Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scans of 19th Century Scottish Broadsides, with Murder Ballads

Broadside entitled 'Ann Semple's Confession'
Broadside ballad entitled 'Billy Pattison'
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Confession of James Bryce'
Broadside entitled 'Confessions made by William Burke'
Broadside entitled 'Elegiac Lines On the Tragical Murder of Poor Daft Jamie
Broadside entitled 'Elegie'
Broadside entitled 'Elegie'
Broadside ballad concerning the execution of Captain Thomas Green for piracy and murder
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Fate of Johnny Johnson'
Broadside ballad entitled 'Hare's Dream!'
Broadside ballad entitled 'Jamie Wilson's Mother's Dream'
Broadside entitled 'A Lament for Dr Pritchard's Children'
Broadside entitled 'Lament of Macfarlane, Blackwood and Young'
Broadside entitled 'The Lament of Mr Taylor'
Broadside entitled 'Lament of Peter Mclean, now lying under the Sentence of Death'
Broadside entitled 'Lamentation of Elizabeth Banks'
Broadside entitled 'Lamentation of Mary Braid'
Broadside entitled 'Lamentations As of John Thomson & David Dobie'
Broadside entitled 'The Lamentations of McFarlane, Blackwood and Young
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Last Words of James Mackpherson Murderer'
Broadside entitled 'Lines On The Gilmerton Murder'
Broadside ballad entitled 'Lines Supposed to have Been Written by Mrs Wilson, Daft Jamie's Mother'
Broadside ballad entitled 'Margaret Bell's Lament'
Broadside entitled 'Margaret Dickson's Penetential Confession'
Broadside ballad entitled 'McGorran's Lament'
Broadside entitled 'Murder of Betsy Smith'
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Murder of Maria Marten'
Broadside ballad entitled 'The Recent Murders'
Broadside entitled 'Robert Stirrat's'
Broadside entitled 'The Sorrowful Lamentation'
Broadside entitled 'The Vision'
Broadside ballad entitled 'Widow MacFarlane's Lamentation for Her Son'
Broadside ballad entitled 'William Burke.--A New Song'
Broadside ballad entitled 'William Burke's Confession'
Broadside ballad entitled 'William Burke's Murders in the Westport'
Broadside ballads entitled 'William Burke's Murders in the Westport' and 'Late Murders. A New Song'

Monday, January 23, 2012

Edwardian and Victorian-Era Ghost Stories and Creepy Poetry

William Harrison Ainsworth "The Spectre Bride"
Grant Allen "My New Year's Eve among the Mummies" (1880)
Richard Harris Barham "The Spectre of Tappington" (1840)
Algernon Blackwood "The Man Whom the Trees Loved" (1912)
Algernon Blackwood "The Damned" (1914)
Algernon Blackwood "The Empty House and Other Ghost Stories" (1916)
Algernon Blackwood The Wendigo (1910)
Mary Elizabeth Braddon "At Chrighton Abbey" (1871)
E. G. E. Bulwer-Lytton "The Haunted and the Haunters" (1857)
Mrs Craik (Dinah Maria Mulock) "The Last House in C---- Street" (1856)
Wilkie Collins "Miss J√©romette and the Clergyman" (1875)
Charles Dickens "To Be Taken with a Grain of Salt" (1865)
Arthur Conan Doyle "The Captain of the 'Pole-star'"
Amelia Ann Blanford Edwards "No. 5 Branch Line: The Engineer" (1866)
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu "An Account of Some Disturbances in Aungier Street" (1853)
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu "The Watcher" (1851)
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu "The Familiar" (1872)
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu "Mr. Justice Harbottle" (1872)
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu "Green Tea" (1872)
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu "Mr. Justice Harbottle" (1872)
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu "The Room in the Dragon Volant" (1872)
Elizabeth Gaskell "The Crooked Branch" (1859)

Elizabeth Gaskell "The Old Nurse's Story" (1852)
Elizabeth Gaskell Gothic and Supernatural Stories (collected).
Théophile Gautier "The Mummy's Foot" (1908)
Morris W. Gowen "The Waltz" (1913)
Thomas Hardy "The Withered Arm"
Robert Stephen Hawker "The Botathen Ghost" (1867)
Henry James "The Turn of the Screw" (1898)
M. R. (Montague Rhodes) James The Five Jars
M. R. (Montague Rhodes) James Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
M. R. (Montague Rhodes) James Ghost Stories of an Antiquary Part 2: More Ghost Stories
M. R. (Montague Rhodes) James A Thin Ghost and Others
Jerome K. Jerome "The Man of Science" (1892)
Rudyard Kipling "At the End of the Passage"
John Lang "Fisher's Ghost" (1859)
George MacDonald "Uncle Cornelius His Story" (1869)
Thomas Street Millington "No Living Voice"
Edith Nesbit "John Charrington's Wedding" (1891)
Edith Nesbit "Man-Size in Marble"
Elia W. Peattie "Their Dear Little Ghost" (1898)
Sir Walter Scott "The Tapestried Chamber" (1829)
Robert Louis Stevenson "The Body-Snatcher"
Bram Stoker "The Judge's House"
William Makepeace Thackeray "The Story of Mary Ancel" (1840)
H. G. Wells "The Story of the Inexperienced Ghost" (1902)
Mrs Henry Wood "Reality or Delusion?"

Metropolis from The Human Drift - King Champ Gillette

Before perfecting his invention of the safety razor and founding what became a major American industrial and sales enterprise, King Camp Gillette (1855-1932) authored several books and pamphlets calling for radical changes in the country's economic and social system. The first of these polemical tracts, The Human Drift, called for the establishment of an ideal society to be created by The United Company "Organized for the purpose of Producing, Manufacturing, and Distributing the Necessities of Life." Except for agricultural and other rural pursuits, all activities and all the population would be concentrated in one gigantic urban complex that Gillette called "Metropolis."

Although Gillette's book has been regarded as part of the tradition of utopian romances like the better-known Looking Backward, by Edward Bellamy, it can also be looked on as a serious, if misguided, proposal for organizing the urban world. Gillette was a tinkerer and inventor, and "Metropolis" represents his verbal working model of a new kind of city. One wonders how many later planners or urban theorists knew of his book and how he thought a modern city should be ordered. He anticipates by many years Le Corbusier's concept of widely-separated, lofty skyscrapers, although it seems unlikely this Swiss-French designer would have seen The Human Drift. Much closer in time and space is the proposed hexagonal city plan by Charles Rollinson Lamb in 1904. Lamb might have found inspiration for his own less drastic vision of the city of tomorrow in Gillette's writings. Or, perhaps Walter Burley Griffin, deeply interested in city planning and seeking whatever writing existed on this subject, came across Gillette's hexagonal system. This may either have confirmed his own ideas about the use of geometric forms or set him to considering how this might be done. Griffin's design incorporating hexagons and octagons that won first prize in the competition for the plan of Canberra, Australia in 1912 may thus have had partial origins in Lamb's or Gillette's hexagonal city designs.

Gilette writes: "For many reasons I have come to the conclusion that there is no spot on the American continent, or possibly in the world. that combines so many natural advantages as that section of our country lying in the vicinity of the Niagara Falls, extending east into New York State and west into Ontario. The possibility of utilizing the enormous natural power resulting from the fall, from the level of Lake Erie to the level of Lake Ontario, some 330 feet is no longer the dream of enthusiasts, but is a demonstrated fact. Here is a power, which, if brought under control, is capable of keeping in continuous operation even manufacturing industry for centuries to come, and, in addition supply all the lighting;, facilities, run all the elevators, and furnish the power necessary for the transportation system of the great central city....

The manufacturing industries of "Metropolis" would be located east and west of Niagara River in Ontario and New York. The residence portion of the city would commence about ten miles east of Niagara River and Buffalo; and from this point to its eastern extremity, which would include the present city of Rochester in its eastern border, the city would be sixty miles long east and west, and thirty miles in width north and south, lying parallel with Lake Ontario, and about five miles from it.".

Spaceport America

"Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport in southern New Mexico, where the Spaceport America Terminal Hangar Facility will serve as the operating hub for Virgin Galactic and is expected to house two WhiteKnightTwos and five SpaceShipTwos, in addition to all of Virgin's astronaut preparation facilities and mission control. Spaceport America has a 10,000-foot (3,000 m) long runway."

Land of Cokaygne (Manuscript and Translation)


"This poem survives in only one manuscript, a small (less than 6 x 4 inches) collection of various items in different hands and languages (Middle English, French, and Latin).

Probably compiled in Ireland in the early-mid 1300s, the small format suggests a friar's pocket-book as they traveled on foot and needed to pack light. A few of the Middle English items, like Cockaygne and a drinking song making fun of local clerics and tradesmen, were clearly for amusement.

Most of the Middle English content is verse, sermons and lyrics designed for the instruction of the laity. The Land of Cokaygne is not an isolated poem; its fictional and parodic otherworld belongs to a tradition of poems dealing with an imaginary paradise where leisure rules and food is readily available."

Infographics for a Crisis

Henry Blodget, a disgraced trader, came out with these succinct infographics, summarizing, for presumably the American business community, what had prepared the climate for Occupy Wall Street.


Money. A very detailed poster on how it all works. Spotted on Nathalie de Meyer's Google+ feed. From xkcd. Apparently you can purchase the poster.

The Art Fairy Tale

A Fairy Tale - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Two Free Men - Sheila Heti

The King of the Golden River - John Ruskin

Frauds on the Fairies - Charles Dickens's  (1853)

Sunday, January 22, 2012



The name "Grimoire" is derived from the word "Grammar". A grammar is a description of a set of symbols and how to combine them to create well-formed sentences. A Grimoire is, appropriately enough, a description of a set of magickal symbols and how to combine them properly. Most of the texts linked below are descriptions of traditional European ritual magick, which is based on Judeo-Christianity. Even though this must not be confused with neo-Paganism, many of the neo-Pagan traditions use similar rituals and techniques, albeit with a different (usually Celtic) vocabulary. 

The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage Translated by S.L. MacGregor Mathers [1900]. This grimoire is a primary source for modern ceremonial magic.

The Magus By Francis Barrett [1801].
One of the rarest and most reputable treatments of ceremonial magic. Discusses topics such as alchemy, astrology, and the Kabbalah.

By Arthur Edward Waite [1913].
Comprehensive descriptions of rituals from classic grimoires, including extensive illustrations of magical seals. Grimoires covered include the Greater and Lesser Keys of Solomon, the Grimorium Verum, and the Black Pullet. Also known as the Book of Black Magic.

Two very mysterious grimoires. These two grimoires (originating from the same book) are often cited as being used by Vodun/Obeah practitioners. Although they claim to be Kabbalistic in nature, there is very little if any actual Kabbalah to be found in them. Rather this appears to be a traditional ritual magick system with incantations to summon and dismiss spirits to achieve worldly ends. Published in 1849, and translated into English in 1880, the 6th and 7th Books of Moses claim to include material from 1338, 1383 and 1501, including portions reputedly translated from the "Cuthan-Samaritan" language, which has been extinct since the 12th Century A.D., and about which very little is known. The most interesting aspects of this book are the unique illustrations of magickal seals, with letters in Hebrew and an unknown script; and the lists of names of demonic entities. Note: the images in this grimoire were originally printed in the 19th Century using very primitive printing technology. To prepare them for publication on the Internet, they were scanned from the best source available and then image-processed to bring out details. Unfortunately some of these plates have illegible portions. Note: the first five books of Moses are the traditionally the first five books of the Bible.

translated by S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers [1888]
The key to modern ceremonial magic. Although the author of this grimoire was traditionally the biblical King Solomon, it was probably written in the 13th Century A.D. It was translated by S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers in 1888; Mathers subsequently had a lot of influence in the Golden Dawn movement, one of the sources of modern ritual magic; it is said that he co-wrote its rituals with W.B. Yeats. Mathers also translated the Kabbalah.

The Lesser Key of Solomon by S.L. MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley [1904].
The companion Grimoire to the Greater Key of Solomon, (for which, see above). It focuses on the characteristics of the various demons, and the summoning rituals.

Pow-wows; or Long Lost Friend by George Hohman [1820].
A grimoire in the "Pow-wow" tradition of the Pennsylvania Dutch. In spite of the name, Pow-wow is not a Native American tradition, but a rural European healing and hexing system which was imported into America in the 18th and 19th Century by German immigrants. After nearly dying out it has experienced a small revival in recent years.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Sea Tree

Dutch architectural firm Waterstudio has come up with a . . . structure that will apparently allow wildlife to thrive in urban areas.

The Sea Tree is essentially a giant floating park, which can be located in a river close to the bank. It's multiple layers allow various types of wildlife to find suitable habitats, with a large proportion of the structure housed underwater.

According to the Daily Mail, major cities like London or New York could see the introduction of Sea Trees within the next two years. An undisclosed lucrative client is apparently already taking a keen interest.