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, a “monk for the modern age” by George Parker, 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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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
The Book of Whispers: Being a Looking Glass

The most profound secrets lie not wholly in knowledge, said the poet.  They lurk invisible in that vitalizing spark, intangible, yet as evident as the lightning—the seeker's soul.  Solitary digging for facts can reward one with great discoveries, but true secrets are not discovered—they are shared, passed on in confidence from one to another.  The genuine seeker listens attentively.

No secret can be transcribed, save in code, lest it—by definition–cease to be.  This Book of Whispers collects and encodes more than one hundred of humankind's most cherished secrets.  To be privy to the topics alone is a supreme achievement, as each contains and nurtures the seed of its hidden truth.  As possessor and thereby guardian of this knowledge, may you summon the courage to honor its secrets and to bequeath it to one worthy.

April 21, 2020 (permalink)

Today's serpents whispering to a skull are from La Lámpara Maravillosa, Ejercicios Espiritualis by Ramón Valle-Inclán, 1916.
#vintage illustration #skull #serpent #occult #snake
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March 31, 2020 (permalink)

What happens in the Alps stays in the Alps.  From Wid's Daily, 1920.
#vintage illustration #mountain #alps #mountain spirit #hush
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March 16, 2020 (permalink)

From Ohio State's 1920 yearbook.  See How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.
#vintage illustration #skull #fraternity #vintage yearbook #secret society #key
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January 5, 2020 (permalink)

"The really carefully guarded secret of the priests of all the religions, which they will never voluntarily relinquish to the world, is that priests are not needed, nor what priests know or what initiates do or what the devout believe—practices and sacraments, anything. The truth is that God inhabits without limit; wherever the real is or the actual does, He is it. Special knowledge of how to get in touch with him is that same knowledge which carries the bee home to its hive each night; who sells that knowledge to the bee? If we have no money, if we can't read or be wise, are we abandoned? Does He abandon the lowly insects because they are virtually no more than reflex machines? Just as truth cannot really be suppressed, at least not forever, it neither can be horded. We are taught day and night, as all living entities are: ceaselessly. God did not begin to govern and inform the cosmos when writing and money were invented."
—Philip K. Dick, Exegesis
#religion #philosophy #philip k. dick
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November 21, 2019 (permalink)

No doubt you've heard of Ireland, too.  It really is such an open secret.  From The Open Secret of Ireland by Tom Kettle, 1912.

But even as recently as 1981, Ireland was under wraps, as it were.  "There isn't anything beyond Wales — only a lot of sea" (the "Roots" Christmas special of Are You Being Served?)

#are you being served #ireland #open secret
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September 6, 2019 (permalink)

Here's the scorpion of secrets.  "What's up with all these secrets?  No one knows -- that's the point."  From Salem's 1995 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #scorpion #secret #vintage yearbook #secrecy
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July 22, 2019 (permalink)

"News whitewash.  Whispers tell more.  Thank God for rumors."  From the Kansas State Collegian, 1975.
#vintage headline #rumor #whispers
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June 23, 2019 (permalink)

From Zritel', 1905.
#vintage illustration #secret #don't speak #my lips are sealed #hush
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April 27, 2019 (permalink)

Can the world keep a secret?  From The Judge, 1916.
#vintage illustration #world #anthropomorphism #secret
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January 28, 2019 (permalink)

"Keep it bouncing; that's all the secret, keep it bouncing."  —Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
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January 26, 2019 (permalink)

From Le Journal Amusant, 1903.
#vintage illustration #whisper #faun
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August 10, 2018 (permalink)

From an ad in The Judge, 1922.
#vintage illustration #vintage ad #don't worry be happy #why worry #secrets #promises #key to happiness #secret of happiness
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August 1, 2018 (permalink)

From L'Assiette au Beurre, 1904.
#vintage illustration #macabre #death #skeleton
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July 8, 2018 (permalink)

The profoundest secret: the universal parity of existence.  From John Fowles, The French Lieutenant's Woman (referring to Pisanello's "The Vision of St. Eustace").
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May 31, 2018 (permalink)

From Kladderadatsch, 1929.
#vintage illustration #easter bunny #rabbit #bunny
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February 27, 2018 (permalink)

Here's why mountains are bewitching.  From The Pendulum, A Novel by Cora G. Sadler, 1912.
#occult #silence #mountains
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February 13, 2018 (permalink)

Carnations are the woman you once knew, only they have learned new secrets.  This revelation is whispered by carnations themselves in Literary Love-letters, and Other Stories by Robert Herrick, 1897.
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January 2, 2018 (permalink)

"A ghost is a walking secret."  From Hood's Magazine, 1846.
#ghost #secret
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December 3, 2017 (permalink)

"Whisper whisper," from The Fairy Family, 1874.
#vintage illustration #fairy tale #whisper
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November 19, 2017 (permalink)

"'Do you mean'—the rest was whispered in my ear."  From The Millionaire Baby by Anna Katharine Green, 1905.
#vintage illustration #secret #whispering
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Original Content Copyright © 2020 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.