made. He led the two young people inside, pausing by the window seat.

“Does this look like a room beset upon by unseen forces?”

Dale looked at Sarah who was dumbfounded. “No, sir.”

Reaching down, the detective picked up Dale’s backpack and tossed it to him. Taking a quick inventory, he was surprised to find everything inside and in its place. He added the items from his pockets and the book that had struck him in the head. No, he’d not imagined that. It still throbbed where he’d been struck. Still, none of this made any sense.

“Take your things, Dale, and get yourself to the hospital and look after your brother and forget all about this place. Understand? I’m not saying nothing is going on here, but what I am saying is that this is business best left to your father, and even then, he would need to be called in by the family, not by some worrisome teenager who suspects something is wrong.”

“You’re right, of course. I guess we just got overly excited.”

“That’s a load of —“ Sarah fumed. She pushed Dale hard in the shoulder and gave him an eyeful.

“Sarah, it’s alright. Let’s get you home and we can discuss it tomorrow after we’ve all had a good night’s sleep.”

“That’s what I want to hear,” the detective said.

He led the two out of the room and down the stairs. Dale and Sarah took it all in, every bit of well lit nook and cranny. They walked slowly across the marble floor, through the front entrance, and out into the chilled night air.

“Come on, “ Dale said, “let me give you a lift home, then I’ll head over to check on Allen. You’ve got school tomorrow, after all, and your mom’s probably worried sick.”

“Whatever,” Sarah muttered, sauntering off toward the iron gate.

“Thanks again, Detective. I appreciate your being straight with us.”

“You’re a good kid, Dale. Make sure you dad gives me a call as soon as he gets back from Wisconsin.”

“Will do,” Dale said. He broke into a jog to catch up with Sarah who was walking along the berm of the Frances Slocum Trail. “Hey, wait up.”

“Don’t talk to me,” she said, eyes on the road passing under her feet.

“So you think I handled that wrong back there?”

“That detective is full of it and you know it, Dale Parker. What we saw back there— what happened to us — it was…”

“Real? Yeah, I know, but we weren’t going to get anywhere butting heads with the police. If we’re going to be of any help to Cassidy, we’re going to have to dot all our i’s and cross all out t’s.”

“And mind our p’s and q’s too, I suppose.”

“Exactly,” Dale said, smiling. “Look, we made some headway tonight. More than you might think. At least we know for a fact that something unnatural is going on in that place. Now we just have to put a name to it and then we can figure out how to stop it.”

“And what about Cassidy? We can’t just leave her there.”

“For now, we have no choice, but I promise Sarah, we’re not through yet. We’re going to get her out of there, and we’re going to put an end to whatever has that house in its grip.”

“Another Parker promise?”

“Hey, we’re full of ‘em.”

“You’re full of something.”


“Made it, Ma! Top of the world!”

Posted in Occult Detective Genre, Spotlight & Reviews, Wolfe & Crowe with tags , , on December 8, 2010 by cairnwood

Jim McLeod, in a review of my novel, Descendant, wrote — “His Cairnwood Manor books are amongst my favourite werewolf novels, and now Descendant is up there at the top of my favourite paranormal investigation novels.” Jim went on to make the comment that  “the depth of occult knowledge that has been intertwined into the story is vast.” It’s statements like these that keep the fire lit inside. And now, Mr. McLeod has posted his Top Ten of 2010 and I’m proud to say that Descendant made the cut. That it sits alongside stories written by Tim Lebbon, William Meikle, Duane Swierczynski, and Steven Shrewsbury is a real honour.

Descendant is available in Trade Paperback, or can be downloaded to your Kindle or other ereading device.

Your One Stop Shop for Holiday Fear… er, I mean Cheer

Posted in Spotlight & Reviews on December 8, 2010 by cairnwood

Yuletide carols are being sung and that means it’s time to make a last minute grab for spectacular gifts to share with your loved ones. Here are some stocking stuffer suggestions from the Occult Detective to you…







Trade Paperback












Shadows Over Somerset TPB

Keepers of the Dead TPB




Trade Paperback

The House Above Seven Pillars, Chapter Ten

Posted in Free Fiction, Occult Detective Genre, Teen Detective Stories with tags , , on December 7, 2010 by cairnwood

Chapter Ten


Allen Parker slowly opened his eyes only to see an angel sitting beside him. He tried to sit up but the pain was overwhelming. She looked down at him and smiled warmly, but her eyes were full of worry and fear. If the pain had not been enough to let him know he’d not just woken from a nightmare, those eyes told the tale. The same fear that gripped him now haunted her as well. He was lying in the cool grass, a jacket under his head as a pillow. The Winger House was several yards away and that was almost enough to send him crawling as fast as he could muster.

“You’re awake,” the angel said, reaching out to lay her hand on his shoulder. She had long black hair and dark eyes, with skin so white it almost glowed in the dark. “Your brother went for help. My name’s Cassidy. Cassidy Martin.”

“Sarah’s cousin?”

“That’s right. Do you know where Sarah is, or my mother?” Her voice quivered and she was on the verge of breaking down. “There was… so much blood back there, something horrible happened. Please, is my mother all right? Was she hurt?”

“Cassidy, I…”

“What happened in there? Please, you’ve got to tell me.”

“Look, I don’t know what to say… I’m not really sure…” Allen was fumbling for the words. How do you tell someone that their mother was possessed by some kind of evil spirit and that you beat her face in with a candlestick and she barely batted an eye? The sound of sirens saved him from continuing. “That must be the cavalry.”

The night was suddenly ablaze with flashing red and blue lights, dancing on the moist landscape, though, Allen thought, he could have done without the blaring siren wail of the two state police cars and the emergency rescue vehicle that pulled into the Winger drive. Still, it was a relief to know that this night was almost over. How he was going to explain any of this to the police however was beyond him? He suddenly felt extremely sad for the girl hovering over him now. His physical pain was nothing compared to the pain she was about to face.

He heard the paramedics coming toward him and watched as Cassidy stood up, backing out of the way. Allen’s eyes drifted toward the Winger house and he saw the front door open, a figure appearing there, silhouetted by the light spilling out from within.

“Cassidy?” he heard a frantic voice call out. It was Louise Martin. Allen struggled to get to his feet, even as he watched the young girl run toward the house.

“Cassidy! No!” he cried, but she was racing across the lawn. And then she was gone from sight as the paramedics loomed between him and the mansion. “You’ve got to stop her,” he moaned. “Don’t let her go in that house.”

“Calm down son, we’re here to help you,” one of them said. He knelt beside Allen, forcing him to lie back on the ground. “The officers will take care of the young lady. Let us have a look at you.”

“You don’t understand…” Allen began, but the paramedic ignored him.

“Let’s get him ready for transport. This kid’s a mess.”

“You’re not transporting me anywhere,” Allen said. He began to struggle against the paramedic, desperate to get up. “You can’t let that girl anywhere near her mother. She’s not herself… she’s…”

“Listen, kid,” the responder said harshly, “you’ve probably got a concussion, a broken forearm, and if I were to guess, several broken ribs.” He forced Allen back down while his partner came around the other side, a hypodermic prepared. “I don’t know what went down out here, but we need to get you to a hospital, sooner than later.”

“My brother, where’s my brother? He’ll know what to do.” He fought against the much larger medic, thrashing wildly, trying to break the man’s grip. “That woman’s a demon,” he raved. “She’s got to be stopped… she’s got to be…” Allen Parker began to fade as he was injected with a sedative.

“What do you make of this, Mikey?”

“Beats me, Geoff,” the paramedic said, helping his partner lift the boy onto the gurney. “Drugs, I suppose. He sure seems crazy.”

Looking over his shoulder, Geoff Turner had an uneasy feeling. “I don’t know Mike. You hear stories about stuff out here, ghosts and such. Maybe the kid got spooked?”

“And maybe you watched too much Sammy Terry growing up. No such thing as ghosts, rookie.”

“So you say.” Turner took another look back at the mansion and the silhouettes framed in the doorway. His eyes drifted up to a third story window where the curtain parted and something watched as they wheeled the Parker kid across the lawn toward the ambulance. He swallowed hard and pushed the gurney just a little bit faster. The quicker they got away from this place the better, he thought.

Kickin’ It Old School

Posted in Spotlight & Reviews with tags , , , on December 6, 2010 by cairnwood

From Belfire Press:

Old School, a traditional horror collection born of seven twisted minds, invites you back to a time when vampires and werewolves were monsters who made humans quiver in terror.

Within these pages, evil children terrorize, witches gather the teeth of the young, cosmic blobs eat the world, while creepy crawlies ruin a man’s life and a headless ghost seeks revenge. Wander down this spooky path with poems and stories that revive our nightmares about golems, harpies, and other forgotten creatures.

Fourteen short tales offered by David Dunwoody, Jackie Gamber, R. Scott McCoy, Natalie L. Sin, Horace James, Gregory L. Hall, and Louise Bohmer, all tied together by selected poems from Zombie ZakOld School reminds one of terrors best not forgotten.

And who better to introduce the collection than our own master of the occult mysteries – Bob Freeman.

If you want some seriously traditional, old-time horror – get your pre-order in now!


Neolithic Tomb found undisturbed

Posted in Esoterica, Scotland with tags on December 3, 2010 by cairnwood

From BBC News: Archaeologists have recovered remains from at least eight people after initial excavation at a Neolithic tomb site in Orkney discovered in October.

A narrow, stone-lined passageway leads to five chambers, two of which have been part-excavated so far.

Fragments of skull and hipbone have been unearthed, some carefully placed in gaps in the stones, suggesting the 5,000-year-old site is undisturbed.

The bones point to a range of ages at death including a child of about six.

It is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to look at a Neolithic community, says Orkney Islands Council’s county archaeologist, Julie Gibson.

Orkney contains some of the best preserved Neolithic remains in Europe. Just a few hundred metres from the dig at Banks on Ronaldsay lies the larger Tombs of the Eagles complex where remains of more than 300 people were found.

But the recent find is the first undisturbed burial of a Neolithic community to be discovered in Scotland in three decades.

Burial ‘rituals’

sketch of burial complex “Science has moved on a lot in the last few years,” says Gibson.

“It is now possible to find out where someone grew up, for instance. And in the case of the Amesbury Archer, found near Stonehenge, it could be seen that he had travelled from the Alps.

“It is by no means certain that all the people in this tomb will have been born here.”

There are signs of rituals taking place at the site, for instance the complex was filled with layers of earth suggesting repeated use over a period of time. And large stones were used in the construction and sealing of the chambers.

The site was discovered accidentally during landscaping with a mechanical digger which damaged one end of the complex. The underground site is now subject to flooding and archaeologists are keen to investigate the site while it remains undisturbed.

Initial excavations carried out by the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology have now been completed and there are plans to return to the site in the summer. The dig has been sponsored by Orkney Islands Council and Historic Scotland.

Cover Artist for Hire

Posted in Illustration on December 2, 2010 by cairnwood

Looking to put a face on your magnum opus?

My rates are quite reasonable.

Drop me an email at:


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