Welcome to Bob Freeman’s occultdetective.com

Posted in Alba Gu Brath, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on April 18, 2016 by Occult Detective

01 sigil magickBob Freeman is an artist, paranormal adventurer, and author of two book series — The Cairnwood Manor series ( Shadows Over Somerset  & Keepers of the Dead) and Tales of the Liber Monstrorum (First Born).

A lifelong student of mythology, folklore, magic, and religion, Freeman has written numerous short stories, articles, and reviews for various online and print publications and is a respected lecturer on the occult and paranormal phenomena.

He lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.

In addition to occultdetective.com, Mr. Freeman can be found online on twitter and facebook.

Playing Favorites #FirstBorn

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2017 by Occult Detective

Cover 01 First BornOver on twitter, a friend dropped me a congratulatory note via DM regarding the release of my occult detective collection, First Born: Tales of the Monstrorum.

We chatted back and forth for a bit, them politely asking about the collection, what stories were included, how many were unique to the work, and so on.

They mentioned reading the blog in which I shared my favorite illustration from the book, and then they dropped a heavy question on me — of all the stories in First Born, which was my favorite?

Man, that was a tough one, but answer it I did, with a short response. Here’s a longer version of it —

For the longest time, I would have named Mourn Not the Sleepless Children as my favorite. It was originally published by Burning Effigy Press back in 2009, part of a chapbook anthology entitled Fresh Blood. It was one of three stories, the others written by Dave Alexander and the horribly underrated Kelli Dunlap (better known now as Kelli Owen).

I worked closely with Monica Kuebler, BEP’s editor-in-chief, and I was so proud of the final product. To this day, Monica was the best editor I’ve worked with. She was professional, courteous, and helped me polish that story and make it something special.

Thankfully, in the chronology of events in my Liber Monstrorum tales, it comes first and thus was the lead story in First Born. It’s a great lead off and is a great showcase for what I can do when everything is clicking just right.

That being said, another story has supplanted it as my most favored tale. That distinction now falls on Wyrdtails.

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Wyrdtails was written and serialized back in December of 2014, one of those “writing without a net” Harlan Ellison writing exercises I’m so fond of. I had no idea where the story was going, no idea from where it even sprang. It just fell out of my keyboard onto this website, growing in the telling.

We learned a lot more about Landon Connors, his father Ashton, the Order of the Sacred Hart, and saw Greg Mitchell’s ghost come out to play a bit.

In a lot of ways, Wyrdtails has been my most quintessential occult detective story, made all the more special because it came from the ether, like, seemingly, all the best stories do.

So, there you have it. If you’re curious, First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum is available via numerous online retailers, but as Amazon seems to be the overlord of that heap, I’ll direct you there by way of the following link. If someplace else is more appealing to you, I trust your google fu will serve you accordingly.

 

The Art of First Born

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on July 17, 2017 by Occult Detective

There are several illustrations in First Born, but I think my favorite is that which serves as the collection’s frontispiece.

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The illustration, featuring Landon Connors and Boo, with Baphomet at the top of the stair, encapsulates for me what Jimmy Page called the “power, mystery, and hammer of the gods”.

I like the symmetry of it.

And I like the fact that, though unintended, the illustration evokes thoughts of a keyhole.

First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum is available now and can be purchased online via Amazon in Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook as well as other outlets found on the world wide web.

 

Occult Detectives are alive and well

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2017 by Occult Detective

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I keep hammering the point, but its one I never tire of. The occult detective genre encapsulates so many of my obsessions.

As a writer, I get to explore witchcraft, magic, and religion from the inside out, I get to delve into the mysteries of the universe and dissect the workings of mind, body, and spirit.

As a reader, I get to experience those same themes from the other side of the fence, peeking behind the veil through someone else’s eyes and experiences. I get to thrill at the mysteries these authors have dreamed up, and take a ride through their psyches.

Cover 01 First BornHaving a new book out, First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum, has found me reminiscing about some of my favorite literary occult detectives, from John Constantine to John Thunstone, Harry Dresden to Harry D’Amour, Adam Sinclair to Diana Tregarde…

I have sang the praises of a near countless number of authors who have added to the genre and now, I want to shine that spotlight once more on five modern takes on the occult detective by authors who have made contributions to genre that are sure to be remembered.

5. James Brimstone (Jason Ridler)

Brimstone may have only appeared in one novel this far, Hex-Rated, but he sure made a lasting impression, largely due to the Brimstone Files being set in 1970s Hollywood and all that that entails.

4. Charles St. Cyprian (Joshua Reynolds)

St. Cyprian and his assistant, Ebe Gallowglass, shine in Reynolds’ The Royal Occultist tales. Set in the ’20s, they defend “the battered and dwindling British Empire against threats occult, otherworldly, infernal and divine”.

3. Derek Adams (William Meikle)

If you like your private eyes hard-boiled, look no further than Adams, who stalks the shadowy byways of Glasgow with the same cynicism one might find in Sam Spade…if he had to deal with witches and water demons.

2.  “Golden” Dawn Seliger (Nick Mamatas)

If ever a character deserved a follow-up novel, it’s “Golden” Dawn, who leapt off the pages of Mamatas’ brilliant “Love is the Law”. She’s a teenage devotee to Crowley and Trotsky. If that doesn’t sell it, nothing will.

1. Levi Stoltzfus (Brian Keene)

Stoltzfus is an ex-Amish magus who traverses the back roads with his dog Crowley in a magical Amish buggy, drawn by a horse named Dee, and armed with a magical grimoire called The Long Lost Friend.

There’s a whole host of other authors who “get it right” too. Folks like Steven Shrewsberry, Justin Gustainis, Charles Rutledge, Greg Mitchell, Nick Kaufmann, Amanda DeWees, Tim Prasil, Christine Morgan, and on and on. For that matter, pick up a copy of Occult Detective Quarterly and you’ll see the truth for yourself.

The occult detective genre is alive, well, and kicking.

Now, while I have your attention, maybe I can interest you in trying First Born on for size. It’s available in the following online outlets:

AMAZON
Trade Paperback
Kindle

AMAZON UK
Trade Paperback
Kindle

BARNES & NOBLE
Trade Paperback
Nook

KOBO
Ebook

iTunes
eBook

Liber Monstrorum Begins Here…

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2017 by Occult Detective

 

I am proud to announce that First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum is, at long last, available for purchase. First Born is an occult detective collection, bringing together twelve short stories, a novella, and two illustrated tales.

These are the stories I’ve been working toward since I first put pen to paper as a boy growing up in rural Indiana. My obsession with witchcraft, magick, and religion, in both fact and fiction, has all led to this.

Published by Seventh Star Press and edited by Scott Sandridge, First Born is my love letter to the occult detective genre and to those glorious supernatural tales that thrilled me as a child… I hope these stories do the same for you.

Cover 01 First Born

From the arcane sorceries of “The Wickedest Man in the World” to the supernatural exploits of Occult Detective Landon Connors and the harrowing investigations of Agents Wolfe and Crowe, this collection of macabre tales of the black arts treads the dangerous landscape between this world and that populated by angels and demons, gods and devils, ghosts and spirits, and the legendary creatures of our darkest imaginings.

First Born is the beginning of the journey into the Liber Monstrorum, the Chronicles of those Occult Detectives who are the last line of defense against those preternatural forces that threaten to destroy a world that refuses to believe that such things exist…

First Born can be ordered from the following online outlets:

AMAZON
Trade Paperback
Kindle

AMAZON UK
Trade Paperback
Kindle

BARNES & NOBLE
Trade Paperback
Nook

KOBO
Ebook

iTunes
eBook

Below are some examples of the artwork you’ll find inside:

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Imperfections of Sleep (Part 6 of 6)

Posted in Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , , on July 13, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Imperfections of Sleep
Part 6 of 6

Special Agent Michelle Hawkes followed the occult detective over the ravine and gazed once more at the majesty of Rosslyn Chapel. They had been here three days, anticipating the battle that made this sacred place run red with blood.

She had wanted to take part, as had her friend and colleague, but they were not meant to be here, at least, so the mysterious dimensional traveler had said.

The confrontation had been monstrous in scope and beyond horrific, but in the end, good won out, but at a terrible price.

“So I’m to believe that Michael Somers saved the world and is now somewhere out there looking to end it?” Hawkes said. She was new to the Bureau, an Agent in the newly formed Paranormal Operations Division of the FBI, but she’s known Landon Connors for more than a while.

She thought back to the night they’d first met. She was a captive, held in the belly of a charnel house, food for some infernal thing. It was Connors and others known as Outriders who had saved her, brought her back into the light.

Eventually she joined their ranks, trained with Connors, for a short time they’d become lovers, but now…

They had parted ways badly. Landon, for all his brilliance and charm, was a lost soul. He was in such a dark place, and spent so much time hiding from the pain in his soul that she just couldn’t bear it.

She thought she could walk away from the life, but once you looked beyond the veil, there was no way to unsee those hidden forces all around us.

“It’s hard to imagine what’s going through his mind. He lost so much.” Connors paused, staring at the wondrous chapel. The stain on this place would remain for centuries, if not for Somers’ intervention. He wondered, could a mark such as this carry over into a timeline reborn?

“And we’re just letting him do this, letting him travel back in time to end this reality as we know it?”

“Yes,” Connors replied. “I guess we are.”

“It’s all like a bad dream.” She knelt and plucked a blade of dry grass from the earth, twirling it in her fingers. Was it a mistake accepting Connors’ invitation to come to Scotland, to watch the end? Was it wrong to find herself back in his arms, falling for him all over again?

“What was it Crowley said, — Dreams are imperfections of sleep; even so is consciousness the imperfection of waking. Dreams are impurities in the circulation of the blood; even so it’s consciousness a disorder of life.

“Always the romantic,” Hawkes said, turning away from the young detective.

He reached for her, taking her hand and pulling her back.

“Hey,” Connors said with a wink, “I try.” He drew her even closer and kissed her softly. “Michelle, I don’t know how long we have, or even if what Cassidy Martin said was true, but just in case, I need to tell you something.”

“What?”

“Since the first time we met, I knew that —” Connors paused, mid-sentence, looking passed the young woman before him, staring long into the black of night overhead.

“Landon?” Hawkes said, turning to see what had caught his attention. “What the—?”

The black sky was aglow, awash in a sea of swaying, rippling bands of vibrant color that blazed across the curtain of the still and silent night. Starlight grew dim, then were snuffed altogether like a candle blown out by the wind. A strange, almost industrial hum began to resonate and the ground began to quiver.

“This is it then?”

They held hands, wondering what to expect, if they would even exist when the celestial clock reset. Connors looked into Michelle Hawkes’ eyes and thought the words he had meant to say, but kept them to himself, hoping against hope that they’d be spoken in another life.

The End

Imperfections of Sleep (Part 5 of 6)

Posted in Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , on July 12, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Imperfections of Sleep
(Part 5 of 6)

“You’re mad,” Landon Connors said, pacing on the roadway, a stream of smoke rising slowly into the mid-morning sky from the cigarette in his lips. He looked toward his mentor, Sam Hill, who was consuming a smoke of his own and working to loose those muscles that had been magically bound several minutes before. “She’s a construct, or a demon meant to lead us astray.”

“Nope,” Hill replied. “I’d know it.”

“I know it sounds crazy,” the woman in the circle said, “but believe me, Dr. Connors, reality is far more malleable than you realize.”

“She’s right about that,” Hill agreed. He removed a fresh cigarette from the pack in his breast pocket and lit it off the butt of the other before grinding it under his heel.

“My name is Cassidy Martin and I have traveled through space, time, and dimension to ensure that you and Mr. Hill do not interfere with not only what happens this night, but in what is going to happen a few months from now.

“If you rescue me, that is, nine year old me, then everything changes…again. The threads of our reality are perilously thin as it is, and I’m the only one who knows what happened now, because when what happens later..happens, then all this goes away… it doesn’t happen, not like this anyway.”

“Do I need to explain temporal paradoxes and causal loops to you?” Connors, taking a cue from Sam, lit another cigarette. “Retrocausality?” He approached the circle, feeling nauseous the nearer he came. He staggered momentarily, stepped backward and nearly retched onto the pavement.

“That’s because I’m out of synch with this reality,” she said. “Do you understand? It’s why I can’t step outside of this circle. I don’t exist here, can’t exist here. I’m from another… universe or whatever. In a few months, this reality will be erased, writ over by a new one created by Michael Somers.”

“Who the hell is Michael Somers?” Connors snapped.

“”He’s the Lord of Cairnwood Manor, or will be, but then won’t be…” She sat down on the pavement. “It’s so damn confusing.”

“Ya think?” Connors said. He limped over to stand next to Hill, joining him in leaning on the hood of the private investigator’s Caprice. “Sam, help me out here.”

“I wish I could, kiddo,” Hill replied, “but the fact of the matter is, I believe her. At the very least, I believe she believes it, and I’ve got a nose for these things.”

“So, we’re supposed to just let all this happen, just let a vampire run roughshod across our backyard, then, and this is the kicker, then sit back while our reality gets shredded and rewritten?” Connors spat on the ground. “You don’t know me, know us, very well, Ms. Martin.”

“But I do, Dr. Connors,” she said, rising to her feet. “You will save my life, trust me. Just not tonight, nor in this timeline.”

“God damn it,” Connors hissed. “Fine, say you win. Then what are me and Sam supposed to do? Huh? Do you have an answer for that?”

“No,” Cassidy replied. “I wish I did.” She placed her hand over her heart. “But if it were me, I would find someone I loved without question and hold them until the end, because your eyes will open after the fire, but what they’ll see will be altogether different.” She turned away from them, her head hung low. “You just won’t know it, no one will. No one but me.”

“And what if I don’t have someone?” Connors said. He stepped toward her, leaning even heavier on his cane.

“You do,” Cassidy replied.

Sam  put his hand on Connors’ shoulder. “The little lady is right, kid.”

“Look, my time is up,” she said, turning back to them. They could see the tears glistening on her cheeks. “The spell’s wearing off.”

“So that’s it then,” Connors said. “No last parting words of wisdom from the future?”

“No,” Cassidy replied as she began to fade away. “Just… tell Michelle I said I miss her…”

And with that, Cassidy Martin was gone.

to be continued

Imperfections of Sleep (part 4 of 6)

Posted in Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , , , on July 11, 2017 by Occult Detective

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Imperfections of Sleep
Part 4 of 6

The 427 horses of Sam Hill’s ’69 Caprice rumbled across the back roads of Wabash County. It was a little rough around the edges, but had it where it counted. Besides, its owner came by it the old fashion way — he’d stolen it.

Granted, that theft occurred in 1971, and its original owner, a fence that went by the name Rager Creek Johnson, was dead shortly thereafter, but Hill still relished in the satisfaction that he’d swiped this ride from someone unworthy of what she had to offer.

He pressed the gas pedal to the floor, kicking up a cloud of dust, as he and Landon Connors cut a wake across the winding gravel road that led toward the Mississinewa.

“How in the hell does a girl in the fourth grade get drawn into Cairnwood Manor’s amor fati?” Hill gripped the wheel, slid through an intersection, cutting hard left, and bringing the Caprice onto pavement. The tires barked as they grabbed traction, leaving a black scar on the county road.

“There’ve been rumblings in the Nevermore for weeks, something kicking around the old place of late,” Connors replied. He wasn’t fond of his mentor’s predilection for hard driving. “Damn it!” he shouted, slamming his fist down on the dash, “We should have seen this coming.” He paused. “I should have…”

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, kid,” Hill said. He cast a glance at the young man beside him. Early twenties, but he’d already lived enough for three lifetimes. He lost his mother when he was just a boy, and he wasn’t much older than that when the incident in Antarctica went down and the Connors patriarch, Ashton Connors, met his untimely demise. That was four years ago. It had left Landon with a bum leg, but more than that, it had left him with emotional scars that were slow to heal. “In case you haven’t been paying attention, we’ve been busy, or have you forgotten the peace we brokered between the land wights and the Rich Valley Sylphs.”

“Yes, I know, but…”

“Not to mention our little misadventure with Nicole van Klaveren last week,” Hill continued. “We’re a damn band-aid,” he hung a quick right, fishtailing onto a gravel road for a short spell, then cut back north. “We can’t save the world,” he added bitterly, “not when all the heavens have turned their backs on us.” He flipped out two cigarettes from his breast pocket and tossed one at Connors. “Now smoke that and focus on what’s ahead, because what’s behind us is…”

“Sam!” Connors exclaimed, both hands reflexively clutching the dashboard, his right leg stomping on a brake pedal that wasn’t there.

“What the —?” Hill floored the brake and threw the Caprice into a sliding stop, the smell of rubber and smoke filling the air.

Standing in the middle of the road, fields of corn awaiting harvest on either side, stood a young woman. Connors shook his head as he climbed out of the car, his attention swiftly shifting from concern for her well-being to danger-mode as became aware of the evanescent tendrils of smoke swirling around the woman’s feet. About her, burnt into the pavement, was a nine foot circle, arcane symbols following its arc. Magic still radiated from the scar, a purple glow that faded to an almost indiscernible wisp of eldritch vapor.

Sam responded quickly, the crackle of magical energy beginning to spark at his fingertips, but the woman was quicker. She unleashed a binding spell that wrapped itself around the private investigator, fettering him within a spiraling chain of Enochian letters, pulsing with fairy fire.

This was above Connors’ pay grade, but he was learning. Prepping an offensive spell in his mind, tapping into the elements at his command, he just needed time to bring it all together. But time was in short supply. I need to take a different approach, the occult detective thought…

“That’s a neat piece of work,” he said, flashing her a devilish grin. “Where did a pretty young thing like you learn such a nasty little spell?”

“From you, you old snake-charmer,” she replied.

Connors was stunned. “From me? You must be mistaken. I think I’d remember if we’d met before?”

“Oh, we’ve met,” she said, stepping forward in the circle. “Just not yet.”

to be continued

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