Die Faustbücher

faust demon 17It was long ago that I first noticed the big can of worms labelled ‘Faust’ on the shelf of literature,  and despite an occasional peek inside, I was never certain of the precise nature of its gooey contents. Recently, I felt compelled to make a more thorough investigation, but after determining to take down the curious container in order to examine its contents, it slipped off the shelf, smashed on my head, and covered me with its slime.

faust demon 13The (very cool) illustrations throughout this post are taken from Doktor Johannes Faust’s Magia Naturalis et Innaturalis (Dreifacher Höllenzwang, letztes Testament and Siegelkunst), the Faustian Grimoire.

The Faustian legend, the story of a man selling his soul to the devil for a few years of power and wisdom, has so many potential sources that it is quite impossible to say precisely where it came from. The character of Faust draws on several real individuals including Simon Magus, Agrippa of Nettesheim, Paracelsus and the actual Johann Georg Faust, a travelling German magician who lived in the 16th century. However, as fascinating a topic as this is, I don’t want to pretend that I have any novel ideas on the origin of the legend. My goal for this post is more to outline and examine some of the major strains of the rather complicated textual history of Faust. The Faustian legend has long been considered an appropriate topic for serious academic study, but despite, if not because of, the quantity of writing about this legend, it can be quite tricky to distinguish between the different types of books about Faust. I’m going to look specifically at Faustian chapbooks, the plays that immortalized the legend, and some Faustian grimoires.

faust demon 16

The first printed versions of the Faust story appeared in German chapbooks in the late 16th century. The very first and seemingly most popular of these Faustbuchs was titled Historia von D. Johann Fausten, dem weitbeschreyten Zauberer und Schartzkünstler or The History of the Damnable Life and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus. The first widely read edition of this text was published in 1587 in Frankfurt by Johann Spies, but a slightly different, shorter version exists in manuscript form. New editions of this Faustbuch almost always contained additions to the tale (usually appropriations of other folk tales), and as the Wolfenbüttel Manuscript dates from the same time as the Spies edition yet contains a more concise version of the tale, it is assumed to be closer to the original text. (We do not know the origin or author of the original text.) The Spies version was translated into English in 1592, and it was almost definitely this translation that introduced the story of Faust to Christopher Marlowe. (I got my info on the Wolfenbüttel Manuscript here.)

I read the online translation of the Wolfenbüttel Manuscript and the 1592, English translation of the Spies edition of the Faustbuch.  Both tell the standard story of Dr. Faustus. (I’m going to assume that my readers have some familiarity with the legend, but for those who need a reminder, it’s basically the tale of a smart lad who gets bored, sells his soul to the Devil for 24 years of servitude, spends the rest of his life either causing mischief or having theological debates with his Hellservant, and eventually comes to regret his decision just before he has his body torn apart and strewn in shite.) The Faustbuch gives more detail on some of the events that are only briefly alluded to in other more popular versions of the tale, including Faust’s trips to Hell and Outer-Space, but the sections in here that Goethe and Marlowe chose to omit completely are chapters in which Faust plays the role of a folk hero, uniting lovers or stealing wine from the wealthy to give to poor students. There was one part where he comes across four other magicians who are performing a party trick that involves them cutting off their heads and reattaching them. Faust gets jealous and interferes with their trick so that one of their heads becomes unattachable. It really reminded me that episode of the X-Files where the magician’s head fell off. The other memorable Faustian rarity included in here is an episode in which Faust temporarily curses a man’s penis with flaccidity to prevent him from making love to another fellow’s wife.

The manuscript version has only 44 chapters, while the Spies version has 63. These extra chapters tell of Faust seeking paradise from a mountaintop, explaining the nature of thunder, casting a spell on some drunks to keep their mouths open forever, showing the Duke of Anholt a big magical castle, getting Mephistopheles to summon him 7 beautiful women so that he can ride them, digging a tunnel to treasure guarded by a Hellish serpent, and a few other bits and pieces. Later editions of the Faustbuch doubtlessly contain more such additions, but I’m in no rush to seek them out.

And indeed many other chapbooks were printed about Faust, but they all seem to have been published in German and I haven’t been able to track down translations. Wikipedia mentions Das Wagnerbuch (1593), Das Widmann’sche Faustbuch (1599), Das Pfitzer’sche Faustbuch (1674), and Faustbuch des Christlich Meynenden (1725). I haven’t read any of these, but I presume that they are just slightly different tellings of the same story. Several of these texts, along with a bunch of Faustian grimoires, were assembled in a collection called Das Kloster by a guy called Johann Scheible between 1845 and 1849, but again, I don’t think this has ever been translated in its entirety.

marlowe faustThe Tragedy of Doctor Faustus: Norton Critical Edition – 2005
Christopher Marlowe

Marlowe’s play played a huge role in popularizing the legend amoungst English speaking audiences, and may still be the most popular version of the story. It was written between 1588 and 1593, but the earliest surviving text version of the play dates from 1604 (the so called A text). There’s also a longer version of the play, dating from 1616 (the B text). The B text spends more time making the Pope look like a dickhead, features slightly more on-stage devilry, goes into more detail on the Horny Knight subplot (not as interesting as you might think), and depicts a more gruesome end to Faustus. There’s also lots of small differences between the wording of the two texts. Both versions are considered canonical at this stage, and many printings of the play include the two of them.

Personally, I reckon the A text is probably the best place to start if you haven’t read anything else about Faust. (The additions in the B version are frivolous, and they upset the tone of the play in my opinion.) In the A text, Marlowe trims the folkish-fat from the Faustbuch, and while presenting an issue that demands contemplation, he doesn’t get bogged down in existentialism; as George Henry Lewis wrote, “The reader who opens ‘Faustus’ under the impression that he is about to see a philosophical problem treated philosophically, will have mistaken both the character of Marlowe’s genius and of Marlowe’s epoch.” This is the reduced nonsense version of the tale and genuinely one of my favourite pieces of literature. I beseech you to take the time to read it if you have not already done so.

Marlowe 2nd edition.jpgTitle page of 2nd edition of the B version of the text.

 I first encountered Marlowe’s Faust in a class on Renaissance literature when I was 20. I had a part-time job in a carpark at the time and I managed to read the two versions of the play over the course of my Sunday shift. It felt mighty good to get paid for reading a book (although the essay that I wrote about the play afterwards was absolutely rubbish). 10 years have passed, and as it so happens, I managed to reread the B text while in work today.  It still felt good.

The popularity of Marlowe’s Faust led to several other dramatic treatments of the play including William Mountfort’s The Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, made into a farce (1697) and John Rich’s The Necromancer, or Harlequin Dr. Faustus (1723), but these were mere pantomimes. The texts are online, but I have spent the last month reading nothing but different versions of the story of Faust, so I’m not going to bother with them right now. The next important development in the story of the story of Faust comes in the 19th century when Goethe completes his version of the tale after working on it for almost 60 years.

faust demon 4It is quite certain that Goethe was familiar with at least some of the Faustian Grimoires that were kicking about Germany at the time. (Although this image almost definitely dates from after his death.)

While there are two versions of Marlowe’s rendition of the story of Faust, there are two parts to Goethe’s. (There are several early versions and drafts kicking about too, but unlike Marlowe’s, there is some certainty about which is the definitive version of Goethe’s play.) The first versions of Goethe’s Faust appeared in the early 1770s, but the first version of a distinct Part One was published in 1808. It was revised 2 decades later. The second part was published in 1832, a few months after Goethe’s death. He had only just finished it when he died.

faust part oneFaust: Part One – Penguin Classics Edition – Translated by Philip Wayne (1971)
Faust: First Part – Bantam World Drama – Translated by Peter Salm (1967)

Part One is a relatively straightforward version of the first part of the tale of Faust. The biggest difference here, and this doesn’t really come into play until Part Two, is that Goethe’s Faust doesn’t make a deal with the Devil; he makes a bet with him. Faust bets Mephistopheles that nothing the Devil can offer him will be able to provide him with any real sense of satisfaction. Goethe also introduces Gretchen, a corporeal love interest for the Doctor, and it is Faust’s betrayal of Gretchen that makes this play a tragedy.

Goethe’s Faust is considered by many to be the single finest accomplishment of German literature. The entire work is full of allusions to mythology, philosophy and 19th century German politics, and although Part One seems very straightforward in comparison to Part Two, it still contains some rather weird bits that are hard to make sense of. Believe me, I’ve had to read Midsummer Night’s Dream more times than I can count, so when I saw the section titled “Walpurgis Night’s Dream” I thought I’d breeze through it. Let’s just say that I was very wrong… Also, Goethe’s Faust is considered a Closet Drama (a play that is not actually meant to be performed), and while it looks like a play, it reads more like an epic poem. Because of its complicated poetic nature, any translation is bound to be infinitely inferior to the original. Thankfully, one of the versions of Part One that I own is a straightforward prose translation. I read this in conjunction with chapter summaries online to make sure that I was getting the most out of the work.

faust demon 5

I first read Part One a few years ago, but I went over it again for this post. Directly afterwards, I picked up the copy of Part Two that I had nabbed from a free books table at school last year. To my great disgust, the translator had attempted to put the whole thing in rhyming verse. I went to the library the next day and took out a few different translations. They all rhymed. It turns out that the rhyming scheme and meters used in Part Two are actually relevant to its plot; hence the lack of prose translations. I judged the 2009 Penguin translation by David Constantine to be the best one. It contains brief chapter summaries and decent notes. I also found these online chapter summaries and notes by Bruce McLennan to be extremely helpful in making sense of what was happening.

faust part twoFaust: Part Two – Penguin Classics Edition – Translated by Philip Wayne (1971)
Faust: Part II – Penguin Classics Edition – Translated by David Constantine (2005)
Faust I & II – Princeton – Translated by Stuart Atkins (1994)

Part Two of Goethe’s Faust steers well away from the traditional Faust story. Here, Faust falls so madly in love with the conjured phantom of Helen of Troy that he travels to the underworld of Ancient Greece so that he can be with her. He is accompanied by Mephistopheles and a Homunculus created by his friend Wagner. (I wondered if Goethe, a German Freemason might have encountered the mysterious Die Sphinx, but it was actually published 41 years after his death!) Things get a bit awkward because Mephistopheles is a Christian devil (I mean a Devil according to Christianity, not a Devil that goes to mass), and devils don’t have any jurisdiction in the Greek underworld. The three lads embark on separate journeys of self discovery and each encounter a bunch of different, often rather esoteric, characters from Greek mythology. This is fairly heavy going; I’m decently familiar with Greek mythology, but I would have been completely lost without the footnotes.

goethe and defoeI noticed that this shitty version of Faust Part Two has the exact same cover as another shitty book in my collection. (Image is Eugène Delacroix’s Mephistopheles Over Wittenberg, 1839)

mephistophiel
Goethe’s Mephistopheles (and his Homunculus) seem to be extensions of Faust’s personality rather than separate characters. (I’m sure there have been essays written comparing these three characters to Plato’s tripartite soul, Freud’s Id, Ego and Superego and probably even the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.) Goethe’s Faust isn’t a warning to the curious; it’s a deeply symbolic and philosophic exploration of virtue, evil and human nature. I’m sure the original German text is far more enjoyable, but Constantine’s translation is still a rewarding (if very challenging) read.

“These metaphysics of magicians,
And necromantic books are heavenly;
Lines, circles, scenes, letters, and characters;
Ay, these are those that Faustus most desires.”
Marlowe’s Faustus – Act I, Scene I

Magical books play a role in all of the different versions of the Faust story that I have thus mentioned, and it was only a matter of time before followers of the legend began seeking/counterfeiting these diabolical grimoires. There are many grimoires attributed to Faust, but like everything else relating to this legend, they’re mostly in German. The most well known is probably Magia naturalis et innaturalis, oder dreifacher Höllenzwang, letztes Testament und Siegelkunst. Like the other Faustian grimoires, this work was supposedly written in the early 16th century, but the earliest edition dates from a few hundred years later. (This one was supposedly from 1505, but it was published in 1849.)

black raven
Magia naturalis et innaturalis features the above image of a black bird right at its beginning, and you might read online that this image has supposedly led to the book becoming known as The Black Raven. However, looking for a translation Faust’s Black Raven will almost certainly lead you to a pdf version of very short Faustian grimoire titled ‘Doctor Johannes Faust’s Magical Art and Miracle Book or The Black Raven or also called The Threefold Coercion of Hell’. I’ve seen a few other bloggers complain that this translation isn’t accurate and that it’s far too short. While I can’t comment on the accuracy of the translation, I can say for certain that this is not supposed to be a translation of Magia naturalis et innaturalis. This short document is actually a translation of a grimoire called Dr. Johann Faustens Miracul-Kunst- und Wunder-Buch oder der schwarze Rabe auch der Dreifache Höllenzwang genannt that was included in Scheible’s Das Kloster (original text here).

original black raven.jpgThe Black Raven of Dr. Faust’s Wonderbook

Owen Davies, in his Grimoires: A History of Magical Texts, refers to what sounds like yet another text featuring the curious bird, and so it seems that that the Black Raven is actually a subgenre of Faustian grimoire rather than a specific text.

Magia naturalis et innaturalis has been translated, but these translations have been put out in small runs, and I haven’t found a copy online. I really doubt that the text lives up to the standard of its accompanying images anyway; it looks like a Kabbalistic nightmare. I did read through the translation of the shorter Black Raven, but reading it wasn’t nearly as entertaining as trying to figure out where it came from. People distinguish between Faustian grimoires and Solomonic grimoires, but this read like a shit version of the Grand Grimoire: Draw a circle on the floor, say a few spells, howiye Mephisto.

An assortment of Faustian Demons from Magia naturalis et innaturalis

Well that about covers what I wanted to say. Hopefully this post will help clear things up for anyone doing preliminary research on the texts of Faust legend. There are of course many more books on, about and supposedly by Faust, but I have limited this post to the Faustian Chapbooks or Faustbooks, the major dramatic representations, and the grimoires attributed to the learnéd doctor. Although the legend of Faust is distinctly satanic and deals with the occult, allusions to the legend and the Faustian theme are to be encountered infrequently by anyone with an interest in literature. I hope it will be a long time before I write another dedicated Faustpost, but you are quite sure to come across references to this legend in many of my future posts. To conclude then, I want to warn you that if you’re seriously considering making an infernal pact with the Prince of Hell but are worried about the consequences… don’t hesitate. Remember that Goethe’s Faust got away with it. Open a vein and sign up immediately. You’ll be fine.

Oh, and happy Easter!

Die Faustbücher

Vampires and Vampirism – Montague Summers

Image2
Dover – 2005 (Originally published as The Vampire: His Kith and Kin in 1929)
This is Montague Summers‘ first book on Vampires, and as much as I love the author, I have to admit that this was a rather dry read. I actually started this book to make sure that I would understand references that I might have encountered in another book I’ve been reading; Varney the Vampyre. As it turns out, that book is referenced in this book, but it contains very few references to vampire lore. (Varney is fucking DEADLY though. Expect to see it reviewed here in a few weeks.) Anyway, there’s 5 chapters in Summers’ book, and I’m going to go through each one.

1.The Origins of the Vampire
Here Summers explains several of the different elements that may have created and/or fed into the vampire legend. It includes copious stories of the reanimated dead, ghosts, premature burials and a huge section on incorruptible corpses. Apparently, there’s two ways that a corpse can remain incorrupt; the person has to have been either really good or really bad.

This chapter also includes a frustratingly multilingual section on necrophilia and necrosadism. Unfortunately the more lurid details are only given in French or Ancient Greek. I’m not joking; whenever Monty wants to give some really grisly details, he’ll switch languages. My French is poor, but it was good enough know that I was missing out on the best bits, particularly the story about the Garcon who said. “Que voulez-vous, chacun a ses passions. Moi le cadavre, c’est la mienne!”

(I have found an online version of the text, and I’ve just spent 10 minutes pasting those bits into google translate. It was worth it; my necrosadistic desires have now been satiated.)

2. Generation of the Vampire
This is all about how vampires become vampires. It mostly deals with excommunication from the church. Montague Summers knew a lot about the history of the church, and he wants to make sure that his readers are aware of this. Pretty boring stuff to be honest.

3. Traits and Practice of Vampirism
There’s a lot about suicide in this chapter, including some fascinating stuff on Russian suicide cults. Apparently one group of these fucking lunatics built a huge building with no doors or windows that was only accessible from a trap door in the roof. They’d jump in through the trap door and then they’d starve to death. Imagine the stench, the anxiety, the shame and the regret that these people had to endure until their dying moments.

4. The Vampire in Ancient Countries
I was expecting this section to be a bit boring, but it was actually quite interesting. It’s about the different types of vampiric ghouls that have cropped up around the world through history. I think that the sequel to this book, The Vampire in Lore and Legend (1929), takes up where this chapter leaves off.

5.The Vampire in Literature
This section was definitely the most disappointing, disappointing because I expected it to be the most interesting. This is just a bunch of summaries of different plays based on John Polidori’s story, The Vampyre. The summaries given are so detailed that I skipped through most of them; I didn’t want to ruin the stories in case I ever come across the original texts. Not only does this chapter contain the summaries of these plays; it also contains extensive lists of their cast members. This chapter is full of boring information, but it says very little.

Image1The pictures in this book are bizarre. I don’t remember why this mad woman is in there.
Overall, this is a decently interesting read even if it does get dry as fuck at times. There’s 5 chapters, and the way they’re structured seems a bit arbitrary, particularly the first 3. However, the worst thing about this book is that it’s full of quotes in different languages but contains no translations. If you really wanted to get the most out of this, you’d need to speak Ancient Greek, Latin, French and German. This is a bit different to the author’s books on witchcraft too. It serves more as an explanation as to how the Vampire legend developed than it does as proof of the Vampire’s existence. Monty never denies that vampires exist, but he doesn’t spend much time trying to convince you that they do.  As mentioned above, he wrote another book on vampires, but I reckon it’ll be a while before I get around to that one.

Image3Clearly a case of Lycanthropy rather than Vampirism, but a cool picture nonetheless. Could this be the instance spoken of by the great one?

Vampires and Vampirism – Montague Summers

Some Thoughts on Satanism…

Image1Satanism is a truly ridiculous concept. Satan, a character most famous for his appearances in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, is supposed to be a nasty, horrible, unpleasant individual, a real shit. Why would anybody choose to follow him?

Imagine this. You’re working in a restaurant and some dickhead customer starts getting lippy because there’s mayonnaise on his sandwich. You understand his dilemma, mayonnaise is fucking gross, but he’s being rude with you and acting as if it’s your fault. You can’t speak your mind to him because you need to keep the job, but you determine to remember his face in the hopes that you will someday be able to wreak vengeance on him.

Ok, now fast forward 5 years. You have since become a millionaire and bought a big house on the outskirts of town. One night you are sitting at home, watching a good film and sipping on a glass of fine Beaujolais wine. Ahhhh, what bliss! But hark, there’s a knock at the door. Low and behold, it’s the shithead that complained to you about the mayo in his sandwich. You remember him, but he has no recollection of you; complaining to service workers is a habit of his and he doesn’t keep track. It turns out that he got separated from his friends on a camping trip and he has had to walk 30 miles back to the city alone. He managed to say hydrated by drinking his own piss, but he’s starving and he’s asking if you could spare some food. You tell him that you were about to sit down to dinner and you invite him in. Once he’s sitting at the table, you stroll into the kitchen and return  with a jar of Hellmans and two spoons. Bon Appetit, cunt!

I presume that you’ve realised that in the above scenario you’re a Satanist, the shitty customer is Christianity, and the mayonnaise is Satan. Let me clarify; Satan sucks for everyone, but Christianity is so shitty that it’s actually worth debasing yourself by pretending to like mayonnaise in order to defy it. I hope that makes sense; I think it’s a pretty tight analogy.

20160822_231909
You might then ask whether Satanists are really worshiping Satan or just pretending to worship him in order to scare/upset Christians. Well, it’s a little of column A, a little of column B. The Satan of Satanism isn’t quite the same Satan that appears in  the New Testament; he has been upgraded. To a Satanist, Satan represents freedom rather than evil

Let me clarify; Satanism and Devil worship are not the same thing. To Satanists, Satan is a good guy. There are relatively few people who actually worship the ‘evil’ Satan that appears in the Bible, and those that do are morons. To worship that Satan, you would have to believe the stories about him, but believing the stories about him would mean that your Holy Book would be the same Holy Book as the Christians. This would make you a shitty Christian instead of a Satanist.

20160822_231559

So if Satanism is not about the pursuit of evil, what is it? Well, it’s impossible to pin it down at this stage. Most modern forms of Satanism are derivations of LaVeyan Satanism, which is, at its roots, a pragmatic reevaluation of morality. It’s basically Nietzschean philosophy dressed up for Halloween. Labeling this mode of thinking as ‘Satanism’ prevents most people from taking it seriously, but this very repulsion allows Lucifer’s hordes to delude themselves into believing that they are edgy elitists and not just a shower of fedora-goths. (LaVeyan Satanism is atheistic; Satan is thought of as a symbol rather than a deity.)

20160822_231939

The really shitty thing about Satanism is that it’s not nearly as cohesive in practice as I’ve so far made it out to be. It’s an absurd, if entertaining concept, and like all ‘religions’, it acts as a magnet for absolute morons. I joined a bunch of ‘Satanic’ discussion groups on facebook (for research purposes), and I have been absolutely horrified with the stupidity of the people posting in those groups. I’m talking serious idiots here; cretins of the lowest order. Most of the people who publicly declare themselves Satanists are cringey teenagers or aging, uneducated slipknot fans. Think of a 40 year old white guy with 2 ball-bearing necklaces, a lip piercing, and a 19 year old girlfriend that he met in a Dairy Queen after the ICP concert; a guy whose facebook profile pic is a moody black-and-white selfie with a superimposed pentagram. The people who want you to know that they’re Satanists are a lowly bunch indeed.

Also, the self-centeredness and focus on power of Satanism make it really attractive to far-right dickheads and racist scumbags. Fuck those people.

Satanism is quite funny, but the term Satanism is used and understood in such drastically different ways that it has become nonsensical and impractical. It means entirely different things to different groups of people, and due to their common levels of ignorance and opposing understandings of the term, these different groups of people are very unlikely to take the time to try to understand each other.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who disagree with what I’ve said here. Let me know what you think. Leave a comment below, email me, or message me on facebook.

20160822_231816Now, get outta here!

Some Thoughts on Satanism…

Books of Black Magic

20160803_210246 The Book of Ceremonial Magic – Arthur Edward Waite
Bell – 1969 (First published in 1898 as The Book of Black Magic and Pacts)
Imagine, if you will, a man who takes it upon himself to read a bunch of cooky books on black magic and then proceeds to write about how utterly silly they are and how stupid the people who believe in them must be…  Sounds like a real cool guy, right? I’m referring, of course, to Mr. Arthur Edward Waite. Waite, famous for creating the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, is the author of this rather interesting book on grimoires, spirits, ceremonial magic and infernal necromancy.

Waite’s writing style can be painfully long-winded and academic, and nowhere is this as apparent as the headache-inducing introduction to this work. I don’t have a fucking clue what it’s about, and I would recommend that you skip it. Aleister Crowley, who is going to pop up a few times in this post, had a personal dislike for Waite and modeled Arthwait, one of the characters in Moonchild, on him. In chapter 12 of that novel, Crowley says; “Arthwait was naturally slow of thought and speech; it took him some time to warm up to real eloquence; and then he became so long-winded, and lost himself so completely in his words and phrases, that he would speak for many hours without conveying a single idea of any kind to his hearers, or even having one to convey.” Keep in mind too that Crowley himself was pretty bad for talking absolute shite.

Some of the minor illustrations within.

That being said, if you manage to slog through the intro, there’s lots of juicy stuff in here. The first half of the book gives the backstories to the most infamous grimoires. Waite breaks them down into three categories: books of transcendental magic – the least bad kind of magic, composite rituals – slightly sketchy magic, and black magic rituals – the purely diabolical. He goes into a satisfying amount of detail on the supposed origins of each text while also supplying his own opinions about their likely dates and places of origin.

The second part of Waite’s book, the Complete Grimoire, is basically all the good bits of the different texts that are discussed in the first half. It lists all the necessary precautions and steps you’ll need to take if you plan on summoning a demon to do your bidding.

20160803_210738Is this image over used? Waite and I agree that it’s not.

Waite’s overall stance is that Black Magic is really dumb and that these books are all forgeries for idiots. You’d wonder why he bothered writing a book about something that he had such disdain for. (If you’re a long term reader of my blog, you’ll remember that I said almost the exact same thing about his translation of Eliphas Levi’s book, Transcendental Magic.) He seems to have enjoyed making fun of gobshite occultists.  Good lad, Waite.

I simultaneously read this along with some of the grimoires that it’s about, and hence the second half seemed quite repetitive to me. The scope of this book is broad enough that it could serve as an introduction to the topic, but the writing is probably a bit too dense for casual readers. You can always check it out online to see if it’s what you want before buying a copy. Personally, I really enjoyed reading it.

 

20160803_210305The Goetia – Translated by Samuel Liddell Macgregor Mathers, edited by Aleister Crowley, and supposedly written by King Solomon.
Weiser – 1995
This edition was first published in 1904.
Original edition of the Lemegeton compiled mid 17th century.
Text purports to be from 10th century BC.

The Key of Solomon, perhaps the most famous grimoire, is supposedly a set of magic spells left by King Solomon. The Lesser Key of Solomon, or the Lemegeton, is its dirty sequel. (Although sequel might not be the correct word here. It’s more like when a band releases a collection of crap songs and covers that weren’t good enough to make it onto their last album; the Lemegeton is the Reload of Solomonic grimoires.) The Goetia is the first of four (or five, depending on who you ask) sections of the Lesser Key. It was translated by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Matthews, head of the Golden Dawn, and published by his protégé, Aleister Crowley, although by the time this was published, Mathers and Crowley were no longer friends. It has the usual crap about drawing fancy triangles on the floor and all of that nonsense, but most interestingly, it contains the names and details of 72 demons (most of which come from Weyer’s Pseudomonarchia Daemonum). This edition also includes several of Louis Le Breton’s drawings that originally appeared in the second edition of Collin De Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal.

20160803_211006One of Louis Le Breton’s drawings of a demon, accompanied by Crowley’s version.

This is mildly entertaining to flick through, but the most interesting parts are included in Waite’s book. If you have Waite’s book, this book will only be interesting if you’re a big Crowley fan. The physical book is quite nice, as Weiser editions usually are, and it contains some introductory essays by and about Mr. Crowley. In my opinion, the best parts of this text are the pictures that Crowley drew of the demons:

Notice any patterns?


20160803_210327
The Grand Grimoire: Being a Sourcebook of Magical Incidents and Diabolical Pacts
Compiled by Darcy Kuntz
Supposedly written by Antonio Venitiana del Rabina and King Solomon.
Holmes Publishing – 2008
Source material exists from 1521, 1522, and 1421.
Text purports to be from 10th century BC.

Now, this is it; the boldest and most infamous of all grimoires. Like the Goetia, the Grand Grimoire has its roots in Solomonic ceremonial magic. The first half gives instructions on how to summon Lucifuge Rofocale, Satan’s right-hand man, and the second half is about how to summon other demons.

20160803_210901 Lucifer and his entourage don’t really come across as super scary in this one.

I bought this book a long time ago, but the first few times I picked it up to read through it, I became confused by the introduction. The title of the edition I bought is “The Grand Grimoire. Being a Source Book of Magical Incidents and Diabolical Pacts“. There’s no blurb on the back, and there is very little information about this edition online. All of these factors led me to think that it might actually be a book about the book that I wanted to read.  I sent a message to Darcy Kuntz, the editor, on Goodreads, but he never responded to me. However, after looking through it and doing a bit of research, I have figured out that this is a version of the Grand Grimoire and not just a book about that text.

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The bulk of this edition is a word for word transcription of the edition of the Grand Grimoire that our friend, A.E. Waite, published in the June 15, 1895 edition of his magazine, the Unknown World. (How fucking awesome is it that those scans are online?!? The Grand Grimoire starts on the 35th page of the pdf.) Kuntz’s book also includes some passages taken from Waite’s Book of Ceremonial Magic. The confusing introduction of this edition of the Grand Grimoire is a mash-up of the introduction in Waite’s magazine and some other sources. Entire phrases are lifted from the entry on the Grand Grimoire in Lewis Spence’s Encylopedia of Occultism, to which no references are given. Tut-tut, Mr Kuntz. Your name says it all! Plagiarism aside, I just wish the introduction had been a little clearer about how the book had been compiled. Then again, maybe the organisation was deliberately awkward to give off a more genuine grimoire experience. Summoning Belzebuth just wouldn’t be the same if the instructions you were following  were organized in a coherent order!

There are other parts in Latin or Italian that Kuntz claims were taken from a source titled “Le Grand Grimoire“, but he doesn’t elaborate on what this source was or how it differs from Waite’s translation. I have found a pdf of a more complete translation than Waite’s. This version includes an English translation of the Sanctum Regnum section, although the Citatio Praedictorum Spiritum section remains in Latin in both the pdf and Kuntz’s edition. The pdf version also includes a third section which is made up of other “magic secrets”, including the method of raising the dead that Eliphas Levi alluded to in the chapter on Necromancy in his Rituals of Transcendental Magic. (LET THE DEAD RISE FROM THEIR TOMBS!) What’s interesting about the inclusion of this ritual is the fact that Waite actually claims that Levi made it up. In chapter IX of the Complete Grimoire, he claims that this ritual “must be given on the authority of Lévi; for no available editions of the work which is in question, nor yet of the Red Dragon, nor indeed any ritual of my acquaintance, contains it. There is reasonable probability that he invented it to make out his case at the moment.” I know that the pdf version is definitely worded differently to Kuntz’s version, so either it is a different translation or it was based on another manuscript of the grimoire. If it was based on another text, maybe that text is the one that Levi had read. Then again, maybe somebody read Levi and decided to add his bit onto the end because they thought it was cool; I certainly did. This is the problem with pdf versions; you don’t really know how genuine they are. (It’s bit sad when you contemplate that you’ve spent hours of your life researching the authenticity of an online edition of a translation of a forgery.)

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This is the lad who shows up if you perform the ritual of the Black Hen correctly.

Other things to note regarding the compilation of the pdf version:
One of the spells, “The Secret of the Black Hen”, was mentioned in Waite’s book, wherein he suggests that it was a late addition to the Red Dragon (another name for the Grand Grimoire).  The pdf also includes several spells from the Grimorium Verum, including instructions on “HOW TO CAUSE THE APPEARANCE OF THREE LADIES OR THREE GENTLEMEN IN ONE’S ROOM AFTER SUPPER”. There’s also another short section on commonly held superstitions that ends with the statement, “I have related these beliefs to amuse our readers but not to obligate the readers to believe all of them because they are mostly nonsense”. This pdf edition seems to be a compilation of different bits and pieces from a variety of grimoires and books about grimoires. It’s still pretty cool though; some of the spells at the end are grizzlier (and often far sillier/funnier) than the first two parts of the “authentic” text.

If you know anything about the compilation of the different versions of the Grand Grimoire, please leave a comment below or email me.

* * * *

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I have other grimoires in my collection, both books and pdfs, and I’ll doubtlessly get around to them at some stage. I suppose I’ve talked more about the actual books and what they’re composed of than the efficacy of what’s actually written within. It’s hard to imagine somebody reading through these texts and trying to carry out the rituals, but I’m sure that attempts have been made. I think that the tasks described in these books, although ludicrously tedious and difficult, are less likely to prevent somebody from attempting the rituals than is the fundamental problem of Black Ceremonial Magic addressed by Waite: these rituals require the sorcerer to supplicate God to give them control over evil demons in order that they may perform evil deeds. Why would an all-knowing, fundamentally good, God grant such a request? Also, in the grander rituals in which one of the rulers of Hell is evoked, the instructions given allow the sorcerer to essentially trick the demon into doing his/her bidding. These are not instructions on how to make a Faustian pact; it is expected that the sorcerer will get away without paying for the demon’s services. How many times would the demons fall for this kind of trickery before they cop on? Personally, I wouldn’t fuck about with a demon. It’s only polite to pay for what you’re given.

Books of Black Magic

Who is the Duke De Richleau?

It may come as surprise to some of you, but I am neither French nor a Duke. Le Duc De Richleau is the hero in a collection of 11 novels by Dennis Wheatley. For all of the philistines reading my blog, Wheatley, was a prolific author of trashy adventure novels. Most of his books were spy novels, but he was also a self proclaimed expert on the occult, and some of his books, 2 of which I have already reviewed, deal with black magic. The Duke De Richleau series contains 3 Black Magic novels, including The Devil Rides Out, perhaps Wheatley’s most famous book.


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The Devil Rides Out
Hutchinson and Co – 1972 (Originally published 1934)
It’s been a long time since I read this one, but I remember it well enough to know that you don’t need an in-depth review to decide whether or not you should read it. This book is about Satanists, pentagrams, rituals, goats, spells, and demons. If you know that much and don’t want to read this, you’re a piece of shit. This is definitely one of the best places to start if you haven’t read any Wheatley before. The movie is deadly too, but for the love of Satan, read the book first.
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My copy of Devil Rides Out is a fancy hardback reissue. Some of these have illustrations.

 

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Strange Conflict
Arrow – 1981 (Originally published 1941)
Unlike the other two books in this post, I read this one last week, so it’s still fairly fresh in my memory. This was an enjoyable entry to the series, but it’s a pretty bad book. It sees the Duke and his mates being hired to discover how Nazi U-Boats have been successfully figuring out the trade routes of English ships. Using astral-projection, the Duke figures out that the Nazis are getting their info from an evil Voodoo priest in Haiti. Ok; Voodoo Nazis, sounds great right? Well yeah, that is super cool, but let’s just think about the idea of using astral projection as a means of espionage for a moment. Astral projection gives the Duke the ability to leave his body and go anywhere in the world. The book starts off with him sitting in his apartment in London as the city is being bombed to shit. WHY THE FUCK DID HE WAIT 2 YEARS TO START SPIRIT-SPYING? Why did he not volunteer to start sleep-creeping the Nazis as soon as they entered Poland? Also, out of the Duke’s team of friends, 3 out of the 5 are able to astrally project themselves. If 60% of people can do so, why the fuck were the British government so fucking slow to organize a full-on Astral attack on Germany? It doesn’t make any sense.

Anyways, as soon as they figure out that the bad guy is in Haiti they decide to head over to kill him in his sleep. I have mentioned elsewhere that Wheatley was not one to be concerned with cultural or political sensitivity, and a trip to Haiti provides several lolworthy examples. This was written in 1941, so the author’s use of the term Jap is excusable, but referring to the “Jap” character as a “dirty little yellow rat” might be a bit much for the modern reader. Failing that, the description of the Haitian natives is sure to offend:
“Those coloured bums have just no powers of organisation at all and it’s like one big tropical slum. If it weren’t for the climate and the masses of fruit that can be had just for the plucking the whole darned lot of them would have starved to death long ago… The niggers live in little more than tents made from tying a few banana palms together.”  There’s another thoroughly unpleasant passage describing the parents of a missing teenager whose corpse has just been found in the hospital; “The man and woman were Mulattoes… The woman was a characterless bag of fat which appeared to have been poured into the good-quality silk dress that restrained her ample figure”.
He also refers to one of the black characters as a “wooglie”, although I’m not entirely sure whether or not that’s a racial slur. (My guess is that it probably is.) To top it all off, the book ends in an amazing proclamation on the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race.

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Mr Wheatley, you charmer!

I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I don’t mind reading racist books as long as I’m not giving money to the author. In this case, the author is long dead, and I buy these books second hand. However, the most recent editions of Wheatley’s novels have been abridged, and the horrible racism and misogyny have been removed. This is utterly infuriating. It’s not that the publishers want to prevent the spread of racist ideas; it’s that they want to make Wheatley more palatable to the tumblr generation. Fuck that; if you buy a book about Nazi devil-worshippers but get offended by fictional characters’ racism, you need to kill yourself immediately. Yes, Wheatley was a shit, but if you can’t read a book by a person that you might not like in real life, you’re a stupid fucking loser. If you come across something in a book that makes you uncomfortable, think critically and learn from the experience. Censorship of literature is immoral, and anyone who begs to differ can go and help themselves to a hearty swig of bleach.

The rest of this book is standard Wheatley fare; chases, rituals, beautiful but enchanted young women, demons, the works… The ending involves a bit of the old deus ex machina, and I got the feeling that ol’ Dennis might have been making it up as he went along. I wouldn’t recommend this one as a starting point for his work, but it’s worth a read if you like this kind of garbage.

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Gateway to Hell
Arrow – 1974 (Originally published 1970)

I don’t remember much about this one to be honest. It definitely wasn’t as good as Devil Rides Out, but I gave it 5/5 stars on goodreads, so it was obviously thoroughly enjoyable. More diddies on the cover too; can’t go wrong like.

Overall, Wheatley’s writing is bad (He admitted so himself), his plots are silly, and a lot of his ideas are liable to trigger you into oblivion, but I really love his books. There’s something comic-booky about them, and I like to treat myself to one in between heavier stuff.These are just the Black Magic novels from the Duke De Richleau series, and I’ll probably review the others at some stage too.

Who is the Duke De Richleau?

Lucifer Rising – Gavin Baddeley

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Plexus – 2006

This book deals with the different manifestations of Satanism within modern culture. It focuses on rock music and heavy metal, but it also discusses serial killers and horror movies. Sounds pretty great, right? A recommendation for this book showed up on my goodreads account, and my copy was ordered within moments of reading its description. I’m pleased to say that it didn’t disapoint. The author is a priest in the Church of Satan, and the history and outlook of LaVeyan Satanism is central to this book. I like LaVey, so I was entertained, but the author’s tone might be grating on some readers, particularly if they were Christian.

The first few chapters give a short yet surprisingly comprehensive history of Satanism, but the latter half of the book is mostly taken up with interviews. Some of these are excruciatingly embarrassing (Glen Benton is an idiot), and some are genuinely hilarious (Euronymous is precious). Varg Vikernes from Burzum has claimed that the interview with him is entirely fake. (He also claims that this is the worst book that he has ever seen.) I know lots of Burzum fans who claim to dislike Varg. Well, I always thought Burzum’s music was crap,  but I think he’s a pretty funny guy. (Don’t get me wrong; I know he’s a right-wing scumbag, racist, murderer and all-round crazy person, and I certainly wouldn’t say that I ‘like’ him, but let’s be honest; he regularly brings the lols.) There were a few interviews in here that weren’t hugely insightful, and it seemed that some of the interviewees may have been chosen based on their availability rather than their unique insight or authority on the topic, but this doesn’t take away from the cooler parts of the book. It might also be worth noting that I’m a fan of quite a few of the musicians interviewed herein, so I was probably more entertained than most people would be. If you don’t like rock music, this book might be a bit boring.

Baddeley suggests that there are as many different forms of Satanism as there are forms of christianity. (He also shows how hazy the lines between some forms of christianity and Satanism can be.) This book acknowledges the fact that Satanism is a very loosely defined set of beliefs and behaviors, and the author provides a thorough and entertaining account of the movement’s more interesting facets. (I picked up some cool recommendations for bands, movies and books too.) Overall, I would recommend this as a good primer for anyone with an interest in the Devil’s place in Rock’n’Roll.

I started writing a paragraph about my own take on Satanism, but it turned very lengthy very quickly, so I think I shall save it for a later date. Until then, Hail Satan!
(Update: This is what that paragraph eventually turned into.)

 

 

 

Lucifer Rising – Gavin Baddeley

Michelle Remembers – Michelle Smith and Lawrence Pazder

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Congdon and Lattes – 1980
I have been horrendously busy with school and haven’t had the opportunity to update this blog, but I feel that this post will make up for my absence. I’m reviewing a Satanic classic; Michelle Remembers. Packed full of horrendous scenes of murder, enemas, cannibalism, and perverse diabolic rituals, this is the book that kicked off the satanic ritual abuse panic of the 80s. It tells the story of Michelle, a woman from Victoria BC who at the age of 27 began to uncover repressed memories of Satanic abuse that she had suffered 22 years earlier. It’s a fascinating piece of writing for several different reasons, and I have quite a lot to say about it.

So, the basic premise of the book is that as a child, this woman, Michelle, suffered such horrendous abuse at the hands of a coven of Satanists that she entirely repressed all memories relating to it. When she becomes an adult, she has a nightmare and goes to tell her psychiatrist about it. The pair become convinced that the nightmare means something, and through a kind of self-induced hypnosis that is never properly explained, Michelle summons forth her 5 year old self who proceeds to give a first hand account of the part of Michelle’s life that she herself was completely unaware of.

2016-02-29 21.51.01A real pair of plonkers. Take a good minute there to really look into the eyes of that utter imbecile. That common, stupid-looking woman believed that Jesus Christ and Lucifer personally did battle over her soul.

According to the child version of Michelle, her mother started taking Michelle to Satanic rituals when she was very small. At one of the first ceremonies, Michelle is anally fingered and frigged and forced to watch her mother engage in an orgy. Michelle gets upset when she sees a woman between her mother’s legs, so she hits her mother’s licker with a bottle. Everyone else in the room sees this happening and joins in on the fun. The saucy lesbian is stabbed to death in front of the child while she is still underneath the woman that she has been pleasuring. Not the worst way to go, I guess…

After Michelle has rudely attacked her lover, the mother abandons her naughty child and leaves her with the Satanists. I’ll be honest here; they’re not very good babysitters. They fill Michelle’s bumhole with water and then make her squirt-squirrel her sphincter’s plentiful bounty onto a Bible. They bury her alive. They kill a bunch of cute kittens in front of her. They cut up quite a few dead babies and mash some of them into Michelle’s face. They rape the child and make a snake go into her fanny. They introduce her to another child, allow them to make friends, and then they cut the other child’s head off and tell Michelle to put the body back together like a jigsaw puzzle. They bury her alive again, this time in a grave with a bunch of live cats. They make her eat part of a burnt corpse. They also cut two holes in her scalp and try to sew on a pair of horns onto her head.  All in all, they’re not very nice to her.

Child abuse is literally the least funny thing in the world, and I would not jest about these events if they had ever actually happened.  Michelle Smith you see, is a lying piece of trash who made up the whole thing.

An internet search will provide you with countless reasons to believe that this book is absolute nonsense, but I’ll just mention a few of the more salient points. Michelle Smith’s real name was Michelle Proby. Lawrence Pazder’s real name was Lawrence Pazder. Why did Michelle use a fake name if Pazder was using his real one? Well, it was probably to hide some of the evidence that proves that she was full of shit. Michelle had two sisters you see, one older and one younger, and neither of them are ever mentioned in the book, nor have they ever corroborated her story. Michelle’s father claimed that he could personally discredit every sentence in the book. He said, “It was the worst pack of lies a little girl could ever make up. The book took me four months to read, and I cried all the time. I kept saying to myself: ‘Dear God, how could anyone do this to their dead mother?’” He said of his late wife, “There never was a woman on this earth who worked harder for her daughters. There was no hanky panky or devil-worshipping.” He also said that he took Michelle to church every Sunday despite the fact that Michelle claims never to have had a religious upbringing.

One of the first memories Michelle unveils is of one of the Satanists, a man named Malachi, putting her into a corpse infested car and driving it into a wall. The Satanist was trying to make it look as if the corpse had died in the crash (whereas in “reality” this was the corpse of the woman whom Michelle attacked for sucking on her mother’s juicy pussy.) Victoria is a small city; a car crash in Victoria in the 1950s would definitely have made it into the local papers. Surprisingly enough though, no account of any such incident was ever published. Could it be that it never happened? Yes. Definitely.

Michelle was supposed to have been satanically, ritually abused over the course of about a year. One of the rituals she describes is said to have lasted between 80-90 days. Somebody had the good sense to check the attendance records at the school Michelle was supposed to be attending at the time. Guess what; Michelle Proby never missed any significant amount of time from school. Either the teachers were in on the Satanism or Michelle was full of shit.

In some of my favourite parts of the book, Michelle describes how she is taken to Ross Bay Cemetery and buried alive in an old grave. She describes the woman who is with her pulling the top off the grave and lowering her down into the earth. The only problem with this is that the lids of the graves in that cemetery are solid fucking rock and far too heavy for a single person to lift. If Michelle is truly stupid enough to believe that this nonsense happened, I really hope her delusions are vivid and terrifying. I hope she could smell the corpse.

Michelle imagining herself in her rightful place. Hopefully she is underground at this stage.

The other claims about Victoria are pretty silly too. She describes how all of the many  Satanists cut off the middle finger from their left hand. You’d think that this trend might be noticed in a small city of 50,000 people. Also, surely somebody noticed all of the dead babies that were going missing. It seems like somebody is smushing up a dead baby every ten minutes in this crazy book.  The authors’ only textual evidence of the Satanic problem in Victoria comes from a newspaper article called Witchcraft in Victoria from 1977. The article is about a series of claims from a drug addicted, delusional,  evangelical christian named Len Olsen who was eventually sued for his lies. Here is a cool video featuring the guy about whom he made the slanderous claims.

Are Michelle’s claims really that outlandish? It is possible that a dangerous cult was operating in Victoria at the time; after all, there are sickos everywhere. Well, if Michelle had only told that part of the story, I really doubt that people would have gotten as worked up about this book. The thing is, Michelle goes on to claim that Lucifer himself begins to attend the rituals that she is privy to. We are not talking some meddlesome demon here, we are talking Prince of Hell, the Arch-Fiend, Satan, THE DEVIL HIMSELF. Michelle ‘the imbecile’ Smith wants us to believe that the Fallen Angel Lucifer took the time to travel from Hell to Victoria to participate in a ritual in which he would personally rough up a 5 year old girl.

Not only that, but Michelle is only able to escape because Mary, the virgin mother of Christ, and Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the only son of god, show up to save her. This, stupid, under-achieving, plain little fart of a woman wants people to believe that Christ and Lucifer came to earth to personally do battle for her soul. Jesus and Mary, who couldn’t bother their holes coming down to stop the holocaust, decided that they had better travel to earth to come to the aid of an ugly little cur with no personality.

2016-02-29 21.50.00See the blur behind the flame? The fools who wrote this book would have you believe that that is the virgin Mary.

Now, if I was going to write a book to inspire moral panic and public outrage, I would do a little research to make my claims seem believable, but Michelle and Lawrence decided not to bother. It shows. Michelle’s description of satanism is unfounded, illogical and incredibly silly. The rituals of the cartoony ‘satanists’ in this book make absolutely no sense; the basic idea behind them seems to be ‘do whatever is wrong’. This is very clearly the satanism of a person who knows absolutely nothing of the subject. A Dennis Wheately novel, this is not. Perhaps the worst part of the book is the persistent rhyming speech that Michelle attributes to Satan. According to her, the Dark Lord can only speak in rhyming couplets. His chapter-long speeches are truly excruciating to get through. I think one of them reads;

My name is Satan, my Kingdom is Hell,
I will hurt your arm, oh little Michelle,
Swear allegiance to me, and poop on this book,
for if you say no,  your ass I shall fuck.

Ok, so I obviously wrote that. But I have just read back over some of the actual rhymes in the book, and I have to say that mine is far less silly. Why would the Devil be limited to speak in rhymes? That doesn’t make any sense Michelle, you stupid piece of garbage.

These are Michelle’s drawings of the Devil. Depending on his moods, he would either take the form of an owl with a tail, a fraggle, or a two-legged lizard dog

At several points, Pazder actually refers to the perpetrators here as members of the Church of Satan. Apparently Anton Lavey threatened him with legal action to get him to withdraw these claims, but they’re still in my copy of the book.

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Doesn’t the cover of this edition make it look less like a book about satanic rituals and more like a romance novel about a really boring woman who falls in love with her psychiatrist and tries to give him everything he wants even if it means sacrificing her own dignity? Well, actually…

One of the odd features of this book is that although it was written by the protagonists, it is told in the third person. The narrative perspective makes the book feel like a novel and thus makes it a more tolerable read, but it also adds a lair of buttock-clenching cringiness. Pazder is first introduced in the text as “A handsome man in his early forties,…warm, manly, soft-spoken”, and when Michelle first appears, she is described as “A pretty young woman of twenty-seven, with a  heart-shaped face, a delicate mouth, and bountiful brown curls”. Now either they wrote those descriptions of themselves, or they wrote those descriptions of each other. Anyone who would talk of themselves in that manner is a cunt, and anyone who would write about another person in that manner is looking for the shag.

As the narrative unfolds, Michelle and Lawrence get closer and closer. She goes to see him more and more frequently, and he starts holding her hands and maintaining physical contact with her during their sessions. Michelle grows distant from her husband, and Lawrence starts holding things back from his wife. The authors try to present their blossoming relationship as something pure, positive, and misunderstood, but in reality, these two degenerates were beginning a depraved affair that centered on Michelle’s repulsive sexual fantasies.  Pazder would sit on the couch with one arm around Michelle as she spewed forth her disgusting fantasies about paedophilia, scat-play, and sadomasochism. I am not even exaggerating; that is literally what happened between the two of them. Michelle Pazder was an unhinged sexual deviant, and Lawrence Pazder, a man posing as a psychiatrist, took advantage of the patient in his care for the satiation of his own vile desires. His leading questions and her dependency and desire to please lead to their corrupt bond becoming stronger and stronger. Although it is not mentioned in the text, the pair eventually defied the catholic faith of which they were once so proud by divorcing their spouses and marrying each other. Imagine the sex talk on their wedding night. Ewwwwwwwwww.

Speaking of marriage, my wife and I were in Victoria recently, and we paid a short visit to Ross Bay Cemetery where much of the book is set. I wanted to see if I could find an entrance to the Satanic Lair that the lads had made, but I didn’t have much luck. However, I did see lots of cool tombstones and decrepit graves.

Some messed up things have actually happened at Ross Bay since the publication of this book. It has suffered a fair bit of vandalism, and has become notorious among heavy metallers due to the alleged actions of a particularly naughty black metal band. While I am all for desecration of hallowed ground, it seems a bit of a shame that people would mess up one of the few interesting historic sites in B.C. If you’re ever in Victoria, the cemetery is an awesome place to go for a stroll.

Below, and in the first image of this post, is the Pooley Angel. This statue was spray-painted blue at one stage and is commonly referred to as the Blue Angel of Ross Bay. Apparently tears can be seen running down its face on the night of a full moon.

angelCOOL!

I recently reviewed Communion by Whitley Strieber, and if you read that review, you will notice that like Michelle, I make fun of ol’ Whit-Strieb for having things shoved up his dirt-box. You may also notice that I didn’t get quite as worked up over the stupid story that he told after regressive hypnotherapy. That’s because Whitley Striber’s equally silly story didn’t end up ruining people’s lives. There are lots of nutty books out there, but Michelle Remembers had a tremendously negative effect on society in the early 1980s. The authors appeared on Oprah and became celebrities, Pazder became known as the leading authority on Satanic Ritual Abuse, and innocent people were publicly  and unfairly accused of child abuse. The only good thing to come from the author’s  irresponsible perversion is the over-the-top 1980s Satanic Heavy Metal that their book inspired. Fundamentalist christians are a pain in the ass, but these two pieces of shit weren’t even particularly devout. (As mentioned above, they divorced their partners and remarried, a mortal sin in the Catholic faith.) They were a pair of attention seeking scumbags who weren’t concerned with how their perverse fantasies might affect the lives of others. I know that Pazder is dead, but we can only hope that Michelle is too.

I hated the authors, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you’ve made it through this review, you’ll probably enjoy it too. Reading it will make you want to listen to Slayer and spit at a priest.

HAIL SATAN 666!!!

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Michelle Remembers – Michelle Smith and Lawrence Pazder