Basil Crouch – The Making of a God and other Works of Black Art

Basil Crouch – The Making of a God and Other works of Black Art
Finbarr – 2010


It’s been a while since I read a grimoire. Here’s some rubbish.

This is little different from the other Basil Crouch books I’ve read. It’s written from the perspective of the publisher rather than Crouch himself, and although it is never explicitly stated, the narration makes it seem like Mr. Crouch was dead at the time of its publication in 2010. I have it on good authority that ol’ Basil died in 2020, so it’s very likely that this was actually written by him. The ridiculous amount of praise for Crouch in the text seems to confirm this suspicion.

Basil Crouch gave his publisher a book he deliberately made up, but the magic therein worked. The narrator, presumably still the publisher, claims that he prints so many books guaranteeing success and happiness not because they don’t work but because the success they provide is addictive.

Shoon is a magical land in Africa like Shambala, but aliens landed there 10,000 years ago. The Chinese had proof of this, but they hid it. Crouch gives some examples of the magic of Shoon being used to improve the lives of others. I haven’t read Crouch for years, but one of these testimonies, a story about a girl getting hurt at a fair and then being miraculously healed sounded familiar. There was another one in which a thalidomide man used Shoon magic to make his arms grow to normal size.

Make a paper-mache doll and fill it with pieces of junk and build it an altar. Name it after an African deity.

Breath in the doll’s mouth, and it will turn into a god. Talk to it, and give it offerings every day. The next portion of book describes appropriate offerings and prayers for each day.

To enslave another person, buy a doll, draw some shitty symbols on it, and pretend it’s the person you want to bum. Then give it to the fetish you have created. It might talk to you in response.

The effort that went into making these illustrations is breathtaking.

You can also use the doll you made to invoke demons. The idea here is remarkably unclear. I think the demons are supposed to possess it.

Now some instructions on how to get a barren woman pregnant. Crouch knows it works because he knew a 12 year old boy and a 9 year old girl who got pregnant this way. Also, a barren woman who was raped by the leader of an African tribe got pregnant this way. To do it, you draw a circle on the ground, bring your partner into it, strip off and then smoke a cigarette. Blow the cigarette smoke on each other, have a ride, and then go out and buy some maternity clothes.

Next up, a weird story about a man who can make himself invisible by moving his hands a certain way. This is followed with unrelated instructions on how to summon the invisibility demon. It’s genuinely hard to imagine anyone taking this seriously.

An adult made this.

The book ends with a report about a monkey grave being found in Rwanda that Crouch read in a tabloid. It has nothing to do with anything.

Honestly, this text was so incoherent that it’s difficult to analyze. It starts off with a discussion about Shoon, the secret African city, and then goes on to tell how to make a doll that will solve all your problems. I guess the doll is a Shoonish thing, but I’m not sure this is ever explicitly stated.

Pure shit.

Summoning the Candyman (A Curse)

On Halloween night, my wife and I watched the 2021 Candyman movie. We had thought it was a remake rather than a sequel, and my wife had never seen the original film. Afterwards, I was explaining some stuff about the original movie when I mentioned that I had written a blog post on the Candyman a few years ago. I googled the title of that article so that I could show her, and when I saw the results, I was a little surprised to see a youtube video with almost the exact same title as my article.

Note the dates.

My blog has been referenced in books, podcasts, other blogs and youtube videos before, and I am always happy to find out that what I write here is of interest to others. I don’t expect MLA citations or anything like that, but it seems like common decency for content creators to give credit where credit is due. My article was not the first time that Candyman and Purple Aki were mentioned together, but it is definitely the most comprehensive account of their relationship online. If you look back on it, you will notice that I was fairly meticulous about providing links to all of my sources. The youtube video I found was created a year after my blog post went up, and its description references “the theory that Clive Barker’s Candyman was based on the story of Purple Aki”. Now I did not come up with that theory, but I think it’s very safe to assume that anyone researching that theory in 2021 would definitely have come across my work on it. As I watched the video, I was taken back by how much the narrator sounded like me. Yes, he too is Irish, but the phrases he used also sounded remarkably like my own. I checked my blog post, and I discovered that he had basically just read out chunks of my article and presented them as his own research.

Not cool.

I left a comment on the original video, but the coward deleted it. I decided to put a curse on him. I thought the most apt punishment would be to send the Candyman after him. First off, I entered a trance state and did some free-writing. The result was a short-story about this stupid idiot getting his comeuppance. It’s a rather unpleasant piece of writing, so I’ll just link to a pdf so that my more sensitive readers don’t have to upset themselves. I here present Louis meets the Candyman.

Next, I converted the text file into a sound and played around with it a bit. I also created a short video with scenes from the original Candyman movie and some extremely potent images. The writing (or noise thereof) and imagery is really to just charge the curse with emotion. The catalyst for the summoning comes from the plagiarist himself. In the Candyman movies, the murderous Candyman is summoned when somebody says his name 5 times while looking in a mirror. Well, I went through the dirty thief’s video and discovered, much to my delight, that he names Candyman exactly 5 times. I isolated those 5 utterances and mixed them into the video, which is embedded below. This blog post is itself the mirror, reflecting Louis’s lowly deeds. By playing this video, the victim says Candyman 5 times in a “mirror” and thus seals his own death warrant.

I am entirely confident that this will lead to that dirty, little thief getting his muscles squeezed good and hard. Annoying rat voice on him too. Stupid dork.

Right, I’ll be back to posting about books from next week. Had to get this out of my system.

EDIT: After publishing this blog post, I sent it to the intended victim. He was cool about it and listed my blog post as his source of information. I’m not sure if I can stop the curse at this point, but I take back all of the mean things I said about him.

Eric Ericson’s Esoteric Occult Trilogy – The Sorcerer, Master of the Temple, and The Woman who Slept with Demons

Several years ago, as I was reading Sandy Robertson’s book about Aleister Crowley, I came across the following passage:

I am a fan of both occult lore and biscuits, so I knew I had to find and read this promising book. When I looked it up, I found that the author had written 3 occult novels, and not being a coward, I determined to track down and read all of them. It only took 5 years.

The Sorcerer

NEL – 1978
This book starts off with a scientist realising, much to his dismay, that the orgy he is attending is actually a sex magic ritual being performed by a coven of witches. He’s even more annoyed when he realises the ritual is serving as his initiation into the coven.

The coven leader, a man with scarred face named Frazer, takes a shine to the new lad and renames him Thomas. Frazer is a shifty dude, and although his followers respect him, this respect is borne out of fear. Thomas hates him straight away. It turns out Frazer is on the quest for immortality, and he is willing to sacrifice anything to achieve it. He’s a real scummer. The plot from this point is fairly predictable

I had read a few comments online that suggested that the main thing that set Ericson’s writing apart from the writers of other occult thrillers was his knowledge of ceremonial magic. His theory of magic falls in line with much of what I have read of the topic, but the potency of the magic in this book is pretty fantastic stuff. We’ve got festering zombies, soul transference, astral executions and a poo spell. This is fiction though, and if it were more realistic, the book would suck. Also, in order to figure out his magical powers, Thomas has sex with all of the women in the coven multiple times. Cool.

The fact that the protagonist is a scientist made things more interesting. He kept trying to rationalise what was happening and trying to use scientific reasoning to enhance his magical abilities. He failed at the former, but succeeded in the latter. I don’t know if that was supposed to make a point.

This book is only 224 pages long, but it took me 9 days to finish. I didn’t dread reading it, but I didn’t look forward to it either, and I only ever managed a few chapters at a time. It was alright.

Master of the Temple

1983- NEL
When I look up of a book or series of books and find that there’s little to no information about them online, I get intrigued. Aside from a few brief goodreads reviews, I wasn’t able to find anything about Eric Ericson’s books. Might they be forgotten esoteric masterpieces?

No. The reason that nobody talks about these books is that they’re boring as shit. Honestly, Master of the Temple is one of the worst novels I have ever read. It’s so, so fucking terrible. I’m going to summarise the plot here to save you the trouble of reading this utter hog’s shit.

Jonathan is a sales manager for a company that makes biscuits. He’s also a member of The Masters of the Temple, a secret society of sex magicians. The first part of the book describes his business trips around Europe. He’ll meet up with a biscuit distributor, do a little business and then sneak off for a bit to visit the local lodge of The Masters. There he will have sex with a beautiful woman with large breasts. Unfortunately for Jonathan, his boss, a lad called Braithwaite, is always on his case. Jonathan performs a magical ritual to summon the demon Abaddon to deal with his pesky boss, and poor old Braithwaite ends up in hospital with a horrid stomach condition.

With Braithwaite out of the way, Jonathan is promoted and ends up touring the United States trying to increase the biscuit company’s American presence. Things go pretty much the same way that they did in Europe, but the women here have even bigger tits. He meets one with an enormous rack and falls in love.

When he gets back to England, his aunt calls him and tells him that she’s sick. This triggers a flashback to when he was thirteen and his aunt gave him a blowjob. It turns out that she spent 5 years sexually molesting him. This was a bit of a weird turn, but things soon got weirder still.

Braithwaite, the lad he cursed, jumps out a window and kills himself, so Jonathan goes to his old boss’s secretary’s house and repeatedly rapes her until she goes insane.

Some other members of his order find out about this, so they kick Jonathan out of their clubhouse. Jonathan is so upset by this that he drives his car into a wall and kills himself.

My concern here is that I have made this book sound more interesting than it actually is. It’s nowhere near as interesting as I’ve just made it sound.

Here are some problems:

  • While the above story is fiction, most of this book is not. I’d say at least half of the book is an account of the history of Western esotericism. No thanks. I’ve read that stuff before.
  • Sex magic is seriously cringey. I far preferred the biscuit salesman stuff to the extended scenes of Jonathan holding in his cum. Gross. There’s one part where he’s having sex with a prostitute where he says to himself, “I who am a perfect king to the people entrusted to me by god, I who am by God’s command their shepherd, Have never tarried, never rested.” It was a bit like that scene in American Psycho where Bateman is looking in the mirror at his own muscles when he’s fucking a prostitute, only lamer. Honestly, when you think about the arrogance of people who are into this stuff, it’s mortifyingly embarrassing. Human beings are animated filth, and cumming is like shitting and pissing; it feels good because our bodies need to do it. To think that holding in your gip for a while brings you closer to god is downright silly.
  • Unlike in The Sorcerer, the magic in here is fairly realistic. There’s no astral projection or people getting hit with blue lightning. There’s rituals, and these rituals seem to have effects, but a sceptic could put these effects down to coincidence.
  • The main character is a preppy fucking douchebag. The gargoyle on the cover of this book should be replaced with a picture of a red-haired twat wearing a scarf.
  • There is not a single female character in this book whose breasts are not described. The main character of this book is a biscuit salesman, but not a single biscuit is described. I am a fan of tits, but I am also a fan biscuits, and this ratio was fucked up. He should have whipped out a packet of jammie dodgers while he was getting a wank off the old Finnish crone in the sauna. That would have made that scene much more entertaining.
  • It’s sooooooo fucking long.

Seriously, Master of the Temple is a horrid pile of brown, brown scat from a rotten shitter. Avoid it at all costs.

The Woman Who Slept with Demons

NEL – 1980
After finishing Master of the Temple, I waited a few months before starting on The Woman who Slept with Demons. It has a far cooler title, but I assumed it was going to be terrible. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It wasn’t a great novel, but it was only a novel. It thankfully doesn’t include a lengthy history of western occultism.

Andrew, a promiscuous veterinarian stops to help a woman whose car has broken down. Her name is Bianca, and she asks him to drop her off in some field in the country side. He does so, but after he drives off, he gets worried about her, so he heads back to make sure she can get home ok. When he gets to where he had dropped her off, he finds her having sex with a demon. The demon beats him up. Soon thereafter, Bianca sucks Andrew’s dick and by doing so makes him her slave. She also gains psychic control over him, and he can only get hard for her. This aspect of the book was very similar to Russ Martin’s satanic mind control books.

It turns out that Bianca is one of “the Apart”. The Apart are basically people who have been given powers by demons. With these powers comes a general disregard for decency and societal norms. The rest of the book follows Andrew’s descent into a dark world filled with violence, debauchery, child abuse, rape, incest, flaccid penises and sexy fat women. One scene involves an Egyptian pervert being brutally stomped to death by two horny hags who have been tied up and possessed by a demon. When he’s dead, they grab Andrew and have a threesome in the Egyptian’s viscera.

This book is far trashier than either of Ericson’s other novels, and I found this made it far more tolerable. None of these books are clever, but at least The Woman who Slept with Demons seems to realise this. The occultism on display here is of the far less believable kind, and this makes the book far more enjoyable. I disliked Master of the Temple so much that I’m not sure how much I feel about this book was relief and how much was actual enjoyment. It was decent enough though. This is definitely the best out of the three.

Ericson wrote a history of Witchcraft too, but I don’t feel any desire to track that one down.

Tom Piccirilli’s Nameless Necromancer: Pentacle and A Lower Deep

I did a post on a few books by Tom Piccirilli earlier this year, and despite ending that post saying I would avoid his horror fiction for a while, I recently read two more of his spookier books, Pentacle and A Lower Deep.

Pentacle

1995 – Pirate Writings Pub
This is a collection of 7 short stories about a wandering wizard and his familiar spirit, Self. Self is pretty much just a small, sassier version of the Necromancer that follows him around, licking him when he gets hurt and attacking the people who inflict his injuries.

The Necromancer and Self stay at an abandoned hotel, go to a blues concert, visit a mental asylum, an art gallery and a native reservation. They come across demons, ghosts and witches in all of these places, and they rarely make friends. A lot of hexes are thrown about.

Speaking of hexes, I found Piccirilli’s novel Hexes a bit challenging when I read it, but I think it might make more sense if I had read it after this one. While Pentacle is not a sequel or prequel to Hexes, it is set in the same universe. Some of it is set in the same town, and both books feature Panecraft Asylum. They’re both from relatively early in Piccirilli’s writing career, and it seems a bit like he was trying to establish his equivalent of Arkham. I haven’t read it, but another of Piccirilli’s stories is also set in Panecraft.

The writing is very dark, and it reminded me of Clive Barker with its focus of blood and pain. It’s a bit more occulty though. It references a lot of real occult texts and authorities, and a lot of these stories feature real figures from the history of witchcraft. Matthew Hopkins has somehow come back to run the insane asylum. There’s a recipe for disaster.

Overall, I enjoyed this more than the other horror stuff I’ve read by Piccirilli. The writing isn’t super clear, but the short story form makes it easier for me to get through a plot without knowing exactly what’s going on.

A Lower Deep

2001 – Leisure Books

A Lower Deep is basically a novel sized continuation of the stories in Pentacle. This time the Necromancer’s old friend tries to get him to resurrect Christ so they can bring about Armageddon and storm into heaven. (Yes. The protagonist remains unnamed here. Oooooooh, so edgy!) I hated this book so much that I find it hard to believe that I wrote the above paragraphs. I’ve wanted to write positively about Piccirilli’s books for years, but in truth, his horror novels are crap. This book is boring, contrived shite. If you don’t have an interest in the Bible, this will be very confusing. There’s lots of references to the Book of Revelation, the prophet Elijah and the nephilim. Yuck.

This is really a work of fantasy rather than horror. There’s lots of blood and occultism, but nothing scary happens, and I hated every page. Self, the protagonist’s familiar is supposed to add comic relief, but I found him horribly disruptive to the novel’s tone. A one point during the beginning of the apocalypse, he starts speaking with a Jamaican accent. Sigh…

The brevity of the stories in Pentacle is what made them bearable. A Lower Deep is a short novel, but it’s still far, far too long. Honestly, it’s terrible. Avoid it.

I am probably done with Piccirilli. I gave him more than a fair chance, but his horror novels just didn’t do it for me.

Andrew Chumbley’s Golden Toad

ONE: The Grimoire of the Golden Toad – Andrew Chumbley
Xoanon – 2000

The first bit of this book tells how to kill a toad and let his body rot a certain way so that you can find the magical bone within that will allow you to summon Satan in the form of a horse. If you get on pony Satan’s back, he can carry you around the world in seconds.

The next part is a bunch of hokey poems. I understand that language can change people’s perceptions and that it can set the tone for magic, but this stuff sounds pretty silly when you’re reading it off a computer screen before going to bed on a Monday night. There was one cool line, “For the Devil’s Master am I, am I; the Devil’s Master am I” Parts in this section suggest that the practitioner is actually seeking control over humans rather than animals. I think the intention is actually just to gain self control. This reads as if it was co-authored by Severus Snape and Jordan Peterson.

The poetry section is followed by a weird fantasy story that was unbearable to read. My patience for this kind of crap is non existent at this point.

Magical bones from a toad? I wonder how many poor little toads were killed by the freaks who are into this crap. Chumbley wrote another, I think more academic, book about this topic that is probably far more interesting. I’m not going to read shit like this anymore.

Putting a Curse on my Noisy Neighbour

I usually just review books, but this is my blog, and many of the books I review are on occult phenomena, so I think it’s appropriate to discuss my own occult activities here.

About a year ago, I moved into a new apartment. I lived there comfortably for about two weeks, but then my upstairs neighbour started making a lot of noise, blasting music way past my bed time. I asked him to turn it down, and he was polite about it, but then it happened again a few days later. A pattern started to emerge, and our relationship quickly soured. Things got so unpleasant that when my teething baby would cry at night, this douchebag would get out of bed and turn on his stereo.

I’m not going to give out any more specifics, but I can say with absolute certainty that my neighbour was the dickhead in this situation. If you’ve ever had a similar experience, I’m sure you’ll understand. (If you’ve ever been the unapologetic noisy neighbour, find yourself a bridge and jump off it, shithead.)

The noise really got to me, but the arrogance and entitlement were the worst. Living under that prick made me miserable. I would happily have blasted him with some of the crap I listen to, but I have small kids, and for their sakes I didn’t want to escalate the situation. What got me through the year was the knowledge that we’d be moving again this summer. Even though I knew the situation was only temporary, the tension started to affect other aspects of my life.

I write for my blog every week, but I rarely do any creative writing. I’ve been meaning to do more, and I read somewhere that a good creative writing exercise is to just sit down and start typing. I decided to give this a go a few weeks ago. I immediately produced an extremely unpleasant piece of writing about what I’d like to do to my upstairs neighbour. It’s grim and certainly not for public consumption, but I liked parts of it, so I saved it with the plan to share it with some close friends after we moved away. (If some accident befell Dingdong before we moved out, the document would certainly have incriminated me.)

Knowing that we were going to move, I regularly fantasized about the few days at the end of our tenancy when the window for revenge would be open. I planned a bit of a dance party for the night before we left. I considered blasting some brutal power-violence or death metal, but I decided that repetitive, bass-heavy techno would travel better through our ceiling. I tried finding the perfect song to blare on repeat, but I couldn’t make up my mind, so I decided to make my own.

I think it turned out pretty well.


As much as I wanted to blast this at the cunt, it just didn’t seem harsh enough. This utter bastard deserved a lot worse than a couple of minutes of confusion/mild irritation. I decided to put a curse on him instead.

Hey, remember that piece of writing I mentioned? I figured out how to use it. I only had to alter it a little bit to turn it into the text of a curse. Here is a heavily redacted version. (I’ve moved out, and I have no intention of ever having any contact with that dickhead again, but posting the full text would still be a poor idea.)

I imported the unredacted version of the above text file into Audacity, a sound editing program, as raw data. Doing this basically turns any file on your computer into noise. I then found an image of my neighbour on google images and did the same thing to that. (The image atop this post isn’t actually him.) I then reduced the playback speed of the sound of the image so that it was closer to the length of the sound of the text and panned the sounds of the image and text to opposite sides. Next, I stretched them both again and amplified the sound to make it more audible.

This was the noise through which I would wreak vengeance, but magic doesn’t have to be minimalist, so I imported this sound into FL Studio and heaped a bunch of effects on it to make it sound sick. I also added a recording that I made of the actual noise coming from upstairs. This ingredient charged my baneful magic with real emotional power. It’s also satisfying to think of my enemy directly suffering from his own wrongdoing.

Poppets (“voodoo dolls”) have been used by witches for millennia. The idea is that you make a doll that looks like the person you want to affect, then you do things to it and hope that this has an effect on the real person. It is common practice to place a lock of the victims hair, a toenail clipping, or something that belonged to them inside the poppet. Some magicians use photographs. These elements are believed to strengthen the link between doll and victim, thus making the sympathetic magic more powerful. A series of incantations are uttered over the doll, and these are what activate the link.

The sound that I have created works in a similar way to a poppet, but I know it will be more effective. It contains an image of my victim, and this image is being forced to become one with the textual incantation. The image of his arrogant face and my vision of his suffering will literally become one. The malefecarum is being charged by the audio recording of my victim’s transgressions, made while I was in a frenzy of the blackest hatred. The basic magical theory here is sound (excuse the pun), but I have more reasons to believe it will be effective.

This is the sound of his doom.

Magic doesn’t work if the practitioner doesn’t believe in it. Magic, as far as I understand it, is not supernatural, and magical acts don’t depend on chance or luck or the fairies; they depend on the will of the magician. I don’t believe my neighbour will suffer because I want it to happen and I’ve read too many books about Aleister Crowley. I know my neighbour will suffer because I will him to suffer. I am the magician, and I control my black magic. My poppet isn’t going to lie in the back of my victim’s chimney or under his porch. It’s going after him.

We moved out a few days ago, but we were able to keep the keys to our old place so that we could clean it before the new tenants arrive. I repeatedly played my spell whenever I could hear my enemy upstairs. I didn’t play it loud enough so that he could complain about it, but it was definitely loud enough for him to hear.

Then at the end, I did play it loud. I accompanied the noise with some ritualistic psychodrama. I filmed the whole thing, but I’m only going to share the final segment where I accompany the noise with the thin, dissonant whine of my blasphemous flute. (Flutes are the favoured instrument of Azathoth, the Nuclear Chaos, so I thought this would be apt.)

That’s a wizard hat not a klan hood. My neighbour was white, and fuck the KKK.

I have no doubt whatsoever that he heard me, but as he had seen me moving my furniture out on the previous day, he probably thought that I was just being petty and noisy for the sake of it. Little does he know that the noise I played was heralding his ruination.

I’ll be checking the papers for his obituary daily.

Jacques Cazotte’s The Devil in Love

The Devil in Love – Jacques Cazotte
Heinemann – 1925 (Originally published as Le Diable Amoureux in 1772)


Jacques Cazotte was a rich French lad who may have been a psychic member of the Illuminati. (He was definitely a freemason, and it is claimed that he prophesized the coming of the French Revolution at a dinner party in 1788.) His head was cut off in 1792.

Oh, and twenty years before he died, he wrote an occult romance called Le Diable Amoureux. There have been several translations of this work into English, and while the earlier ones had a bunch of different titles, most of the versions that are currently available are published as The Devil in Love. I read the 1925 edition, a reprint of the 1793 translation. (Here is a great article that goes into more detail on the different editions of this text, and here is a pdf of the text I read.)

Don Alvaro, a stupid Spanish lad, meets a Jafar type character named Soberano who has power over demons, and Alvaro immediately wants to get in on the action. Soberano tells him that it takes years of training to control demons, but Alvaro summons Beelzebub on his first go. Beelzebub shows up in the form of a minging camel, but he turns into Biondetta, a sexy babe, when Alvaro grimaces.

This image is from a different edition of the book to the one I read.

The rest of the book is basically Biondetta getting Alvaro to fall in love with her. There’s a slow power transfer, and towards the end Alvaro is set to start doing her bidding rather than the other way around.

The story is very straight forward, and it felt pretty familiar to me. This is a very short work too, and the version I read is an old translation of an older book. Maybe some of the charm got lost in translation. The Devil in Love is an interesting little curiosity, but there’s not that much too it. It’s the kind of book that would make a better music video than a movie.

The Black Art: Rollo Ahmed’s Plagiarism of Montague Summers


The Black Art – Rollo Ahmed
Senate – 1994 (Originally published 1936)


In 1935, right after The Devil Rides Out was published, Dennis Wheatley’s publisher asked him to write a non fiction book about the occult. Wheatley claims he was too busy at the time (he did eventually publish one in 1971), but he recommended that his publisher get in touch with his yoga teacher, a peculiar character named Rollo Ahmed. Rollo Ahmed claimed to be an Egyptian expert on the occult, but he was actually from Guyana, and while he certainly knew a bit about the occult, much of this knowledge was probably acquired as a means to make his business seem more legitimate. Ahmed, you see, was a conman. He told stupid people he would counter black magic curses that had been put on them for money. He also told old women that spirits had instructed them to loan him a bunch of money. He was arrested and charged for doing this kind of thing on at least 3 occasions, and he served at least one month’s imprisonment with hard labour.

rollo-ahmedMr. Ahmed

I bought a copy of Ahmed’s book on black magic more than 5 years ago. It cost me one Canadian cent. I started reading it at the beginning of May this year, but it was so boring that it took me 3 months to get through its 280 pages. I finished 30 other books in the same period, forcing myself to read a few pages of this trash when I was between novels. This book is the reason that this blog has seen so little non-fiction in 2020.

But did this book really suck, or have I just read too much of this kind of crap to get any enjoyment from it? Maybe it was a little bit of both.

This is supposed to be an overview of the history and practice of black magic. Ahmed did a good bit of research for this book, but he doesn’t provide any sources for most of what he is saying. This book might be of interest to individuals who are researching what people believed about black magic in the 1930s, but I wouldn’t want to rely on it as an accurate historical account.

There’s 21 chapters in here. Some are specific to time frames (pre-history, the dark ages, modernity…), some are specific to areas (India, China, Greece, Rome…), and some are specific to occult phenomena (werewolves and vampires, necromancy, alchemy…). There’s no organisational principle behind this structure, and the chapters themselves are often just lists of descriptions of practices that Ahmed either took from other texts or made up himself. I’ve come across a lot of these stories and descriptions in other books, and the stuff that was new to me wasn’t terribly interesting. Around the same time that I bought this book, I reviewed the similarly titled The Black Arts by Richard Cavendish. That book covered much of the same information that’s presented here, and Cavendish managed to cite his sources. I’m not saying that you should go out and read that one either, but it was probably better than this pile of garbage.

blackartsSimilar title, cover and contents

Another obvious point of comparison here is Montague Summers’ work. Summers and Ahmed moved in the same circles, and they both were acquaintances of Dennis Wheatley and Aleister Crowley. Despite his apparent credulity, Summers’ books are the measuring stick against which all other 1930s occult histories should be compared. In the course of my research for this post, I discovered evidence that strongly suggests that Ahmed plagiarized Summers when he was writing The Black Arts.

For me, the most interesting part of this book was the chapter on the magic of Great Britain and Ireland. There is an account given of a vampire priest in Ireland that sparked my curiosity, perhaps because this is one of the only parts of the book where Ahmed cites his source. He claims that he read the story in the October 1925 edition of The Occult Review, an old occult periodical. I was intrigued by this and decided to consult the source material. It turns out that the October 1925 edition of The Occult Review contains no such story. R.S. Breene’s ‘An Irish Vampire‘ article was actually published a month later in the November edition. Big deal, anyone could make that mistake, even an expert. Well, it turns out that an expert did make that mistake. In his 1929 book, The Vampire in Europe, the Reverend Montague Summers quotes Breene’s article in full, but he mistakenly cites it as coming from the October edition of The Occult Review, 7 years before Rollo Ahmed makes the exact same mistake in his book. Coincidence? No way. It’s been a long time since I read any non-fiction by Summers, but I would be surprised if further research didn’t show more instances of Ahmed plagiarizing his work. (Here is a scan of the original story for anyone interested in the Irish priest turning into a vampire.)

montague-summers-vampire-booksSummers’ Vampire books were later retitled. I own both, but have only read the first one.

Dennis Wheatley knew both Summers and Ahmed, and there are multiple theories about characters from Wheatley’s books being based on these men. I have written several times about the Canon Copely Syle from To the Devil – A Daughter and how this character is clearly a mix of Summers and Crowley, but some people have pointed out that the evil Canon has a frightening Egyptian manservant who is probably based on Ahmed. If this is so, I reckon Wheatley understood the relative importance of both men to the annals of occult history.

to the devil - a daughter“a manservant of a type that one would hardly have expected to find in an Essex village. He wore a red fez and was robed in a white burnoose. His skin was very dark, but only his thick lips suggested Negro blood; and C. B. put him down at once as an Egyptian.” – This description (presumably based on Ahmed) might seem a bit racist today, but by Wheatley’s standards it’s really not bad.

I want to include a quick note on my sources here so that I don’t seem like a hypocrite. The biographical details I’ve included are from Chris Josiffe’s articles on Rollo Ahmed in Fortean Times 316 and 317 (July and August 2014). The stuff about Ahmed’s influence on Wheatley’s characters are from this article on Wheatley’s site. All of my other sources are self evident.

I’ve been reading and reviewing books on the occult for a long time now, and my interest seems to have waned a bit recently. I believe that this is largely due to wasting my time reading so many awful piles of boring nonsense written by idiots. The Black Art wasn’t as bad as some of the shit I’ve read, but it contained little that I haven’t come across before. I ask you, my dear readers, can any of you recommend me occult/Fortean non-fiction books that are strange, interesting and preferably widely available? I’m happy to read about Black Masses and alien abductions, but I’d like a new slant on things. Maybe a Black Mass performed by aliens?  Please leave a comment, tweet me or email me if you can think of anything that would fit on this site. (Remember, you can skim through my index page to see what has already been reviewed here.) Thanks!

Daughters of the Devil – Charles LeFebure

daughters of the devil lefebure.jpgDaughters of the Devil – Charles LeFebure
1971 – Ace Books

The blurb on the back of this book describes its contents as “true stories of unparalleled sadistic erotica”. The front cover claims that it contains “Chilling accounts of fourteen women who used their terrifying powers of Darkness and Evil to inflict Pain for Pleasure!” It’s called Daughters of the Devil, for Christ’s sake. Can you imagine my delight when I found a copy of it for 5 dollars?

I mean, realistically, the book was shit, and I had known exactly what to expect. A few years ago, I read a book called The Devil’s Own by Peter Robson, and I had the feeling that this would be very similar. I just checked my copy of that book, and unsurprisingly, it was put out by the same publisher, Ace Books. After rereading my review of that book, I’m surprised at how similar it is to Daughters of the Devil. Charles LeFebure wrote two other books for Ace, Blood Cults and Witness to Witchcraft, and I reckon it’s safe to assume they’re the same kind of crap.

The chilling accounts in here are very sensational, and rarely convincing. Some of them are about real people, but I can’t find any evidence for the others. (This was my same complaint when I read The Devil’s Own.) When I googled some of the names in here, the only result I found was somebody else who had read this book complaining about the same lack of evidence.

I’m going to briefly describe each of the accounts in here in case anyone is interested.

  1. A girl gets involved in a Satanic cult. They have orgies and sacrifice a fetus during a black mass. This account references Crowley, H.T.F. Rhodes and the Abbé Guiborg’s Black Mass. It wasn’t believable, but it was a pretty good start to the book.
  2. Carletta Pantucci and her Daughters of Isis were a weird cult of lesbians that bred babies that they intended to raise as virgin cultists. They told the future by bloodletting women’s groins.
  3. There was a weird convent where nuns were crucified and whipped by a perverted priest and made to watch him fuck their Mother Superior. This was all done in the name of Christ.
  4. Caroline Langley, a one time friend of Aleister Crowley, commits acts of black magic, sometimes to kill people. I can find no evidence of Crowley ever knowing a Caroline Langley.
  5. A six month old curséd baby poisons a boy with witchcraft and the boy’s hand is amputated.
  6. Obango, the “Ga witch” from Ghana, bled ate and killed victims, 15 of whom were related to her. Ga witches have sex with animals.
  7. Annie Palmer, the rich voodoo priestess decapitated some of her slaves and raped others with snakes. (This one has some basis in fact.)
  8. Gdoma, an ugly Asian witch, coerces young people into sexing each-other up. LeFebure claims she’s very evil, but she doesn’t sound that bad really.
  9. Some Mexican woman ran a sex school for children in her house. She killed two abusive husbands.
  10. Caterina Sforza, a real Renaissance woman, is here described as ,’the most wicked woman of all time’.
  11. A Chinese child sex-slave grows up to start her own brothel in which random johns are taken to the secret rooms downstairs and tortured to death. The events in this story allow for no possible way that anyone could ever discover what had happened – there could be no evidence – but somehow the author is able to tell the tale. The lady died without any trial or case against her. It’s a cool story even if it’s completely fabricated.
  12. I got a bit into this one before I realised that I had actually heard it, or at least a version of it, before. It’s the story of Edward Arthur Wilson, the mysterious Brother XII, and his Madame Zee. Plenty of the details listed here are entirely false, but Lefebure’s fabrications don’t actually make the story any more interesting than it really is. I have another book on Brother XII that I have been meaning to read for a long time. I’ll definitely come back to Lefebure’s account when I get around to that one.
  13. Charlotte Gilbert leads a cult that worships cats and ritually sacrifices dogs because they are cat’s natural enemies. Her cult is a breakaway of the Glastonbury Essenes, a real order that supposedly worships aliens.
  14. The last account is of Catherine Deshayes (La Voisin), the abortionist and satanist involved in the Affair of the Poisons. This is the sensational account you’d expect.

 

Most of these stories contain little truth, and none of them are erotic. There is a fair bit of sadism though. This book is made up of descriptions of horrible women that probably never existed. The titles of this author’s other books sound very good, but they’re surely of the same quality. I’ll buy them if I ever see them for very cheap, but I wouldn’t be bothered hunting them down.

The Black Books of Elverum

the black books of elverum.jpgThe Black Books of Elverum – Mary Rustad
Galde Press – 1999

In the 1970s, Mary Rustad, a lady in Norway, was looking through the farmhouse that she had recently moved into. This house had belonged to her family for centuries, and it was filled with old junk. She found two curious books in a box in the attic. When she opened them, she realised that they were books of magic spells, compiled or collected by her ancestors. The books supposedly date from the late 1700s/early 1800s, and research proved that several of Mary’s ancestors had been involved in a witchcraft trial in the 1600s. It seems as though witchcraft ran in her family. These books were the real deal, forgotten grimoires of black magic. The Black Books of Elverum is a translation of these two handwritten grimoires.

lucifer elverum.jpgThis cool picture of Lucifer is included, but I don’t think it’s from the actual grimoires.

The spells in here seem pretty silly. Some are appeals to Jesus, others are appeals to demons, but some are just recipes or instructions that don’t have any spiritual element. (The ones on how to abort a fetus basically just tell the woman to drink a bunch of poison.) These books offer insight into the fears, customs and beliefs of Norwegian farmers, and I reckon they’re of more interest to historians than they are to occultists. Who needs a spell to make themselves horny in an age when viagra and internet porn are so readily available?

spell to make yourself horny.jpg(Just in case your wifi is down)

Some of the spells in here are very specific. There are two to be used against a thief who leaves his turd behind him after he has carried out a burglary. This is really convenient when you want to send the Devil out after the miscreant who shit on your carpet and nicked your telly.

There’s instructions on how to find witches in here. The curious are to go to a church on certain nights during the year and to wait near the church bells. Witches are apparently quite fond of gnawing church bells with their teeth, and will take any opportunity to do so. I had never heard of this before, but when I looked it up, I found a book that claims that this odd belief was also held in parts of Sweden. Witches were supposed to bite off bits of church bells to use in their potions. Jesus, I hope they had a good dentist.

This was a pretty cool book. It’s presented well, and the material is very interesting. It contains scans of original texts, and there’s an appendix recounting the 1625 court case against Ingeborg Økset, Rustad’s ancestor. The whole thing is pretty short too, so it doesn’t take long to get through. If you’re interested in Norwegian folk magic, you should definitely read this book.