Doll Magic – Basil LaCroix

doll magic basil crouch.jpg
Doll Magic – Basil Crouch

Finbarr – 2005

Ok, so I know that last week I said I was going to cut back on posting, and I know that one of the reasons for this cutback was the shockingly low standard of the stuff I’ve reviewed recently, but old habits die hard, so here is a post on an abhorrently stupid pamphlet on doll magic by the incredibly stupid occultist, liar and probable child predator, Basil Crouch. Crouch’s The Hallowed Genie deals with a similar topic, but Doll Magic is shorter than that book and therefore a bit less stupid.

Here’s a brief summary:

Basil spent his childhood travelling around with a circus. He used magic to help a girl whose skull had been fractured. 20 years later, this girl’s mother bequeathed Basil a pair of crudely made magical dolls and a text on how to use them.

Basil gives very basic instructions on how to make a doll – you can basically just tape 2 sticks together and stick a tennis ball on top of one. That’ll do. Then you put energy from your head into this doll, and it will do magic. The magic only works if you are willing to clear your house of stuff you no longer need. Hoarders can’t do magic. The Law of Attraction is real, but it doesn’t work if what you want is bad for you. Has this last paragraph seemed illogical and silly? The section of Doll Magic that it’s paraphrasing certainly is.

The next parts describes how to make a doll that will help you make decisions and talk to dead people and another that will help you contact the gods of voodoo when you need money. The spell you say for the money is, “Money and honey I need, Money and honey with speed, Money and honey I plead, Money and honey give me indeed”. This is bound to be effective.

The last part of the book describes how to make a doll that will cure you of any ailment or disability. You make the doll and then tell it stories about what you would do if you weren’t sick. The doll will help you believe these stories and then you won’t be sick. It really works. One guy was in a wheelchair for 20 years, but then he tried this and he could walk again!

There’s not much to say about this pamphlet. If you ever come across a copy, use it for shitter-paper. Usually I spend more time and effort on my posts, but I only decided to do this one a bit before it was due, so it had to be on something very short and awful. You’d have to be a real pinhead to take this rubbish seriously, and I have drawn a picture of such an individual in an attempt to redeem myself for making my readers aware that this pile of stinking garbage exists. Ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between, I give you the scholar of Crouch:

basil lacroix crouch

The Magick of Ewaz – Robert Morga

magick of ewaz robert morga
The Magick of Ewaz – Robert Morga
IGOS – 1993

Here’s another shit book from the International Guild of Occult Sciences, The Magick of Ewaz. Ewaz is supposed to be a demon, and while his name sounds very similar to Aleister Crowley’s Aiwass, there doesn’t seem to be a link between these two entities.
Morgazmo the Magician claims to have written this grimoire in a cold, scary, demon-haunted cellar. Maybe that’s why it’s so full of typos. This pathetic piece of shit is supposed to be a powerful grimoire of black magic, but it reads like the work of a geeky, stupid teenager.

The author spends most of the text boasting about how powerful and clever he is, and then he gives a few silly spells alongside some doodles. Pure shit.

soldier demon ewaz

This is seriously bottom tier stuff. It’s printed on somebody’s work (or highschool) photocopier, and the author is an awful writer. He repeatedly spells sacrifice ‘sacrafice’, uses the word ‘alot’, and has no idea about comma usage. Did nobody at IGOS proofread this pile of garbage?

I’m running out of things to say about trash like this. How is there so much of this rubbish? I have a few more texts put out by IGOS, but they’re all quite a bit longer than this one, and I don’t want to waste my time reading them. These books are laughably awful. I honestly find it difficult to imagine anyone taking this silly nonsense seriously.

On his old website, the author described this book as”the best grimoire on this planet.” Haha. He doesn’t seem to have written much else, but this book went through several editions. I think this is the earliest one. It weighs in at about 20 pages. The 6th edition is 133 pages long. I’m sure the addition of more than 100 pages made it much better…

ewaz witchAre they bowling balls or coconuts in that coffin?

 

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.

 

The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be – Lovecraft’s Legacy, Part 4

the book of old ones - scorpio.jpgThe Book of Old Ones – Scorpio
Finbarr – 2002

Truly, there are terrible primal arcana of earth which had better be left unknown and unevoked; dread secrets which have nothing to do with man, and which man may learn only in exchange for peace and sanity; cryptic truths which make the knower evermore an alien among his kind, and cause him to walk alone on earth. Likewise are there dread survivals of things older and more potent than man; things that have blasphemously straggled down through the aeons to ages never meant for them; monstrous entities that have lain sleeping endlessly in incredible crypts and remote caverns, outside the laws of reason and causation, and ready to be waked by such blasphemers as shall know their dark forbidden signs and furtive passwords. – from The Diary of Alonzo Typer

When I read a book on Lovecraftian magic, I want to learn about the aforementioned dark forbidden signs and furtive passwords. Unfortunately, this is never what these books contain. The one I’m reviewing today, Scorpio’s The Book of Old Ones, might well be the silliest of all the Lovecraftian grimoires I’ve read.

Imagine what a grimoire would read like if its author had absolutely zero understanding of magic. It’d probably contain powerful spells that are quick and easy to perform and unfailingly effective regardless of whether the person performing them believes in them or not – ‘say this magic word under your breath, and the girl beside you on the train will become your sex slave’ kinda crap. Take 20 pages of that garbage, add a few Lovecraft references and some stories about pathetic losers trying these rituals and then becoming rich, sexy and succesful, and you’ve got Scorpio’s Book of Old Ones.

Much like The Necronomian Workbook, this book shows little understanding of the total apathy of Lovecraftian entities towards human beings. The Old Ones are bigger and older than us. Their children made us for the sake of their amusement. Cthulhu is not concerned with the affairs of mere mortals. He’s plotting revenge on the elder things that imprisoned him. I doubt he’s interested in watching over you as you go on sea voyage, and I really struggle to imagine him helping you find a girlfriend.

cthulhu love spell.jpg
Seriously?

This book is stupid. The author understands neither magic nor Lovecraft’s mythos, but he has written a book combining them. This Scorpio guy seems like a real moron. Then again, this was published by Finbarr, so I’m not quite surprised.

I have made fun of the authors published by Finbarr Publications quite a few times at this stage, and I had initially planned this week’s post on two grimoires written by another of their authors. After doing a little bit of research though, I discovered that this guy actually has a learning disability and has suffered tremendously with his mental health. I’m not being facetious. I decided against reviewing his books, as he uses his real name, and I don’t want to cause any suffering for a person with serious mental problems. I mention it here only to highlight the remarkably low standard of stuff that this publisher puts out. I didn’t find out much about this Scorpio guy, but he’s clearly an imbecile too.

 

lovecraft horror in the museum.jpgH.P. Lovecraft – The Horror in the Museum
Wordsworth
This is the second entry in Wordsworth’s Lovecraft series, and it is comprised of works that Lovecraft worked on with other authors, only one of which I had read before. Most of the stories in the other 3 Wordsworth entries are included in the Penguin editions which I read and reviewed years ago, and after a year of rereading tales I had previously encountered, it was really cool to dive into a fresh batch of unread terror. The quality here is pretty high, and I enjoyed most of the stories in here more the fantasy stuff in Volume 3 and the odds and ends in Volume 4. Picking favourite stories from this collection is quite difficult. The tales in here are really good, and many of them flesh out the Cthulhu mythos – there’s references to Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu every few pages.

This volume contains the following stories:
The Green Meadow, Poetry and the Gods, The Crawling Chaos, The Horror at Martin’s Beach, Imprisoned with the Pharaohs, Two Black Bottles, The Thing in the Moonlight, The Last Test, The Curse of Yig, The Elecrtic Executioner, The Mound, Medusa’s Coil, The Trap, The Man of Stone, The Horror in the Museum, Winged Death, Out of the Aeons, The Horror in the Burying Ground, Till A’ the Seas, The Disinternment, The Diary of Alonzo Typer, Within the Walls of Eryx and The Night Ocean
(Imprisoned with the Pharaohs appears in the Penguin collections as Under the Pyramids.)

Some of these tales are fairly racist. The word ‘nigger’ is thrown around quite a bit. One of the stories, Medusa’s Coil, is particularly nasty. It’s about a very evil woman. I was quite confused when I finished reading it. In this edition, the last line reads; “It would be too hideous if they knew that the one-time heiress of Riverside… was faintly, subtly, yet to the eyes of genius unmistakenly the scion of Zimbabwe’s most primal grovellers.” I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of this, so I looked up a summary, and it seems as though the editor at Wordsworth actually cut the final line of the story. The original text ends: “No wonder she owned a link with that old witch-woman—for, though in deceitfully slight proportion, Marceline was a negress.” The final revelation of tale is that the anatagonist is a bit black. This is not made very clear in the Wordsworth edition. In 1944, August Derleth anthologised this story and altered the final line to say “though in deceitfully slight proportion, Marceline was a loathsome, bestial thing, and her forebears had come from Africa.” At least Derleth’s version kept the meaning. The redacted Wordsworth edition makes the ending confusing rather than ugly. This is obviously a horribly racist ending to a horribly racist tale, but I’m pretty disgusted that Wordsworth thought it acceptable to censor it. I absolutely hate when publishers do that. If you choose to publish a dead racist’s work, don’t pretend he wasn’t a racist.

So why do I devote so much of my time to reading and reviewing books by and about this horribly bigoted individual? Well, it has a lot do with passages of writing like this:

These scribbled words can never tell of the hideous loneliness (something I did not even wish assuaged, so deeply was it embedded in my heart) which had insinuated itself within me, mumbling of terrible and unknown things stealthily circling nearer. It was not a madness: rather it was a too clear and naked perception of the darkness beyond this frail existence, lit by a momentary sun no more secure than ourselves: a realization of futility that few can experience and ever again touch the life about them: a knowledge that turn as I might, battle as I might with all the remaining power of my spirit, I could neither win an inch of ground from the inimical universe, nor hold for even a moment the life entrusted to me. Fearing death as I did life, burdened with a nameless dread yet unwilling to leave the scenes evoking it, I awaited whatever consummating horror was shifting itself in the immense region beyond the walls of consciousness.

Come on. That is brilliant. This is from The Night Ocean, the last story in the collection. Of all the stories in here, this one is the least explicit in its horrors, but the sense of gloom and despair that pervades the narrative is perfectly effective. Lovecraft may have been a horrible racist, but damn, his work does a damn fine job of expressing the futility of life. Interestingly enough, the author of The Night Ocean (Lovecraft was mainly an editor for this one) was gay. He was also an anthropologist, and was actually one of William Burroughs’ professors at Mexico City University.

There’s another curious little tale in here called Till A’ the Seas that I really liked. It’s about the last human on an Earth that has overheated. It’s set in the distant future, but by now it could believably be set 60-70 years from today. You should definitely read the full story (link above), but if you’re too lazy, just read this:

And now at last the Earth was dead. The final, pitiful survivor had perished. All the teeming billions; the slow aeons; the empires and civilizations of mankind were summed up in this poor twisted form—and how titanically meaningless it all had been! Now indeed had come an end and climax to all the efforts of humanity—how monstrous and incredible a climax in the eyes of those poor complacent fools of the prosperous days! Not ever again would the planet know the thunderous tramping of human millions—or even the crawling of lizards and the buzz of insects, for they, too, had gone. Now was come the reign of sapless branches and endless fields of tough grasses. Earth, like its cold, imperturbable moon, was given over to silence and blackness forever.

God damn, that’s beautiful.

Originally, the second collection of Lovecraft’s work put out by Wordsworth was titled The Loved Dead, but this story was removed from this collection after the people at Wordsworth decided that Lovecraft’s influence on that tale was only minor. Also, Through the Gates of the Silver Key is curiously absent from this collection despite being a collaboration between Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price. Through the Gates… is the only story to appear in the Penguin editions of Lovecraft’s work that is missing from the Wordsworth collections. I’m planning a fifth and final post in this series on the few tales by Lovecraft that are missing from this series, so keep an eye out for that in the near future.

Dark Gods – Anthony Roberts and Geoff Gilbertson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conjuring Spirits – Michael Osiris Snuffin

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

Here’s a book about communicating with demons.

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

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

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

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

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

Gilles De Rais, the Perverted Son

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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