You may have noticed that it’s been a bit quieter in these parts as of late. I’ve noticed a turn in the venues I use for output as the sun comes out from hiding all winter. This is to say my writing efforts fork in two directions: writing the blog and writing fiction.
My focus these days is on the latter, since the old itch is back, and the characters are chattering. When they get noisy like this I find it’s often best to listen and transcribe as best I can. I’m currently working on the next release for Short Fictions & Curiosities, and revision is a lumbering beast. I’ve got two other ideas gestating for the fall. I just want to make stuff, you know? And read a bunch of young adult fiction.
That’s the best I can do by way of apology, but also: I have the extremely valid excuse that Tibbers are I are joining forces by way of cohabitation in June, so my apartment is a wreck and all my book-children are in boxes, and the state of things will continue to be chaos for the next month. (I’ve also taken a temporary leave from posting at The Midnight Society until July as a result.)
Right now, though, I’ve got this month’s instalment of wunderkammer of the web lined up just for you: a collection of oddities, mysteries, and strange items of interest for your perusal that I’ve collected in my internet travels.
A Collection of Curiosities: Part V
In which we explore the dark art of American Ghoul, we learn a little bit about hoodoo and rootwork from the deep south, we discover spook lights (also known as spirit lights, corpse lights, or plain old orbs) in New Zealand, we revisit the murder of Rose Harsent, and we get a history lesson in lycanthropy.
I’ve stumbled across another site that specializes in oddities of the occult worth mentioning too: check out The Occult Museum when you have a minute. They’ve got a great selection of strange, unexplained, and supernatural articles to get the imagination going.
Haunting photography by Daniel Vazquez (American Ghoul)
“Daniel Vazquez, online better known under his pseudonym American Ghoul, is an artist living and working in the Bay Area, United States. I accidentally stumbled upon on one of Daniel’s photos of the Siren series (the first series shown below) on Pinterest. Mysterious, veiled and crowned creatures standing in the midsts of a wonderful, bleak landscape: you know what I like Pinterest! 😉 The occult, the dark and mysticism are the main themes in Daniel’s work, exploring death, the darkness that lives in the shadows and dark symbolism. The resulting images are creepy and haunting, yet aesthetically pleasing enough to frame ‘em and hang them in your house. And you’re in luck, Daniel’s has a print shop! :)”
Dem Bones: A Primer on Southern Conjure Magic
“Unfamiliar with conjure magic? It encompasses a wide range of genres of folk magic from various parts of the world. Whether you call it hoodoo, rootwork, or ‘helping yourself,’ conjure magics are a part of every culture on the planet, each of which has specifics on ingredients, spells, and incantations.”
“Uncanny Meteors:” Spook Lights in New Zealand
“It seems that the darkness of January always arouses my interest in stories of spook lights or mysterious fires. Today a gentleman from New Zealand tells us of his curious close encounter with “uncanny meteors” during a downpour. I’ve left in the first few paragraphs of technical explanation and literature review for completeness, but the actual story of the sighting may be found two paragraphs in.”
The Midsomer Murder of Rose Harsent
“I’m becoming convinced that life is merely a pale imitation of ‘Midsomer Murders.’ Take the theme of today’s post: A quiet, respectable-looking English village is shaken when the puzzling, grisly death of a young woman exposes the town’s sordid, violent undercurrents. As Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby once complained, ‘Every time I go into any Midsomer village, it’s always the same thing–blackmail, sexual deviancy, suicide and murder.'”
Snake Problems of the Neurian Werewolves
“Darius the Great (550-468 B.C.) was the third king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, ruling at the peak of its territorial expansion which encompassed West Asia, the Caucasus, parts of the Balkans, the Black Sea coastal regions, parts of the North Caucasus, Central Asia as far as the Indus Valley, and north Africa including Egypt, eastern Libya and coastal Sudan. He never managed to fully subjugate Greece, culminating in his defeat at the Battle of Marathon, but he nonetheless reorganized much of the Middle East and Asia. Basically, he was a pretty impressive dude attested to in everything from classical Greek histories to the Old Testament, but about a century prior to his arrival on the scene, the area known as Scythia (a region extending from Eastern Europe to Central Asia north of the Caspian Sea) was a rough and tumble province hemmed in to the east by the Sauromatae, Budini, and Geloni tribes, and to the west and north by the Agathyrsi, Androphagi, Melanchlaeni, and the Neuri. This was a pretty uncomfortable position to be in, most especially because rumor had it the Neuri were werewolves.”
Want more? Check out the other wunderkammer-themed posts:
“I’ve heard a few times that it’s unwise to look at a writer’s search history. It gives the uninitiated the impression that you are either deranged, morbid, or psychotic. While this may very well be a possibility in certain cases, I can assure you that I purge that cache regularly. Try and catch me, coppers. Moo hoo ha ha.”
“I was half in love with Victorian England before I began writing Wake the Dead ages ago. It’s a particularly macabre period in history, largely due to the fact that the entire country was thrust into mourning following the death of Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert. It marks a period in history that is attributed with heightened ritualized action surrounding death, commemoration, and grieving that is so intense that it’s frequently referred to as a cult of death.”
“Stuff! Being the third collection of curiosities, oddities, and wonders discovered online — I’ve got some new stuff for you. I tend to aggregate a bunch of weird and wonderful saved links as I’m researching and I often have nowhere to put them beyond my bookmarks, where they’re eventually forgotten. I figured some time ago that it might be best if I put them to use, sharing the interesting and bizarre stuff I come across from my collection of writing inspiration.”
“I might be late to the party, but I suspect that’s the fashionable way to handle these things. I like scheduling these “wunderkammer of the web” type posts for the 27th or the 28th of the month, so technically I’m a day off. What this is: I’ve always had a longstanding fascination with the occult, the subversive, and the alternative: give me a good ghost story or chunk of folklore, and I’m off and running. My mind likes to live in the weird, and accordingly, it’s often where I gather inspiration from.”
Until next time: stay weird!