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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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.


Historians must reconstruct the past out of hazy memory.  "Once upon a time" requires "second sight."  The "third eye" of intuition can break the "fourth wall" of conventional perspectives.  Instead of "pleading the fifth," historians can take advantage of the "sixth sense" and be in "seventh heaven."  All with the power of hindpsych, the "eighth wonder of the world."  It has been said that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.  Therein lies the importance of Tarot readings for antiquity.  When we confirm what has already occurred, we break the shackles of the past, freeing ourselves to chart new courses into the future.

July 17, 2017 (permalink)

We asked our Spirit Box radio (as seen on the Travel Channel show "Ghost Adventures"), "Does our portable crystal ball possess a resident spirit?"  The Spirit Box swept through the otherworldly static in the atmosphere for an answer, and what we heard was eerie:

"She died ... Is this home? ... Your friend ... So you wanna know ... I've always believed ... the universe ... conscious ... their soul ... family ... experience ... NDE's [Near Death Experiences?] ... if you will ... and I think ... it's time ... absolutely ... Tough night ... I'm fine now."
We interpret this message to mean that our portable crystal ball possesses the spirit of a friend who died and is wondering if she's home.  The rest of the message, intriguing as it may be, is possibly not directly related to our question, though we hope that the final "I'm fine now" is the crystal ball's resident spirit coming through again.
Here's the audio file from the Spirit Box:
Previously, we asked the Spirit Box 44 controversial questions and received very surprising answers.  That project entailed a 20-page PDF, described here.

From "Superstition and Fact by Andrew Lang," in The Eclectic Magazine, 1894.
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July 10, 2017 (permalink)

This sphere was behaving oddly.  We don't read Chinese, so we couldn't decipher what the characters painted on the sphere might be saying.  We asked our Spirit Box radio (as seen on the Travel Channel show "Ghost Adventures"), "Does this sphere contain a ghost?"  The Spirit Box swept through the otherworldly static in the atmosphere for answer, and what we heard was eerily specific:
We're offering this sphere for sale to paranormal adventurers over at our Etsy shop:
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July 3, 2017 (permalink)

We have a large, heavy ring that depicts the face of a pacified demon called Zaruba (an old Japanese word of a secretive order of magical warriors meaning "friend").  Zaruba's attributes are that he dispels confusion, detects various spiritual energies, speaks for the dead, exposes demons, sees through illusions, summons magical warriors, and guides its wearer through the Otherworld and back into the human world.

We asked our Spirit Box radio (as seen on the Travel Channel show "Ghost Adventures"), "What is the nature of this ring?"  The Spirit Box swept through the otherworldly static in the atmosphere for an answer, and what we heard was eerie:

"Mindf*ck ... checks out alright ... dark force ... forsaken ... harmed."

 

We interpret the first word of spirit message to mean that the ring is something amazing that upends one's current notion of reality.  "Checks out alright" could refer to the ring being safe and legitimate or could mean that the ring performs its functions properly.  The reference to a "dark force" likely refers to the fact that the ring represents a pacified demon.  Was the demon forsaken and harmed, or is the message saying that the forsaken spirits at large will be harmed by the ring?

We're offering this ring for sale to paranormal adventurers over at our Etsy shop:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/525336264/pacified-demon-ring

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June 27, 2017 (permalink)

"I'll see, at midnight, what these omens mean; / And call on those prophetic spirits who / Attend on death, and darkness, to reveal / What is to happen."  From Stuart Alexander's Saul, King of Israel, 1843.
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June 26, 2017 (permalink)

I put my "Spirit Box" radio to the test and received 44 mind-bending answers.  Ghostly voices from the atmosphere answered these exact questions:

What is on the dark side of the moon?  

Were extraterrestrials at play in ancient Egypt?

Is the universe a hologram?

Is there life on Mars?

Is time an illusion?

What is at the bottom of a black hole?

Can we live forever?

What is the universe made of?

How did life begin?

Is the end of the world imminent?

Are we alone in the universe?

What is consciousness?

Why do we dream?

What's so weird about prime numbers?

Is there such a thing as free will?

Are we being monitored by extraterrestrials?

What is the secret of Area 51?

Is time travel possible?

What makes us human?

Are there pyramids on Mars?

Does the legendary continent of Atlantis exist?

What is the secret of UFOs?

Can you tell us about Bigfoot?

Are poltergeists ghosts or demons?

Are there aliens among us?

What's at the bottom of the ocean?

Are there pyramids on the moon?

Where does a missing sock go?

What is the secret of crop circles?

Is the nature of these spirit voices angelic or demonic?

Does the flat earth theory hold water?

Is there an objective reality?

What should we know about quasars?

What of the Flat Earth theory?

What is the face on Mars?

What should we know about UFOs?  (And more.)

The answers to these questions are courtesy of voices captured through the "Spirit Box" (as seen on the Travel Channel show "Ghost Adventures").  Upon being asked a very specific question, the machine sweeps through the otherworldly static in the atmosphere for single words or series of phrases.  

The answers I received in most cases shocked me; several answers disappointed or frightened me, but I present them exactly as they were received.  Some answers are especially eerie (like the one about what is on the dark side of the moon and the one about Bigfoot), and I've flagged those so that you can listen to them at your own discretion.

Here's where you can get the 20-page report complete with embedded audio, if you're interested: 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/525029968/44-mind-bending-answers-via-a-spirit-box

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May 2, 2017 (permalink)

"There are guidebooks to the other side": a spirit communication revealed in "The Ouija Board" in The Essential Daryl Hine.  For a trove of very surprising facts about Ouija boards, see The Care and Feeding of a Spirit Board.
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April 13, 2017 (permalink)

"Where is truth to shelter, where is it to find asylum if not in a place where nobody is looking for it: . . . stamp albums?" —Bruno Schulz

Can a stamp album serve as a mystical guidebook to the entire universe? The visionary Polish writer and fine artist Bruno Schulz certainly believed it could, as he explains in Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass. His ruminations on postage stamps as "handy amulets" forming "a book of truth and splendor" inspired us to piece together a Tarot deck of stamps from around the world. We reveal and explain the work in progress here:

The Stamp Album Tarot


From Die Muskete, 1921.
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February 15, 2017 (permalink)

Count Cagliostro's notorious Golden Wheel of Fortune, from Pearson's, 1897.
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December 11, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a tip from The Care and Feeding of a Spirit Board on how a clockwork spring placed upon a ouija board's "Farewell" will ring in the so-called fullness of time.  (You heard it here first, folks.)  The caption reads, "The talking board’s 'Farewell' implies its opposite: a welcoming.  It bids farewell to darkness, doubts, wants, and fears, even as it welcomes light, assurance, fullness, and safety.  Placing a clockwork spring at 'Farewell' formally rings in the hour, a so-called fullness of time in which we know not parting from reunion."  The reconstructed text at the top reads, "The hands stretch thitherward, and the password is not 'Farewell' but 'Welcome the hour.'"
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December 1, 2016 (permalink)

Here are some gift pairing ideas for Tarot decks.

The Tarot of the Cat People can pair with the guide on How to Be Your Own Cat.

The very charming If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow can pair with the Night Sun Tarot.

The Impressionist Tarot deck can pair with How to Paint Like the Impressionists.

The Raven's Prophecy Tarot can pair with an investigation into the Mind of the Raven.

The Archangel Oracle Cards can pair with a 12-week workbook about Walking with the Archangels.

The Tarot of the Elves can pair with How to Believe in Your Elf.

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November 2, 2016 (permalink)

Due to our mysteriously esoteric studies, we're often asked for oracular predictions about the new year.  For the upcoming transition, we consulted our own Mimetic Oracle, and here's why: life is a grand pageant, and it's been said that theatre reveals what is behind so-called reality.  Our Mimetic Oracle draws from 92 characters in six vintage plays, with 166 spoken lines and 31 stage directions in the mix.  With the system, one randomly draws five characters and generates a script to illuminate the current drama of life.  (There’s a detailed F.A.Q. which explains how the scripts are created, how to make sense of the dialogues, how to determine whether a reading is positive or negative, what to make of the various characters, and why these specific 6 plays were chosen for the system: http://www.mysteryarts.com/play/.)

Here's the strangely positive scenario that the oracle generated when asked about the new year:

The scene begins ominously: "They're putting out all the lights."  That vague pronoun seems to refer to the "powers that be."  Yet the character Snookums feels "perfectly fan-tas-a-ma-gor-ious."  This is crucial, not just for its positivity, but also for how the word is broken down.  This means: separate out the component parts, get down to the roots, see how it all fits together, and it'll all be good (albeit sort of unreal; the fantastical is removed from reality).  At the heart of the scene is some weeping, nervous rocking back and forth, darkness, and unconsciousness.  Yet a tin soldier (symbolic of humble, innocent, uncorrupted authority) points to the rear of the stage where a candle is being lit.  "Here is a candle," says Paddy Mike; "Now I'll light it."  A single candle dispels all the darkness.  The scene ends on an extraordinarly positive tone.  Note that the candle has been placed upon a box.  A lingering question to ponder is: what's in that box that supports the illumination?

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October 26, 2016 (permalink)

"The mystery of the ages is clear to me."  From "The Mysterious Painting" by C. N. Barham, in Cassell's, 1893.   Also very much of interest: The Young Wizard's Hexopedia.
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October 20, 2016 (permalink)

Due to our mysteriously esoteric studies, we're often asked for oracular predictions about Hallowe'en.  For this year's holiday, we consulted our own Mimetic Oracle, and here's why: Hallowe'en is a grand pageant, and it's been said that theatre reveals what is behind so-called reality.  Our Mimetic Oracle draws from 92 characters in six vintage plays, with 166 spoken lines and 31 stage directions in the mix.  With the system, one randomly draws five characters and generates a script to illuminate the current drama of life.  (There’s a detailed F.A.Q. which explains how the scripts are created, how to make sense of the dialogues, how to determine whether a reading is positive or negative, what to make of the various characters, and why these specific 6 plays were chosen for the system: http://www.mysteryarts.com/play/.)

Here's the surreal scenario that the oracle generated when asked about this year's Hallowe'en:

The first line says that "Nobody knows it better than you do."  This indicates that your deepest instinct about this year's Hallowe'en will prove correct.  Note that two characters in this scene laugh: a lame boy and a constable—a foreshortened leg and the long arm of the law.  We interpret this as meaning that high spirits are the long and short of it.  At the heart of the scene is a secret.  The character Biddy Mary proclaims that if there's anything on earth she does love, it's a secret.  She repeats this statement until the end of the scene, as if giving the maximum emphasis possible that a delicious secret will be learned this Hallowe'en.  Note that every character in the scene except one is facing left.  Biddy Mary is facing right, suggesting that her secret will carry things forward in some way.  The scene ends with Enlarged Snookums' own echoing words, "Oh, goody, goody, goody!"  This reinforces the positivity of the oracular reading as well as suggests Hallowe'en treats/goodies.  It's a profoundly favorable reading with a juicy secret at its heart.

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August 2, 2016 (permalink)

"Divination by a daffodil" -- how the flower can presage your death.  From English Illustrated, 1890.
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June 26, 2016 (permalink)


Here's an AmazonUK review by Clem Neville of our book Trump L'Oeil: Tarot Of Portmeirion:

5 stars.
Is this book worth the price? In a way no. It is of the size and quality of a guide that you would find at various country houses, museums and places of interest and expect tp pay in the region of £6.95. Is it worth it for the content? Well if you are as interested in the Tarot and the village of Portmeirion as I am, then without a doubt. Hence the 5 stars. It would have been better if all the cards of the minor arcana had a descriptive text to accompany them, and the choice of some of the architectural features to illustrate them is rather tenuous e.g. the 4 of wands uses a picture of a pinnacle supported by columns above the roof of the dome, my issue being there are 8 columns, but 4 remain hidden at the back behind the 4 at the front. But as an idea of creating a Tarot deck in an urban landscape it does make you think. Portmeirion is a small location with a restricted number of possible subjects. Imagine doing the same for the City of London.
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May 26, 2016 (permalink)

"You don't have to be a psychic to sell oriental rugs.  You only have to be a psychic to buy them."  From Raymond Chandler's "Killer in the Rain," 1964.
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May 19, 2016 (permalink)

We don't vote, but due to our mysteriously esoteric studies we're often asked for oracular predictions of elections.  For the result of the 2016 presidential election, we consulted our own Mimetic Oracle, and here's why: politics is a grand pageant, and it's been said that theatre reveals what is behind so-called reality.  Our Mimetic Oracle draws from 92 characters in six vintage plays, with 166 spoken lines and 31 stage directions in the mix.  With the system, one randomly draws five characters and generates a script to illuminate the current drama of life.  (There’s a detailed F.A.Q. which explains how the scripts are created, how to make sense of the dialogues, how to determine whether a reading is positive or negative, what to make of the various characters, and why these specific 6 plays were chosen for the system: http://www.mysteryarts.com/play/.)

Here's what the oracle generated when asked about the presidential election:

Our scene begins with a character called Wishing Man, his pockets full of lucky charms, who symbolizes a voter hoping for his respective candidate to win.  Also on stage are the "Dutch Twins," who represent the two Clintons.  One of the twins, here named Klinker, is "almost asleep," presumably exhausted from campaigning.  A character named Hulda holds a tinsel star, and we interpret her as a delegate appointed to the electoral college.  The "Third Spirit" points to the stony ground, as if directing the tinsel comet to fulfill its destiny and let shimmering dreams become the hard facts of reality.  Finally, Baby Jumbo enters, dancing to the music, and we need not specify the symbol of the elephant in American politics.  Interestingly, the scene comes full circle, with the Wishing Man from the start returning to whisper in the elephant's ear.  This is a bit of mystery within the reading -- what is the Wishing Man's secret or request?  The elephant's response possibly offers a clue: it raises a front foot and gives the Wishing Man a pill box.  Though the nature of the pills is unspecified, we know that the most commonly prescribed drug is hydrocodone, an opioid.  Is the implication that the very idea of an election is a political opiate for the masses?  As Douglas Herman has asked, "Is voting a patriotic duty, placebo or drug of choice?  ... You can vote and feel really, really, really good about yourself.  Like a drug addict getting a powerful dose after a long time away. ... Rigged elections are for drugged fools, who believe that to participate is a worthy, patriotic high."


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May 1, 2016 (permalink)

Here's one of the cards from the Self-Intuiting Polarity deck.  A heart is on one side of the scale and a feather on the other, recalling the ancient Egyptian concept of one’s heart being weighed upon one’s death and needing to weigh less than a feather.  Without one side of the scale or the other, things can feel very unbalanced.  The heart’s arteries are tangled like the serpent.  The serpent in the center may represent the rise of energy in a relationship to bring things back into harmony, balance and interaction.  Is this the motion of kundalini and the heart chakra as uniter?  The feather, the serpent, and the heart all point the same way.  1 is the number of focus, initiation, beginnings, and male aspects.  2 is the number of reflection, receiving, manifesting, and feminine aspects.  The feather may represent light-heartedness, higher ideals, divine intervention, wings.  The feather is not, however, in a position to fly away or flee, but rather rests comfortably, nested, balanced with the heart.  Other interpretations: weighing one's options, the philosophy of “less is more,” trusting that things will balance out.

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April 13, 2016 (permalink)

"Somebody, with fervour unavailing, is pleading for an answer—'Yes, or no?'"  From Cassell's, 1886.
If you'd like to divine the answer, our Augural Agglomerator has it, here.
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March 6, 2016 (permalink)

Someone asked our Augural Agglomerator, "Will Peter and Wendy get back together?"  The Agglomerator answered "Open" (exactly 50% between Yes and No) (and here is the exact report, with all 59 separate oracle readings).  At first we thought that the Agglomerator was in error, because we all know that Wendy chose not to fly away with Peter Pan, deciding instead to remain with the Darlings, and when she visited Neverland once a year to clean house, her eyes were less and less able to detect Peter's presence.  Where does the uncertainty lie?, we wondered.  And then the obvious hit us like a little ball of light: Tinker Bell.

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