Archive for the Occultober 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: A Long Strange Trip Revisited

Posted in Investigations, Occultober, Paranormal on October 18, 2021 by Occult Detective

There were some concepts that I brought up recently that I never got to fully explore with you, and, while I still cannot delve as deeply as I would like due to time constraints, I would still like to add some things further.

Regarding Hallucinogens in the Investigation of the Paranormal:

Using mind altering techniques to enhance the perception of self, space, and time, and to communicate with beings that exist within extra-dimensional realms, or with those men and women who have crossed from this life to the next, have been used for thousands of years by shamans in all cultures. Obviously, psychedelic drugs have been used just as long to accelerate the process, as a tool to experience these spaces and to allow for a more proactive interaction with preternatural intelligences, both on a cosmic and more personal scale. Hallucinogens create the possibility of transpersonal experiences with entities that exist within the spirit realm. To deny this is to deny the history of human spiritual evolution, and to not acknowledge the role they might play in parapsychological investigations is irrational.

While undertaking such an endeavor requires controlled experimentation, whatever risks there are are mitigated by the tremendous benefits from being free to explore the entirety of human experience by delving into the untapped potential within ourselves, potential unlocked by many mind-expanding substances, such as DMT, Psilocybin,Mescaline, Salvia, Datura, among others.

My own experiences with substance-enhanced investigations have proven to me the value in such work, however, the criminality of such actions have tempered such research once I became a husband and father. That these natural substances have been criminalized represents a war on free thought and mind-expanding explorations of our inner selves…

Whether for a personal inner journey or used as a conduit to interact with other beings, hallucinogens are an important and vital tool that should not be discounted or ignored.

#OCCULTOBER: A Long Strange Trip Cut Short

Posted in Investigations, Occultober, Paranormal on October 15, 2021 by Occult Detective

A short day for me, on this, the 15th of October, a mere 16 days out from All Hallow’s Eve, thus I must be brief. My initial thoughts for today’s blog was to discuss one of the most neglected tools for investigation of the paranormal — psychotropics, particularly hallucinogens.

I have long been a proponent of their use, with proper guidance and all care given to them, of course. When dealing with entities whose homes are realms outside the material landscape, there are any number of natural stimulants that can help you cross that divide.

I unfortunately do not have the time to delve deeper into the subject today, so I leave the idea here with a promise for further discussion in the near future.

What do you think? Is there a place for drugs in the tool kit of an Occult Detective?

We’ll more talk on this soon…

#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: The Magic of Tarot by Sasha Graham (@SashaGraham / @LlewellynBooks)

Posted in Book Review, Occultober, Tarot on October 12, 2021 by Occult Detective

I have read a lot of books on Tarot and I own dozens of decks. I’ve been studying and reading Tarot for more than forty years now. When a book like Sasha Graham’s The Magic of Tarot comes along, I am beyond thankful. To deliver something fresh and exciting in the sphere of Tarot is no easy feat. Graham has more than succeeded in this task. What a terrific journey she took me on… I simply cannot recommend this book highly enough.

The author begins by addressing something that I have held near and dear to my heart, something that is at the very core of my being. Allow me to quote from the Introduction —

“Tarot is storytelling. It’s what we do when we read the cards. Telling stories imbues us with supernatural power — the power to change your story.”

This. All of this. Nothing could be more true, especially if not confined to Tarot. Magic, with or without the ‘K’, is about storytelling. Plain and simple. I have been preaching this for years.

Sasha Graham gets this and it shows throughout The Magic of Tarot. Before I dive deeper, let’s see what the publisher had to say about the book:

Bring Enchantment and Luminous Energy into Your Readings

Tarot is more than a card trick. It’s a chance to empower your intuition, dive into your dreams, and get to the heart of the matter. The Magic of Tarot is a fantastic guide to creating your own marvelous and magical practice. With her irresistible charm and straightforward guidance, Sasha Graham shows you how to craft a divine, sparkling destiny using spreads, exercises, spells, and prompts.

The Magic of Tarot opens your eyes to a richer, more enlightened style of divination. Sasha encourages you to flex your intuitive muscles, confidently use tarot magic and rituals, and perform readings for other people. She also walks you through every card meaning, introduces you to dream and shadow work, helps you interpret colors, numbers, and patterns, and so much more. This book lets you fearlessly jump in and enjoy magical experiences that you’ll never forget.

This is an ideal book for beginning Tarot students. Graham delves into the heart of the practice over the course of its 360 pages, and she delivers wondrous insights as she takes the reader on a complete and intimate tour of all facets of Tarot methodology.

Not only is a detailed description of each card presented, but Graham covers rituals and spells, dream and shadow work, and a wealth of various interpretations all enhanced by a focus on developing your intuitive and storytelling powers.

For those of you who, like me, have been at this for a number of years, you’ll feel comfortable with the author’s expressiveness and forthright narrative. Graham offers fresh new ways at looking at things, particularly in regard to spell and shadow work. There are some intriguing ideas that I am eager to experiment with.

One of the more enchanting things about the book was the author’s bio, written as a Tarot card description. Clever.

As for the book design, it’s more than adequate. It utilizes Pixie’s Waite Tarot illustrations throughout. Further artwork is spartan, but the diagrams of card layouts are easy to follow for the novice. While there is no flash in the design, this was probably on purpose. The prose itself is flashy enough.

I love the cover art by Abigail Larson and wish she could have contributed to the interior as well to add more symmetry. I adore her work.

The Magic of Tarot: Your Guide to Intuitive Readings, Rituals, and Spells by Sasha Graham is a tremendous value at less than $20. Available wherever books are sold, I highly recommend you purchase directly from the publisher, Llewellyn, or from your local booksellers. We need healthy publishers and bookstores. Where we spend our money matters.

#OCCULTOBER: The Devil’s Own

Posted in Media, Occultober on October 11, 2021 by Occult Detective

In 2013 I was asked to send an audition clip into an agent for a Paranormal Reality series to be called, tentatively, The Devil’s Own. This show later became Portals to Hell, hosted by Jack Osbourne and Katrina Weidman.

The video is old and corrupt, much like myself. Please excuse the quality.

Hallowe’en, for all its sinister overtones, is just as good for a laugh now and then. Running across this video from 8 years back certainly gave me a chuckle. I hope it does for you as well.

Pity I didn’t get the gig, but as Portals to Hell is one of my favorite docu-series, it’s hard to cry foul.

#OCCULTOBER: “Werewolf Hunter” (Ghost Hunting Tales of Indiana & Beyond)

Posted in Investigations, Occultober on October 8, 2021 by Occult Detective

I was thinking about the various paranormal adventures I’ve been blessed to take part in over the decades I’ve been at this. While Indiana has always, and will continue to be my primary concern and interest, especially the hinterlands of my own backyard, I have been fortunate to investigate some rather intriguing places beyond these Hoosier boundaries.

One of the strangest adventures took me to Arkansas back in 1993. A number of “Dogman” sightings in the Razorback State caught the attention of my friend “Poor Tom”. I packed my bags and headed South to spend a handful of days helping him investigate. He was something of a backwoods sort, a bushcrafter with a fair amount of Navajo blood in him, so after interviewing a couple of eyewitnesses we headed out into the wilderness on a two week hike through the Ozarks.

The idea of the “Dogman” had taken firm hold in that era, but mostly in Michigan. I’d never heard of Dogmen that far south. Arkansas was “Boggy Creek” Monster territory. Both the Dogman and Boggy Creek Monster were said to be roughly seven feet tall and covered with hair, and this description held in our interviews, but the people we talked with were confident this creature had a wolf’s head sitting atop a bipedal humanoid frame.

Tom was full-on convinced it was a skinwalker. In Navajo culture, a skinwalker was a witch who could take on the form of an animal— most often that of a wolf. I tried to explain to him that a Dogman and a Skinwalker were far removed from one another, but he was locked in. I was in the Sasquatch (or Sasquatch-adjacent) camp myself, but the idea of stalking a skinwalker through the rugged, mountainous terrain of my ancestors had quite the appeal to me. I was not yet 30 and being able to put “werewolf hunter” on my resume was all the coaxing I needed.

Needless to say, we didn’t catch sight of any sort of Dogman, Skinwalker, or Wildman of the Woods. We did, however, enjoy a fascinating adventure — camping and hiking in an amazingly beautiful (but humid and bug infested) part of the country, smoking both legal and illegal substances, and, on one magical moonlit night, consuming a bit of Psilocybin. We did run across wolf tracks, or, more likely, the tracks of a pack of wolf-dog hybrids. But that was as close as we got, although we did commune with ancient spirits there in those misty mountains.

It’s the journey that makes the adventure. Part of my love of “ghost hunting” lies in my fascination with history, architecture, abandoned places, and isolated woodlands. If a place turns out to not be haunted, or to be quiet, on an investigation, I’ve still had an experience I treasure.

#OCCULTOBER: 13 More Songs for Hallowe’en

Posted in Occultober on October 7, 2021 by Occult Detective

ANOTHER SAMHAIN PLAYLIST
13 More Songs for Hallowe’en

We’re drawing ever closer to Hallowe’en and I am feeling the Samhain Spirit. In fact, it’s got my feet a’tappin’. What better way to express it than by sharing another collection of songs that bang the proverbial gong…

Synchronicity II
The Police
Sisters of the Moon
Fleetwood Mac
Hangman
Roy Harper & Jimmy Page
Crazy Man Michael
Fairport Convention
Black Sabbath
Coven
Born Again
Black Sabbath
Lights Out
Jethro Tull
Mandrake Root
Deep Purple
Abbey of Thelema
Ian Gillan
Darker Shade of Black
Blackmore’s Night
Dance Macabre
Ghost
Zombie Hands
The Killers
Broomsticks
The Pretty Reckless

#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.

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