Welcome to The Occult Detective

Posted in Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal on November 14, 2022 by Occult Detective

Welcome, sleuths. Pull up a chair and pour yourself a drink. We’ve got plenty to talk about…

Last Writes with… Peter Bebergal

Posted in Last Writes with... on March 22, 2023 by Occult Detective

The premise of LAST WRITES is simple. Our guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few parting earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown. What makes these questions appealing and insightful for me is that these are not necessarily our guests favorite things, but those they most want to experience one last time before they shuffle off this mortal coil.



Goodness. I’ve known Peter Bebergal a while now, it seems. He first entered my radar with his 2013 book How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll and I reviewed Strange Frequencies back in 2018. Which doesn’t seem terribly long ago, but hell, somehow it’s 2023 and we’re all just trying to make it to the next sunrise.

Peter helps with that immensely. His books are phenomenal stuff, whether is the aforementioned books on the occult, rock and roll, and the paranormal, or his memoirs, religious discussions, or the glorious Appendix N which dropped during the pandemic. Let’s face it, Peter’s a positive force for good, a lover of comic books and roleplaying games and the pop culture of a certain era that strikes me right in the proverbial feels. And he’s always a good chat.

Which brings his visit with us in the Occult Detective Mortuary to the fore. As he settles in, in anticipation of those inevitable Last Writes to be performed, he has an admonition before the ritual begins…

Disclaimer: These are the things that I would want today if they were my last, with the caveat that tomorrow, or hopefully many many years from now, they might be completely different. — Peter


Fresh baked bread, softened butter. A plate of perfectly al dente spaghetti with meatballs, marinara sauce heavy on the crushed red pepper. A simple salad of bitter greens, oil and vinegar dressing, lots of pepper. Dessert is banana-cream pie, strong black coffee, and a cigar. Might even have that this weekend, come to think of it.


The Book of Job, various translations. If and when I am reading what I know will be my last book, I hope by then I have come to have some modicum of acceptance. More importantly, I don’t want to take my own death personally, and yet I want it to be personal. Let the leviathan swallow me, let the behemoth crush me.  Nevertheless, “He may well slay me, I may have no hope/ Yet I will argue my case before Him.” Wrestling with the divine until the end, but knowing full well I was pinned and tapped out from the start.

(And if allowed, a final poem: “The Windhover” by Gerard Manly Hopkins: “In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing…”)


Despite the disclaimer, it is unlikely this will change. I would want to leave this sad and beautiful world in a state of sheer joy, and so Singin’ In the Rain is always the right choice. There is an ineffable quality to almost every song and dance number, even the most iconic; that of Gene Kelly dancing in a downpour, kicking puddles, using his umbrella as an extension of his body. The friendship between the three leads is a comfort, and even the surreal overwrought dream sequence is as charming as the whole. I would be blessed to close my eyes having these images and sounds echoing with me into the ether.


“Mr. Rabbit” by Burl Ives sums up the entirety of our delightful frail lives in just about one minute, thirty seconds. 


It would be hoot to be greeted by any number of my favorite artists and thinkers; TH White, David Bowie, Ursula Le Guin, Alan Watts, Isaac Bashevis Singer, but I am going to go soft on this one. I would like to come to cosmic consciousness surrounded by my departed loved ones, along the seraphim and the other mighty hosts.

That was terrific. I am lucky to call Peter a friend and really loved his responses to these morbid inquiries. You can track down Peter’s books via Amazon. And be sure to follow him on social media, such as twitter or instagram.

Please remember to tune in next Wednesday as we raise up another departed guest for our soul-shattering season finale. Who is we lift up on our proverbial funeral pyre? None other than one of my favorite Paranormal Adventurers — Heather Taddy. See you then!

Last Writes with… The Ghost Maidens

Posted in Last Writes with... on March 15, 2023 by Occult Detective

The premise of LAST WRITES is simple. Our guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few parting earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown. What makes these questions appealing and insightful for me is that these are not necessarily our guests favorite things, but those they most want to experience one last time before they shuffle off this mortal coil.



How best to describe the Ghost Maidens, Rose and Sybil? They are two campy and wacky e-girls who are hilariously entertaining. Hailing from the Netherlands, I stumbled upon these would be Mistresses of the Dark when they were guests of paranormalist Aaron Sager and thought they were a breath of fresh air. They are all over social media — twitch, twitter, instagram, and the like. Visit their website, theghostmaidens.com (naturally) for all the appropriate links. You can thank me later.

These ladies are no strangers to what awaits them in the hereafter and so we need not tarry as we prepare them for their finale rest… but first, their Last Writes.



Knowing that it will be the last meal I will ever eat, I probably won’t have much of an appetite, so I will have to go for the thing that I am always able to eat, which are salty potato chips. I would want to eat a full bag of potato chips. For this very last time I don’t have to worry about the crumbs so I will just let them land on me or around me without trying to keep it clean––and maybe I never even have kept it clean, ask Sybil.


To be completely honest, I am not going to waste my last moments on Earth reading a book. Why fill the suitcase of my mind with more weight on a journey where I can’t take anything with me? The only books I have truly enjoyed reading are steamy novels full of romantic cliches, but these books are not worth reading twice; they were just to pass the time or feed to some primal longing (I highly recommend Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts). What I would much rather do is write a book, that’s a literary direction I have always been more comfortable with. 


What does it say about me that I would probably choose to watch some contemporary reality dating show? Not only because it would make it easier to leave this world behind, but also because, for me, reality shows and dating shows in particular are the most accurate artifact of the contemporary human state and are a perfect sample of the culture I had been a part of all my life. It would be the most endearing “hate watch” of a lifetime. I would cringe, shed a tear and just like the show I am watching, vanish into oblivion. 


It’ll most likely be a sad country song. Something sad with chords I know how to play on my guitar. Maybe even Townes van Zandt. I will sing along with it and I will try to look for the harmonies and sing the second voice. I haven’t found a thing in this world more soothing than singing and it is very possible that my last words will be in song. 


That one is easy: John Dee. I need him to tell me about his collaboration with Edward Kelly and the angels that came through in the Enochian language during their scrying sessions. Were they scary? Did they become friends? Did he like Edward Kelly or was he just a crazy person he had to work with? How old were these angels? How did they make sense of the messages? Where can I find these angels myself? Were they interdimensional? What was his relationship with Queen Elizabeth? I have often fantasized about writing a play or a movie about the workroom of John Dee and Edward Kelly where they communicated with angels about the order of reality. Maybe I will before I die. If not, after. Then I can write it in Enochian and cast actual angels for the human roles. 



Sybil: I’d probably also have to agree with Rose in not having much an appetite, so for me it’s just gonna have to also be a potato based choice: a very specific lumpy parmesan mashed potato from a place I used to work at many years ago that I used to covet after a work shift, drizzled with a little bit of sriracha. It’s enough to coat my stomach and keep me full and satisfied and not thinking about my uncomfortable mortal prison until the end. 


I take no comfort in books, especially reading under time pressure. If I can’t focus on reading them now, there’d be absolutely no way I’d be able to focus on words on a page knowing my eventual demise is certain and soon. The reason I read is not necessarily out of enjoyment, but out of a thirst for knowledge for the living future and how to think in more interesting ways, but that applies only to life and not to death. I think reading is something you do when you know you have a lot of time to dedicate to the things you learned from it. I’m pretty sure that in my last days I’d be more focused on creating rather than consuming. That’s my eternal need I think. Production until the last possible moment that allows it. The undying will to leave something behind that you made. For most people it’s the legacy of their genetics and children. I think for artists in whatever form; it’s themselves they leave behind. I’d make photographs, paintings, drawings, and writings, or anything I could get a hold of. That would be the thing I would be the most concerned with. 


I’m not sure. I’d either pick something reliably comedic, or I’d opt for something new and popular on Netflix or a Hallmark movie in order to rest assured that mostly everything new and produced for the masses sucks terribly “and they don’t make ’em like they used to” which would actually give me some annoyed peace in which to leave this world. Contrarily, picking something inspiring, artistic and poetic is actually more stressfully stimulating for a person like me, rather than picking something easy and bad which gives comfort and relief. It needs to be something that reminds me life is a big joke and death is the punchline.


A thousand miles from nowhere by Dwight Yoakam. Just a simple love song. Nothing too melancholic. 


I’d meet my dogs. If they are there waiting in the afterlife, then surely it is a good place that has a lot more to offer. 

Huge thanks to Sybil and Rose for joining us in the Occult Detective Mortuary. They are a lot of fun and I recommend you check out their Elvira-esque performances.

Please remember to tune in each Wednesday as we raise up another departed guest on our hypothetical funeral pyre so that they might express their Last Writes. See you next week.

These are a few of my favorite things

Posted in Horror, Magick, Occult Detectives, Paranormal, Tarot, Wyrd on March 14, 2023 by Occult Detective

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting
for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats

Working on a new promotional poster, I’ve peppered it with the strange and unusual — symbols representing the broad strokes of my obsessions — spirits, praeternatural intelligences, ufology, cryptids, magick — all those stranger things that demand my attention here in the haunted hinterlands.

Last Writes with… Marco Visconti (@azrael2393)

Posted in Last Writes with... on March 8, 2023 by Occult Detective

The premise of LAST WRITES is simple. Our guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few parting earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown. What makes these questions appealing and insightful for me is that these are not necessarily our guests favorite things, but those they most want to experience one last time before they shuffle off this mortal coil.



Marco Visconti is one of the most important voices in Thelema today. He and I do not always see eye to eye, but I respect him as a magician and a scholar. I have known him primarily through our interactions on twitter, particularly regarding issues we both had with would-be Thelemite influencers Whiskey Stevens and Georgina Rose. From those conversations, I found Marco to be charming, affable, and knowledgeable. Three of the most desirable traits of any occultists looking to ply their trade in these modern times.

Marco was employed at Treadwell’s for a number of years, is a musician, and is noted for his translations of some of Michael Bertiaux’ more important works from English to Italian. He is also instrumental in the Universal Gnostic Church and manages a very successful “virtual lodge” called Magick Without Tears.

All of this culminated in the writing of The Aleister Crowley Manual, released in 2023 by Watkins Publishing.

The Aleister Crowley Manual is, in my eyes, a terrific introduction to the magick of Thelema. While there are many introductory books on ceremonial magick, Marco has delivered the first book that really cuts through the verbiage and the weighted baggage of centuries of magical study. It does have its problems. While the graphic design is brilliant, there are some unfortunate typographical errors, but these can be overlooked. Harder to overlook is the dated nature of the work. At times it reads more as a current blog entry than a volume that will still be relevant in a decade. This is unfortunate, for in many ways this is the book Aleister Crowley intended to write in 1929 when he released Magick in Theory and Practice — a magical guide for all people. While I champion that work and consider it an enormous influence on me personally, Marco has nearly written the 21st Century equivalent and truly accomplished something extraordinary. I emphasize nearly, because Marco has a hard time not getting out of his own way… and he holds grudges that he just can’t let go of. A sign of the times, I guess, but he has a bit of an internet troll mentality sometimes that comes through in his work. That said, I like him and I cannot recommend The Aleister Crowley Manual highly enough, but with the caveat that a tighter editorial hand could have elevated the work. And that’s why I’m a little harsh on this. Marco wrote a great book that was on the verge of being something a whole lot more.

But enough of this. Let us snuff out the candles. Marco’s studies have led him down many paths, some of light and some of darkness, but now his path has led him to the Occult Detective Mortuary and his Last Writes await.


I would definitely die (ahem!) to eat once again my Grandma’s cannelloni ripieni in besciamella. You can have a glimpse of what they are here: https://buttalapasta.it/ricette/ricetta-cannelloni-di-carne/150138/ But my Grandma’s recipe was something unique. She worked on them for days, making everything from scratch using only the best ingredients. The pasta would be thick and still perfectly cooked. The mince would have a different kinds of meats, eggs, and spices. And the bechamel they would be soaked into would never make them soggy but instead exalt the whole experience. Unfortunately, she died almost 20 years ago, and I could never capture her culinary magick again.


This is a tough one… but if I really have to choose one, I would go for Jorge Luis Borges “L’Aleph”, a book of short stories that flawlessly captures various kinds of mystical stages. My favourite is “The House of Asterion”, but I cannot say why since the narrative hinges on a major reveal at the end.


“La Leggenda del Pianista sull’Oceano”, translated as “The Legend of 1900”. The film adaptation of Alessandro Baricco’s monologue is a surreal story of a divinely inspired pianist who spends his entire life on a ship, cruising from Europe to America and back in the early 1900s. When the ship is finally condemned, he refuses to leave it and instead dies with it, because he cannot bear to experience a world of infinite possibilities. Tim Roth’s best performance.


“Disintegration” by The Cure. I feel this is self-explanatory, isn’t it?


No one, because I do not believe nor have evidence that our incarnated selves exist beyond death. I will see God, who is me, and I will decide which new adventure go for.

Marco made for a terrific guest in our little necromantic fantasy. I cannot thank him enough for taking part and I truly appreciate the work he put into The Aleister Crowley Manual. It’s an important addition into the Thelemic Lexicon.

Please remember to tune in each Wednesday as we raise up another departed guest on our hypothetical funeral pyre so that they might express their Last Writes. Next week we take a lighter look beyond the veil as we invite The Ghost Maidens into our midst. Be sure to tune in for the festivities as my favorite paranormal e-girls are prepared for their eternal slumber.

Last Writes with… @JessicaKnapik

Posted in Last Writes with... on March 1, 2023 by Occult Detective


It’s my birthday. So who did I want to invite into the Occult Detective Mortuary to help celebrate? Toad Mom, of course.

I absolutely adore everything about Jessica Knapik. Whether you know her as the co-host of What’s Up Weirdo? Podcast (with John E. L. Tenney), the witchy cosmetic tattoo goddess behind AstroFrecks, MMA fangirl, undisputed devotee of all things HORROR, paranormal adventurer, or the most awesomest dog mom on the planet, Jessica Knapik is a force to be reckoned with.

Few, if any, podcast hosts are as personable as Jess. She is as real as real gets, and I cannot imagine she would be anything other than the best friend a guy or gal could ever be lucky enough to snag hold of.

Now, as much as I hate to, it’s time to bring Jessica into the Occult Detective Mortuary and prepare her for her Last Writes.


Ok so I’ve read about a lot of infamous serial killers’ last meals, and they all tend to smash a bunch of cuisines together (a lot of them wanting shrimp and fried chicken) so I’m gonna be greedy too. lol So I’d say pizza, salad, garlic bread, hard shell fake meat tacos, chocolate chip ice cream, and the country fried steak from Chicago Diner


I’m going at this with the fantasy understanding that a longer book will keep me alive longer, so I’ll pick The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub


This is tough because I’m a horror freak and my favorite movie ever is Jaws, but I don’t know if that’s the vibe I wanna set as I’m drifting off into forever slumber So I’m gonna be a total cornball and say Titanic


Metallica – Fade To Black


The love of my life, my soulmate dog, Bean

I knew Jess would be a terrific guest but I wasn’t expecting her to make me tear up. Thanks a lot for taking part in this little morbid charade, Jessica Knapik. You’re aces. You can catch up with Jessica via her podcast with John Tenney, What’s Up, Weirdo? wherever you listen to such things. Plus she’s all over social media. Check her out on twitter to get the proverbial ball rolling.

Please remember to tune in each Wednesday as we raise up another departed guest on our hypothetical funeral pyre so that they might express their Last Writes. See you next week when we celebrate the Greater Feast of Marco Visconti.

Last Writes with… Katie Webb (@Gorgon_Katie)

Posted in Last Writes with... on February 22, 2023 by Occult Detective

The premise of LAST WRITES is simple. Our guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few parting earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown. What makes these questions appealing and insightful for me is that these are not necessarily our guests favorite things, but those they most want to experience one last time before they shuffle off this mortal coil.



I became aware of Katie Webb — Divinatrix, Witch, Investigator of the Strange and Unusual — via the wuwpod (What’s Up Weirdo? Podcast for the uninitiated) twitter community. Her monthly horror-themed horoscopes are to die for and I just absolutely adore the energy she brings. Delving into her history, I caught back episodes of Haunted ME where she was the resident Occultist for six seasons and acquainted myself with several interviews in which I learned even more about here magical approach to paranormal investigations. In that we were kindred spirits.

I don’t know how on earth she flew under my radar, but all that’s been rectified now.

Inviting her into the Occult Detective Mortuary was never a question and one of the first people I sought out when planning the new season. So, without further ado, let us welcome her into the impending darkness and prepare her for what is to come, but first, her Last Writes.


NGL, food doesn’t hold this ecstasy type power over me. I don’t think there’s anything I’d HAVE to have before I die. Im one of those types that eats purely to survive, not for fun. Buuuuut for the sake of the game, let’s say someone was FORCING me to choose something to eat before I die even after I told them I don’t want to die with a full stomach cuz, ew lol, and they say I have to choose or they’ll kill me in some boring way no one will even write about I would choose these fried green tomato tacos from El Corazon here in Portland, Maine. They’re dank. I’ll take the side of rice and beans with them, please and all the sauces.


This is tough because I don’t know what new books will be out when I’m dying! I don’t think I want to read a book I’ve read again before I die. Like, how long are they giving me to live here? Do I have time for Clive Barker’s Imajica or should I just blaze through Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins again (because that’s definitely an all time fav of mine)? Maybe I’ll choose Sirens of Titan by Vonnegut before I go and vibe out on whether life has any meaning or not.


Oh easy— Nohelani Cypriano’s Lihue because this song slaps so hard. No other reason honestly lol, ask me again in a month and I’ll have a different answer.


Well it would have to be a horror movie bc that genre gives me the most happiness. I would want it to have creative cinematography, some heavy synths on the soundtrack, and practical effects soooo I say Scott Spiegel’s Intruder (1989). Second place would be Argento’s Susperia (1977).


I meet people on the other side all the time . Buuuuut if I was going to choose someone to kick it with it would be Alice Coltrane. Because I imagine she’s draped in beautifully patterned dresses playing the harp, right? Shes the vibe. I hope Tim Maia is making new music too and I’d sneak in a visit with him as well. Maybe even ask him about the cult he was previously a part of because why not? Cults are fascinating.

I knew Katie was going to be a special guest and I cannot thank her enough for joining us here. Be sure to track Katie down and get a reading from her. She knows her stuff. Her linktree is HERE, so go get Gorgonized.

Please remember to tune in each Wednesday as we raise up another departed guest on our hypothetical funeral pyre so that they might express their Last Writes. Next week is going to be even more special. Not only is it my bloody birthday, but we see one of my favorite people shuffled off — What’s Up Weirdo’s Jessica Knapik. Be sure to tune in for the festivities.

ChatGPT and Me

Posted in Magick, Paranormal on February 17, 2023 by Occult Detective

I set up an account for ChatGPT, out of curiosity. Here are a couple of questions I asked of it, just to give it a test run:

Can you tell me what a ghost is?

A ghost is a supernatural entity that is believed to be the soul or spirit of a deceased person that has not yet moved on to the afterlife. According to various cultural beliefs and legends, ghosts are said to be able to manifest in various forms, such as apparitions, spectral images, or shadows.

The concept of ghosts is prevalent in many cultures and religions around the world. Some people believe that ghosts are spirits of the dead who have unfinished business on Earth, while others believe that they are the product of an overactive imagination or psychological phenomenon.

Many ghost stories and accounts involve unexplained events, such as objects moving on their own, unexplained sounds or voices, and eerie sensations. While there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of ghosts, they remain a popular subject of folklore, horror stories, and paranormal investigations.

Do you believe that disembodied spirits are somehow connected to quantum entanglement?

As an AI language model, I do not have beliefs or opinions, but I can provide information on the subject.

The idea that disembodied spirits may be connected to quantum entanglement is a concept that some people have proposed to explain certain paranormal phenomena. According to this idea, the consciousness or soul of a person may be connected to subatomic particles that are entangled, allowing it to exist beyond the physical body and interact with the physical world in ways that cannot be explained by conventional science.

However, there is currently no scientific evidence to support this idea, and it remains a matter of speculation and belief. While quantum entanglement is a real phenomenon in the field of physics, it is still not fully understood and is not yet known to have any direct connection to the existence or behavior of ghosts or spirits. Many scientists and skeptics are skeptical of the idea that disembodied spirits can be explained by quantum entanglement or any other scientific theory.

Does AI have the potential to have a soul?

As an AI language model, I do not have a soul, consciousness, or emotions. AI is designed to simulate human intelligence and behavior, but it is fundamentally different from biological systems.

The concept of a soul is often associated with religious or spiritual beliefs and refers to a non-physical aspect of a person that is believed to survive after death. The existence and nature of the soul are the subject of much debate and vary across different cultures and traditions.

While AI has advanced significantly in recent years, it has not yet reached a level of complexity or sophistication that would allow it to have a soul, as this concept is beyond the realm of science and technology. AI systems are still based on mathematical algorithms and logic, and they do not possess consciousness or emotions in the way that humans do.

However, the development of AI and related technologies has raised ethical and philosophical questions about the nature of consciousness, intelligence, and the meaning of life. As AI continues to advance, it is likely that these debates will continue and evolve in new ways.

What can you tell me about author and paranormal adventurer Bob Freeman?

Bob Freeman is an author and paranormal adventurer who has written numerous books and articles on the subject of the supernatural. He is best known for his works of fiction, which often incorporate elements of occultism, folklore, and horror.

Freeman’s writing is heavily influenced by his own experiences as a paranormal investigator and practitioner of various magical traditions. He has studied under several prominent occultists and is known for his expertise in areas such as ceremonial magic, shamanism, and witchcraft.

In addition to his work as an author, Freeman is also an active paranormal investigator and has led numerous investigations into haunted locations and other supernatural phenomena. He is the founder of the paranormal research group, Nightstalkers of Indiana, and has appeared on various television shows and podcasts discussing his work.

Some of Freeman’s most well-known works include the occult detective series, The Cairnwood Manor Trilogy, and the occult adventure novel, Keepers of the Dead. He has also written extensively on subjects such as the folklore of the Indiana Dunes, the paranormal aspects of Freemasonry, and the role of magic in contemporary culture.

Freeman’s work has garnered a loyal following among fans of supernatural fiction and paranormal research, and he is considered one of the leading voices in the field today.

Last Writes with… @CaraLHamilton

Posted in Last Writes with... on February 15, 2023 by Occult Detective

The premise of LAST WRITES is simple. Our guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few parting earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown. What makes these questions appealing and insightful for me is that these are not necessarily our guests favorite things, but those they most want to experience one last time before they shuffle off this mortal coil.



I was introduced to Cara via my friend Shawn Hebert who published a terrific interview with her on his LVX Files podcast and I knew this was a person I needed to be friends with. Cara is a “paranormal entertainer” who has performed all over the world, demonstrating acts of mesmerism, mind-reading, spiritualism, and more. She writes for a number of UK publications as an astrologer, psychic, and paranormal consultant… and recently she has published a well received book of poetry, Oil Slick Arcana: Poetic Words for the Damned.

As we draw Cara Hamilton into the Occult Detective Mortuary, she enters with the confidence of one who has spent much time with the deceased and navigated the waters of the other side. With eagerness, we help to preform her Last Writes…


There are several cuisines I adore. Good food matters to me more than convenience. Italian, Persian and Russian dishes have a special place in my heart and I regularly make them at home and eat them at restaurants. However my favourites are French and Cajun. There is a dish I make at least once a week. I like food to be warming, tasty and invoke pleasant memories. The recollection of Ethan Krusemark offering it to Harry Angel in the Alan Parker movie “Angel Heart” before being drowned in the boiling soup, makes Gumbo the perfect sustenance for my sailing into Hades, if savoured with a quality claret of course.


In my bag, which is a black leather school satchel, due to its cavernous depth, I often carry two books. Both I am obsessional about. One of my stage presentations is “The Nightmare of Dr Jekyll” which is the Occult heritage behind Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic. I find reading Stevenson’s work it a real scalpel to the psychology of the monsters we all carry within us. The other is the poetry collection Les Fleurs du Mal by the most beautifully decadent Parisian Charles Baudelaire. I adore the ephemeral adoration of the artistic French cityscape. Most will think Les Litanies de Satan when they think of it, as it still holds shock value today but even that piece actually requires delicacy and longing in the reading. I have a few editions of the book; but a few years ago I obtained my favourite, and it is dear to me, by German esoterica publisher Black Letter Press. However in 1885 when RLS penned The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde after a particularly vivid fever dream, his family and friends wished it had not been written. They carefully curated his image which even today leaves his reputation disgustingly sickly sweet. In truth his heart was deeply dark and as his masterpiece was most likely the inspiration for Jack the Ripper a fact explored in my presentation, of course this piece of literary starshine is my choice.


There are a few movies I watch regularly and class highly and as such this one is very difficult. My taste is in general is Hammer, Amicus and Jean Rollin vampire and horror with a few exceptions such as Angel Heart and Only lovers left alive. Whilst I adore perhaps a dozen movies I will tentatively select The Ninth Gate. This movie is essentially a New York book dealer’s romp across Europe searching for The Ninth Gate of the Kingdom of Shadows, a work co-written by Lucifer. The movie is the most beautiful escapism. Besides I simply adore the style of Devil-Worshiper in chief Lena Olin.


I cannot say my choice would be a song. Whilst I completely love some the work of Peter Heppner, Led Zeppelin, Ute Lemper and some early Christian Death I would not choose a song, but rather a piece of music. At home in my reading room (which is entirely filled with Victorian and Edwardian furniture, paintings and artefacts) I often listen to music on my 1923 gramophone. The single piece of music that brings me peace by candlelight is Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, a symphonic poem for Orchestra by Claude Debussy.


It has to be Moina Mathers from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The famous Occultist Dion Fortune was most unkind about her and that alone predisposes me to approve of Moina. When you read Occult History it is full of Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, Aleister Crowley, and W.B Yeats (whose work I adore) and Moina is seen as a minor player. In fact she was the Order’s prominent clairvoyant and what she saw was developed into the rituals, her art added much to the ritual setting and tools and without her there would have been no Golden Dawn. It was such a vibrant time of Celtic Twilight and Ritual Magic vogue, there must be many stories unwritten. Meeting her, it would be most pleasant to have the otherworld version of a cup of tea and let the conversation simply develop.

Cara Hamilton delivered a spectacular array of responses. I cannot thank her enough for sharing with us. Be sure to visit her online at carahamilton.co.uk and follow her on her various social media manifestations. I also highly recommend Oil Slick Arcana.

Please remember to tune in each Wednesday as we raise up another departed guest on our hypothetical funeral pyre so that they might express their Last Writes. See you next week as we bid farewell to Tarot Reader and Paranormal Adventurer Katie Webb.

Last Writes with… the co-hosts of Vayse Podcast (@VayseesyaV)

Posted in Last Writes with... on February 8, 2023 by Occult Detective

The premise of LAST WRITES is simple. Our guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few parting earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown. What makes these questions appealing and insightful for me is that these are not necessarily our guests favorite things, but those they most want to experience one last time before they shuffle off this mortal coil.



Buckley and Hine are co-hosts of one of my favorite podcasts — Vayse. For those interested in the strange and unusual, as I certainly am (and suspect you are as well or else you wouldn’t be here), Vayse approaches high strangeness, magic, and mysticism head on and without pretense. The call themselves novices and “enthusiastic rookies” as they venture into these depths of the preternatural, but they are brilliant interviewers and their keen insights and interests make the journey one worth taking.

Peter C. Hine’s fascinations with magic are infectious and Stephen J. Buckley is reserved and thoughtful, with his music setting the tone for the adventures these men have set out on… bringing us along with them.

But now their greatest journey is before them and their Last Writes are prepared, so let us bid them a metaphorical fond farewell.



My partner Helen is a fantastic cook, and makes this recipe with plant-based mince, peanut butter, brocolli, and udon noodles. It’s spicy, nutty, and full of umami flavour. I think about it all the time. A massive big bowl of that would be perfect to send me on my way.


This is very tricky, but I think I’m going to pick a recent favourite, which is Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. I’ve only read it once but it really got under my skin. I don’t want to explain too much about why because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t yet read it (and you absolutely should). It will probably be a different experience the second time around, but if I could somehow capture that weird feeling it gave me the first time I read it, and take that with me as something to savour, then that would be it.


Since I went with a recent choice for the book, I’m going with an old classic here and picking my favourite film of all time, which is Labyrinth. It’s got it all – strange creatures, alternate dimensions, David Bowie, Muppets… all the boxes ticked. I’ve probably watched it more than any other film – even This Is Spinal Tap, which I’ve watched a LOT. I was obsessed with it as a kid. I used to try to force myself to visit the Labyrinth in my dreams. Something about that place and all it’s strange logic, mystery, and weirdness –  it really appealed to me, and probably had a formative influence on what I enjoy in fantasy works to this day. If I was a millionaire I’d recreate it and live at the center of it. But I’m not. So I’ll just have to make do with watching it before I die and hopefully it will have some influence on where I reside in the afterlife.


Another tough question. Music has been a huge part of my life for the last 30 years, and I’ve picked up a lot of favourite songs along the way. I guess for this I’d want something transcendent and beautiful to guide me into a higher plane, so I’m going to go with Galaxy In Satchidananda by Alice Coltrane. I mean, it’s not technically a “song” because there’s no singing in it, but I’m going to argue that that harp really sings, which makes up for it. I challenge anyone to listen to this with their eyes closed and not feel changed in some way. Beautiful.


Freddie Mercury. He was a big influence on how my life turned out because he was the person who made me want to become a musician, and I too have a mustache. He was also by all accounts a very nice, kind man. So I’d meet up with him, and once I’d got over telling him how great he was, we could make some music together. Normally I’d be intimidated by someone of his God-like status, but I’d hope that having experienced death that I’d be beyond fear and able to just hang out with Freddie without any anxiety.



There’s only one answer I can give to this: Smoky Sesame and Broccoli Noodles.

It’s from a recipe that (Vayse co-host) Buckley shared with me last November and I’ve been making it at least four times a week since, much to the aggravation of my family, who, for some weird reason, value a varied and balanced diet over appeasing my insatiable hunger for this wonderful stuff. It sounds simple, but I just can’t get enough of it. There’s loads of umami in there: tahini and soy sauce – it’s relatively healthy: broccoli and spring onions for vitamins, tofu for protein, chili for fun – it’s the perfect meal.

I’d also demand to prepare it myself too. Ever since I started cooking it I’ve been slowly and incrementally refining the process. Each time I make it I try to make it slightly better than the last time. I’m not much of a chef and I have an extremely limited repertoire, but this is what it must be like to have a specialty. It’s actually one of the reasons I’m sad that death has come to claim me at this particular point in my life – I mean, if I can continue to improve on this recipe each time I make it, who knows where this could lead? What kind of achievements could I unlock? Maybe the perfection of this simple meal was my true purpose in life, my shot at achieving Nirvana – and if that’s true, then it’s essential that I have one last attempt at making it. My very liberation from attachment and worldly suffering could depend on it.Delicious.


I guess the first stage to answering this question is: do I re-read something that I’ve already read, whichI usually find to be a waste of time, or do I try something new, taking the gamble that it could be awful and I go to my grave without satisfaction, cursing my own misplaced curiosity? This is the only one of these questions that poses that conundrum – there’s no way my last meal would be something I hadn’t tasted before; I wouldn’t watch a movie I’d never seen before or listen to a song I’d never heard before when facing certain death. But reading’s different isn’t it?

The book I’ve read most often is A Scanner Darkly by Philip K Dick, but I know it so well now that reading it again seems like throwing away an opportunity. In life I’ve been trying to be a bit more adventurous, to move out of my comfort zone more often and there’s no reason that I shouldn’t also embrace this approach in death.

Then, assuming that I’m going to try something new, the next question is: do I go for fact or fiction? Do I go for one of the “must-read-before-you-die” type novels? Something like Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon or Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I haven’t read either so whichever one I choose, I’m still meeting my end embarrassed to have not read the other.

But if I choose a factual book, I risk reading something dry about a world that I’m shortly leaving. Unless I try to make good with one of the world’s major religions, perhaps by reading the Bible, or the Qur’an,maybe one of the four Vedas – but that in itself is a gamble, there’s a lot to choose from and I’ve never put much stock in any single one of them being 100% correct. This soul may well be beyond saving anyway.

So, that just leaves comic books, obviously. I trust you to back me on this Bob, comic books are definitely real books, no-one could read the Watchmen or Transmetropolitan or Preacher and not think that. I recently started reading the Invisibles by Grant Morrison – having not read the Invisibles is one embarrassment that I’m not prepared to carry with me to the next life – so my choice would be the omnibus edition of the Invisibles. It’s really incredible so far, I can’t believe I never read it until now.It has the indie cred of Infinite Jest but the ontological weight of the Bible (don’t bother fighting me on this I’ll be dead soon anyway). I like to think that by the time I finish it I’ll have a new (perhaps even more cynical) perspective on life and death. Plus, it looks beautiful, I could spend eternity just staring at some of Brian Bolland’s cover art.

And it’s long – really long – and I’m not a particularly fast reader, so that may buy me a few extra days to make peace (or to wage war – I’ll be guided by Mr. Morrison on that).


Ghostbusters is my knee-jerk reaction to this question, the no-thought lizard-brain answer, because it’s objectively the best movie ever made.But giving this a moment’s thought, Ghostbusters might not be the best movie for this situation – perhaps I need something a little more sympathetic to the plight of the recently deceased. Ghostbusters is totally black and white in its view that the unquiet dead are something to be battled, captured and incarcerated. That might be a little hard to stomach when facing my own mortality.

The temptation is to watch something profound, a movie that can really tell me something about the cycle of life and death, the nature of existence and what it really means to be human – maybe The Fountain or Inception or Bladerunner. But that’s all bit heavy really isn’t it? There’s always the laugh-out-loud movies, like This Is Spinal Tap, Monty Python and the Holy Grail or The Big Lebowski, but going straight for the laughs just seems a little hollow at this late stage in my life.

All things considered, the winner has to be Beetlejuice – it’s a comfort watch, it’s funny, it’s weird and the performances are all great.It dates back to a time when the release of a Tim Burton movie meant something, before the endless re-makes and diminished returns. Nothing looked like Beetlejuice when it was released, and nothing really looks like it now – often imitated never bettered.

And the music! One of Danny Elfman’sfinest scores, early enough in his career that you can still hear the Oingo Boingo clinging to every crazy kinetic phrase but by this point he’s self-assured enough to go way out there and have fun with it.The result is a psychedelic Danse Macabre, absolutely mesmerising to listen to and more than a little responsible for the unique atmosphere of the film. And the use of the Harry Belafonte songs feels original and funny even on the hundredth watch.

But I think that the real reason I’d chose this movie over any other as my last watch is that it’s genuinely sympathetic to the plight of the recently deceased, not only that but, ultimately, it’s also optimistic about death and what waits on the other side, however strange and unusual that might turn out to be. Which is just the reassurance I need as I take the leap into the great unknown.


This feels like the hardest of these questions, certainly the one that troubled me the most, but the answer was always going to be “All Along the Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix. I say “by Jimi Hendrix” because he honest to gods made that song his own. There’s no doubt some strands of DNA from Dylan’s original are still knocking about in there somewhere,but the Hendrix version is a much more evolved beast.

Guitars shouldn’t sound like that. Music shouldn’t sound like that. This song feels more like a magical ritual than a piece of music.Hendrix often seemed to be drawing on something mystical, shamanic.It’s easy to see that he’s channeling something when you watch videos of him playing live but, for me, this is the closest that he gets on record.

From the first bar, like a knock at the door before it’s kicked down, to the last,carried away on a maelstrom of swirling vocals and frantic lead guitar, this tune has always reminded me of crossing over to the other side – or at least going on some kind of transcendental journey (see also the finale to season 3 of Battlestar Galactica). It’s so urgent and propulsive and he packs so much into just four minutes – all those crazy solos! And it’s one of his finest vocal performances too, I’ve often heard people say that Hendrix wasn’t a great singer – but his voice on this track is undeniable.

At this late hour, I don’t want to be listening to anything too melancholic, nothing that will make me contemplate my mistakes or regrets, I just want something that makes me feel really fucking cool. If I can cross the River Styx with All Along the Watchtower playing in my head then I’ve died a happy man.


This is a kid-in-a-candy-shop kind of question – the choice to meet anyone who’s gone before me?! That’s a lot of really great people to choose from. I’m going to have to hope that dying cures social awkwardness.

The one that first springs to mind would be Philip K Dick, I’d love to pick that massive, magnificent, frazzled brain -“So Phil, VALIS – what’s that all about?” I actually like to think he found some peace on the other side and so I probably shouldn’t be bothering him with my fanboy nonsense.

There are too many possibilities to run through here: do I talk politics with Bill Hicks? Get a guitar lesson from Hendrix? Ask Mark Lanegan to read me some JG Ballard? Ask JG Ballard to read me some JG Ballard?! But they say that you should never meet your heroes, and in life I’ve found that to be true, so I see no reason why it shouldn’t be true in death.

The truth is that I’ve cheated a bit on this answer (you’ve got to let me have one!) because I know that Buckley has also answered these questions and shuffled loose this mortal coil too. If I can find Buckley on the other side then we’re quorate for Vayse and there’s podcasts to be made, plentiful ultra-terrestrials to be interviewed and a whole new dimension full of weird stuff to be explored – and I’m guessing that I finally have a good enough excuse to not be in work on Monday morning!

Well, that was something else. Great responses, as I fully expected, from these chaps. If you’ve not yet had the pleasure, you need to make Vayse an important part of your podcast routine. And, while you’re at it, Stephen James Buckley’s music is well worth your time. I became an instant fan. You can check him out on his Polypores bandcamp page.

Soon, I’ll be a gust of Vayse, speaking through the magic of the internet across the great Atlantic pond that separates us. Hopefully they’ll take pity on me.

Please remember to tune in each Wednesday as we raise up another departed guest on our hypothetical funeral pyre so that they might express their Last Writes. See you next week.

Saturday Special LAST WRITES with… author @Paul_Leone

Posted in Last Writes with... on February 4, 2023 by Occult Detective

The premise of LAST WRITES is simple. Our guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few parting earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown. What makes these questions appealing and insightful for me is that these are not necessarily our guests favorite things, but those they most want to experience one last time before they shuffle off this mortal coil.


Welcome to a special Saturday edition of Last Writes as we bid farewell, metaphorically, to speculative fiction author Paul Leone.

I met Paul online, through twitter and patreon, and though a prolific author I had not read any of his work. When he asked for someone to look over a story he was working on, I offered my services. That tale, Demons of the Desert, which took place in Roman occupied Judea in 62 AD, blew me away. It had a very occult detective feel to it and was populated with terrific characters and diabolical entities. It barked right up my proverbial tree and I have been a fan ever since.

If you have a proclivity for urban fantasy and fantastical historical fiction, Paul Leone is your man.You can track him down in the usual places, such as twitter or facebook, or better still, take a gander at his website: http://paul-leone.com

So come, let us lay Paul Leone down for his eternal slumber, but not before we perform his Last Writes:


This one is easy for me – pizza and wings from my local delivery place. Western New York might not be up there with New York or New Haven as far as pizza goes, but we still have some nice spots. And nobody beats WNY chicken wings. I’ve been ordering from the same place since I was in high school, so I’ll go out with their food in my belly.


I’ll go with a predictable and perhaps boring answer as far as authors go – J.R.R. Tolkien. But it’s a bit of a deeper cut, in my defense – the posthumously published The Children of Húrin. It’s a lot darker and more ‘adult’ than The Lord of the Rings, and fleshes out one of the most tragic stories from The Silmarillion into a complete, engaging and thoughtful novel.


Fantasy Mission Force. It’s an obscure early Jackie Chan movie and absolutely insane from start to finish. The ‘plot’ involves WW2 Japan kidnapping a group of Allied generals (such as Abraham Lincoln) and a rag-tag group of heroes recruited to rescue them. The whole thing is ridiculous, but it becomes sublimely strange in the finale. Even after you see it, you won’t believe it.


One I’ve recently discovered, thanks to the cover by Karliene, Roxane Genot and Jan Pouska – the folk song “The House Carpenter.” It’s tells a fantastic (and chilling) story, and hopefully I end up in the fair and high hills instead of the dark and low ones.


My grandfather, who died from Parkinson’s when I was a child, and I never really got to know before he started to succumb to that cruel disease.

It was more than a pleasure to have Paul join us here in the Occult Detective Mortuary. Be sure to visit his author page on AMAZON where you are sure to find something to satiate your desire for a tale well told.

And please remember to tune in this coming Wednesday as we raise up another departed guest on our hypothetical funeral pyre so that they might express their Last Writes. See you then.

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