Leaving 2019 in a hail of bullets (and a Top 10 list to boot)

Posted in Archive on December 30, 2019 by Occult Detective
  • Shawn Hebert, proprietor of Lailokens Awen (whose candles I wholeheartedly endorse) posted a terrific review of my latest release — Descendant: A Novel of the Liber Monstrorum
  • I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions, but I do like to make plans for the coming year and more occultdetective.com content is high on my list of priorities.
  • Hellier is one of the better paraentertainment series out there and well worth a look if you haven’t. I have a soft spot for Planet Weird content.
  • I read just shy of 60 books this year which is becoming an unfortunate trend.
  • I’m making a list (and checking it twice) of projects I want to manifest in 2020. Truth is, I have so many irons in the fire, and so many more I want to add, it seems like a improbable set of goals. Hopefully, if I can accomplish a fraction of these, I will be somewhat at peace with it.
  • If you’re into gaming, you might want to keep an eye on Bordermen Games next year. We have a lot of interesting things in development and the blog will be showcasing reviews, serial fiction, and GM tips and tricks in 2020.
  • Thrilled to be continuing my relationship with Paint Monk’s Library. If you dig comics, then yeah, it’s the place to be.
  • I was going to post a Top 10 list of my favorite films of 2019, but, unfortunately I didn’t see ten films that I thought deserved the recognition.
  • So, no Top 10 movies, but Top 10 TV series is a little easier to manage. See my list below.

Top 10 TV Series of 2019

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  1. The Mandalorian
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. The Good Place
  4. Stranger Things
  5. Good Omens
  6. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
  7. Lucifer
  8. The Man in the High Castle
  9. Living with Yourself
  10. Veronica Mars

Bonus: Best Scene — John Constantine meets up with Lucifer on Earth 666 on an episode of the Flash (Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part III)

  • Last bullet. Will there be an Occult Detective Awards this year? I suppose there will. It will be my 10th year doing so. I guess the bigger question is, will they continue after that…

Dreams of Winter: A Tale of the Liber Monstrorum

Posted in Horror, Occult Detectives, Writing on December 23, 2019 by Occult Detective

Yuletide is full upon us and though we’ve no snow here in the haunted Hoosier heartland, our spirits are still awash in the seasonal glow of Winter.

Being in a giving mood, I offer you, my friends, a short story of mine that you may have missed — Dreams of Winter — featuring some familiar faces, such as Dr. Landon Connors, Sarah Jones, and Detective Ellis DeTripp.

Originally published in the anthology Vampires Don’t Sparkle, edited by Michael West, Dreams of Winter is a favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy.

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Click on the link below to download the pdf

Dreams of Winter

Thoughts on A Modern Guide to Heathenry: Lore, Celebrations, and Mysteries of the Northern Traditions by Galina Krasskova

Posted in Book Review, Magick on December 16, 2019 by Occult Detective

I received a complimentary copy of A Modern Guide to Heathenry: Lore, Celebrations, and Mysteries of the Northern Traditions by Galina Krasskova from publisher Weiser Books.

Here’s how it’s described online, none of which I take issue with:

heathenryAn accessible yet in-depth guide to this increasingly popular pre-Christian religious tradition of Northern Europe

Heathenry, is one of the fastest growing polytheistic religious movements in the United States today. This book explores the cosmology, values, ethics, and rituals practiced by modern heathens.

In A Modern Guide to Heathenry readers will have the opportunity to explore the sacred stories of the various heathen gods like Odin, Frigga, Freya, and Thor and will be granted a look into the devotional practices of modern votaries. Blóts, the most common devotional rites, are examined in rich detail with examples given for personal use. Additionally, readers are introduced to the concept of wyrd, or fate, so integral to the heathen worldview.

Unlike many books on heathenry, this one is not denomination-specific, nor does it seek to overwhelm the reader with unfamiliar Anglo-Saxon or Norse terminology. For Pagans who wish to learn more about the Norse deities or those who are new to heathenry or who are simply interested in learning about this unique religion, A Modern Guide to Heathenry is the perfect introduction. Those who wish to deepen their own devotional practice will find this book helpful in their own work as well.

Now my thoughts:

I reviewed this book when it was originally published as Exploring the Northern Tradition back nearly a decade ago. I did not give it very high marks. Including UPG material in what I felt should have hewn to a more scholarly approach was one of my perceived transgressions, and I was not (and am not) overly fond of the author’s personal brand of heathenry. This colored my views, to be sure.

That said, giving it a fresh read, in a slightly revised edition, I am more accepting of the material, less protective, I suppose you could say.

The fact is, heathenry continues to evolve and grow. I accept that my own heathen beliefs are in the minority and I’m okay with that. All I can do is live my life and speak my words. Each man and woman will find their own path and the gods can take take care of themselves.

The simple truth is, there is value in this book, if you are new to heathenry. It is a fine introduction to modern perspectives on an ancient faith that is still clawing its way back to relevancy.

I can see in this book shadows of my faith, like reflections on a pool of water at night. I trust that those shadows are enough to call people to the gods, if their hearts and minds are open.

A great emphasis on ancestral worship is greatly appreciated as I see it as the most important aspect of the faith.

If you are unfamiliar with heathenry, then I recommend this book to you. Here, the door is opened, just a crack, for you to glimpse the faith in all its glory. This book can be a stepping stone for you, out an across still, moonlit waters, where the gods lurk in the shadowy recesses, calling you home.

Barbarism

Posted in Magick on December 9, 2019 by Occult Detective

“Barbarianism is the natural state of mankind.
Civilization is unnatural. It is the whim of circumstance.
And barbarianism must ultimately triumph”
― Robert E. Howard

DisembobiedI’ve been thinking a lot about ‘civilization’ lately, the pros and cons of society writ large. I have, for the vast majority of my more than fifty years on this rock, lived in the country, or at the very least, country adjacent.

I am no fan of cities. and if I’m being perfectly honest, I can barely tolerate small towns. I am, however, a very social person. I like people. I like intellectual discourse. I enjoy the camaraderie of friends and colleagues. I thrive on the social interactions found in games and sport and ritual.

The thing is, a society breaks down the minute the collective grows too large, when it grows beyond the hunter/gather social construct. We grow and prosper best when we are sheltered in a tribal modality, when the collective is small and sustainable.

We can come together with our neighbors, to feast and celebrate, to test our physical and intellectual mettle, to share ideas, but in the end, we must return to our tribal roots.

That’s where the real magic flourishes, in the tight knit communities, tied by blood and ancestry. Never do I feel more at ease than when I am out in the wilderness, breathing the country air, deep in a secluded wood. That is when I feel connected to the earth, when I feel the magic coursing beneath my feet and up into my body.

No, these cities, with their corrupt and twisted towers, their wasteland of concrete and steel, are not meant for us. And all the voices I hear cry out on social media, why, they’re all city-folk, wanting their cake to devour and choke on. They are a part of the machine, and it’s a machine I am growing more than weary of.

Everyone speaks of tribalism as if it’s a dirty word, especially in magic circles. It pains me to see them so proven wrong. They can’t see the forest for all the trees.

“The more I see of what you call civilization,
the more highly I think of what you call savagery!”
― Robert E. Howard

 

Myth-conceptions

Posted in Magick on December 6, 2019 by Occult Detective

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I read a post today by John Beckett over on Patheos. It was titled “An Authentic Foundation for Modern Paganism”, which you can read for yourself here.

I don’t necessarily disagree with anything Mr. Beckett said, but as a storyteller, I must admit, I enjoy a good yarn, especially when its connected to magic.

Does it truly matter whether or not Gerald Gardner was initiated by Old Dorothy Clutterbuck, or Alex Sanders by Mary Bibby? Would we better off knowing the truth of the events in Cairo during Crowley’s reception of the Book of the Law? What of various proclamations regarding Secret Chiefs or divine visitations? For the Christians in the room, what of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus?

The Eddas and Sagas are filled with livid boasts, proclaiming larger than life exploits, all intent on building a vibrant mythology that passes from tongue to tongue, becoming a part of the very fabric that makes up the celestial tapestry of our mundane human existence.

I’m not calling for lies to be the order of the day. We get enough of that from the news media and politicians (and their social media cohorts and sycophants). But don’t be so quick to snuff out the magic. A poetic origin story or fanciful recounting of a ritual might be stretching things a bit, but when one paints a picture, do we favor dull and neutral, or do we look to the bold and vivacious?

Let magic breathe a little. By the gods, let magic be magic.

My thoughts on Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (New and Expanded Edition)

Posted in Book Review, Magick on December 5, 2019 by Occult Detective

ualevendaIn June of 1979, Peter Levenda flew to Chile―then under martial law―to investigate claims that a mysterious colony and torture center in the Andes Mountains held a key to the relationship between Nazi ideology and its post-war survival on the one hand, and occult ideas and practices on the other. He was detained there briefly and released with a warning: “You are not welcome in this country.” The people who warned him were not Chileans but Germans, not government officials but agents of the assassination network Operation Condor. They were also Nazis, providing a sanctuary for men like Josef Mengele, Hans-Ulrich Rudel, and Otto Skorzeny. In other words: ODESSA.

Published in 1995, Unholy Alliance was the first book in English on the subject of Nazi occultism to be based on the captured Nazi archives themselves, as well as on the author’s personal investigations and interviews, often conducted under dangerous conditions. The book attracted the attention of historians and journalists the world over and has been translated into six languages. A later edition boasts the famous foreword by Norman Mailer.

How did occultism come to play such an important role in the development of Nazi political ideology? What influence did such German and Austrian occult leaders as Lanz von Liebenfels and Guido von List have over the fledgling Nazi party? What was the Thule Gesellschaft, and who was its creator, Baron von Sebottendorf? Did the Nazi high command really believe in occultism? In astrology? In magic and reincarnation?

This is a new and expanded edition of the original text, with much additional information on the rise of extremist groups in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the United States and the esoteric beliefs that are at their foundations. It is the first book in a trilogy that includes Ratline and The Hitler Legacy. This is where it all began.

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I remember picking this book up in the mid-90s shortly after it was released. I was working at Waldenbooks at the time, seasonal help at Christmas. I’d been tasked with opening boxes in the back storeroom and as soon as I laid eyes on the Avon cover it went straight to the stock shelves where employees kept the stack of things they wanted to buy with their company discount. I took it home with me after my shift and read it straight through the night.

So, here we are, nearly twenty five years later, and I’ve just read the “New and Expanded Edition”. Firstly, Ibis Press continues to impress with their production and design skills. They put together beautiful books and Unholy Alliance is no exception.

As for the book itself, I’m not sure any of the added material is overly warranted, but it doesn’t detract from the original text. It is still a fascinating deep-dive into occult conspiracies and the Reich’s maddening obsessions.

I’ve always been rather fond of Levenda’s writing. For one, he’s a smart guy and one helluva researcher, and it often seems like there’s so much information bouncing around inside his head he has a hard time staying focused. It reminds me of nearly every occult study group I’ve belonged to. There’s always that one guy, too smart for his own good, talking a mile a minute, trying to get all of his thoughts out there.

You’re also never really sure when he’s pulling your leg a bit.

I used to recommend Unholy Alliance unconditionally and I am more than happy to do so again. It’s a subject entirely engrossing and Levenda leaves no stone unturned. I’ve read his complete trilogy now and they are all compelling reads that I endorse fully.

Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (New and Expanded Edition) by Peter Levenda is available wherever books are sold. Here’s the link to the evil empire wherein it can be purchased with grace and ease, and possibly delivered from the sky by drones.

Bob Freeman’s “Descendant Blog Tour” Schedule

Posted in Writing with tags , on November 14, 2019 by Occult Detective

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On Monday, November 18, I’ll be a guest of Dark Bites where I’ll be discussing the “scariest investigations” I’ve been involved in during my more than thirty-five years as a paranormal investigator.

I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the benefits of studying ancient myth on Tuesday, November 19 when I stop by Armed with a Book.

For Sheila’s Guests & Review, I’ll be discussing my writing process. Watch for it on Wednesday, November 20.

Thursday, November 21 will find me over at Jazzy Book reviews where I’ll share which movie or tv universe I’d like to find myself in.

On Friday, November 22, I’ll be interviewed for The Book Junkie Reads.

I’ve been offered an open forum on Saturday, November 23 at Sapphyria’s Books. Seeing as how it will be the 130th Anniversary of the first commercial jukebox (11/23/1889 at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco) I thought I might blog about music and its connection to my writing (and paranormal adventuring).

Seventh Star Press has asked me to discuss how much reality I allowed to seep into my writing (Descendant, in particular). Look for it on Sunday, November 24.

The Descendant Blog Tour comes to a close on Monday, November 25 with a visit to I Smell Sheep. Now that’s a blog any true Scotsman can get behind, if you know what I mean. They’ve asked me to list my Top 10 Paranormal Investigations. I’ll do so, but maybe with a twist…

In addition, there will be a number of reviewers posting their thoughts on Descendant throughout the week. I’ll post links to those reviews, and to each of tour stops as they become available.

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