Secrets of the Black Temple by the Red Spider

 Since starting this blog 4 years ago, I’ve reviewed more than 250 books. Some of which have been classics of literature, while others have been bizarre esoteric nonsense. The book I’m about to review is a pretty good example of the latter.

secrets of the black temple by the red spiderSecrets of the Black Temple by the Red Spider (Basil Crouch)
Self published – Unknown publication date. (Probably 1980s)

Although the text is initally attributed to “The Red Spider”, it becomes quickly apparent that the author is Basil Crouch. It’s not until the final pages of the book that the relationship between these two is discussed. (I can’t say it’s ever clarified.) I don’t normally summarize books, but this thing is so odd that I feel it necessary. I’ll highlight the more salient points for those who aren’t entirely invested in understanding this curious grimoire.

There is a very bad secret society. The author initially refers to this order as “The Temple of Set”, but I really don’t think that he’s talking about the order established by Michael Aquino.

Giant stones containing the spirits of ancient Taihitian leaders killed many innocent people because other people had been sacrificed on these rocks. One of these stone spirits is named Moana. Unfortunately, this is not the Disney Moana. 

A witch gave abortions. When she died, a box of hers ended up in a second hand shop and killed the shop owner’s dog and cat. Then he sold it, and the person who bought it got sick and went to hosptial. Then her ward caught fire and she disappeared.

A man got sick. Basil went in to him, said a prayer to Satan and then realised the man’s daughter had a doll that was actually a cursed ritual statue that needed to be appeased. He appeased it, and then the lad got better and buried the doll back where he found it.

A very successful girl got sick and became a loser because her boyfriend won her a cursed doll at a fair which the fairground guy had found in the fair. It had been left behind by a man who had found it in the ocean. It was originally from Haiti

You don’t choose to join the Black Temple. (I assume this is the order he referred to as the Temple of Set at the beginning of the book.) The Black Temple kidnap you, test you with a questionnaire and then ask if you wanna join.

Next come some instructions on how to set up a temple in your home.

To decide which man you want to marry, play heads or tails with a piece of bread.

A magician took on a job to magically assassinate somebody. He couldn’t do it though because he had no period blood at his disposal. He came up with a cunning plan to solve this problem – he took some hypnotism lessons from the author of this book and then set up a fake psychiatry practice. He hypnotised a young girl. Then he raped her and got her pregnant.
Problem solved.

the dreaded incubi.jpgNothing makes any sense here.

A psychiatrist hypnotised one of his patients into robbing a bank then killing himself. 

Smelly, the tragically named magician, took a job putting a revenge curse on a man. He sent a mean letter to the man that said “you are doomed”. Then he paid a kid to give flowers that looked as though they came from a mistress to the man’s wife. The wife argued with the man when he got home, resulting in him driving away, running a red light and killing a baby in a pram.

At this point the narrative cuts to Smelly bending a woman over, tearing out her tampon, sticking a bottle in her pussy and telling her to menstruate into it. No explanation is given as to why this is being described.

A mean magistrate sentenced a poor man with a wife and kids to 2 years hard labour for poaching rabbits. The man’s wife went to the local magician, a chap named Lankynob, for help. He raped her several times. Then he skinned a rabbit so it looked like a fetus and hung it in the magistrate’s garden. A picture of this was published in the local newspaper and the magistate got so angry that he had a stroke. The man he had sentenced left his wife after finding out that she had been raped, so she started dating Lankynob, the rapist magician.

For 25 pounds, Basil Crouch will teach you a foolproof, scientific method of betting on horses. It’s guaranteed to make you rich.

A woman complained to a magician because another sexier woman had called the police on her because she was a bad mother.
The magician took some dirty pictures of this woman and then raped her.

For a small fee, Basil Crouch can enlarge your photos. He’s very discreet. No pics of kids without parental permission.

Now there’s a description of a weird group ritual – half the book in and we’re finally getting to the Black Order of this book’s title. The start of the ritual sounds like standard masonic nonsense, but things turn uncomfortably dark when a lad shows up with a 14 year old girl and proceeds to spike her Fanta with sleeping tablets and then fingers her in front of his friends. After watching the child molestation, the lads do another ritual to kill a person. Basil doesn’t include details here, but he’s willing to sell them to you if you promise to be discrete.

black temple ritualThen there’s the above pic of a coven and a cum-collector about to rape a 21 year old virgin. (This part is actually explained about 50 pages later.)

The author then says that he once convinced two 14 year old girls to go to bed with him. He claims that he only did this to see if he could and that he actually refrained from doing anything to them. In my humble opinion, any adult man who tries things like this should be swiftly executed.

Suzy wanted some cash. She approached the Black Order for help. They invited her to a ritual, violently stripped her naked, stuck a knife into her tits and licked the blood

To get money, the Black Temple hypnotise old ladies and bank managers.

The Black Temple once got a lad a job, then one of the members convinced that same lad to spend all of his money on an expensive car.

Our old pal Lankynob is being initiated into the 10th degree of the Black Order. The ritual involves him being jerked off by a brother in the Order while a prostitute is fingered opposite him. Their discharges are mixed together on a sheet of paper on the floor. Now Lankynob is going to be given the knowledge of how to use the Order’s foolproof system of betting on horses, but before he learns this, the prostitute must be killed.

The actual murder here is never described, but the author does tell us that she is stabbed in the breasts and raped several times beforehand. The author offers an alternative way to get the horse racing system – just send him 25 quid and promise to keep it a secret.

For a good ritual, its best to sacrifice a baby, but if this isn’t possible, a sex magic ritual will do. A man and a woman go to a graveyard with two pre-made plasticine figures. Make one in the likeness of a “wishy washy semi-invalid girl who is always pale” and the other in the likeness of a man. They then find a grave of a man and offer his spirit some sex with the girl represented by the plasticine figure. Next, the real woman present at the grave sucks the real mans dick. Then they put the plasticine figures on the ground and step on them, thus allowing the ghost of the dead man to spiritually rape the invalid girl.

A lad called Skints was kicked out of the Black Order for putting an irreversible curse on another member. He later used witchcraft to seduce a girl and impregnate her. Her dad ran him over in his car and he died.

A 105 year old magician came to the Black Temple once and tried to sell them herbal remedies for impotence.

One member of the Temple used voodoo poison to kidnap children so he could sell them to Arabs. The author is remorseful over the fact that this man is dead.

It turns out that Jesus was never crucified. He just went to Glastobury and set up a church there instead. The ritual to pick a high priest/priestess of the Black Order has been handed down from Christ himself:
A kidnapped virgin is tied to the ground. Thirteen men are wanked off into a cows horn with a hole drilled in the tip. When the bukakke cornucopia is full, the small end of it is shoved into the virgin’s cunt and then the cum collector blows hard into the other end, pumping the reservoir of gip into the virgin’s womb. If she doesn’t die, the virgin will give birth to the next high priest/priestess of the order. 

tosser spermHonestly.

To steal a person’s good luck, write their name on a piece of paper and have a woman wank you off so that you gip on their name.

To create a Psychogone (a weird spirit creature similar to the Hallowed Genie in Basil’s other book) you should make a little figure out of wax. Make sure it has a willy. Then find a willing participant to do some weird sex magic with. Make sure to hypnotise or drug  her so she’s willing. (Yeah, I know.) Then fuck her a little bit, whip your dick out, cum on her pussy lips, and then stick the little wax doll you made into her cunt and frig her with it until she gets off. Then sling her out of your house. Your Psychogone is now ready for business.

The author then goes on to say that the Spider gave him more spells and rituals but these involved animal sacrifice so he wants to keep them secret because he likes animals. This part is interesting because it suggests that the information in this book came from this Spider character and not from Basil himself. This seems like a pathetic attempt to exculpate himself – he has already given his own name and address several times throughout the text.

Basil then says that he will initiate others further in person, but only if they’re female.

The contents of this book are so disjointed and childish that it is difficult to read this as the work of a sane individual. The way in which the text will drop a story only to continue it much further on made me wonder if the author hadn’t been practicing William Burrough’s cut-up technique, but a note at the back of the book claims that Basil had over 75 years experience with occult magic when he wrote this book. If this is true, it seems far more likely that it is senility rather than artistic experimentation that is to blame for this book’s lack of coherence. A low IQ shouldn’t be disqualified from our considerations either. The only other book I’ve read by this lad was also very, very stupid and shit.

Basil advertises several different services throughout the book including photocopying, selling herbs, and occult initiations, but my favourite money-making scheme of his is the following image. It is included in the middle of the book. It has zero relation to anything that comes before or after it.

basils girl 2 poundSend me two pound, and I’ll tell you whose arse this is.

As noted above, this book seems to have been self published. Perhaps it was due to the lack of a publisher’s restrictions that Basil felt comfortable including so much rape in here. My biggest complaint about Crouch’s The Hallowed Genie was that it wasn’t dark enough, but the Secrets of The Black Temple is too dark. This is the bad kind of darkness. I want to read about people cutting off arrogant priests’ heads, not a gang of scumbags molesting a drugged 14 year old.

Basil Crouch was not a knowledgeable magician. He was a disgusting old pervert with a poorly functioning brain. It is good that he is dead. If I knew where he was buried, I’d dance on his grave.

Well that’s all I have to say about Basil for the moment. As I mentioned before, this blog has now been going for four years. I’ve enjoyed the experience quite a lot, but I am considering slowing things down a little. Since starting this blog, I’ve limited my reading to mostly occult and horror books. It might be healthy for me to branch out a little, but I want to keep this blog for spooky stuff. This probably means going back to two or three posts a month rather than the 2 a week I’ve been aiming for since September. We’ll see how things work out. Anyways, I want to sincerely thank everyone who follows along with my ramblings. I’m always happy to receive recommendations or to chat about books on facebook, twitter or email, or just leave a comment below.

Satan was a Lesbian – Fred Haley/Monica Roberts

satan was a lesbian fred haley.jpgSatan was a Lesbian – Fred Haley/Monica Roberts
PEC – 1960

I’m sure you already saw it, but take another look at that incredible cover there. Bask in its glory. It’s a thing of absolute beauty. This cover was also used on Jan Hudson’s Satan’s Daughter. That book was originally published in 1961, 5 years prior to Satan was a Lesbian, but there were at least two printings of that novel, and I don’t know if this cover originally appeared there or on Haley’s book.

Unfortunately, Satan was a Lesbian fails to make good on the promises its cover makes. This is a relatively boring softcore porn novel that has nothing to do with Satan. The cover lists Fred Haley as the author, but the inside says Monica Roberts. I don’t know which is the pseudonym.

Don’t worry about spoilers. The story is lame. Here it is:

A little girl named Charlene comes across a man drowning some kittens. She becomes very upset. Later in life, Charlene leaves home and gets a job as a server at a drive-in movie theatre. She hooks up with a girl that she meets at work. Through this experience, Charlene discovers that she likes being the dominant lover. The girl that she hooks up with tells her lesbian friends.

One of these friends, a woman named Karen, comes to Charlene’s job and arranges a tryst. Charlene makes her kiss her foot before they shag. Soon after this, Karen, with help from her butch friend Billie, kidnap and rape Charlene. Charlene beats them up the next morning and leaves.

Charlene hooks up with yet another girl, Cynthia. Cynthia gets off on being afraid, so Charlene drives her around at dangerously high speeds before they shag. They see each other a few times more.

On one of these occasions, the girls that raped Charlene show up and things turn nasty. Karen tries to rape Charlene’s new girlfriend, but Charlene manages to beat her up again.

After this, Charlene runs away without telling Cynthia where she’s going. She moves to Hollywood and murders a man who raped one of her new friends. She also meets another girl at work and ends up having some rather kinky sex with her.

Meanwhile, Cynthia is raped by the lesbians who were after Charlene. She enters into a weird 3-way relationship with them, but ends up stabbing them both to death and running away after her dad peeks through a window and sees her tickling one of them with a large feather.

In the last chapter of the book, Cynthia meets Charlene in Hollywood and they drive their car into a wall and die.

There’s quite a lot of titty squeezing, but anything below the belt is described only in very vague suggestions and metaphors. The author shies away from mentioning any kind of penetration, but s/he is comfortable describing a woman being walked around on a leash and subjected to other acts of degradation.

Apart from a few “you’re a devil” comments, there’s nothing about Satan in this book.

Satan was a Lesbian has one of the greatest covers I have ever seen, but it’s actually a very shit book. Copies of the original printing are ridiculously expensive too. There’s a print-on-demand version that you can find for much cheaper, but that’s just a printed copy of the the pdf version that you’ll be able to find for free with a quick google search.

The Black Toad – Gemma Gary

black toad gemma garyThe Black Toad – Gemma Gary
Troy Books – 2012

I can’t remember what sparked my interest, but I have been meaning to read this book for a few years. The Black Toad is a collection of folk magic from South West England. There’s three sections in the book – a bit about general spells, a bit about spells that use plant materials and then a bit about black (bad) magic. I started off impatient to get to the naughty part, but in light of what I’ve read recently, I found some of the first parts quite interesting too.
gemma gary cup of toad tea.jpgThe book has some really cool pictures and photographs. I love a nice cup of tea myself.

It was only last week that I reviewed Dark Rites & Encounters with the Devil by Marcus T. Bottomley. I was rather critical of that book because I thought that the author had just made up a bunch of crap. Unlike the Solomonic grimoires I’ve read, very little prepatory work was discussed, and the author would instruct the magician to do certain things without any explanation as to why they were doing them. I didn’t think I’d be writing about that book so soon after reviewing it, but some of the stuff it contained was rather similar to the spells in Gary’s book.

The difference between these books is that Gemma Gary makes it very clear that she is writing about a specific type of magic. I’m not sure of the nomenclature, but I’ll just call this strain “folk magic”. Folk magic then, as far as I understand, is a mix of pagan, Christian and grimoire magic. Gary’s spells use parts of the Bible, the Sacred Book of Abramelin and loads of traditional British witchcraft. Gary also provides explanations of the spells she is describing. One thing that struck me as peculiar when I was reading Bottomley’s book was the inclusion of worn shoes in several of his spells. This seemed rather silly to me – what use is a smelly old boot going to be? Gemma Gary explains that shoes are potent in sympathetic magic because shoes literally lead us down the paths of our lives. I get it now. If you attack the thing that leads a person down their path, you can obstruct them. That makes perfect magical sense. There were a few other noticeable similarities between some of the spells in these books, and my general takeaway was that Marcus T. Bottomley’s book, although poorly written, was probably a far more sincere collection of folk magic spells than I gave it credit for. I want to take this opportunity to apologize for calling Mr. Bottomley an “awful wizard”.

I’ve probably written more about another book than the book I set out to review. Don’t worry; you can find more focused reviews of The Black Toad elsewhere online. I’m not a witch, but I found this book to be quite interesting. I have The Devil’s Dozen, another of Gemma Gary’s books, lined up to be reviewed real soon.

A Manual of Sex Magick – Louis T. Culling

manual of sex magic louis t.jpgA Manual of Sex Magic – Louis T. Culling
Llewellyn – 1971

I usually know how much attention I’m going to give to reading a book by the 5 page mark. I enjoy occult books, but most of them are written horribly. The authors, lacking in anything worthwhile to say, disguise their own uncertainty, confusion and ignorance with long, winding sentences, esoteric references and an air of arrogance. Occultism, in this way, is very, very similar to academia.

Anyways, when I come across a book that I feel is going to be like this, I don’t bother committing to a thorough reading – I’ll read the whole thing, but I’ll do so on the bus to work, listening to music and not worrying if some of it goes over my head.

This was my planned approach after a few pages of Louis T. Culling’s A Manual of Sex Magick. It’s a poorly written guide to the different degrees of Sex Magic. Unfortunately, it’s quite vague about the details of a particularly curious magical working, and this vagueness, together with the lackluster manner of my reading up to that point, has left me suspecting that friends of the author of this book rubbed cum into their dog’s fur.

Allow me to explain.

There are three degrees of Sex Magick. The first is Alphaism. This basically means that if you decide to do some sex magic with your partner, you’re not allowed wank or ride anyone else.

The second degree is Dianism. This is holding in your gip. You’re allowed shag indefinitely as long as you don’t cum. If you’re interested in trying this, I have a tip for you that isn’t mentioned in the book. A friend gave me this advice when we were 15. He told me that you can last longer in bed if you just give a sharp little tug to your sack whenever you feel like cumming. This will hold off the orgasm without killing your boner. I haven’t tried it, but the confident wink my friend gave as he explained this assured me that he knew exactly what he was talking about.

When you’re riding away for hours without gipping, you think of the magical outcome you want to achieve. Do this for a few hours a day, a few days a week, and all your wishes will surely come true.

The final degree of Sex Magick is Quodosch. (Is this where J.K. Rowling got the name for quidditch?) This level is for when you need a little extra power for your spell. After a marathon sex session, you finally allow yourself to blow your load and then use your ejaculate an a magic elixir. If you’re sending a letter to ask somebody for something, seal the envelope with your sperm, and this will doubtlessly result in your request being granted.

This gets confusing when the author mentions using this kind of magic on a dog. This book contains a story about a pair of Magicians who turn their dog into a psychic, but the details of the procedure are quite unclear. The author never outright says that the magicians came on the dog, but I can’t see how else it would work. Maybe the wizard gipped his load into a bowl of dogfood and then let his pooch chow down on his fine chicken alfredo. Either way it’s a bit gross. Leave that poor hound alone!

After reading the bit about the dog, I tried looking back over the parts that I had skimmed in the hopes that I’d understand things better, but it didn’t help.

A Manual of Sex Magic is a fairly rubbish book. The author spends most of it either talking nonsense or boasting about this sexual prowess. It gets a bit embarrassing. Also, Culling reveres Aleister Crowley, and even claims to have been penpals with the Great Beast. This makes his “straights only” policy on Sex Magick a bit weird. We all know that some of Aleister’s best work was very gay.

After a slow start to the year, I’m getting back to my reading and writing routine. I have a few more posts lined up for the near future, so check back soon.

2018, The Year in Review

In 2018, I reviewed books about Satanic Communists, intergalactic Nazis, Trump voting necrophiles, sodomaniacal vampires, Sado-shamans, and an another Alien Jesus – and that’s not mentioning the fiction. I published more posts, wrote more words, reviewed more books and saw more traffic this year than any year previous. I did best-of posts for 2016 and 2017, but for 2018 I’m going to go all out and indulge myself with a full post on this blog and its upkeep. I’ll post a new review early next week, so come back then if you’re only interested in the books.

paperback wall horror occult.jpg
Most of this year’s acquisitions have been trade paperbacks.

I read and reviewed far more fiction this year than ever before.  There’s two reasons for this. I became sick and tired of reading long, boring occult books. They’re expensive, they take ages to read, and they’re usually absolutely awful. The second factor was Grady Hendrix’s Paperbacks from Hell. I’ve been reviewing horror fiction since 2015, but Hendrix’s book opened my eyes to the realms of trashy horror. I’ve long known that books like these existed, I just wasn’t sure which were worth reading. It turns out that it’s most of them.

Some of the Paperbacks from Hell I read this year.

I already had a few of the books featured in PFH on my to-read list, but PFH’s popularity made some of these books scarce, and I ended up shelling out quite a bit of cash to grab copies before they were impossible to find.

satan series brian mcnaughton starI had been meaning to buy copies of these for ages. Their inclusion in Paperbacks from Hell has made them rather difficult to track down for a reasonable price.

After enjoying the transition from classic Gothic horror to modern trashy paperback horror, I allowed myself to go even further and visited the strange world of Bizarro Fiction. I wasn’t sure if those books belonged on a blog like this, but whatever. I’ll post whatever I want. I’ve enjoyed wallowing in the trash swamp recently, but I’m planning on reading some more high-brow horror in the near future to even things out. (I’ve actually been rereading all of Lovecraft’s work since shortly after publishing this review. I didn’t think it was anything special, but it’s been one of my most popular posts this year. Expect more Lovecraft posts in 2019.)

Magical Books from the internet.

The past few months have seen me returning to occult literature. Instead of paying ridiculous money for awful books, I’m downloading pdf copies online, and instead of slogging through dense, arcane tomes of esotericism, I’m breezing through idiotic pamphlet length grimoires. It’s the same crap; it’s just easier to stomach when I’m confronted with 50 pages of nonsense instead of 500. This has allowed me to publish 2 posts per week for the last few months, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to continue at this pace. I have a few ideas for multi-book posts for the near future that will probably slow things down considerably. They’ll be worth the wait.

I usually do a top 10 posts of the year list around this time. It’s harder to choose this year because there’s more posts than ever before. I’ll just say that my reviews of Raped by the Devil, Marx and Satan, Ghoul, Space Gate, The Veil Removed, Masks of the Illuminati, Psychopathia Sexualis, Nox Infernus, Satanicon, and Don’t Make Me Go Back, Mommy are pretty good. Also, my short “splatterpunk” story, Kevin is worth a look.

Best of 2018

All that being said, the most important post of the year was doubtlessly on Spawn of the Devil by Aristotle Levi, an exceedingly rare work of occult erotica. If you haven’t read this post, please take a look.

spawn of the devil - aristotle leviDefinitely not a book that you’d want to judge by its cover.

Running this blog can be quite frustrating. I put in a lot of effort and often don’t see much of a response. You won’t find reviews of some of these books on any other sites, and lots of them aren’t even listed on Goodreads. Search engines don’t bring much traffic to these posts because nobody ever googles the names of these books. I could probably do a better job promoting this stuff on social media, but I’d far prefer to spend my time reading and writing about weird books. If you could share this blog with somebody you know who’d be interested, it would be super appreciated!

Happy new year!

 

Alembic – Timothy d’Arch Smith

alembic timothy d'arch smith.jpgAlembic – Timothy d’Arch Smith
Dalkey Archive Press – 1992

Alembic is a novel about alchemy, insanity, sex, drugs, rock’n’roll and  magic. If that doesn’t make you want to read it, this blog isn’t the place for you. Alembic is the only novel by Timothy D’Arch Smith, a name you might recall from my earlier posts on his bibliography of Montague Summers and Books of the Beast, a collection of essays about the books of Aleister Crowley, Summers and Austin Spare. D’Arch Smith is a pretty cool guy.

The plot of Alembic is fairly puzzling. The narrator works for the English Government’s secret alchemy department. While he’s taking some time off work to visit his famous rockstar mate, he bumps into his coworker’s daughter. He falls in love with her, and they have some adventures. This story is punctuated with flashbacks of the narrator’s days in the army. 

In truth, it’s not a very good story.

Most of the novels that I’ve read this year have been of the trashy horror fiction variety. That style of writing is usually fairly to the point, and the books are plot driven, focused on the tale, not the telling. Alembic is quite the opposite. It reads like a book written to showcase the author’s writing. D’Arch Smith uses his verbiage to great comic effect at times, but overall, the writing style is overwhelming. Several secondary characters get lost and blend into each other in the dense text.

cadaver tomb rene chalon richierThe cover image of the book is a drawing of this statue. Originally the statue held the actual heart of René de Chalon. Cool.

When I started reading this book, it reminded me of the early novels of Flann O’Brien. This might have been due to the fact that Alembic was put out by Dalkey Archives, a publisher named after one of O’ Brien’s novels, but the grandiose descriptions of the utterly banal definitely seemed a bit Flannesque to me.  The other influence that I couldn’t help but notice was Nabakov’s Lolita. Yes, unfortunately this is another book about a grown man falling in love with and raping a child. I didn’t like this part. The girl in here is 14. The male is in his mid twenties. Aside from one comically repulsive scene, this book isn’t sexually explicit, but it was still unpleasant to read the narrative of a diddler.

Timothy D’Arch Smith has also written a book about the Uranian poets. These were a gang of paedophiles who liked writing poems about little boys. Hey, reading/writing books about something doesn’t mean you like it, but why put it in your own fiction? I don’t mean to be accusatory, but I did wonder why he didn’t just make the girl two years older. 

One possible explanation might be the fact that the book revolves around a Led Zeppelin styled band named Celestial Praylin. I’m not a big enough Zeppelin fan to have been able to understand the similarities between them and the fake band, but the cover of the book and every review I’ve read of it has mentioned Zeppelin. D’Arch Smith used to be close with Jimmy Page. He was the guy who got Page all his books on Crowley, and he later dedicated his Books of the Beast to the rocker. Anyways, as we all know, Jimmy Page repeatedly raped a 14 year old when he was in his late twenties, so maybe it just felt natural to include a bit of child abuse in a Led-Zeppeliny book. Anyone wanting to play the “14 is old enough to give consent” or “times were different back then” cards can fuck right off. He knew it was wrong and he did it anyway. Page is a nonce.

aleister crowley signatureThe lettering of the title on the cover of Alembic is clearly based on the signature of Aleister Crowley although I’m not entirely sure why. It probably has something to do with the magical child/homunculus motifs that run through the book.

I was a bit surprised with Alembic. I really liked the other books that I’ve read by this author, and I had wanted to read this one for ages. There were several parts that made me laugh out loud, and there are some cool ideas in here, but I didn’t enjoy this as much as I expected to. Given the role of alchemy plays in the narrator’s life, I suspect that there were levels of meaning in this book that went totally over my head.

A Quaint and Curious Volume of Forgotten Porn

The most exciting part of Francis King’s Sexuality, Magic and Perversion was doubtlessly a passage towards the end of the book where King is discussing how magic has been portrayed in works of pornography. He points out that most of the occult-themed porn that had appeared at the time that he was writing his book had been written by people who had no real knowledge of occultism. He mentions one exception to the rule, referring to a book titled Inpenetrable (the spelling mistake is neither mine nor King’s), a pornographic novel that features the Order of the Golden Dawn invoking demons, worshipping Satan, and indulging in buggery, rape and psychic murder. According to King, the author of this intriguing text actually seemed to have had a decent amount of occult insight.

francis king on inpenetrable
After reading this passage, I had to find the book it’s describing.

In a footnote, King claims to have traced 3 separate printings of this intriguing book. One printing credits a Joel Harris as the author, one credits an Aristotle Levi, and the last seems to have completely withheld the author’s name. King points out that the text in all three editions was produced by photo-lithography, suggesting that all three derived from a previous edition that he has never seen. He also believes that the texts he had seen were published in 1970 or 1971.

I spent a few days trying track down a copy of Inpenetrable, but I could only find one other reference to it. Ellic Howe briefly alludes to it in the penultimate paragraph of his 1972 book The Magicians of the Golden Dawn. He claims that this peculiar work of pornography had recently been brought to his attention by a friend. Judging by the details Howe gives (or lack thereof) and the year that his book was published (the year after Sexuality, Magic and Perversion), I’d be surprised if Howe’s friend hadn’t been Francis King. Howe provides no extra clues about the origin of this peculiar text.

ellic howe inpenetrable
The title of the book, Inpenetrable, didn’t yield any other results, so I decided to search up the name/s of the author. “Joel Harris” led to a dead end, but there are a few, scant mentions of Aristotle Levi online. It seemed as if this guy wrote two other books, Spawn of the Devil and In the Devil’s Power, but there was no other mention of Inpenetrable anywhere. It turns out though, that Spawn of the Devil was translated into Danish and published as I Djævlens Magt, which translates as “In the Devil’s Power” – the two titles were a result of my browser’s automatic translator. There was only one book. Spawn of the Devil (and its translation) came out as part of the Svea Book series, a pornographic series that was published in Denmark in the late 60s and early 70s by a porn company called Nordisk Bladcentral. Some sources credit the work of this Aristotle Levi to a woman named Erica Schoeb, but Erica holds the copyright for all of the books in the Svea series, so it seems likely that she was the series editor or publisher rather than the actual author of any of its texts.

After several hours of searching with these clues, I found an index of science-fiction pornography that gives the following summary of Spawn of the Devil; “Maureen Graille, a seventeenth century witch, is reincarnated in the present.” Bingo! King had mentioned “Maureen Graille, the heroine of the book” in his brief discussion of Inpenetrable. I realised that Spawn of the Devil and Inpenetrable could potentially be two entries in the same series, but judging by the genre I was dealing with, I assumed it more likely that they were just different titles for the same work.

Ok, so I hadn’t been able to find a copy of Inpenetrable, would Spawn of the Devil prove any easier to track down? Like I said, there were very few (maybe 5) mentions of Aristotle Levi or his work online. I don’t want to give away my book-finding techniques to my competitors, but I’ll say that after quite a bit of searching, wrangling, infiltrating strange facebook groups and google-translating, I managed to obtain a single copy of Spawn of the Devil from a dusty, second-hand bookshop somewhere in the Middle-East.

spawn of the devil - aristotle levi
Spawn of the Devil – Aristotle Levi

Svea Book – 1969

Let’s start off with the physical book itself. There’s a few scratches on the cover, but nothing you wouldn’t expect on a book published in 1969. There’s no cover image or blurb on the back. There’s nothing inside other than the story itself – no details on the author or advertisements for other books.

The text is peppered with typos, but the standard of the writing is pretty good. I imagine that the writer probably wrote other, less smutty, books under a different name. In fact, some of the sex scenes in this book seem so sudden and unnecessary that I would be surprised if the author hadn’t originally had loftier aims for this work. This might well have been intended as an occult thriller that was a little too sexy for respectable publishing houses. Maybe after a few refusals, the author took his manuscript to a smut house and was told that instead of being too sexy, the text wasn’t sexy enough. Perhaps he cried into his typewriter as he reedited his manuscript and filled it with “hot cock-sticks”, “quivering quims” and “tight little shitholes” as a last resort to get it published. I’ve read other occult based porn in which the standard procedure was one sex scene per chapter, but this isn’t quite the same. Spawn of the Devil frontloads the smut – once the story gets going, the sex takes a backseat. There’s a few chapters towards the end with barely any riding at all.

And some of the sex scenes are absolutely ludicrous. I’m by no means an expert on literary pornography, and I know that different people get off on different things, but many of the sex acts described in here come across as vulgar and hilarious rather than titillating and sexy. I can’t deny the fact that I greatly enjoy vulgarity though, and I will admit that the following two page description of a disgusting incestuous liaison made me laugh so hard that I cried.

spawn of devil erotica
Please read both pages (higher res image here). It gets better and better. LOL.

Looking back, one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book was Francis King’s assessment of the author as a knowledgeable student of the occult. The occultism herein is largely of the Dennis Wheatley variety, but, like Mr. Wheatley, Mr. Levi clearly has a basic understanding of what he’s greatly exaggerating.

spawn devil inside coverI presume the pseudonym is a mix of the Greek fella and Eliphas Levi.

This book is super rare. If you plan on hunting down a copy, good luck to you. If you’re not pushed, here’s a summary of the story:

The story starts off with Maureen, a witch, observing an orgy in the forest. She isn’t partaking, just watching. When she leaves, she is apprehended by an angry mob of villagers who presume she had just finished up early and was heading home. The mob go on to capture all of the revelers.

All of the revelers are burned at the stake along with Maureen and her husband, Tom. Just before they are set alight, Maureen promises Tom that they will live again.

300 years later, a pair of twins that regularly have been having sex with each other since they were children both feel a sudden urge to go and dig a hole in a certain part of their village. They discover a strange ring. The sister, who is named Maureen, puts it on.

Soon thereafter, Maureen is having lunch in a fancy restaurant. By chance, she meets a lady called Celia Aston. It turns out that Celia is one of the leading members of a magical secret society called the Golden Dawn. She invites Maureen and her brother Tom to her house where she shows them her magical book collection and introduces them to her husband.

Maureen gets it into her head that she wants to be in Celia’s position. To put a curse on Celia, Maureen and Tom perform a gruesome black-magic sex ritual:

sex ritual curse
Yuck, but also Hahahaha.

The ritual is successful and Celia dies soon thereafter. Using mind control, Maureen convinces Celia’s grieving husband to marry her within a matter of months.

Later on, during a Golden Dawn orgy, Maureen manages to summon a spirit. It’s either Pan or Satan, or maybe both. Only Maureen and a crucified prostitute that Maureen had hired for the occasion actually see the spirit. The prostitute goes insane afterwards. While this is all happening, one of the other members of the Golden Dawn, a lady named Nona, simultaneously gets raped and senses that Maureen is a bad apple.

After this night of black magic and debauchery, Nona and her boyfriend visit a very powerful old witch named Kyleen to see if anything can be done about Maureen. They don’t know it, but Maureen was actually watching them do this by means of black magic.

Maureen summons the spirit of Pan to kill all three of them. She is successful in doing so, but unfortunately for her, Kyleen had been able to do some summoning of her own. Shortly afterwards, Maureen and Tom are killed when their ship sinks during a cruise. Just before they die, Maureen reassures Tom that they will meet again.

The book ends in the future. In the year 2236, a set of twins are born, a boy and a girl.

Spawn of the Devil isn’t the greatest occult-thriller in my collection, but it’s nowhere near the worst. Its combination of black magic and silly synonyms for genitalia pleased me immensely, and I can’t imagine a book more appropriate for this blog. Moreover, the process of reading about it in King’s book, researching it, tracking it down, waiting to see if it would ever actually arrive, and then reading and reviewing it a few months later has been rather exciting. When I started this blog and began reading books by people like Montague Summers, Timothy D’Arch Smith and even Francis King himself, I was jealous of the depths of their research and of the discoveries they had made in the realms of occult literature. It may not seem like a big deal to most people, but I found it immensely satisfying to solve part of a mystery posed by one of these individuals 47 years ago.

francis king inpenetrable footnote

Inpenetrable was first published by Nordisk Bladcentral as as Spawn of the Devil, a novel by Aristotle Levi. Unfortunately, I can’t claim to know who Aristotle Levi (or Joel Harris) was. My reading suggests that he probably wrote other books (under a different name) in the late 60s/early 70s. He clearly had an interest in the occult. His repeated use of the word bollocks means that he was almost definitely British. This book was published in Copenhagen and translated into Danish, so it is possible that he had some other link to Denmark. Does this description sound familiar to anyone? I wonder if there’s anybody alive today who knows his true identity. If anyone has any further information on Aristotle Levi, Joel Harris, Inpenetrable or Spawn of the Devil, please, please, please, leave a comment or email me to let me know.