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

Found 4 posts tagged ‘camera obscura’


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
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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
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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 #art #outsider art
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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
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Original Content Copyright © 2019 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.