Archive for Judika Illes

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


Review: The Weiser Field Guide to Witches

Posted in Archive with tags , , on September 14, 2010 by Occult Detective

HAVE BROOM, WILL TRAVEL: A Review of the Weiser Field Guide to Witches.

The Weiser Field Guide to Witches by Judika Illes is beautiful to behold. I love the weight and feel of it. It’s everything one comes to expect from Weiser Books and more. They produce works with care and precision, and believe me, in the publishing industry that is not always the case. Weiser’s attention to detail really shines through, from the cover art (which is just gloriously campy and fun) to the paper quality and the typeset. I would have purchased this book by appearance alone and will covet the entire series of Weiser Field Guides until they’re all mine, sitting majestically together on a shelf for quick and easy reference.

Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t have some issues with it. As far as content goes, this is rather light reading and many of the entries are not wholly accurate. I admire Judika Illes’ ambition, if not all of her research.

Witchcraft is a meaty subject, with a rich and storied history, much of which is shrouded by the mists of time and buried under a mountain of secrecy and out and out fabrication. A complete guide to the Craft, in all its varied guises, is a daunting task for even the most studious scholar.

The Weiser Field Guide to Witches should be approached in the spirit that it was written. There are no great mysteries revealed within, but there are kernals strewn throughout that can lead one to a deeper understanding of the world of magic and spellcraft.

The Weiser Field Guide to Witches will be available on October 1, in time to put oneself in the mood for All Hallow’s Eve. Order your copy direct from Weiser Books or through Amazon.

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