My Way of Life and Death draws significant inspiration from the mid-late 20th century American counterculture, which began and flowered (for most practical purposes) in Northern California. Above is a selection of joke courses “offered” by the Communiversity, an experimental San Franciscan free school. The “Deathskool” curriculum is a parody of the type of courses … Read moreDeathskool (1976)
The world is a midway; cities are its sideshows. The only difference between children and adults is that there is no one to take care of us. When we left home it meant we were lost on the midway and, unlike God, the carny boss will only let us ride as long as we pay. … Read more“Carnival Cosmology” by Gary Warne (1977)
Erin Louis writes for OnlySky on the deeper and truer meaning of ghost stories: Ghosts meant that there was a chance that my grandmother would be waiting for me when I close my eyes for good. Maybe even the greatest cat that ever lived, my departed Charlie, would be waiting for me too. Shattering that … Read more“How ghost stories helped me live my life to the fullest”
I was recently interviewed for the popular Criminal podcast on the shady business of the “ghost racket” – the early 20th century scam of using mind games and magic tricks to convince bereaved people that spiritualistic “mediums” could contact the spirits of the dead. Among other things, we discuss the friendship (and then bitter rivalry) … Read more“The Ghost Racket Crusade”
Established in 1990 and on hold (in its full form) until the abeyance of the COVID-19 crisis, Tucson’s All Souls Procession remains a grassroots community festival of memorial and celebration. This short video offers a glimpse back into its history.
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)
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
Here’s a gallery of atmospheric video memoirs from the Atlas Obscura’s semi-annual Into The Veil events, which have been staged at the arts-friendly Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NYC and also at Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery.