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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August 31, 2018 (permalink)

After an editor's note of no fewer than 142 pages, the editor presents the book itself, saying (presumably with a straight face), "I offer no remarks on it."  From The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, 1824.
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August 29, 2018 (permalink)

Here is revealed the secret of how we get our very own books (see the list here) to look so fabulous.  From Jugend, 1929.
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August 26, 2018 (permalink)

You've heard of the "top of the morning," but did you know that the last cubic inch of it sits upon a crest of ether?  From Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake.
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A hat made entirely of candy.  From Illustrated World, 1920.
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August 18, 2018 (permalink)

"Nothing surprising anymore."  From Judge's Library, 1905.
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August 15, 2018 (permalink)

We stumbled upon this vintage invitation to see "a real living incarnate devil" at a social event.  It took a few hours, but we managed to decipher the very poor scan that Google offered of the magazine page.  (But if there's something obvious that we mistranslated here, please do let us know.)  From The Living Church, Jan. 30, 1915.


The Devil has arrived to attend the Church Social given by the representatives of Modern Christianity, and will form one of the most attractive parts of this Wonderful Occasion.

Attend this social and you will be permitted to see a real LIVING INCARNATE DEVIL who has been much lied about, by those who would have you believe that he has horns, cloven-feet, etc., whereas, as you may see him there, in fine dress and bearing he is the most polished of aristocratic gentlemen; and, in place of having the visage of a beast, he looks like

A Veritable Angel of Light.

In place of scales, he is clad in the very latest set of garments, made of the finest of sheep's clothing.  His voice is soft and charming, and his every gesture, simply exquisite.  He is very liberal in his views on religions, and believes in all the denominations of men, being the silent partner and controlling shareholder in every one.


He takes a most conspicuous part in all the church socials, fairs, Tom Thumb weddings, festivals, operas, entertainments, carnivals, etc., and if he can get the good church ladies to whip him around the stomp, he will hop, and step, and jump for their amusement, while he baites them on with hisses.  He fully indorses a salaried ministry, with all of it self-exalting titles of men, such as Rev., Dr., D.D., Ph.D., etc; and deals more in modern christianity than he does in saloon business, as he sees it to sugar-coat brazen imps and white-wash rascals to pass as christians.

A Popular Preacher.

Indeed he is himself one of the most popular of modern preachers, having a perfect form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.  He also preaches full salvation, sanctification, holiness, and sometimes divine healing, but denounces all who possess these things in reality.  Do not fail to see him.

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July 29, 2018 (permalink)

A pendulum can tell whether you should have that drink.  From Lustige Blätter, 1914.
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July 19, 2018 (permalink)

Fishing for rabbits is actually a Scottish sport.  We found photographic evidence here.  From Lustige Blätter, 1908.
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July 9, 2018 (permalink)

"One could accumulate great wisdom and secure fortunes by studying his own finger-nails."  From Observation:—Every Man His Own University by Russell Herman Conwell, 1917.
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July 2, 2018 (permalink)

The "missing link" may technically be at large, but apparently its fingerprints have been taken.  From Illustrated World, 1920.
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July 1, 2018 (permalink)

Wittgenstein found that we cannot, in a certain sense, make mistakes in logic.  This is explained in Bruce Fleming's The New Tractatus, 2007.
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June 25, 2018 (permalink)

"Jesus' use of exaggeration is not surprising.  What may be surprising are some cases where it seems he wants to be taken literally." —Herbert Basser and Marsha B. Cohen, The Gospel of Matthew and Judaic Traditions
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June 24, 2018 (permalink)

"Crystal ball burns holes to record sunshine."  From Popular Mechanics, 1928.
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June 23, 2018 (permalink)

Before the invention of the "talking stick," gags were employed.  From Fonar', 1906.
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June 22, 2018 (permalink)

"Dutch babies need no cradles."  From Popular Mechanics, 1914.
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June 21, 2018 (permalink)

"There is no danger that we shall be drowned in books."  From Pearson's, 1902.
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June 20, 2018 (permalink)

Two random horoscopes from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) Ya-Hoo, 1956.
And how true those words are, even today.
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June 14, 2018 (permalink)

Hypochondriacs are best prone to see ghosts.  From Rhyming Reminiscenes in Comical Couplets by Geoffrey Grin, 1826.
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June 9, 2018 (permalink)

A Weird Magick Hack for Discovering Musical Masterpieces


There's a weird magick hack you can use to discover more favorite music.  You've heard the Faustian stories of musicians like folk legend Robert Johnson who stood at a crossroads and sold his soul to the devil for guitar-playing prowess.  Well ...
He's not the only one, and the stories get glamorized over the years, but you know beyond a doubt that musicians get inspired, that the very word musician means "art of the Muses."  (Needless to say, the Muses are the nine goddess daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, presiding over the arts and sciences.)  When you love a musical album as a masterpiece, what's happening on a more celestial level is that the Muse who inspired that music has made a connection to your own guardian angel, spirit guide, or demonic handler.  When you don't like an album, there's no connection like that, and what invariably happens is your intellect takes over and decides that the album fails to meet your expectations or falls outside your prescribed boundaries of taste.  The problem is obvious -- you get blocked from musical masterpieces that you literally can't hear properly because the celestial streaming, as it were, couldn't go through.  But as we said, there's a hack.
The hack requires a print-out of an old mystical diagram and an attitude adjustment.  The print-out is easy, and the attitude part is easy, too, if you'll simply be open minded.  It will sound like the simplest thing in the world, but it's a thousand-year-old occult secret that gets used for psychic entrainment for the purposes of genuine mind reading and (by practitioners of black magick) using others as puppets.  The attutide is to decide in advance that you like something, understand it, and are enriched by it.  To be clear, this is not auto-suggestion -- you aren't convincing yourself of something nor are you lying to yourself.  In the case of a new musical album, you haven't even heard the content yet, but you begin by negating any negative preconceptions that might be looming in your unconscious.  You hit the "play" button with a wholehearted expectation that you're going to be blown away.  This, in conjunction with the diagram you'll print out, makes for a clear connection to the album's Muse.  To be clear, you decide to come to any album in question without negative preconceptions but also with an expectation that it's the best album you've ever heard.
The mystical diagram is like an insurance policy for making that spirit-to-spirit connection.  Wikipedia tries to demystify it by calling it an "inadvertent mandala," but there's obviously nothing inadvertent about it.  The "Indian-Head Test Pattern" is a magickal diagram for fine-tuning a channel, and like a spirit medium you're "channeling" to the otherworld in which this music was inspired.  This diagram, developed by RCA in 1939, used to appear on TV channels prior to 1970.  Your great-great-great-great grandparents will recognize it.  Print it out and place it near whatever device you use for music listening.  If you have an LP sleeve, slip the diagram into it.  If you have a CD jewel case, lay the case atop the diagram.  The key is to formally associate, in whatever way you choose, the diagram with the music in question.  This confirms to your guardian angel/demon and the Muse of the album that you are "tuned in" to discovering a new masterpiece.
What prompted us to share this magickal hack today was hearing Youtube responses to the new album by the Swedish band Ghost, Prequelle.  Some fans recognized it as the band's best work to date (spoiler: they're right!), but others filmed themselves having nervous breakdowns over how disappointed they were.  We realized that the band used a poorly-chosen magic word as their album title.  "Prequelle" looks like "prequel," and we've all seen bad movie prequels in which the writers seemingly ran out of ideas for the linear storyline of the franchise and cheated by taking everything back in time (most often entailing different actors playing the characters' younger selves).  And so fans of the band Ghost developed preconceived notions: the new album must be a step backwards, the band must have run out of ideas, the songs must be a reversal of all that fantastic music that came before.  Those fans are wrong as wrong can be, but it's easy enough to see how their minds got there.  What they need, what anyone needs, is an old mystical diagram and an attitude adjustment.  We weep (seriously -- tears!) for the Ghost fans who missed out on hearing Prequelle as the masterpiece that it is.  Just imagine how many other masterpieces are out there in the ethers, as it were, waiting for your spirit mediumship to make a connection that will enrich your life.  Sure, it sounds so necromantic, but that Indian head is waiting for you.
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May 28, 2018 (permalink)

Eyeglasses wearers are sometimes called "four eyes."  But did you know that "four eyes" refers to a Cyclopian orgy?  The proof is in Lustige Blätter, 1899.
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Original Content Copyright © 2018 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.