John George Hohman’s Pow Wows: An American Grimoire – Now Available!

John George Hohman’s “Pow Wows” is one of the best occult texts I’ve edited. Dating to the 1820s, it was spawned by the Pennsylvania Dutch folk traditions of the era, and may be variously seen as Americana, German-derived occultism, a grimoire, or a snake oil combination of herbal and prayer book.

Within this edition I retained the publishers’ inclusions (which Hohman did not write) because they were present in the first edition, but removed the long and largely pointless running index, which for some odd reason was at the end of the work when it ought to have been included as a condensed table of contents.

The material covers herbal medicine, folk healing, prayers and invocations, a few magickal formulae, the construction of a couple of simplistic talismans (on paper) and protective spells, as well as hex breaking.

100 pages.

Advertisements

Several Work Updates

Update 1: Hohman’s Pow-Wows is rapidly approaching completion. The work is going much faster than the Fortune Teller did because of the English being so much closer to that used in modern speech. I have not yet decided whether to include or omit the publishers’ added section (which dates to the original work but is not entirely of German/Pennsylvanian origin.)

Update 2: I am going to expedite the Ars Goetia if it is within my capability to do so.

Update 3: I will be editing and releasing the Ophiolatreia.”

Update 4: Sickness in Hell will be taking rudimentary form over the course of August and I hope to release it before Halloween. If not, it will definitely be done before December.

Update 5: I still have to release the Trinosophia of St. Germaine, the Magus by Francis Barrett, and a dozen other works. Whether even working at full tilt I can complete them all before 2017 is not certain; the last slew of works I released quickly were all shorter in length and all were edited into English before modernity- the Trinosophia has to be translated from French as the Petit Albert was (Hall’s translation is copyrighted and flawed) and The Magus is quite long and detailed. Two more apocryphal works, and at least three more alchemical texts, as well as the booklet I possess on Hypnotism and Mesmerism will join their ranks also, along with Faust’s “Black Raven.”

Hohman’s Pow Wows (or; Long Lost Friend)

Now that the Universal Fortune Teller of Mrs. Bridget is complete, it’s time for a new edited work; and thankfully this time it’s in semi-modern English and comes from the United States.

Hohman’s “Pow Wows” has nothing at all to do with Mesoamerican ritualism; which is funny given the connotations of the title- instead, it’s a fusion system between German ritualism (influenced, as I will explain, by French ritualism) and Americana, a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition from the dawn of the 1800s.

The work itself is about the same length as, and contains some material similar to, the Petit Albert of 1700s era French renown- in my estimation the French cycle has influenced the content of this work, based on its eerie level of similarity- although it is within the realm of possibility that the similarities are due to traditions which were simply popular enough to have spread around Europe; after all, there’s no certainty that all content in the Petit Albert originated in France (indeed, it mentions Hungary and other regions explicitly for a few of its passages.) It’s broken into similar sections and covers similar maladies such as the bite of mad dogs (rabies of course) and headaches, hysteria, and other conditions.

One part herbal, one part prayer/incantation booklet, and one part folkish tradition, this rivals the Petit Albert for “most in depth ritual system” I have ever edited. It is likely that I will list this with the grimoires, since that is essentially what it is, even if it is also technically a work of folk magick.

I expect that it will be around 110 to 120 pages when completed, and it’s quite a nice work.

The Universal Fortune Teller of Mrs. Bridget – Now Available!

The 1790 Universal Fortune Teller is not attributed to Napoleon, although later works containing similar (and sometimes utterly plagiarized) content were. This text contains an elaborate backstory in which the editor claims to have obtained a manuscript from the thatched hut of an old wise woman who had recorded her occult findings in heiroglyphic form. Subsequent to cracking this mysterious code the work was then released.

It’s fairly obvious that this backstory was an attempt to increase its circulation- but that doesn’t detract from the work, which manages to cover astrology, palmistry, and other tricks, rites, and knowledge into just under 100 pages of content. The astrological system here goes well beyond the simple Zodiac and into terms and meanings as well as arcane minutiae.

With a slimmed down dream interpretation section and a buffed up card trick section, this work is comparable to Napoleon’s Oraculum in style, minus, of course, the oracle itself. It is also a rather bawdy work, mentioning whoredom, vixens, cuckoldry, and adultery quite frequently in the divination-by-card section.

98 pages.

Work Begins on Sickness In Hell

It is finally that auspicious time at which a new work by yours truly joins the (rapidly growing) ranks of edited releases available here on this blog. “Sickness in Hell” is the name and splatterpunk is the game; think, “Morbid Stories” as one long work instead of multiple short stories.

Many years ago- almost a decade now- the rudiments of this novel began after I had a dream about eating a dehydrated fetus out of a wooden box full of dried apricots in a dilapidated, post-apocalyptic grocery store. After eating this strange sacrament (which I imagine must have been real in some other plane of existence) I became privy to looking beyond the psychological veil into a sort of weird hellish void full of depravity, death, terror, and perversion- and I enjoyed it.

The corpus of the writing is basically complete already. The first step is merely to delineate the chapters and write notes outlining the basic content, after which the story writes itself- when writing fiction, as opposed to nonfiction, I zone out and it becomes almost a form of automatic writing; I say almost, because I don’t believe in actual channeling.

It’s a novel-length work so it will take a bit of time, even if the twenty five original sections (technically chapters) are actually, technically, “done”. Unfortunately, the resulting story jumped around and so I can only say that it is complete in a very technical sense.

The basic premise revolves around fungus capable of mutating DNA, factory farm contamination, Satan, and black magic. The entire work is the purest form of sickness and vile atrocity ever penned by a human being, and I take pride in the fact that a few people I showed some of the original sections got sick and began gagging.

From the Universal Fortune Teller (1790)

The 1790 version of the Universal Fortune Teller is indeed far stranger than the one I’ve already released which post-dates it by seventy years. One look at the content and you know you’re not exactly reading something from modernity.

The work is substantially more dense than I originally predicted; the astrological content alone stretches well past 40 pages, and that’s really only half the work. All told, it might approach or slightly exceed 100 pages in length with a modern format (bibliophiles will know, of course, that many works from the 1700s had what we would now consider tiny typesetting.) Take a look at this passage from the book:

On the seventeenth day the child that shall be born will be foolish to that degree that it shall be almost unnatural, and thereby become a great affliction to his parents. To go on messages this day is unfortunate, yet to contract matrimony, to compound physical preparations, and to take physic is good, but by no means let blood.


On the eighteenth day the child that shall be born, if a male, shall be valiant, courageous, and eloquent; and if a female, chaste, industrious, and painstaking, and shall come to honor in her old age. It is good this day to begin buildings; and to put out our children in order to be brought up in learning. Have a care of being let blood this day for it is very dangerous.


On the nineteenth day the child then born, if a male, shall be renowned for wisdom and virtue and thereby arrive to great honor, but if a female, she will be of a weak and sickly constitution, yet she will live to be married. This day they may bleed that have occasion.
These three short sections are from the end of the astrological work, regarding the birth of children at various stages of the lunar phases. As we see, bloodletting is encouraged according to the day, and what we term a “voyage” or “trip” is (and this is replicated in the work at least two other times) referred to as a “message.” I am leaving some of the antiquated English intact in this work for stylistic purposes, where a modern individual will still be able to infer the meaning from context.
This work, oddly, appears to contain less of the “females are only interested in marriage and lovers” content than the 1860 version; indeed, some of the passages refer to women of a vaguely heroic or brawny constitution depending on the circumstance of their birth. This probably relates to the growing moralism of the mid 1800s as opposed to the lingering flames of the enlightened times of the 1700s and the philosophy from that same era.

Off Topic: Work Music!

Today is a bit of a slow day on the literary front because of other work I had to do; that doesn’t mean I didn’t wish to make a post here though. The preface of the 1790 Universal Fortune Teller is done (quite a feat because of the condition of the manuscript and the language used there) and I’m settling in to some wine and relaxation.

It seemed like a good idea to post some of the music I listen to while editing and writing; I would have embedded the links but it seemed easier to just link them normally.

Coven – Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls

Hexentanz – The Sabbat Comes Softly

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath

Nest – Woodsmoke

Music of Ancient Greece