Tag Archives: occultist.

Almanac – May 15

913 – Hatto I, Archbishop of Mainz, died.

One account of his death claimed he was struck by lightning,  another that he was thrown alive by the devil into the crater of Mount Etna.

His memory was long regarded in Saxony with great abhorrence, and stories of cruelty and treachery gathered round his name.

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1718 – James Puckle, a London lawyer, patented the world’s first machine gun.

Puckle demonstrated two versions of the basic design: one, intended for use against Christian enemies, fired conventional round bullets, while the second variant, designed to be used against the Muslim Turks, fired square bullets, which were considered to be more damaging and would, according to its patent, convince the Turks of the “benefits of Christian civilization.”

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1948 – Brian Eno born. English musician, composer, record producer, singer, and visual artist,  one of the principal innovators of ambient music.

He joined  Roxy Music as synthesiser player in the early 1970s, but  soon tired of touring and of conflicts with lead singer Bryan Ferry.

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1956 – Austin Osman Spare died.  English artist and occultist who worked as both a draughtsman and a painter.

 Influenced by symbolism and the artistic decadence of art nouveau, his art was known for its clear use of line, and its depiction of monstrous and sexual imagery.

In an occult capacity, he developed idiosyncratic magical techniques including automatic writing, automatic drawing and sigilization based on his theories of the relationship between the conscious and unconscious self.

Spare’s esoteric legacy was largely maintained by his friend, the Thelemite author Kenneth Grant in the latter part of the 20th century, and his beliefs regarding sigils provided a key influence on the chaos magic movement and Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth.

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Almanac – May 08

1891 – Helena Blavatsky died.  Russian-German occultist who, along with  Henry Steel Olcott, established a research and publishing institute called the Theosophical Society.

Blavatsky defined Theosophy as “the archaic Wisdom-Religion, the esoteric doctrine once known in every ancient country having claims to civilization.” 

One of the main purposes of the Theosophical Society was “to form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color”. Blavatsky saw herself as a missionary of this ancient knowledge.

Blavatsky’s extensive research into the many different spiritual traditions of the world led to the publication of what is now considered her magnum opus, The Secret Doctrine, which collates and organizes the essence of these teachings into a comprehensive synthesis. Her other works include Isis Unveiled, The Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence.

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1911 – Robert Johnson born. American blues singer and musician.  His landmark recordings from 1936–37 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians.

His shadowy, poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend, including the Faustian myth that he sold his soul at a crossroads to achieve success.

As an itinerant performer who played mostly on street corners, in juke joints, and at Saturday night dances, he had little commercial success or public recognition in his lifetime.

Johnson’s records sold poorly during his lifetime, it  was only after the reissue of his recordings in 1961 on the LP King of the Delta Blues Singers that his work reached a wider audience.

Johnson is now recognized as a master of the blues, particularly of the Mississippi Delta blues style, and  is credited by many rock musicians as an important influence; Eric Clapton has called Johnson “the most important blues singer that ever lived.”

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1920 – Tom of Finland born.  Finnish artist notable for his stylized androerotic and fetish art and his influence on late twentieth century gay culture.

 He has been called the “most influential creator of gay pornographic images” by cultural historian Joseph W. Slade.

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Almanac – April 11

1890 – Joseph Merrick died. English man with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity named the Elephant Man. He became well known in London society after he went to live at the London Hospital.

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1930 – Anton LaVey born. Founder of the Church of Satan as well as a writer, occultist, and musician.

He was the author of The Satanic Bible and the founder of LaVeyan Satanism, a synthesized system of his understanding of human nature and the insights of philosophers who advocated materialism and individualism, for which he claimed no supernatural or theistic inspiration.

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1935 – Richard Berry born. American  singer, songwriter and musician, who performed with many Los Angeles doo-wop and close harmony groups in the 1950s, including The Flairs and The Robins.

He is best known as the composer and original performer of the rock standard “Louie Louie”. The song went on to be a hit for The Kingsmen becoming one of the most recorded songs of all time, however Berry received little financial benefit for writing it until the 1980s, having signed away his rights to the song in 1959.

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1981 – A massive riot in Brixton,London,  a by-product of the effect on the area of the  policies of the Thatcher government –  high unemployment, high crime, poor housing, no amenities — in a predominantly African-Caribbean community.

The Metropolitan Police began Operation Swamp 81 at the beginning of April, aimed at reducing street crime, largely through the repeated use of the so-called sus law, which allowed police officers to stop and search any individual on the grounds of mere ‘suspicion’ of possible wrongdoing.

Plain clothes police officers were dispatched into Brixton, and within five days almost 1,000 people were stopped and searched under this law. There was intense local indignation at this, since the vast majority of those stopped by the police were young black men.

The riot resulted in almost 279 injuries to police and 45 injuries to members of the public; over a hundred vehicles were burned, including 56 police vehicles; and almost 150 buildings were damaged, with thirty burned. There were 82 arrests. Reports suggested that up to 5,000 people were involved in the riot.

Not suprisingly perhaps, Brixton was one of the first places where Thatcher Dead street parties broke out.

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Almanac – February 22

1797 – The Last Invasion of Britain began,  near Fishguard, Wales,  by Revolutionary France during the War of the First Coalition. The brief campaign, which took place between 22 February and 24 February 1797, was the most recent effort by a foreign force that was able to land on British soil.

The invasion was the plan of General Lazare Hoche, who had devised a three-pronged attack on Britain in support of Irish Republicans under Wolfe Tone. Two forces would land in Britain as a diversionary effort, while the main body would land in Ireland. While poor weather and indiscipline halted two of the forces, the third, aimed at landing in Wales and marching on Bristol, went ahead.

The invasion force consisted of 1,400 troops from the La Legion Noire (The Black Legion) under the command of Irish American Colonel William Tate, 800 of whom were irregulars.

Upon landing discipline broke down amongst the irregulars, many of whom deserted to loot nearby settlements. The remaining troops were met by a quickly assembled group of around 500 British reservists, militia and sailors under the command of John Campbell, 1st Baron Cawdor. After brief clashes with the local civilian population and Lord Cawdor’s forces on 23 February, Tate was forced into an unconditional surrender by 24 February.

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1900 – Luis Buñuel born. Spanish filmmaker . Often associated with the Surrealist movement of the 1920s, Buñuel created films in six decades, from the 1920s through the 1970s.

His work spans two continents, three languages, and nearly every film genre, including experimental film, documentary, melodrama, satire, musical, erotica, comedy, romance, costume dramas, fantasy, crime film, adventure, and western.

Despite this variety, filmmaker John Huston believed that, regardless of genre, a Buñuel film is so distinctive as to be instantly recognizable, or, as Ingmar Bergman put it, “Buñuel nearly always made Buñuel films.”

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1918 – Robert Wadlow born. The tallest person in history for whom there is irrefutable evidence.  He  reached 8 ft 11.1 in (2.72 m) in height and weighed 439 lb (199 kg) at his death at age 22.

His great size and his continued growth in adulthood were due to hyperplasia of his pituitary gland, which results in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. He showed no indication of an end to his growth even at the time of his death.

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1950 – Genesis Breyer P-Orridge born. English singer-songwriter, musician, poet, writer and performance artist.

In the latter capacity s/he was the founder of the COUM Transmissions artistic collective, which operated from 1969 through to 1975, while as a musician, P-Orridge fronted the pioneering industrial band Throbbing Gristle, from 1975 through to 1981, and then the acid house band, Psychic TV, from 1981 through to 1999.

An occultist, s/he is also a founding member of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth.

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1987 – Andy Warhol died. American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist.

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Almanac – January 31

1606 – Guy Fawkes, Thomas Wintour, Ambrose Rookwood and Robert Keyes  executed for plotting against Parliament and King James. Fawkes was the last to stand on the scaffold, his fellow plotters were already hanged and quartered.  He asked for forgiveness of the King and state, while keeping up his “crosses and idle ceremonies“, and aided by the hangman began to climb the ladder to the noose.

Although weakened by torture, Fawkes managed to jump from the gallows, breaking his neck in the fall and thus avoiding the agony of the latter part of his execution. His lifeless body was nevertheless quartered and, as was the custom, his body parts were then distributed to “the four corners of the kingdom”, to be displayed as a warning to other would-be traitors.

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1942 – Derek Jarman born. English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author. Films include Sebastiane (1976), Jubilee (1977), The Tempest (1979) and The Last of England (1988).

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1956 – John Lydon born. Also known by the former stage name Johnny Rotten,  a singer-songwriter and television presenter, best known as the lead singer of punk rock band the Sex Pistols and Public image Ltd.

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1960 – Grant Morrison born. Scottish comic book writer, playwright and occultist. He is known for his nonlinear narratives and countercultural leanings in his runs on titles including DC Comics’ Animal Man, Doom Patrol, JLA, The Invisibles, Action Comics, All-Star Superman, and Batman, and Marvel Comics’ New X-Men and Fantastic Four

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