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


August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
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.

Found 4 posts tagged ‘camera obscura’

Restoring the Lost Sense – August 26, 2016 (permalink)

"Friends reduced to shadows."
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
#camera obscura #vintage poster
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

Forgotten Wisdom – November 25, 2014 (permalink)

The text reads, "The secret to getting back on one's feet lies in simple inversion.  Cats famously land on their feet by using a pinhole to project an inverted image."  [For the Wild Swan.]

Printed collections of Forgotten Wisdom diagrams are available: Volume I from Mindful Greetings and Volumes II, III and IV from Amazon.  Selected posters are also available via Zazzle.
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .
#cat #pinhole camera #camera obscura #back on one's feet #inversion #humor
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought – August 21, 2013 (permalink)

From our former outpost at Twitter:

"Outsider art for insiders" delivers only 7 Google results. This explains a great many of my challenges with my [a]vocation.

The camera obscura allows insiders to enjoy outsider art, as illustrated above.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
#vintage illustration #camera obscura #outsider art
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought – January 9, 2012 (permalink)

Ponce’s Honor Lionized by Scholar

St. Augustine, Florida — An unlikely quest to vindicate Ponce de León’s integrity has led a lexicographer of magic words to demystify the Fountain of Youth.

Equipped with a portable camera obscura and a reference tome of alchemical symbols, scholar Craig Conley formally verified De León’s prediction that the spring of healing waters would not be guarded by "shapes of magic.”

"De León may have been a visionary,” Conley said, "but his head wasn’t stuck in the clouds.”

Conley, author of Magic Words: A Dictionary (Weiser Books), explained his use of the camera obscura, an antique photographic instrument. 

"Often, magical symbols are only detectable from oblique angles.  The camera obscura projects an upside down image inside its darkened chamber.  It offers a way of studying something without directly looking at it, to examine from a fresh perspective, without preconceptions.”

Indeed, a popular preconception about De León’s motives is what inspired Conley’s own pursuit for vindication.

Just as facts can become muddied over time, folklore can devolve into "fakelore,” as oral historian Richard Dorson dubbed it.

Hence, De León’s quest for the Fountain of Youth is now popularly regarded as a childish pipe dream—a castle in Spain, if you will—even though evidence points toward a scientific initiative.

De León’s level-headedness is self-evident in a conversation with King Ferdinand, transcribed by Eugene Lee-Hamilton in 1891.  De León explained that the Fountain of Youth is a miracle of nature, not of alchemy:

"No shapes of magic guard the potent spring; no circling dragons watch it night and day; no evil angels sit beside its brink, to mirror their dark wings within its waves.  It hath nor spell nor supernatural essence, but is mere natural water,” rich in minerals and salts and filtered through highly potent medicinal mosses.

Ferdinand asked what then guarded the Fountain of Youth.  In answer, De León described the wilds of Florida:

"The dreadful guard of Nature: inextricable forests and morasses, haunts of the panther and all clawed assassins, in whose pestiferous depths and clueless tangle no white man yet has ventured.”

Granted, De León didn’t become associated with healing waters until after his death.  Yet popular legends possess an authenticity independent of cold fact.

For example, the "higher truths” in accounts of Washington’s honesty, Lincoln’s humility, and De León’s derring-do are crucial to American civilization.

Conley affirms that the integrity of folklore calls for preservation, maintenance, and protection.

A scholar of esoterica would seem an unlikely champion of De León’s scientific approach.  Conley explains, "Old-school skeptics are open-minded.  I came to the Fountain of Youth unsure of whether or not I’d find magical symbols.  Frankly, had I found them, it would have been an exciting chapter in the living history of the spring.

"However, I must admit that I’m delighted to vindicate Ponce de León.”
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
#magick #camera obscura #st. augustine #fountain of youth #ponce de leon #magical symbols #old florida
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

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