Archive for Ray Garton

New, Rare and Interesting Items This Week at Miskatonic Bookstore

Posted in Miskatonic Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by miskatonicbooks

To get ordering information on any title just click on the cover art.

Many of the books we carry are rare and we have a very limited quantity.

All books are sold on a first come first serve basis.

For the esoteric minded reader:

Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum by Elias Ashmole (First Edition Hardcover)

The Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum is a major collection of English alchemical texts which encapsulate the arcana of the Magnum Opus in poetic form. Originally gathered from several rare medieval manuscripts by Elias Ashmole, the text represents the largest collection of verse treating of the production of the Philosopher’s Stone to be brought together in one volume.Ashmole’s pride in English literature is amplified by the consideration he gave to the project. In deciding which texts should be included in the book he details ancient British examples among the Druids & the Bardic Tradition and explains that poesy is much better than mere verse.

Here we find well known names in the alchemical corpus among whom are included; Thomas Norton, George Ripley, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Daston, Pearce the Black Monke, Richard Carpenter, Abraham Andrews, Thomas Charnock, William Bloomefield, Edward Kelley, John Dee, Thomas Robinson, William Backhouse, John Gower, John Lydgate, W. Redman and several anonymous authors. This who’s who of English alchemists is placed in historical context by a Prolegomena by Ashmole, which supports his thesis that England may be proud of its alchemical literary heritage. In addition Ashmole has provided ample annotations and commentary to each of the texts as supplementary material in the concluding chapter of the book. The text has a new introduction by William Kiesel and a full bibliography of alchemical and bibliographic materials used in researching the text.

This complete edition of the Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum goes beyond the mere reprinting of the original pages as past facsimiles have done. Using the original errata sheets provided by Ashmole, the entire text has been corrected and reset in a more readable typeface and features clear reproductions of the original engravings produced by Robert Vaughan. In addition, this edition features a more complete version of the Breviary of Naturall Philosophy by Thomas Charnock by employing a complete manuscript of the text not available to Ashmole in 1652. This is the most ambitious publishing project embraced by Ouroboros Press in its years of laboring to bring source works of western esotericism to scholars and collectors alike. Over a dozen individuals and institutions worked hard to bring the book into this complete and corrected edition. This is fine esoteric book arts at its best, a volume Elias Ashmole himself would be proud of.

Stout Octavo, 6 x 9 inches. 528 pages. Primary Typeface: Williams Caslon Text. Rubricated title page in red and black ink. Illustrated with alchemical engravings, ornamental grotesques, dragons, trees, and fleurons. Includes an 11 x 14 folding plate titled; George Ripley’s Wheel.

THE CATECHISM OF LUCIFER by Johannes Nefastos (Limited Edition Hardcover)

“Written as a counter-gospel for the Evangelical Lutheran catechism, but in addition to this, it represents a Gnostic form of Satanism on its own. In this book is outlined the path out of worldliness, out of theology mortally wounded by its false theodicy, even out of humanity taken as something small-minded, powerless and petty. The Catechism of Lucifer is founded upon the idea that by hating the perverted picture made of God by the Christian doctrine, we may truly attain higher possibilities for our Spiritual development and Empowerment. On this demanding but beautiful and meaningful path we are led by our innermost potential of ingeniosity, the divine Master Lucifer.

Book is in fine unread condition.

  • Includes the following texts:
  • The Ten Commandments of Lucifer
  • The Satanic Credo in Three Creeds
  • The Master’s Prayer in Six Articles
  • Of Lucifer’s sacraments
  • Of Demons
  • Of Magic
  • Of the Responsibility of the Individual
  • Of Satan
  • And many relevant quotations taken from the different sources of Star of Azazel’s literature.

Ixaxaar Occult Literature, 2013. First Edition Hardcover. Small Octavo. 82pp. Gilt decorated black faux leather, black textured endpapers, finished with a black silk ribbon and cream colour head- and tailbands, printed on embossed linen paper. Publisher’s printed bookmark loosely inserted.

THE INFERNAL COLOPATIRON: A Manual of Daemonic Theophany by S. Connolly (Signed Limited Edition Hardcover)

BACK IN STOCK!!! Selling quickly

Being a sacred grimoire of the walkers, detailing the olde ways of Demonolatry gate opening and the arte of daemonic theophany. Discusses centuries old, never before published Daemonolatry methods to produce Daemonic manifestations and includes the never before published Purswell ascension ritual, the pre-curser to the Dukanté version.

extured black faux leather, copper lettering to spine & copper sigil of Ocat, the “abyssal gatekeeper of the dead”, on upper board. Sigils and illustrations. Bibliography. Edition limited to 220 hand-numbered copies, consecrated and sigilised by the author, thus the limitation page may have an oleum smear from the anointing oil, or ink smudges from the blood infused ink. Called by the publisher: “A sacred grimoire of the walkers, detailing the olde ways of Demonolatry gate opening and the arte of daemonic theophany. The author discusses centuries old, never before published Daemonolatry methods to produce Daemonic manifestations and includes the previously unpublished Purswell ascension ritual, the pre-curser to the Dukanté version.” We note that each copy has printed within it a curse that is said to activate if someone steals or reproduces the book in any manner, including internet uploads. Not to be reprinted.

Book is in new unread condition

For the Horror Fiction connoisseur:

BRIDES OF THE IMPALER by Edward Lee (Signed Deluxe Leather Bound Lettered Edition in Traycase)

Traycased Hardcover Lettered Edition of 52 signed and lettered copies bound in leather with a satin ribbon page marker.

Book is in fine condition in a like traycase

About the Book:
Cristina Nichols fears the future, through the harrowing whispers of her past. She longs to forget the depraved abuses she suffered in her youth that left her afraid of love and passion. But something, somewhere, is suddenly tantalizing her, beckoning into a muse of carnal revelation and ecstatic fulfillment…


Deep in the cryptic New York City brownstone, something awakens, brimming with hot, real breath, libidinous longings and desires of the flesh the likes of which Cristina cannot conceive…


In the basement she finds it, the sinister evil finally unbound, reaching forth in vampiric bloodlust to prey upon her most forbidden fantasies and plummet her body and soul into a chasm of wantonness as black as the most timeless sin…


The secret will drench your desires in blood…

SERPENT GIRL by Ray Garton (Signed Lettered Edition Hardcover)

Steven Benedetti’s work has him driving the lonely highways at night, as it so often does. But tonight he passes a carnival and decides to stop for a break. At the carnival, Benedetti meets the Serpent Girl, a woman who stirs him like no other woman has, a woman who, like Benedetti, has a secret. They hit the night roads together and begin a journey that will change Benedetti forever.

Traycased Lettered Edition of 26 signed and lettered copies bound in leather with a satin ribbon page marker and extra full-color artwork

THE HORROR HALL OF FAME: THE STOKER WINNERS edited by Joe R. Lansdale (Deluxe Signed Leather Bound Lettered Edition in Traycase)

Traycased Lettered Edition of 52 (signed by the editor) and lettered copies bound in leather with a satin ribbon page and additional color artwork

Book is in fine condition in like traycase

Featuring full color cover artwork by Alan M. Clark and black & white interior artwork for every story by acclaimed artist Glenn Chadbourne

About the Book:
This landmark anthology collects for the first-time ever the Bram Stoker Award-winning short stories and novellas from legendary authors such as George R.R. Martin, Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, Jack Ketchum, Joe R. Lansdale, David Morrell, Alan Rodgers, and many, many others! The Stoker Award is presented annually by the Horror Writers Association, and this volume represents the very best fiction in the horror field!

  • Table of Contents:
  • “Introduction” by Joe R. Lansdale
  • “The Scent of Vinegar” by Robert Bloch
  • “The Calling” by David B. Silva
  • “Chatting With Anubis” by Harlan Ellison
  • “The Pear-Shaped Man” by George R.R. Martin
  • “The Night They Missed the Horror Show” by Joe R. Lansdale
  • “Lady Madonna” by Nancy Holder
  • “The Box” by Jack Ketchum
  • “Stephen” by Elizabeth Massie
  • “The Red Tower” by Thomas Ligotti
  • “The Boy Who Came Back From the Dead” by Alan Rodgers
  • “The Night We Buried Road Dog” by Jack Cady
  • “Metalica” by P.D. Cacek
  • “Orange is for Anguish, Blue is for Insanity” by David Morrell

LAST EXIT FOR THE LOST by Tim Lebbon (Deluxe Signed Leather Bound Lettered Edition in Custom Traycase)

Traycased Lettered Edition of 26 signed and lettered copies bound in leather

Book is in fine condition in like traycase

cover artwork by Les Edwards

About the Book:
From multi award-winning and New York Times bestselling writer Tim Lebbon comes this huge collection of the very best of his short fiction.

His first short fiction collection As the Sun Goes Down (Night Shade Book), attracted rave reviews. Now, Last Exit for the Lost collects the best of Lebbon’s output from 2000 to the present day. Weighing in at over 560 pages and containing 150,000 words of fiction, it also features two brand new, never-before-published stories: the novelette The Evolutionary, and the novella Nothing Heavenly.

• In Kissing at Shadows, a man makes a yearly journey through an apocalyptic landscape to visit the memory of his wife…
• In The Stuff of the Stars, Leaking, a dead sea creature washed up on a remote beach proves to be more mysterious than it first appears…
• A man loses his son… and he will do anything to get him back In Perpetuity…
• In The Horror of the Many Faces, Watson witnesses his friend Sherlock Holmes committing horrendous crimes that the great man himself would have trouble solving…
• A boy meets a mysterious stranger who can heal dead animals in The Evolutionary… but is there some fearful design to their meeting…?
• And captured by angels or demons, a prisoner can find Nothing Heavenly in either…

Lebbon has been described as “…the most exciting voice in the horror genre since Poppy Z Brite and Bentley Little”, “…the most exciting new name in horror for years”, and “…one of the very few genuinely talented British writers of thought-provoking horror and dark fantasy”.

If you’re brave enough to step through this Last Exit, you’ll see why…

STORIES FROM THE PLAGUE YEARS by Michael Marano (Deluxe Signed Leather Bound Lettered Edition in Custom Traycase)

Traycased Lettered Edition of 26 signed and lettered copies bound in leather with a satin ribbon page marker

Book is in fine condition in a like traycase

Introduction by John Shirley

About the Book:
Stories from the Plague Years is the first fiction collection from award-winning fantasy author Michael Marano.

Nine tales are arranged in a haunting symphony that guides readers through a tour of the darkest landscapes of human existence. Here, fury and hate grow so strong, they cannot be held within one man’s body, and manifest themselves to devastating effect. Cities contain second, unseen cities populated by the vengeful ghosts of those who died too soon. Countries fall to famine and war.

But these are also the tales of love lasting beyond death, love existing beyond all hope, and friendships never forgotten. Included are the widely praised stories “Winter Requiem,” “The Siege,” and the controversial “Burden,” as well as two original novellas.

Marano, acclaimed for his evocative voice, paints lush portraits both terrifying and tender, injecting even the darkest of fantasies with a punk rock sensibility and a touch of the humane. With Stories from the Plague Years, he presents snapshots of a time when our world collided with evil, sickness, and self-destruction and left behind lasting scars on those who dared to survive.

KING BLOOD by Simon Clark (Deluxe Signed Leather Bound Lettered Edition in Traycase)

Traycased Hardcover Lettered Edition of 26 signed and lettered copies bound in leather and Smyth sewn with a satin ribbon page marker

About the Book:

Rick Kennedy feels pretty good. Tonight there’s going to be the party of the summer. The brother he hasn’t seen for years has just flown in, and this is the night Rick plans to do something about Kate Robinson — the beautiful girl he just can’t get out of his mind. In the pleasant village of Fairburn the evening air is warm…

And this is the night that Rick encounters the mysterious stranger in the woods.

Soon he wakes to find 30,000 refugees choking the streets. People are running for their lives. Only there’s nowhere to run.

The ground heats up inexorably. Roads melt. Cities erupt into flame. Lakes boil. Pockets of natural gas explode like nuclear bombs and geysers of scalding water flood through whole communities.

Survivors search desperately for refuge in a landscape burning forever hotter beneath their feet. But they have yet to confront the Grey Men — and the demons inside themselves…

New, Rare and Interesting Items This Week at Miskatonic Bookstore

Posted in Miskatonic Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2013 by miskatonicbooks

To get ordering information on any title just click on the cover art. Many of the books we carry are rare and we have a very limited quantity of. All books are sold on a first come first serve basis.

For the esoteric minded reader:

The Book of Abrasax. A Grimoire of the Hidden Gods by Michael Cecchetelli (Signed Leather Bound Limited Edition)

“The Book of Abrasax is concerned with operations of practical magic, and there are chapters on spacial, protective, amorous, wealth, curse, and transcendent operations. Cecchetelli sticks very close to the original texts from which he draws but is also not afraid of making changes, additions, and insertions when needed. This is actually the real genius of the book. Former attempts have stayed so close to the original that they omit things where the papyri is worn, and refuse to make even the most obvious changes for fear of not passing academic scrutiny. Mike understands that the needs of the academic and the needs of the magus are not always the same. He has the intelligence, wisdom, gnosis, and frankly daring to alter the text in accordance with the intended goal: producing a workable modern grimoire.”

This is a signed leather bound Practitioners Edition. This is number 55.

Book is in fine condition.

CHILDREN OF CAIN by Michael Howard (First Edition Hardcover)

The mid-twentieth century witnessed the birth of popular occultism in the West, including an interest in witchcraft. At the forefront of popular witchcraft was Wicca, a recension of ceremonial magic and nature worship advanced by Gerald Gardner and Alex Sanders, now widely regarded as a religion. However, lesser-known streams of the witch-current thrived the shadows, having older historical roots, and linked to an ancient body of practice – witch-bottles, knotted cord spells, curses, exorcisms, sexual magic, and charms ranging from the conjuration of angels to protection of livestock and hearth.

This was Traditional Witchcraft, whose origin in part lies with the sorcery of the cunning-folk of Britain and Colonial America. Though largely avoiding the popular occult limelight, from 1970 onward, elements of Traditional Witchcraft experienced a partial emergence into the public through such publications as Paul Huson’s Mastering Witchcraft, the writings of Robert Cochrane and Evan John Jones, and Andrew Chumbley’s Azoëtia: A Grimoire of the Sabbatic Craft.

Based on over forty years of research and private collaboration with practitioners, Michael Howard’s Children of Cain is the definitive history of Traditional Witchcraft and its key operatives in Britain and the United States. Supplemented with diverse photographs and illustrations, many appearing for the first time, the book artfully encompasses the unique legacy of Traditional Witchcraft – those who bear the Mark of the Exile as a sign of hidden power: the Children of Cain.

Book is in new unread condition

THE DEVIL’S RAIMENTS by Martin Duffy (Limited Edition Hardcover)

In occult literature, the Vestments of the Art Magical are poorly understood, principally because few save the body of initiates behold them. The robe, mask, hood, mantle, garter, and veil, constituting the exterior arrayments of the witch, trace their pedigree to a number of magical sources, each constituting a mystery of form and function. These mystical underpinnings often possess a deeper arcanum, being both emblematic of specified witch-powers and serving a hidden ritual purpose. In ‘The Devil’s Raiments’, Martin Duffy examines the relationship of the sorcerer to that which clothes him, with particular emphasis on the witch-cult. Also explored is the modern perception of the witch as the Naked Enchantress, as well as some of the older historical rationales for the portrayal of nudity in witchcraft. The text is illustrated with five original drawings by Sussex artist Steve Damerell.

First edition. Octavo, hardcover with dust jacket. 96 pp. Limited edition of 800 copies only. Issued as Three Hands Press Occult Monograph No. 2. A fine copy, as new in dust jacket.

Richmond Vista, CA, USA: Three Hands Press [ Xoanon ], 2012. First Edition Hardcover. 8vo. 56pp. Fine cloth spine, papered boards, gilt lettering to spine, bibliography. Standard hardcover edition, limited to 1,000 copies. A monograph by British occult author Andrew D. Chumbley (1967-2004).”Written as an undergraduate as SOAS University of London in 2001, “Mysticism: Initiation and Dream” would foreshadow the concerns of Andrew Chumbley’s later doctoral research on the transcendental nature of the magical dream. In the course of his exposition, the concepts of the Initiatic Dream are traced to furthest antiquity, epitomized by the participatory nature of the Mystic within the Oneiric Realm. The axiomata of Dream Reification and Rarefaction are introduced as defining processes of this twilight pilgrimage, both of a gnostic and illuminative character. At the time of his matriculation, Chumbley had already established a solid reputation as an occult author and practitioner of widely varying spiritual disciplines. His highly-acclaimed books Azoetia (1992) and Qutub (1995) arose not only from the solid foundation of magical practice and theory, but also from a highly complex mystical dream system, perfected for many years. Though forming the core of his coursework, Mysticism – together with the bulk of his SOAS essays – were written in a transcendent dialogist style altogether in concord with the body of his occult work.” NEW book, fine in fine dust jacket.

 WEST COUNTRY WITCHES by Michael Howard (Limited Edition Hardcover)

In this second volume in what is to be a four book series, the author examines the Craft sorcery and folklore of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset. Rich in folklore and folk traditions, the West Country has always had an aura of mystery and magic, and this is reflected in its past and the various races and their spiritual beliefs who have occupied it down the centuries.

Richmond Vista, CA: Three Hands Press, 2010. First Edition, limited Hardcover. 8vo. 224pp. Deluxe hardcover edition. Fine maroon cloth with gilt titling to spine and device to upper board. Brown endpapers. Title page and in-text llustrations, bibliography. A limited edition of 250 copies


For the Horror Fiction connoisseur:

THE WOMAN by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee (Deluxe Lettered Edition in Custom Traycase WITH BONUS NOVELLA!)

“He is, quite simply, one of the best in the business, on par with Clive Barker, James Ellroy, and Thomas Harris.”
— Stephen King

The Woman (Featuring A Brand New Bonus Novella!)
by Jack Ketchum & Lucky McKee

Update for Collectors:
The Lettered Edition sold out within 72 hours of being officially announced.

About the Book:
The Woman is the powerful story of the last survivor of a feral tribe of cannibals who have terrorized the east coast from Maine into Canada for years now. Badly wounded in a battle with police, she takes refuge in a cave overlooking the sea.

Christopher Cleek is a slick, amoral — and unstable — country lawyer who, out hunting one day, sees her bathing in a stream. Fascinated, he follows her to her cave.

Cleek has many dark secrets and to these he’ll add another. He will capture her, lock in his fruit cellar, and tame her, civilize her. To this end he’ll enlist his long-suffering wife Belle, his teenage son and daughter Brian and Peg, and even his little girl Darlin’, to aid him.

So the question becomes, who is more savage? The hunter or the game?
About the Bonus Novella:
Cow by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee takes place a year after the novel ends, but to say anything else could spoil some of the surprises!

Traycased Lettered Edition of 52 signed and lettered copies bound in leather with a satin ribbon page marker

Book is in fine condition in like traycase

SERPENT GIRL by Ray Garton (Signed Lettered Edition Hardcover)

Steven Benedetti’s work has him driving the lonely highways at night, as it so often does. But tonight he passes a carnival and decides to stop for a break. At the carnival, Benedetti meets the Serpent Girl, a woman who stirs him like no other woman has, a woman who, like Benedetti, has a secret. They hit the night roads together and begin a journey that will change Benedetti forever.

Traycased Lettered Edition of 26 signed and lettered copies bound in leather with a satin ribbon page marker and extra full-color artwork

WICKED THINGS by Thomas Tessier (Deluxe Lettered Edition in Traycase)

This Cemetery Dance Limited Edition hardcover includes the bonus novella “Scramburg USA” by Thomas Tessier!

Update for Collectors:
The Lettered Edition sold out within 72 hours of being officially announced.

About the Book:
Private investigator Jack Carlson is traveling to the small, remote upstate city of Winship to look into a rash of suspicious insurance claims.

Like the farmer who accidentally blew himself up in a garnet mine, and the teenager who died in a peculiar car crash.

The Winship police and Medical Examiner appear cooperative but offer no real help.

Local insurance agent Joe Bellman is evasive and fearful.

And shortly after meeting Jack, both Bellman and his secretary Chris Innes turn up dead, an apparent case of murder-suicide.

Jack isn’t buying any of it.

As he pokes behind the Norman Rockwell exterior of Winship, he finds a place smoldering with crime, corruption and bizarre religious fervor. He becomes involved with a club dancer named Kelly, who may know some of the secrets but who may also be a mortal threat to Jack.

The town of Winship is itself part of the puzzle, a place where unseen choirs can be heard, where the ground appears to glow, creating confusion and mental disorder in anyone nearby, where gangs of young thugs roam free to bully and beat people.

A friend of Kelly’s disappears in an open meadow, as if swallowed up by the earth.

Behind it all may be a cherubic old priest, Father Jimmy.

And as Jack tries to unravel the growing number of mysteries — both criminal and mystical — he finds himself in a fight to save his own life, and sanity…

The Grocer’s Curse

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 17, 2012 by chrisperridas

At the University of Washington at Seattle, a mild mannered professor continues to stir up ancient magic.  No, this is not a Lovecraft story but a real life linguist who makes his living reading archaeological relics.  His specialty, though, is the way ancients used and believed in magic.

Professor James Hollmann has interpreted numerous Greek epistles, inscriptions, and symbols specializing in their magical intent. A few years back he read a corroded lead “curse tablet” (late fifth or early sixth century AD) found in a drain near the original Antioch hippodrome. It read, “Bind, lay waste, and overturn the horses of the Blue [faction].” One wonders if the owners of Kentucky Derby racehorses do the same thing?

In the last few days, Hollmann has made international internet news again with the interpretation of another ancient piece of magic. In this case, the divine Hebrew name is used. (Represented as either Jehovah, Yahweh, or simply YHWH in English, but IAO in Greek letters). This lead tablet was inscribed, “O thunder-and-lightning-hurling Iao, strike, bind, bind together Babylas the greengrocer,” reads the beginning of one side of the curse tablet. “As you struck the chariot of Pharaoh, so strike his [Babylus’] offensiveness.” It continued, “O thunder—and-lightning-hurling Iao {Yahweh}, as you cut down the firstborn of Egypt, cut down his [livestock?] as much as …”. (The remainder of the text was destroyed.)

The author may or may not have written this curse (sometimes an amunuensis was hired), but his name was Babylus, his mother was Dionysia-Hesykhia. His profession was selling vegetables. Apparently another vendor was cutting into his business.

Not exactly the Necronomicon, but very real indeed. Ancient businessmen believed in calling down the divine and using whatever intimidation tactics or advantage they could when they found themselves in a predicament, or feeling jealous of a rival.

At Miskatonic Books we love to read horror, but we also wish to understand the esoteric realities behind those horror stories. Religious skeptics from Richard Dawkins to Mr. Ray Garton (whom we respect and enjoy) would have us shun our religious side. However, to some are given a religio-skeptical nature, and to others are given a deep spiritual need with desires to have it filled. If you have that portion of your brain activated, it can no more be shunted away than one can choose to be shy or gregarius, compulsive-obsessive, mathematically gifted, a piano virtuoso, or a mechanical klutz. We are who we are, and based upon those traits we have, choices must be made. May they all be correct choices.

We regret that Babylos chose the dark side of magic to harm another person, and regret when anyone does. However, the dark side is the basis of fear, and without it we would have pretty dull horror stories.

Spontaneous Myth: A New Appearance of The Orang Minyak

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 11, 2012 by chrisperridas

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. H. P. Lovecraft

Folklorists have thoroughly studied the origins of mythology. An event can spontaneously generate a story from a combination of a culture’s anthropological or sociological preconceptions. In turn, a collection of these “mythemes” (Or mythological themes) can be collected in a variety of ways to tell whole stories that can be basis of the underpinnings of the entire community. If one reverses this, one understands the key to individual culture.

It can be mundane such as why wear white at weddings, or why one culture adores tattoos and another abhors them.

A recent story by Rashvinjeet S.Bedi of the Star/Asia News Network (Sunday, Jan 01, 2012) shows how a myth is created from random elements. In most cases, humans have a condition whereby we see patterns where there are none. We tend to fear randomness. There must be a reason why Joe got eaten by a shark, but Charlie became a wealthy CEO. Indeed, Joe may have gotten drunk and fallen into the shark tank at the aquarium, while Joe graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, but barring this, randomness just happens. This we can’t stand.

Perhaps the best teller of these mythological tales – stories where normal people just have very horrific things happen – has been Brian Keene. But pick Ray Garton, or Ed Lee, or Michael Laimo, or so many others. It is the basis of our modern horror story since Shirley Jackson taught us that horror is right next door.

Enter the Orang Minyak.

A 1958 poster with an earlier era's Orang MInyak

Allegedly one 2 AM morning in Kampung Laksamana in Gombak around 40 residents divided into groups armed with lights and sticks were searching their village for a so-called Orang Minyak (oily man).

In fact they believed that two paranormal creatures had scurried about for 10 days.

1. Some claim to have seen and heard the orang minyak
2. Others say the thing is clad only underwear drenched in black shiny oil.
3. Still others say (like Spring Heel Jack f ancient London) jumps from one roof to another and vanishes into thin air within seconds.
4. One man claims “It is tall, stocky and bald”, while another is “thin and curly haired”. “It was breathing really loudly, like a cow.’

The myth begins to expand by adding cultural ritual, “the orang minyak conducts its ritual of reciting jampi (mantra) and having an oil bath.”

Then a location is given. “the villagers stumbled across the spot after chasing the orang minyak into some bushes…”

Justification? “There was a large oil patch there”.

More detail is added from other random events “… the next night, they found a packet of fried rice and noodles at the very same spot… later the food was gone … eaten by the orang minyak.”

Then a deep myth connects to these various elements. Or more likely, spliced onto a legend. “According to popular legend, the orang minyak is a person who has undertaken the study of black magic and as a rite of passage, and has to rape a certain number of anak dara (virgins) to pass that course.” A sort of gang initiation, one supposes.

Then comes the fear. “The villagers are worried because almost every house in the neighbourhood houses a young girl.”

To reinforce the story, “a 17-year-old girl did not only see the orang minyak a few times, but also felt ‘someone” caressing her and calling her to go out of the house’.” This may have been a simple psychopompic nightmare, an incubus dream, but it has now been spliced into the deeper legend adds to the new mythological beast.

Then another arbitrary story is added. “It reportedly also locked the family members outside the house on Christmas eve”.

Then this addition, “We saw a black heap underneath the kitchen table. When other residents poked it with a bamboo stick, we could see blood stains … It then fled to a neighbour’s house.”

The fear was real. One villager left. Or did he? Maybe it was an FOAF (friend of a friend story, which can never be verified.) “Unfortunately, all attempts by Sunday Star to contact him were unsuccessful.”

Often a myth or ghost tale is negatively reinforced by a skeptical authority figure. “… some of these stories sound incredible and illogical … it is hard to find any Kampung Laksamana resident who doesn’t believe in it …”

It isn’t true, but since everyone believes it is a higher level of truth. “During the Christmas weekend, some 200 people patrolled the street …”

There we have within a matter of less than a month, not only a new myth created, but carried on a national wire service. Myths are some of the most primal and powerful stories humans have, and they spread like wildfire. However, when they land elsewhrere, they easily morph to fit the new culture.

a classic Malaysian television version

For at least 2500 years, the “ghostly hitchhiker” myth has persisted. In Roman days (and there may be a few cases in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament) the hitchhiker, usually a girl, was found on a cart. In the mid-19th century, trains often had mysterious people appear and disappear. Then in the automobile age, the modern classic appeared. A teen-aged girl standing by the roadside suddenly was in the back seat of the speeding car. Later this became very elaborate, whereby a girl appeared to a boy, who took her home. She would leave a sweater, or other very identifiable garment. Then, having fallen in love, tried to relocate the address and either a cemetery was now there with the girl’s name on a tombstone, or inside the home a mother would say, “Yes, that is my daughter’s sweater, but she has been dead many years.”

It is a small step from a mythic story to a horror story, so perhaps one day the Orang Minyak will star in a new horror novel?

Professor Jan Harold Brunvand of the Univ. of Utah has written many books. He often documents the "vanishing hitchhiker".


Psychological Horror: Sybil – or Her Therapist?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on November 7, 2011 by chrisperridas

A new book, Sybil Exposed, is an analysis by Debbie Nathan on how the professional psychiatric community can be bamboozled by popular urban legends and fads.

Sybil (1973), the book initiated by Flora Rheta Schreiber, became a phenomenal best seller. It purported to explain the traumatic life of the treatment of Sybil Dorsett, a pseudonym for Shirley Ardell Mason who experienced dissociative identity disorder – then known as multiple personality disorder. It went on to detail the therapy by psychoanalyst, Cornelia B. Wilbur. It is estimated that over 6 million copies have been sold, and it spawned two movies (1976 and 2007 made-for-TV). Ardell was said to have as many as 16 personalities, all vying for control. Clearly this was a real-life horror story worthy of Shirley Jackson’s pen, and all the more horrible as it was real.

Or was it?

Nathan, a reporter, seems to have a sixth sense about pop-fads. In the 1980’s Nathan challenegd the nationwide panic over ritual sex abuse. In this new book, Nathan has done the classic reporting leg work to uncover some troubling issues forming the underpinnings of the Sybil book. Schrieber left papers at the New York City law school, and these – shades of Ray Garton – uncovered some Seventh Day Adventist shadowy horrors.

Garton has long discussed the significant psychological mind games that some Adventists use to exhibit control over parishioners or family members. Nathan discovered that some of these techniques must have been in play in the 1930’s childhood of Mason. Some real medical ailments were later attributed to psychological manifestations by experts.

Shreiber and Wilbur, both women, lost a great deal of prestige at the end of WWII, and as a result were looking for a means back into a more elite status with colleagues. Mason, apparently, was their ticket to stardom. Mason became a dependent of Wilbur’s, getting jobs, income, and housing from her.

The Three Faces of Eve was a previously classic case of multiple personalities, but literature searches showed that of billions of people, and millions of therapy cases, less than 100 exhibited the Eve-syndrome. Not relying only on Mason’s increasing dysfunction, drugs were administered to produce desired effects. Mason became alarmed, and tried to escape and deny her supposed condition, but Wilbur would have none of it. This confession that much of her personalities were made up out of whole cloth was considered a deeper cry for help.

Wilbur sent trial balloons out to publishers, but even with the piled-on syndromes, interest was mild. The plot and chronology was enhanced and from that came the bestseller. The screenwriter, Stewart Stern, was skeptical of the claims, but Wilbur was persuasive and brought Stern under control. Even so, Stern added even more fiction to smooth out blatant holes in the plot.

Distracted by notoriety, Wilbur allowed Mason to escape to a life of reasonable normality until her identity was revealed. Mason immediately fled back to Wilbur. Unlike a Hayes Commission movie, Wilbur did not get her comeuppance. Instead, she went on to accolades and success, while Mason faded into obscurity. The fad escalated, and suddenly thousands of patients were discovered to have personality syndromes each bringing relative success to their therapists.

“Real” Werewolves

Posted in Miskatonic Books with tags , on April 4, 2011 by chrisperridas

Genesis 25:25; Genesis 27:11 {He} … came out red all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. … And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man …

Pity the poor werewolf. Despite great performances by Lon Chaney, Jr., and great writing by old H. Warner Munn and Ray Garton (see Beastial, above), the werewolf gets no respect. Always overshadowed by vampires and zombies, werewolves are low on the monster food chain.

Fedor Jeftichew (1868-1904)

However, what if you were a “real” werewolf, like the people portrayed in this post? Each has or had Hypertrichosis or Ambras Syndrome – caused by a faulty chromosome.

Pruthviraj Patil: 11 years old in 2008

Perhaps the most famous, and most exploited individual was JoJo the Dog-Faced Boy (aka Fedor Jeftichew, a Russian recruited by showman P.T. Barnum), who toured widely during the latter half of the 19th century. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1868, Fedor Jeftichew suffered from the medical condition and toured with his father, Adrian, who suffered from the same ailment in French circuses. Fedor eventually signed a contract with P.T. Barnum, who brought him to the United States in 1884, when he was sixteen.

Even earlier was Petrus Gonzales born in the Canary Islands around 1556 and taken to be presented to French King Henri II due to his unusual appearance. As a member of the court, he was educated. He married and produced five hairy children, three daughters and two sons. A grandchild was also reported with hypertrichosis.

Supatra Sasuphan: 11 years old 2011

Many great prophets have told us to respect, honor, and love one another regardless of race, creed, or color. Let us also take a moment and respect these individuals who face great challenges on a daily basis.