Archive for the Occult Detectives Category

Author Brian Keene could use a little help from his friends

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives on June 6, 2018 by Occult Detective

brianBrian Keene needs your help. An accident has left him with first, second, and third degree burns on his face and arm and, being a popular mid-list author, unfortunately, does come with the perk of health insurance. To take some of the sting out of mounting medical bills, author Stephen Kozeniewski has set up a gofundme to benefit Brian in his time of need.

On June 5, 2018, author, podcaster, philanthropist, and father Brian Keene was badly burned in an accident. At this time he is conscious and in good spirits but has first degree burns on his face and second degree burns on his body.

As a freelance author, Brian does not have health insurance. We’re not sure at this time how long he’ll be in treatment, or how much the bill will be, but any visit to the hospital is expensive, and will only be compounded by lost wages from not being able to work.

We’re asking the community of writers, horror fans, and just decent human beings in general to chip in a few dollars to help get Brian back on his feet and spending time with his loving girlfriend and sons. We’d be very grateful for anything you can afford to contribute.


I’ve known Brian for something like fifteen years. The first time I sat down with him and had a chat (at Maurice Broaddus’ house in Indy) I felt an instant kinship, bonding over our mutual love of Manly Wade Wellman and folk magic.

levi_smBrian’s Dark Hollow series (Dark Hollow, Ghost Walk, A Gathering of Crows, Last of the Albatwitches) is a brilliant take on the occult detective genre. I assure you, any fan of the genre will be enthralled by the adventures of ex-Amish magus Levi Stoltzfus.

Of course, I’m a little biased. The dedication page of Last of the Albatwitches, in part, reads:

The second half of this book — Last of the Albatwitches — is dedicated to Bob Freeman, my favorite real-life occult detective.

Needless to say, my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. He has always been a good friend to me and I have seen firsthand what he has given back to this community of fans and fellow authors. It’s well past time we give a little something back.


If you can’t donate to the gofundme campaign, maybe instead you could pick up one of his books. Every little bit helps.


My Top Ten Essential Occult Detective Tales

Posted in Occult Detectives on June 4, 2018 by Occult Detective

On twitter yesterday, author Peter Bebergal ( Too Much to Dream, Season of the Witch) asked “What are your top ten essential stories/novels of the (occult detective) genre?”

This was in response to two tweets:

Occult detective fiction has always struck that perfect balance for me. There’s nothing quite like a metaphysical whodunit. Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin stories are a great place to start. Not my favorite, but a fine representation of the genre.

Another great example would be Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris’ The Adept series. Adam Sinclair is the quintessential occult detective. These five books, six if you count Lammas Night, are among my most treasured.

Compiling a list of my Top Ten Essential Occult Detective Tales is no mean feat. It’s like being asked to choose a favorite child. At least in this instance you get to pick ten of your favorite kids. So let’s to it then, in alphabetical order…

The Adept
Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris
Sir Adam Sinclair

Ancient Sorceries
Algernon Blackwood
Dr. John Silence

Brood of the Witch-Queen
Sax Rohmer
Robert Cairn

The Devil Rides Out
Dennis Wheatley
Duc de Richleau

Falling Angel
William Hjortsberg
Harry Angel

Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits
Garth Ennis and Will Simpson
John Constantine

The Last Illusion
Clive Barker
Harry D’Amour

Aleister Crowley
Simon Iff

The School of Darkness
Manly Wade Wellman
John Thunstone

Robert Weverka
William Sebastian

Book - SpectreAdmittedly, Spectre, a novelization of the failed Gene Roddenberry tv pilot, is difficult to track down. It’s listed on amazon for over $1000, just under $100 used. I add it to this list because it’s near perfect as an occult detective novel and superior to the source material  Considering my fondness for Robert Culp’s performance in the show, that’s saying a lot.

I had wanted the book for years, being a huge fan of the pilot from the moment I received the Lincoln Enterprises newsletter announcing its May 21, 1977 airdate.

Unfortunately, I missed out on the book, but a couple of years ago, my lovely wife Kim snagged me a secondhand copy (paying way too much for it, some $40 I believe), but it was everything I wanted it to be and more.


If you happen upon it at a reasonable price, do not hesitate to buy it. It’s well written and a loads of fun. It’s not worth three or more digits, mind you, unless money is no object to you.

Of the list I compiled above, if I were to choose a single short story that best represented what an occult detective is, or should be, I might lead you to The Last Illusion by Clive Barker, originally published in Volume Six of The Books of Blood. It has that hard-boiled feel, and early Barker was magically delicious. If you just can’t wait, another Harry D’Amour tale is available online for free at the following link: LOST SOULS.

If I were going to direct someone to a single anthology, the Weiser Book of Occult Detectives, edited by Judika Illes is a no-brainer.

The best occult detective collection is Manly Wade Wellman’s Complete John Thunstone.

As for the best occult detective series, I would argue that The Adept series by Kurtz and Harris would surely be the books to turn to.


All are easy enough to track down on amazon. Katherine Kurtz is certainly one of my favorite authors and I reread Lammas Night frequently. Prolific comic scribe Cullen Bunn tweeted, in response to my Adept post, “It’s been so long since I read them. I should probably revisit them.” I couldn’t agree more.


Now Available — Occult Detective Quarterly (Spring 2018)

Posted in Occult Detectives on May 9, 2018 by Occult Detective


OCCULT DETECTIVE QUARTERLY returns with it’s 4th issue and is available via Amazon. I was honored to offer up an illustration for Aaron Vlek’s tale (as well as performing a bit of graphic design assistance). Editors John Linwood Grant and Dave Brzeski continue to do God’s work (just don’t ask which one). It’s another issue of the best in Occult Detective fiction and not to be missed!

Freeman, ODQ Vlek

Happy #NationalParanormalDay

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives with tags , on May 3, 2018 by Occult Detective

In honour of National Paranormal Day, I thought I’d share a pic of my favorite familiar, Boo. Boo was named after a friend of mine who passed back in 2007, Bruce “Boo” Smith. Just before he shuffled off, he sent me a “going away” present — an officially licensed Hellraiser cube. The least I could do was pay homage to him in some way, hence Landon Connors’ lifelong companion.

We later named a stray cat that was hovering around the house, one of many black cats that seem to take an interest in our country home, after Connors’ familiar. He was a special cat and we really took a shine to him and he to us. Boo hung about for several years and he is sorely missed.


Another black cat has taken up residence of late, a young lady we call Tiny, but we recently learned our neighbors call her Magic, so now, Tiny Magic it is. I like to imagine she is one of Boo’s offspring.

Anyway, rather than wax poetic about a litany of paranormal cases I’ve experienced or a list of paranormal books or movies I adore, I bring up Boo, because he was a good guy, a good cat, and, fictionally speaking, a spectacular familiar.

Happy Paranormal Day.


If you build it… #OccultDetectiveRPG

Posted in Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game, Occult Detectives on April 6, 2018 by Occult Detective


Back in the proverbial saddle after a long hiatus from game development. It feels good to shake the dust off and revisit this game and to know that we are finally moving in the right direction.

I aim to have all the rulebooks completed by the end of May and the final playtesting to commence over the summer, then we’ll be launching a kickstarter and see what dreams may come…

There is a steep learning curve, but we’re up to the challenge. We aim to deliver, first and foremost, a game that will fire your imagination, but we want it to include a full line of miniatures, game maps, scenarios, and all the bells and whistles that a quality board game brings to the table, but with an RPG’s narrative sensibilities.

I’ll be reaching out to some folks to help elevate the game beyond my wildest imaginings. We’re looking to build something special here and I think we’re on track to drag it kicking and screaming into reality.

I am reminded of a place I used to live, far off the beaten path, in the rural wilds of Indiana. Atop a hill overlooking a coursing stream my friends and I constructed rings of stone around a fire pit. I painted runes upon the stones, and smiling, I said, “If you build it, they will come” to which my friend Shaun quipped, “Oh, great, now we’re in Bob’s Field of Bad Dreams”.

Yes. Yes you are…

Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game is coming. And Magick is coming with it.

Occult Detective T-Shirts

Posted in Occult Detectives with tags , on March 27, 2018 by Occult Detective


A new line of “occult detective” t-shirts has dropped on AMAZON. Each comes in Mens and Womens sizes and in five distinct and fashionable colors, though let’s be honest, the black is pretty sweet and apropos, all things considered.

They’re inexpensive (less than $14), well made, and magically delicious.

There are currently three designs available: Certified Occult Detective (Black, Brown, Dark Heather, Navy, and Olive); Black Cat Magick (Black, Brown, Dark Heather, Heather Grey, and Heather Blue); and Spirit Board Association (Dark Heather, Black, Navy, Olive, and Pink).

More designs to come.

My Review of The Periodic Table of Paranormal Elements

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives on March 21, 2018 by Occult Detective

My friend Jill Pingleton reached out to me last night to share the new iOS app she and her husband Roger have developed to aid in categorizing paranormal phenomenon. — The Periodic Table of Paranormal Elements.

I have known Jill and Roger for a number of years and have had the pleasure to investigate with both on several occasions. I found them to be studious and dedicated researchers and got to see firsthand a number of innovative experiments conducted using equipment designed by Roger and his colleagues. One in particular that stood out involved dry ice and lasers that was absolutely brilliant.

They’ve always had an eye for utilizing technology to enhance one’s paranormal investigations and experience, and I find their latest project — The Periodic Table of Paranormal Elements — to be their best foot forward to date.

It’s innovative, useful as hell, and really does a thorough job of classifying the various types of phenomena one might experience.


The Table Layout

The table is divided into five distinct categories of anomalous phenomenon, each represented by a color.

paranormal elements

Visual Elements are red. Auditory Elements are orange. Physiological Elements are yellow. Environmental Elements are green. Super Patterns are purple.

It’s all there. I picked my brain to come up with something not covered, but you can find them all there in these 103 classifications. Each element is clickable, with a useful explanation of what the phenomena is and with examples of types of phenomena reported.

Admittedly, some of these definitions could be refined and expanded upon, but it’s a work in progress and a terrific start.

Based on their categorization, in my 35 years as a paranormal adventurer (44 if you want to go all the way back to my first encounter), I have experienced 54 elements of paranormal phenomena, though I am tempted to say 55. Here’s my score card —

my paranormal elements

You’ll see 54 white circles representing those things I’ve experienced. The one in yellow, Wn, represents Portal/Window and is defined as “An opening or view into what appears to be a parallel universe, time or dimension. Can be visible or invisible (only known to intuitive individuals). Often a place where paranormal phenomena occur is attributed to portal activity. Portals have been seen as physical doors, near or touching the ground. Sometimes visible in the sky, during which time a different sky can be seen through the portal. May be related to Divergent Reality or Glitch In The Matrix.

I would add preternatural vortices and  temporal nexuses to this description. I have been investigating one particular location for twelve years now, and while I have long suspected it to be one or the other, the proof of such has alluded me. I know it to be true, deep down in my gut, but I have yet to see beyond the veil and glimpse the other side.


The Periodic Table of Paranormal Elements is an invaluable tool and I look forward to seeing how it evolves in the coming months and years. For one, I’d really like to see them add a “realtime” investigation log feature, allowing the user to be able to click and add each element as they occur, noting time, place, temp, etc.

The app is only .99¢ via the Apple App Store. It is a dollar well spent, believe me.

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