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
Featured Book
The Young Wizard's Hexopedia
Search Site

Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
Cautious or Optimistic
King of Hearts of War and Peace
As I Was, As I Am
Perdition Slip
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
Eternal Life Coupon
Honorary Italian Grandmother E-card
Simple Answers


A Fine Line Between...
A Rose is a ...
Always Remember
Annotated Ellipses
Apropos of Nothing
Book of Whispers
Call it a Hunch
Colorful Allusions
Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
Disguised as a Christmas Tree
Don't Take This the Wrong Way
Everybody's Doing This Now
Forgotten Wisdom
Glued Snippets
Go Out in a Blaze of Glory
Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore
How to Believe in Your Elf
How to Write a Blank Book
I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought
Images Moving Through Time
Indubitably (?)
Inflationary Lyrics
It Bears Repeating
It's Really Happening
Last Dustbunny in the Netherlands
Miscellanies of Mr. Jonathan
Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led
No News Is Good News
Non-Circulating Books
Nonsense Dept.
Not Rocket Science
Oldest Tricks in the Book
On One Condition
One Mitten Manager
Only Funny If ...
P I n K S L i P
Peace Symbols to Color
Postcard Transformations
Presumptive Conundrums
Puzzles and Games
Letter Grids
Tic Tac Toe Story Generator
Which is Funnier
Restoring the Lost Sense
Rhetorical Answers, Questioned
Rhetorical Questions, Answered!
Semicolon Moons
Semicolon's Dream Journal
Separated at Birth?
Simple Answers
Someone Should Write a Book on ...
Something, Defined
Staring at the Sun
Staring Into the Depths
Strange Dreams
Strange Prayers for Strange Times
Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out
Telescopic Em Dashes
Temporal Anomalies
The 40 Most Meaningful Things
The Ghost in the [Scanning] Machine
The Only Certainty
The Right Word
This May Surprise You
This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea
Two Sides / Same Coin
Uncharted Territories
We Are All Snowflakes
What I Now Know
What's In a Name
Yearbook Weirdness
Yesterday's Weather
Your Ship Will Come In


March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006


Magic Words
Jonathan Caws-Elwitt
Martha Brockenbrough
Gordon Meyer
Dr. Boli
Serif of Nottingblog
Joe Brainard's Pyjamas
Ironic Sans
Brian Sibley's Blog
Abecedarian personal effects of 'a mad genius'
A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
Go Out in a Blaze of Glory

December 31, 2018 (permalink)

Thanks to Adam McFarland who said of our Seance Parlor Feng Shui project:
"The beauty of this book is that it can give you an understanding that is applied to all aspects of life. Everything from understanding the psychology behind the layout of the grocery store, to the proper placement of the saw in your workshop so that you aren’t conjuring demons every time you cut timber. (That happened to m... a friend of mine.)"

#seance parlor #feng shui
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

December 28, 2018 (permalink)

Thanks to White Ant Crawls for saying: "Your wonderland of images is always a constant source of inspiration, amusement, and delight.  Keep up the good work. I appreciate all the time and care you put into curating."
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

December 14, 2018 (permalink)

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

December 4, 2018 (permalink)

We're honored that Holy Mountaineer praises us as having "the best content on the web" and encourages everyone to "please for the love of everything sacred and profane go look at [Prof. Oddfellow's] YouTube."  In Holy Mountaineer's honor, here's a silhouetted processional up the holy mountain to the Sun, from Punch, 1842.

A silhouetted processional up the holy mountain to the Sun, from Punch, 1842.
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

October 26, 2018 (permalink)

From Jugend, 1913.
If you aspire to light up a room, please check out my YouTube channel and subscribe!
#vintage illustration #candles #chandelier #circle of light #art
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

October 10, 2018 (permalink)

We're delighted to hear this early reaction to our book of 112 spooky drink recipes, Of Drinking in Remembrance of the Dead.  Even better, a copy of our book was gifted to Chicago's Club Lucky by a time traveler!
#witchcraft #occult #book lover #cocktails
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

October 3, 2018 (permalink)

Quimby's Bookstore in New York says: "Just in time for your Halloween party, a new book from Prof. Oddfellow full of death-themed cocktails. Of Drinking in Remembrance of the Dead is full of dark libation recipes. Yum!"

#vintage illustration #devil #alcohol #cocktails #diabolo
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

September 25, 2018 (permalink)

We're honored by this new review:

Machinarium Verbosus: A Curiosity Cabinet of Gadgets to Transform Any Book & Reader, To Be Sure really should be used as a workbook in college courses. And not just Literature courses but all manner of Philosophy, Psychology, even business and advertising. It's a great exercise book to get the right brain flexing some muscle and exerting a bit of power over the left brain. Get the creative energy flowing... I'm reminded of Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Creative Artist Within. —Adam McFarland

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

September 6, 2018 (permalink)

"None of those swarming millions saw the godlike shape that hovered over them—none could—."  From Astounding Stories, 1934.
#vintage illustration #sphere #fantastical #glowing #godlike
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

August 31, 2018 (permalink)

We were delighted to spot our How to Be Your Own Cat in a wedding registry, between low-alcohol cocktail recipes and Grateful Dead lyrics, and beneath a "gun belt" of 20 bottles of herbal bitters.  Sounds about right.  Kit Kilmartin and Steven Cavagnet, may your union be blessed with nine lives.
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

August 26, 2018 (permalink)

The Secrets to
the Spontaneous Expansion
of One's Quivering Entangled Vibrations


[For Clint Marsh.]

In 1929, the occult Welsh novelist John Cowper Powys, who wrote his magnum opus on Myrddin/Merlin (Porius), revealed his mystical secrets for the spontaneous expansion of one's quivering entangled vibrations.  We say "revealed," but these secrets are actually hidden and dispersed within the novel Wolf Solent.  For the first time, the varied elements of the technique are here coalesced and adapted for present-time adventurous spirits who wish to direct their own inner lives in their own peculiar fashions.

This technology is best practiced in the countryside, leisurely, from the passenger seat of a moving automobile, train, bus, or mountainside gondola.

Preliminarily (root word limen, "threshold"), stare through the open window and allow the passing telephone poles or trees to induce a mild hypnotic state.  Allow yourself to feel indulged by the peculiar pleasure in this luxury of simply taking in the environs.

The first step, when you're ready, is to imagine yourself to be a prehistoric giant running alongside your vehicle with effortless ease.  Leap over hedges, ditches, lanes, streams or ponds.  Let the noisy mechanical vehicle be deftly rivaled by the silent, natural-born speed of your giant.

Second, watch this other self, this leaping giant, with "the positive satisfaction of a hooded snake," as Powys put it, "thrusting out a flickering forked tongue" from coils that shimmer in the sun.

Third, notice that your real self is neither the giant nor the snake but rather that tree over there, "still in the rearward of its leafy companions," whose hushed grey branches throw such contorted shadows.

If you happen to see a cow eating grass in a churchyard, watch it for a quarter of a minute as it gathers to itself "such an inviolable placidity" that its feet seem "planted in a green pool of quietness" older than life itself.

If you happen to see a church tower, wonder whether the religions of the world are "nothing but so many creaking and splashing barges," whereon the souls of humanity ferry themselves over "lakes of primal silence," disturbing the swaying water lilies that grow there and frightening away the timid waterfowl.

If you happen to notice that a bluebottle fly is your traveling companion, fix your gaze upon it as it cleans its legs and wonder whether from church tower to church tower there might be sent, on "one gusty November night, a long-drawn melancholy cry, a cry heard only by dogs and horses and geese and village-idiots, the real death-cry of a god—dead at last of extreme old age!"

Whatever you happen to see, draw into your lungs the lovely breathings from damp mosses, cold primroses, hazel wood, or whatever foliages in question, breathings that seem to float up and down valleys on airy journeys of their own.  

And then begin the practice of "sinking into the soul," a device that supplies one with the secret substratum of one's whole life.  This is accomplished by summoning-up to the surface of your mind a subconscious magnetic power from your early days, from that time when you watched the glitter of the sun or moon on the waters—a power that seems prepared to answer such a summons.  Allow a bit of arrogance, the idea that you are taking part in some occult cosmic struggle, between what you like to think of as "good" and "evil" in those remote depths.  See the magnetic impulses as resembling great vegetable leaves over a still pool of blue-green water, "leaves nourished by hushed noons," as Powys put it, "by liquid, transparent nights, by all the movements of the elements—but making some inexplicable difference, merely by their spontaneous expansion, to the great hidden struggle always going on in Nature between the good and the evil forces."  Let the worries of daily life become faintly-limned images in a mirror.  Let the true reality exist in your mind, "in these hushed, expanding leaves—in this secret vegetation—the roots of whose being hid[e] themselves beneath the dark waters" of your consciousness.

When you're ready, feel your body in that water, like the body of a tree or fish or animal.  Feel your hands and knees "like branches or paws or fins."  Notice that floating around your body is a thought, "'I am I' against the world."  Let this "I am I" include a new purpose and include your will toward this new purpose.  Contemplate Powys' contention that there is no limit to the power of the will as long as it is used for two purposes only: to forget and to enjoy.  "The stream of life is made of little things. … To forget the disgusting ones and fill yourself with the lovely ones, that's the secret."

When you're ready, look above the surface of the pool, over the high tops of the trees, until your gaze loses itself in the blue sky.  "Millions of miles of blue sky," Powys said; "and beyond that, millions of miles of sky that could scarcely be called blue or any other colour—pure unalloyed emptiness, stretching outwards" from where you sit, "to no conceivable boundary or end!"

And, as you exhale into that vastness, say aloud, "Not dead yet!"  And then recite this passage from Wolf Solent: "Good is stronger than Evil, if you take it on its simplest terms and set yourself to forget the horror!  It's mad to refuse to be happy because there's a poison in the world that bites into every nerve.  After all, it's short enough!  I know very well that Chance could set me screaming like a wounded baboon — every jot of philosophy gone!  Well, until that happens, I must endure what I have to endure!"


See John Cowper Powy's Wolf Solent (Simon and Schuster, 1929) and Janina Nordius' "I Am Myself Alone": Solitude and Transcendence in John Cowper Powys (Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis, 1997).


—Craig Conley is author of HarperCollins’ One-Letter Words: A Dictionary, Weiser Books’ Magic Words: A Dictionary, and The Young Wizard's Hexopedia.  His more arcane publications include A Field Guide to Identifying Unicorns by Sound, a guide toSeance Parlor Feng Shui, and a manual on The Care & Feeding of a Spirit Board.  He is co-author of New Star Books’ Franzlations: The Imaginary Kafka Parables.  His work has been profiled in the New York Times, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News, Publishers Weekly, The Associated Press, and dozens of others.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

August 25, 2018 (permalink)

An ardent (from the Latin root "to burn") collector of our books received a strangely warm package in the mail.  He said that by the time he dropped it, "the package had gotten really hot and sort of burst open on its own and was emitting a bright creepy light."  Indeed, this is not unheard of when How to Believe in Your ElfMagic Archetypes: The Art Behind The Science Of Conjuring, and Puzzling Portmeirion: An Unconventional Guide to a Curious Destination come into close contact and are also inverted (the collector lives Down Under, you see, where everything is upside-down).  "I was guessing that there are either some pretty powerful secrets in Magic Archetypes," the collector wrote, "or perhaps these sinister books of yours really are forbidden in Australia."
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

August 24, 2018 (permalink)

When the occasional hater leaves us a bad review of one of our books or other creations, we're left seeing stars — literally!  We were recently given "two stars" by someone we've never heard of, for the extraordinary non-gimmicked magical card deck we created for Las Vegas headliners who seek to leave people with genuine wonderment.  (You can read about the deck here.)  At first those two stars left us astonished.  Then we realized: those two stars are "Azha Al Naam," meaning "Ostrich Nests."  There are dual luminaries in the legs of Sagittarius, one of which the Arabic astronomers of old said was an ostrich going to water, and the other an ostrich returning from the water.  The neighboring two stars are the ostriches' nests.  This constellation is described in the nearly forgotten book Urania: Or, a Compleat View of the Heavens (1754).  So, yes — our remarkable card deck is indeed a cosmic ostrich nest.  But we didn't tell that to our critic, figuring that if she didn't have eyes to see the self-expanding wisdom of the cards, how could she discern ancient ostrich nests in the heavens?  Her third eye perhaps sensed those glimmers, but had she been consciously aware of them, she'd have then seen more stars in a grander constellation.  Instead, realizing that our critic was admitting to be cut off from deep intuitive understanding, we gave her a wish by way of E. E. Cummings: "Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit."
Previously, in a review of our Field Guide to Identifying Unicorns by Sound, we identified a single star as the one Sappho called "the fairest of all the stars."
If you'd like help identifying the constellations of your own product reviews, let us know!

#bad reviews #sagittarius #two stars #polarity cards
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

August 23, 2018 (permalink)

We're deilghted that the latest review of our Magic Words: A Dictionary calls the book a "critter"!  This is a Retroactive Lifetime Goal!*  "This critter will definitely expand your vocabulary and repertoire."  Thanks, Amazon Hall of Fame reviewer Bernie (Xyzzy)!
Our illustration is from Kosa, 1906.
*The phrase "retroactive lifetime goal" is used with the kind permission of Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.
#vintage illustration #demon #imp #serpent #snake #satanic #thorns #unholy book
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

August 20, 2018 (permalink)

Thanks to Jaybee for letting us know: "Your last video really, REALLY helped me. I was in tears. Seriously. I struggle with that. Very. Thing. A lot. But your video helped me remember that I’m not here to win a popularity contest."
She's referring to this video, in which I reveal my secrets for landing a major book deal, even if you don't have a best-selling idea, weren't born into the right families, and don't work very hard:
#writing #success #getting published #against all odds
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

August 13, 2018 (permalink)

From Jugend, 1929.
#vintage illustration #fireworks #nights of lights
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

July 30, 2018 (permalink)

Here are my secrets for landing a major book deal, even if you don't have a best-selling idea, weren't born into the right families, and don't work very hard:
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

July 18, 2018 (permalink)

Our new publication offers 52 wishes for wayfarers before they take that first step, one for every bone of the feet.  Some might be called blessings, others prayers and positive affirmations for those who would travel by foot.  There is also a trio of ancient foot talismans from the Far East.

#vintage illustration #anthropomorphism #walking
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

July 6, 2018 (permalink)

Having already seen the world through rose-colored glasses, we're now enjoying the view through lurid Jello-green flexi-discs!  The grass is definitely greener on the flip side!  We're celebrating the Retroactive Lifetime Goal of having our voice recorded onto a lurid Jello-O green flexi-disc in the new issue of Fiddler's Green magazine!

#prof. oddfellow #lens flare #fiddler's green #flexi-disc
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

June 28, 2018 (permalink)

The slim pink volume on the left side of the shelf is our How to Be Your Own Cat.  We're honored to be part of the magical library of U.K.-based artist Clare Simmonds!

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

Page 3 of 16

> Older Entries...

Original Content Copyright © 2020 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.