Demonic and Sexual Magick! – Carl Nagel

demonic and sexual magick carl nagelDemonic and Sexual Magick! – Carl Nagel
Finbarr Publications  – 1996

I make the effort to read and review at least one book per week, and I try to say something interesting about each book I’m reviewing regardless of how crap it is. I’m at a serious loss for words with this one though. It’s a boring, stupid, disorganized mess. It reads like the work of an 11 year old who is stupid enough to believe that Harry Potter is real. All of the texts I’ve read that were put out by Finbarr Publications have been of remarkably low quality, but this one is the most inane. There’s nothing here that sets it apart from the utter shit they published.

There’s no order to anything in here. Half of the text is taken up with silly sex magic rituals taken from other sources. These rituals are of the ‘wank off in front of a red candle and stick a black feather up your ass when you’re cumming – visualise the face of your love when doing so, and she’ll be in your bed by the end of the week’ variety. The other half of the book is accounts of people who tried and benefited from these rituals. None of these accounts are remotely believable. There’s also a few unrelated paragraphs on different Occult topics such as Aleister Crowley and Voodoo thrown in too, just to take up space.

Finbarr Publications are the bottom of the bucket when it comes to Occult books, and this is the most boring text that I’ve read from them. (Here’s some more examples if you’re interested: Basil Crouch’s The Hallowed Genie and Secrets of the Black Temple by the Red Spider, Marcus T. Bottomley’s Dark Rites & Encounters With the Devil, and Nathan Elkana’s Taking Control of a Group, Organization, Society, etc., through Occult Manipulation. All of these books are beyond shit.)  Demonic and Sexual Magick! is a particularly rotten bucket of crap. One wonders about the kind of individual that reads this shit in earnest. The world is filled with idiots.

What else can I say? This was truly terrible rubbish. The paper it’s printed on would be better used as toilet paper. Seriously, if you ever come across a copy of this book, use its pages to wipe away excrement from your rancid anal cavity.

Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts and Secret Rituals of the Men in Black by Allen H. Greenfield

secret cipher of the ufonauts secret rituals of the men in black greenfieldSecret Cipher of the UFOnauts 
Secret Rituals of the Men in Black
Allen H. Greenfield

Here are two books by the same author that make up one whole. Let me attempt to briefly summarise their contents:

Humanity has been in contact with ultraterrestrial forces for millennia. A kind of merman from Sirius came down to Earth a long time ago and taught us how to organise civilisation.

The secret wisdom of the fish god has been passed down through the coded messages of myths and the ciphered language of the rituals of secret societies. Very few humans still understand the true messages behind these stories and rites. Magic is ultraterrestrial technology, and most, if not all, aspects of the Occult relate to this technology.

summoning alien.jpg
In 1904, Aleister Crowley received messages from Aiwass, a discarnate entity. Within these messages was a key to the ciphered messages of the UFOnauts (ultraterrestrials), but despite his efforts, Crowley wasn’t able to find the key within the message that he himself had channeled. Some of Crowley’s followers discovered the key to the cipher in the 70s.

Allen Greenfield, the author of these books, claims that this key unlocks the meanings of the nonsensical names of aliens and planets given by UFO contactees. It also decodes elements of the secret rituals of certain masonic fraternities.

The deciphered meaning of these terms and rituals gives credence to the claim that ultraterrestrials have long been meddling in human affairs. Some aliens seem to be good, but others are pretty bad.

These books are not easy reading, but that’s their basic message as far as I can tell. The evidence given for these claims is fairly cabbalistic, and I don’t have the background or the patience to assess it properly. I read every word in the book, but entire paragraphs went entirely over my head. There’s a lot of references to different contactee cases that I am only mildly familiar with and a good deal of discussion on different aspects of freemasonry that I didn’t get at all.

I feel that things might have made more sense to me if I had already read Robert Temple’s The Sirius Mystery. It’s mentioned quite a few times in here. I’ve had a copy of this book on my shelf for years, bit I’ve found it tough to work up enough courage to actually read it. I suppose I should really look through it before delving any deeper into UFO lore.

Philip K. Dick’s VALIS was also mentioned in here quite a few times. VALIS was one of the first of Dick’s novels I read, and I remember finding it quite confusing at the time. I wonder if it’d make more sense to me now. I thought it was pretty cool to see Dick’s work being discussed alongside Crowley’s.

The main texts of both Secret Cipher and Secret Rituals are followed by interviews with an individual who calls himself Terry R. Wriste, and these interviews contain the most entertaining, most straightforward and most unbelievable parts of the books. In one of them, this Wriste guy describes being part of an underground shootout between a group of Vietnam veterans and a bunch of aliens. Wriste was one of the only survivors. In the other interview, he claims that UFOs can be shot down with sex energy. So remember, if you’re ever about to be abducted by an alien, just whip out your dick or pussy and rub it in their direction. They’ll disappear.

Robert Anton Wilson described Secret Cipher as “A very strange book, even for the field of UFOlogy”, and I have to agree with him. This stuff is mental. It was nice reading it so soon after Dark Gods by Roberts and Gilbertson as that book discusses a lot of the same cases. I cut down on the alien books after reviewing a bunch of new-age channeling nonsense a few years ago, but the books I’ve been reading recently have got me interested again. I’ve been enjoying the way they bring other aspects of the Occult to their discussions.

I’ve found it a bit tricky to figure out accurate publishing information for Greenfield’s books. The first one, Secret Cipher, was originally published in 1994.  I’m not sure when the second one, Secret Rituals, was published, but I know it wasn’t after 1995. I read the 2005 digital editions of both texts. (Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts, Secret Rituals of the Men in Black) The texts are about the same thing, and I’m certain they’re meant to be read together. A few years ago, the author put out another book, The Complete Secret Cipher of the UFOnauts. I haven’t been able to verify this, but it seems probably to me that that text is just the other two books stuck together.

Dark Gods – Anthony Roberts and Geoff Gilbertson

dark gods - anthony roberts and Geoff Gilbertson.jpgDark Gods – Anthony Roberts and Geoff Gilbertson
Rider/Hutchinson – 1980

Malevolent forces from another dimension have long been plotting against humanity. Throughout history these forces have manifested as demons, angels, spirits, fairies, vampires, dragons, aliens and Men in Black. They have convinced some humans to create secret societies that unwittingly aim to bring about the downfall of humanity. Lovecraft’s tales are not mere fiction. Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu are very real, and they’re patiently waiting for misguided humans to call them forth so that they can lead us into an era of blasphemous anarchy and interdimensional terror.

I mean… if you don’t want to read this book after that description, you’re on the wrong blog.

There’s so much to unpack here. This utterly insane book takes the work of H.P. Lovecraft, Bulwer Lytton, Erich Von DänikenFrancis King, Pauwels and Bergier, Eliphas Levi, Aleister Crowley, Trevor Ravenscroft, and John Keel and mixes it with Biblical Lore, black magic, cryptozoology, secret society conspiracy theories and UFO abduction stories. This is essential reading.

h.p.lovecraft - tom evesonjpg.jpgI’ve seen this image of Lovecraft before. It’s by Tom Eveson.

When I read Colin Wilson’s The Occult, I complained about the author’s unquestioning acceptance of ridiculous ideas. This approach made a little more sense to me after I read Morning of the Magicians by Pauwels and Bergier and understood their concept of fantastic realism, but I still thought of Wilson as a fairly credulous yet knowledgeable individual. Wilson actually wrote the foreword for this book, and it’s rather telling that he seems uncomfortable accepting this book’s findings. While he praises the authors of Dark Gods’ inquisitive vigor, he can not endorse their blind acceptance of their own conjecture. What is too much for Wilson will be far too much for almost everybody else.

Truly, this is a ridiculous book. There is no consideration given to the reliability of any of the authors’ sources; they even accept testimony from individuals they acknowledge as being liars.  They make no distinction between myths, fiction and eye-witness witness reports. Lovecraft’s short stories, extracts from The History of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus and Bulwer Lyton’s novel The Coming Race are presented alongside historical documents as proof of the conspiracy.

I don’t mind authors being ridiculous if the material they’re presenting is entertaining, but unfortunately, not all of the stuff in here is hugely interesting. Much of the second half of the book is taken up with descriptions of different secret societies such as the Golden Dawn, the Illuminati and even the Bilderburg Group. I recently wrote about my current disdain for conspiracy theories, and I found this section of the book to be grueling. The general message of the last 100 pages or so can be summed up by saying that any secret society that claims to offer illumination is actually run by Satanic forces that aim to enslave the society’s members and ultimately destroy humanity. I will give the authors some credit for briefly suggesting Reptilian government leaders 10 years before David Icke went mad, but this part of the book was painfully dull.

dark gods crowley blavatksy weishauptMadame Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner, Adam Weishaupt, Aleister Crowley, Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Dietrich Eckart – Satanic Illuminatists (Picture by Tom Eveson)

Overall, the writing is quite bad. The authors seem to dance around the points they’re trying to make rather than just stating them clearly. This is particularly unfortunate as the points they are making are hardly common-sense ideas.

Perhaps the most confusing, convoluted part of this book is the bit explaining the motives of the entities who seem to abduct people in UFOs. ‘The phrase ‘seem to’ is very deliberate in that sentence. The authors of Dark Gods don’t believe that aliens are coming to Earth and abducting humans; they believe that interdimensional beings are coming to Earth and pretending to be aliens that are coming to Earth and abducting humans. We’re talking about malevolent ultra-terrestrials, not inquisitive extra terrestrials. (The idea of ultra-terrestrials rather than extra-terrestrials can be found in Whitley Strieber‘s abduction books too, but ol’ Whitley never imagines his visitors to be so deceptive.) Why are these weird entities playing such an elaborate hoax on humanity? According to Gilbertson and Roberts, it’s basically just to confuse us.

golem dark godsThis image of a Golem later appeared on the cover of a book by David Schow.

Think about that for a second. Inter-dimensional creatures are crossing over into our dimension and then pretending to be aliens because they think that will make us feel afraid and uncertain. The pretending to be aliens part just seems a little bit redundant to me. They’re inter-dimensional creatures – that’s plenty frightening and confusing. What kind of deranged people came up with this nonsense?

There’s sparse information on the authors available online, and I had to dig around quite a bit for it to paint a cohesive picture. What I could find was fairly depressing. Both men are now dead.

Anthony Roberts had previously published some other books on Atlantis and mythology. Paul Weston, an expert on Glastonbury’s mythology, claims that the mood of Roberts’ earlier books were “considerably different” to Dark Gods. Roberts ran a publication company called Zodiac House with his wife. He died in 1990 while climbing up Glastonbury Tor to see a lunar eclipse. He died of a heart attack, but some have suggested that he was actually killed by fairies for planning to summon the ghost of Robert Kirk, a folklorist who was supposedly abducted by the fairies in 1692. Most accounts of Anthony Roberts that I have found have presented him as a rather temperamental individual. (Sources: an essay on meeting Roberts, Paul Weston’s notes, and Roberts’ obituary on page 12 of The Ley Hunter Winter 1989/1990)

glastonbury tor - dark gods.jpgThis creepy image from the book shows the spot where Anthony Roberts would later die.

Geoff Gilbertson died more recently, in 2017. Despite living longer, he seems to have been the more tragic of the pair. He died alone of untreated cancer. I believe Dark Gods is his only book. After publishing it, he supposedly became convinced that the Dark Gods were after him for doing so. He apparently suffered several psychotic breakdowns and spent time living on the streets and in a mental institution. One of his friends believed that he was on the autism spectrum. This guy genuinely seems to have suffered horribly with his mental health. People that knew him seem to have thought him a very nice guy though, a fact which is not true for Anthony Roberts. Nearly all of the information I could find on Gilbertson came from this article.

I’ve read accounts describing both men as unstable. I don’t know how they met or what their relationship was like, but it seems that their interactions with each other created an echo-chamber of Fortean paranoia. Dark Gods doesn’t read like some transparent attempt to synthesize occult ideas in order to make a quick buck. No, this book is a genuine trek into Crazy Town.

I first saw Dark Gods being mentioned on twitter. Somebody was discussing how difficult it is to find these days. Underneath that comment, somebody else had posted a video review of the book by Occult Book Review, one of my favourite youtube accounts. (He’s another Irish dad with an interest in occult books, basically a nicer, smarter, more respectful version of me.) After the first few minutes of that video, I knew I’d have to track down and read this thing as soon as possible.

Doing so wasn’t easy. This book really is quite tricky to find. You’ll be very lucky to buy a copy for less than 200 dollars, and I wasn’t able to find a digital version. With a little bit of work, I managed to get my greedy little claws on a physical copy. It’s actually a very tedious read, but if you’re determined to read it and can’t afford to spend a bunch of money, ask me nicely and I might be able to help you out.

Conjuring Spirits – Michael Osiris Snuffin

conjuring spirits a manual of goetic and enochian sorcery michael osiris snuffin.jpgConjuring Spirits: A Manual of Goetic and Enochian Sorcery
Michael Osiris Snuffin
Concrescent Press – 2010

Here’s a book about communicating with demons.

There are two parts to this text. The first is a modern guide to Goetic evocation. It simplifies some of the steps that you’ll find listed in older manuals. This part was fine. I don’t practice Goetia, but I’ve read enough about it to have been able to follow along. Everything here seems to make sense in the context of modern ceremonial magic.

The second part of the book looks at the author’s system of Enochian magic. Enochian magic, for those of you who don’t know, originated in the scrying experiments of John Dee and Edward Kelley. I found it very difficult to bother with this section for a few reasons. First of all, Enochian magic is a system of communicating with angels. I’m more of a demon guy myself. Next up, Enochian magic is a load of bollocks – from what I’ve read, it seems that Edward Kelley was a just conman who strung John Dee along so that he could fuck his wife.

On top of this, the author has his facts mixed up about Dee and Kelley. He says in the opening paragraph of this section, “Between 1851 and 1859 , Elizabethan Magus Dr. John Dee and his seer Edward Kelly (sic) received one of the most powerful systems of magick in Western Occultism.” The problem here is that John Dee died in 1608, roughly 250 years prior to these dates. Queen Elizabeth reigned from 1558 until 1603.

Kelley’s relationship with Dee was actually confined to the 1580s, and I thought that the dates given by Snuffin might just have been a typo, getting the 1580s mixed up with the 1850s, but Snuffin later says that it has been more than 250 years since Dee and Kelley did their experiments. This is technically more accurate than his original dates, but Snuffins book was published in 2010, so this number places Dee and Kelley’s work together somewhere in the mid 1700s.

I know that historical accuracy isn’t entirely necessary for a functioning magical system, but I was quite surprised by this lack of attention to detail. I’ve read that Snuffin is going to release a second edition of this book, so hopefully these errors will be corrected there.

Gilles De Rais, the Perverted Son

trial of gilles de rais george batailleThe Trial of Gilles De Rais – George Bataille
Amok Books – 1991 (Originally published 1965)

Gilles de rais is the kind of person that makes the belief in Heaven and Hell extremely appealing. There is no satisfaction to be derived from the fact that he was executed for his crimes. Those crimes were so hideous that their perpetrator deserves an eternity of agonizing torment – a quick execution is no payback for the brutal torture, rape and murder of countless children.

Gilles was an extremely powerful and ludicrously wealthy nobleman in 15th century France. For roughly 10 years, the Baron De Rais had his servants abduct poor children to satiate his hideous desires. He would slowly torture and murder them, usually stabbing them in the neck, sometimes severing their heads completely. As they perished, he would sit on their stomachs, peer into their dying faces and laugh. These victims would be raped at various stages during this process. After decapitating them, the Baron would kiss the children’s severed heads.

Oh, and while these horrendous acts were doubtlessly the result of de Rais’ depraved sexual impulses, he performed them in the name of the Devil. He employed several black magicians to help him communicate with demons. These sorcerers took De Rais for a fool. They would attempt to raise demons in front of him and after a while of nothing happening, they’d send him out of the room and lock the door. Then they’d start screaming in terror, and when Gilles would come back they’d tell him that the Devil told them to ask for some more money. Gilles would grant this request immediately. At other times, they would ask the Baron to provide them with the limbs and organs of dead children. These same sickos would also be present when Gilles was torturing kids. It seems that they were part of an abhorrently disgusting necro-paedophile ring. These scum were worst of the worst.

Gilles De Rais was eventually brought to trial for kidnapping a priest, and when the authorities started investigating the Baron, they heard the terrible rumours that had spread about him.

During a relatively painless trial (no torture on record), Gilles de Rais confessed his guilt and repented. He was excommunicated, but he was soon thereafter re-communicated by the Catholic Church because he had willingly confessed. The Church took the allegations of kidnapping a priest and being an alchemist more seriously than the rape and murder of countless children. Gilles was executed quickly, and the locals in his area were given a 3 day holiday to grieve for their master.

I don’t know guys. This is remarkably unsatisfying. I wanted to read about this lad dying slowly in unspeakable agony. His crimes are so gruesome that my initial response (and the response of many others) was to assume that the charges against him were false – they’re just a bit too extreme to imagine them really happening. That being said, the best evidence that is available to us, the court documents of his trial, provide a very cohesive and damning account.

It is these documents that make up most of the text of George Bataille’s The Trial of Gilles De Rais.

This is a very repetitive book. The first section is comprised of Bataille’s philosophical ramblings on the case. The second part is a very, very detailed timeline of Gilles De Rais’ life, much of which was already covered in the previous section. The last section is made up of the court documents of the trial. There is very little information in these documents that has not been discussed previously in the book. Also, court documents are fairly repetitive by their nature, so this book ends up delivering the same story about 5 times. I do appreciate the comprehensive nature of this book, but I think it would have been more effective to put the timeline first and Bataille’s thoughts after it.

The content of this book makes its repetitive nature remarkably depressing. You get to read about poor parents searching for their murdered children over and over again. This is fucking harrowing stuff. Bataille was a bit of a weirdo though, and I guess this was intentional. I read his Story of the Eye years ago, but I remember very little of it.

I’ve already mentioned that some people think that Gilles De Rais was the innocent victim of a conspiracy. He was a wealthy politician with plenty of enemies, and it is likely that many other people would profit from his downfall. My old friend Aleister Crowley was one of the individuals to proclaim the innocence of the Baron de Rais.

In an infamous lecture that was never delivered, Crowley argues that it was very likely that De Rais was framed. He argues that the claims against de Rais are too ridiculous to be taken seriously – they sound too similar to rumours spread to villainise the Jews throughout history. Crowley seems to have read a very different account of the trial of De Rais to the one presented in Bataille’s book though. Aleister claims that De Rais only confessed to his crimes when tortured, but the court documents presented by Bataille show that De Rais actually managed to avoid being tortured by confessing. Also, while the number of victims in Bataille’s text ranged from 35-140, Crowley gives the number of victims as 800 on the authority of Montague Summers. Summers, as we all know, was either very gullible individual or just prone to sensational exaggerations, and Crowley, an acquaintance of Summers, had to have known this. The swarmy, sarcastic and provocative tone that Crowley uses throughout the lecture make it seem all the less convincing.

I’ve encoutered De Rais a couple of times in fiction. The protagonist in Huysman’s Là-bas spends his time researching the evil Baron, and Gilles himself comes back from the dead to appear in Philip José Farmer’s Image of the Beast. And Ough! – he’s obviously a heavy metal hero too. I have a tshirt with a picture of him on it. I don’t wear it to work.

gilles de rais macabre shirt.jpgIt’s for this rather silly but historically detailed song.

I’d like to believe that De Rais was innocent, but the testimonies collected in Bataille’s book are very cohesive. It would be far more comfortable to believe that Gilles De Rais died an innocent man than to accept the horrendous deaths his victims suffered at his hands. This guy seems to have been a real piece of shit.


Taking Control of a Group, Organization, Society, etc., through Occult Manipulation – Nathan Elkana

Taking Control of a Group, Organization, Society through Occult Manipulation - Nathan ElkanaTaking Control of a Group, Organization, Society, etc., through Occult Manipulation
Nathan Elkana
Finbarr International – 2008

Jesus Christ, the world is home to some seriously pathetic human beings. I read this piece of garbage on the bus today. It’s awful shit, but it’s only 9 pages long. Here’s what the cretinous author has to say for himself:

There must be an unseeable world because existence is dualistic – there is no black without white, so if there is something that physically exists, it follows that there must also be something that does not physically exist. The author doesn’t mean that there are things that don’t exist though; he means that there are things that don’t exist physically. That which spiritually exists is obviously this. (Whoever believes this is a Grade-A moron. It doesn’t make any sense, but the rest of the book is based on this idea, so let’s just get on with it.)

Every place, company and type of worker is influenced by its sign and planet. This idiotic statement is followed by long lists of professions and places that are influenced by the different signs of the zodiac. These lists take up about one third of the entire text, but they’re followed by the claim that the influence of the stars doesn’t really matter all that much.

Ok, now to the most important part of the book. This is how to influence a group of people that you’re not part of. Imagine the group you want to influence as an individual human being on the astral plane. Picture a person who looks like what this group stands for. Imagine bossing this person around and telling them what you want to do. This figure will soon appear to the group’s members in their dreams and convince them to do what you want.

If the astral being resists, threaten to chain them up. If they continue, imagine them in chains. They’ll soon learn their lesson.

This method will work to influence any group, but it’s a bad idea to do it to a coven because they’ll figure out whats going on and send the entity back to attack you.

That’s it.

So, if you want to become a millionaire, all you have to do is imagine a lad named Sam with a computer for a head. Tell him to convince the executives at Microsoft to give you a percentage of their profits. If your new imaginary friend refuses, imagine him tied up. Then, a little later, imagine untying him and then wait for him to go and work his magic. Pretty soon you’ll be rich.

Some people probably paid to read this book…

There’s very little information online about the author of this text. He also published a book called The Master Grimoire of Magickal Rites & Ceremonies in which it is mentioned that he has published under many other names. Some people believe that Nathan Elkana is actually a pseudonym for Basil Crouch. It could be – both Elkana and Crouch are stupid cunts.

The Legend of the Mass of Saint Sécaire

mass of saint secaire
This is an original translation of Jean-François Bladé’s description of the diabolical Mass of Saint Sécaire:

Of course, some magicians have a more dangerous trick up their sleeves, one of these being the Mass of Saint Sécaire. It withers a man’s body, little by little, and doctors won’t be able to diagnose what’s happening to him.

Very few priests know the Mass of St. Sécaire; and three quarters of those who know it will never perform it, neither for gold nor for money. Only evil priests, damned without hope of redemption, are willing to do it. These are the type of miscreants who never stay two consecutive days in the same place. They travel by night, constantly on the run, today on the mountain, tomorrow in Bordeaux or Bayonne.

The Mass of St. Sécaire can only be said in an abandoned church that has been partly demolished or tainted by some terrible occurrence. These churches should house owls, bats, and occasionally gypsies. Under the altar, there should be plenty of croaking toads.

For the mass, the evil priest brings his mistress with him to serve him as clerk. He must be alone in the church with this slut, and they must share a fine supper. At the stroke of eleven o’clock, the mass begins and continues until midnight. The communion wafer is black, and three-pointed. The evil priest does not consecrate wine: he drinks water from a well in which an unbaptised child has been drowned. The sign of the cross is made on the ground with the priest’s left foot.

There are other terrible things that happen at the Mass of St. Sécaire, but to see them happening would blind a good Christian for the rest of their lives.

This is how some terrible people wreak vengeance on their foes.

The evil priests and their customers will find themselves in a nasty situation on judgement day. Only the Pope of Rome can grant forgiveness for this most terrible of sins, and the penance that must be paid is truly Hellish and must last until the death of the sinner. Very few of these wretches submit to their penance, and most die damned to eternal suffering in Hell.

There is a way to guard against the Mass of St. Sécaire; but I do not know the counter-mass that must be said. Please believe that if I had been taught it, I would pass it on to you…(there’s a couple of lines here that I’m omitting because they have nothing to do with the mass.) Unfortunately, the counter-mass only has the power to gradually kill the bad priest and the people who paid him. Both will die as their victim did, without knowing the cause of their own death.

I first heard of the abominable mass of Saint Sécaire in Montague Summers’ The History of Witchcraft, and I recall it popping up again when I was reading H.T.F. Rhodes’ The Satanic Mass. The description was intriguing. Summers notes that he read about this horrible rite in  Jean-François Bladé’s 1883 book, Quatorze Superstitions Populaires de la Gascogne. An almost identical description appeared 7 years later in James Frazer’s Golden Bough, and this doubtlessly brought the Mass to the attention of a larger audience. You can find Frazer’s account online, but I always want to read the original of everything and I wasn’t able to find a direct English translation of Bladé’s text online, so I made one myself. My French isn’t great, but after comparing my translation with Frazer, I’m confident that the above gets the message across.

Frazer omits the few lines about the counter-mass at the end of Bladé’s description of the Mass of Saint Sécaire, but otherwise his account is almost identical. The descriptions of the mass in the aforementioned books by Summers and Rhodes follow directly in this line of succession. (Summers provides another extremely similar account in his later book, A Popular History of Witchcraft.)

When I briefly mentioned this blasphemous ritual in a post 4 years ago, I knew that I’d have to return to it at some stage. A couple of weeks ago I picked up a novel that had been lying on my shelf for years. It turns out that the Mass of Saint Sécaire is a major part of the story.

the witching night c.s. codyThe Witching Night – C.S. Cody (Leslie Waller)
Bantam 1974 (First published 1952)

I’m ripping through my paperback collection at the moment, and I’m trying to get some of the boring ones out of the way with. When I was starting The Witching Night, I assumed that it would be fairly dull. It turns out that it’s actually a Satanic love story filled with mystery and suspense. This book is absolutely deadly.

A doctor encounters an old friend who is dying. The doctor realises that something very peculiar is going on, but his friend won’t speak explicitly about it. The only clue he gives before dying is the name of a girl. When the doctor tracks her down, he finds her irresistible. The only problem is that she is the Satanic witch who performed the Mass of Saint Sécaire that killed his friend! The doctor soon suspects that he too has been cursed, but he can’t bring himself to sever his relationship with the woman who he knows is responsible.

the witching night c.s. cody back coverFuck yes.

Some grisly Satanic rituals are described, but the really entertaining part of the book is how the author gets into the psychology of what’d be like to fall for a very sexy, yet very evil, witch. Imagine being in love with a person who was slowly killing you. There are also some really interesting dream sequences and supporting characters in here, and I was kept guessing what would happen until the last few pages. This is a surprisingly well written book. (So well written in fact, that I discovered some pathetic loser who copied the text, changed the names of the characters and tried to pass it off as her own work. Join me in complaining to her publisher.)

The author of The Witching Night, Leslie Waller, used ‘C.S. Cody’ as a pseudonym for this work, and as far as I can tell didn’t write any more occult themed fiction. This is unfortunate, as he did so in a tasteful way. The occultism in here is serious and effective. This isn’t a Scooby-Doo episode where the devil is unmasked and demystified at the end. The power of Satan is real! And while it’s an infamous black magic ritual that moves the plot of this book along, the author doesn’t rely on occult references to make his book entertaining.

Frazer’s account of the Mass is quoted in this novel, but later in the book the female character admits to having said the mass herself. This doesn’t really make sense, as she’s obviously not a Catholic priest, but I’ll let it slide because it adds to the story. Also, Waller describes a hitherto unmentioned way to cancel the effects of the Mass, but you’ll want to read the book to find out what that is.


After reading The Witching Night and realising that I’d have to do discuss the Mass of Saint Sécaire in my review of this book, I decided to check out the Aleister Crowley story about the Mass too. It was written in 1918 and published as part of Golden Twigs, a book of 8 short stories that were influenced by Frazer’s Golden Bough.

aleister crowley simon iff and other worksAll 8 of the Golden Twigs tales are featured in this collection.

If you’ve read the above description of the mass, this story is pretty straightforward. Two men love one woman. She loves one back. The other lad gets jealous and gets a dodgy priest to say the Mass… No surprises. I think I liked Crowley’s description of the Mass best. I mean, it gives the exact same details as Bladé‘s, Frazer’s, Summers’, Rhodes’, Waller’s and mine, but I felt that Crowley made it sound nice and creepy. I haven’t read any of Crowley’s other short fiction, but I have a couple of books of his short stories that’ll get reviewed on here someday.


While researching the Mass of Saint Sécaire, I saw that there was a radio play recorded in 1974 that was based around this terrible ritual. It was part of CBS’s Mystery Theater series, and it was called The Secret Doctrine. Thankfully, somebody has posted every episode of this series online (complete with advertisements from the early 70s). I was so happy to be able to listen to this. Again, if you know about the Mass, this story is very straightforward. Unrequited love, frustration, blasphemous ritual, death… This story is perhaps the most complete fictional account of the mass – it includes the sinner’s repentance and penance. There was a brief mention of Eliphas Levi, and the play seems to take its name from Helena Blavatsky’s 1888 theosophical opus. The writer here seems to have had a genuine interest in the occult. I was also intrigued to see William Johnstone on the cast list for this show. (He plays Father Giles.) A decade after this radio drama was recorded, Johnstone would go on to write a bunch of insane horror novels about Satanists – I just finished his The Nursery a couple of days ago. I can honestly say that it was one of the most mental books I’ve ever read.

mass of saint secaire books
Just some of the works I had to reference for this post.

Of course, there is no Saint Sécaire. There are 3 Saint Sacerdos, 2 Saint Securus, a Saint Sacer, a Saint Sektar and a Saint Sagar. A few of these boys were French too, so the name Saint Sécaire probably sounded legitimate to the Gascony peasants from whom Bladé heard the legend. Also, I have read several places online that Sécaire probably comes from the French word ‘sécher’ which means to dry. If you wanted to imagine a corresponding creepy name for a Saint in English, you could go with Saint Withers. I think that works pretty well. I wouldn’t want one of my enemies saying the Mass of Saint Withers against me.

Back in November 2001, in an article in Fortean Times titled Satan in Suburbia, Gareth J. Medway suggested that the Mass of Saint Sécaire was fictional. (Meday also claimed that the original source for the story of the Mass was Bladé’s Contes Populaires de La Gascogne, but this is not quite true. Contes Populaires was published in 1895; Quatorze Superstitions had been published in 1883. The passages in these books about the Mass are identical though, so the point that Medway was making in his article still rings true.) Bladé was a collector of folklore and fairy tales, and he never presented his account of the Mass of Saint Sécaire as history. Russell Hope Robbin’s Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology states that “The so-called mortuary mass of St. Sécaire in Basque-speaking territories and the mass of the Holy Ghost in Normandy belong to folklore or anthropology, but not to witchcraft.” Was the Mass of Saint Sécaire ever a real thing? I really doubt it, but let’s be honest, it makes for a damn cool story. In the aforementioned article by Medway, he points out that later occult authors went on to use parts of the description of this terrible ritual in their descriptions of more general Black Masses, and from what I have read, it has since become a basis for modern black magic ceremonies. I’ve presented three pieces of fiction based on this blasphemous rite, and I’d love to know if there’s any more out there.

If you’re interested in other folk tales that came to be accepted as elements of occult history, I recommend that you check back soon. I’ve got a post on Gilles De Rais lined up for next week.