The Devil’s Dozen – Gemma Gary

devil's dozen gemma gary.jpgThe Devil’s Dozen: Thirteen Craft Rites of the Old One – Gemma Gary
Troy Books – 2015
This one was alright. It’s a book about communing with the Devil. The Devil here isn’t quite what some might expect. He’s an old Pagan god with a more complicated set of morals than the Biblical Prince of Evil.

gemma gary skulls devil

While this book does outline the procedure for summoning the Dark Man, it leaves it up to the reader to decide what to do if that summoning is succesful. Other grimoires I’ve read give fairly specific instructions on what to do and say when in the presence of Satan, but this one leaves it up to the magician. I liked this. It made Satan seem like an affable sort, the kind of guy you can talk to.

As far as grimoires go, this one is quite cool. It’s dark enough that you don’t feel like a wuss when you’re reading it, but it also has a kind of a natural, folky feel to it that actually makes it seem far more sincere than other over-the-top sinister grimoires. (This is more Black Widow than Black Witchery.) This is the second book by this author that I have read recently, and while I can’t speak to its efficacy, I definitely get the sense that Gary knows what she’s talking about.

skull gary devil
Reading this book made me reflect on my own relationship with the Devil. I’ve never met the lad, but I’m sometimes surprised by how much I am drawn to books about him. It’s been 15 years since my parents last forced me to go to mass. Why do I still think that Satan is so cool? I guess this whole blog is just a desperate last act of rebellion as I approach middle age. Oh well.

Satan was a Lesbian – Fred Haley/Monica Roberts

satan was a lesbian fred haley.jpgSatan was a Lesbian – Fred Haley/Monica Roberts
PEC – 1960

I’m sure you already saw it, but take another look at that incredible cover there. Bask in its glory. It’s a thing of absolute beauty. This cover was also used on Jan Hudson’s Satan’s Daughter. That book was originally published in 1961, 5 years prior to Satan was a Lesbian, but there were at least two printings of that novel, and I don’t know if this cover originally appeared there or on Haley’s book.

Unfortunately, Satan was a Lesbian fails to make good on the promises its cover makes. This is a relatively boring softcore porn novel that has nothing to do with Satan. The cover lists Fred Haley as the author, but the inside says Monica Roberts. I don’t know which is the pseudonym.

Don’t worry about spoilers. The story is lame. Here it is:

A little girl named Charlene comes across a man drowning some kittens. She becomes very upset. Later in life, Charlene leaves home and gets a job as a server at a drive-in movie theatre. She hooks up with a girl that she meets at work. Through this experience, Charlene discovers that she likes being the dominant lover. The girl that she hooks up with tells her lesbian friends.

One of these friends, a woman named Karen, comes to Charlene’s job and arranges a tryst. Charlene makes her kiss her foot before they shag. Soon after this, Karen, with help from her butch friend Billie, kidnap and rape Charlene. Charlene beats them up the next morning and leaves.

Charlene hooks up with yet another girl, Cynthia. Cynthia gets off on being afraid, so Charlene drives her around at dangerously high speeds before they shag. They see each other a few times more.

On one of these occasions, the girls that raped Charlene show up and things turn nasty. Karen tries to rape Charlene’s new girlfriend, but Charlene manages to beat her up again.

After this, Charlene runs away without telling Cynthia where she’s going. She moves to Hollywood and murders a man who raped one of her new friends. She also meets another girl at work and ends up having some rather kinky sex with her.

Meanwhile, Cynthia is raped by the lesbians who were after Charlene. She enters into a weird 3-way relationship with them, but ends up stabbing them both to death and running away after her dad peeks through a window and sees her tickling one of them with a large feather.

In the last chapter of the book, Cynthia meets Charlene in Hollywood and they drive their car into a wall and die.

There’s quite a lot of titty squeezing, but anything below the belt is described only in very vague suggestions and metaphors. The author shies away from mentioning any kind of penetration, but s/he is comfortable describing a woman being walked around on a leash and subjected to other acts of degradation.

Apart from a few “you’re a devil” comments, there’s nothing about Satan in this book.

Satan was a Lesbian has one of the greatest covers I have ever seen, but it’s actually a very shit book. Copies of the original printing are ridiculously expensive too. There’s a print-on-demand version that you can find for much cheaper, but that’s just a printed copy of the the pdf version that you’ll be able to find for free with a quick google search.

The Black Toad – Gemma Gary

black toad gemma garyThe Black Toad – Gemma Gary
Troy Books – 2012

I can’t remember what sparked my interest, but I have been meaning to read this book for a few years. The Black Toad is a collection of folk magic from South West England. There’s three sections in the book – a bit about general spells, a bit about spells that use plant materials and then a bit about black (bad) magic. I started off impatient to get to the naughty part, but in light of what I’ve read recently, I found some of the first parts quite interesting too.
gemma gary cup of toad tea.jpgThe book has some really cool pictures and photographs. I love a nice cup of tea myself.

It was only last week that I reviewed Dark Rites & Encounters with the Devil by Marcus T. Bottomley. I was rather critical of that book because I thought that the author had just made up a bunch of crap. Unlike the Solomonic grimoires I’ve read, very little prepatory work was discussed, and the author would instruct the magician to do certain things without any explanation as to why they were doing them. I didn’t think I’d be writing about that book so soon after reviewing it, but some of the stuff it contained was rather similar to the spells in Gary’s book.

The difference between these books is that Gemma Gary makes it very clear that she is writing about a specific type of magic. I’m not sure of the nomenclature, but I’ll just call this strain “folk magic”. Folk magic then, as far as I understand, is a mix of pagan, Christian and grimoire magic. Gary’s spells use parts of the Bible, the Sacred Book of Abramelin and loads of traditional British witchcraft. Gary also provides explanations of the spells she is describing. One thing that struck me as peculiar when I was reading Bottomley’s book was the inclusion of worn shoes in several of his spells. This seemed rather silly to me – what use is a smelly old boot going to be? Gemma Gary explains that shoes are potent in sympathetic magic because shoes literally lead us down the paths of our lives. I get it now. If you attack the thing that leads a person down their path, you can obstruct them. That makes perfect magical sense. There were a few other noticeable similarities between some of the spells in these books, and my general takeaway was that Marcus T. Bottomley’s book, although poorly written, was probably a far more sincere collection of folk magic spells than I gave it credit for. I want to take this opportunity to apologize for calling Mr. Bottomley an “awful wizard”.

I’ve probably written more about another book than the book I set out to review. Don’t worry; you can find more focused reviews of The Black Toad elsewhere online. I’m not a witch, but I found this book to be quite interesting. I have The Devil’s Dozen, another of Gemma Gary’s books, lined up to be reviewed real soon.

David Huggins – The Man who Shagged E.T.

love in an alien purgatory david huggins.jpgLove in an Alien Purgatory: The Life and Fantastic Art of David Huggins
Farah Yurdozu

Anomalist Books – 2009

David Huggins was featured in some alien documentary that was on netflix a few years back. I remember watching it and then checking the internet to see if he had written any books. He hadn’t, but there was a book of his art available. I put it on my to-buy list, but it was expensive, and it just kind of stayed there for a few years. Last year, I started seeing mentions of Huggins popping up online. It turned out that a director named Brad Abrahams had made a movie about him called Love and Saucers. That movie and this book tell the same story.

David Huggins is an artist who claims to have lost his virginity to an alien when he was 17. He later had a lengthy love affair with this alien, and he also shagged a few others for good measure. This book is a collection of his paintings of these encounters.

huggins shagging alien

I know it doesn’t matter whether these encounters really happened or not, but there’s two things I want to address.

In the book, Farah Yurdozu claims that since 2002/2003 “David’s experiences with Cresent [the alien he shagged] have inspired an interest in science fiction and other fantastic movies, something he never paid attention to in the past.” However, in the movie, David claims to have seen The Thing when he was about 7 or 8 years old. This would have been around 1950/1951. He also watched Dr Who: The Webbed Planet, a movie about giant ants, multiple times before his memories came back in the late 80s. This Dr. Who movie was released in 1965, and at one point in the documentary he says “it has a giant ant and when I saw it I just could not stop watching it. I don’t know why but it seemed familiar to me.” Let’s just consider that for a second. For him to have seen the movie without realizing why it was familiar to him, he would have to have seen it prior to his memories returning, but his memories returned at least 15 years before he supposedly became interested in sci-fi. If he wasn’t a sci-fi fan, what the hell was he doing rewatching Dr Who movies? Also, his movie collection is nearly all VHS tapes. He collected all of those after 2003? Let’s be realistic here; the lad has clearly been a sci-fi fan for most of his life.

david huggins intruders.jpg

Also, the fact that David’s memories of his encounters only came back after his reading of Intruders, Bud Hopkin’s 1987 book about alien abductions, is very suspicious, especially when considering how similar his experiences were to the experiences recounted in that book.

large tit alien women
huggins alien women and babies
David’s alien women bear a striking resemblance to the alien women in Intruders.

There’s a telling moment in the movie when David recalls a hitherto forgotten memory while leafing through his copy of Intruders. He says, “I just remembered something. There was a time during my teens where I seemed to float off my bed…” The interviewer responds by asking, “What made you just remember that?” David replies, “It’s what I’m reading here.”  Here is the passage:

floaty hugginsNot only does this short passage contain a person floating out of their bed, it also contains a gray-skinned figure standing beside an abductee’s bed and the abductee having a needle shoved up their nose. Hey, check out these two pictures that David drew:

huggins in bed alienshuggins nose alien

Maybe some people believe these images corroborate the accounts of other abductees, but those people are backwards-thinking imbeciles. David Huggins seems very pleasant, but he’s clearly an overly-impressionable crazy man who has watched and read too much sci-fi. Personally, I don’t care about how he came up with his ideas. His pictures are pretty cool. I wish I could buy prints of them.

Of course, that was kind of the idea behind buying Trapped in an Alien Purgatory, but unfortunately doe everyone, the physical book is pretty crappy. The coolest pictures are given the least space, and the colour printing is murky and looks like it was done on an early 2000s home printer. Don’t waste your money. You’ll be better off renting the movie on youtube for a few dollars.

Dark Rites & Encounters With the Devil – Marcus T. Bottomley

dark rites & encounters with the devil marcus t. bottomley.jpgDark Rites & Encounters With the Devil – Marcus T. Bottomley
Finbarr – 2010

I was going to start off this review by saying that this book is black magic for stupid people, but that wording might imply some kind of similarity with those Complete Idiots Guide to books. No, this is not merely black magic for idiots; it is inherently and entirely idiotic black magic. These “Dark Rites” are unrelated, silly procedures that have no spiritual, philosophical, or logical reasoning behind them. Marcus T. Bottomley is an awful wizard and a bad author. I can and will do better than him:

Sinister Rituals and Rendezvous with Satan by Duke De Richleau

1. If you want a person to fall in love with you, soak their toenail clippings in your urine for a week and then bury them under a bush. You’ll be shagging in no time.

2. If you want to become rich, go into the forest at night and squeeze out a turd on a bed of oak leaves. Smear the feces into a circle, using anticlockwise motions. Stand in the center of the pooey circle until a black cat appears and tells you where his treasure is buried.

3. To ensure that you get the new job that you’ve been interviewed for, eat nothing but baked beans and vinegary chips for 3 days. On the third night, visit a graveyard at midnight. Once you have found a quiet spot in the graveyard, push out a fart into your cupped hand and breathe it in through your mouth. Hold the breath for as long as you can. When finally exhaling your own brown gas, whisper these words:
“Lucifer, I hath paid thy stinky toll. Delivereth unto me the job that I desire. So mote it be!”
If the Prince of Darkness does not immediately appear and provide further instruction, take this as a sign that your breath was not brown enough. Push harder on the next fart and try again.

If you actually go ahead and read a copy of Dark Rites & Encounters With the Devil, you might be surprised at how little I have exaggerated here. Absolutely no effort was put into writing this awful book of absolute nonsense.

The Satan Sleuth Series – Michael Avallone

michael avallone satan sleuth seriesPhilip St. George III, aka the Satan Sleuth, is wealthy, vengeful, sexy, equipped with ridiculous gadgets, and he loves solving spooky mysteries. Yeah, he’s basically a mix of Batman, James Bond and Scooby Doo. This is a series of three novels that I first read about in Paperbacks from Hell. I spent a stupid amount of time and money tracking down old paperback copies, but I saw a few days ago that you can actually buy kindle versions off Amazon.

satan sleuth fallen angel avalloneThe Satan Sleuth #1:  Fallen Angel
Mews Books – 1976 (First Published 1974)
This is the Satan Sleuth’s origin story. A gang of weirdos break into a young millionaire’s house and kill his wife in the name of Satan. He gets super upset and decides to hunt them down for revenge. Luckily for him, the Satanists come back to his house right after he has filled it with Satanist catching equipment. What follows is essentially a slightly less violent version of Home Alone.

This is the most dated book in the collection. Of the four criminals, one is described as “A walking moron, even if she was the best and free-est piece of tail in the world. With the biggest boobs.” She is repeatedly and brutally beaten and berated by her boyfriend for being dim. The Satan Sleuth shows her no leniency despite the fact that she was clearly coerced into partaking in the murder by her brutal and manipulative partner.

Another of the Satanists is “gay as a green goose when the bare asses were down”. He is also referred to as a “Fruitman”, and a “damn pineapple”, and it is insinuated that he gets off on brutally murdering a woman because he is gay. This kind of stuff is pretty distasteful in 2019, but this book was a written almost half a century ago by a man who was approaching 50. It’s hardly surprising.

satan sleuth avallone

Early on in the novel, the hero decides to do some research on Satanism so that he can understand his enemies. He gives his lawyer a list of books on the occult and has him track these down. I recognised a few of the names on the list, but some I had never heard of before, despite their amazing titles. I had to do some sleuthing myself to figure out which were real and which were Michael Avallone’s own creations.

satan sleuth book list.jpg

Possession by T.K. Oesterreich, The Satanic Mass by H.T.F. Rhodes, During Sleep by Robert Crookall, The Magus by Francis Barrett, Timeless Earth by Peter Kolosimo, Gypsies, Demons and Divinities by Elwood B. Trigg, Your Sixth Sense by Brad Steiger and The Satanic Rituals by Anton La Vey are all very real books.

Where the Devil Walks by Marcel Alevoinne sounds great, but the author’s name struck me as rather similar to Michael Avallone. It turns out that Marcel Alevoinne was actually a pseudonym that Avallone used to use to order take-out.

Lucifer, My King by Jean-Anne de Pré also sounds incredible, but I discovered that Avallone used Jean Anne de Pré as a pseudonym for several gothic novels including The Third Woman, A Sound of Dying Roses, Warlock’s Woman, Die, Jessica, Die and Aquarius, My Evil. Unfortunately, I can find no evidence to suggest that a book called Lucifer, My King was ever written

Mark Dane, the author of Beyond our Ken is yet another of Avallone’s many pseudonyms.

This leaves one book, The Blask Mass (sic) by Sidney Stuart. I couldn’t find anything on this one online. It turns out that Sidney Stuart was the name of one of Michael Avallone’s early agents, so it’s likely that book is also a fake.

 

satan sleuth the werewolf walks tonight avalloneThe Satan Sleuth #2: The Werewolf Walks Tonight
Warner Paperback Library – 1974

This one is about a werewolf instead of Satanists. It was not published as part of the UK Mews edition of the series, so my copy of this book and my copy of Devil, Devil (the third book in the series) are both labelled #2 on their covers. I didn’t like this one as the other two. Maybe the Brits felt the same and that’s why they chose to leave it out.

satan sleuth number 2Two #2s

The most interesting part of this book was the way it pushes the reader back and forth between believing/not believing in the supernatural. There are times when the text flat out says that nothing supernatural is occurring and other times when it says the opposite. In truth, I’m a bit unsure as to whether this was intentional or just sloppy writing. The time sequence in this one is confusing too, and I can’t help but feel that it would have benefited with a bit of proofreading.

Oh, and this book features another mentally challenged woman with “splendid round breasts” being brutally raped. She is referred to as both “a peacherino” and “prime cut beef”.

satan sleuth devil, devilThe Satan Sleuth #3: Devil, Devil
Mews Books – 1976 (First Published 1975)

This was probably my favourite out of the three. Not only does the Satan Sleuth find himself in the clutches of a coven of evil Satanists, but the ringleader of the coven is named Catharine Copely! Any Satan Sleuth worth their salt will surely recognize the Satanic relevance of the name Copely. Canon Copely-Syle, the strange mix between Montague Summers and Aleister Crowley, is the antagonist in Dennis Wheatley’s classic To the Devil – a Daughter. The Satan Sleuth series was written more than 20 years after Wheatley’s book, so maybe Avallone had read it and decided to pay homage. (If not, there’s some weird synchronicity going on. Copely Woods is also name given by Budd Hopkins to an area of high UFO activity in the Eastern United States.)

The women in this one still have big jugs, but they’re not as dim as the ladies in the other entries of this series. The main antagonist here is female, but unfortunately, she meets her doom after being charmed by the Satan Sleuth’s snake. She decides not to sacrifice him to Satan after seeing him lying naked, unconscious and strapped to the altar. “But this man – this intruder – whoever he truly was – was gifted in every conceivable department. He was superbly endowed. Pan would envied him for his incredible appendage. The principal male tendon was a thing of beauty, even dormant and idle. The Ram’s staff!” Sister Sorrow may not have been mentally deficient, but she was unable to resist a nice juicy cock.

 

Avallone is infamous for the rate at which he wrote paperback fiction. To be honest, I got the sense that these three books were churned out fairly quickly. There’s a few spelling mistakes in each of these novels, and Avallone is remarkably fond of sentence fragments. Really. So many it’s silly. Seriously. Also, in the last book it seems that he’s using the word “cockamamie” at least once every two pages.

When my copies of these books arrived, I saw the following line on the back cover of Fallen Angel and was instantly satisfied with my purchase.
satan sleuth dennis wheatleyDennis Wheatley, for any Philistines reading this, is the author that made me want to start this blog. After having read all three Satan Sleuth novels, I have to say that aside from dodgy writing and less than progressive depictions of women and homosexuals, Avallone’s books have very little in common with Wheatley’s. Black magic is a powerful force in Wheatley’s novels, but the supernatural is always presented as a farce in the Satan Sleuth series. Avallone would later claim that this was the reason that this series didn’t get more attention (source). I reckon he was right about this. By the time I got to the third book, I knew that anything spooky that happened would be explained away later on. This cuts out a lot of suspense. Why did he write his books this way? Well, I reckon that it had something to do with the fact that Avallone, despite what it says on the blurb at the back of Fallen Angel, was not nearly as knowledgeable on Satanism and Black Magic as our Dennis.

satan sleuth avallone occult expert

At one point he refers to the werewolf as a Lycanthrophobe, and when his hero is going up against a team of Satanists, Avallone has him read a bunch of books on ESP, Ancient Aliens and fairies. There’s no rhyme or reason to the Satanism presented in the Satan Sleuth novels either. The Satanists in the first novel are Satanists by name only. Sure they murder a woman for the glory of Satan, but there’s no real spiritual or philosophical motivation behind their crime.  None of them believe in what they are doing. They’re just a bunch of drugged out social outcasts who occasionally say dumb things like, “God sucked. Lucifer was right. Make way for Beelzebub!”

The last book presents a Satanism far closer to the Satanism presented in Wheatley’s novels, but unlike Wheatley, Avallone doesn’t manage to explain why the Satanists are acting the way they are. They’re just bad for the sake of being bad here. There’s a few references to the Church of Satan that suggest that Avallone didn’t really know what he was talking about.

2

Anton LaVey’s Satanism deserves to be criticized, but it’s not fair to present his followers as the kind of people who murder and decapitate young women. I’m not misrepresenting things here either. Sister Sorrow, the villain of Devil, Devil is seen reading from The Satanic Bible only a page after Avallone quotes from the Satanic Rituals, LaVey’s companion text to his Satanic Bible. I can’t imagine any way of reading this that doesn’t suggest that the fiends in this book are LaVeyan Satanists.

satan sleuth lavey quote

Satanism exists in so many forms, and it’s such a silly concept to begin with, that I’m not going to hold it against an author if they mix it up a bit. The Satan Sleuth series is far more straight forward than Paradise Lost or Goethe’s Faust. In Avallone’s work, Satan and his followers are categorically bad. I’m fine with this. I wasn’t exactly expecting profound philosophical fiction when I bought these books. These are fun adventure stories, and they work as such.

In Paperbacks from Hell, Grady Hendrix writes that “Avallone planned two more Satan Sleuth novels—Vampires Wild and Zombie Depot—but Warner Books never bought them, so he never wrote them.” This is not true. Both Vampires Wild and Zombie Depot were written, but as of today they remain unpublished. David Avallone, Michael’s son, has confirmed that he is working on having the final two Satan Sleuth novels published later on this year. (David also helped me figure out where some of the books mentioned in Fallen Angel came from. Thanks David!) I’ll be reviewing the final entries in the series as shortly after they’re released as possible!

Season of the Witch – Peter Bebergal

season of the witch occult rock and roll - peter bebergal.jpgSeason of the Witch : How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll – Peter Bebergal
Penguin – 2014

I like rock’n’roll and books about the occult, but I found this quite boring. Peter Bebergal seems to have set his sights a bit too high. His definition of Occult is very broad (as I suppose it should be), and he attempts to use this open Occultism to spin a narrative that links all strains of rock music.

Season of the Witch contains all the stuff you’d expect- the Stones and their connection to Kenneth Anger, Jimmy Page and Aleister Crowley, Black Sabbath and the Devil… but it also includes lengthy discussions on the influence of voodoo on blues music and prog rock’s fascination with sci-fi. The topics being discussed are interesting, but the scope of the book is so large that the author doesn’t get to go into a huge amount of detail. Also, the book mostly focuses on mainstream artists. There’s a bit on Throbbing Gristle and their offshoots, and Magma get a mention, but the Beatles and Pink Floyd get far more coverage. Berbegal also discusses Coven, Black Widow, and Mercyful Fate, but I’ve read books that go into far greater detail on that kind of stuff.

I feel a bit bad about this review. Berbegal comes across as sincerely interested in the subject matter, and he knows what he’s writing about. This would probably be more interesting to a person who hadn’t already spent a lot of time reading about the links between rock music and the occult.

Speaking of books about rock music, the trailer for the Lords of Chaos movie was finally posted online. It looks truly ridiculous. I’m definitely going to watch it.