CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
Cautious or Optimistic
King of Hearts of War and Peace
As I Was, As I Am
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Loves Me? Loves Me Not?
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Chess-Calvino Dictionary
Is Today the Day?
100 Ways I Failed to Boil Water
"Follow Your Bliss" Compass
"Fortune's Navigator" Compass
Inkblot Oracle
Luck Transfer Certificate
Eternal Life Coupon
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A Fine Line Between...
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Always Remember
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
Disguised as a Christmas Tree
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Everybody's Doing This Now
Forgotten Wisdom
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Go Out in a Blaze of Glory
Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore
How to Believe in Your Elf
I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
Go Out in a Blaze of Glory

April 23, 2017 (permalink)

We're honored and astonished that one of our books has been described as engendering the Magician archetype and allowing the reader to touch the face of God.  (No kidding!)  From "The Magician" chapter of Naked Tarot (coming this autumn):
In the laboratory of life, experimenting with words and meaning can yield incredible insights. My friend Craig Conley, who wrote the Foreword for this book, is someone I consider a modern Magician. I mean, the guy is awesomesauce. Not only is he the smartest person I know, he’s light years ahead of most people in terms of creativity. (Don’t believe me? Go to and put his name in the Search field. His books are just mind-blowing in their inventiveness.) One of those books is The Young Wizard's Hexopedia: A Guide to Magical Words and Phrases. I guarantee if you get that book, and experiment with the exercises, you’ll be as close to the Magician archetype you could possibly get. Who knows? You may even touch the face of God…or rearrange it altogether in a Cubist image of your liking.
(This qualifies as a Retroactive Lifetime Goal, as coined by literary scalawag Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.)

"The Magician" by Margarita Marx, courtesy of Sven Schlebes.
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March 30, 2017 (permalink)

A crown of light bulbs.  From Die Muskete, 1920.
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March 1, 2017 (permalink)

We're honored by this review of our unique book on dice divination, Astragalomancy, over on Amazon.
Reviewed by R. Bakhtiari
Every time I roll dice while playing a board game, I notice how the little spots on the cubes sometimes seem to form pictures. There's the dreaded "snake eyes" of two ones, but I've also wondered about the pictures formed by other dice combinations. Searching online for information about dice meanings, I encountered this book on Astragalomancy. What impressed me was how this book's illustrations show you HOW to see the meanings in the dice. And I also like how the interpretations can serve as very positive affirmations, so that you can do a simple dice roll and get a new perspective on your day or on a particular circumstance. There are 21 different meanings to memorize (if you wish to do a dice reading but don't have the book handy), but I found the symbolism to be self-apparent (once you know what to look for). There's some interesting bonus material, too, about how to use blank dice (for more esoteric readers, I think) and on how to design your own custom dice (I found this part very intriguing and inspiring).
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February 18, 2017 (permalink)

We're honored by this 5-star review of our Young Wizard's Hexopedia over at Amazon:
You had me at Hex-o. This book is 1/4 tongue-in-cheek, 1/4 harry-potter-ishness, 1/4 traditional magic, and 1/4 this-is-so-crazy-it-just-might-work. Very creative retellings of spells, enchanting illustrations, and a writing tone that sucks the reader into a world of plausibilities and possibilities. There are several points in the book where even a serious occultist will be intrigued at the techniques. I adapted the Magic Square technique into some simple spell-working and was delighted with the easy and speedy results. So, I wouldn't cast this book aside too quickly as a joke. I could easily teach a 10-year-old simple spell-working out of this book. But it is not just for young wizards, either. Creative, and charming. I bow in humility to the genius of Professor Oddfellow.
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February 2, 2017 (permalink)

Thanks to Jessica Suphan, who said of our Young Wizard's Hexopedia, "Where has this form of magic been all my life?"
By the way, the story of how The Young Wizard's Hexopedia came to be is just about as unlikely as the book itself.  One November morning, a stranger wrote from out of the blue, asking for assistance with an extraordinary book of magic.  The stranger turned out to be the CEO of a publishing house specializing in the world's quirkiest subject matter, in search of a grimoire that didn't technically exist.  His own research had somehow determined that I was the one with the know-how to bring this lost book back from the depths.  It seems that he had seen a window display of an esoteric bookshop and had noticed that the lost book in question wasn't there.  The problem was that no surviving copies of the book are known to exist.  My task was to rediscover and recreate the entire document from quotations and implications in magical literature.  The stranger provided me with some crucial scraps, trusting that the whole work might be holographically contained within the parts.  Knowing the title and a rough idea of the table of contents, I set to work hunting through cryptic volumes in private libraries of magic (whose locations I'm not at liberty to reveal, though I can say that I visited Hollywood's Magic Castle).  Suffice it to say, I left no philosopher's stone unturned.  The process was very much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle in a dark room, with only a flickering candle for illumination.  To my own surprise, the lost book began taking shape almost immediately.  Restoring fragments into sentences and arranging them into paragraphs proved less challenging than one might suppose.  For example, you can surely divine what the last word of this sentence will [...].  Whenever a passage seemed to have something almost tangibly missing, like the absence of a vital book in an esoteric shop window, I knew to keep digging.  The moment it was clear that the entire Hexopedia was restored, I verified the accuracy of my work with three highly gifted wizards of words: a playwright in New Hampshire, a poet in Pennsylvania, and a teacher of magical arts in Nevada.  Then I sent the restoration to the stranger, who flabbergasted me by suggesting that the book should not come back into print at all but rather remain hidden in shadowy slumber until a more enlightened era.  (Apparently the trickster merely desired a copy for his personal use!)  Having worked so intimately with the text for so long, I felt convinced that the world was ready once again for the Hexopedia ... that it shouldn't rest only in the private library of one megalomaniacal* publisher.  And the rest, as the former, is history.  Here's a random page from The Young Wizard's Hexopedia.
*Note that "megalomaniacal" is an anagram of "ole magi almanac," so it all seems to be part of some mysterious tapestry, eh?
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"Out of the Wreck I Rise—past Zeus, to the Potencey o'er him." —"Ixion," Robert Browning.
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January 22, 2017 (permalink)

We're honored to be quoted in Rob Brezney's Free Will Astrology (under our name over at Tumblr, Dansk Javlarna):
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January 19, 2017 (permalink)

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January 13, 2017 (permalink)

Some scanning anomalies within You Have Heard of Them by Charles G. Rosenberg, 1854, courtesy of Google Books.
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January 5, 2017 (permalink)

From Bulletins de l'Académie Royale des Sciences, 1863.
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January 2, 2017 (permalink)

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December 27, 2016 (permalink)

Thanks to Donna in Kentucky for sending us her Prof. Oddfellow caricature!
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December 16, 2016 (permalink)

Gordon spotted our Hexopedia in the "Outer Limits" section of Quimby's Bookstore, between the Krampus Sticker Book and the This Way Madness Lies.
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December 10, 2016 (permalink)

"Electric candles for a light pattern," from Hunter College's Wistarion yearbook, 1955.
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From 1912.
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December 6, 2016 (permalink)

We're delighted that our photo of Descanso Gardens was chosen for this year's "Enchanted Forest of Light" event.
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December 4, 2016 (permalink)

Thanks to Brenda ConnelRoss for a 5-star review of our Magic Words: A Dictionary:
I absolutely LOVE this book. It's great if you're interested in magic, but it's really for people who love the sound of WORDS. The evening I received it, I sat on the porch swing to look through it. A half hour later, I discovered that I had been sitting for 30 minutes reading and laughing out loud. There are words and phrases from Ancient Greece to spells from the tv show Bewitched! (The yaga zoozie spell was my all-time favorite; it's in the book.) I keep it in my fifth grade class, and use magic phrases as a signal to get to work! I need another copy for home. I also ADORE the literary references. This is a brilliant book for magicians and logophiles!
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November 13, 2016 (permalink)

We're honored that tech guru Gordon Meyer (author of Smart Home Hacks fame) called our Seance Parlor Feng Shui project "One of the loveliest, and most lovingly created, books in my collection."

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November 9, 2016 (permalink)

Jim Hester performing a night flight over Ocean Park, 1920.
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October 24, 2016 (permalink)

This is from an article about aligning reflectors in geometric forms to send signals to life on other planets.  From Cassell's, 1893.
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Original Content Copyright © 2017 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.