"I never would have believed it, until one night I woke up around three o'clock in the morning. I felt something cold against my shoulder. It was the ceiling. I was looking down at my own body." Julianne Moore and other actors ask you to think about "the paranormal, one of the biggest issues of our age" in this ad for Time-Life Mysteries of the Unknown series of books. Curious about unexplained phenomenon? Tales of events, dismissed as chance, coincidence, or imagination, but what if they aren't? How could you explain it? How did these ads (if not the books) get so popular? Fittingly enough, it may have just been fated in the stars. [more inside]
First, Kill the Witches. Then, Celebrate Them. by Stacy Schiff [The New York Times]
Among the oldest settlements in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and for years among the wealthiest cities in America, Salem had many claims to fame. It preferred not to count the witchcraft delusion among them; no one cared to record even where the town had hanged 19 innocents. It addressed the unpleasantness the New England way: silently. When George Washington passed through Salem in October 1789, he witnessed neither any trace of a witch panic nor of Halloween. Sometimes it seems as if the trauma of an event can be measured by how long it takes us to commemorate it, and by how thoroughly we mangle it in the process.
An overview of folklore, religion and popular intuition surrounding childbirth, pregnant women, and young infants: abortion by aswang, blood-drinking Lilith, curses from witches, skeletal-faced spirits, and demonic births. content advisory: infant mortality [more inside]
Everyday Sigils: A tumblr where you can commission magical sigils and symbols to deal with everyday trials, from the mundane to the sadly common.
Tourist: Whaddya call that window over there?
Vermonter: Which window?
Tourist: Thanks! drives off [more inside]
Witchsona Week is a week for artists, doodlers, webcomicers, and more to draw themselves as witches.
The extended setting of the Harry Potter series is fertile soil for fans interested in worldbuilding, especially since the release of Pottermore (previously), a companion site to the books that includes back-story and adjunt information direct from J.K. Rowling. Some of these worldbuilding projects include explorations on wizarding fashion, magical education (including other magical schools), fantastic beasts (and perhaps where to find them), Muslims at Hogwarts, and the next generation of Hogwarts students. [more inside]
Alphabet Blocks for a Geek Baby "Amateur engineer/designer" Jonathan M. Guberman made his newborn son a set of custom engraved wooden alphabet blocks, with "things that his mother and I were looking forward to sharing with him" on 4 of the 6 sides. (See them all here) "The only real rule I followed in choosing subjects was trying to maintain an even gender balance" which makes them even more awesome. (Of course, your choices for certain letters may vary)
The Moon is Rolling in Her Grave is a video adaptation of the first chapter of the ongoing (since 2003) comic series "No Rest For The Wicked" by Andrea L. Peterson, a fantasy / adventure / horror tale that takes traditional fairytales and turns them on their heads: "Ms. Peterson uses, in conjunction with several more popular fables, folktales that you may have never even heard of. The entire plot actually centers around a little known Grimm fairytale called 'The Buried Moon', while also making reference to 'Red Riding Hood', 'Hansel & Gretel', 'The Girl Without Hands', 'The Boy Who Went Forth and Learned What Fear Was', and many MANY others." [more inside]
Trials by Ordeal were a method of determining guilt or innocence by putting the accused through various torturous experiences. Today these approaches are frequently-mocked and banned almost everywhere, though Sassywood remains common in Liberia. However, economist Peter Leeson argues that trial by ordeal may have been a very effective way of dispensing justice, especially when courts and juries were expensive or broken. According to the paper [PDF], a superstitious belief in iudicium Dei, or the justice of God, may have discouraged the guilty from ordeals, while tilting the scales in favor of the innocent - echoes of the practice persist today in swearing on a Bible. Even Sassywood [pdf] may be better than Liberia's broken justice system.
"There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls. It’s been many years since any child was taken. But still, on nights like these, when the wind comes cold from Tsibeya, mothers hold their daughters tight and warn them not to stray too far from home. “Be back before dark,” they whisper. “The trees are hungry tonight.” Tor.com brings us some short horror/fairy tale fiction from Leigh Bardugo, "The Witch of Duva: A Ravkan Folk Tale."
A History of Zamrock: Zambia's mix of tribal patterns, heavy rock, blues and psychedelic from the 1970s
Zamrock is a largely forgotten musical movement, born from a newly independence still trying to find stability. The sound is a mix of local sounds with heavy, bluesy and psychedelic rock, usually sung in English, the constitutional language for Zambia. Unfortunately, little of the history is written, and those who were there are fewer each year. Last year, Emmanuel Kangwa “Jagari” Chanda, the co-founder and lead singer for WITCH (We Intend To Cause Havoc), was interviewed for two hours (Vimeo; transcript; source) and recorded a radio show with 14 Zamrock tracks. The South African newspaper Mail & Guardian have an article with more history and interview snippets with Jagari, whose stage name is an Africanisation of Mick Jagger's name. (via) [more inside]
Low video quality, high Halloween value: the beautiful, original, Hermione in a magical tale. Her last line in the film is delightful.
Ya'll remember Johnathan "The Impaler" Sharkey, Minnesota gubernatorial candidate for the Vampires, Witches, and Pagans Party? Of course you do. But have you seen Impaler, the documentary about him? hulu
"...children which lie, must go to their father the devil, into everlasting burning." -- Cotton Mather
The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria's 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire.
Throughout history children have been involved in witchcraft accusations. But in the modern age, this could be considered a form of abuse against children. It may be wrong to starve or torment or kill a child witch. Some video: 1, 2, 3.
Early in July of 1895, a grand jury convened and returned an indictment against Michael Cleary of Ballyvadlea, Co. Tipperary, for the murder of his wife, Bridget. Bridget Cleary had been set on fire and burned to death in the hearth of the Cleary house, in front of family and friends, because Michael Cleary said she was a fairy changeling, and not his wife at all. That night, he sat for hours near a Kylenagranagh cairn with a silver knife, insisting the true Bridget would soon ride past on a white horse, and he could cut her bonds and set her free. [more inside]
A Visual Dictionary of Famous Plane Curves is an outstanding resource for curves found in nature, man-made objects, and mathematics. Other websites that list exotically named curves also animate how they are created. One of the most unusually named curves, the “Witch of Agnesi”, has an unusual etymology. A number of these curves will be familiar to anyone who has used a Spirograph. Previously.
You never hear about a psychic winning the lottery, but apparently witchcraft is worth a shot.
I got 99 problems ...but a witch ain't one. Witches are everywhere nowadays. No need to spend your days trying to hunt 'em down. Some are for the kids. Some are focused on manual labor. Perhaps most importantly, some are in britches, while others are in bikinis. Want to join the coven? Take an online course!
Turkish Despair. Aslan, please help us! Narnia is being overtaken by people in monochromatic outfits. Oh well, I suppose it was bound to happen. $$$ (I'm sure it's all Edmund's fault.)