We're all witches now: with our black turtlenecks, our blood-brown lipstick, our crescent moons and evil eyes, our combat boots and girl gangs and moon cycle apps. We've been shimmering like mood rings for a while now. [more inside]
“To be a witch is to be a woman with power in a world where women are often otherwise powerless.” [more inside]
Today, the Google homepage brings you the “2015 Global Candy Cup” doodle, in which flappy-bird-esque witches collect candy. May the best color (Green) win.
"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.
The Final Discworld Book Is Bittersweet For Many Reasons. "The latest Discworld book, The Shepherd’s Crown, doesn’t just have the task of wrapping up the story of Tiffany Aching, trainee witch. It’s also the very last Discworld book, since author Terry Pratchett sadly passed away earlier this year. The good news is, this is a solid ending to both stories." Although Pratchett friend and collaborator Neil Gaiman notes that the story is unfinished (major spoilers in that link!!). Tasha Robinson, writing at NPR, says the book shows us how to mourn Pratchett (spoilers), and Karin Kross at Tor also strikes an elegiac tone in her review. An excerpt is available at NPR, and the book was released in full last week. (Previously) (Also previously.)
"A selection of pages from an 18th-century demonology book comprised of more than 30 exquisite watercolours showing various demon figures, as well as magic and cabbalistic signs. The full Latin title of Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros, roughly translates to “A rare summary of the entire Magical Art by the most famous Masters of this Art”. With a title page adorned with skeletons and the warning of Noli me tangere (Do not touch me), one quickly gets a sense of the dark oddities lurking inside its pages." - The Public Domain Review presents illustrations from a 18th century guide to demons and demonology (NSFW illustrated nudity, snakes on bits.)
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]
Pratchett's Women: nine essays (by Australian fantasy author Tansy Rayner Roberts) on the portrayal of women in the Discworld books [more inside]
Leigh Bardugo writes haunting, Eastern-European inspired fairy tales (Previously) often highlighting the experience of women in a unfair world. Tor.com presents two new stories, the somber "The Too-Clever Fox" and the subversive "Little Knife."
Seven Things Not to Learn from Sleepy Hollow, a "delightful but completely unreliable source of historical information". The show, which is already writen by Fringe alumni Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman just gained John Noble as a recuring character "The Sin Eater".
A Month of Witches Tennessee author Betsy Phillips (previously) (previously) is back again with a month's worth of spooky stories.
Cecil Crowninshield, resident mystical defender of Salem Massachusetts, has put down his Lumurian Quartz topped wand and picked up the keyboard to help keep his neighbors informed of goings-on around town via a series of local news columns - Impress your date! - The Top Five Salem Sandwiches and the ghosts who stole them! - Magick On A Budgetk! When not writing his regular column, Cecil enjoys commenting on others. [via mefi projects]
The Violence is a new album by Darren Hayman about the Essex Witch Trials conducted by Matthew Hopkins, where over 300 women were put to death between 1644 and 1646. [more inside]
A critique of Sir James Frazer's The Golden Bough by Colin Dickey. "For all its erudition and analysis, The Golden Bough has for more than a century helped cement the idea that magic is inappropriate, wrongheaded thought. Yet what separates magic from religion or science is not its methodology—Frazer himself notes that it 'is therefore a truism, almost a tautology, to say that all magic is necessarily false and barren; for were it ever to become true and fruitful, it would no longer be magic but science'—it’s that ordinary people can do it, transforming their lives with the ambitious power of everyday thought." Via Lapham's Quarterly's Magic Shows issue.
Res Obscura is a blog by Ben Breen, a graduate student of early modern history, which styles itself "a compendium of obscure things." Indeed, even the asides are full of wonder, such as the one about Boy, the famous Royalist war poodle of the English Civil War, which is but a short addendum to a post about witches' familiars. Here are some of my favorite posts, Pirate Surgeon in Panama (and a related post about 18th Century Jamaica), vanished civilizations, asemic pseudo-Arabic and -Hebrew writing in Renaissance art, and a series of posts about the way the Chinese and Japanese understood the world outside Asia in the early modern period (Europeans as 'Other', Europeans as 'Other,' Redux and Early Chinese World Maps).
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
"Five women were paraded naked, beaten and forced to eat human excrement by villagers..." [more inside]
Stray, The Unfamiliar, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie - Three stories of a group of dogs, and a cat, battling the supernatural courtesy of Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson and Dark Horse Comics, released for free as a teaser for the forthcoming Beasts of Burden. (via)
Scary Stuff: Count Floyd's Scary Little Christmas Promo, Dr Cube's Posse, A Scarier Skeleton by Jack Handey [mp3], The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra Trailer [previously], Shining, Plan 9 From Outer Space - Best Lines, Re-Enactment - Pan's Labyrinth, [previously] Scream in 30 Seconds and Re-Enacted by Bunnies, Season of the Witch, The Thing in Lego, REM & Muppets - Furry Happy Monsters. Happy Halloween everyone!
The "Minutemen" ask if she weighs the same as a duck and wonder if they can build a bridge out of her.
Sexy Witch: "This is a blog about sexy witches. Here you will find witches of all types: elegant, attractive, pretty, cute, hot, naughty or femme fatales; real life witches; people dressed up as witches: for halloween or fancy dress balls; fictional witches: witches in novels, plays and poems; movie witches; cartoon witches; witches in art: carved, painted, sketched and engraved: they are all here, or will be in time." (Some Images Not Safe For Work)
Witches are fluroidating our water! This rambling rant about fluoride takes a turn for the seriously weird about 45 minutes in, when Dr. Stanley Monteith explains how AIDS was brought over from another dimension. In fact, as this text essay of his further explains, it was done by those Satan-worshippers in Planned Parenthood and their allies the Theosophists who have naked parties observed by UFO’s at the Georgia Guidestones, onto which are inscribed their plans to destroy most of humanity. Welcome to the wild world of Radio Liberty.
Remains of guru's disciple identified Shortly after the 1998 death of "A Separate Reality" guru Carlos Castaneda, whose peyote-fueled sorceric journeys into the Mexican desert captured the imagination of a generation in the 1970s, five of his closest disciples made out their wills, disconnected their telephones, and disappeared into thin air. via
"Witches are trying to kill me." Standing on his porch dressed in warm-up pants, a T-shirt and a sweat-stained army cap, Jake Jenkins explains Luzerne County is the location of the largest witches coven in the state .... "You have the witches that want to play at it, and then you have the real serious bastards, deadly," he said.
Things fall apart Stressed societies move in strange directions. In Angola, shattered by a decades-long civil war, children and even infants are accused of being witches. Burkina Faso is also having a witchcraft epidemic. Are there parallels with conditions in Salem and Early Modern Europe?
You dangle in agony. You clutch your faith. You fight for breath. You surrender your spirit. Nineteen “witches” were hanged at Gallows Hill in 1692, and one defendant, Giles Cory, was tortured to death for refusing to enter a plea at his trial. Five others, including an infant, died in prison.
For some, Halloween can mean candy, treats, and tricks. For others, Samhain can be an important religious holiday. The Witch's Sabbats are the calendar of pagans, where the celebration of time is underway. There are more rituals then could all be linked. Some prefer solitude, while some prefer groups. There is a Christian understanding of the correlation between Pagan holidays and Christian holidays. But then some people pull the old Bible out. And then some people just miss the point entirely.
Five Salem Witches Exonerated - 300 Years Later I would say something like "It's about damned time" -- but like the various Christian denominations apologizing for the Trail of Tears and participation in the slave trade, perhaps it is simply too late. There is no risk in making this gesture at this time. And what is the message here? That these women simply were not guilty of the charges levelled, or that it was wrong to persecute on such a basis in any case?
Nothing like a little religious tiff over God smiting Fargo to keep the editorial page busy. Start from the bottom, and work your way up, skipping the stories on baseball.
The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer), first published in 1486, is arguably one of the most infamous books ever written, due primarily to its position and regard during the Middle Ages. It served as a guidebook for Inquisitors during the Inquisition, and was designed to aid them in the identification, prosecution, and dispatching of Witches. "Therefore, let us now chiefly consider women; and first, why this kind of perfidy is found more in so fragile a sex than in men. And our inquiry will first be general, as to the general conditions of women; secondly, particular, as to which sort of women are found to be given to superstition and witchcraft; and thirdly, specifically with regard to midwives, who surpass all others in wickedness." link via the always excellent larkfarm