Charles Platt’s The Gas

The Gas – Charles Platt
Savoy Books – 1980 (Originally published 1970)

A poisonous gas that drives people insane wafts around England leaving the country in chaos. Yes, this book has the exact same plot as James Herbert’s The Fog. When I read The Fog last year, I was surprised by how extreme some of the scenes were, but that book barely compares to the lurid chaos of The Gas. The gas in The Fog makes people violent, but the gas in The Gas makes them horny and violent.

The first two chapters read like regular porn. A guy picks up a hitchhiker with big boobs and proceeds to ride her. In chapter 3, a policeman wanks off his dog. By the end of the book, the reader is covered in shit, piss, vomit, blood and animal remains.

The Gas is an exercise in extremity, an author seeing how far he can push things. I’ve read other books that may outdo it in certain respects, but you get to a point where a few extra turds or rape scenes don’t really make a difference. I’ve previously discussed how I’m not hugely interested in reading books by authors who are solely trying to push the envelope, but The Gas was first published in 1970. Authors today can self publish pretty much anything. Getting this kind of filth printed 50 years ago seems far more impressive.

Actually, when a new edition of The Gas was put out in 1980, 3000 copies were seized from the publishers by the British government. Something about this makes it a very alluring text. That cover too… Irresistible.

The Gas was recently republished by Centipede Press as part of their Vintage Horrors series. I think it’s generally classified as sci-fi because of its author’s later works, but the violence is so extreme here that describing it as “horror” isn’t much of a stretch. The edition I read contained a foreword from Phillip José Farmer. The only book I’ve read by Farmer was also a work of erotic sci-fi horror.

The Gas is an extreme and horrifying book with an interesting publication history, but it’s a curiosity rather than a great novel. Give it a read though; you might as well.

Russ Martin’s Satanic Mind Control Babes: Rhea, Susan Browning, Lisa Black, Candy Sterling, Jessica Young, Sally Wing, and Jennifer Parrish

I remember coming across these in Paperbacks from Hell and immediately writing them off because 7 books seemed like a big commitment and an initial search showed them to be fairly scarce. I took a closer look a few months later and realised I’d have to read them.

Like many of the books featured in Paperbacks from Hell, these titles are very tricky to track down, but these particular books were already scarce when PFH came out. These are erotic novels, and they feature a specific kink. I found a link on Will Errickson’s blog, and it might have something to do with why these books are so hard to find. This webpage is a list of JR Parz’s favourite erotic mind control novels, and it has been online for well over 20 years. The Martin books have been listed at the top of it since it was first posted. Erotic mind control seems like a fairly specific kink, and I’d imagine that the erotic mind control online community is pretty closely knit. Yep, I would be willing to bet that more of the copies of Martin’s books still in existence are sitting shelves of mind control perverts than on the shelves of regular horror fans.

There’s a paragraph on these books in Paperbacks From Hell and an essay in Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s about how Martin’s novels reflect the early 1980’s fear of Satanism, but neither of these sources offer any information on Russell W. Martin, the mysterious pervert who wrote these strange books. The internet isn’t much better. The only online source on Martin I could find was his ISFDB page. That page says he was born in 1933 and that his full name is Russell White Martin, but it also says he cowrote a book about space and drew some pictures for a 1992 science fiction novel called A Fire Upon the Deep. I got hold of both of these books, and I can confirm that the space book was written by a different Russ Martin, and the art in A Fire Upon the Deep was created by Elissa Mitchell. I don’t know if we can believe the other information from ISFDB either.

The only reliable information I could find on Martin is on the inside cover of my copy of Chains. Chains is the UK version of Rhea. This information is not included in the Playboy edition of Rhea, published one year later.

I emailed the college he used to work at, but they are yet to respond.

In Paperbacks from Hell, Grady Hendrix claims that Martin wrote 7 novels about the Satanic Organization, but that’s not true, and anyone who has read these books will understand why (details below). Also, Alison Natasi omits Rhea and Candy Sterling from the bibliography to her essay. This might be because one was written in the 70s and the other doesn’t quite fit in with the theme of the essay, but it might also be because Candy Sterling is almost impossible to get hold of. Apart from JR Parz, I am not convinced that I know of anyone who has actually read all 7 of these books.

Hard to find, rarely read, trashy novels about horny Satanists? Hell yes.

Due to the relative scarcity of these books, I am providing summaries of each. If you’re actually planning on reading these, maybe skip to the last 2 paragraphs and then come back once you’re done. (I wrote these reviews as I was reading the books, so I end up answering some of the questions I ask later on in the post.)

Rhea/Chains
Ermine – 1978
Playboy Press – 1980
Futura Publications – 1979

A girl born in the 1700s spends her birthday money on a mysterious old book called Liber de Malo from the back of a merchant’s van. She is a gifted child, and at 5 years of age uses her schooling in Latin to summon a demon. Once she hits puberty, she starts using demons to help her gain complete sexual subordination from anyone she fancies. She does this for about 200 years and then meets Phillip Stafford, a wealthy movie executive.

She gains control over this Phillip guy, but things start to get really nasty once his wife finds out. Philip hires a private detective to figure out Rhea’s game, and it’s through his sleuthing that many of the details of Rhea’s past lives are revealed. The chapters are not in chronological order, and each one offers the perspective of a different character. I was very impressed with how well the plot was crafted. This is sexy, satanic horror fiction, but Russ Martin put some serious work into organising this story.

This isn’t porn though, even if it was published by Playboy. The characters have lots of sex, but there’s barely any graphic sex scenes. The most lurid scene appears towards the end of the novel, and it is anything but sexy.

Parts of the book are scary too. Rhea is proper bad. She’s not just mean and selfish. She’s evil.

Honestly, I was really surprised by how much I liked this one. I don’t know why it hasn’t been reissued since 1980. It felt like a proper gothic novel.

The Desecration of Susan Browning
Playboy Paperbacks – 1981

An up-and-coming film maker rescues a woman named Wanda Carmichael from getting raped. Turns out that Wanda’s in league with the devil, and she decides she wants the lad who saved her, so she puts a mind control spell on him. Susan, his wife, isn’t too pleased, so one of Wanda’s associates puts a love spell on her too. Both Susan and her husband are drawn towards people they absolutely hate by an insurmountable force of evil. Susan finds some reprieve when she meets Al Crabbe, a handsome priest who stows her away in a convent, but even he can’t stop the Devil’s powers. The novel ends with a mass gathering of Devil worshippers gathering for a Satanic baptism. Instead of being anointed with holy water, the baby, and probably Antichrist, is anointed with blood from a fresh castration wound. Fr. Crabbe sneaks into this ritual, and although he doesn’t manage to save Susan, he does wreck the party and make off with the baby. The novel ends with Fr. Crabbe looking at the baby and questioning his faith.

The Desecration of Susan Browning wasn’t as impressive a novel as Rhea in terms of plotting but it was still an enjoyable read. There’s less exposition here. While Rhea told the story of how the titular character fell in league with the devil, there’s not as much backstory to Wanda Carmichael. We don’t find out exactly how she has gotten to where she is today. While Rhea felt like a gothic mystery, The Desecration of Susan Browning is more of a thriller.

One of the few things we do find out about the novel’s antagonist is that she is a trans woman. This trashy horror novel was written in 1981, so this isn’t dealt with in particularly a sensitive manner.

There’s also a scene where a Satanist refers to Jesus as a “suckass”. LOL.

The Devil and Lisa Black
Playboy Press – 1982

I’ve seen this described as both a sequel and prequel to Susan Browning, but I think the more appropriate way to describe this book would be as an appendix to its predecessor. Lisa Black is a minor character in The Desecration of Susan Browning. She’s an informant who has had a curse put on her that makes her think she’s hideously ugly. She’s an intriguing character, and if I hadn’t known she that she was going to show up again in a different book, I would have wondered why Martin introduced her.

About half of The Devil and Lisa Black is taken up with Lisa’s backstory. It’s pretty much what I’ve come to expect at this point. A beautiful young girl is bewitched and drawn into a circle of horny Satanists.

The other half of this book deals with Al Crabbe (the priest from the last book). He has abandoned the priesthood and is still looking after the baby he kidnapped from the Satanists (the baby whose high ranking Satanist mom was designated male at birth). Al’s luck takes a turn for the better, and he very quickly ends up with a high paying job, a nice house and several attractive sex slaves, one of whom is Lisa Black. Things get a bit weird for him after he starts seeing the ghosts of Susan Browning. I didn’t expect a happy ending from this one, and I didn’t get one.

It’s a bit of an odd book. The two strands share one character, but Lisa doesn’t really do much in the Al Crabbe part of the story. I mentioned above that I was impressed with how Martin strung the different threads of Rhea together into a cohesive whole and that I thought The Desecration of Susan Browning fell a little short of its predecessor. After reading The Devil and Lisa Black, I think that Russ Martin may have originally intended the the Lisa Black parts of this novel to be part of The Desecration of Susan Browning. They all take place before the events in that book, and they would make her inclusion there more understandable. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Martin’s publisher had convinced him to cut that stuff out and put it into another novel. I reckon the Al Crabbe stuff here was added on to fill up space.

While this is definitely the worst novel so far, it might also have been the sexiest. I’m pretty sure there’s more boobs in this one anyways. It also contains the greatest line in sleaze fiction history:

“I’ll make a deal with you, Mr. Crabbe,” she whispered. “I won’t ever call you Al in public. And you don’t ever call me a lady in private.

The Possession of Jessica Young
Tor – 1982/1988

This is the first of Martin’s books to be published by Tor.

While the 3 previous books featured relatively small cabals of Satanists, the Satanists in The Possession of Jessica Young are part of an international network referred to as The Organization. The Organization aims to bring about the reign of Satan on Earth. One of the highest ranking members in the Organization is a guy called Stephen Abbott. Part of his job is seeking out psychics who may somehow obstruct the Organization. The exact nature of how these psychics will do this is never really addressed.

Jessica Young is young and beautiful. She’s also the most powerful psychic the Organization have ever come across. She can kill people without touching them. At first Stephen Abbott does the ol’ mind control spell on her and gets her to kill her own family. Unfortunately for Abbott, her powers are so strong that she breaks the spell herself. Abbott is left with little choice but to lobotomise her. The lobotomy scene is pretty degrading and gross.

This book felt distinctly more mean spirited than its predecessors. This is less a novel about dashed hopes. It’s more a novel about suffering. Jessica has already killed her family by the time the book begins, and we’ve already come to understand that Martin’s books end in a worse place than where they began. Sure, the bad guys are Satanists and Jessica is psychic, but the occultism that kept Rhea exciting is entirely gone. This felt more like a book written for dudes who like the idea of having complete control over a woman. There’s a slight reprieve of misery at the very end of the book, but it doesn’t make up for what’s happened.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just reading through these too quickly and I’m getting a bit tired of them, but I didn’t really enjoy this one very much.

The Obsession of Sally Wing
Tor – 1983/1988*

This is a direct sequel to The Possession of Jessica Young. Half the book won’t make sense unless you’ve read that book beforehand.

The plot is a bit of a mess at this stage.

Jessica Young was lobotomised at the end of the last novel, but her soul fled into her sisters body and took over. Her sister is obsessed by Stephen Abbott (the main man from the Organization), so this is tricky business. If Jessica gives her sister any control over her own body, she will turn themself in for a chance to see her loverboy. Half the novel tells the story of Jessica trying to gain access to Stephen Abbott, but when she gets close enough to kill him, she changes her mind and has a brief affair with him.

The other half of the novel is about a former child prostitute named Sally Wing. The Organization turns her into a vampire, and she kills a bunch of children. After she kills a child that the Organization had turned into an adult, the Organization loses its patience and has Sally raped and murdered. The Sally Wing part of the story has absolutely no overlap with the Jessica young part.

Sally feeds on fear rather than blood, and there’s one part where she does a really good job at scaring a little girl that I did not enjoy reading.

I was pretty surprised with how this one ended. There’s no revenge, but Jessica Young is not dead or evil yet.

*(I’m not sure about the publication date of the second version pictured above. Will Errickson and ISFDB say it’s from 1988, but my copy says first edition on the inside cover. This is extra confusing as it also lists The Education of Jennifer Parrish in the “Other titles by this author” section. That book wasn’t published until 1984 though… Probably just an error.)

The Education of Jennifer Parrish
Tor – 1984*

*(This cover is from 1988. I don’t know if there was ever a different cover for this one. There were alternate covers for the other 2 Tor novels.)

Like The Obsession of Sally Wing, this book has two almost entirely separate storylines. This is the third book dealing with the saga of Jessica Young and Stephen Abbott. It also introduces a brand new scenario and cast of characters.

Jennifer Parrish, a teenager, tries to kill a rapist, so she’s forced into a military-style boarding school that’s owned by the Satanic Organization. Why would Satanists run a school? Well, when a high ranking Satanist gets old, they visit the school, pick out an attractive student and then forcibly trade bodies with them. The procedure doesn’t initially work on Jennifer because she’s a virgin, but the Organization figures out a way to remedy this.

Stephen Abbott’s failure to subdue Jessica Young by the end of the previous book has got him in big trouble with the Organization. He is told that if he doesn’t get her under his control, he will be obsessed by a sadistic woman that he hates. He manages to have sex with Jessica at least once more, but despite his pleas, she runs away and allows him to become obsessed.

Jennifer Parrish dies, but she only took up half a book. Jessica Young escapes, and her tormentor from the first book in this trilogy is in a far worse position than her. Martin doesn’t tell us where Jessica is going to go or what she’s going to do next, and Abbott is obsessed, but Jessica has the power to cancel an obsession, so although the ending to this book is tidier than its predecessors, it does not rule out a continuation of the story. Unfortunately, no further books in this series were ever published.

The Resurrection of Candy Sterling
Playboy Press – 1982

This is by far the hardest Russ Martin novel to find. Some of the others go for ridiculous prices, but I have never even seen a copy of this for sale online. I left it till last because I taught it was written last, but it turns out that this was actually published 2 months after The Devil and Lisa Black. This was Martin’s last novel on Playboy Press, and this publisher shut down shortly after it was released, so there were probably fewer copies of this printed than the others.

If you are reading Martin’ books due to an interest in Satanism in literature, you can skip this one. This deals with a cult, but nothing Satanic. Let me tell you, it’s easier to stomach sadism if the perpetrator is supposed to be a worshipper of evil. Having normal people perform acts of brutal sexual violence makes it much nastier.

Candy Sterling is a stupid prostitute. I don’t mean to imply that prostitutes are stupid. Candy is both a prostitute and an imbecile. She joins a cult led by a mysterious figure known as “The Prophet”. This Prophet guy convinces rich people to give him all their money and then spend the rest of their lives working on his farm or, if they are beautiful teenage girls, working in his mansion.

This is where the commonality with Martin’s other books shines through. The Prophet has absolute control over his followers. They will do anything he tells them to. Candy is mugged while in his service, but she refuses to give his money to the mugger even after he brutally assaults her. The mugger is so impressed with her fortitude that he joins the cult himself. (His reasoning here is never fully explained.)

Soon enough, Candy and her mugger are married and given the special job of murdering apostates of the cult. It quickly becomes apparent that Candy is the more unstable of the two when she tortures a family of rape victims to death. She later leads her husband back to the the scene of this murder and then shoots him in the head while he is performing cunnilingus on her.

Honestly, if sexual violence isn’t your thing, avoid this book. It was surprisingly extreme.

Having read Martin’s other novels, there’s something disquieting about the focus on brainwashing and power relations in here. You don’t write 7 erotic novels heavily featuring the same kind of kink if you’re not into that kink yourself. But Candy Sterling is not the kind of story you should be wanking too. This is a grim read, and the sincerity of the eroticism made me feel a bit dirty. Even JR Parz gave this one a negative review.

Ok, so if you haven’t been paying attention, let me sum up the sequence of these books. Rhea and The Resurrection of Candy Sterling are standalone texts. The Desecration of Susan Browning and The Devil and Lisa Black are a pair. The Possession of Jessica Young, The Obsession of Sandy Wing, and The Education of Jennifer Parrish are the first three books in an unfinished series.

These are novels about Satanists and black magicians, but most of the occult rituals occur behind closed doors. The Satanism on display is of the trashy horror novel variety. The essay in Satanic Panic about these novels is probably a better place to look if you want some commentary on how they reflect the social values of when they were written. I read them for enjoyment, and they got the job done. Rhea was definitely the best; if you’re going to read any of them, make it that one. The others are varying degrees of ok, definitely not worth the prices that some sellers are asking for them.

Phew, I think this might be the longest post I’ve written. I hope it was entertaining/elucidating. If anyone has any information about Russ Martin, please leave a comment or email me.

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.

Daughters of the Devil – Charles LeFebure

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Magica Sexualis – Emile Laurent and Paul Nagour

magica sexualis.jpg
Magica Sexualis: Mystic Love Books of Black Arts and Secret Sciences
Emile Laurent and Paul Nagour
Falstaff Press – 1934

This is a rather curious book. A limited number of copies were printed privately in 1934, and one of these found its way onto the internet. I read it because I haven’t done any occult books in a while, and people seem to be more interested in the sexy ones.

Magica Sexualis is basically a compendium of information on the role of sex in different forms of occultism. The information within is fairly interesting, but it doesn’t seem to support any particular thesis. Each chapter deals with a different type of occultism and the corresponding role of sex. I don’t really want to go through each chapter, as quite a few were very boring (particulary the ones towards the end). The rest of this review is just some of the notes I took while reading through this strange book.

  1. The authors claim that the medieval witch-craze was caused by poor people turning to Satan because they found Catholicism too hard. Although the authors believe in witches, they concede that their night ride to the Sabbat was drug induced, not real.
  2. There’s a cool section on incubi and succubi. It’s mostly made up of  anecdotes from the classic witch-texts, and much discussion is given to Sinistrari’s question about whether incubi use their own demon sperm or the sperm collected from men they rode as succubi.
  3. In their description of the Black Mass, the authors describe how Satan would knead the dough of his unholy Eucharist on the buttocks of a recently deflowered virgin. That’s a pretty cool detail I can’t recall seeing elsewhere. There’s several accounts of Black Masses in here, including a lengthy quotation from the infamous scene in  Huysman’s Là Bas.secret rites of black mass 
  4. There was a lad called Gaufridi who supposedly used to breath on people to make them love him. Before he was executed for his evil deeds, he claimed that he had used his power on his accuser’s mother and that his accuser might be his daughter. Haha, owned. Apparently his accuser lived the rest of her life being teased, “continually hearing the taunts of the people and heavy breathing and snoring wherever they went.”.  This case actually set the precedent for the sentencing of Urbain Grandier during the Loudun Possessions 20 years later.
  5. This book contains the following description of an interesting West African ass-dance:black buttocks
  6. There’s a big section on Catholic views on the sinfulness of sex that was pretty interesting. Quoting Krafft-Ebing, the authors blame religion for creating perversions, not preventing them. This section also gives details about the Scopts, a sect of Russian mentallers who liked to cut off their own dicks. “In the first period of their existence, the operation consisted of the removal of the testes by glowing hot irons; this mutilation was called the baptism by fire.” These lads would also mutilate a young virgin every Easter; “Her breasts were removed and then the participants in the ceremony awesomely consumed a portion of the holy breasts. The virginal victim was then placed upon the altar; the frenetic believers danced and sang about her until they were aroused to the highest pitch of sexual madness when they gave way to their cruel and bestial desires upon one another.”
    Fucking Hell.
  7. Saint Veronica Juliani had sex with a lamb.witches ritual goat
  8. Sunamitism is the notion that young flesh and sweat makes you young again. This comes from Abishag of Shunem, the child who had to sleep with the Biblical King David to maintain his vitality. King David was a paedo. Sunamitism is supposedly why teachers generally live longer than other people.
  9. The chapter on the sex practices within certain religons is mostly boring, but it claims that Baal Peor was “the God Penis” and the male priests of Baal were teenage gay prostidudes who also pimped wuff-wuff dogs.

There’s also chapters on gross love potions, cures for magical impotency, werewolves, vampires, and Freudian dream interpretation. Like I said, there’s not much focus or cohesion here at all. It’s not an absolutely horrible book to read, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone for any reason.

 

Le Ménage à Trois (A Threesome of French Filth): Story of the Eye, Irene’s Cunt and The She Devils

How do you know when a Frenchman’s been in your back yard?
Well, your garbage cans are empty and your dog is pregnant.
– from The Body (1982) by Stephen King

There’s no aliens or demons this week, just 3 books by some dirty Frenchmen. These texts may be a little different to the stuff I usually review, but Bataille’s book’s weirdness and elements of body horror are enough to warrant its inclusion here. That book goes hand in hand with the book by Aragon, and the title of Louÿs’ book makes it at least sound like my usual fare. There’s countless other dirty French books that I could have chosen for this post, but these 3 were published within a couple of years of each other, and all three are critically acclaimed. I also read all of them recently, so it works out.

StoryOTheEye - batailleStory of the Eye – George Bataille
City Lights Publishers – 2001 (First published 1928)

Story of the Eye is about a teenage couple doing some very disgusting things. It’s certainly a dirty book, but I don’t really see it as erotica or porn. I’m not really sure what the difference between erotica and porn is, but this book is not sexy by any stretch. Maybe piss fetishists might get a bit aroused by the parts where the characters piss on eachother, but their excitement will probably dissipate when these same characters start shoving eggs up their bums or raping a priest.

The story here is fairly easy to follow, but the events described are so strange that it’s hard to imagine them taking place outside of a dream. I’ve seen this book described as horror before, and I think that’s a fair assessment. It’s like reading a repulsive sexual nightmare. I first read Story of the Eye years ago, but I reread it recently after reading George Bataille’s book on Gilles de Rais. I’m considering reading more of his stuff, but I’m afraid that some of it will be too philosophical for me.

irene's cunt louis aragonIrene’s Cunt – Louis Aragon
Creation Books – 1996 (First published 1928)

This book had been on my to-read list for several years, but when I actually read it, Irene’s Cunt was a little too deep for me. It’s quite an arty book, and either there’s not much of a story or the story is horribly obfuscated by changing narrative perspective. When these narrative shifts occurred, I wasn’t sure if I was dealing with a new narrator or an older version of the previous narrator.

At one point in the text, the narrator rails against bourgeois fascination with plot, and one would be hard pushed to give a concise plot summary of this peculiar work. Both George Bataille and Albert Camus sang its praises, but most of it went over my head.

There’s some fairly graphic depictions of sex, but again, this book isn’t very sexy. You’d have a hard time wanking over it anyways. It was published in the same year as Story of the Eye, and both books originally contained illustrations from the same artist, André Masson, so if you read one, you should probably check out the other. Stylistically, Irene’s Cunt is more obtuse than Story of the Eye, and I found it far less interesting. Truth be told, it’s not even that cunty.

 

the she devils pierre louysThe She Devils – Pierre Louÿs
Creation Books – 1995 (First published 1926)

I bought this book because of its title. I knew it was going to be dirty, but I was hoping that the plot would be somehow related to the Devil. It’s not. This is just a book of filthy pornography.

The She Devils was published 2 years before the other books in this post, and its author had died a year prior, so it might have been written quite a bit earlier. While Bataille and Aragon were linked with the surrealist movement, Pierre Louÿs was more of a symbolist. Honestly, even after reading the wikipedia entry, I’m not really sure what symbolism is, but judging by this text, it’s a little bit less absurd than absurdism.

The She Devils has a very simple plot. At all moments during the narrative, it’s pretty clear what’s going on. A woman and her three daughters move into the apartment beside a young man, and this cheeky chappy sodomises his new neighbours whenever they come to visit him. That’s pretty much it. Seriously, this book contains a lot of bumming.

Maybe the sheer unbelievability of the plot gives it a dream-like quality that might be engaging to some, but I didn’t find much of interest in here. Things get dirtier and dirtier as the story plods on – it turns out that one of the daughters was conceived when her elder sister shat cum into her mom’s vagina. I read this a few months ago, so I can’t be sure, but I also recall a bit of poo-eating. Yuck. This book is repetitive, boring and distasteful.

I’m not trying to appear pious or anything – I’ve reviewed porn here before and I’ll do it again – but this book was actually pretty horrible to read. It wasn’t interesting or thought provoking. It was just some dirty French bastard’s wank fantasies. Honestly, I regret reading this.

french flag

Why are these Frenchmen’s sexual fantasies so weird? Was it something in the water? Je ne sais pas! Don’t get me wrong; I know there’s perves everywhere, but these books aren’t supposed to be just porn. I think they’re supposed to make grand statements about the nature of sex and sexual relations. Personally, I wasn’t able to make out what these grand statements were. All of that stuff went over my head because I was too busy laughing at the parts about pooing and willies.

Vive la France!

Snowdrops from a Curate’s Garden – Aleister Crowley

snowdrops curate's garden crowley
Snowdrops from a Curate’s Garden – Aleister Crowley

Birchgrove Press – 2011 (First published 1904)

Aleister Crowley was a mystic, a poet, an Irish Republican, a mountaineer, a propagandist, a dead-beat dad, a spy, a pilgrim, a preacher and a problem when he was stoned. He was also a bit of a pervert.

This is a collection of his dirtier writings. I wouldn’t really consider it pornography or erotica – it’s really just filth. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way either. This is literally page after page of gross-out material.

The bulk of the text is made up of The Nameless Novel. Crowley wrote this while his wife, Rose Kelly, was recovering from the birth of their daughter Lilith. Every day he’d write a new chapter and give it to her that evening to make her laugh. The story is about the life of an Archbishop, and each chapter aims to be more repulsive than the last. This is a challenge when the opening chapter starts off with the following passage:

“Good, by Jesus!” cried the Countess, as, with her fat arse poised warily over the ascetic face of the Archbishop, she lolloped a great gob of greasy spend from the throat of her bulging cunt into the gaping mouth of the half-choked ecclesiastic.”

After this, the Archbishop takes a massive shit in the Countess’s mouth and then stabs her in the guts and sticks his cock in the wound…

It gets worse when the pig arrives:

“From his dripping schnickel frothed a hot stiff stream of greenish piss at an incalculable pace, while from his pink arse dripped the faeculent and pultaceous turdlings which we associate with a diet of wash.

The stench was intolerable. Minute by minute passed by, and still the unsurpassed bladder of the unclean animal of the Semite and the Mussulman shot out its hissing torrents. Her greedy mouth frothed and seethed with the o’erflowing billows; for the poor lass’s throat, do what she might—and she had done her best to swallow many a slimestick, thereby noticeably enlarging the passage—was still too small to dispose of the formidable current of urine with which her too complaisant lover now furnished her. Her merkin too dripped over the odd ends of the champion stool. “The gospel hall is full” whispered the Archbishop. “They will have to hold an overflow meeting in the arsehole.”

Sure enough, the delicate-minded girl now turned her attention to the part in question. By her incomparable gift of suction, which years of practice and not a little natural aptitude had bestowed upon her rectum, she absorbed the bulk of the faeces; while any unconsidered trifles stuck in her abundant and curly pubic hair.”

Yep. You’ve just read about a pig filling both ends of a woman’s body with shit. And guess what folks – it gets worse again! When the Archbishop’s gay lover dies, things get quite nasty indeed:

“I flung myself upon the dear corpse; I buggered him night and day, entirely surpassing—for I was now come to my strength—the childish efforts upon the queenly butter-boat of E…..d’s debauched ruler. As the work of putrefaction proceeded—and the stench was awful, for S…y’s little leaven had pervaded his whole lump—I rammed my arse-wedge frantically into his holes as they formed, as if in the insane hope of damming the damage of damned death’s fell flood. Indeed for a week or so I did more than this. The patient actually gained weight. But time tells on the strongest. In the second week I kept barely level: in the third he steadily lost ground: in the fourth he fell to pieces under me: in the fifth I sedulously and conscientiously buggered the pieces one by one: but it was no good. Steven Jimson was (in the immortal word of Poe) a nearly liquid mass of loathsome, of detestable putrescence. Do not think for a moment that my affection was shaken by so slight a circumstance! But I assure you—nay! I swear it to you upon this holy Relic! (he produced a piece of the True Touch-her-home, with the Magdalen’s clap-juice sticking to it still, and reverently kissed it)—that there was not one ounce of that body of love that could reasonably be firky-toodled any more. As long as anything that could be called Viscosity was inherent in the mass, I jounced it like a man. But this soon ceased: I reluctantly withdrew. Yet such was my love for my darling that I buggered a hole clean through his tombstone, and for six months I never left the hallowed spot.”

There’s other parts about fucking the Queen and a woman with an extendable, elastic clitoris. Things get worse and worse until the Archbishop describes the sadistic blood orgy at his father’s secret island full of negro slaves in the West Indies. I’m not going to quote that section here. I am quite sure that the whole point of this book is to be gross and offensive, but this particular section will probably be a little bit too much for most modern readers, even as a deliberately offensive joke.

After The Nameless Novel, there’s a few short stories and a bunch of dirty poems that were added on to provide enough material for a book. These are largely about eating poo and buggery. Some of them are quite funny. Here’s a nameless song:

Bugger me gently. Bertie! My arse is rather sore:
Tinkety – tunkety – tinkety – funk! I haven’t been long a whore.
Mash the shit into gravy! Make me slimy and slick!
Tinkety – tunkety – tinkety – tunkety! That’s what does the trick!

Bugger me gently. Bertie! My arse is rather tight.
Tinkers – tunkety – tinkety – tunk! We’ll ram each other all night!
Bugger me gently, Bertie or I’ll blow off your balls with a fart!
Tinkety – tunkety – tinkety – tunkety! Softly now, dear heart!

Oh Bertie, I’m in heaven! I see the golden walls!
Tinkety – tunkety – tinkety – tunkety! Shove it up to the balls!
Jesus is waiting for me with the Holy Ghost up his bum:
Tinkety – tunkety – tinkety – tunk! You bloody sod, you’ve come!

Honestly, of all the stuff I’ve read by Crowley, I found this the most enjoyable. I’ll take childish toilet humour over cabalistic mysticism every time.

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.

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.

 

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.