Coming in 2021 — The Invisible College / #40DaysofHallween

Posted in Occult Detective RPG on September 29, 2020 by Occult Detective

Here’s an exciting announcement for you — Bordermen Games and I are beginning work on the latest OSR Roleplaying Game from RPGPundit called The Invisible College, an “Authentic Magick” system that mirrors, in many ways, the Occult Detective RPG we’ve been developing over the past several years.

We will be handling the creative design and publication of the core product, penned by RPGPundit, creator of my favorite OSR game, the medieval authentic RPG, Lion & Dragon.

Based on our agreement with the creator, Bordermen Games will follow up the core rulebook with a number of supplements that will bring our Occult Detective material into the fold, further expanding the Invisible College brand.

But enough about all that, let’s hear from Pundit himself:

Occult Detective Countdown 4/20: Dale Cooper / #40DaysofHalloween

Posted in Occult Detectives on September 28, 2020 by Occult Detective

If I were backed into a corner and compelled to advise someone as to what tv series to watch to satisfy their occult detective itch, I would suggest Twin Peaks with little hesitation.

How to describe Twin Peaks? There is this — An idiosyncratic FBI Agent investigates the murder of a young woman in the even more idiosyncratic town of Twin Peaks.

Of course, Twin Peaks shines brightest when David Lynch is at the helm. The first season is an amazingly compelling narrative and season two, despite disparate voices involved, works if you’re binge watching.

Season three, while a welcome (and brilliant) reprise is Lynch at his most strange, but it works on a guttural level, even if I would have preferred a different route that involved Agent Cooper throughout.

It is Special Agent Dale Cooper who is the heart of the series, ultimately, as the erstwhile occult detective (the Bookhouse Boys serve in this role as well) and I can’t help but think there are more stories to tell within that universe.

Lynch’s occult world building is surreal and dream-like, a perfect milieu for the strange and unusual. It can be difficult to navigate, especially once we’ve entered season three territory, when his cinematic universe collides with the chimeric Northwest of he and Mark Frost’s fertile imaginations.

I was drawn to Twin Peaks by its dark themes and its quirky and unusual storytelling, but in the end, it’s the characters the breathe life into the tale and the wonderfully acted performances by nearly everyone involved.

There are uncomfortable truths to discover in the world Lynch and Frost created and as much as I loved Season Three, a Fourth Season really needs to happen to give us a proper conclusion to Cooper’s journey.

A Note on the Occult Detective Countdown: As I make my way through my list of favorite occult detectives, bear in mind, I am not recording them in any particular order. I thought it would be more fun to release them organically, narratively rather than in a simple “best to worse” format. I’ll let you decide for yourselves their pecking order.

I will be posting to the countdown roughly every other day throughout our 40 Days of Hallowe’en adventure.

Occult Detective Countdown 3/20: William Sebastian / #40DaysofHalloween

Posted in Occult Detectives on September 26, 2020 by Occult Detective


In March, 1977, not long after my 11th birthday, I received a newsletter from Lincoln Enterprises announcing the pilot premiere of Spectre, an occult-themed thriller starring Robert Culp and created by Star Trek’s Gene Roddenberry.

I was instantly obsessed.

Debuting on Saturday, May 21, Spectre aired from 9-11pm to low numbers. It was not picked up by NBC and the pilot was cast into the morass of late night horror movie rotation.

I caught it every now and then,even managed to video tape three-fourths of it so I could watch at my leisure, which I did until the tape wore out sometime in the early 90s.

Spectre admittedly suffered from shoddy production values, and some of the lore is a bit wonky, but I dare say you’d be hard pressed to find a better occult detective film in spirit.


Culp’s William Sebastian is everything you could want from a paranormal investigator. He is a world famous criminologist for starters, but he is also a tortured soul. A confrontation with Asmodeus himself left Sebastian physically and spiritually scarred, forcing him to dedicate his life to occult research and to battling the forces of evil wherever they might arise.

Robert Culp was always a solid actor and his approach toward portraying William Sebastian gave the character both an air of intellectualism and a vulnerability that is hard to pull off.


The pilot had a terrific cast that included Gig Young as Sebastian’s best friend and colleague, Dr. Hamilton, Majel Barret as his housekeeper Lilith, and a young John Hurt as Mitri Cyon.

There are a number of reason’s the pilot failed to find an audience. I suspect most of America was busy watching Starsky & Hutch or All in the Family instead, but ultimately, I don’t think the numbers were bad enough for NBC to pass on Spectre.

I suspect it had more to do with fear.

While Spectre is rather tame by today’s standards, in 1977, the pilot was more than a little titillating, with sexual roleplay on display and a couple of mass orgies filling Middle America’s TV screens.

Spectre had more than a passing resemblance to Eyes Wide Shut at times and that was probably a bit much for network executives.

Whatever the reason, Spectre didn’t make the cut and more’s the pity. If any show deserved revisiting, with modern sensibilities and production values, it’s this one.

Book - Spectre

I tried to contact the Roddenberry Estate regarding the franchise’s availability, but alas, their lawyers ignored my pleas. And so, Spectre remains relegated to a distant memory, late night movie fodder, and youtube viewings.

Even the novelization, which is a cracking good read by Robert Weverka, is long out of print and hard to find.

William Sebastian deserves better. I still hold out hope that one day the Roddenberry Estate will allow new life to be breathed into Spectre, no matter the medium.

A Note on the Occult Detective Countdown: As I make my way through my list of favorite occult detectives, bear in mind, I am not recording them in any particular order. I thought it would be more fun to release them organically, narratively rather than in a simple “best to worse” format. I’ll let you decide for yourselves their pecking order.

I will be posting to the countdown roughly every other day throughout our 40 Days of Hallowe’en adventure.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Amber Petty

Posted in Last Writes with... on September 25, 2020 by Occult Detective


You may know Miss Amber Petty as a presenter, or perhaps from her stint on Australia’s Celebrity Survivor, her turn on SAFM, or as Princess Mary’s best friend and Royal Bridesmaid, but I met Amber through a strange confluence of events regarding a tarot card.

Showing that she has tremendously good taste, Amber came across my High Priestess card illustration for my SKA Tarot Deck from a few years back and she fell in love with it. She reached out across the internet, hoping to license the image for her Tarot Tea House. How could I say no?

The Tarot Tea House is such a brilliant idea. Billed as “a Tea and Tarot/Oracle card reading business that moves from location to location via a magic carpet”, Amber is well suited for being the ringmaster of these events.

Through emails and Skype conversations, I discovered an infectious personality that exudes warmth and compassion. Her forthcoming memoir, This is Not a Love Song, covers her struggles with depression and a series of personal and professional mishaps that ultimately led to a spiritual awakening.

And now, without further ado, alow me to share Amber’s Last Writes —


A seafood banquet, with a Greek salad
and a large bottle of Rekorderlig cider.


The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton


Rocket Man


Harry Chapin’s A Better Place To Be


My dad definitely, but if it were to be someone
I’ve never met, I’d say Mary Queen of Scots.

Occult Detective Countdown 2/20: Duke de Richleau / #40DaysofHalloween

Posted in Occult Detectives on September 24, 2020 by Occult Detective

“The Duke was a slim, delicate-looking man, somewhat above middle height, with slender fragile hands. … His hair was dark and slightly wavy, his forehead broad, his face oval with a rather thin but well moulded mouth, and a pointed chin that showed great determination. His nose was aquiline, his eyes grey, flecked with tiny spots of yellow; at times they could flash with piercing brilliance, and above them a pair of ‘devil’s eyebrows’ tapered up towards his temples.” — Strange Conflict (1941), Dennis Wheatley

I met the Duke in 1976 through Dennis Wheatley’s novel, The Devil Rides Out, which I pilfered from the Converse Public Library, only because the Librarian would not allow me to check it out. They discouraged ten year old boys from reading such literature back in those days. Who knows, perhaps they still do? I did return the book once I had finished it, though years later purchased it in a Library Sale for .25¢

Duke de Richleau appeared in 11 novels, three of which — The Devil Rides Out (1934), Strange Conflict (1941), and Gateway to Hell (1970) — were occult tales. Additionally, the character was masterfully portrayed by Christopher Lee in Hammer Films’ adaptation of The Devil Rides Out, called The Devil’s Bride in America.

I vividly recall the first time watching the film, which I find to be a brilliant adaptation. It was the early days of video rentals and the shop we frequented offered pirated materials and The Devil Rides Out was one of them — a plain black vcr cassette with a crooked sticker and the handwritten title, Devil’s Bride, scrawled in blue ball-point.

It’s a movie I watch every year during the Hallowe’en season, most often on TCM, though I do own a copy. As for the book, I revisit it from time to time. It is a product of the era it was written, but a delightful read, and the Crowley avatar — Damien Mocata — is a great villain.

A Note on the Occult Detective Countdown: As I make my way through my list of favorite occult detectives, bear in mind, I am not recording them in any particular order. I thought it would be more fun to release them organically, narratively rather than in a simple “best to worse” format. I’ll let you decide for yourselves their pecking order.

I will be posting to the countdown roughly every other day throughout our 40 Days of Hallowe’en adventure.

If the Spirit is Willing / #40DaysofHalloween

Posted in Magick, Paranormal on September 23, 2020 by Occult Detective

Michael Hughes posted on twitter, “Weird that I don’t get requests to appear on podcasts anymore.” I was having the same thought. Usually my inbox is inundated at this time of year, setting up interviews and what have you for the Witching Season, but I suppose there are more pressing matters on everyone’s minds, and Samhain is taking a back seat to matters of the material.

More’s the pity. We can have our pumpkin cake and eat it too.

We have become mere shadows of our former selves. The pandemic has shown where we are weakest, both above and below. Cabin fever, or something akin to it, has everyone on the verge of total lawlessness.

What was it Howard said? “Barbarianism is the natural state of mankind. Civilization is unnatural. It is the whim of circumstance. And barbarianism must ultimately triumph.”

But I digress. We are here to celebrate Hallowe’en and all that entails. There are still some of us willing to cast word to spell and see what comes crawling out of the dark. So, if the spirit is willing, let’s turn our gaze inward and conjure up something spooky.

It’s a task to be sure, especially when things are scary enough in the mundane world. But let us set that aside shall we and invoke wards upon our fragile state. What hungers just beyond the gate, behind the veil that separates this world from that? Oh, believe me, the spirits of those other realms are licking their lips at the crackling energies being manifest by our distress.

Tell me, my fellow occult detectives, have you noticed a darker turn in your investigations of late? How about you, conjurers of spirit forms and the gods of our ancestors? How fare these breaches into the otherworldly?

Believe me, I’ve taken note. There are dark, unseen forces on the rise, and they would take us to task, hoping we are distracted by pestilence, unrest, mourning, and death. If you allow these things to take root in your consciousness, then you have no place in a working or investigation.

We have to be as wolves. Keep the pack close. Approach the preternatural with reverence, as always, but with a keen eye on defense.

It is the Witching Season after all, when the veil is thinning. Don’t let your guard down, not for one second. There are sinister forces that smell blood in the proverbial water.

As we begin to reenter the vocations of our magical lives, we must stay focused and stay safe, but we must also be prepared to help others. When the world grows dark, who else is there to shine a light?

This weekend, I plan on shooting some video to share next week, a little stroll through the early days of my paranormal adventures. Tomorrow, I’ll post the second installment of my Occult Detective Countdown, and Friday brings us an all new Last Writes.

Join us as the 40 Days of Hallowe’en continues…

Occult Detective Countdown 1/20: Carl Kolchak

Posted in Occult Detectives on September 22, 2020 by Occult Detective

If I’m going to countdown my 20 favorite Occult Detectives, I’d best start with the guy who started it all for me — Carl Kolchak.

The tv movie, The Night Stalker, aired in January of 1972, two months shy of my sixth birthday. I was enthralled, to say the least, and while I didn’t know it at the time, the adventures of the intrepid reporter sparked a love for the occult detective genre that still has me in its clutches almost 50 years later.

When I started my paranormal investigation group in 1983, it was this to which I looked for inspiration for the group’s moniker.

I owe a lot to Dan Curtis and Richard Matheson, and to Darren McGavin of course. They took Jeff Rice’s unpublished novel and made something truly remarkable, something that improved upon the source, and sparked the imagination of a child living in the rural Midwest, promising that those things that go bump in the night were worth pursuing.

40 Days of Hallowe’en

Posted in Current Events on September 21, 2020 by Occult Detective

Well, it’s finally here — what I like to call Bobtoberfest — that magical mystery tour that makes up the 40 days of the Witching Season. Things are a bit different this year. There’s this little thing called a pandemic going on, not to mention the election cycle, civil unrest, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and… well, you get the idea.

But fear not. We’re not going to let this diminish our ghoulishly good time.

I have walking tours planned through some old haunts — all to be streamed for your viewing pleasure. There are some terrific surprises for Last Writes in store, plus esoteric book reviews, an Occult Detective countdown, lists covering all sorts of macabre subjects, several investigations to be shared, and a whole lot more…

Most importantly, on Mabon, my lovely wife, Kim, and I will be celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary, and in less than three weeks, our son, Connor, will be celebrating his seventeenth birthday.

Not hard to fathom why I love this time of year so much.

With so many plans canceled due to Covid, we’ve had to be a little more creative this year. A lot of our annual events are off our calendars, but, we’ve come up with some inventive ways to keep the spirit alive, and you get to hear all about it, and even participate in some of them, if you’re up for it.

And as always, keep a light on. It’s about to get awfully spooky in here.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Shawn Hebert

Posted in Last Writes with... on September 18, 2020 by Occult Detective


It’s a strange thing to build relationships with people whom one’s never met up close and personal and yet this is the world we’ve manifested for ourselves and I am thankful for it. Otherwise I may never have been blessed to call Shawn Hebert a friend.

Shawn is the proprietor of what I consider the premier source for ritual candles, incense, and oils — Lailokens Awen. Shawn is a genius when it comes to the formulation of spiritual, magical blends through his expertise in aromatherapy and herbalism and I can personally attest to his products, having utilized his Beeswax Sabbat Altar Candles, and the results have been spectacular.

Shawn is quite simply one of my favorite humans. I respect his magical beliefs, his dedication to his craft, his heart and passion, and his gift for spinning occult detective yarns that, I hope, you’ll all be reading in the near future.

It is an honor to share his Last Writes with you…


My last meal would have to be chicken enchildadas with verde sauce, Spanish rice, pico de gallo, and a couple of ice cold Dos Equis.  Not only because that’s my favourite meal, but also because it evokes fond memories of when I lived in Texas, my favourite place I’ve ever lived.


I’m torn between Mist Over Pendle by Robert Neill, and Heartlight by Marion Zimmer Bradley, for two very different reasons.  If I really had to chose, it would be Mist Over Pendle.  I’ve read it probably about 10 times over the years, and can easily read it dozens of more times before I close my eyes for the last time.


The last movie I’d like to watch is Labyrinth.  It’s not my favourite movie, but it was an influence as a child, one of the things in my life that allowed me to dream and wonder, and imagine strange things in other worlds, and I’d like to think that a part of who I am today is because of that.


The last song I’d like to hear is Disturbed’s cover of The Sound of Silence.  Not my favourite song in the world, but sad, dramatic, and appropriate.


The first person I’d like to meet on the other side is the person I was prior to 2008.  I’d like to see if we’re as different as I think we are, or if there is still a little bit of that person tucked away somewhere in my personality.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with…Woelf Dietrich

Posted in Last Writes with... on September 11, 2020 by Occult Detective


I stumbled upon author Woelf Dietrich online through our mutual love of the writings of Robert E. Howard. We followed the same people. Commented on the same threads. Soon, I was an avid reader of his blog, particularly his essays on Writers of Past Renown.

Outspoken. Opinionated. Woelf is cut from the same cloth as most authors I admire. He writes with a kinetic energy, with fiery prose that is passionate and damn near poetic.

His latest work, The Carrion Hunter and Other Tales from a Broken Earth, collects his award winning short stories for the first time all under one roof.


I haven’t had a beef schnitzel with a pepper sausage in over a decade, so it makes sense to have that as last meal. I remember enjoying it greatly with an ice-cold beer.


Bernard Cornwell is releasing War Lord, the final book in the Lost Kingdom saga in September this year. It will be the final chapter of Uhtred of Bebbanburg’s life. Therefore, it is a fitting book to read as last book. Plus it helps that Cornwell is one of my favourite authors.


Gladiator. I love that movie. I have seen it many times. The hero moves on to be with his family in Elysium. And, as I am to head of to the unknown, it appears appropriate. 


This is a difficult one. I don’t now what mood I’ll be in when I die or just before I die, and so much of my musical interests is linked to emotion. To stay in theme with my previous answer and given the nature of these questions, I’d choose Now We Are Free by Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard


I always thought I’d like to meet Ernest Hemingway but I now think it must either be Robert E Howard of David Gemmell. Both these men wrote stories that press every bloody button I have.

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