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 OneLetterWords.com.
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Go Out in a Blaze of Glory

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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October 18, 2016 (permalink)

"Scene from the last act of the ballet 'Electra, or the Last Pleaid,'" from Illustrated London News, 1849.
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September 28, 2016 (permalink)

The Library Shenanigans blog got the scoop on our latest collage project about “non-circulating” library books.  Most all of our pieces are set to appear in the future, but you can time travel with us and see them all here: http://www.oneletterwords.com/weblog/?c=NonCirculatingBooks&show=all

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September 19, 2016 (permalink)

We're often asked how and where we find the unusual imagery we post.  This photo reveals all.

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Original Content Copyright © 2017 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.