Rex Quondam, Rexque Futurus

Posted in Archive on May 5, 2017 by Occult Detective

A bittersweet remembrance.

occultdetective.com

terry as arthurBack in March I posted about the love affair Brent and I had with John Boorman’s Excalibur. This past weekend came the news that Nigel Terry, King Arthur himself, passed away at the age of 69 due to complications from emphysema. We were, Brent and I, huge fans of Terry’s work, not only of his turn as Arthur, but his roles in movies such as The Lion in Winter, or the criminally underrated television series Covington Cross as well. But, it was Terry’s Arthur that drew us in.

Brent had an affinity for Arthurian Legend, perhaps surpassing even my own. It was Brent who turned me on to Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon and Paxson’s Hallowed Isle series. I returned the favor by leading him to Stewart’s Merlin series, as well as Gil Kane and John Jakes’ take on Excalibur.

I remember vividly when he returned from his first trip…

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May the Fourth Be With You

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error, Media Macabre on May 4, 2017 by Occult Detective

MAY4TH

It’s hard to believe that in a few short weeks we’ll be celebrating Star Wars’ 40th Anniversary. I was a few months past my 11th birthday, the perfect age for what this little movie was offering. Star Wars, an homage to the serials of George Lucas’ youth, was everything to me then. I was Luke, a kid living on a small farm, dreaming of adventures in far off lands, believing fervently in an ancient, mystical power that surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together. Forty years later, I still do.

Star Wars was a near perfect movie. All these years later, I see each subsequent film attempt to strip just a little bit of magic from the original, the one whose opening scrawl did not begin with the words “Episode Four: A New Hope”.

But try as they might, they can never rob from me that feeling that washed over me, sitting on the aisle seat, far right of the theatre in the front row, planted next to some old woman whom I didn’t know.

It was my coming of age in a lot of ways. It was the first movie I saw by myself. No parents. No friends. I was dropped off at the theatre to stand in an impossibly long line, and by the gods, I was by shear luck (or providence) the last person admitted into the theatre. I was scared, to be honest, being alone in a strange city and unaccompanied by any sort of supervision, but once the movie started and John Williams’ score carried me away… I wasn’t alone, or frightened… I was transfixed and amazed and reborn.

For many people in my generation, Star Wars was a defining moment, and though for most of us that magical experience is a distant memory, I can’t help but think its transformative effect is still with us now.

Ignoring everything that came after, clinging to the memory of that first glimpse into that universe, I can still let go of my conscious self and act on instinct. I can still feel the Force flowing through me.

Happy Star Wars Day. May the Force be with you… always.

The Weiser Book of #OccultDetectives, edited by @JudikaIlles

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Occult Detectives with tags , , on May 2, 2017 by Occult Detective

wbodI proudly parade my near lifelong obsession for the occult detective genre in all its forms and guises on this blog. That obsession led me to not only pursue a writing career entrenched in the conceits of the genre, but to explore the preternatural outside the realm of fiction as a paranormal investigator.

It is also no secret that October is my favorite month, that I have an unnatural attraction to Hallowe’en, Samhain, and all the trappings the Witching Season has to offer.

Well, when the Season of the Witch rolls around this year, readers are in for a real treat as my two favorite preoccupations collide with the October 1st release of The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing, edited and introduced by none other than one of the premiere occult authors and scholars of the modern age — Judika Illes.

Judika Illes has compiled an amazing collection of occult detective stories, mining some of the best paranormal mysteries the early twentieth century had to offer, written by such legendary authors as Algernon Blackwood, William Hope Hodgson, Sax Rohmer, Dion Fortune, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

As one devoted to the genre, both as a fan and an author, I understand the awesome task Illes has undertaken. To pore over the sheer volume of early occult detective tales and select the very best and defining tales for a collection such as this would be a maddening endeavor for any scholar, but Judika Illes has done an admirable job of putting together a brilliant and impressive table of contents here.

As well read in the genre as I am, Judika Illes has managed to unearth no less than four spectacular tales that had escaped my attention: The Dead Hand by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace, The Vampire by Alice and Claude Askew, The Witness in the Wood by Rose Champion de Crespigny, and The Eyes of Doom by Ella M. Scrymsour.

Whether you are new to the genre or a lifelong fan, The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing is a collection you absolutely cannot do without. Why, I am already pining for the coming of October when I can once more crack the spine of this assemblage of paranormal thrillers and read them when the moon is high and unseen spirits roam unfettered.

The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives, edited and introduced by Judika Illes is available for preorder from amazon.com.

 

Beltane Blues (Cheap Day Return)

Posted in Dice Upon A Time, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on May 1, 2017 by Occult Detective

“At Bealltainn, or May Day, every effort was made to scare away the fairies, who were particularly dreaded at this season. In the West Highlands charms were used to avert their influence. In the Isle of Man the gorse was set alight to keep them at a distance. In some parts of Ireland the house was sprinkled with holy water to ward off fairy influence. These are only a mere handful out of the large number of references available, but they seem to me to reveal an effort to avoid the attentions of discredited deities on occasions of festival once sacred to them. The gods duly return at the appointed season, but instead of being received with adoration, they are rebuffed by the descendants of their former worshippers, who have embraced a faith which regards them as demons.

In like manner the fairies in Ireland were chased away from the midsummer bonfires by casting fire at them. At the first approach of summer, the fairy folk of Scotland were wont to hold a “Rade,” or ceremonial ride on horseback, when they were liable to tread down the growing grain.”

― Lewis Spence, British Fairy Origins

The tide has turned, it seems, as Beltane Fire Festivals and the like light the way to a new dawn of pagan revitalization. Oh, sure, there are some naysayers, calling the pagan movement, reborn in the 50s by many estimations, a passing fancy, but from my vantage point, being somewhat older than most of those writing of such things, that paganism, which has never been a unified thing to begin with, is merely undergoing a change, much like it has been doing for the better part of the past century and most likely has done so since we were painting bulls on cave walls.

You will find a litany of articles declaring paganism’s demise, of it falling out of favor. They couldn’t be more wrong. Welcome to the revolution, the evolution, of faith in the 21st century.

Beltane, being a welcoming of summer’s return, of renewal and rekindling, is alive and well here and I feel a continuation of what I wrote of last year at this time — that the old ways have steadily been seeping back into my weary bones, that the call of the spirits still beckon from beyond the pale.

I have many fires lit and I tend to them as best I can.

First Born, my occult detective collection due soon from Seventh Star Press, has passed through the proof stage. I will be looking forward to announcing a blog tour and book promotion in the coming weeks.

I’ll have a Landon Connors tale published in an upcoming issue of Skelos Magazine. Details once I can share them. One of my bucket List accomplishments I craved was being published in Weird Tales. As they are no more, I view Skelos as a worthy successor, so landing a story with them is a real honour.

I’ve been editing my son’s second novel, Word Hollow, and it’s really been such a tremendous joy to pore over this thing. Connor is a marvel and I thank the gods each and every day that he is a part of Kim’s and my world. We are blessed. I may be biased, but he’s one helluva storyteller.

I finally completed the Occult Detective Tarot and the writing on the rulebooks for Occult Detective: The Roleplaying Game continues. It is coming together nicely and I look forward to shopping it around to game publishers soon. I have some in mind, of course, but am prepared to take the beast to crowdfunding if necessary. There is an audience hungry for it, I think.

tarot sample

Speaking of Occult Detectives, I have read the wondrously talented Judika Illes’s October release titled The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives and I will be publishing a review this week, giving the book my most heartfelt recommendation and endorsement.

You can also expect forthcoming reviews of several other books, including Getting Higher by Julian Vayne.

I have some other projects in the works, some more secret than others, but I’m in a bit of a rush, so that’s all for now. I love this time of the year, this Second Hallowe’en if you will. There is magic afoot and the ancient powers abound. I am thankful for my time here, for my friends and family, and for all of you. Be well and true, and may the gods bless you all of your days.


A Feast of (Fictional) Friends

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , , on April 26, 2017 by Occult Detective

“Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven’s claws.” — Jim Morrison

Apologies for being rather scarce this month. I’ve been insanely occupied by several projects. Expect me to continue being scarce until Là Bealltainn, then we’ll see to getting back to some semblance of a routine.

Here’s a little sneak peek into some of what I’ve been working on, related to both the Occult Detective RPG that is still in development and a collection of occult detective tales, the first installment of the Liber Monstrorum Chronicles, set to be released in a short number of weeks.

lmc jam

Up front, that’s Landon Connors in the leather armchair, of course, with Martin Crowe kneeling nearby. In back, from left to right, we have Cassidy Martin, Dale Parker, Allen Parker, Sarah Jones, Brooks Autry, Father Francis Rainey, Thea Hill, Selina Wolfe, Tracy Larson, and Greg Mitchell.

I suppose if it’s a group photo, then Michelle Hawkes is taking the picture ;)

All are characters to be found in First Born, debuting in July from Seventh Star Press.

The Occult Detective’s #LastWrites Season Finale featuring Julian Vayne

Posted in Archive on April 10, 2017 by Occult Detective

last-writes-3

Welcome to the twenty-third installment and season finale of LAST WRITES.

The premise is simple. My guests face their final rest, but before Death claims them they are granted a few earthly pleasures, the memories of which will travel with them into the great unknown.

Julian_VayneOur final guest of the season is Julian Vayne, an occultist and the author of a number of books, essays, journals and articles in both the academic and esoteric press. He is a freelance consultant, often working in museum and heritage settings, and lives in Devon. His name is most closely associated with the approach to occultism known as chaos magick. Julian is also an initiated Wiccan, member of the Kaula Nath lineage and Master Mason.

LAST MEAL

Well the last meal, like everything else in this list, would be influenced by the nature of my death (assuming I know it’s about to happen – of course I could die at the end of this interview!). Had I suffered from the heat a sorbet of cucumber and crunchy salad would be great. Were I to expire from the cold I guess I’d want a hearty bean and beef stew or similar before my final moment of awareness. In general if I had to select something as an all purpose pre-mortem meal it would probably be a great British curry.

LAST BOOK

A last read before my last rites? We’ll perhaps something inspirational like the Tao Te Ching or an text or two such as the Heart Sutra or Poetic Edda. Something nice and long would of course allow me to cheat death for a while such as À la recherche du temps perdu. I might choose one of my own books which are, in many places, quite autobiographical which might give me a chance to focus a few last reflections on my life before it’s lights out. I suspect if death turns up at the end of this interview and I have to make a selection toot sweet I’d go for a browse through my favourite (and handily potentially endless) book, the tarot. (Probably the Coleman-Smith aka Rider-Waite or Crowley-Harris ‘Thoth’ decks.)

LAST MOVIE

The last movie I suppose could be the wonderful cinematography of something like Baraka or even 2001 if I was feeling in the mood for a retro death. I might go for something like the gruesome but also deeply spiritual Holy Mountain by Alexandro Jodorowsky or my favourite cult-pagan-cult movie The Wickerman. I might choose a deeply human story such as the wonderful Inuit produced movie Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (which is also handily several hours long) or go for a few laughs on my way out with some classic comedy – Carry on Screaming anyone?

LAST SONG

Last song, oh Gods, the humanity! Too many! Assuming we mean a song with lyrics (to exclude favourite tunes without words such as much of the classical or weirdy electronic music I love). I probably have to select a track by my late musical idol David Bowie, something like Heroes or even perhaps Rebel Rebel But maybe I’d go back to another old time musical hero and take my final bow to the strains of When the Music’s Over or The End by The Doors.

THE FIRST PERSON YOU’D LIKE TO MEET ON THE OTHER SIDE

The person I’d most like to find waiting for me in the hearafter, another really tough question! We’ll there are loads of folks from history I’d like to hang out with such as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (who I’d also love to quiz about what went down at the Eleusinian Mysteries), through to folks like psychologist and acid priest Timothy Leary or voudou initiate and cutting edge film-maker Maya Deren. It would be nice to see my Dad who passed away a few years back and of course any close members of my family who had gone into the world of ancestors before me. In this moment (I’m working in a museum with a great collection of pre-ice-age homind remains) I think I’d like to meet a European shaman from before the iron-age.

For more information on Julian, visit The Blog of Baphomet, or follow him on facebook.

Julian’s next book, Getting Higher: The Manual of Psychedelic Ceremony, published by Psychedelic Press, will be available the 26th of April. I’ll have the pleasure of reviewing the book for all of you. Watch the Occult Detective  for details…

As for Last Writes, tune in next week as I recap our debut season and look ahead toward possible seasons to come.

Hungry like the Wolfe

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice with tags , , on April 5, 2017 by Occult Detective

wolfe

An illustration of Selina Wolfe, one half of the the occult detective team Wolfe & Crowe.

Selina and her partner, Martin Crowe, will be appearing soon in the Liber Monstrorum Trilogy from Seventh Star Press.

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