Ol’ 55

Posted in Current Events on March 1, 2021 by Occult Detective

Birthdays become less enamoring when they begin to pile up like cord wood, but as my old pal Clarence always says, “Getting older sure beats the alternative.” I’m luckier than most. I’ve got an amazing wife and son, and a nice piece of property with a flowing stream and a bit of woods out back. I’ve got my health, for the most part. And I’ve never lost my hunger for life, nor that burning desire to create and to explore both the inner and outer worlds, as far as the gods will allow.

So, what does 55 feel like? Much the same as 25 did, just with a few more aches and pains, and a lot less angst. Marriage and children will do that for you, if you’re wired right. I’ve acquired a number of skills and a wealth of knowledge along the way. Never quite got hold of the wisdom I expected to come with age, but I’ve still got a bit of road left ahead of me. Who knows, I just might surprise myself and a few of you before the final cut.

I’m spending the day at work, squeezing in a bit of guitar in between calls. I’ve already written snatches of two new songs. Life doesn’t get much better than that. After work, I’ll get to wrap myself around the two things that matter most to me… What does 55 feel like? It feels like love on the best of days. And on the bad days? Well, they’re alright too. If you’re wired right.

My faith carries me through. My faith in the gods. My faith in my family. And, ultimately, my faith in myself. My birthday wish is that you all feel the same…

11th Annual Occult Detective Awards

Posted in Occult Detective Awards on January 4, 2021 by Occult Detective

2010 — A Gathering of Crows by Brian Keene
2011 — Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis
2012 — Tortured Spirits (Jake Helman Files) by Gregory Lamberson
2013 — Love is the Law by Nick Mamatas
2014 — The Last of the Albatwitches by Brian Keene
2015 — Human Monsters (Jake Helman Files) by Gregory Lamberson
2016 — The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost
2017 — HeX-Rated by Jason Ridler
2018 — The Outsider by Stephen King
2019 — Starry Wisdom by Peter Levenda
2020 — The Wise Friend by Ramsey Campbell

2010 — Ghosts Templar (Jason Dark: Ghost Hunter) by Guido Henkel
2011 — The Hellfire Club by William Meikle
2012 — Gathered Dust by W.H. Pugmire
2013 — In the Dark and Quiet by Joshua Reynolds
2014 — Bedlam in Yellow by William Meikle
2015 — Seeking Whom He May Devour by Joshua Reynolds
2016 — The Watcher at the Gate by William Meikle
2017 — When Soft Voices Die by Amanda DeWees
2018 — The Case of the Black Lodge by Aaron Vlek
2019 — Occult Legion: He is the Gate by James A. Moore and Charles R. Rutledge
2020 — Every Man and Every Woman Is a Star by Nick Mamatas

2010 — The Black Spiral: Twisted Tales of Terror, edited by Richard D. Weber
2011 — House of Fear, edited by Jonathon Oliver
2012 — A Cat of Nine Tales, edited by Tracy DeVore and Thaddeus Sexton
2013 — Weird Detectives, edited by Paula Guran
2014 — The Weiser Book of Horror and the Occult, edited by Lon Milo DuQuette
2015 — A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests, edited by Joshua Reynolds & Miles Boothe
2016 — The Weiser Book of the Fantastic and Forgotten, edited by Judika Illes
2017 — The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives, edited by Judika Illes
2018 — Occult Detective Quarterly: Number 4 / Spring 2018
2019 — Occult Detective Magazine: Number 6 / Fall 2019
2020 — Centralia, edited by Cullen Bunn and Heath Amodio

2010 — Occultation and Other Stories by Laird Barron
2011 — Eldritch Tales: A Miscellany of the Macabre by HP Lovecraft
2012 — The Complete John Thunstone by Manly Wade Wellman
2013 — The Small Hand & Dolly by Susan Hill
2014 — Hitmen by Greg Mitchell
2015 — Night Music by John Connolly
2016 — The Midnight Eye Files Omnibus, Vol 1 by William Meikle
2017 — Carnacki: The Edinburgh Townhouse & Other Stories by William Meikle
2018 — We Are Where the Nightmares Go by C. Robert Cargill
2019 — Case Files of the Royal Occultist: Monmouth’s Giants by Josh Reynolds
2020 — Conquer by Edward Erdelac

2010 — Edict Zero-FIS by Slipgate Nine Entertainment
2011 — Edict Zero-FIS by Slipgate Nine Entertainment
2012 — Operation Victor by Big Finish
2013 — Occult of Personality with Greg Kaminsky
2014 — Rune Soup with Gordon White
2015 — Rune Soup with Gordon White
2016 — The Horror Show with Brian Keene
2017 — Rune Soup with Gordon White
2018 — The Joe Rogan Experience
2019 — Monsters Among Us
2020 — Neil Gaiman & DC’s The Sandman

2010 — John Constantine: Hellblazer
2011 — League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century – 1969
2012 — League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century – 2009
2013 — Drumhellar
2014 — The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
2015 — Providence
2016 — Providence
2017 — Black Magick
2018 — Hellblazer: 30th Anniversary Celebration
2019 — John Constantine: Hellblazer
2020 — John Constantine: Hellblazer

2010 — Inception
2011 — Drive Angry
2012 — Solomon Kane
2013 — Odd Thomas
2014 — Deliver Us From Evil
2015 — Bone Tomahawk
2016 — Dr. Strange
2017 — A Dark Song
2018 — The Possession of Hannah Grace
2019 — Doctor Sleep
2020 — The Wolf of Snow Hollow

2010 — Supernatural
2011 — Fringe
2012 — 666 Park Avenue
2013 — Hannibal
2014 — True Detective
2015 — Constantine
2016 — The X-Files: Season 10
2017 — Lucifer
2018 — Strange Angel
2019 — Stranger Things
2020 — Helstrom

2010 — Destination Truth
2011 — Brad Meltzer’s Decoded
2012 — Deals from the Dark Side
2013 — Haunted Highway
2014 — The Curse of Oak Island
2015 — Expedition Unknown
2016 — The Curse of Oak Island
2017 — Expedition Unknown
2018 — The Occult Collector
2019 — Hellier
2020 — Portals to Hell

2010 — Perdurabo, Revised & Expanded Edition: The Life of Aleister Crowley by Richard Kaczynski, PhD
2011 — Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter by Josh Gates
2012 — In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult by James Wasserman
2013 — The Best of the Equinox, vol 2: Dramatic Calls by Aleister Crowley & Lon Milo DuQuette
2014 — Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World by Gary Lachman
2015 — H.P. Lovecraft & the Black Magickal Tradition by John L. Steadman
2016 — The English Magic Tarot by Rex Van Ryn, Steve Dooley, & Andy Letcher
2017 — Getting Higher: The Manual of Psychedelic Ceremony by Julian Vayne
2018 — John Dee and the Empire of Angels by Jason Louv
2019 — The Grimoire of Aleister Crowley by Rodney Orpheus
2020 — The Dictionary of Demons: 10th Anniversary Edition by Michelle Belanger

2010 — Let Me In by Michael Giacchino
2011 — Keep The Streets Empty For Me by Fever Ray
2012 — Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks by Jimmy Page
2013 — Runaljod – Yggdrasil by Wardruna
2014 — The Devil’s Hand by Anton Sanko
2015 — Constantine by Bear McCreary
2016 — Doctor Strange by Michael Giacchino
2017 — A Dark Song by Ray Harmon
2018 — Skald by Wardruna
2019 — Spells + Rituals by Charming Disaster (Ellia Bisker and Jeff Morris)
2020 — Skapanir by Danheim

2010 — Brian Keene
2011 — William Meikle
2012 — Gregory Lamberson
2013 — Tim Prasil
2014 — John Constantine
2015 — Miles Boothe
2016 — Sam Gafford, John Linwood Grant, Travis Neisler, and Dave Brzeski
2017 — Joshua Reynolds
2018 — Charles R Rutledge
2019 — Greg Newkirk and Dana Matthews-Newkirk (Planet Weird)
2020 — Si Spurrier & Aaron Campbell

Godspeed, 2020

Posted in Current Events on December 31, 2020 by Occult Detective

As I write this, 2020 has thirteen more hours left to wreak its havoc upon us. Not that I believe a magic wand will be waved and 2021 will be any better. At this point, I’m just hoping it’s not going to get worse. But it’s possible. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the X-Files was right all along — Trust No One — be it doctors, politicians, activists, or especially the overlords of social media.

I thought about writing a review of 2020, to highlight the good — and there were some real blessings this year, despite the carnage — but ultimately, putting this year behind us and moving forward is best for all involved.

So instead, I want to look ahead at what is on the calendar and what I hope to achieve, COVID willing, in the coming year.

First of all, I’ll be posting my 11th Annual Occult Detective Award Winners on Monday, January 4th. There were some decent reads this year and while it’s not the strongest field since its inception, there are some real gems that came our way in 2020.

On January 7th I’ll be a guest on The Parafactor, chatting with my old friend Ash Hamilton and his merry bad of cohorts. I was last on their show back in September of 2009, so I’m really looking forward to discussing the paranormal with the guys and catching up.

On the gaming front, Bordermen Games is working to finalize the editing and graphic design on RPGPundit’s The Invisible College: An Authentic Magick OSR RPG we’ve been tapped to publish. Things are progressing nicely and we hope to release sometime in late March, give or take.

Another gaming project, that we are writing and designing for an established IP is well underway and we’re hoping to see it launch on Kickstarter in the fourth quarter of this year. This one’s a dream come true (or on the verge of coming true) and will be something really special… trust me.

Those two gaming projects are going to consume the majority of my creative juices, but I hope to make progress on some other projects, such as publishing an anthology of occultists writing occult fiction, getting all my ducks in a row on a non-fiction paranormal casebook, getting my fiction republished and completing my Cairnwood Manor and Liber Monstrorum series, writing more sword and sorcery, and increasing my online presence through youtube and other avenues.

Of course, I hope to be able to attend events later in the year, if COVID can be brought under control, and there are a number of paranormal investigations that are begging for attention. And I have a pallet shack encampment that could use some of that attention as well.

At the very top of my list is to spend as much time with my family as is humanly possible, and if our health allows, for much of that time to be spent in the woods…

Let’s face it, I’ve barely scratched the surface of all I want to do, but Time is the enemy and always wins in the end. But I will do what I can for as long as I can.

My only resolution for 2021 and all the years to come after is to live until I die. You’d be surprised just how rare that really is.

Midwinter has come

Posted in Current Events on December 21, 2020 by Occult Detective

Merry Midwinter, my friends, and Happy Holidays. This is an auspicious day, with the heavens displaying a magical conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. For those of us more grounded in Northern European philosophies, these planets represent Thor and Freyr in spirit, and as this conjunction unfolds, great changes should be felt, especially for the sensitive, globally.

The social and economic upheavals and the pandemic have exposed just how precarious modern society is. For those of us who cling to the old ways, who still have a foot in the heather, as they say, it has been evident for years.

Change abounds. Magic, it seems, is in the air…

It will be comforting to put 2020 behind us and face the future as it unfolds. Speaking of which —

On January 4, 2021, I expect to publish my 11th Annual Occult Detective Awards. I think there just might be a few surprises to pop up on this year’s list.

Additionally, I will be interviewed on Ash Hamilton’s relaunch of Parafactor on January 7th (I’ll let you know when the episode airs).

Bordermen Games will be publishing RPGPundit’s The Invisible College, an authentic magick OSR RPG, sometime in the first quarter, but most likely somewhere in the neighborhood of the Spring Equinox, with supplemental materials to follow. The Invisible College will be available via Amazon, Drive Thru RPG, and other online retail outlets.

Bordermen Games is also working on a sword and sorcery ROG/Boardgame hybrid with an established IP that will launch in the fourth quarter as a kickstarter. Details to come.

The main focus for me in 2021, however, is my family’s health. Seeing us all back strong and hale. We have trails to wander, logs to split, and fires to be tended. And I’ve work yet to do on my pallet bothy… One of the most important things to come from this disastrous 2020 is a renewed faith in the gods of my ancestors, in an even great importance placed on family, and of our need for spiritual awakening.

We are faltering. This needs to change. With fervor, we must embrace the truths of our cultural heritage and gather our strength for the long road ahead. The spirits are restless… and so am I.

So, I wish you all the very best. May the coming year find you whole.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Freeman & Lilith Presson

Posted in Last Writes with... on December 11, 2020 by Occult Detective


I met Freeman Presson through twitter some ten years back. It started as most twitter interactions do — a bit of back and forth banter regarding our shared interests in the esoteric. We “followed” one another and began to converse more and more. Then, shortly after, we were invited by Weiser Books’ Lisa Trudeau, or Ankhie as she was more commonly known, to join her on the Weiser website for a discussion on Chaos Magick — Chaos Magick for the Clueless (which would be me) – a converstation with Bob Freeman & Freeman Presson — which was tremendously fun and Freeman and I because fast friends in the wake of it.

To be honest, I felt a kinship and connection with Freeman nearly from the start. We both had Arkansas roots and a thirst for knowledge, especially of the more arcane arts, and a mutual appreciation of magical fiction. As our friendship grew, I felt a strong connection with his family — his enchanting wife, Lilith, and their son Erik — and we would often discuss family matters, and I often leaned on him for advice.

He and his family mean the world to me, and as much as I so often loathe the internet and social media, without it I would have never become friends with the Pressons, and for that I am truly thankful. Freeman is a skilled astrologer and the proprietor of Hermetic Healing Works, while Lilith is a trusted medium and social activist. It is my upmost pleasure to share with you their Last Writes.


Last Meal

I would not care so much what the menu was, but I’d like to have it with family and friends. We might revisit a favorite restaurant, like Bettola or Galley and Garden. There would have to be wine, and a glass of Strega or Chartreuse afterwards.

Last Book

I’d be tempted to indulge in a 30th re-reading of Lord of the Rings, but I think I will go with a careful reading of the Corpus Hermeticum instead, as it’s somewhat better as preparation for that exciting trip out the Capricorn Gate.

Last Movie

I’m not a big movie person, but this is where I sneak in the Lord of the Rings (Extended Edition of course! It looks like I am trying to stretch things out, doesn’t it?)

Last Song

There’s a lot of competition here, but I’m going with an Emerald Rose favorite: “Come to the Dance.” That’s a rousing Pagan anthem to go out on.

First person I’d want to see on the other side?

I have a vision of all my ancestors crowding around to welcome me, and maybe some of my Gods and Guides. I’d include my wife, but she is under no circumstances allowed to predecease me!


Last Meal

My last meal should be strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries along with an assortment of cheeses and breads with Dom Perignon – the comfort of the familiar and down-to-earth paired with the fancy I’ve never tried. 

Last Song

The last song would probably be “The Parting Glass” as sung by The Wailin’ Jennys, as it seems appropriate. 

Last Book & Last Movie

As far as books and movies, I would likely want to spend my time enjoying the company of people I love and giving away my possessions to people who could enjoy them rather than consuming media.

First person I’d want to see on the other side?

First person I’d want to see on the other side would be my paternal grandfather who died in February 1993, followed by my maternal grandfather who died in December 2016.  Both men were wonderful, compassionate, hard working people who gave unconditional love to me and many other people.  I miss them tremendously.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Edward M. Erdelac

Posted in Last Writes with... on December 4, 2020 by Occult Detective


Another Hoosier born author, Ed Erdelac hangs his hat in the LA area these days, where he’s set up camp with his wife, kids, and an assortment of feline companions. I discovered Ed through my pal Greg Mitchell who turned me on to Ed’s Weird Westerns, The Merkabah Rider series. Ed’s a multi-genre threat, with a style the embraces pulp sensibilities interspersed with a modern edge. If you’re not reading Ed Erdelac, you’re missing out…plain and simple.

Last Meal

My mom’s fried chicken and french fries

Last Book

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Last Movie


Last Song

The Greatest Adventure by Glenn Yarborough

First person you’d like to meet on the other side?

My dad.

Only two weeks left in this season of Last Writes.

The 2020 Occult Detective Awards will follow soon after.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… Lee Thomas

Posted in Last Writes with... on November 27, 2020 by Occult Detective


I met Lee Thomas in 2011 at Mo*Con VI, a small Inter-Faith Convention that explored the themes of horror literature and spirituality. I was a paneled guest, sitting alongside Cullen Bunn and Lucien Soulban, to discuss alternate avenues for writers. Lee, a Bram Stoker Award and Lambda Literary Award Winner, was there as a Special Guest. I hadn’t read any of Lee’s fiction, but after a long and thoughtful conversation with him, knew that I would have to rectify that at my earliest convenience.

I was not disappointed.

I first picked up Black Sun Set, a noir character piece, that showed me he had real writing chops, but it was Torn, which was released in 2012, that cemented for me the depth of his storytelling. I went on to read a number of brilliant works by him — The German, Like Light for Flies, Ash Street, Butcher Road

Lee writes deep, psychological literature that transcends the tropes and genres he explores. He is a truly gifted author that we simply don’t get enough from.

It is my privilege and honor to share with you now the Last Writes of Lee Thomas.


Breakfast – banger sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns, sourdough toast


The Throat by Peter Straub


Shaun of the Dead, go out with a laugh


“Wrathchild” by Iron Maiden


James Baldwin. I have so many questions.

The Occult Detective’s Last Writes with… David J. West

Posted in Last Writes with... on November 20, 2020 by Occult Detective


Another friend discovered through Howard Fandom, David J. West, who also writes under the name James Alderdice, pens savage tales of sword & sorcery, wonderfully weird westerns, grim and dark fantasy, and the like.

West and I share similar values, being family men and patriots, but we also have a common affinity, not just for Robert E. Howard’s philosophies and writings, but for ancient ruins, swords, and spending time in the back country.

As such, being able to share his Last Writes with you now is an honor.

Last Meal

Vanilla milkshakes take me back to hanging out with my grandfather and Dad. A cappuccino with way too much sugar. A medium rare sirloin cut of elk steak. A slice of pepperoni pizza from Marias Italian Kitchen in LA. And finally a salted caramel gelato. All of these take me back to incredibly fond memories.

Last Book

This is really hard as a serious bibliophile. I thin as a spiritual guide I would reread The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi which is already something I refer to as one of my gospels.

Last Movie

I’m a person who enjoys rereading and rewatching my favorites. I think I would go with Conan the Barbarian for old times sake.

Last Song

This Corrosion by the Sisters of Mercy

First person you’d like to meet on the other side

I expect to meet my deceased brother, but for someone that the rest of you would know, I would say I would really like to spend some time chatting with my favorite author Robert E. Howard.

#Norsevember …Hammer in the Morning

Posted in Current Events on November 18, 2020 by Occult Detective

In 1985, my best friend, Brent Smith, and I went to Indianapolis for a Gun & Knife Show. A dealer there, a local Silversmith, had an impressive display of handcrafted jewelry, a couple of Norse Hammers among them. I talked to him about commissioning a Mjolnir necklace. He agreed and I took his card. A week later I mailed off a photocopy of a Hammer found near Romersdal, on the island of Bornholm.


In 1986, Brent and I returned to the Gun & Knife Show and the dealer had my necklace. He charged me less than $200 for the silver work and even incorporated an ouroboros Jormundgandr  as the ring.

I’ve been wearing this necklace for just over thirty-five years now. If the gods are willing I will wear it for 35 more.

It is a symbol of my faith, of my reverence for my cultural heritage. It represents protection, strength, and power.

It is NOT a symbol of white supremacy, racism, or hate, as so many SJWs would have you believe. I have no room in my heart for intolerance of any stripe.

The Thunder God wields Mjolnir as a protector of all the people of Midgard.

While I revere my Northern European ancestors, particularly the Norse, Celts, Anglo Saxons, and Germanic tribes, it is not at the exclusion of other cultures.

We all share the same rock.

I will raise a horn to you and yours and ask that you do the same for me and mine.



What I’m writing:  Rules for a Sword & Sorcery RPG.

What I’m reading: The Road to Hel: A Study of the Conception of the Dead in Old Norse Literature by Hilda Roderick Ellis M.A., Ph.D.

What I’m studying: game design via various online sources

What I’m drawing: interior art for RPGPundit’s Invisible College.

What I’m watching: The Mandalorian, The Last Kingdom, Designated Survivor, Seinfeld, Rules of Engagement, Curse of Oak Island, The Holzer Files, lots of YouTube

Music I’m listening to: Listening to Wardruna via Youtube; Led Zeppelin and Concrete Blonde during my commute.

Podcasts I’m listening to: Gordon White’s Rune Soup

What I’m playing: Dungeons & Dragons 5E on roll20, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla

What I’m anticipating: Pandemic Thanksgiving

Thorsson’s Big Book of Runes & Rune Magic for #Norsevember

Posted in Book Review on November 12, 2020 by Occult Detective

I’ve been reading Edred Thorsson for something akin to thirty-five years. My first introduction to his writing came by way of Weiser’s 1984 publication of Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic.

With The Big Book of Runes and Rune Magic, we find what is essentially an amalgamation of the author’s previous works under one roof, so to speak.

I have found Thorsson (Stephen Flowers) to be a competent writer, knowledgeable and persistent in his worldview.

I have not always agreed with him and his interpretations. The simple truth of the matter is, so very little is known about Norse culture, so little has survived. While Gods remain, the ways in which they were worshiped, how their magic was practiced, is lost to the mysteries of time.

As such, when investigating the runes and Norse culture it is always wise to do so with the foreknowledge that there is no true “authority”.


Thorsson approaches the subject with an almost split personality. On one hand he’s an academic forthright in his pursuit of the truth, plumbing historical records with an anthropologist’s thirst. On the other, Thorsson is an erstwhile explorer, experimenting with the bits we’ve collected and trying to make practical sense of it, not as a reenactment but as a way to move it forward while honoring what has gone before.

It’s a tricky business, and I’m not always onboard, but his scholarship is such that I am compelled to take notice, to take from it that which rings true.

I find this edition from Red Wheel/Weiser to be comprehensive, which is its crowning feature. They were able to collect a broad selection of Thorsson’s scholarship and put it all in one place, which is both handy and makes for a more complete journey.

You can pick up Edred Thorsson’s The Big Book of Runes and Rune Magic wherever books are sold, or you might pick it up directly from Red Wheel/Weiser to help ensure books like these keep coming our way.

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