Archive for the Magick by Trial & Error Category


Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on December 9, 2019 by Occult Detective

“Barbarianism is the natural state of mankind.
Civilization is unnatural. It is the whim of circumstance.
And barbarianism must ultimately triumph”
― Robert E. Howard

DisembobiedI’ve been thinking a lot about ‘civilization’ lately, the pros and cons of society writ large. I have, for the vast majority of my more than fifty years on this rock, lived in the country, or at the very least, country adjacent.

I am no fan of cities. and if I’m being perfectly honest, I can barely tolerate small towns. I am, however, a very social person. I like people. I like intellectual discourse. I enjoy the camaraderie of friends and colleagues. I thrive on the social interactions found in games and sport and ritual.

The thing is, a society breaks down the minute the collective grows too large, when it grows beyond the hunter/gather social construct. We grow and prosper best when we are sheltered in a tribal modality, when the collective is small and sustainable.

We can come together with our neighbors, to feast and celebrate, to test our physical and intellectual mettle, to share ideas, but in the end, we must return to our tribal roots.

That’s where the real magic flourishes, in the tight knit communities, tied by blood and ancestry. Never do I feel more at ease than when I am out in the wilderness, breathing the country air, deep in a secluded wood. That is when I feel connected to the earth, when I feel the magic coursing beneath my feet and up into my body.

No, these cities, with their corrupt and twisted towers, their wasteland of concrete and steel, are not meant for us. And all the voices I hear cry out on social media, why, they’re all city-folk, wanting their cake to devour and choke on. They are a part of the machine, and it’s a machine I am growing more than weary of.

Everyone speaks of tribalism as if it’s a dirty word, especially in magic circles. It pains me to see them so proven wrong. They can’t see the forest for all the trees.

“The more I see of what you call civilization,
the more highly I think of what you call savagery!”
― Robert E. Howard



Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on December 6, 2019 by Occult Detective


I read a post today by John Beckett over on Patheos. It was titled “An Authentic Foundation for Modern Paganism”, which you can read for yourself here.

I don’t necessarily disagree with anything Mr. Beckett said, but as a storyteller, I must admit, I enjoy a good yarn, especially when its connected to magic.

Does it truly matter whether or not Gerald Gardner was initiated by Old Dorothy Clutterbuck, or Alex Sanders by Mary Bibby? Would we better off knowing the truth of the events in Cairo during Crowley’s reception of the Book of the Law? What of various proclamations regarding Secret Chiefs or divine visitations? For the Christians in the room, what of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus?

The Eddas and Sagas are filled with livid boasts, proclaiming larger than life exploits, all intent on building a vibrant mythology that passes from tongue to tongue, becoming a part of the very fabric that makes up the celestial tapestry of our mundane human existence.

I’m not calling for lies to be the order of the day. We get enough of that from the news media and politicians (and their social media cohorts and sycophants). But don’t be so quick to snuff out the magic. A poetic origin story or fanciful recounting of a ritual might be stretching things a bit, but when one paints a picture, do we favor dull and neutral, or do we look to the bold and vivacious?

Let magic breathe a little. By the gods, let magic be magic.

My thoughts on Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (New and Expanded Edition)

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on December 5, 2019 by Occult Detective

ualevendaIn June of 1979, Peter Levenda flew to Chile―then under martial law―to investigate claims that a mysterious colony and torture center in the Andes Mountains held a key to the relationship between Nazi ideology and its post-war survival on the one hand, and occult ideas and practices on the other. He was detained there briefly and released with a warning: “You are not welcome in this country.” The people who warned him were not Chileans but Germans, not government officials but agents of the assassination network Operation Condor. They were also Nazis, providing a sanctuary for men like Josef Mengele, Hans-Ulrich Rudel, and Otto Skorzeny. In other words: ODESSA.

Published in 1995, Unholy Alliance was the first book in English on the subject of Nazi occultism to be based on the captured Nazi archives themselves, as well as on the author’s personal investigations and interviews, often conducted under dangerous conditions. The book attracted the attention of historians and journalists the world over and has been translated into six languages. A later edition boasts the famous foreword by Norman Mailer.

How did occultism come to play such an important role in the development of Nazi political ideology? What influence did such German and Austrian occult leaders as Lanz von Liebenfels and Guido von List have over the fledgling Nazi party? What was the Thule Gesellschaft, and who was its creator, Baron von Sebottendorf? Did the Nazi high command really believe in occultism? In astrology? In magic and reincarnation?

This is a new and expanded edition of the original text, with much additional information on the rise of extremist groups in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the United States and the esoteric beliefs that are at their foundations. It is the first book in a trilogy that includes Ratline and The Hitler Legacy. This is where it all began.


I remember picking this book up in the mid-90s shortly after it was released. I was working at Waldenbooks at the time, seasonal help at Christmas. I’d been tasked with opening boxes in the back storeroom and as soon as I laid eyes on the Avon cover it went straight to the stock shelves where employees kept the stack of things they wanted to buy with their company discount. I took it home with me after my shift and read it straight through the night.

So, here we are, nearly twenty five years later, and I’ve just read the “New and Expanded Edition”. Firstly, Ibis Press continues to impress with their production and design skills. They put together beautiful books and Unholy Alliance is no exception.

As for the book itself, I’m not sure any of the added material is overly warranted, but it doesn’t detract from the original text. It is still a fascinating deep-dive into occult conspiracies and the Reich’s maddening obsessions.

I’ve always been rather fond of Levenda’s writing. For one, he’s a smart guy and one helluva researcher, and it often seems like there’s so much information bouncing around inside his head he has a hard time staying focused. It reminds me of nearly every occult study group I’ve belonged to. There’s always that one guy, too smart for his own good, talking a mile a minute, trying to get all of his thoughts out there.

You’re also never really sure when he’s pulling your leg a bit.

I used to recommend Unholy Alliance unconditionally and I am more than happy to do so again. It’s a subject entirely engrossing and Levenda leaves no stone unturned. I’ve read his complete trilogy now and they are all compelling reads that I endorse fully.

Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (New and Expanded Edition) by Peter Levenda is available wherever books are sold. Here’s the link to the evil empire wherein it can be purchased with grace and ease, and possibly delivered from the sky by drones.

Bob Freeman’s “Descendant Blog Tour” Schedule

Posted in Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , on November 14, 2019 by Occult Detective


On Monday, November 18, I’ll be a guest of Dark Bites where I’ll be discussing the “scariest investigations” I’ve been involved in during my more than thirty-five years as a paranormal investigator.

I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the benefits of studying ancient myth on Tuesday, November 19 when I stop by Armed with a Book.

For Sheila’s Guests & Review, I’ll be discussing my writing process. Watch for it on Wednesday, November 20.

Thursday, November 21 will find me over at Jazzy Book reviews where I’ll share which movie or tv universe I’d like to find myself in.

On Friday, November 22, I’ll be interviewed for The Book Junkie Reads.

I’ve been offered an open forum on Saturday, November 23 at Sapphyria’s Books. Seeing as how it will be the 130th Anniversary of the first commercial jukebox (11/23/1889 at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco) I thought I might blog about music and its connection to my writing (and paranormal adventuring).

Seventh Star Press has asked me to discuss how much reality I allowed to seep into my writing (Descendant, in particular). Look for it on Sunday, November 24.

The Descendant Blog Tour comes to a close on Monday, November 25 with a visit to I Smell Sheep. Now that’s a blog any true Scotsman can get behind, if you know what I mean. They’ve asked me to list my Top 10 Paranormal Investigations. I’ll do so, but maybe with a twist…

In addition, there will be a number of reviewers posting their thoughts on Descendant throughout the week. I’ll post links to those reviews, and to each of tour stops as they become available.


Who’s afraid of the dark?

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on November 5, 2019 by Occult Detective


When I’m out traipsing through dark cemeteries in the black of the night, I won’t be caught dead without a Bordermen Games Apparel Tee for protection.

Check out their products on Amazon.

“…there do I see the line of my people…”

Posted in Liber et Audax, Magick by Trial & Error on October 29, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

Dangerously close to Hallowe’en and Seventh Star’s release of the audiobook of First Born and trade paperback of Descendant. Thursday’s going to be something else…

I plan to spend the day promoting the releases, then, in the quiet of the evening, as the season’s first flurries fall, spending some time in the small woodland shack my son and I built.

Behind the commercial trappings, Hallowe’en is first and foremost a time to honor those we have lost, who crossed over from this world to the next. Once of the curses of growing older is the lengthening list of loved ones who are no longer with us.

Since 2003 we have said goodbye to Kim’s mother, father, and grandmother; my father and grandfather, my friends Brent and John. My friends and colleagues are losing their parents and significant others. Respected peers are falling to the scythe. I have attended more funerals in the past 16 years than in the previous 37 years combined.

This is the part of growing older that is hardest to bear.

As a man of faith, I know that death is not the end for us. As a paranormal investigator, I have communed with spirits that have not crossed over. I know that the part of us that matters — our souls — are eternal.

In Risala, Ibn Fadlan recounted the following prayer, which was reproduced faithfully in the film, the 13th Warrior:

Lo there do I see my father; Lo there do I see my mother, my sisters and my brothers; Lo there do I see the line of my people, back to the beginning. Lo, they do call me, they bid me take my place among them, in the halls of Valhalla, where the brave may live forever.

Our ancestors are all there on the other side of the veil, waiting for us to join them in the hereafter. At Hallowe’en, we relish in the horror of death, in cheap scares, and spooky stories, and believe me, I am a fan of all of the trappings of the holiday, but there is always a place of reverence for our family, friends, and heroes that no longer share this physical plane…

So, remember to take a moment to acknowledge those who await us. Raise a toast in their honor. They are as close to us now, in this witching season, as they can possibly be, until we join them on the other side…

My thoughts on The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might by Courtney Weber

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on October 21, 2019 by Occult Detective

31 day blog challenge

weberIn what is Courtney Weber’s best book to date, we are taken on a fascinating journey into the realm of the Mare Queen, the Morrigan.

Celtic Mythology is a tangled web, and no holy power more so than she who is sometimes called the Phantom Queen. Oft misunderstood, and the subject of much debate among scholars, linguists, and esotericists, the Morrigan is largely a mystery.

Was she a single goddess, or three sisters? The Morrigan is the foreteller of death, who watches over the battlefield with foresight, often inciting bloodlust in warriors and aiding them in victory. The Morrigan encourages bravery, preys on the fears of her champions’ enemies, and is said to wash the bloodstained clothes of those whose death is fated.

The Morrigan bears many names and wears as many faces. She is a harbinger of death and a protector of life.

In Weber’s latest work, The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might, the author mirrors the complexities of the Goddess by delivering a book difficult to pin down. It is equal parts academic and practical, as Weber combines historical research with her personal gnosis and the application of both research and discovery into practice.

I found the book to be thought-provoking and insightful. Weber weaves gracefully between foundational research and speculative conflation to produce a work that is alternatively prose, poetry, and pedantic.


There is depth to the narrative within these pages that will inspire you to greater study and to seek a personal connection with the goddess herself in all her many guises.

Weber brings them all to life, drawing the reader along and making them a part of the journey.

This is a book perfect for beginners, but there are plenty of insights for those of us longer of tooth.

The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might by Courtney Weber is highly recommended and available wherever books are sold. And at just over $12 on Amazon, an absolute steal.


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