Do you watch Secret Circle? I came to it a bit late to the game, but I am officially addicted (again!). Yes, I’m a teenager deep down inside.
As you may have seen in one of the most recent episodes, the always-mischievous Faye and the always-trailing-behind Melissa have started spending more and more time in Faye’s new love interest, Lee’s, voodoo shop. While Faye insists that Lee is a fake, that none of his “voodoo” powers are actually real, she’s started realizing that there might actually be something to Lee’s odd voodoo spells and totems when he effectively cast a spell to draw out Cassie’s dark magic a few episodes ago.
I was struck by a warning Lee gave about Voodoo practitioners, about his Devil’s Spirit drug dealing friend, Callum, and about the nature of voodoo and the dangers of dabbling in something you don’t understand. Because lord knows Varla loves to dig into things she doesn’t understand! If it is freaky and sneaky or ghoulish and foolish, I can’t seem to help myself. And not to totally freak you out but my editor at Weiser Books found out about my Secret Circle fetish (and blossoming interest in Voodoo) and sent me this super cool book by Denise Alvarado. The truth is much of the history and practice of Voodoo is shrouded in superstition and false truths, and Alvarado’s The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbookis an excellent resource for anyone looking for authentic Voodoo and Hoodoo root0work and magic.
Not for the faint of heart, this book is the real deal. It has money spells and love spells, and quite a few curses and hexes for good measure. This is not white magic! But it is full of amazing ideas and incantations. I love the author’s website and her crafts.
Check it out!
Recent news had got me thinking about what kind of letters I’d leave behind if I were hit by a bus today, etc.
My mother and I have made arrangements for some post-death messages. What would you do? Read my latest post on The Huffington Post Weird News.
Varla’s Huff Po Blog
Ah, the Vernal Equinox. A time for gathering round the fairy ring and dancing two by two, drinking the dew from the Lady’s Mantle for eternal youth and beauty, lying in wait to capture a Brownie, or a Pixie, or if you are lucky, enslave a little Gnome.
The nature of the folktales of Ireland and Wales, collected widely throughout the latter part of the 1800′s by the likes of W.B. Yeats and William Wirt Sikes, were not always the “fairy tales” they’ve morphed into today. Like the Grimm brothers, Yeats and Sikes spent time traveling the countryside and writing down what had always been an oral tradition.
These beasties and beings, though not always evil or menacing, are always portrayed with an air of warning about them. The creatures of the Fairy Kingdom are working to trick you but if you get to them first you will have riches untold. The stories also serve as a warning: mainly to children and drunks to mind your manners and stay off the roads late at night.
Check out these collections of Welsh and Irish folklore I’ve curated as part of the Magical Creatures collection for Weiser Books.
The Occult Power of Goats
The Goblins of Electricity
The Malevolent Banshee
The Mermaid’s Prophecy
Merry meet and Happy Spring!
Nothing quite pleases a ghost hunter and paranormal prowler like the story of a Victorian medium who came to her powers after being diagnosed with a tumor, and who was vetted by the Society for Psychical Research as well as by Dr. Hodgson (who examined also Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical society and called them all charlatans!)The story of Leonora Piper is a truly remarkable one. She “hosted” more than one entity, including a French doctor– Dr. Phinuit– an actress named Mrs. Siddons, Johann Sebastian Bach, Henry Longfellow, Commodore Vanderbilt (the Italian multi-millionaire) and a young Italian girl named Loretta Ponchini, and by some accounts she also channeled Abraham Lincoln and George Washington! Phinuit is said to be her primary “control” and appeared most regularly and readily, speaking in a unique French dialect.
Click HERE to read more about Leonora Piper in Mrs. Piper and the Society for Psychical Research, from the Paranormal Parlor Weiser Books Collection.
A Kiss in the Dreamhouse
One of my favorite bands as a young, surly teen was Siouxsie and the Banshees, whose front-woman Siouxsie Sioux was a gothic chantress who howled like a mythological siren—luring you with her tales of travel and woe. So when I came upon Elliot O’Donnell’s book about banshees I simply had to dust off the old vinyl (for you youngins’ whose main experience with vinyl is the sheath you keep your iPod touch in, I am referring to a vinyl record) and paint on some heavy eyeliner so I could have a good ol’ fashion Banshee Bash.
Banshees are among the most feared creatures of the fairy kingdom, and this may be in part to the sympathies they invoke when you hear their wailing. You could easily be lured into the dark of night, hoping to help the pathetic creature who sounds as if she is in mourning. Some tales recount that banshees are the ghosts of women who have died in childbirth; others say they are the restless sprits of unrequited lovers.
Check out the story of The Malevolent Banshee available now as an e-book.
or on the nook:
I was five years old the first time I saw an apparition. I was half-asleep, the pre-dawn crickets had gone silent, and I was stirred into waking by a gentle pulling on my toe. When I opened my eyes I saw my paternal grandfather standing at the foot of my bed. He smiled. I slid my toes out of the covers into my slippers, preparing to lean into a nice big hug, but he was gone. I thought it strange, but to a five-year old the very regular world can seem like a strange place, so I drifted back to sleep. The next morning when I told my mom about my nighttime vision, she burst into tears. My grandpa had died just after midnight, perhaps an hour before he visited me.
As I grew up and started collecting strange stories of the supernatural variety, I found that this kind of manifestation is actually fairly common. An after-death farewell. Yet the idea of visitors from the great beyond is a subject that few dare to discuss in open company (unless you are hanging out with me) lest their experiences be ridiculed or their ideas sound crazy.
What kind of paranormal pasts do y’all harbor? What freaky things have happened to you?