Archive for the Horror Category

An excerpt from Descendant, available October 31

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on October 16, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

How about another excerpt from Descendant, my latest novel set to drop on Hallowe’en?

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W4 Water PageThe final bell resounded, and the crush of students raced out of Converse High School and toward their buses for their journey home. Sarah Jones met up with her best friend Tracy Larson, and they climbed onboard Bus 14 for the ride across town. Sarah was chomping at the proverbial bit.

“Alright, what’d you find out? I heard that Dylan and Shaun and the others were out at the reservoir worshiping the devil on Halloween night. They sold their souls in exchange for unearthly power, but something went horribly wrong, and now they’re being killed off for trying to double cross the Prince of Darkness.”

“Whoa, slow down, and keep it to a whisper,” Tracy said, hushing her. “Really Sarah, you don’t believe any of that nonsense, do you?”

“I don’t know what to believe,” she said, her eyes darting toward the back of the bus to ensure no one was eavesdropping. “Maybe we should talk to Allen Parker. His dad writes about this sort of stuff.”

Earth 9Sarah pulled a book out of her backpack. The title was Strange Happenings in Beacon Lodge and Other True Tales of the Supernatural. Tracy took it from her, examining the lurid cover depicting an ominous building with a skeleton staring down from a third story window. The author was listed as Steven Parker, Paranormal Investigator and Occult Expert.

“We are most certainly not calling on Allen Parker or his dad,” Tracy said, handing the book back to her best friend. “Not yet anyway,” she added, reassuringly. “I’m not ready to believe our classmates are in league with Lucifer.” She laughed at the very idea of it, but something unsettling was gnawing at her gut.

“Fine, then what really happened?”

“I don’t have the foggiest, but I’m putting together the pieces. I’ve learned some things that raise more than a few red flags.  For instance, and this goes no further than us, I overheard Principal Stoner talking to Mrs. Thomas, and it seems that Jill Thompson and Chris Hunter were found dead in the pool this morning. And I’m pretty sure that creepy Gary Shirley was found in the parking lot. It’s all very hush-hush.”

“Oh my god,” Sarah said, looking about again to make sure no one was listening.

“There’s more, but I want to cross some T’s and dot some I’s before I say anything else,” Tracy said, even more hushed than before. “Tonight I’m going to get my sister to run me out to the Mississinewa, so I can have a look around Goose Creek.”

“Goose Creek? Why in the world…”

“It’s where Dylan and his friends had their little Halloween soiree,” Tracy said. “And if I’m right, I’ll get to the bottom of this mystery before night’s end.”

“If you’re not careful, it’ll be you that gets ended.”

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Descendant: A Novel of the Liber Monstrorum will be available in trade paperback and ebook on Samhain, October 31, but you can preorder the kindle version right now via amazon.com.

 

All Hallow’s Read 2019

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror on October 15, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

We’re just 16 days away from the sacred night… As I’ve said in years past, Hallowe’en is all about the masquerade, all of us behind masks, but when the masks come off, the real monsters are revealed. Or so it seems, especially these days…

And yet, 2019’s Hallowe’en season has been as magical as any from seasons past. Perhaps this one seems a tad bit busier, or maybe I’m getting older and it’s all a bit more…well, more everything.

But there is one tradition still to come that takes precedent over all others and that’s All Hallow’s Read.

“I propose that, on Hallowe’en or during the week of Hallowe’en,
we give each other scary books… Who’s with me?” — Neil Gaiman

Conceived of by Neil Gaiman in 2010, All Hallow’s Read really is the perfect way to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve. At the heart of it, Hallowe’en has always been about the stories… be they told around a campfire or read from an overstuffed chair. Poe. Lovecraft. Howard. Machen. Blackwood… and so many more.

It’s become a tradition very important to me and I hope you embrace it too.

Here’s my “Pumpkin King” poster for this year:

AHR2019

93rd & Blackstone? An excerpt from Descendant, for your reading pleasure.

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on October 8, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

As the release of Descendant is fast approaching, just 23 days out, I thought another glimpse inside its pages was due:

frraineyRainey stepped out of the Yellow Cab on the corner of 93rd and Blackstone in front of the dark Victorian that set nestled in a copse of ancient ash and oak. Time had taken its toll on the Star & Garter, but its reputation alone drew the knowledgeably curious, as well as the serious student of the esoteric. The priest knew that if he were to unravel the mystery that was born this night, born upon a bloody Catholic altar, the road to understanding would begin here. He made his way across the uneven walk, climbed the porch stair and knocked upon the faded door.

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” a frail man, bent and twisted, welcomed.

“Love is the law,” Rainey responded, finding the discourse distasteful. “Love under will.” The traditional Thelemic greeting was required to gain entry and each time he was forced to say it, he felt that a little piece of his soul were dragged into Hell.

The attendant took the priest’s hat and coat and hung them within the coatroom, just off the small foyer. The priest waited impatiently for the old retainer, eager to put this night’s dark work behind him. With a wave of a withered hand the old one directed Rainey toward the Drawing Room where the sounds of animated discussion emanated.

The room was filled with a magical blend of exotic aromas. Three men sat in Elizabethan chairs drawn together in a semi-circle about the fireplace. The stream of smoke from their pipes mingling with the cedar logs in the hearth; it was a scene that could have been cut from the eighteenth century. Their period dress was perfect in every detail, as were their accessories. A fourth gentleman, the proprietor of the Star & Garter, stood above the others, a cryptic tome held in his well-manicured hands.

middle pillar“Rubbish,” the largest of the three seated gentlemen bellowed, “there has never been an exact Thelemic equivalent to the Middle Pillar Rite as conducted by the Golden Dawn.”

“Surely you’d agree, Kline,” another responded indignantly, “that the vertical and horizontal enchantments of Reguli seem to be a form of it.”

“Feh,” the large man huffed, “then why is Nuit attributed to Kether in the vertical enchantment? I know, I know “lady of the stars”, etc., but in the Star Ruby, Nuit is used in the North and attributed to Earth. In Reguli, Nuit is again found in the North but attributed to Air, while Kether is traditionally associated with the fifth element of Spirit.”

“That would lead one to believe,” the third man, a bookish twenty-something who had probably not grown his first beard, sat forward and stated, “that the vertical enchantment component is to be conceptualized from a solar perspective.”

Rainey shook his head. “Excuse me, gentlemen,” he interrupted, “but who says that Nuit is equivalent to Earth in the Star Ruby? In the original version of the ritual, as found in The Book of Lies, the direction of North is attributed to Water.”

“Father Rainey,” the proprietor said, turning to greet the priest, “welcome to the Star & Garter. It has been too long.”

“Indeed, Mr. Buckland,” Rainey responded, accepting the hand offered, “it has been far too long.”

“What is this about the original version of the Star Ruby?” Kline demanded.

“Oh, Father Rainey is quite correct,” Buckland replied to the larger man’s query, “Around the same time that Crowley wrote Reguli he edited the Star Ruby. It makes sense that the elemental directions follow the same scheme.”

starruby“It’s interesting to note that in both versions of the Star Ruby,” Rainey added, “the position of the guardians stays the same.”

“But that would mean,” the young scholar mused, “that they are not elemental.”

“Precisely,” the priest quipped, impressed by the young man’s deduction.

“As always, Father Rainey,” Buckland said, placing a hand on the priest’s shoulder, “you are a fount of wisdom. Come… let us talk. These gentlemen can continue their discourse without further interruption by us. We have some catching up to do.”

The youngest of the three men rose and offered a hand to the priest.

“My thanks to you Father,” he said with a soft boyish voice, “it is rare to be in the company of one so well versed in the esoteric. I am in your debt. You have given me much to think about.”

“I am glad that I could shed some light on your discussion, Mister…?”

“J’Adoube… Andre J’Adoube, Father. And it my pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

“The pleasure is mine,” the priest responded. “God be with you.”

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There are a lot of Easter Eggs to unpack in this excerpt, many that will be revealed later in the text, but I thought I should clarify that there is a corner of 93rd and Blackstone in Chicago, but you’re not likely to find the Star & Garter there, any more than Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum is to be addressed at the actual 177A Bleecker Street.

Or is it?

To be honest, when I wrote the address for the Star & Garter I had no idea these two streets existed within the confines of the Windy City. let alone actually converged.

The 93, as reference to Crowley, was obvious enough, while Blackstone was an allusion to one of my favorite Robert E. Howard stories, The Black Stone.

It was only mush later that google maps showed me that such a place existed, albeit in a far different form from that found in my imagination.

93rd and Blackstone

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Descendant: A Novel of the Liber Monstrorum is available in trade paperback and ebook on Hallowe’en, October 31. You can preorder the kindle version now via amazon.com.

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Mississinewa Reservoir Autumn Camping Weekend

Posted in Horror, Liber et Audax on October 6, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

We had a ghoulishly good time meeting up with family for the annual Mississinewa Reservoir Autumn Camping Weekend. Big thanks to my brother and sister in law for inviting us out.

Here’s a quick look:

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Horror Movies A-Z

Posted in Horror, Media Macabre on October 5, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

My friend Kelli Owen started this on twitter so I thought I’d play along. Off the top of my head I’m going to list my favorite horror movies from A-Z. I expect some of these will be pretty rough, especially if I’m not going to cheat. So, here it goes:

A is for Angel Heart

B is for Black Sabbath

C is for Cast a Deadly Spell

D is for The Devil Rides Out

E is for The Exorcist

F is for Friday the 13th

G is for Ghost Story

H is for Halloween

I is for In the Mouth of Madness

J is for Jacob’s Ladder

K is for King Kong

L is for Let Me In

M is for The Mephisto Waltz

N is for The Night Stalker

O is for The Omen

P is for Psycho

Q is for Quartermass and the Pit

R is for Rosemary’s Baby

S is for Spectre

T is for The Thing

U is for The Unnameable

V is for Vampire$

W is for The Wicker Man

X is for The X-Files

Y is for You’re Next

Z is for Zombieland

And just for fun, a film that starts with a number for a title? 1408

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on October 4, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

blogtour2019

In support of my latest novel, Descendant, I will be embarking on a blog tour that will run from November 18-25. There will be feature reviews, interviews, guest posts, and top ten lists, spread out all across the internet.

If you’d like to have me as a guest, click on the following link to sign up:

Bob Freeman’s Descendant Blog Tour

Available in trade paperback and ebook on October 31, Descendant is a supernatural thriller filled with daring action, adventure, and artifice set against the backdrop of a very familiar world – but it is a world in which preternatural entities, clandestine magical orders, ancient bloodlines, and unholy alliances converge within the shadowed recesses of our darkest imaginings.

Federal Agents Selina Wolfe and Martin Crowe are called in to investigate a series of bizarre deaths in a small rural community. What first seems to be a misadventure involving black magic and satanic ritual soon takes on even more deleterious overtones, as the agents become embroiled in a plot by a sinister cabal intent on unleashing Hell on Earth.

My thoughts on Peter Levenda’s Starry Wisdom, the conclusion to his Lovecraft Trilogy

Posted in Horror, Media Macabre, Occult Detectives on October 3, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

When I received a review copy of Starry Wisdom, Peter Levenda’s conclusion to his Lovecraft trilogy, I was more than a little excited. While I loved the ideas in The Lovecraft Code, it fell a little flat for me, but Dunwich showed definite signs of improvement. Being a fan of Levenda’s work, my hope was that his concluding chapter would finally see the author come into his own.

Before I get into my thoughts, here’s what the publisher had to say:

starrywisdomThis third novel in the trilogy that began with The Lovecraft Code and continued with Dunwich concludes the globe-spanning tale of Professor Gregory Angell and his attempt to keep the Necronomicon out of the clutches of a gaggle of secret societies, and his life out of the grasp of terrorists and intelligence agents.

Angell makes his way back to the Americas after trekking across Central Asia and China and sailing the South China Sea to Indonesia. In the meantime, the search for the missing professor and the all-important book consumes Dwight Monroe and his team, while a string of murders in New Orleans baffles Detective Cuneo and brings NYPD Lieutenant Wasserman out of retirement.

At the same time, Jamila, the young Yezidi woman with a strange paranormal ability and a deadly aim, finds herself on a mission in the United States to take out the man who destroyed her village. And a distraught mother whose two sons were abducted by a sinister being is now pregnant with another child and travels around the country looking for answers in gatherings of UFO contactees and the rites of a voodoo priestess where she will have to confront a mind-bending truth.

They all find themselves drawn together at a building in one of America’s iconic cities at a house with a bizarre architecture that is based on a strange but sacred geometry–a geometry that’s designed to call down something from the stars.

Peter-LevendaBased on themes from the works of H. P. Lovecraft, especially “The Haunter of the Dark” where the mysterious Shining Trapezohedron makes its appearance, Starry Wisdom ties together the various strands of occult knowledge, political intrigue, and pop culture that are woven through the first two books.

Hailed by author Christopher Farnsworth (Red, White and Blood, and The President’s Vampire) as a “more intelligent Da Vinci Code” and by Whitley Strieber (Communion, The Wolfen, and The Hunger) as “a riveting work of fiction,” this book will thrill ancient aliens’ fans and Lovecraft aficionados and is supported by the genuine scholarship of occultists, terrorists, military leaders, and intelligence agents.

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First off, this is certainly the superior of the three books. The prose is tighter, the themes more coherent, and there more of a flow to the narrative than in the previous volumes. Levenda shines as a researcher and non-fiction writer of conspiracy and fringe postulations and those skills highlight the best parts of Starry Wisdom (and of the whole trilogy).

I note that the Lovecraft trilogy is less a successor to the Illuminatus! books of Robert Anton Wilson and Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, and more akin to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon novels.

I ultimately enjoyed Levenda more than Brown. There’s nothing ‘cookie cutter’ about the Lovecraft trilogy. It’s a gigantic story in which the entirety of pop cultural para-entertainment is meticulously layered.

That Levenda was able to stick the landing is a feat worthy of the highest praise. Whatever shortcomings one might find in the nuts and bolts of the writing itself, the story is a bold undertaking that almost any writer short of Nick Mamatas would be hard pressed to manage.

But manage Levenda does. He delivers a taut occult thriller worthy of the genre and one I recommend to hardcore enthusiasts.

Of course, the highlight for me came in the afterword penned by “Simon”. The exploration of Thelema as a world religion, its origins and connections to Afro-Caribbean practices, was an interesting rabbit hole, and one I can certainly see as relevant to society in its current and expanding guise.

I have my own Thelemic theories that diverge somewhat from Levenda’s narrative, but I certainly acknowledge the scholarship behind his academic speculation.

In the end, Starry Wisdom brings a startling and satisfying conclusion to the Lovecraft trilogy, and the ideas presented are not only worthy food for thought, but a thrilling exploration of the whole of alternative faiths and sciences.

Starry Wisdom is a beautiful book, as all editions produced by Ibis Press tend to be. It, along with the proceeding shapters, make for a handsome collection of one’s shelf.

Peter Levenda’s Starry Wisdom is available wherever books are sold. For more information, visit Red Wheel/Weiser.

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Shameless Self-Promotion: Descendant: A Novel of the Liber Monstrorum is available in trade paperback and ebook on Samhain, October 31. You can preorder the kindle version now via amazon.com.

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