Oberon, Bellhouse, Cyprian, and Cthulhu Update

In case you’re wondering why you haven’t heard much from me lately, it’s not because I haven’t been busy.  Far from it, in fact.  Let me give you a quick update.

Bellhouse’s Complete Book of Magic Science:  For those who don’t recall my notice from April, this is the manual of a mid-19th century cunning man living in Liverpool.  I’m working with Caduceus Books on this work.  The initial transcription and my introduction to Bellhouse’s history and life are all but done.  Ben has asked me for a couple of short articles covering topics in the book, including witch bottles.

As an example of the significance of this, you might be surprised to know that only one set of instructions for making a witch bottle (as opposed to a description of someone doing it) has appeared anywhere, with .  Bellhouse gives us two such charms, and the Folger manuscript has a third.  Which brings us to…

The Book of Oberon:  Joe’s working on the Latin, Phil’s working on the art, and I’m working on the modernization of the language.  I’m about halfway through the manuscript, working at a rate of two MS. pages a day to clean up the spelling, clarify curious words, and investigate whatever mysteries emerge from the text.  For example, I’ve already found two words not in the Oxford English Dictionary – that is to say, not misspellings, but what are clear words with clear meanings that simply aren’t recorded elsewhere.   I’m not sure who to tell, so I’m telling you.

After some point, I need to write up a conference paper on the manuscript as well.  All of this will likely take about two months to complete, at which point I hope to have my Latin in shape enough to help out, and to work on…

The Cyprian Project:  Yep, no details, save that I need to know Latin for it, and that it’ll make ceremonial magicians quite interested.  I don’t want to say anything more right now on it, so I’ll just use that vagueness as an excuse to segue into…

The Ghouls book for Call of Cthulhu:  I saw the last scenario for the book – it was great, and we talked about it and made it even greater.   I’ve also been sent art, and maps, and promotional materials, so this looks to be good to go.  I don’t need to do much on this, which means I can move onto…

Tales of the Sleepless City:  This book of NYC adventures for Call of Cthulhu is almost done.  Tom and I just talked today about me coming down to help with signing and packing when it’s done.  That, in itself, might be instructive for…

The Secret Call of Cthulhu Sourcebook Project:  I’m working with a few people on this.  It’s requiring quite a bit of historical research, but I think it’s going to come together nicely and be something w0rth writing.  No publisher as of yet.  It does mean I’ll have to go to [UNDISCLOSED PLACE] and wander around for a bit, which is another incentive for…

Getting Fit:  I really, really need to start working out after the holidays, so I’m starting up with the elliptical and the weights again.

I’ve also given up on fiction for the time being.  It’s been tough and educational, but right now I just want to move some of these projects off my plate, and see what happens next.  I’ve got a few other tentative projects after these, plus a few items (e.g. my Necronomicon paper, the Fairy Queens article, and Fury of Yig) that are still in the hopper.  So even if I slacked off right now, you’d be seeing publications from me for years to come.

Published in: on January 14, 2013 at 8:32 pm  Comments (9)  

Call-In This Friday, Witch Bottles, and Planetary Seals

First, I’ll be on Ted Torbich’s show, The Stench of Truth, on the Inception Radio Network this Friday from 7-8 PM.  It’s a call-in show, so feel free to do so.  I’ll be discussing Lovecraft and the Mythos, mainly.

In other news, I’m enjoying the sabbatical and the opportunity it gives for me to work on different projects.  For example, in response to a request for that witch bottle article, I’ve put up as many published mentions of them – archaeological finds, witch trial accounts, local folklore, etc. – into a Google Map for witch bottles, just to get an idea of their distribution.  Mind you, this is hardly complete – there’s likely at least 100 that haven’t been published and therefore won’t be found on it.

In other news, has published a series of planetary images from Harley MS. 70, for those of you who are interested in such matters.


Published in: on January 9, 2013 at 6:31 pm  Comments (4)  

Halloween Update

Happy Halloween / Samhain to all of you!

I’ve been quiet here, but there’s quite a bit going on.

Sandy was mostly bluster up at this end, so I had an evening of candlelight and reading and little else.

I’ve been rethinking some aspects of my life, which is a good thing to do.  I’ve started to work on some personal projects that I’ve wanted to do for some time, like learning Latin and working out more.  When combined with work and writing, that takes up much of the time I’ve used to blog in the past.

I’m also trying to work more on fiction, whether that’s gaming projects or straight fiction.  I have at least three pieces that have been accepted, and I’m working on a couple others.  I’m also reading more fiction, especially what’s outside my comfort zone of horror.  I’ve spent the last week soaking up Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye.  I enjoy Chandler’s style, though it is clear he’s making it up as he goes.  I started Neil Gaiman’s American Gods as well, but while good, it didn’t really take off for me within the chapters I read.

I’m running a semi-regular Call of Cthulhu game on Saturdays via Skype.  In the last session, the group incurred the wrath of Keziah Mason AND allowed the Dunwich Horror to be summoned.  I’m not sure how long this particular campaign will last…

Yiggie is good.

I have an announcement of a personal nature to make over the next couple days, so watch here.

Published in: on October 31, 2012 at 7:10 pm  Comments (2)  

What’s Cold and What’s Hot

I’m sitting here battling off a nasty cold, which started on Thursday.  So it’s lots of rest and liquids.

Some information of note, in the meantime:

  • Miskatonic River Press has announced Tales of the Sleepless City, a book of Call of Cthulhu scenarios set in 1920s New York City.  “To Awaken What Never Sleeps,” my Fritz Leiber tribute, is one of them.  You can pre-order it here.
  • The Unspeakable Oath is open for subscriptions once again.  Also, its publisher, Arc Dream, talks more about the electronic version of the The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia.
  • I’ll be having a book signing and talk on The Long-Lost Friend at Imagicka in Binghamton, New York this Friday evening.   It’s during the same time as the Binghamton Zombie Walk, so that’s two reasons to come downtown at that time.
  • Stefany Ann Golberg has written an excellent review of the Friend which has gotten some press lately.  She does an excellent job of teasing out how the Friend fits into the history of self-help books, of which it is certainly an example.
  • I’m hoping to have some good news on the publishing front soon.  I never talk about these things until everything’s signed and people are ready to go forward, but I’m quite happy with what’s being proposed.

Off to rest and play computer games…

Published in: on September 29, 2012 at 11:33 am  Comments (1)  

Bob Curran’s A Haunted Mind: A Request for Help

There’s been some excitement lately over Dr. Bob Curran’s latest book, A Haunted Mind:  Inside the Dark, Twisted World of H. P. Lovecraft.  Lovecraft fans and scholars claim the book contains serious inaccuracies when referring to HPL, while Dr. Bob Curran asserts that everything can be traced back to his readings.

A few days ago, Dr. Curran responded to his critics, as well as to my requests for more information, by posting a list of sources on his blog.  Sadly, for some reason Dr. Curran decided to take almost all of his Lovecraft posts down the following day.  Fortunately, I managed to save most of them, including the list of sources provided below.

At this point, I’m having trouble tracking down these sources in WorldCat, Irish library catalogs, and other likely places.  Perhaps my readers can think of some options to help us locate what seem to be quite interesting material.

The two pieces, held in a “restricted clerical collection in England” according to Dr. Curran, are of particular interest and might contain information on Lovecraft not provided elsewhere.  Still, I’d like to view the rest as well.  Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Reverend J. D. C. Marshall, Papers on Religion and Literature, vols. 5-6 (1948-51)

Reverend J. D. C. Marshall, Supplementary Papers, vols. 1-3 (1963)

Thomas Kellow:  Epistemological Perspectives on American Literature, vol. 3 (1937) notes by Balmer and Kemble (1969-1970) (it’s unclear as to whether Kellow is part of the title or the author)

B. Keith and A. Saunders, The Voynich Manuscript;  Possible Hagiographies

D. Birley, Occult Literature and Its Consequences (1968)

Tales of Irish Fantasy (listed as being at the library in Thurles; that institution has no knowledge of it)

Davis and Speer, Hermeneutic and Phenomenological Literature

Willaim Irvine, Lovecraft and Nazism

Published in: on September 15, 2012 at 8:52 am  Comments (10)  

On the Shelf Review – Hockley’s Clavis Arcana Magica

Teitan Press has been at the forefront of the Hockley renaissance, and the Clavis Arcana Magica illuminates another aspect of his spiritual interests and practices. In this case, what is revealed are rituals that were supposedly dictated in Frederick Hockley’s crystal-gazing experiments.

Alan Thorogood provides an introduction to the manuscript, highlighting Hockley’s work with the seer Emma Leigh in his crystal-gazing experiments.  Leigh’s impressive career as a seer, in which Hockley asked the spirits speaking through her thousands of questions, was cut short by her untimely death.

The content of the manuscript is brief yet notable.  After providing a call to the crystal, we are given four different rituals dictated under the influence of Hockley’s “Crowned Angel” for the purposes of gaining visions or bringing the spirit of a deceased plant, animal, or person to visibility.   The latter are particularly notable to Lovecraft fans for their similarity to the reference to Cotton Mather from Charles Dexter Ward, although it is almost impossible that these influenced HPL.  The transcript of these rites is thoroughly annotated, and it precedes a reproduction of the manuscript.

The Clavis reveals an entirely different side of Hockley’s spiritual practice.  Whereas works such as Occult Spells and the Experimentum are compilations of material taken from other sources, as are most magical manuscripts, this book portrays magical ceremonies that are portrayed as coming from the spirits themselves.  This places them in a more select category including such works as the spiritual workings of John Dee and Edward Kelley, as well as  the experiments of Humphrey Gilbert.  As such, it is of interest not only to those interested in Hockley or nineteenth-century occultism, but also to those who are curious about such revealed ceremonies, for one reason or another.

Published in: on August 25, 2012 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Starry Wisdom Library

PS Publishing will be releasing a new anthology next year, its premise being the auction catalog of the Starry Wisdom cult’s library from 1877.

I’ve written a section on The Book of Dzyan, written in a pre-Blavatsky vein based on Lovecraft’s depiction in his tales as well as material from Joan Stanley’s Ex Libris Miskatonici.  There’s a few other people involved you might be interested in as well – Ramsey Campbell, Nick Mamatas, Joe Pulver, and others.

At an earlier stage in the project, I wrote up some real-life grimoires for it in lurid detail as well.  I might post some of those entries when the book itself appears.

If you’d like to find out more, see the contributor’s page.

Published in: on July 21, 2012 at 9:16 am  Comments (3)  

Podcast on The Long-Lost Friend, Lovecraft

I was a guest on Matt Staggs’ Disinfo podcast a few days ago.  If you’d like to listen to the episode, you can do so here.  I talk about The Long-Lost Friend, the Cthulhu Mythos, magic, the Necronomicon, and a bunch of other topics.   It was a lot of fun, though I had to punt on the Mormonism question.

Anyway, check it out.

Published in: on July 7, 2012 at 9:08 am  Leave a Comment  

I’m on Twitter

At the suggestion of Matt Staggs of the Disinfo podcast, I’m now on Twitter.  You can follow me at @DanielHarms1.

I’ll use the blog for longer announcements, but it should work in conjunction with my Facebook and Twitter accounts to make the Dan Harms Machine an unstoppable media juggernaut.  Or not.

Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia Update

“Hey, Dan!  Isn’t the Encyclopedia out already?”

Well, the print version is, from Elder Signs Press.  Now there’s going to be an e-book version, from Arc Dream Publishing.  The release date has yet to be announced, but you can see Dennis Detwiller’s cover art for the new publication.

While you’re at it, you can also check out Dennis and Arc Dream’s new Call of Cthulhu Kickstarter for “The Sense of the Sleight of Hand Man,” a scenario set in Earth’s Dreamlands.


Published in: on April 11, 2012 at 7:03 pm  Comments (4)