Archive for the Occult Detectives Category

#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.

Occult Detective Countdown 18/20: Robert E. Howard’s Kirowan, Conrad, & O’Donnell / #40DaysofHalloween

Posted in Occult Detectives on October 27, 2020 by Occult Detective

Let me state this once more, with feeling, Robert E. Howard is my favorite author, bar none. Of course, it’s his Conan stories that are first in my heart, but his occult detectives are nipping at the Cimmerian’s heels, to be sure.

Edging ahead of Steve Harrison are three occult adventurers — John Kirowan, John Conrad, and John O’Donnell — whom find themselves in Howard’s Lovecraft Mythos yarns, and some of my favorite horror stories ever penned.

And yes, it is not lost on me that these three friends are all named John, though I don’t find it all that peculiar. Growing up, I often found myself in the company of two of my closest friends — Robert Brent Smith and Robert Dennison.

But I digress.

Kirowan was a reluctant occultist, shying away from the vast knowledge he had earned at a terrible price. Conrad was the more eager aspirant, and who tended draw Kirowan into his misadventures, while O’Donnell was closer akin to Conrad.

Of course, Howard scholars hotly debate these figures, sometimes declaring them different individuals, but I prefer to ere on the side of them all being part of a collective universe, with continuity errors being just that.

These tales have long fascinated me, as have the behind the scenes drama. Regardless of intent, I see these three companions as the very epitome of occult detectives and choose to accept them as being bound together as a cohesive series.

Stories include The Haunter of the Ring, The Children of the Night, The Dwellers Under the Tombs, and several others.

Occult Detective Countdown 17/20: Frank Black

Posted in Occult Detectives on October 26, 2020 by Occult Detective

Millennium was ahead of its time and deserved a much bigger audience than it generated in its three seasons of FOX. Season One was certainly the strongest, with the final two seasons being rather uneven, largely due to showrunner musical chairs, but despite this, Lance Henriksen’s Frank Black is a brilliant character and a quintessential occult detective.

Black, a former FBI Agent and criminal profiler, has minor psychic abilities, being able to see through the eyes of the criminals he pursues. Henriksen is the perfect actor for the role, bringing an intensity and vulnerability to the character.

While the series finale ended on a cliffhanger, closure was attempted in an episode of the X-Files and there was also a comic a few years back. Still, the creators, cast, and fans have clamored for a true endcap to the Millennium story and a movie would certainly be welcome.

In recent days, the series star, Lance Henriksen, has voiced interest, via twitter, in revisiting the character. With any luck we’ll see Frank Black return in a limited series or film on one of the many streaming services out there.

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.

I will be posting to the countdown roughly every other day throughout our 40 Days of Hallowe’en adventure.

Occult Detective Countdown 16/20 — Robert E. Howard’s Steve Harrison

Posted in Occult Detectives on October 22, 2020 by Occult Detective

“Three unsolved murders in a week are not so unusual—for River Street,” grunted Steve Harrison, shifting his muscular bulk restlessly in his chair.

Thus read the first Steve Harrison story I stumbled upon — “Names in the Black Book” — a Robert E. Howard Occult Detective yarn that helped cement my love for the genre.

Other Harrison tales included “Fangs of Gold”, “The Tomb’s Secret” , “Graveyard Rats”, “The House of Suspicion”, “Lord of the Dead”, “The Black Moon”, “The Silver Heel”, “The Voice of Death”, and “The Mystery of Tannerhoe Lodge”.

Howard was not a fan of Detective Fiction and I think that’s why the Harrison stories appeal to me so much — because Howard’s instincts fight against the genre and we get a far different sort of tale.

Yes, they tend toward the “Yellow Menace” yarns prevalent in the pulps of the time, but Steve Harrison is the prototypical private eye, of the sort that guys like Spillane would churn out later, and Howard brings this square jawed tough to life as few others can. But what really makes these stories sing is that underlying supernatural threat that makes them solid occult detective tales, and the frightening figure of Erlik Khan, one of the great pulp villains.

I always wanted to see more about Steve Harrison. He was the sort of character that could have been picked up and ran with by any number of writers. Hell, it’s a task I would have been more than willing to undertake myself. Unfortunately, Howard left us early, so we never got to see where he might have taken Harrison. I suspect, based on pulp trends, Steve Harrison would have become a star in his own right…

But the thing is, there was another set of occult detectives, I found even more compelling from Howard’s well-worn Underwood. Maybe we’ll take a peek at them in a future installment.

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