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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I Found a Penny Today, So Here’s a Thought

June 21, 2018 (permalink)

Every castle in the air has Candles in the Sun (by William Griffith, 1921).
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June 12, 2018 (permalink)

A ghost in the shape of the sound of a drum.  From Did You Ever See a Ghost? by Robert C. V. Meyers, 1885.
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June 11, 2018 (permalink)

How true those words are, even today.  From Lacon by Charles Caleb Colton, 1837.
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June 9, 2018 (permalink)

For all his storytelling faculty, Pixar's John Lasseter apparently didn't know Irish lore: don't mess with the fairies.  The news article reads, "He was inappropriate with the fairies" and gave them long hugs.
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June 3, 2018 (permalink)

How Aleister Crowley Was a Genuine Spook and What You Can Do About It

It's an enduring question, how to separate the artist from the art.
Does it actually take black magick to do it?  
What is one to make of the fact that Aleister Crowley was a British Intelligence agent, 
and that he promoted the occult as a cover for Intelligence projects as well as the general disruption of culture?  
Are Crowley's books pure disinformation, or is there something of value hidden within them, in spite of it all?  
Even if he wasn't inspired in the way we are told, was he possibly inspired nonetheless?
We cannot pinpoint a time when news or literature or the other arts weren't propaganda.  
If everyone has heard of an artist, you can rest assured that that artist was promoted, for a purpose, by the powers that be.  
All we can be sure of is that works of propaganda can become art only after enough time has passed, 
so that the specific brainwashing contexts are lost.  
Then the works' poisons are finally inert or at safer, more obvious levels of toxicity 
and can be seen with fresher eyes.  
It's extremely difficult to detect propaganda when one is immersed in a milieu.  
Objectivity requires the passing of time—often many decades.
If you're being put-on, make it an evening of interactive, improvisational theatre in which the audience are also the actors.
In other words, bring some awareness to the proceedings and do some conscious, active putting-on yourself.  
If there are props in this theatrical put-on, like chalices, daggers, and wands, by all means make them, as showily -- even as garishly -- as possible, to play up the theatricality.  Or acquire the props from a purveyor of stage magic paraphernalia.  It's been said that theater is only real when it is unreal; the theare is a place of magic and enchantment, the role of the imagination being foremost.
Trick props can be enormous fun, and you can even use them to entertain your friends outside of your magickal rituals.
The great surrealist painter and author Ithell Colquhoun once saw Crowley in a bookstore in Cornwall.  
She was struck by how there was no dramatic aura of evil about him, 
and by the fact that he resembled only two of the photos she had seen of him.  
She didn't seem to realize the reason for that -- those other photos were most likely of other people -- different actors.  Crowley was never who he said he was.  Photographs don't lie, especially when they're faked.
Crowley famously added the letter k to magick.  
Since he was a spook by profession, why not add another o and make him even spo-o-okier?  
Or add some c's to his name so that you sound terrified to speak it: C-c-c-c-rowley.
Though C-c-c-c-rowly wasn't the wickedest man in the world, 
he was a genuine spook.  
If, outside the assignments dictated by his governors, 
he communicated anything of value … well, here's how to tell.  Spread the pages of his writings across the floor of the henhouse and see which one gets pecked by a black pullet.   
Seriously!  There's a whole world out there.  Have you seen that video of the mother hen sitting atop an entire litter of kittens?
May every ending harbor kittens.
I'm Prof. Oddfellow.  (For a better understanding, check out my videos, here.)
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How to save the world in a week: get all the people to read each other's newspapers, to daily put their own little worlds and other people's worlds alongside until they got used to it.  From The Ghost in the White House: Some Suggestions as to How a Hundred Million People (Who are Supposed in a Vague, Helpless Way to Haunt the White House) Can Make Themselves Felt with a President, How They Can Back Him Up, Express Themselves to Him, be Expressed by Him, and Get What They Want by Gerald Stanley Lee, 1920.
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May 25, 2018 (permalink)

We previously mentioned a reader who used the Japanese "Ghost Leg" system to predict which of our books to buy.  His package arrived in the mail, and it turned out that the Ghost Leg predicted correctly!  As foretold, he received Machinarium Verbosus: A Curiosity Cabinet of Gadgets to Transform Any Book & Reader, To Be Sure as well as Wye's Dictionary of Improbable Words: All-Vowel Words And All-Consonant Wordsand a bonus book: Let's Do and Say We Didn't.
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May 21, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a fun and ancient way to decide your next book-buying spree.  A rabid fan of our work used the Japanese "Ghost Leg" (Amidakuji阿弥陀籤) technique to pick two book titles out of nine possibilities.
Step One: Since he intended to buy two books, he needed two random numbers for his starting points on the Ghost Leg diagram.  He wrote a secret list of nine possible choices of books and randomly numbered them, then turned the sheet over and wrote the numbers one through nine randomly on the back.  

Then he placed the sheet on the floor and waited for his feline animal familiar to step on it.  Whatever two numbers the cat touched would be the choices.  Half an hour later, the cat finally relinquished and touched the 3 and the 7.
Step Two:  Our reader drew nine vertical lines on a sheet of paper with a koala bear on it (to prove that he is in Australia, and it's frankly the best proof of Australia that we've ever seen).  These lines serve as the legs of ladders.  Then he randomly drew in horizontal rungs for the ladders, no two horizontal lines touching each other.  Elegantly, this forms nine discrete pathways, each leading to its own book title.
Step Three: Our reader traced the paths down lines 3 and 7, as per his cat's decision.  Again, each line of a Ghost Leg diagram leads to its own outcome, and it's impossible to tell where any line will go by a mere glance.
The lines ended up at Wye's Dictionary of Improbable Words: All-Vowel Words And All-Consonant Words and Machinarium Verbosus: A Curiosity Cabinet of Gadgets to Transform Any Book & Reader, To Be Sure.  (We applaud the Ghost Leg and cat's decision.)  Oddly, our reader didn't recall Machinarium Verbosus being on the list, which may be peculiar but is actually just part of the marvelous weirdness inherent in Ghost Leg diagrams.
The lingering question is: did the Ghost Leg accurately predict which two books our reader will buy?  Only time will tell.
Send us your own Ghost Leg diagram.  If it's about our own books, we'll post about it!  (Yeah, it's all about us; other authors can fend for themselves, eh?)
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May 9, 2018 (permalink)

From our video about how to unlock the mysteries of an old dark house:
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May 8, 2018 (permalink)

Tragedy is not always in five acts.  From A Study in Temptations by John Oliver Hobbes, 1893.
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If you're heartily sick of this life, get emblamed for a couple hundred years.  From "Some Words With a Mummy" in Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe.

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May 7, 2018 (permalink)

Here's how to thank someone who has gone silent or otherwise missing from your life.  From The Literary Digest, 1918.
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May 2, 2018 (permalink)

"I found that the more I did, the more there was."
—Roni Horn
How true those words are, even today.
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May 1, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a new diagram to accompany our proof that all mirrors are magic mirrors, that reflections are real, and that we can literally drink the moon and the knowledge of the moon from a liquid mirror.
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April 30, 2018 (permalink)

Exclusive: The Surprising Meaning of "If You Have Ghosts, You Have Everything"


As the lyric says, "If you have ghosts, you have everything."
So sang the American psychedelic rocker Roky Erickson in 1981 and the Swedish doom metal band Ghost in 2013.
But what in this world or the next does that song lyric mean?
Did you know that hidden within the song is a magickal diminishing spell?  Or that occult subtexts are woven into the letters of the words?  We'll lift the lid on everything, but if you are prone to hauntings or sensitive to dark influences, please don't continue.
When we do a Venn diagram of the song's most famous line, "If you have ghosts, you have everything,"
we expose a mystical All-Seeing-Eye-in-the-Pyramid that is at the center of this song.  Whether or not songwriter Roky Erikson is part of the Illuminati or Freemasonry,
we can interpret this ancient symbol as depicting the building of one's consciousness toward higher understandings.

First of all, what are these ghosts, exactly?
They can be interpreted as lost loves (as the old saying goes, it's better to have lost in love than never to have loved at all), 
one's shadow self (knowledge of which is crucial to one's psychological integration), 
haunting memories,
personal demons (one has to recognize one's personal demons before one can overcome them), 
or spirit guides.
That phrase, "if you have ghosts," contains hidden meanings within its letters.  
They rearrange to read, "give UHF [ultra-high-frequency] soothsay," referring to powerful magickal pronouncements, 
and "ashy hooves fugit," which means that one must walk the walk after talking the talk.  The ashy hooves, of course, conjure images of a goat-legged demon from hell.
The lyrics suggest that you can say and do anything you want, because having ghosts doesn't control one's words or impede one's actions as if one were a spirit medium.
The next line, "Wine never does that," 
is often heard as "One never does that."  But the word "wine" makes sense, as alcohol is the wrong sort of spirits. 
But if you like the word "one," it also works in the sense of helpers being necessary to facilitate a person's higher understandings.
The next line is, "If you call it surprise, there it is."  Whether the word is "surprise" or "a price," the lyric is saying that the situation is what it is, surprising or not, and it costs what it costs, so you pay the price.
Then we come to the line, "In the night, I am real."  
Within that phrase are hidden four other meanings.
"Aha, emit inner light."  That recalls a "eureka!" or a sudden insight, that the glow of one's personal illumination is more easily seen when not eclipsed by bright sunlight.  
"Latin enigma hither" is a calling forth of a mysterious spell from a grimoire.
"Inheriting a Hamlet" refers to the Shakespearean character who was haunted by the ghost of his father.  
Hamlet's life was like a "nightmare," but he sought opportunities to "heal in it."
The phrase "I am real" in itself contains two other meanings.
The Spanish/Latin "alma ire" refers to the spirit soul's righteous anger. In Japanese, "alma rei" refers to a ghost's amenities or useful features.

In the next lyric, we learn that the moon to the left is a part of his thoughts.
This is where the secret diminishing spell is hidden.  
Note how the phrase "is a part of my thoughts" is reduced as it is repeated, until only two words remain. This follows the tradition of the famous "abracadabra" diminishing spell on talismans for curing disease and lessening malefic influences.

The reference to "the left" recalls the left-hand path of black magick. The association of the moon with the left side is depicted in Michelangelo's painting of God's creation of the heavens. The moon is at God's left hand.
A moon illuminated on the left is waning, symbolic of weakening, losses, and aging.  The waning moon is identified by holding one's left hand toward it and seeing if the curve of the crescent corresponds to the curve of one's thumb.
The lyric that the waning moon is a part of oneself is quite profound. It's saying that life's losses don't detract from oneself but are actually a part of the whole, just as an erasure is part of a page.

Some listeners will hear "the man to my left" instead of "the moon," and that's legitimate, too. Even "the man in the moon" is present within the song, as sensitive folk will be able to confirm.

Another key line in the song is, "Forever is the wind."
This phrase hides four other meanings.
"Feverish writ done" refers to an impassioned magickal command being completed.  
"Review fetid horns" means taking stock of one's demonic nature that has turned foul.  
"View strife, dehorn" means reviewing conflicts and nipping them in the bud.
"Terrified hen's vow" refers to the Black Pullet grimoire, a necromantic science of magickal talismans.
Finally, we encounter this lyric: "I don't want my fangs too long."
This sounds like not wanting overly elongated teeth, like beavers who must wear them down.  But consider a vampire who finds eternal life its own sort of hell and dreams of dying.  Such a vampire might wish for fangs not lasting too long a time.
It's traditional at this juncture to ask what you personally think the song means. Please forgive us letting that invitation pass.  It's been a long night.
See our own video clip concluding that Ghost's Papa Emeritus is not a zombie anti-pope.
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April 22, 2018 (permalink)

From Wide Enough For Two: A Farce by Thomas Stewart Denison:


"Literature is the utterings of the utter."


"It's the too-tooness of the which what."

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What sort of closing words to The Anatomy of Negation were we expecting?  By Edgar Saltus, 1889.
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The reader is here invited with asterisks to fill in a portrait of a water-nymph according to fancy.  From Some Welsh Legends and Other Poems by John Humphreys Davies, 1893.
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April 21, 2018 (permalink)

This sounds like our Tumblr feed!  My Dark Companions and Their Strange Stories by Henry Morton Stanley, 1893.
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From The Grim Reaper by Oscar Dane, 1918.
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