“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.
“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Apparently, if we follow mainstream media inference by omission, N. Korean funnyman Kim Jong-il decided launching a missile at Hawaii so soon after the death of Michael Jackson would be too hard on the American people. Even he is not that cruel. At least that’s how it looked by the way in which the headlines changed from one day to the next – from international crisis to the death of another morbid celebrity.
I’m not really moved one way or another by the death of Michael Jackson. Personally I think he was a fucking creep, and given his obvious self-loathing he is probably better off dead. Many bash him for being a pedophile, but given how people behave around wealth and the way media invents horrors, that may or may not be true. Others take up for him, even if they hate his music, as a perennial outsider. Personally I have more respect for outsiders that actually contribute something to the world besides more inane jungle music. It is an insult to compare Jackson to Howard Hughes, as some have done. Howard Hughes revolutionized aviation and satellite technology – the long-term impact of his existence is all around us. The only impact from Michael Jackson I see are more disposable music fans with no lives of their own. It is also interesting to watch the black community rally behind someone who spent so much of his life, health, and fortune trying to escape being black. Sorry, I’ll save my reverence for someone with less self-loathing and something more to offer.
This was definitely the month for celebrity deaths. Farah Fawcett, who elicited so much pubescent masturbation with her protruding nipples in the 70s, died of colon cancer. She was always too skinny for my taste, but she did demonstrate that she could actually act in a couple of her later films.
The internet newswire headlines also inform me someone named “Billy May” died. I have NO idea who this person was or what he did. One of the advantages of having never subscribed to television in my adult life.
As a childhood fan of the TV series KUNG FU, it was slightly more personal that David Carradine died in an auto-erotic-asphyxia-related misadventure. Although he was the lesser light of a family of actors, taking third place to his father John Carradine and brother Keith, he did achieve a slight iconic status, and it was a pleasure to see him get some cult recognition in KILL BILL. I hope his last orgasm was his best.
On another note, a musician actually worthy of the term, master sarod player Ali Akbar Khan recently passed away at the age of 87, fortunately leaving for posterity a substantial record of his exceptional talent.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
This presentation features selected items from the Jackie Gleason Collection of books, journals, periodicals, and publications accumulated by this world famous entertainer related to parapsychology.
Gleason, a comedian, television star, and motion picture actor of international acclaim, developed a deep and abiding interest in parapsychology and its many components. Gleason's interest grew from his inquisitive mind and sincere interest in the topic. However, the collection is not the product of Gleason's personal belief in the wide spectrum of phenomena represented by the term "parapsychology."
Rather, the gathering of these materials represents the life-long accomplishment of an individual who found the scholarly and popular literature of parapsychology a fascinating and entertaining subject. We know that Jackie Gleason cherished his collection, and he selected titles with great care and added generous gifts provided by friends. Marilyn Gleason, the widow of Jackie Gleason, donated the collection to the University of Miami Library in 1988.
The Jackie Gleason Collection includes approximately 1,700 volumes of books, journals, proceedings, pamphlets, and publications in the field of parapsychology, and a lesser quantity of titles relating to the entertainment industry. The Gleason Collection includes both scholarly and popular works published in the United States and abroad. Within the field of parapsychology, the collection offers materials on such topics as: witchcraft, folklore, extrasensory perception (ESP), unidentified flying objects (UFOs), reincarnation, mysticism, spiritualism, mental telepathy, the occult, ghosts, clairvoyance, cosmology, demons, hypnosis, life after death, mediums, psychical research, voodooism, and others.
Appropriate author, subject, and keyword searches using IBIS, the University of Miami on-line public access catalog, will locate relevant titles from the Gleason Collection. The titles identified in this document are provided to illustrate the scope and content of the Jackie Gleason Collection, and to introduce the reader to a fascinating and stimulating field of literature, popular culture, scientific investigation, and mystery.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The MA Qualifying Exam Reading List was recently given to me so I might prepare for the next few years of study leading up to my MA exam and thesis in comparative literature. I am told that the list is only a part of the fundamentals I should be reading, especially since everyone has a different area of emphasis (mine is early American Literature, but I have also been deeply drawn to the modern period). I thought I might make a quick comparison of the MA Reading List to that given by Sass in his book, Essays in Satanism. There is yet more valuable information in that chapter, and it certainly exemplifies the type of extensive study I admire of Satanists.
Sass is much broader in his demands for ancient cultures. English degrees tend to shy away from translated works in favor of close reading at the word and punctuation level. Language demands on students are becoming increasingly tenuous as more of them choose to ignore the intellectual rigor of Latin and Greek. (Unlike some, I don't demand a regular return, but some pressure to understand a little for anyone studying the classics is essential to keep good scholarship alive).
The MA list demands works that directly address the question of how to read literature. No surprise there since authors can be a bit masturbatory without uncovering any truth behind creativity, which is largely subjective.
Sass is light on Anglophone writers (not from Britain or America) though I wouldn't call this a flaw per se. It is more like a less imperialist conscious view of the English cannon. Its inclusion on the MA list reflects the general emphasis on "diversity of literature." Though I dislike the reason there is an anglophone section, I would not object to reading any of the books listed.
Sass pounds government and historically relevant documents into the ground. I applaud it. Since the rise of the "new historical reading" in literature, history has taken a back seat to old theories such as Marxism or Freud, who are not unworthy of study by any means, but do not replace a sense of time, political and socio-economic historical fact that influences writing. In part it is the influence of New Criticism (Formalism) that has short-sightedly insisted that the great works stand alone.
The biggest common denominator is that they both appreciate the logical grouping of great works and don't shy away from the classics.
aka "Låt den rätte komma in."
Easily the best Vampire film since THE HUNGER. Actually I think this is better than THE HUNGER. Finally someone broke away from the Ann Rice "goth" faggotry to do something original and interesting in the genre. The pool scene was fantastic. I knew something was coming, but not that! Pretty damn refreshing compared to the mindless dreck churned out under the banner of "horror" for the last 20 years. Also a very solid Satanic ethos; if someone hits you, hit them back harder. If more than one person hits you, hit back even harder.
Monday, June 15, 2009
J.R.R. TOLKIEN’S OWN COPY OF THE BOOK OF THE DEAD IN EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHICS, A RESEARCH SOURCE FOR LORD OF THE RINGS, EACH VOLUME SIGNED BY HIM
J.R.R. TOLKIEN’S OWN COPY OF THE BOOK OF THE DEAD IN EGYPTIAN HIEROGLYPHICS, A RESEARCH SOURCE FOR LORD OF THE RINGS, EACH VOLUME SIGNED BY HIM
(TOLKIEN, J.R.R.) BUDGE, E.A. Wallis. The Chapters of Coming Forth by Day or the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead. The Egyptian Hieroglyphic Text Edited from Numerous Papyri. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1910. Three volumes. Small octavo, original brown cloth; housed in a custom slipcase. $8800.
Second edition of the hieroglyphic text of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the copy belonging to noted philologist and author J.R.R. Tolkien, with his ownership signature in each volume.
The ancient Egyptian hymns and religious texts provided in this edition “form a representative collection of the compositions which the Egyptians inscribed upon the walls of tombs, sarcophagi, coffins, stelae, amulets, etc. to ensure the well-being of their dead in the Other World. Taken together they are known generally as the Book of the Dead.” These hymns and texts were “believed to give the dead strength to resist the attacks of foes, and to withstand the powers of darkness and of the grave, and enabled them to enjoy everlasting happiness.” Noted Egyptologist Budge was the Keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities in the British Museum; “among Egyptologists Budge was the best Semitic scholar of his generation” (DNB).
Tolkien had a firm grasp on the history of the two Egyptian kingdoms and their symbols. In a letter to Rhona Beare dated 14 October 1958, concerning questions (“What clothes did the peoples of Middle-earth wear? Was the winged crown of Gondor like that of a Valkyrie, or as depicted on a Gauloise cigarette packet?”) put to Tolkien for a gathering of Lord of the Rings enthusiasts, he wrote: “The Númenóreans of Gondor were proud, peculiar, and archaic, and I think are best pictured in (say) Egyptian terms. In many ways they resembled ‘Egyptians’—the love of, and power to construct, the gigantic and massive. And in their great interest in ancestry and in tombs…I think the crown of Gondor (the S. Kingdom) was very tall, like that of Egypt, but with wings attached, not set straight back but at an angle. The N. Kingdom had only a diadem (III 323). Cf. the difference between the N. and S. kingdoms of Egypt” (Letters, 281).
The similarities between Tolkien’s oeuvre and ancient Egyptian writings have been noted: “Egyptian authors were especially fond of embedding text fragments from one genre within a textual frame from a different genre… A more familiar example is the biblical book of Genesis, which embeds genealogy, myth, liturgy, song, poetry, onomasticon, history, folk tale, blessing formula, dream text testament, and novella within its two major frames of primeval history (chapters 1-11) and ancestral narrative (chapters 12-50). The same techniques can also be found in modern literary works, especially those which deliberately mimic ancient forms; a prominent example in modern English is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings” (Black, Instruction of Amenemope, 147). First published in 1897.
Light wear to spine ends, light soiling to original cloth. A near-fine copy with an exceptional association.
Book of the Dead
Note: This is not an endorsement or advertisement for the dealer offering this book, merely a documentation of rare and interesting books in circulation.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I pay close attention to my dreams. I've read Jung since my early teens and have always found my dreams to be an essential primary source of insight and information.
I don't make it a point to remember ALL of my dreams, because I don't think I should remember all of my dreams. I think many things are worked out on their own level without the need of intruding into waking consciousness, and I think things that need to intrude into waking consciousness stand out in contrast. By loosely paying attention to my dreams, the ones that really matter are the ones strong enough to breach the memory barrier after waking.
Last night I had one of the best dreams within recent memory.
There were no people in this dream.
I was alone in a huge used bookstore that was a composite of every bookstore I had ever owned or operated. It was locked up after hours and the assumption was that I had free run and could keep whatever I picked out for myself.
I walked through the main area of the bookstore into a room that corresponded to an area of a previous bookstore called "The Mind, Body, Spirit" room which contained nothing but books on philosophy, psychology, occultism, eastern religion, western religion, health, martial arts, fitness, etc.
This room was overly well-lit with florescent lights. Everything was neat, clean, and in order. Every wall was lined floor to ceiling with bookcases, and there were bookcases in the middle of the room. All of the books were in perfect condition, and all were what seemed to be the newest editions of reprinted books as well as the newest books in each subject, which was very disappointing to me. I prefer older books.
In one area of the room there were fine bindings of books that I already have, including a few favorites. I spent some time looking at them before deciding they were just furniture because I was already familiar with the books and had no need of them just for the sake of a shiny new fancy binding.
For some reason there was also a selection of DVDs including a lot of my favorite movies in elaborate and impressive packaging. I passed on all these.
I left the room and went into another part of the store that led to a LONG dark hallway, itself lined with bookcases, but also with MANY doorways into other rooms CRAMMED to capacity with bookshelves filled with books, books crammed in on top the books on the shelves, and stacks of books on the floors. Each of these rooms were dimly lit by a bare light-bulb hanging from the ceiling. Everything was covered with a thick layer of dust. Many of the books were old, disheveled, damaged, or falling apart.
The hallway itself was only lit indirectly by the dim light in each room, and seemed to generally descend the farther down the hall I went - not from design but as if it were an extremely old building sagging with age.
At the end of the hallway there was one last room that opened off to the right, It was extremely narrow and dark, with only a little bit of light coming in from a window that was covered with a bookcase. This room was extremely dusty and only had a few books scattered on the shelves along with a number of disintegrating boxes. One box looked like it contained cassette tapes, so I reached in to see what they were. They were very small books that disintegrated to dust from age as I picked them up.
On the shelf was one extremely thick dark gray book that I remember being a cross between an incunabula type binding that the vellum had contracted tightly on the spine and something along the lines of the old blue Oxford University Press books. I was very attracted to the size and shape of the book and was glad to see that it felt like it was still tightly bound and not disintegrating.
I opened the book to the title page, which read "THE COMPLETE WORKS OF CICERO."
I flipped through the book and was relieved that it was all in English, but definitely set in an early 16th century style typeface.
THIS was the book. This was the only book I was going to take from this deep cavernous old bookstore.
At this point I woke up feeling very rested and content.
Needless to say, I'll be reading Cicero this week.
An interesting aspect of dreams is how they usually reveal something alien or push a shift of perspective. For example, if this were just a story composed consciously, I would have picked Lucretius rather than Cicero for the contents of the key book. Aside from his work on rhetoric and some of his letters, I'm not that familiar with Cicero. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.
TO CARS: Someone pointed out a Mercedes Pickup Truck to me the other day. Wow. I really don't care, and honestly don't know one car from another aside from size and color. If Glock made cars I'd buy one; black, ugly, durable, reliable, efficient. The only model of cars I know are the ones I've seen and liked: 1968 Lincoln Mk II, 1970 Bonneville, 1974 Cadillac Eldorado, 1986 Buick Grand National (Cadillac of Muscle Cars). Beyond that I really don't care. And I really don't want to own any of these because that means I would have to deal with the maintenance. I detest working on cars and resent it when they break down and I have to have them repaired. I just don't care about cars. I spend an average of $15 a month on gasoline if that tells you how much I drive anywhere.
TO TRAVEL: I've travelled somewhat, but am indifferent to the experience. There are places I want to see, and probably will before I kick the bucket, but it is not a burning issue. I like being on the road and staying in cheap motels better than I like actually being anywhere. The experience of other "peoples" bores me at best and annoys the fuck out of me at worst. I don't like people in general, and I generally don't travel to meet people, even people I know. It just doesn't happen. I've never been anywhere I wasn't glad to leave in three days or less, and my pleasure at returning home always exceeds whatever pleasure I experienced travelling. Way back when I worked for someone besides myself I accrued a month's worth of vacation time because I never took time off. I took off four weeks and did not leave my house! Everything I want to do is at home! [The irony of this: consensus is that I'm a fun travelling companion!?!?]
I was 13. My best friends Jim and Ritchie were 17 and 16. Jim's girlfriend Trish was 18. I was big for my age, everyone always thought I was older than I was, so when I was 13 most people thought I was 17 or 18. I met Jim and Ritchie attending W.K. Kellogg Jr. High School because they were held back. We were all juvenile delinquents and rowdy. Jim was heavily into kickboxing and fighting. Ritchie was heavily into stealing anything not bolted to concrete. Trish was heavily into getting fucked and instigating fistfights.
That night we were going to see BLACK SABBATH at Cobo Hall in Detroit.
We had scraped together enough money for tickets (beforehand) and beer. Jim's dad was going to be out drinking with his friends so Jim stole his car keys and we took the car. I remember it was FREEZING COLD.
We got there without a hitch.
The opening band was the THEN UNHEARD OF "Van Halen." Their first LP had not been released in the Midwest yet and most people at the show had NO idea who they were. I remember us wondering "Who the fuck is this SHITTY SURFER BAND?" David Lee Roth mimicked Ozzy Osbourne's stage gestures and Eddie VanHalen actually copied Tony Iommi riffs in his solos - I guess they were already experiencing the shock of 70's Black Sabbath audiences and were trying to adopt protective coloring. I remember them being BOOED and PELTED with cups of ice!
BLACK SABBATH was excellent. Little did I know it would be the last tour with the original lineup - the tour coincided with the NEVER SAY DIE lp. They were among the loudest bands I've ever seen live. My ears were ringing for four days afterward.
We got back to Battle Creek LATE and parted ways.
The next day I stopped by Jim's apartment. His Uncle was there, pissed off, and told me "Get the FUCK out of here, and don't come back!!!"
Apparently after he got back that night, Jim got into a huge fight with his dad that devolved into a full blown fistfight. Jim kicked his dad in the chest several times, crushing his sternum. His dad was on a respirator in intensive care. Jim was on a bus back to his mother in Redondo Beach.
Later I found out after we parted ways following the concert, Ritchie burglarized a house and was caught in the act. He was arrested and shipped to juvenile detention.
In that same week Trish was killed in a car accident with another friend.
A few months later my family moved to Florida - I never saw any of them again after that concert!
Life is interesting.
Ps. YEARS later a girl I was dating made me sit through the DVD of "Detroit Rock City", which was mildly amusing. I told her it was kind of like my story but with its balls cut off.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I generally don't support bootlegging other people's recordings, but this is fantastic stuff and otherwise virtually unobtainable, even in Japan. For the record; this is someone else's upload - I am just sharing the link and additional info here.
The book that Paul Tronson calls the Archangel Grimoire is 14.5 inches in height, by 10 inches in width. Inside are 320 pages with hand-marbled endpapers, and it is bound in vegetable tanned virgin calf leather that has been colored by the use of two separate vegetable dyes. As the reader can plainly see, the cover features some intricate design elements, which are incredibly time consuming, as they are handmade and hand-tooled. However, the end-product is striking and beautiful, and would be a welcome addition to any serious magician’s library.
As Paul himself points out:
“The Grimoire itself represents the Enochian End of Days, or the Seven Angels of the Apocalypse who stand in the presence of the Lord. The first four archangels are represented by their Seals on the front cover, and are empowered by the Latin verse that accompanies them. They are; Michael, the Archangel of the North; Gabriel, the Archangel of the South; Raphael, the Archangel of the West; and Uriel, the Archangel of the East.
The centerpiece is a highly complex pentacle: the Sigillum Dei Aemeth, concealing or revealing the Greatest Name of God. The seven capital letters indicating the first letters of certain concealed angelic names. Of these 7 names, every letter containing an Angel of brightness; comprehending the 7 inward powers of God, known to none but himself, and sealed within by the ancient words of invocation that are gilt around its edge.
More here: http://www.maybelogic.org/maybequarterly/06/0609RoyalBookbinding.htm
How to Contact Paul Tronson and Period Fine Bindings:
Paul Tronson and his company Period Fine Bindings can be contacted through their website, which is at the following address: http://periodfinebindings.typepad.com/royal_bindings/
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Designed for the study of exodus and for the research of modern incarnations of historical iconic figures.The latest camera is named Yama, the Tibetan God of Death. In Tibetan Buddhism, Yama will see all of life and Karma is the “judge” that keeps the balance. The skull was blessed by a Tibetan Lama for its current journey and I’m working with a Tibetan legal organization that is sending me to the refugee cities in India.
Yama’s eyes are cast from bronze and silver with a brass pinhole in each. A divider runs down the middle of the skull creating two separate cameras. A finished contact print mounted on copper is inserted in to the back of the camera to view what Yama saw in 3D.
Yama is made from Aluminium, Titanium, Copper, Brass, Bronze Steel, Silver, Gold, Mercury with 4 Sapphires, 3 Rubies (The one at Yama’s third eye was $5000.00), Asian and American Turquoise, Sand, Blood, and 9 Opals inlayed in the Skull. The film loading system is pneumatic. A 300psi air tank in the middle of the camera powers 2 pneumatic pistons to move the film holder forward and lock it into place. The switch to open and close the film chamber is located under the jaw.
Designed for two photo series. First series is of my interpretation of the modern incarnation of Southeast Asians deities. Second will take place in the Tibetan refugee cities of India, a home coming through the eyes of a 500 year old Tibetan.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Estimates of the number of self-mummified priests in Japan range between sixteen and twenty-four priests. Impressive though this number is, many more have tried to self-mummify themselves; In fact, the practice of self-mummification -- which is a form of suicide, after all -- had to be outlawed towards the end of the 19th century to prevent Buddhist priests from offing themselves this way... and yet the grand majority of priests who have tried to do this have failed. The reasons will take some explaining -- but first, some background on the whole practice and the reasons for it.
So truely devoted Buddhist priests are not afraid of death; but they don't normally seek it either, as this too would be an abnormal obsession with the physical world. The priests that chose to practice self-mummification were usually all older men, who knew they had limited time left to their lives anyway... and since the practice takes years to lead to a sucessful death and mummification, it cannot be characterized as an attempt to reach enlightenment quickly as a normal suicide might be. Rather, the intended purpose of this practice for these priests is to both push their ability to disregard their physical selves to the limit of their ability, and to try and leave an artifact of this struggle that will stand as a symbol of their beliefs to those that are priests after them.
How to be a self-made mummify
Scientific study of the mummies and the process that created them only began in the early 1960's. It was generally expected that the mummies studied would show signs of having been mummified after death by other priests, in much the way Egyptian mummies -- and almost all other mummies on Earth -- have been created. The first step in that process is the removal of the internal organs, because the bacteria in these begin the process of decomposition within hours of death; with these removed, it is relatively easy to prepare, dry, and preserve the remainder of the body. But x-rays discounted this expectation... the internal organs were intact, which meant that mummification had been accomplished in some new way that scientists had not yet encountered. So the process itself was next investigated.
The actual practice was first pioneered by a priest named Kuukai over 1000 years ago at the temple complex of Mount Kooya, in Wakayama prefecture. Kuukai was founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, which is the sect that came up with the idea of enlightenment through physical punishment. There were three steps in the process of self-mummification that Kuukai proposed, and the full process took upwards of ten years to lead to a successful mummification.
The first step is a change of diet. The priest was only allowed to eat nuts and seeds that could be found in the forests surrounding his temple; this diet had to be stuck to for a 1000 day period, a little under three years. During this time, the priest was to continue to subject himself to all sorts of physical hardship in his daily training. The results were that the body fat of the priest was reduced to nearly nothing, thus removing a section of the body that easily decomposes after death.
In the second stage, the diet became more restrictive. The priest was now only allowed to eat a small amount of bark and roots from pine trees (mokujiki). This had to be endured for another 1000 day period, by the end of which the priest looked like a living skeleton. This also decreased the overall moisture contained in the body; and the less fluid left in the body, the easier to preserve it.
Towards the end of this 1000 day period, the priest also had to start to drink a special tea made from the sap of the urushi tree. This sap is used to make laquer for bowls and furniture; but it is also very poisonous for most people. Drinking this tea induced vomenting, sweating, and urination, further reducing the fluid content of the priest's body. But even more importantly, the build up of the poison in the priest's body would kill any maggots or insects that tried to eat the priest's remains after death, thus protecting it from yet another source of decay.
The third and last step of the process was to be entombed alive in a stone room just big enough for a man to sit lotus style in for a final 1000 day period. As long as the priest could ring a bell each day a tube remained in place to supply air; but when the bell finally stopped, the tube was removed and the tomb was sealed.
When the tomb was finally opened, the results would be known. Some few would be fully mummified, and immediately be raised to the rank of Buddha; but most just rotted and, while respected for their incredible endurance, were not considered to be Buddhas. These were simply sealed back into their tombs. But why did some mummify and some not? This is the tricky part of the whole process.
It is not clear if this is part of the process as set down by Kuukai, but in Yamagata is a sacred spring. This spring is on a mountain called Yudono, which is in fact the third sacred mountain of the three I visited in 1998. Many of the priests in the area considered both the water and the mineral deposits from this spring to have medicinal value, and may have injested one or both previous to their entombment. An analysis of the spring water and deposits revealed that they contain enough arsenic to kill a human being! Arsenic does not get eliminated from the body, so it remains after death... and it is toxic to bacteria and other micro-organisms, so it eliminated the bacteria that started the decompostion of the body.
As you can see, the process of self-mummification was a long and extremely painful process that required a mastery of self-control and denial of physical sensation. The self-made mummies of Japan are people who have earned the respect now shown to them, as they exemplify the teachings of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism.
Strangely, no one is exactly sure why it’s there. There are three main theories. The first and most unfortunate possibility is that the Kindlifresser was built as a sort of warning to the Jewish community of Bern. The Kindlifresser wears a hat that is strikingly similar to the yellow pointed Judenhut that Jews were forced to wear at that time.
The second theory is that the terrifying Ogre is a depiction of Kronos, the Greek Titan. Kronos has arguably one of the most disturbing stories in Greek Mythology. Long story short, Kronos eats all his god children to keep them from taking over his throne.
The final theory is that the Kindlifresser is supposed to be the older brother of Duke Berchtold, the founder of Bern. Apparently the jealousy of being overshadowed by his younger brother for so many years caused him to go mad, eventually sending him into a rage where he collected and ate the town's children.(It would seem likely that this event would have been recorded in the towns history books, which it is not.)
It may of course be none of the above, and is simply a sort of boogie man from Switzerland’s Fastnacht, or “Nearly Night” festival, a way to remind the Children of Bern to behave. Whatever the Kindlifresser represents, it has terrified Swiss children for over 500 years, and hopefully, will still be there to terrify them 500 years in the future.
A morbid secret lies hidden within the beautiful walls of the Boston Athenaeum
Anthropodermic bibliopegy or the practice of binding books in human skin has a curious history begining in the middle ages when parchments made of human skin began showing up. The first known books bound in human skin come from the French revolution when a number of copies of the French Constitution were bound in the skin of those who opposed the new republic. (These can be seen in the in the Museum Carnavalet in Paris.)
By the 19th century the practice become almost commonplace. Criminals such as James Allen, James Johnson, William Burke and William Corder, were hung, flayed and then bound onto books that cataloged their misdeeds. The other use of anthropodermic bibliopegy was by physicians. Dr. John Stockton Hough bound three medical volumes in the skin of a patient with the first diagnosed case of trichinosis. The doctors found the material to be "relatively cheap, durable and waterproof." Books such as the "The Dance of Death" were being bound in human skin as late as the 1890's. Many library's, including Brown University's, Harvard's, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and even the Cleveland Public Library contain examples of books bound with human skin.
Something that makes Allen's memoirs in the Boston Athenaeum particularly curious is that Allen actually requested to have the memoirs bound in his hide. He requested the book be made after his execution and given to John Fenno, Jr. the man who was accusing him of attempted murder. According to Allen it was meant as a token of his respect to the man who stood up to him. Eventually a descendant of Fenno's donated the book (previously it had apparently been used by the family to spank naughty children!) to the Athenaeum where it sits today, describing the life of the man it is also made from.
Human Skin-Bound Books in Many Libraries
Posted on: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 15:00 CST
By M.L. JOHNSON
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Brown University's library boasts an anatomy book that combines form and function in macabre fashion. Its cover - tanned and polished to a smooth golden brown, like fine leather - is made of human skin.
In fact, a number of the nation's finest libraries, including Harvard's, have such books in their collections. The practice of binding books in human skin was not uncommon in centuries past, even if it was not always discussed in polite society.
At the time, the best libraries belonged to private collectors. Some were doctors who had access to skin from amputated parts and patients whose bodies had gone unclaimed. In other cases, wealthy bibliophiles acquired skin from executed criminals, medical school cadavers and people who died in the poor house.
Nowadays, libraries typically keep such volumes in their rare book collections and do not allow them to circulate. But scholars can examine them.
Brown's John Hay Library has three books bound in human skin - the 1568 anatomy text by the Belgian surgeon Andreas Vesalius, and two 19th-century editions of "The Dance of Death," a medieval morality tale.
One copy of "The Dance of Death" was rebound in 1893 by Joseph Zaehnsdorf, a master binder in London. A note to his client reports that he did not have enough skin and had to split it. The front cover, bound in the outer layer of skin, has a slightly bumpy texture, like soft sandpaper. The spine and back cover, made from the inner layer, feel like suede.
"The Dance of Death" is about how death prevails over all, rich or poor. As with many other skin-bound volumes, "there was some tie-in with the content of the book," said Sam Streit, director of the John Hay Library.
Similarly, many of the volumes are medical books. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia has some books bound by Dr. John Stockton Hough, who diagnosed the city's first case of trichinosis. He used that patient's skin to bind three of the volumes.
"The hypothesis that I was suggesting is that these physicians did this to honor the people who furthered medical research," said Laura Hartman, a rare-book cataloger at the National Library of Medicine in Maryland and author of a paper on the subject.
In most cases, universities and other libraries acquired the books as donations or as part of collections they purchased.
It is not clear whether some of the patients knew what would happen to their bodies. In most cases, the skin appears to have come from poor people who had no one to claim their remains. In any case, the practice took place well before the modern age of consent forms and organ donor cards.
While human leather may be repulsive to contemporary society, libraries can ethically have the books in their collections if they are used respectfully for academic research and not displayed as objects of curiosity, said Paul Wolpe of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.
"There is a certain distancing that history gives us from certain kinds of artifacts," Wolpe said, noting that museums often have bones from archaeological sites. "If you had called me and said these are books from Nazi Germany, I would have a very different response."
The Boston Athenaeum, a private library, has an 1837 copy of George Walton's memoirs bound in his own skin. Walton was a highwayman - a robber who specialized in ambushing travelers - and left the volume to one of his victims.
The Cleveland Public Library has a Quran that may have been bound in the skin of its previous owner, an Arab tribal leader.
Decades ago, the Harvard Law School Library bought a 1605 manual for Spanish lawyers for $42.50 from an antiquarian books dealer in New Orleans. It sat on a shelf unnoticed until the early 1990s, when curator David Ferris was going through the library catalog and found a note saying it was bound in a man's skin.
DNA tests as to whether it is human skin were inconclusive - the genetic material having been destroyed by the tanning process - but the library had a box made to store the book and now keeps it on a special shelf.
"We felt we couldn't set it just next to someone else's law books," Ferris said.
Friday, June 5, 2009
In July of 1604 Cervantes sold the rights of El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de
la Mancha (known as Don Quixote, Part I) to the publisher-bookseller Francisco
de Robles for an unknown sum. License to publish was granted in September, the
printing was finished in December, and the book came out in January 1605. The
novel was an immediate success. Most of the 400 copies of the first edition were
sent to the New World, with the publisher hoping to make a better price in the Americas.
Although most of them disappeared in a shipwreck near La Havana,
approximately 70 copies reached Lima, from where they were sent to Cuzco in the heart of the defunct Inca Empire .
There is some evidence of its contents having been known before
publication to, among others, Lope de Vega. There is also
a tradition that Cervantes reread some portions of his work to a select audience
at the court of the Duke of Bejar, which may have helped in
making the book known. Don Quixote, Part One remained in Cervantes' hands for
some time before he could find a willing publisher. The compositors
at Juan de la Cuesta's press in Madrid are now known to have been responsible
for errors in the text, many of which were attributed to the author.
No sooner was it in the hands of the public than preparations were made to issue
derivative ("pirated") editions. "Don Quixote" had been growing in favour, and
its author's name was now known beyond the Pyrenees. By August 1605 there
were two Madrid editions, two published in Lisbon, and one in Valencia. A second
edition with additional copyrights for Aragon and Portugal, which
publisher Francisco de Robles secured. Sale of these publishing rights deprived
Cervantes of further financial profit on Part One. In 1607, an edition was
printed in Brussels. Robles, the Madrid
publisher, found it necessary to meet demand with a third edition, a seventh
publication in all, in 1608. Popularity of the book in Italy was such that a
Milan bookseller issued an Italian edition in 1610. Yet another Brussels edition
was called for in 1611.
In 1613, Cervantes published Novelas Ejemplares,
dedicated to the Maecenas of the day, the Conde de Lemos. Eight and
a half years after Part One had appeared, we get the first hint of a forthcoming
Segunda Parte (Part Two). "You shall see shortly," Cervantes says, "the further
exploits of Don Quixote and humours of Sancho Panza." Don Quixote, Part Two,
published by the same press as its predecessor, appeared late in 1615, and
quickly reprinted in Brussels and Valencia (1616) and Lisbon (1617). Part two
capitalizes on the potential of the first while developing and diversifying the
material without sacrificing familiarity. Many people agree that it is richer
and more profound. Parts One and Two were published as one edition in Barcelona
Some theories exist that question whether Cervantes alone wrote Don
Quixote. Carlos Fuentes raises an intriguing possibility that, "Cervantes leaves
open the pages of a book where the reader knows himself to be written and it is
said that he dies on the same date, though not on the same day, as William
Shakespeare. It is further stated that perhaps both were the same man."
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (front row, second right) walks past a Nazi honour guard on the way to a meeting with Adolf Hitler on September 28, 1938
Munich is lit with torches and festooned with swastikas in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler's aborted attempt to use military might to take the government on November 8th, 1938
Adolf Hitler tours the 1939 International Auto Exhibition in Berlin on February 17th, 1939
Julius Schaub, Hitler's personal aide and adjutant, observes those around him at a party on February 25th, 1939. After the 1944 bomb attempt on Hitler's life, Schaub is said to have falsely claimed to have been injured in the blast
Hitler attends the launching of the battleship Tirpitz on April 1st, 1939
Adolf Hitler chats with several young women on a promenade of the German cruise ship Robert Ley (named after a prominant Nazi labour leader) on its maiden voyage on April 1st, 1939