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

bobav2Bob Freeman is an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer whose previous novels include Shadows Over Somerset, Keepers of the Dead, and Descendant.

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.

An October Night’s Dream

Posted in Liber et Auda, Magick by Trial & Error on October 22, 2016 by Occult Detective

I had an intriguing dream last night. Frustrating also in that the most important bits are lost to me, drifting away like so much effluvium. If you will allow me, I will share with you the bits I do remember, the vivid parts that, at the time, seemed more than a nighttime fancy, but as real as the wakeful world around us now.

I was standing at the kitchen island. My son, Connor sat at the dining table, and my wife was across the room, sitting on the couch watching the television.

Connor was typing furiously on an old Underwood No. 5, ripping out finished pages from the carriage and adding them to a mountainous manuscript pile beside him. A raven acted as a paperweight and would fly up to allow him to place each new page with the others. Connor never acknowledged Kim or me. He was solely intent on the words he was hammering onto blank pages.

Kim was watching a show in black & white. There was a woman on screen in Victorian dress, maneuvering through a seemingly derelict mansion, heavily cobwebbed. She was searching for something, meticulously examining the mansion room by room, all the while being followed by a thin mist. Periodically there would be a scene cut and I would catch glimpses of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Anita Louise’s Titania shimmering like glitter come to life.


At the island I noticed a couple of pieces of mail addressed to me. One was a Red Wheel/Weiser book catalogue, the other was a 4×4 inch envelope with my full name in cursive but with no further markings.

I asked Kim why she didn’t tell me I had mail, but she shushed me. She explained that the show she was watching was ‘live’, could not be recorded, and would never be aired again. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I needed to be quiet.

I set the catalogue aside and opened the envelope and removed a card inside.

The card opened up like a pop-up book revealing a tiny claw foot bathtub, letters floating in steaming water. Lying across the edges of the tub was a small scroll held closed by a copper ring decorated with a green leaf. There was copious amounts of glitter on it.

I slid the ring off and placed it on the island, unfurling the scroll.

It was an acceptance letter from Neil Gaiman. He was, it seems, shepherding an anthology of occult stories and had selected my tale for inclusion. I wish I could remember the note verbatim. It was writ as a poem, essentially acknowledging my story’s worth, but with a slight change that required attention.


The next part of the poem/note was like a riddle, and there were tiny gems attached to the parchment. The solution to the riddle was that I needed to change the spell in the story from a water based element, to one of fire.

As soon as I solved the riddle, the note was consumed in a burst of flame, dissolving into ash. Those ashes floated down and into the bathwater causing the letters floating there to swirl about.

The letters formed a final message. Something quite profound, as I recall, although upon waking I could not remember them.

And there you have it, last night’s dream, for what it’s worth. I can’t recall a more magical dream I’ve had. It really seemed to be trying to tell me something. I can only trust that my subconscious got the message.


The Power of Hallowe’en

Posted in Liber et Auda, Media Macabre on October 21, 2016 by Occult Detective

I have a lot to do today, but I wanted to share something. Oddy enough, an article about Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame led me to thinking about the records I used to spin as a child. While I initially reminisced about the aforementioned Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, The Beatles, The Ventures, Jackson 5, and The Monkees (all in heavy rotation, along with various K-Tel Records), there was a collection of record albums that I played more than anything else, especially at bedtime.

Power Records.


I had a ton of them: Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, Batman, Spider-Man, Conan, Frankenstein, Man-Thing, Curse of the Werewolf, and so many more…


My favorite might have been this one though. Just listening to it now takes me back to my bedroom in our old trailer. It had no heat, and my little brother and I would place a fan at the end of my bed, on full blast in winter, and hide under thick blankets while this played…



Nothing invokes the season better than a vintage “spooky sounds” record, crackles, pops, and all.

My Review of The Key of Solomon the King

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on October 19, 2016 by Occult Detective

kosLet’s be honest here. There have been a lot of crap editions of The Key of Solomon. Even the best of them tend to have the same nagging flaw, they are working from the 1889 translation of S.L. MacGregor Mathers.

My own history with the Mathers’ translation dates back to the mid-80s when I was first given the opportunity to study the work via the 1972 Routledge and Kegan Paul edition.

I was, in a word, enthralled.

It was my first experience with a grimoire and Clavicula Salominis was one of  handful of magical treatises that had achieved mythic stature, and rightly so.

And despite its many missteps, Mathers produced an admirable work. Of course, I had no idea when I first spent time with it of just how many variations of The Key existed. That Mathers produced an English translation at all is something of a miracle. The task must have been daunting.

I have, in my personal library, several editions, the best of which being the 2000 Dover edition with a Foreword by R.A. Gilbert. That edition has now been supplanted by Weiser Books timely release of The Key of Solomon the King: A Magical Grimoire of Sigils and Rituals for Summoning and Mastering Spirits, Foreword by Joseph H. Peterson.

Peterson’s Foreword is a fine introduction to the work, with sound, albeit brief historical examinations of the grimiore itself, Mathers and his approach to the translation, and its subsequent influence.

Many of Peterson’s thoughts in this foreword I have read, almost verbatim, before, in his reviews of earlier editions. I don’t have an issue with this. My interest in this iteration of The Key was not founded on the complexity of the edition’s preamblist, but rather on the reproduction of the sigils within.

The Pentacles are crisp and clear, and their placement within the text itself a vast improvement over previous editions and I greatly appreciate the inclusion of the 1972 sigil plates as an appendix for comparison.

This, plus a few other minor corrections, makes this the superior edition for magicians and their armchair counterparts on a budget.

I am proud to shelve this amongst my superfluity of esoterica.

The Key of Solomon the King: A Magical Grimoire of Sigils and Rituals for Summoning and Mastering Spirits, Foreword by Joseph H. Peterson is available wherever fine books are sold. Copies may be purchased online direct via Red Wheel/Weiser or if you wish to give the devil his due, Amazon will take your hard earned shekels.

Beneath the pale moonlight

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on October 18, 2016 by Occult Detective

I’ve been feeling nostalgic all day. Peculiar dreams overnight led me to a rabbit hole of music that consumed a large part of my time from the mid-70s onward, chiefly that of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham —as a duo, as a part of Fleetwood Mac, and as solo artists. Nicks’ songs fit the season well, with their mystical, mythical, and witchy imagery, and while her tunes have always had a tendency to touch my soul, Buckingham’s music has always touched my heart.


I have a million things I need to be doing, but I’ve been under the weather and I decided to just blow today off, to listen to old music and make a little art.

Nothing spectacular, just the bit here to the left, but it felt good making it, and the music did what I needed it to do.

I feel the need for a cold night and a warm fire, of long conversations with lifelong friends. Unfortunately, they’re largely either gone or scattered, but that’s what dreams are for.

In my favor, I have a wife and son that fill me to the brim with pride and joy.

I’ve been down a bit. Being sickly will do that to you, especially if it’s for an extended period of time. My wife and son go a long way toward lifting my spirits.

Even at my lowest, I know that I am truly blessed. The gods smile on me, and I know they always have.

But this is the time of the harvest —Samhain to some, All Hallow’s to others. It is a time for remembrances. Of honoring the memories of those no longer with us, of communing with those who cross the veil.

I feel better already… Strong winds are bringing cooler weather and rain. True autumn is coming and there’s magic in the air.

Let’s see what tomorrow has in store for us. Shall we meet up with Johnny Scarecrow beneath the pale moonlight and cast our spells upon the ethereal current?

Oh, I think we shall…

Oh Autumn, where art thou?

Posted in Liber et Auda, Magick by Trial & Error on October 17, 2016 by Occult Detective

The weather’s unseasonable. Too warm for my blood, to be sure. The autumn chill has been flirtatious, but she’s not settled in to stay and thus the leaves are slow to change. There’s a dichotomy there, I suppose; a hidden truth, unwelcome most like, but reality has a way of bending to ensure the illusion takes hold.


This is a little something I cooked up, hoping to draw autumn to us… The gods are restless and so am I. A change is going to come.

Sacrificial Writes #OccultDetectiveRPG

Posted in Dice Upon A Time, Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on October 16, 2016 by Occult Detective

A side note, before I get into today’s Bobtober blog post: sometime in the near future, I will be archiving my sister site Dice Upon A Time. Do I view it as a failed experiment? Not at all. It did everything I wanted it to. The views fell short of what I’d hoped for, overall, but certain posts got respectable hits.

The reason for mothballing Dice Upon A Time comes down to two things: One is time management. It’s too hard to keep up with one blog, let alone two, and with folks finding blogs and message boards less appealing these days, it makes more sense to give them a one-stop-shop.

Which brings me to my second reason. With more and more of my gaming focus being on the development and promotion of OCCULT DETECTIVE: The Roleplaying Game, having that work showcased here at occultdetective.com is really a no-brainer.


I guess that’s a decent lead-in to what is on my mind today.

I am not a ‘game designer’ by trade. I am a writer, particularly of occult detective fact and fiction. It’s what I do. But I’m also a ‘dungeon master’ and have been since 1978. I’ve played a lot of games, predominately Dungeons & Dragons, but I’ve wrestled with more than a few others.

I’d like to think I have a pretty good handle on what works and what doesn’t and I’ve been putting my years of experience as a gamer into OD:TRPG.

My dilemma is in the presentation. Not visually but the words themselves, and by that I mean, the game’s focus. It makes the most sense to me that this game should reflect my fiction.

An argument can be made to make the game as generic as possible so that it appeals to the widest possible audience, but that seems disingenuous to me.

I have worked hard to ensure my stories compliment one another, that they occur in a common universe. I cannot see how I can treat OCCULT DETECTIVE: The Roleplaying Game any differently.


That doesn’t mean you’ll have to read my novels and short stories to understand the game. Far from it. But you will be introduced to the characters and factions and beasties that populate my fiction within the game itself. My stories and my game will be in complete harmony with each other.

So, my dilemma isn’t really a dilemma at all, but it does present a challenge.

As I said at the start of this, I am not a ‘game designer’ by trade. I hope that by approaching the game mechanics and the rulebook itself from the perspective of a storyteller that it translates not only into a unique game experience, but that the reader will find an entertaining narrative within.


The Impossibilities are Endless

Posted in Media Macabre on October 15, 2016 by Occult Detective


I have been excited for Marvel’s Doctor Strange since the very first hints of it a few years back. I am, without a trace of shame, a huge fan of the failed television pilot. The animated movie left me cold, however.

I hope that this latest Marvel venture manages to hew closest to the comics’ greatest hits.

Let’s be honest, the comic was brilliant on rare occasions and mostly mismanaged by writers who didn’t “get it”.

The idea… the concept… was generally greater than the finished work by far too many of those who had their hands on it.

But I want this to be great and marvelous and wondrous. The impossibilities are endless. I want to believe. I want to be swept off my feet… I want a magical experience.

The latest featurette has given me cause to doubt that it will be what I want it to be. Too much humour. Too many one-liners.

Still, I hold out hope. And today, I’ll spend a little time revisiting some of my favorite Strange comics, notably the Englehart/Brunner run from 1974 and the Claremont/Colan issues that closed out the 70s.

Strange days, indeed…

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