To give the Devil his due

amelia wilson the devilThe Devil – Amelia Wilson
Barrons – 2002
I bought this book for 2 dollars from a thrift store years ago. I finally picked it off the shelf recently because it’s short and I needed a break from a very long, dry Gothic novel that I have been reading. It met my expectations but did not exceed them. The paper it’s printed on is nice, and there are lots of cool pictures, but it contains very little information that I haven’t come across before.

The first half of the book goes into the origin of Satan as a devil. It discusses Biblical pseudepigrapha, folklore and Zoroastrianism. I liked this part, and was pleased at the level of detail it went into. Wilson clearly does not like how Christians have turned Lucifer into the bad guy.

ride to the sabbathRide to the Sabbath!

Next up, there is a section on the witch trials. Nothing special. This is followed by a short and very disappointing chapter on Satan’s place in modern society. There’s a page or two on films featuring the Devil, and very cursory glance at how he has influenced modern music. The Church of Satan is mentioned, but the author doesn’t attempt to explain its philosophy. There is one reference that quite irritated me. It reads; “One figure who has stirred a lot of controversy, is Aleister Crowley, a renowned ceremonial magician and expert in the occult who wrote extensively on the subject. There is no hard evidence that Crowley was in fact a Satanist, although many people who do consider themselves Satanists have read his books.” That’s all the book has to say about Crowley. There is absolutely no explanation as to why Wilson thought it important to mention him, and the wording of her reference suggests that Crowley was a Satanist because many Satanists have read his books. By the same logic, drinking water and breathing air are also Satanic. If you want to read a decent book on Satan’s place in modern culture, check out Gavin Baddeley’s Lucifer Rising.

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Wow, this is the most boring post I’ve written in quite a while. In fairness to myself though, I wasn’t give much to work with. This book wasn’t absolutely awful, but there are plenty of far more insightful texts on the same topic. I’ll keep it only because I enjoy filling my bookshelves with books that mention the devil in their titles.
devil books

To give the Devil his due

Satan’s Disciples – Robert Goldston

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Ballantine Books – 1962
I added this book to my to-buy list immediately after stumbling across a picture of the cover somewhere online. I was worried that the book itself might not live up to the cover image, but it delivered.

This is a trashy and rather sensational history of satanism and witchcraft. Robert Goldston skips the boring parts (numerology, kaballah, astrology, palmistry…) and goes straight for the sadistic orgies, blood sacrifices, and hag torture. Needless to say, I enjoyed every page.

The introductory chapter to this magnificent work claims that “It can be safely asserted that from the year 1200 until the middle of the seventeenth century, the overwhelming majority of the people in Europe worshipped Satan and regularly attended his festivals.” While I have come to expect this kind of exaggeration from Christian writers writing about Satanism, nearly all of Goldston’s condemnations are actually directed at the church. He doesn’t quite espouse Satanism, but the book, as a whole, almost seems like an attempt to justify it.

While claiming to be a “a full account of witchcraft for modern readers”, this is really more a mish-mash of descriptions of some of the grislier characters, legends and phenomena from the history of witchcraft, each description doing its utmost to err on the side of ridiculous. Included are tales of the ‘blood cows’ of Elizabeth Bathory, how Oliver Cromwell sold his soul to the devil (I believe it, the cunt!), a woman who gives birth to a pair of goblins and feeds them to her dog, and Doctor Fian, a Scottish wizard who specialized in pube magic. There’s a wonderful account of a priest who stupidly banished a demon to a toilet and thus ended up with a burnt, shit-besplattered arsehole, and there’s the heartwarming tale of the Chatelaine De Beauvoir, a lady that I can’t find mention of anywhere else who managed to convince a troop of young men to be her sex slaves. She divided these men into different groups of animals (some were dogs, some were birds) and had them do her perverted bidding. When a police officer inquired how she maintained control over these fine fellows, he was told that she did so by feeding them her shit. What a cool lady! There’s also plenty of other stories about rape, incest and cannibalism. This book definitely doesn’t shy away from the nasty stuff. There’s one particularly brutal account of a young nun who is accused of witchcraft and jailed. Confined to her cell, she is routinely raped by her three guards. At first this treatment leads her to attempt suicide, but she later grows to like it and eventually ends up spending the non-getting-raped parts of her days worshipping Satan.

Towards the end of the book, Goldston temporarily abandons his objective of chronicling the history of witchcraft and devotes a single chapter to the actual practice of Black Magic. Chapter 11, Spells, Curse and Demons, is basically a grimoire in and of itself. It includes useful spells to cure gout, guard against vicious animals, summon Satan, get rid of a headache and kill your enemy. Crucial stuff.

In ways, this book was quite similar to Peter Robson’s The Devil’s Own, but while equally as trashy, this one contains a bibliography and actually makes frequent reference to real historical texts. I wasn’t surprised to see William Seabrook’s book on witchcraft in its bibliography either. All three of these books have a delightful bullshit/reality ratio, and if you have enjoyed one of them, you will definitely like the others. I would really love to know if anyone has recommendations for similar books.

 

Satan’s Disciples – Robert Goldston

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.

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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.

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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.)

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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…

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

7 Footprints to Satan – A. Merritt

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Orbit/Futura – 1974

About a year ago, I was in a second-hand book-store when I came across a little black book titled 7 Footprints to Satan. It looked fucking deadly, but it was 30 dollars and I thought that was a bit much to spend on a book I hadn’t heard of. I came home and found a copy online for less than a tenner. The seller provided no image, and I presumed the cover would be the same as the one I had seen in the shop. Can you can imagine my absolute joy when the package arrived and I first saw the above cover?

Look at that thing! It’s some kind of snakey, arachnid alien holding some jewels, a bloody heart, and a hot drink. Book covers do not get much better than that! Now a person who has not read it might presume that the entity on the cover is the Satan referred to in the title of the book, but a person who has read it will have absolutely no fucking idea of what that thing is supposed to be. I doubt that the artist who drew the spiderbaby had actually read the book. Unfortunately, the story didn’t quite live up to the cover, but the cover lives up to itself even after having finished the story. Just looking at it now makes me want to read the book again even though I know how little they have to do with each other. Take a moment there to scroll back up and really soak that image in. Fucking deadly.

So, the book starts off with a lad being kidnapped by a bunch of weirdos who manage to convince the police that he’s a mental patient. They take him to a mansion owned by a chap who claims he is Satan, and that’s where the fun begins. Satan runs a weird culty mafia thing, and he forces his followers to gamble with him on his 7 footprints game. Like all good cult leaders, Satan is a massively tall freak with an enormous head who can’t be killed by bullets. He knows everything about everyone, and he has a seemingly infinite amount of power and wealth. It’s never made definitively clear whether or not he’s really the Devil, but every time that you think that he’s actually just a fat Chinese drug dealer who picked a cool name for himself, something weird happens that suggests he at least has some connection with the archfiend. It wouldn’t be accurate to describe this as supernatural horror, but it does feature individuals with superhuman strength,  doppelgängers, and even telepathy.

It also features plenty of casual racism, but this seems to have been a trend in early 20th century horror. I’m sure that there were plenty of racist authors outside of the horror genre in that era, but I think that the ways in which race is presented within the texts written to frighten people is quite telling of the real fears of the readers of the day. (Maybe some day I’ll write a blog post, if not a master’s dissertation, on that topic.) Some of the stuff in here is pretty rough; there’s a passage that reads:
There was a Hebraic delegation of a half-dozen on their way home to the Bronx, a belated stenographer who at once began operations with a lipstick, three rabbit-faced young ‘sheiks’, an Italian woman with four restless children, a dignified old gentleman who viewed their movements with suspicion, a dumb-looking black…
Pretty good right? Within the space of a single sentence he’s managed to be nasty about three different ethnicities. At another stage, he refers to a black guy as an ‘ape-faced monstrosity’, and at the point when Satan admits to having killed his daughters, the protagonist has an Ah-Hah! moment and explains that Satan must be Chinese. Oh! and there’s also a scene featuring the most offensive stereotype of all! In the second chapter, Officer Mooney appears. He’s a New York cop with a ridiculous Irish accent that is made visible in the text; “Sure,lad. Ye’re in no danger, I’m tellin ye. Would ye want a taxi, Doctor?’ (Admittedly, that accent is entirely accurate.) The thing is though, that I wouldn’t even call this is a racist book; it would be more accurate to call it a book with some racist parts, and that’s actually worse when you think about it. The racist parts don’t add anything to the story. I’m not saying that it would be excusable if the racism were a motivational force in the plot, but that would at least give an understanding of the author’s purpose. As it stands, it looks like Merritt was just throwing his bigotry in for a laugh. As I’ve said before, I wouldn’t pay for a book that contained that kind of nastiness if I thought the author was going to get any of my money, but my copy is second-hand and the author died 70+ years ago.

I read this in two sittings, and I had a dream about being stuck in Satan’s mansion after reading it. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it. Merritt wrote some other books with equally cool titles, and I doubt that this is the last book of his that will appear on this blog.

 

 

 

 

7 Footprints to Satan – A. Merritt