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?
Wacky Birthday Form
Test Your ESP
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
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A Fine Line Between...
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Always Remember
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Book of Whispers
Call it a Hunch
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
Disguised as a Christmas Tree
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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
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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

January 12, 2018 (permalink)

"How loving Laili became young again."  From Indian Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs and illustrated by John D. Batten, 1892.
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January 8, 2018 (permalink)

"The Odic forces generated by man."  From On the Heights of Himalay by Albert Van der Naillen, 1896.
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January 7, 2018 (permalink)

From Popular Mechanics, 1932.
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January 6, 2018 (permalink)

Thanks to Steven Svymbersky, who praised our non-surgical method for How to Be Your Own Cat as "a scientific breakthrough."  Prove it to your own satisfaction, at Quimby's Bookstore in Brooklyn or at Amazon.
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January 1, 2018 (permalink)

"Is the universe exploding astronomers inquire."  From Popular Mechanics, 1931.
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December 29, 2017 (permalink)

These are the best New Year's resolutions we've ever encountered, explaining why one shouldn't get up early, should spend more money on oneself, should drink more, should live beyond one's means, should gamble, and should look out for No. 1.  From The Idler, 1894.
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December 18, 2017 (permalink)

From Die Bühne, 1936.
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December 14, 2017 (permalink)

Vegas headliner Jeff McBride shares this photo from his famed Mystery School, in which our How to Be Your Own Cat stands alongside Saul Steinberg's Masquerade and is in the company of The Literary Book of Answers.

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November 27, 2017 (permalink)

Gordon spotted our book on How to Be Your Own Cat and our Young Wizard's Hexopedia at Chicago's Quimby's Bookstore.
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November 26, 2017 (permalink)

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November 5, 2017 (permalink)

Here's Milwaukee as a giant candle taller than Chicago.  From Popular Mechanics, 1933.
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November 4, 2017 (permalink)

We're honored that our Magic Words: A Dictionary is cited in the thesis The Necromantic Magic Circle by Mamon de Beijer (2017).
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October 27, 2017 (permalink)

Quimby's Bookstore NYC knows that some books are best lit by a cloven-footed lamp.  Owner Steven Svymbersky writes: "Just got in a fine selection of the esoteric and amusing books by Prof. Oddfellow.  Special."

In the second photo, our display table is on the right.

This fine indie bookstore welcomes heart-clicks over at Instagram:

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October 23, 2017 (permalink)

Northern lights from London Bridge.  From Popular Mechanics, 1927.
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October 8, 2017 (permalink)

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August 22, 2017 (permalink)

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August 13, 2017 (permalink)

Alice Owls writes:
i love your blog description*--playful yet deep and intellectually curious--and the content is endlessly weird and fun and insightful. you're so interesting!
*I am an Attendant of the Borgesian Circulating Depository. Duties: 1. honoring visionary ancients who were centuries or millennia before their time; 2. tilting the game board so as to cast everything in a new light; 3. celebrating allegory and metaphor as scenic shortcuts to wisdom; 4. discovering the macrocosm in the microcosm; 5. measuring non-material forces which nonetheless carry weight (Umberto Eco); 6. tracking extraordinary tempests in mundane teacups; 7. finding mystical analogues to scientific breakthroughs—putting the super into the natural, the other into the worldly, the meta into the physical, the para into the normal, the magical into realism; 8. puzzling over hidden, deeper meaning; 9. carrying the key, even when the lock has been lost; 10. identifying archetypes at play; 11. studying the legend, even when the map is blank; 12. searching through the deepest shadows for the bright light that cast them; 13. delving into the unfathomable in wordless awe of the inexplicable; 14. photographing background images for the insides of mystery boxes; 15. offering the inscrutable its due scrutiny; 16. endowing branches of Borgesian catacombs; 17. diagramming the sacred syllables in the mumbo jumbo; 18. believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast; 19. building 3D models of M.C. Escher's visual illusions; 20. crafting something out of nothing; 21. designing floor plans for memory palaces; 15. plundering cultural detritus; 16. bringing warmth to fuzzy logic; 17. looking through trompe l'oeil windows; 18. freeing radicals; 19. centering on marginalia; 20. navigating the ocean that roars within the seashell; 21. making the past perfect and the future less tense; 22. seeking a grand unification of hard science, soft science, and ethereal science; 23. resisting the belligerence of ignorance; 24. erecting signs on dotted lines; 25. taking a stand for poetic justice; 26. tracing constellations in the starry-eyed; 27. fighting to cure anhedonia; 28. getting in stitches over how many angels can dance on the point of a needle; 29. exploring intangible powers, from those celebrated by the world's great religions to square roots to the literary tradition (Umberto Eco); 30. directing good brain power to fanciful ends.

"It is the custom here that we go just a little beyond, that we consider each direction with the possibilities of madness and its grand, all-inclusive theatrics, where even minor dreams are worth their weight in gold, when balanced against the darkness out of which they have gestated and taken their cues from the fiercest and loveliest of all the animals." —J. Karl Bogartte
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July 18, 2017 (permalink)

We were delighted to see our very own How to Be Your Own Cat safely ensconced in a sheltered home library in England.  It sits alongside The Unadulterated Cat, Perfect Little Cats, Little Kitten Book, and A Cat Compendium: The Worlds of Louis Wain.  Photo courtesy of Aspidistra-Obscura.
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July 13, 2017 (permalink)

The Twinkling Effort of a Falling Star, to Relieve the Cheshire Full Moon, From Those Clouds, Obesities and Excrescencies, Which Deprive a Most Valuable Part of the Creation of Her Beneficial Light by James Gatliff, 1820.
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July 6, 2017 (permalink)

We're honored that Prof. Larry Hass (author of Transformations), speaking over at McBride Magic TV, said that our work "really changes you as you read it."  Dr. Hass was introducing our video clip on how to find your own magic word, even if you're a skeptic.

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Original Content Copyright © 2018 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.