The Magic of Merlin (Occult Detective, Part III) / #Occult30


Day Twenty-Nine of #Occult30 —
a month long celebration of
True Tales of the Strange & Unusual.

The Magic of Merlin
Occult Detective, Part III


In the small town of Galveston, about 20 miles from my front door, you’ll find the Beckett-Lawrence Museum of Magic and Witchcraft run by the “Official Witch of Indiana”, as certified by then Governor Edgar D. Whitcomb, Lawrence Lawrence, also known as Merlin.

The Museum began in 1937, in a small log cabin, established by Merlin’s great-grandparents, Henry Beckett, a Universalist pastor, and his wife Lydia, who made Druidic amulets, read Tarot, and prepared herbal remedies. It was moved into the family home at a later date and eventually came under the stewardship of Merlin.

The museum, which mostly occupied the home’s detached garage, contained Aleister Crowley ‘s salt and water set, the authentic ritual tools of Gerald Gardner, magical and psychic artifacts from the ancient Aztec, and a plethora of tv and movie memorabilia signed by actors and directors whom had sought out Merlin’s services as a psychic.

He drove an old beat up white van held together seemingly with witch-themed bumper stickers, glued on doll parts, and duct tape.

In the backyard was a miniature Stonehenge where Merlin’s Coven held court, and the house itself was adorned with a crazy assortment of Hallowe’en decorations and antique oddities.

It was a teenagers’ playground, as you can well imagine. My friends and I made frequent drives over, and while I was dubious of many of Merlin’s claims, one of my friends in particular was quite taken with him and his supposed magical prowess.

He purchased from Merlin a beautiful antique perfume bottle filled with a pungent ink black oil that smelled of cinnamon. Merlin told him it was a powerful protection from all evil. He cherished that bottle.

A year later, our friend lost his life in a tragic car accident. He was just seventeen years old. At the wake, his mother passed around a box of his belongings, encouraging us each to take items to remember him by. I took a couple of D&D miniatures he had painted, an Army patch that he had pinned to one of his fatigue jackets, and the perfume bottle.

I placed it in one of my curio boxes and stored it away with my most treasured items.

Fast forward another year later. Summer, 1986. I covered some of this in the previous two entries, as I’m sure you recall.

The concerted attack against me was escalating. It felt like I was being buried under the weight of it. Rumors circulated that I was the ringleader of a nationwide cult, that I had harmed people in ways I care not to repeat. All grossly untrue. Despite a predilection for illicit substances and an interest in the paranormal and occult, I was a good kid. A tad immature and inexperienced perhaps, but I was a kind-hearted soul to a fault.

I was convinced, and still wholeheartedly believe, that dark forces were working against me. I was sitting with friends one evening, discussing my fears and how so far my attempts at shielding myself from what I was confident was a curse were in vain, when something strange happened before all of our eyes.

As I spoke, I felt something drip onto the forehead. I wiped it away. Then another plop fell from the sky. It was black, oily, dripping down my forehead and alongside my nose. I wiped it away again, then a third drop fell. I smelt my fingers and I was met by the scent of cinnamon.

My friends were stunned.

I had no doubt it was the protection from evil oil my friend had purchased from Merlin.

It was falling from the thin air, anointing me.

I dug out the bottle from its hiding place. It was still there as I had left it save for some of the oil was missing…

Soon after, the rumors began to die down. My luck had rebounded. And the house, where we believed the dark coven gathered, burned to the ground and we stopped seeing signs of their activity in and around the Mississinewa.

Later that fall, we went to visit our friend’s grave. It was Hallowe’en night. I dug a hole several feet down and returned that perfume bottle to him, thanking him for what he had done for me.

I had always been intrigued by the figure of Lawrence Lawrence, Magician and Psychic, known as Merlin among the witches of “In Diana”. Yes, I had my doubts, but I visited his museum one last time and I told him my story, thanking him for his part in it.

Merlin had considered himself something of an occult detective as well, claiming to have worked many cases for law enforcement, all centered around the Satanic Panic of late. He told me I had a bright future ahead of me. That there would be darkness, followed by light.

You know what — He was right.

For all the kitschiness of the Beckett-Lawrence Museum of Magic and Witchcraft, there was, in the end, something to it, be it the power of belief or something more, it’s impossible for me to say.

All I know is, when I was anointed by that oil, it materializing from out of the ether as it did, I chose to believe as my friend had.

And the darkness passed…

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