Archive for the Occult Detectives Category

#OCCULTOBER: (Ghost)Hunter’s Moon

Posted in Occult Detectives, Occultober on October 20, 2021 by Occult Detective

This evening brings us the Hunter’s Moon, harvest festivals abound, and we are less than a dozen days till Samhain. As promised last week, today I am slated to write a short missive on the favorite Occult Detective of the winner of the Shadows Over Somerset All Hallow’s Read Giveaway. The recipient of the book, Vince Dickinson, wrote in his entry the following:

Hi Bob – my favorite occult detective is YOU. To be fair, I don’t follow any others, but that still counts, right?

Well, it most certainly does. A deal is a deal.

So, how is it that I came by the moniker of Occult Detective?

I’ve been fascinated by both sides of the Occult Detective coin since I was a child. Growing up in rural Indiana, surrounded by local legends, of both the more common urban variety and the myths of the Miami Indians who once called the area home, and fed by the folktales of my family’s native Ozark roots, I was obsessed with magic and monsters and the macabre.

Before I was ten, I was reading the works of Dennis Wheatley, Richard Cavendish, Sybil Leek, Gerald Gardner, and Manly Palmer Hall… they went hand in hand with Marvel Comics, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and The Three Investigators.

I studied UFOs, Bigfoot, and the Occult, prayed to Heathen Gods in the Hoosier hinterlands, scoured newspapers and gossip rags for stories about Hans Holzer, the Warrens, Sean Manchester and the like, and spent near countless nights in local graveyards and prowling abandoned houses, barns, and churches…

What was the catalyst? Who can say? Was it Kolchak, Dark Shadows, Scooby Doo? Late night Sammy Terry? Maybe seeing the Legend of Boggy Creek or The Exorcist at the Drive-In? Or it could have been the seances and light-as-a-feather sessions conducted by my much older baby-sitting cousins….

Regardless, I was hooked at a young age and I’ve never looked back.

Beyond those childhood endeavors, I began really investigating the strange and unusual in 1983, and that carried over into college where I studied Anthropology with a focus on Witchcraft, Magic, & Religion. At the height of the “Satanic Panic” I consulted with the local DNR on how to identify occult activity in the Misissinewa State Forest.

In a way, an Occult Detective is something I’ve always been rather than something I became.

Anyway, all the gibber jabber is well and good, but rather then me drone on and on about myself, I’ll open it up to you. If you have a question, fire it to me either in the comments section below, or you can always email me via bob@occultdetective.com.

And thanks again, Vince for your entry. I hope you enjoy the novel.

#OCCULTOBER: Revisiting The Shadows Over Somerset Giveaway Occult Detective Results

Posted in Occult Detectives, Occultober on October 14, 2021 by Occult Detective

The Shadows Over Somerset contest was interesting. The rules were simple: email me your favorite Occult Detective and then I would draw a winner at random, sending them a signed copy of the book and writing an essay about their selection.

Here are the Occult Detectives and the number of votes they tallied:

4 Thomas Carnacki
4 Fox Mulder
3 John Constantine
3 Dean Winchester
2 Harry Dresden
2 Carl Kolchak
2 Dana Scully
2 Levi Stoltzfus
1 Greg Newkirk
1 Greg & Dana Newkirk
1 Ed Warren
1 Ed & Lorraine Warren
1 Edward Carnby
1 Dr. Spektor
1 Duke De Richleau 
1 Alexandra Trese
1 Shido
1 Hellboy
1 Landon Connors
1 Bob Freeman

I find it interesting that five of the 34 votes went to real people: myself, the Newkirks, and the Warrens. Greg Newkirk and Ed Warren each got one vote, while they and their respective partners received one vote.

The continued popularity of Thomas Carnacki among occult detective fans never ceases to amaze me.

I was surprised to see Fox Mulder tie for first place with four votes and Dana Scully received two votes. While I knew the X-Files had a huge cultural impact, I didn’t count on them still being so popular.

There were two Occult Detectives I didn’t know that received votes — Shido, a vampire character from an anime series called Nightwalker — The Midnight Detective and Edward Carnby, an investigator and researcher who is the main protagonist in Alone in the Dark.

How did Scooby and the Gang not even draw a single vote?

Overall, I was thrilled with the results of the contest and was happy to see so many entrants. As for the subject of the Hunter’s Moon Occult Detective essay, well, I am less than thrilled about that one. I’ll have to cook something up special for that…

#OCCULTOBER #ALLHALLOWSREAD #GIVEAWAY And the Winner is…

Posted in All Hallows Read, Occult Detectives, Occultober on October 13, 2021 by Occult Detective

Today I get to announce the winner of the Shadows Over Somerset All Hallow’s Read Giveaway. Whether it’s a Trick or Treat will be for the recipient to decide. Not only will the winner receive a signed (& personalized if they desire) copy of the second edition of my debut novel, Shadows Over Somerset, but they also get to pick the subject of my Occult Detective essay to be published on the Hunter’s Moon, the 20th of October.

So, without further ado, the winner is:

VINCE DICKINSON

And his favorite Occult Detective is… well, let’s share his email:

"Hi Bob - my favorite occult detective is YOU.  To be fair, I don’t follow any others, but that still counts, right?"

Well, there you go. I’ll be sending Vince’s prize out on Friday, so that he receives the book before Hallowe’en. As for the Hunter’s Moon blog post? Well, that’s a bit awkward. We’ll see if I can spice things up a bit…

Congratulations, Vince. I hope you enjoy the book and have a spooktacular Hallowe’en.

And to the 30+ men and women who entered, thank you for your interest.

#OCCULTOBER #ALLHALLOWSREAD #GIVEAWAY: Win a free copy of Shadows Over Somerset

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Occult Detectives, Occultober on October 6, 2021 by Occult Detective

What secrets lurk in the heart of Cairnwood Manor?

In the sleepy little town of Somerset, an ancient evil awakens, hungering for blood and vengeance…

Michael Somers is brought to Cairnwood, an isolated manor in rural Indiana, to sit at the deathbed of a grandfather he never knew existed. He soon finds himself drawn into a strange and esoteric world filled with werewolves, vampires, witches… and a family curse that dates back to fourteenth century Scotland.

“Gory, baroque, hairy fun with vamps and beasties.” — William Meikle, author of The Midnight Eye Files

“In the first few pages alone we are given proof positive of what terror lurks around every corner…and it’s this tension that shines through on every page.” — Insidious Reflections

“I recommend it to all horror fans (even those who don’t particularly care for vampires, werewolves, or witches).” — Horror-Web

In the Fall of 2000, newly married and without a job, my wife suggested I do something I had always aspired to do but had never done — write a novel. So, for three months, each evening as my wife slinked off to work at Waldenbooks, I ascended to the attic and wrote a story about werewolves and witches and vampires and immortal swordsmen and ancient Scottish curses and… well, you get the idea. Nick Mamatas once said that the biggest mistakes first time authors make is shoehorning in everything they’re interested. Guilty as charged.

I have so many fond memories of Shadows Over Somerset — the writing of it, sharing it with my wife every evening, seeing it developed and then dropped by Dimension Films (well the dropped part not so much), signing my first contract, my first (and hugely successful) book signing…

Yes, it has warts, but Shadows Over Somerset, my love letter to Dark Shadows and the Gothics I devoured as a child, has a special place in my heart.

It is Out-Of-Print and I’ve decided it’s time to retire it and its sequel, Keepers of the Dead. It was a hard decision, but one I ultimately had to make. So, as a fond farewell and in honor of All Hallow’s Read, I would like to offer YOU the chance to win a signed copy of the Seventh Star Press edition that was released in 2014, edited by Rodney Carlstrom and illustrated by Enggar Adirasa.

HOW DO YOU WIN?

Email me at Shadows@OccultDetective.com before the end of the Lesser Feast of Aleister Crowley (11:59pm EST on October 12th) and tell me who your favorite Occult Detective is. I’ll toss all the names in a fedora and a draw the winner on the 13th… and, as an added bonus, on October 20th, I will share my thoughts on the Occult Detective you’ve chosen.

There you have it. A signed copy of Shadows Over Somerset could be yours? Good luck and Happy Hallowe’en.

#OCCULTOBER: Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit

Posted in All Hallows Read, Occult Detectives, Occultober on October 1, 2021 by Occult Detective

Rabbit. Rabbit. Rabbit. Let’s gather ’round and stab it.

Finally, October comes and we can really sink our proverbial teeth into OCCULTOBER. It’s just 30 days till All Hallow’s Eve, but we know here at occultdetective.com the spirit of Samhain never stops.

I have UPDATED the “What is an Occult Detective?” page, addressing real world paranormal sleuths like myself, as well as restructuring my Top Ten recommendations in fiction and including a Paranormal Reality Series category. Check it out if you’ve a mind to.

So, what’s on the agenda for this month? Whilst still trying to dodge COVID, I hope to take in Mississinewa 1812 this weekend, there’s the Autumn Camping Weekend coming up, the Season 3 premiere of Critical Role to look forward to, plus a Halloween Party/Ghost Hunt.

This year I’m planning to spend a lot more time out there in the haunted Hoosier hinterlands, and slither back here to report all the goings on. I’ve also a slate of reviews coming your way as well as a look at Robert E. Howard’s Occult Detective fiction… and, late in the month, I’ll be joining Shawn Hebert, Michelle Belanger, and Eilfie Music for a discussion about utilizing magick in paranormal investigations (details to come).

Of course, at the very top of the list is my son Connor’s forthcoming 18th Birthday. Obviously, I am immensely proud of that young man. Believe me, he is a force to be reckoned with. He’s already a marvelous storyteller. I truly believe he’s going to be an author everyone will know in due time.

That’s all I have time for today. Happy October, everyone. Let’s make this year’s celebration one to remember…

#OCculTOBER: A’Vampire Hunting We’ll Go

Posted in Investigations, Occult Detectives, Occultober, Paranormal on September 26, 2021 by Occult Detective

We’ve all seen those, admittedly, cool “authentic” “vintage” vampire hunting kits online, retailing for considerable sums of coinage. I mean, who, in my line of work and proclivities wouldn’t want one of those. Sure, their as authentic as a three dollar bill with Bill Clinton’s face on it, but that certainly does not detract from the cool factor. Imagine pulling one of those out at your next paranormal investigation.

Truth be told, I do actually carry a “vampire hunting” utility tool with me in my paranormal kit. It sports hammer and axe heads, a crowbar, and a nail-puller. So long as I remember to bring along a wooden stake, I can pry open the bugger’s coffin, hammer a stake home, then lop off its head.

Bob Freeman: Occult Detective for the win ;)

Just 34 days until bloody Hallowe’en’s upon us. With any luck, I’ll get to use the thing. What? This is rural Indiana… stranger things have happened ;)

All Things Must Pass

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Tarot, Writing on June 29, 2021 by Occult Detective

Soon, the Cainwood Manor series (Shadows Over Somerset / Keepers of the Dead) and the Liber Monstrorum series (First Born / Descendant) will be reissued in trade paperback and hardcover editions. Their covers will be adorned with selections from the limited edition Landon Connors: Occult Detective Tarot. These releases will be followed by Born Again, a collection that will bring both series to conclusion.

The Moon — Shadows Over Somerset
Deception. Illusion. Imagination. Things around you are not what they appear to be.

High Priestess — Keepers of the Dead
Mystery. Reflection. A time for retreat. Things around you are not what they appear to be.

The Magician — First Born
Skill. Creativity. Desire. Manifestation. The need to take deliberate action is called for.

Justice — Descendant
Truth. Fairness. Law and order. A time for hard decisions to be made.

Judgement — Born Again
Awakening. Transition. Renewal. It is the bitter end, but also a dynamic new beginning.

Three For Thursday: Occult Detective Movies

Posted in Occult Detectives on April 15, 2021 by Occult Detective

Top Three Occult Detective Movies

.:.

NUMBER THREE

When the Duc de Richleau (Christopher Lee) and Rex Van Ryn (Leon Greene) arrive at a fashionable party thrown by de Richleau’s protégé, Simon Aron (Patrick Mower), they soon realize that the party is in fact a gathering of a Satanic cult, led by the high priest Mocata (Charles Gray), that plans to initiate the beautiful Tanith (Nike Arrighi) that night. It’s up to de Richleau and Van Ryn to defeat the devil-worshiping Mocata and save innocent young Tanith and the others from a terrible fate.

Based on the novel by Dennis Wheatley. Screenplay by Richard Matheson. Directed by Terence Fisher

I fell in love with this movie when I caught it at the drive-in as a kid, though it was titled The Devil’s Bride. It was part of a triple feature that included two Christopher Lee vampire films, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave and The Satanic Rites of Dracula. It’s a solid adaptation of Wheatley’s novel, and the acting, particularly from Lee and Gray, is superb.

NUMBER TWO

Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is a private detective contracted by Louis Cyphre (Robert De Niro) to track down the iconic singer Johnny Favorite. However, everybody that Angel questions about Favorite seems to meet a tragic demise. Eventually the trail leads Angel to New Orleans where he learns that Favorite had dabbled in the black arts. As Favorite’s whereabouts and true identity become clear, Angel learns that being hired by Cyphre was not a random choice.

Based on the novel by William Hjortsberg. Screenplay by Alan Parker. Directed by Alan Parker.

I saw this in the theatre opening weekend. Wow. It just blew me away. The direction was outstanding. The atmosphere was palpable. And my goodness, Mickey Rourke was brilliant. His delivery of “I know who I am.” still chills me to this day.

NUMBER ONE

After a supernatural experiment leaves him with a serious heart condition, occult criminologist William Sebastian (Robert Culp) recruits his skeptical friend, Dr. “Ham” Hamilton (Gig Young), to aid him with a new case. Their assignment: to investigate Geoffrey Cyon (Majel Barrett), a British businessman allegedly flirting with the dark arts. As William and Ham learn more about the suspicious Cyon family, they have to fight to survive against a powerful demon and an evil cult.

Story by Gene Roddenberry. Screenplay by Gene Roddenberry & Samuel A. Peeples. Directed by Richard Donner.

Ah, nostalgia. This pilot debuted on May 21, 1977, but I was obsessed with it two months before it aired when I received the Lincoln Enterprises newsletter announcing it. I mean, come on, I was 11 years old and obsessed with magick and the paranormal and here they were delivering a tale steeped in both, and from the creator of Star Trek. Yes, I realize it’s dated. It has shoddy production values and some of the lore is wonky, but the story itself, and the acting… Robert Culp as Criminal Psychologist William Sebastian is the quintessential Occult Detective. I love it, and if you’ve not seen it, I think you will too.

Occult Detective Countdown Finale 20/20: John Constantine / #40DaysofHalloween

Posted in Occult Detectives on October 29, 2020 by Occult Detective

We’ve reached the end of our journey through our Occult Detective Countdown. There was no order, rhyme, or reason to the list. It was never a “best of” sort of thing, but I did save the best for last.

I came to the world of John Constantine a bit later than most, I suppose. I knew of him, of course, but it wasn’t until Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic that I got my first real dose of the character. I was immediately smitten. Constantine was a real  nasty piece of work. He’s been called a “working-class magician” and “con-man”. Yep, that sums it up rather nicely. He’s bitter, road-worn, and a chain smoking ne’er-do-well and I love him for it.

I read the Constantine monthly, Hellblazer, pretty consistently starting in the late 90s. I’ve read all the specials and crossovers and gone back and tracked the character’s progress from his first appearance in Moore’s Swamp Thing.

I watched the Keanu Reeves movie, the Matt Ryan series, and I’ve seen sporadic episodes of Legends of Tomorrow. I sat through the animated films and yes, I still pick up the comics…

I guess you’d call me a fan.

Hellblazer’s barking right up my proverbial tree, John being an occult detective through and through. Constantine and my own occult detective, Landon Connors (originally named Solomon Killingbeck), were born about the same time in the late 80s and I guess Moore and I were tapping into similar influences. Constantine is far more bitter than my guy, mind you. He’s far more jaded and had a tougher go of it. But they’re cut from a not dissimilar mold.

Where they’re different, I think, is that John’s real, or was made so. Chaos magick’s like that, you know. He’s has a rough go of it. DC’s not always been overly kind to him, saddling him with too many capes of late.

Constantine works best in his own little corner of the multiverse. Oh sure, Zatanna or Madame Xandadu are fine on occasion, even some of the other mystical blokes. But I cringe whenever I see the front and center DC proper about.

John doesn’t need to be rubbing shoulders with Batman. It makes him less… real.

Of course, as I type this, DC has cancelled John once again. His latest run, from Simon Spurrier and Aaron Campbell has been nothing short of brilliant, so of course it’s been axed. Comics are a dying medium. We can’t keep anything nice…

But that’s okay. John’s still out there, doing what we occult detectives do — stirring up trouble and getting by on a wing and a prayer, and through it all, giving the devil his due.

We’ll see you around, Constantine, in one form or another.

Occult Detective Countdown 19/20: Mulder & Scully / #40DaysofHalloween

Posted in Occult Detectives on October 28, 2020 by Occult Detective

I did not watch the The X-Files on a regular basis until Season 4 when it moved to Sunday nights. Originally airing in 1993 on Fridays, I was working as security for a night club at the time so only rarely caught an episode, though I knew it was right up my alley.

In time, thanks to video, I was able to catch up on the series and, though the narrative was strained over its 11 seasons, due in large part to the uneven leadership of its showrunners, X-Files captured the essence of what it meant to be a modern occult detective by exploring every conspiracy and urban legend imaginable. The X-Files had it all and then some, and Special Agents Mulder and Scully were the perfect expressions of the two types of investigators that dominate the field — the believer and the skeptic.

Fox Mulder, a celebrated criminal profiler, never met a conspiracy theory he wasn’t willing to purchase hook, line, and sinker. No rabbit hole was too deep. Relegated to the X-Files, Mulder was convinced of a mass government conspiracy to hide the truth about extraterrestrials, psychic phenomena, and all manner of oddities.

Dana Scully was a brilliant medical doctor and scientist brought in to be a skeptical observer to debunk Mulder’s wild theories. Over the course of the series, she becomes more open to the possibilities that these paranormal occurrences have some validity to them.

Over the course of 11 seasons there were some amazing episodes, highlighted by terrific acting, writing, and production values… and a willingness to go all in a genre that is near and dear to my heart.

A Note on the Occult Detective Countdown: As I make my way through a list of some of my favorite occult detectives, bear in mind, I am not recording them in any particular order. I thought it would be more fun to release them organically, narratively rather than in a simple “best to worse” format. I’ll let you decide for yourselves their pecking order.

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