The Doctor Orient Series, Books 5-8

doctor orient
I published a post on the first 4 Doctor Orient novels at the beginning of last year. If you’re not familiar with this series, you might want to read that post before reading this one.

the priestess frank lauriaThe Priestess – Frank Lauria
Bantam Books – 1978

This one sees the Doctor getting involved in a voodoo cult in Florida while he’s on the run from a government agency. Owen Orient is alone in this book; his friends from the previous novels are entirely absent here. This is pretty much what you’d expect, lots of sexy ladies, cocaine and snakes. Pretty good. The previous owner of my copy seems to have been very knowledgeable on the subject of Cuban witchcraft; my book is filled with notes on Lecumi.

seth papers frank lauriaThe Seth Papers – Frank Lauria
Ballantine Books – 1979

The Seth Papers is both the shortest Doctor Orient novel and the only epistolary novel in the series. I quite enjoyed the book, but it’s based around a rather strange idea. It’s about an Italian neofascist secret society that is attempting to retrieve the mythological Hand of Seth to take control of the Vatican. It was published in 1979, a good 2 years before the general public was made aware of P2, the Italian neofascist secret society that close ties with the Vatican and the Mafia. Did Frank Lauria come up with a plot that resembled reality by coincidence? If not, how did he know about this strange secret society? How did he publish a book about it and live? Those P2 lads hung a lad from a bridge for less!

blue limbo frank lauriaBlue Limbo – Frank Lauria
Frog, Ltd. – 2001 (Originally published 1991)

Doctor Orient’s 1991 return sees him in Jamaica battling another High Priest of Voodoo. As usual, the plot involves the main character falling for an evil woman and getting himself into serious trouble. There’s a nuclear submarine, some zombies, a psychic albino and some Cuban agents thrown into the mix too. The plot of this one was overly complicated. There was also a character who only spoke in rhymes. That really pissed me off. It didn’t make him sound mystical or profound; it made him sound like an annoying little cunt. This was my least favourite entry in the series.

frank lauria demon pope
Demon Pope – Frank Lauria
Rothco Press – 2014

More than 2 decades after his last outing, the doctor returns to New York. Unfortunately for him, he gets involved with a group of Satanic immortal Nazi clones who are have stolen the Spear of Destiny and are planning to use it to take control of the Vatican.

Unlike other occult detectives, Doctor Orient is a powerful psychic, and at times throughout the series, this gives him opportunities to solve impossible problems. He’ll topple over a candlestick into a curtain, causing a distraction that allows him escape from a guarded room. He can also talk to people on the astral plane, and this allows him to track his friends and enemies down without GPS. The first Orient novel was published in 1970, and he uses these powers throughout all of his adventures. In Demon Pope, a novel published 44 years into Owen Orient’s career as a hero, he acquires a new skill. Now he is able to transform into a panther. Honestly, this was a bit hard to swallow.

Demon Pope is a bit of a mess to be honest. It’s very unclear as to why the stuff that is happening is happening. There’s a part at the beginning where a teenage girl is sacrificed that is never explained. Also, the text is full of typos. You’d have thought that somebody at Rothco Press would have read over Frank’s manuscript before printing it. That being said, this was still a fairly enjoyable read.

doctor orient complete The Complete Collection

The first 6 Doctor Orient novels were published in the 70s. After The Seth Papers, Doctor Orient kept his head down for over a decade. After returning in 1991’s Blue Limbo, he would take another two decades off before coming back for Demon Pope. Why such long waits? I’ve actually discovered the answer to this seldom asked question. In 1982, Doctor Orient made a brief appearance in comic book form. He was given several pages in both editions of Steve Englehart’s 1983 Scorpio Rose comics. This was supposed to have at least one more part, but the series was cancelled because it wasn’t very popular. The 3rd edition of Scorpio Rose was eventually published in a collection of Englehart’s work, but this did not contain a 3rd installment of Doctor Orient’s adventures.

scorpio rose doctor orient

So what happens in the Doctor Orient comics? Not as much as I’d have liked – they’re really short. The Doctor exorcises a young girl and ends up going back in time to fight with a Nazi called Von Speer. Sound familiar? It will to anyone who has read Demon Pope. It seems as though Demon Pope is the novelisation of the story Frank Lauria wrote or at least started writing in the early 80s for the Orient comics. While Demon Pope wasn’t published until 2014, Lauria had actually come up with the plot for it only a few years after finishing The Seth Papers.

 

Well, that’s that. It took me more than 3 years to collect and read the entire Doctor Orient series, but now it’s done. It’s a bit of  push to classify these as horror novels; they’d be more accurately described as adventure books about occult phenomena. While Doctor Orient probably isn’t the greatest Occult Detective out there, these novels were very entertaining, and if there’s ever another published, you know I’ll be reading it. As of now, Raga Six (#2) was my favourite. I’ve also reviewed Frank Lauria’s The Foundling if you’re interested.

The Devil’s Grimoire – Moribus Mortlock

the devil's grimoire - moribus mortlock.jpgThe Devil’s Grimoire: A System of Psychic Attack – Moribus Mortlock
Winter Tempest Books – 2013

Has somebody done something to annoy you recently? Want to retaliate but you’re too much of a pussy to take action? Have you suffered a severe brain injury that has rendered you a clinical moron? If your answer to all 3 of these questions is ‘yes’ then I have the book for you!

Moribus Matlock’s The Devil’s Grimoire is a simple guide to solving your petty grievances through the art of demonaltry. This short book lists off the names of 36 demons, the incantations for summoning them and some situations that might warrant doing so. It’s pretty basic stuff, not much to really discuss.

There was one demon, a certain Malvader, whose description gave me pause for thought, “An obsessive rape demon with a curved appendage nearly as large as his torso who viciously and without cessation attacks your enemy in every orifice.” The indefinite article ‘an’ suggests that there is in fact more than one obsessive rape demon. Yikes!

I will give ol’ Mortibus some credit for having noisy neighbours 1st on his list of potential victims. There are few things in the world that irritate me as much (and as frequently) as rude people assuming that nobody minds having to listen to their shit music. Noisy neighbours are heinously annoying, but what about those inconsiderate cunts who play loud music on the bus or train? That my friends is the very height of rudeness. Those individuals deserve a visit from our old pal, Malvader.

Wiccan Sex-Magic – Inga Steddinger

wiccan sex-magic inga steddinger.jpgWiccan Sex-Magic – Inga Steddinger
Runa Raven – 1999

The image that pops in my head when I hear the word Wicca is of a middle-aged white woman with a nose ring and a well stocked spice-rack. It’s that flowery witch bullshit for Rennaisance fair geeks, right? Well, apparently there’s more too it.

In an introduction by Stephen E Flowers, it is made clear that the word Wiccan in the title of this book means “that of the sorcerer”, so the title really means “Sex Magic of the Sorcerer”. I assume this is pointed out early on so that people know that this work isn’t tying itself to the Mommy-with-a-moon-tattoo sect of witches that we all think of when we hear the word Wiccan.

Gerald Gardner, the father of Wicca, was friends with Aleister Crowley, and while Gardner’s Wiccan tradition did involve the use of sex in its practice, it seems that many Wiccans today shy away from the kinky stuff, at least publically. This book goes the other way and embraces it.

The main idea here is that sex magic is effective because when performed correctly it corresponds with the actions of the Gods of Norse Mythology as told in the Eddas. It’s all about power. There’s always a submissive and dominant, and this power imbalance and the flow of power it entails ensure that the rituals are highly charged. When the magician gives his girlfriend a passionate rimjob, he is worshipping her as the fearless Warrior Gröd worshipped the Goddess Holfurnbjorn. By becoming an avatar of the hero in this manner, he activates that hero’s powers. I’m being a bit silly here, but I’m confident that I’ve made the idea clear.

It wasn’t just the intro to this book that reminded me of Stephen E. Flowers; it’s also full of talk about bondage and birching. When I reviewed Carnal Alchemy, the book on Sado-Magical techniques that Flowers wrote with his wife, I noted that it had a  self-aggrandizing “We do S&M. We’re magicians. We’re so cool” vibe to it. Wiccan Sex Magic is similar. Then again, I suppose that most magicians are bound to bring their other interests into their practice, and if Inga Steddinger wants to incorporate her love of going to orgies and having her bum slapped into her magical practice, good for her.

This is a short review, but Steddinger’s book is only about 40 pages long. I have some cool stuff lined up for the next few weeks, so check in again soon.

 

The Black Grimoire – Angel Zialor

black grimoire angel zialor
The Black Grimoire – Angel Zialor
Starlight Books – 2008

I told myself I’d stop doing it, but I realised a few days ago that the multibook post I had planned for today wasn’t going to be finished on time. I have hence reviewed yet another independantly published grimoire that I found on the internet. These things are often short, and they’re usually handicapped enough to poke some serious fun at. The only downside is having to come to terms with the fact that I am wasting my time reading such shit.

This little pamphlet is awful muck. It’s clearly just a bunch of spells, rituals and prayers that the author, Angel Zialor, stole from other sources. Although the author describes the contents of this book as diabolic, much of it is made up of Christian prayers. Angel Zialor is a clueless moron.

I have two examples from this text that further demonstrate that last point. The first is a ritual of Sumerian Money magic that instructs the magician to urinate into a jar and say to it, “Salty liquid from within me, I demand that you bring me wealth.” I’m not making this up. Angel Zialor is literally instructing her readers to speak to a jar of their own piss. This sounds like the kind of thing a severely deranged mental patient might do, not a powerful magician. I wonder if there’s an equivalent ritual in which the practitioner must demand a plate of their shit to deliver them a lover. “Smelly brown paste from within me, I demand that you bring me my one true love.” That would be no more ridiculous.

As mentioned already, the spells or rituals in The Black Grimoire seem like they have been taken from other books. With the exception if one, I wasn’t bothered tracking down the original sources. This piece of shit book doesn’t warrant that level of research. The one ritual that I did look up was The Spell of Hatred, a spell to cause harm to your enemies. This spell is a paraphrased version of the Barabbas Spell featured in Paul Huson’s 1970 book, Mastering Witchcraft. There’s a few minor differences between the Spell of Hatred and the Barabbas prayer, but the content is almost identical. The most noticeable change is that instead of using sard stone as an ingredient, Zialor opts for a small piece of sardine. This makes things sound pretty funny later on when instead of evoking the “Queen of Sard” as in the original Barabbas spell, Zialor’s version calls for the “sardine Queen”.

sardine queen

The publisher of this nonsense, Starlight Publishing, has an amazing website. It’s worth a look for the utterly awful cover art they use on their books. I was not surprised to see that they have also published stuff by my old friend, Marcus T. Bottomley.

Ugh, enough of this shit. I apologise for presenting my readers with a work of such low calibre.

Crawling Chaos Magic – Lovecraft’s Legacy, Part 3

pseudonomicon phil hine.jpgThe Pseudonomicon – Phil Hine
New Falcon Publications – 2007 (Originally published in 1994)

I’ve read quite a few books of Lovecraftian occultism at this stage, and this was the best one yet. It’s a book of chaos magic. Chaos magic, as far as I understand it, is a very open form of magic. It is to free verse as goetia is to writing sonnets. The focus here is on results rather than rules and rituals.

While other books of Lovecraftian magic attempt to mix Lovecraft’s mythos with traditional forms of occultism, the Pseudonomicon encourages experimentation. A true Cthulhu druid should follow their intuition rather than the steps of a ritual. This disregard for traditional sequence fits in with Lovecraft’s tendency to use non-Euclidean mathematics as a method of evoking a weird atmosphere in his tales.

cthulhu.jpg

From the perspective of the layman, the behaviour that this book describes and encourages will seem ridiculous, and a skeptic might fairly describe this as a book on how to pretend that a collection of fantastic stories by a dead lad are based in reality. Neither view would be incorrect, but so what?

The book acknowledges that reading it might lead one to madness, and anyone who takes its advice and smears themselves in shit while dancing around a graveyard at night might well be seen as insane. On the other hand, who am I to act as though my take on reality is any more accurate than that of the Cemetery Scat Man. The more I think about it, the more I believe that what a person perceives IS their reality. If the Pooey Ghoul believes his actions are allowing him to speak to the Great Old Ones, I can’t disagree. Reality, existence and their links to perception are too inherently unknowable for anyone to assume that their take on these concepts is any more sensible than another’s.

This book does get pretty weird. In an appendix near the end, the author describes his experience of being possessed by Tsathoggua, Clark Ashton Smith‘s giant toad god who features in Lovecraft’s Whisperer in the Darkness. Cool.

This book does a pretty good job of balancing the Mythos stuff with a practical way of incorporating it into magical workings. If i was ever going to practice magic, i think i’d go for something like this.

haunter of the dark lovecraft.jpg
The Haunter of the Dark – H.P. Lovecraft

Wordsworth – 2011

This is the second and biggest entry of the Wordsworth Lovecraft editions. It contains the following stories:
Celephaïs, Herbert West – Reanimator, Pickman’s Model, Polaris, The Cats of Ulthar, The Colour Out of Space, The Doom That Came to Sarnath, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, The Dreams in the Witch House, The Haunter of the Dark, The History of the Necronomicon, The Horror at Red Hook, The Other Gods, The Shadow out of Time, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Shunned House, The Silver Key, The Statement of Randolph Carter, The Strange High House in the Mist, The Thing on the Doorstep, The Unnamable, the essay Supernatural Horror in Literature and Fungi from Yuggoth, a collection of weird sonnets.

The items listed in blue are not contained in the Penguin editions of Lovecraft’s work. I’m not going to say much about this collection other than that I really enjoyed reading most of these stories again. The Thing on the Doorstep and The Dreams in the Witch House are so deadly. Also, I’m pretty sure The Shadow Over Innsmouth is tied with Whisperer in Darkness as my favourite Lovecraft story. I’m not mad about all of the Dream Cycle stuff, but parts of it (The Other Gods) are awesome.

At this stage I’ve finished rereading all of the stories that Lovecraft wrote by/for himself that were included in the Penguin editions. It has been very enjoyable, and I feel that I’m now in a much better position to understand a lot of the occult texts that are based on his works. I can now sensibly distinguish a Shoggoth, Yuggoth and Yog-Sothoth. I still have one more entry in the Wordsworth series to read, but that one is comprised of collaborations that Lovecraft worked on. I’m quite excited about that as I’ve only read one of the stories it contains before. After I review that, I’m going to do a post on all of the stories that are not collected in the Wordsworth series. Both posts will also include an obscure work of Lovecraftian occultism. Stay tuned.

Man Into Wolf: An Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochism and Lycanthropy – Robert Eisler

man into wolf eislerMan Into Wolf: An Anthropological Interpretation of Sadism, Masochism and Lycanthropy
Robert Eisler
Spring Books – 1951

While this book may not look as interesting as the stuff I reviewed in last week’s post, it is more original, more suited to this blog and infinitely more interesting. Don’t let that pale blue cover fool you; this is mental.

The collective unconsciousness, as far as I understand it, is a postulated pool of ancestral memories to which each human being has limited access.  This theory is supposed to explain some of the strange ways in which we act. For example, it suggests that modern humans are afraid of the dark because a part of our unconscious mind remembers our distant ancestors being attacked by wild animals in the dark of night. I see the reasoning behind the idea, but I think it’s mostly understood to be pseudoscience at this stage.

Why the discussion of outdated psychology? Well, the theory of the collective unconsciousness is central to the claims of Man into Wolf by Robert Eisler, a 1948 lecture that was turned into a book. I can’t remember where I first read about this strange text, but I remember spending a lot of time tracking down an affordable copy. (This was during the stage of my life when I preferred physical books to digital copies.) Once I found a copy, it lay on my shelf for 5 years.

man into wolf sadism masochism lycanthropy eisler

Eisler claims that human beings originally lived in a Rousseauian state of harmony. Our primitive ancestors were pygmys that lived in small tribes, eating only fruits and vegetables, having sex with everyone and generally having a great time.

Unfortunately, these peaceful tribes were very vulnerable to attacks from predators, and early humans were often attacked and killed by wolves and lions. Eisler claims that in order to defend themselves from these attacks, the primitive humans started to emulate the behavior of the wolves. They started wearing wolf skins and began to eat meat themselves. This is where things started to go wrong for us. This was the real fall from grace behind the Genesis story. Once we developed a taste for blood, when we became wolf men, we started attacking other tribes and stealing their women. We thus created war and expelled ourselves from the garden of Eden.

As naive as this theory sounds, parts of it are true. The diets of large apes are largely vegetarian, and early humans were the same. Ancient hunters and warriors from around the world also wore the skins of wolves in an attempt to harness their predatory powers. Despite the inclusion of these historical truths, Eisler’s narrative remains unconvincing.

He claims that our ancestor’s change of diet and wolf skin clothes are to blame for recent acts of sadism, masochism and lycanthropy. The sadist and lycanthrope are responding to the desires of the wolf man that remain in our collective unconscious. By whipping or eating their sex partner, they are responding to the desire to inflict suffering on their peaceful vegetarian ancestors.

The masochist harbours, at a deep unconscious level, the memories of the peaceful pygmies who looked on as the savage wolf-skin clad warriors invaded their territory and raped and kidnapped any viable mates. While they may fear the sadist’s brutality, they are also drawn to it. They know that they may win approval if they submit to the wolfman’s every desire. It’s no coincidence that the most famous work of masochism is titled Venus in Furs!

Eisler concludes this work with a call to return to the peaceful ways of our ancestors. He claims that if men had always been murderous savages, we would have no chance for redemption, but since our ancient ancestors were peace loving monkey-men that changed only due to extreme conditions, we can, through massive social change, return to our former state of harmony.

The central idea of this lecture is utterly ridiculous. Fortunately the text of the lecture makes up only a small portion of this book. The rest consists of detailed notes and appendices. After perusing these, the reader will be forced to admit that while Eisler’s argument is unconvincing, his book was at least well researched. While I’m not sure that I’ll ever read the lecture again, I will be keeping this book for the information it contains on De Sade, Masoch, mass murderers, ancient blood rituals, perverts and werewolves.

The Secret King: The Myth and Reality of Nazi Occultism – Stephen E. Flowers and Michael Moynihan

secret king nazi occultism flowers moynihan.jpg
The Secret King: The Myth and Reality of Nazi Occultism
Michael Moynihan and Stephen E. Flowers

Feral House – 2007

Of all of the books on Nazi occultism that I’ve read, this is the most limited in its scope. I don’t mean that as a criticism of the writing; I mention it because this book is probably not the best place to start for a person who doesn’t know much about the topic. That being said, the first section of the book on the Myth of Nazi Occultism is actually quite informative. The rest of book focuses on one man. This is not merely a biography of that man though; much of the book is made up of translations of his work.

The authors point out that while there were several mystical individuals who played a role in developing the myth of Nazi occultism, only of of these individuals was actually a high ranking member of the Nazi party. This individual was Karl Maria Wiligut.

Wiligut advocated Irminism. This belief system requires its followers to hold the notion that the Bible is largely true, but that it was originally a Germanic text written roughly 12,000 years ago. Over time, the text was corrupted by Odinists, Jews and Christians. The real Jesus wasn’t a Jew. He was actually Germanic hero named Baldur-Kristos.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Karl Maria Wiligut spent several years of his life in a mental hospital before joining the Nazi party. His wife had him committed because he kept talking about being a descendant of Odin. He was certifiably insane.

When he got out of the loony bin, he was introduced to Heinrich Himmler. Himmler, who was greatly interested in occult ideas, was impressed and made Wiligut a Brigadeführer in the SS. Karl did a few bits and pieces for Himmler, helping design the Totenkopfring and develop Wewelsburg castle as Himmler’s ceremonial heart of the SS.

totenkopf ring design.jpgWiligut’s design on the cover of an SS magazine.

Wiligut didn’t write much, and what he did put to paper is horrible to read. This book contains a few poems that were translated for meaning rather than poetry (thank goodness!), a description of a picture, an essay about women’s role in society, and a few other bits and pieces about runes and astrology and the like. Yuck. There’s also an interview with Wiligut’s former assistant, but most of the information she gives has been covered in the book’s introduction.

The introductory chapters are interesting enough, but the primary sources included here will only be a valuable resource to those interested in understanding what a crazy old Nazi thought about runes and astrology. I can’t say I was all that interested.

(I’ve previously reviewed other books by both Michael Moynihan and Stephen E. Flowers if you’re interested.)