The Black Pearl: The Memoirs of a Victorian Sex Magician

I have read a few occult pornos, the best of them by far being Inpenetrable/Spawn of the Devil. If you have read my review of that book, you might recall that I suggested that it seemed like a mildly erotic novel that had been rewritten to include ridiculously explicit scenes of perversion. Not only did the author know a bit about occultism, but the story was actually relatively entertaining without the sex. The same can not be said about the other works of occult pornography that I’ve reviewed here. The authors of Raped by the Devil and Satan was a Lesbian didn’t know a damned thing about occultism, and their books were awful. Because of these facts, I assumed that authors of occult porno who were actually interested in the occult would probably write interesting books.

One of the responses to my post on Inpenetrable informed me of existence of a series of books called “The Black Pearl: The Memoirs of Victorian Sex Magician“. Although these books were published anonymously, the internet claimed that the author was actually Gerald Suster. Suster was an occultist and a historian. He also wrote a biography of Aleister Crowley and several horror novels. I hadn’t (and still haven’t) read any of his other books, but from what I had read about Suster, it seemed to me that he, if anyone, might be capable of writing another book like Inpenetrable.

There’s four volumes to the Black Pearl. I spent a long time trying to track down all four, and I eventually ended up with 2 anthologies that feature 2 volumes each. One is a hardback without its dust jacket, and the other is a paperback with a cover that got me in trouble with my wife.

The Black Pearl: The Memoirs of a Victorian Sex-Magician, Anthology 1 (Volumes One & Two)
BCA – 1997

The Black Pearl: The Continuing Memoirs of a Victorian Sex-Magician, Anthology 2 (Volumes Three & Four)
NEL – 2001

I read the first volume of the series in early 2020. It was pretty tough to get through, and it took a few weeks to finish. There is a backstory at play, but it’s convoluted and dumb, and it really only serves to introduce new characters. Each chapter features Horby, the titular protagonist, meeting up with some famous Victorians and swapping dirty stories. He runs into Aleister Crowley, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Machen and a bunch more in just the first volume. They’ll meet in a café, the narrator will spend 2 paragraphs describing the food they’re eating, and then they’ll open up and recount their recent sexual escapades. The smut is very dull. There’s an occasional spanked bottom and maybe a stray finger up the arse, but it’s mostly just blow-jobs and riding. There was a little bit of rape too. I skipped most of the sex scenes after the first few chapters. I’m not saying that to make myself seem like less of a pervert. I genuinely found these bits boring. After finishing the first volume, I moved straight onto the second, but it was too much. I gave up after 7 chapters.

More than a year has passed, and I recently decided to go back and finish the series. Each of the volumes contains an introduction and a recapitulation of the preceding events. I had planned to read all of these parts in succession and then skip ahead to the 4th volume to get the full story. As I read through the summaries of the second and third volumes, I became intrigued with some of the events they were describing, so I skimmed back through these volumes to cherry-pick the juicy bits. Doing so ensured that I never got around to reading the 4th volume. The short passages I skimmed reminded me of how painful these books are to read.

The four volumes combined add up to 1344 pages. More than half of these pages are filled with descriptions of “slick cunnies” and “rampant pricks”. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a slick cunny as much as the next fellow, but there is too much of a good thing. The remainder of the books, the parts that describe the lives of fin de siècle celebrities are clearly well researched and almost interesting, but the context is too ridiculous for any insight on the lives of these people to sink in. You read a passage and start wondering if Arthur Machen was really as shy as he is being depicted, but then the narrator starts talking about being tied up and having his arse slapped. It makes it hard to concentrate. There’s a part where Sigmund Freud shows up and gives a serious speech on his theories of sexuality as he dines on chicken soup and gefilte fish. Then another character asks him, ” When are you going to put your throbbing hot cock within my warm moist cunt?”

These books were a real disappointment. They’re crap, but they weren’t cheap, and it was confusing trying to make sure I wasn’t buying the same collection twice. I’m a bit of a completist when it comes to buying series too, so I didn’t want to read the first book until I owned the second. It all seems like a waste of time effort and money now. Not only that, but it turns out I don’t really own the complete series. Suster actually published a bunch more of this kind of stuff including Unholy Passions, Wolverines, Gothic Passions and Vixens. Apparently these, and a few others, share characters and themes with The Black Pearl books. I will not being hunting any of the others down. I don’t even know if I want to read Suster’s normal fiction anymore.

If I had gotten my hands on The Black Pearl books a few years ago, I probably would have soldiered on and read through them. I can’t do that any more. I get to read for maybe half an hour a day at this point, and I don’t want to spend that time wading through boring porn.

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.

Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Witch

Anton LaVey – The Satanic Witch
Feral House – 1989 (Originally published at The Compleat Witch in 1971)

I read the Satanic Bible in January 2014. I originally bought a copy to leave on my coffee table when guests were over as a joke. When I read it, I was amused by much of it but never took it too seriously.

I’ve changed quite a bit since 2014. I got married, became a father and got a real job. I suppose I’ve grown up. I don’t think of myself as a particularly good person, and I think it is everyone’s responsibility to prioritise their own well being, but I have no time for anyone who fails to see the importance of treating others with patience and kindness. I have also spent more than a sensible amount of time posting in “satanic” message groups on facebook over the last few years, and almost every Satanist I have encountered has been an utter imbecile.

The world has changed since 2014 too, almost definitely for the worst. I know that politicians have always been awful, but the political leaders and decisions of the last few years have largely been horrible. A philosophy based on greed and hedonism seems the exact opposite of what the world needs right now.

All of these factors have led me to the conclusion that The Church of Satan and its followers are a gang of dorks. Despite this, I decided to read Anton La Vey’s The Satanic Witch. This book’s cover boasts that it is designed for “women cunning and crafty enough to employ the working formulas within, which instantly surpass the entire catalogue of self help tomes and new age idiocies.” Bullshit. It’s designed for insecure losers who don’t value their individuality.

I had heard that this was embarrassing nonsense, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how stupid it truly is. The 1989 edition begins with an introduction by Zeena LaVey, the author’s daughter. Zeena claims that she became a Satanic Witch at the age of 3 and discusses how she learned that sex could be used as a tool while she was still a child. She talks about looking at her father’s porno magazines as a kid and how she got pregnant when she was 13, two years after she first read The Satanic Witch. These details are provided in attempt to depict Zeena as sexually liberated, but their real effect is to make Anton look like a seriously shitty parent. How are we supposed to take his book of advice for “women who want more control over their lives” seriously when he was such an atrociously irresponsible father? Even a shit father probably cares more about his kid than a stranger, and if LaVey couldn’t prevent his child from getting raped and impregnated at 13, how will he be able to do anything for anyone else? (I know that you shouldn’t blame a rape victim’s parents for their being attacked, but I think its different when the parent is giving their child access to pornography and books on sexual manipulation.)

I managed to get through the first few chapters of ridiculously outdated mysogonistic nonsense, but I gave up when I got to the “LaVey Personality Synthesizer”. LaVey sets out a range of people and shows which type of partner these folks will be compatible with. He writes as if he was an expert psychologist, but we all know he was just a baldy wanker.

I was going to try to paraphrase the sections of the book that I got through, but it’s too excruciating. There’s no sense to any of this utter hogswash. The only thing this pathetic pile of shit will teach anyone is what kind of women dorky little fuckboys like the author are attracted to.

Part of my reason for tryjng to read this pile of crap was that I had heard of a book called The Satanic Warlock that is essentially an updated version of this book intended for the incel crowd. I am still curious about reading this one even though I am sure it’s even worse than The Satanic Witch. Part of my motivation to review The Satanic Warlock is to write a mean spirited review that will hopefully hurt the feelings of the author and his readers, but as Anton LaVey is dead, I have no such impetus to delve any further into his work.

This is the first book of non-fiction that I have discussed this year, and it was a real stinker. If anyone has any recommendations for occult/Fortean/weird non-fiction books that don’t absolutely suck, please send them my way!

On a separate note, yesterday marked the 6 year anniversary of my first post on this blog. I’ve written more than 300 posts and reviewed roughly 450 books. Here’s the list of everything I’ve covered. Thanks for reading!

Algernon Blackwood’s John Silence Stories

Published in 1908. Don’t get upset!

John Silence: Physician Extraordinary – Algernon Blackwood
Eveleigh Nash – 1908

I first read Algernon Blackwood years ago. I was just starting to get into weird fiction, and I read the Penguin edition of his stories right after reading a similar volume of Arthur Machen’s best tales. I always felt like I rushed through the Blackwood book, and I’ve been meaning to give him another go for years. I recently decided to read his John Silence stories. John Silence is an occult detective predating Carnacki, Duke De Richleau and Doctor Orient. The book pictured above is the first John Silence collection. It contains 5 tales. There is a more recent collection put out by Dover with an introduction by S.T. Joshi and an additional story. This is all pretty old stuff though, and it’s all public domain, so I just downloaded an e-book for free. Here’s what I thought of the stories:

A Psychical Invasion
This is the worst story in the collection and a terrible introduction to the book. It’s a boring haunted house yarn. It was like a shit version of Bulwer Lytton’s The Haunted and the Haunters, itself a boring story.

Ancient Sorceries
This was the only story in the collection that I had read before. I remembered that it was about cat people, but I had forgotten that these cat people worshipped the Devil. I enjoyed this one, but it isn’t really a John Silence story. Silence merely listens to the tale as it’s recounted by one of his patients. He plays no part in the events described.

The Nemesis of Fire
This is another haunted house story, but it’s a lot more interesting than the other one. It involves an ancient Egyptian fire spirit. It was alright.

Secret Worship
This is another story in which John Silence only plays a small role. It might also be my favourite in the collection. It’s about a man returning to the strict boarding school/ monastery where he spent his youth. The place has fallen into ill repute, and this guy has to discover why the hard way.

The Camp of the Dog
This one is pretty bad to be honest. A werewolf is on the loose in a campsite. There’s never any mystery as to what is going on and the way the characters respond to the crisis is completely unbelievable. A man sees his daughter attacked by a werewolf on an uninhabited island, hundreds of miles from civilisation. He has a gun but doesn’t shoot the werewolf dead immediately. Come on…
On top of being unbelievable, this was way too long. It was a real stinker.

A Victim of Higher Space
The last story, and the only one not contained in the original 1908 collection, is about a man who passes into other dimensions. It was like a horror version of Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott. It was alright.

Honestly, this collection was pretty crap. Only two of the six stories are enjoyable, and it’s not a coincidence that those two tales are the ones that aren’t really about the eponymous occult detective. John Silence is a know-it-all cunt, and I’d like to box him in the mouth.

I’d be willing to give Blackwood another chance, but not for a while.

2020, The Year in Review

I did not expect to be able to do this, but for the third consecutive year I am able to boast that I read and reviewed more books and wrote more posts and words than in any year previous. I spent a disgraceful amount of time reading in 2020. The pandemic kept me home for uncomfortable amounts of time, and I took to the books to stave off madness.

First off, let’s deal with the really good stuff. Some of my favourite posts of the year were on the rarest of paperback horror novels. I wrote a post detailing how I got my hands on Brenda Brown Canary’s chilling The Voice of the Clown and another on the history of Nick Blake’s infamous Chainsaw Terror. I was super excited to publish an interview with Garret Boatman, author of Stage Fright. I was even more excited when shortly after that interview’s publication Valancourt Books rereleased Stage Fright as part of their Paperbacks from Hell series. Can you imagine my elation when I got a copy of the rerelease and saw a mention of my blog in the introduction? Perhaps the most satisfying post for me to to write was my article on the sinister origins of Clive Barker’s Candyman.

I don’t want to be a gatekeeper when it comes to horror fiction. People should read whatever the Hell they enjoy. That being said, I like to read as though the gates are being kept. You don’t have to have read every single piece of fiction that Howard Phillips Lovecraft ever wrote to call yourself a horror fan, but I do. This year, I tried to fill in some of the gaping holes in my reading, and I turned to some of the bigger names of horror fiction that I had thus far ignored. I wrote multibook posts on Shirley Jackson, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, August Derleth, Bernard Taylor, and Ken Greenhall. These authors were either fantastic or highly influential within the horror genre. I also did multibook posts on some lesser known authors of varying ability, including William W. Johnstone, John Halkin, Harry Adam Knight, Simon Ian Childers, Al Sarrantonio, and Richard Jaccoma. Read over the posts to figure out who was good and who sucked.

Perhaps the most important book I read this year was Stephen King’s Danse Macabre. I didn’t actually enjoy it very much, but it led me to read some other great stuff. I also read a bunch by Thomas Ligotti and Clive Barker, but I didn’t group their books into single posts. I’m not finished with either of these guys yet.

I try to keep things varied, but my regular readers will have noticed a recurring antagonist in the horror novels I reviewed this year. Yes, 2020 was undoubtedly the Year of the Worm here on Nocturnal Revelries. I managed to read separate books called Worm, Wurm, Worms, The Worms, Blood Worm and a couple of books titled Slither that were both about… worms. I’m not quite done yet, but 2021 will probably see fewer posts on this niche genre.

I again reduced my intake of non-fiction books on the occult. I just don’t have the stomach for this stuff anymore. I read a trio of utterly bizarre alien/cryptid books: The Goblin Universe, The Psychic Sasquatch and their UFO Connection and The Cryptoterrestrials. These were written by different authors and are of varying quality. None of them were remotely convincing. I put a huge amount of work into a post on Otto Rahn, but his books were awful to read. I think my post on Rollo Ahmed’s The Black Art was pretty good, but again the book itself was very boring. I did a few other atrociously stupid books on Satanism too. One was about Satanic ninjas and the other a Satanic bunty man.

I also got more criticism in 2020 than ever before. I’m getting more traffic than I used to, and I guess my content isn’t for everyone. I’ve signed on a few times to find abusive comments. I’m only ever amused when this happens, but I suppose I should make it clearer that the purpose of this blog is not to convince anyone to read any particular books. This site is more a book journal for me to keep notes on what I’m reading. I post it online because some people are interested. Maybe that might seem a waste of time to some, but it keeps me occupied.

It turns out that this is the 300th post on Nocturnal Revelries. I’m pretty pleased that this blog is still going at this rate after almost 6 years. I’ve read some cool books, expanded my horizons and even made a few friends along the way. I did posts like this for the past few years (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) if you’re interested in this crap. Thanks to everyone who checks in every now and then. Remember, I try to do a new post every Sunday. You can contact me on twitter or email me. Let me know if you have any suggestions for further reading or if you want to chat about strange tomes.

I hope you all have a great new year!

Compleat Vampyre – Nigel Jackson

Compleat Vampyre: The Vampyre Shaman, Werewolves, Witchery & the Dark Mythology of the Undead
Nigel Jackson
Capall Bann – 1995

A few months ago I put out a call for occult book recommendations. I haven’t been as interested in occultism for the last year, and part of me thought that this was from overdoing it over the past few years. I was kindly recommended this book by a pal of mine. It looked pretty cool, so I decided to give it a go.

It’s rather dense, and despite its subject matter, I thought it was very dry. It’s only 180 pages, but it took me a month and a half to get through it. I didn’t take notes as I read through it either, so I don’t even remember much of what the author said in the first half of the book.

This seems like a thoroughly researched book, but the writing does not seem to be very critical. Most of the book is taken up with descriptions of vampires and werewolves from folklore, but the idea that these accounts might not be real is never really discussed. I’m not saying Nigel Jackson believed every word in this book, but he doesn’t do a very good job of clarifying which parts the reader is supposed to believe and which parts are just legends.

Ultimately though, this is presented as a book on occultism rather than one on folklore. Towards the end of the book, the author does give some instructions on how to shapeshift into a werewolf, but these instructions are pretty vague, and one would have to have a detailed knowledge of occultism and ceremonial magic to be able to pull them off.

The most interesting claim in the whole book is that the mysterious large cats seen throughout the English countryside (the ones discussed at length in The Goblin Universe by Ted Holiday) are actually transformed witches and wizards.

Honestly, I couldn’t give a bollocks. I have so little to say about this that I feel bad for wasting your time. I read the whole thing, but reading it felt like trying to paint water. I’d reread the same paragraph 3 times, but I was so uninterested that nothing would stick in my head. “Vampires, shadows, liminal… bleh bleh bleh.” Whatever. I’m not really qualified to judge a book like this. Maybe it’s great if you’re interested in this stuff. I certainly amn’t. I won’t say I’ll never read another occult book, but I doubt that I’ll ever get back into reading 2 a week like I was doing a few years ago.

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!

Satanism – Brother Nero’s Guide to Life

satanism brother neroSatanism: A Beginner’s Guide to the Religious Worship of Satan and his Demons
Brother Nero
Devil’s Mark Publishing – 2010

This is a book about being a Satanist. This isn’t the friendly, progressive, atheistic Satanism that’s in vogue these days though. No, the author of this book, Brother Nero, is an actual Devil worshipper. He believes that the Devil and demons are real and that you can talk to them. This book is an explanation of his Satanic belief system.

Brother Nemo basically believes that Christians have got things the wrong way around and that the Devil is the good guy and that God is the bad guy. He accepts much of what the Bible describes as accurate, but he questions how biblical stories are interpreted. Most of his ideas are fairly similar to Christianity though, and he’s a proud “traditionalist.” He thinks abortion is wrong because you shouldn’t kill any being that contains the blood of Satan. He claims a real satanist wouldn’t get an abortion even if she had been raped because it’s not the child’s fault the mom got raped. Fuck. I can’t imagine Christians or Satanists wanting this loser on their side.

At one point he gets really mad with people who hide their satanism from their employers. If you feel comfortable sharing your religious beliefs with your employer, that’s great, but I’m sure most adults will be able to come up with several perfectly sensible reasons for keeping that information private.

Nero continues this rant with these tasty little paragraphs:

words of a dumb satanist
He later argues that gay marriage is ok, so I don’t even think this guy is genuinely homophobic. He’s just really naive. He must lead a remarkably sheltered life. Come on Nemo, you really don’t understand why people might hide the fact that they’re gay? I guess they’re just not as brave as twelve year old you.

The reason I downloaded this book was because I saw it referred to as “Satanism for Parents” somewhere, and while I have no interest in being a Satanic parent, I thought this sounded like a laugh. There’s actually only one chapter in here specifically for parents, but holy shit, it is spectacular. The author admits that he doesn’t have any kids (no surprises there), but he presents himself as an authority on the subject anyways. He encourages homeschooling kids and teaching tarot cards when they are learning their ABCs. His complete and obvious cluelessness about the mental development of children is actually comforting –  it’s a relief to think that this guy probably hasn’t spent much time around kids.

There follows a chapter about why teenage satanists should always make sure they have a responsible adult, like the author, in their satanic covens. Each teenage coven should have an adult, like Nero, so that he can guide them on their satanic journeys. A previous chapter of this book included instructions on writing pacts in your own blood, so God knows what kind of guidance the author would give in person. In this section, he acknowledges that parents will probably worry about their kids hanging out with an older dude because the media will have convinced these parents that satanists are paedophiles. The author is so blind that he doesn’t realise that most parents would be far more afraid of an adult who writes books about wanting to hang around with kids than a satanist who minds their own business. This is one of several instances in this book of the author showing a complete lack of common sense.

Oh, one last thing from the parenting section: Nemo claims that adoption is ok, but it’s better if the kid’s biological parents are satanic because their satanic blood means the kid will more likely be psychic. It’s at this point in the book that the author mentions that he believes that there is actually a Satanic race and that it would be good to keep the bloodline pure. Holy shit.

dirtAnother gem

Eventually, the writing became too much for me. This ‘book’ is just a collection of rants from a bitter, lonely weirdo. It reads like a stupid, unlikable teenager’s journal. It’s genuinely embarrassing. You’d feel sorry for the guy if he didn’t come across as such an obnoxious, arrogant cunt. At around the halfway mark, I decided I was just going to skim the rest of this awful nonsense. What I saw made me glad of my decision.

Towards the end of the book, there’s a chapter on sacrificing animals. The author claims that animal sacrifice is ok because people used to do it in the past, and the gods are the same now as they were then, so it’s still appropriate. He also points out that animals are from the wild anyways, so they’re used to brutality. I closed the book after he started describing how he kills small animals.

I like reading violent, gory, creepy books about horrible freaks, but this isn’t a novel. These are the beliefs of a lad who thinks that teenagers should want to hang out with him so that he can teach them about the correct way to cut themselves and sacrifice small animals. Brother Nemo spends a lot of time on the internet, and he is doubtlessly going to google his name and see this post at some stage, so I’ll end it with a little message for him:

Get psychiatric help bro. You’re not well.

The Goblin Universe – Ted Holiday

the goblin universe ted holidayThe Goblin Universe – Ted Holiday
Llewellyn Publications – 1986

The Goblin Universe is a very serious work of non-fiction. It was written in the late 70s, but remained unpublished during the author’s lifetime as he was apparently unsatisfied with it. He supposedly rewrote the entire thing and ended up with a very different final product that seems to have gone unpublished. After Ted Holiday’s death in 1977, his friend Colin Wilson convinced Holiday’s mother to allow him to publish the original Goblin Universe manuscript.

The above information comes from Wilson’s lengthy introduction to this book. I’ve seen several instances of Wilson being listed as the co-author for this one, but while there is definitely a similarity between Holiday’s conclusions and what I’ve read of Wilson’s own ideas, I reckon that the central text here is actually Holiday’s work. Wilson is too critical in his introduction for me to believe that he had much input into the central text. He acknowledges that “The Goblin Universe would never convert a single sceptic; in fact, it would probably make him more certain than ever that ‘the occult’ is a farrago of self-deception and muddled thinking.” This acknowledgement follows a paragraph in which Wilson claims that Holiday’s attempt to show that Gilles De Rais was reincarnated as Edward Paisnel “convinces no one – even the believers.” Wilson poopooing the work that he is introducing will come as no surprise to long time readers of this blog. He was even harsher in his introduction to Roberts and Gilbertson’s insanely paranoid Dark Gods. (I actually first heard of The Goblin Universe in Colin Wilson’s introduction to Dark Gods. His description therein of the Exorcism of Loch Ness that is recounted in Holiday’s book ensured that I would track the latter down. More on Dark Gods later.)

ted holday omand exorcising loch nessTed Holiday and Rev. Donald Omand performing an Exorcism of Loch Ness

So what the Hell is the Goblin Universe? I read this book fairly attentively, but I still don’t really know. It pisses me off when writers don’t explain their technical jargon, and Holiday completely fails to clarify the meaning of what is presumably the most important idea in his book. The phrase is exclusively used in very vague, confusing ways. I went through the book after reading it, and tried to note every time that the author uses the phrase “the Goblin Universe.” I have listed these instances here in an attempt to clarify his meaning:

Holiday claims that the ambiguity over the fact that photons can be observed as particles and as waves “is the very essence of the Goblin Universe”

“If we try to probe a little deeper into the mystery of being, we find ourselves in the Goblin Universe along with Alice having tea with mad hares in top hats. It is all great fun, but what does it mean?”

“The Goblin universe is the place in the play where the actor switches one mask for another”

“The Goblin Universe is a hall of distorting mirrors into which we are born with yelling protest.”

“The Hall of mirrors… is simply the external aspect of the Goblin Universe.”

“The Goblin Universe is a hydrogen bomb. Admit the truth about one thing and you will end up facing the truth about a thousand more, and your existing system blows up.”

“The Goblin Universe… will not be ignored.”

“medics [who] deny the Goblin Universe will never comprehend people like Graham Young.”
(Graham Young was a mass murderer who poisoned his family members. Holiday later claims that Young was possessed by a demon from a Nazi concentration camp.)

“To comprehend the Goblin Universe, we need a modified science of physics.”

“One or two of the real masters see everything, and they know how the Goblin Universe really functions.”

If I missed any instances of the phrase, I assure you, they were no more elucidating than the above.

According to Holiday, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, mermaids, satyrs, the Surrey Puma and all sorts of cryptids are real, but they probably don’t exist in the same way that we do. If they were simple creatures of flesh and blood, we would surely have caught some during the act of sexual intercourse. Holiday suggests that these cryptids are actually semi-physical entities that have been placed here by intelligences far greater than our own. The reason for this placement is unclear; these creatures may be appearing to us to send us a message, but they might also just be appearing to confuse us or shock us into a reaction. The superior intelligences that are sending these appearances to us are probably aliens, or at least what we think of as aliens, the creatures that travel in UFOs.  (Years ago they would have been considered fairies.) This can be proven by the fact that many cryptid sightings are preceded by UFO sightings in the same area. Oh, but some of the cryptids, particularly the ones that look like extinct creatures might just be ghosts.

vegetable manThis picture (presumably from another text) is included at the end of Holiday’s book with little context. A vegetable man.

Holiday goes on to claim that natural selection as the driving force of evolution is wrong. We actually evolve according to the desires of a mysterious yet intelligent force. This intelligent force may or may not be the same entity/group of entities that is causing the cryptids to appear. Holiday claims that our scientific method is incapable of describing these forces and must thus be torn down and rebuilt. Holiday accepts the reality of reincarnation, possession, astral projection, precognition and even the possibility of willing a human automaton into existence. Any new scientific method must be open enough to account for these phenomena.

I’ve come across ideas similar to these before, and I want to take a moment to discuss Holiday’s place in this kind of literature. In the introduction to this work, Wilson references the work of John A. Keel, Erich Von Däniken, Pauwels and Bergier, and T.C. Lethbridge, all authors whose work has already appeared on this blog, but in truth, Wilson’s own book, The Occult, was one of the first I read that used this kind of thinking. Holiday personally asked Wilson for comments on his work, so I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that he was writing in the same tradition. Just as Wilson’s work seems to have influenced Holiday’s, Holiday’s ideas seem to have had a major effect on Dark Gods by Anthony Roberts and Geoff Gilbertson. Holiday introduces the idea that a higher intelligence is causing cryptids to appear, and Roberts and Gilberston responded by affirming that this higher intelligence is malevolent.

This sequence is odd. Although The Goblin Universe was written several years before Dark Gods, it was actually published 6 years later. The influence might be explained by the authors’ mutual friendships with Wilson. Perhaps he had given them his copy of Holiday’s manuscript. (They probably would have asked to see it after reading about it in his introduction.) One of Holiday’s earlier books is also referenced in Dark Gods too, so either Roberts or Gilbertson knew of him already. I feel confident in saying that his ideas led on to theirs.

There’s lots of mental parts in this book. The author admits to having heard voices in his head. He claims that ghosts mostly appear in September because certain cosmic rays are shining parallel with Earth’s orbit rather than perpendicular to it. He believes that Uri Gellar is a real deal psychic, and he spends a chapter describing an exorcism at Loch Ness. Oh, and he also includes a ridiculous appendix on spirit photography written by our old friend Dr. Hans Holzer. There’s too much going on for the book to be coherent, even Wilson admits as much, but the general loopiness of the whole thing was entertaining.

I love this stuff.





The Nazi Quest for the Holy Grail: Otto Rahn’s Books and Col. Howard Buechner’s Imagination

The field of Nazi Grail lore owes its existence to Otto Rahn. Rahn was an adventurer, linguist, amateur historian, spelunker and member of the SS-Ahnenerbe.

otto rahn
Do any amount of research on Rahn and you’ll soon be confronted with the moniker, ‘The Nazi Indiana Jones’, but realistically, Otto was just a nerd who caught the attention of Heinrich Himmler after writing a dumb book about the Holy Grail. After this, Himmler gave him a job in the Ahnenerbe, the division of the SS that was assigned to try to use mythology to glorify the Aryan race. Otto was allegedly gay and half Jewish, but he took the job. (I don’t really blame him.) Once the SS got a better idea of who Rahn really was, they demoted him, and he ended up killing himself.

Rahn wrote two books, both of which I’ll review in this post. However, before looking at Rahn’s work, it was essential for me to read the book that almost all of Rahn’s work was based on, Wolfram Von Essenbach’s Parzival.

wolfram parzifal

The Holy Grail has been discussed on this blog several times before, and while researching for one of those posts, I read Chretien De Troye’s foundational grail tale, Perceval, the Story of the Grail. De Troye’s book is the first time the Holy Grail appears in literature, but he never describes the exact nature of the Grail.  De Troyes’ Perceval was never finished, but a German poet named Wolfram Von Eschenbach rewrote it and added an ending. Von Eschenbach’s version, Parzival, is a more complete, lengthy and influential text, and it plays an important role in Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Dark Gods, The Spear of Destiny and even The Werewolf’s Revenge. It is to my great shame that I admit to having reviewed those books without first slogging through the Parzival. I knew I’d have to read this before looking at Rahn’s stuff, so I borrowed a copy of A.T. Hatto’s translation from my library.

Jesus Christ, this book was so fucking boring. It’s so, so bad. The writing is dense, meandering and dull. The art of writing novels was clearly not yet perfected in the 13th century. A stupid lad ends up in a castle and sees a magic stone and some other weird shit but doesn’t bother to ask his host about it. Then he runs around for years trying to figure out what happened. Honestly, if you want more detail than that, skip the book and read a synopsis online; consuming this trash was a horrid experience. Yuck.

otto rahn crusade against the grailCrusade Against the Grail:  The Struggle between the Cathars, the Templars, and the Church of Rome
Otto Rahn

Inner Traditions – 2006 (Originally published 1933)

Otto Rahn’s first book, Crusade Against the Grail, is the latest addition my list of unfinished books. I’m generally pretty obstinate when it comes to finishing boring books, but this one got the better of me. After spending months slogging through Parzival and Rahn’s other book, I simply could not bring myself to finish this. I got about three quarters of the way through before admitting to myself that I had no idea what Rahn was describing. I could either start again or read another 50 pages of text without having a clue as to what was going on. Fuck that. This is terrible, awful, boring, dull garbage.

As far as I can tell, the basic idea behind this book is that the Cathars of Southern France were gnostics and that they were in possession of the Holy Grail. (This idea became very popular with later occult/conspiracy writers.) Rahn believed that Wolfram Von Essenbach’s Parzival was actually a Cathar document, and that it could provide details on how to find the Grail, which he seemed to think was still hidden near the Cathar stronghold of Montsegur.

It’s not until his next book that Rahn makes clear what the Holy Grail actually is.

lucifer's court otto rahnLucifer’s Court: A Heretic’s Journey in Search of the Light Bringers – Otto Rahn
Inner Traditions – 2008 (Originally published 1937)

Lucifer’s Court is Otto Rahn’s travel journal. He travelled around Europe, mostly Southern France, looking for details on the Holy Grail. The most interesting part of this book is Rahn’s thesis that the Holy Grail is nothing to do with the cup that Jesus used at the Last Supper. Rahn believed that the Holy Grail was a stone from the crown of Lucifer that fell out during his fall. Rahn believed that Lucifer, the Light Bringer, is a source of goodness, and he equates the christian/jewish god with an evil demiurge figure, just as the Cathars supposedly did centuries ago. Otto Rahn was a self proclaimed Luciferian.

Honestly, this book is actually very boring, and it’s not very convincing. Rahn’s sources are mostly folktales, legends and works of fiction. The way that Lucifer’s Court is broken up into a journal format makes it significantly easier to read than Crusade Against the Grail, but this was still very dull.


Ok, so that’s three shit books so far, one of which is considered a classic of literature and the other two are well known in certain circles. Now I want to present to you something a little stranger, Col. Howard Buechner’s Emerald Cup – Ark of Gold. I first heard of this book in an episode of Myth Hunters years ago, and for some reason I can’t remember, I set my heart on finding a copy. I eventually found an affordable copy online and bought it, but it remained on my shelf for four years before I got around to reading it. I was pretty happy to discover that my copy is actually signed by the author.

emerald cup - ark of gold howard buechnerEmerald Cup – Ark of Gold: The Quest of SS Lt. Otto Rahn of the Third Reich
Col. Howard Buechner
Thunderbird Press – 1991

The Holy Grail was given to Abraham by Melchizideck (a character from the Old Testament who some view as a proto-Jesus). It got lumped in with the treasure of Solomon at some stage but was later separated from this trove and ended up in some junk store until teenage Jesus saw it. Then teenage Jesus went to England with his uncle, Joseph of Arimathea. He lived there until he was about 30. When he came back to Judea, he got to work on the whole Christ thing, and when he realised that the shit was about to hit the fan, he threw a party with his mates and decided to use his fancy cup. When Jesus died, his friend used this same cup to catch some of the fluid that was leaking from the hole in the side of Christ’s corpse.

According to Buechner, this grail ended up in the hands of the Cathars after being brought to France after the crucifixion. Although Rahn described the Grail as a stone from Lucifer’s crown, to Buechner, it is the standard Jesus beaker. Buechner does acknowledge that some believe that one of the decorative stones on the Grail might have originally come from the crown of Lucifer, but he also claims that Rahn believed that there were two separate grails, the standard one and a separate German one. (Confused yet?) Although Otto Rahn’s name appears in the title of Buechner’s book, I was not convinced that Buechner had actually read Rahn’s work. It seems a bit like he read somebody else’s summaries of Rahn’s books. While he references several works of absolute nonsense (Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Spear of Destiny, Morning of the Magicians), he acknowledges that at the time of writing Emerald Cup, he had not read Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s The Occult Roots of Nazism, the seminal academic work on Nazi occultism.

Buechner believed that Rahn (and our old friend Bérenger Saunière from Holy Blood, Holy Grail) had found the treasure of the Cathars. He claims that Rahn either would not or could not take the treasure to Heinrich Himmler, so Himmler sent in Otto Skorzeny to collect it.

Otto_SkorzenyOtto “Nazi Supervillain Extraordinaire” Skorzeny

Otto Skorzeny was a Nazi hero. He helped kidnap Mussolini, and he had a big scar across his face. There’s lots of bullshit stories about him. Buechner’s tale is is one of these. There is proof that Skorzeny was in Yugoslavia on the date that he was supposedly retrieving the Grail from France.

Buechner claims that after Skorzeny delivered the Grail to his superiors, it was shipped to Antarctica in a submarine so that it could be deposited in a magical cave that leads to the center of the Earth. (This magical cave also leads to a void from which the echoes of strange voices can be heard.) At the end of the book, Buechner admits that the package that was sent to Antarctica may well have been a map marking the current location of the Grail rather than the Grail itself.

I reckon that any speculation on the final conundrum of Buechner’s book is a complete waste of time. Absolutely all of his book is rubbish. Many of his claims are based on untruths. His sources are books of nonsense. None of what Buechner claims is remotely convincing. He never mentions Otto Rahn’s homosexuality, and actually claims that instead of dying, the young adventurer may have had extensive plastic surgery and changed his first name to Rudolf. Rudolf Rahn was a real person, and there is a record of his life before Otto’s death, so I don’t really understand how Buechner was willing to put such a stupid theory forth in writing.

otto rahn rudolf rahn

Throughout Buechner’s nonsense, he repeatedly references a book called The Occult and the Third Reich. A few years ago, this would have been enough to convince me to read this book, but I no longer have much of an interest in this crap. Buechner has a few other books about similar topics, but I have no intention of tracking them down either. Some of my blog posts are a breeze to write. I’ll read a novel in an afternoon and then write the review while I’m waiting for dinner. This post took a lot of time and effort. Reading these books was a thoroughly unpleasant experience, and I can’t recommend any of them to anyone. Do yourself a favour and read something good instead.

As for Otto Rahn, his reputation as the Nazi Indiana Jones is pretty silly. He seems to have been a lonely, tragic figure whose tendency to speculate wildy drew the attention of the Nazi Party and eventually led to his death.