Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show (Plus an Illustrated History of Spookological Fakery for Fun and Profit)

On the evening of November 16 (US time), Morbid Anatomy will be hosting a live Zoom presentation of the antique seance/ghost show props I inherited from my dad’s magic collection: The eschatological crises of the First World War and the 1918 influenza pandemic sparked a massive revival of the practice of Spiritualist séances. Whereas some … Read moreUnboxing an Antique Ghost Show (Plus an Illustrated History of Spookological Fakery for Fun and Profit)

Festival of the Dead in the UK

This massive touring festival event has been a sell-out smash in the UK for several years, though of course it’s currently on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. Festival of the Dead offers a cross-cultural mash-up of secular Dia de Muertos-inspired aesthetics with new circus/new burlesque performance styles; not what you’d call “deep” in comparison with … Read moreFestival of the Dead in the UK

Maya Greenwood Embodies the Reaper

In Starhawk’s ecotopian novel The Fifth Sacred Thing (1994), the pacifistic, neoPagan residents of San Francisco in the year 2048 must endure and somehow prevail over an invasion by the militaristic Stewards from the South Lands. As part of a multifaceted strategy, the San Franciscans conjure the ritual of “haunting”, in which the friends and … Read moreMaya Greenwood Embodies the Reaper

“The Black Rabbit serves Lord Frith, but he does no more than his appointed task.”

Art Garfunkel’s song Bright Eyes, from the 1979 film adaptation of Watership Down. Author Richard Adams, who wrote the original novel, developed a fascinating matrix of “Lapine” language and a rich mythology, including tales of the Black Rabbit of Inlé. The Black Rabbit serves Lord Frith – essentially a deification of the sun – by … Read more“The Black Rabbit serves Lord Frith, but he does no more than his appointed task.”

Further Resources re. “Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show”

This post lists some selected “further learning” resources for participants in my Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show presentation via the Atlas Obscura’s Wonders at Home video lecture series. Busting the Ghost Racket Houdini’s Girl Detective: The Real-Life Ghost-Busting Adventures of Rose Mackenberg (2016) I compiled, edited, introduced and republished this anthology of the fabulous Rose … Read moreFurther Resources re. “Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show”

“Why People Think They See Ghosts”

Vox Media offers an easy-to-digest capsule of rational reasons why many people believe in (and sometimes believe that they’ve seen) ghosts, including a short interview with skeptical investigator Joe Nickell. Like Mr. Nickell, Harry Houdini, Rose Mackenberg and numerous others over the past century-and-a-bit, I’ve found no persuasive evidence of ghosts; and, as much as … Read more“Why People Think They See Ghosts”

Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show (July 10, 2020)

I will be hosting this live Zoom presentation via the Atlas Obscura’s Wonder from Home program on the evening of July 10th (US time), concerning the antique “ghost show” I inherited from my father: The Iowa-based Ghost Factory company manufactured and sold all manner of “spookology” effects during the early/mid-20th century. Some of their customers … Read moreUnboxing an Antique Ghost Show (July 10, 2020)

The Land of the Dead in Coco (2017)

In this clip from Pixar’s modern classic Coco (2017), young Miguel – having been magically and accidentally transported from a crypt in his home-town’s cemetery during el Dia de Muertos – crosses a cempasúchitl bridge between the worlds and first encounters the Land of the Dead. The filmmakers’ visualization of a towering, glowing necropolis in … Read moreThe Land of the Dead in Coco (2017)