Friday, January 29, 2016

An Anniversary for The Raven

On January 29, 1845, the Evening Mirror published The Raven under Edgar Allen Poe's name. This wasn't the first publication of the poem, but it was the first publication using Poe's name. This calls for a celebration. Where would the succession of shoe-gazing, dark romantics be without The Raven?

In honor of The Raven wear black and feathers and jewelry depicting Poe and ravens today. Writing with a quill pen would be a nice touch too if you have one. We can at least change our computer font to something swirly today.

What? You don't have anything with a raven or Poe's image on it?! Let me help you out.

PaperStatue: Instant Download Raven Mask
FreshComfy: The Raven Scarf
Skeletos: Raven Skull Belt Buckle
CostureroReal: Raven Queen Ball Cown
RebelMadness: Raven Halloween Skirt
What's a celebration without cookies?

CookieDoughCreations: Raven Cookie Cutter
If you're need a bigger Poe fix, click on my Edgar Allen Poe link to all the previously published posts that have featured the Saint of Halloween.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Deadly Jester Sticks

I came across an interesting Etsy shop that is owned by Lynda M. Jasper-Vogel. The shop is Sir Cedric's Good Heads and has an offering of jester sticks that were created by Jasper-Vogel in her California workshop between 1980 and 1990.

According to Jasper-Vogel,
"The jester stick, bauble, or fools head originated in the Middle Ages as a large phallus on a long stick with which fools and entertainers would hit each other during comedic sketches. When comedy became more sophisticated so did the jester stick. It evolved to the likeness of the jester and was used in the same way the a ventriloquist would use a dummy. Members of fashionable society would often have one made in their own likeness to be carried during important festivals."

The jester sticks for sale in her shop are one-of-a-kind or limited edition pieces that remained after the shop closed. These would be perfect accessories for Mardi Gras or perhaps a Halloween Ball.

Diablo Tres
Mystic Reveler
Pirate of the Caribbean
Bride and Groom
A Christmas Past
Jasper-Vogel also has jester sticks that are not skeletons in her shop. They're all beautifully crafted and would be perfect in any collection of Halloween art.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Be Still, My Beading Heart

I really admire and am so jealous of the beautiful beading done by Nepinka. Her Etsy shop says that she combines new and old practices by doing time-consuming handwork to create modern images. I've tried my own hand at doing bead work and it's not as easy as it looks. Trying to get tiny beads to go where you want is like herding cats. I'm captivated by Nepinka's attention to detail and touch of humor.

Ne Pinka's (I think this is her actual name) shop says she lives in Europe. I think I saw somewhere that she lives in Estonia. (Actually, a message from the artist says she lives in the Ukraine, oops!) You can follow what Ne Pinka is up to on her Facebook page too. She recently took a long break from beading, but has come to realize beading is her dream job. I'm glad she came to this conclusion and will be around for awhile.

Flower Heart Necklace
Anatomical Heart Military Medal
Burning House Brooch
Human Ear Necklace
Anatomical Heart and Veins Necklace
Jellyfish Earrings
Please take a look at her shop. The items are very reasonably priced and I'm sure a few sales would show our encouragement. Everyone get out their credit cards!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ancient Funeral Vestments

I'm doing something I typically don't like to do. I'm going to post photos without a clear source or explanation. I searched for definitive sources and explanations, but didn't find much. I'm going ahead anyway because I'm intrigued. Maybe someone will be able to point me in the right direction?

I saw most of these Catholic funeral vestments on Pinterest first. A Google search led me to various Catholic blogs with photos, but provenance was often weak.

So, here is what I've learned: Catholic priests no longer wear black at funerals. This is because of the Second Vatican Council that took place during the 1960s and modernized the Catholic liturgy. (Don't quote me on this kids, my history of the Catholic Church is shaky at best.) There does seem to be a small movement to put priest back in black though, which is kind of cool. I love renegade priests.

Priests also haven't worn vestments (or chasubles) with skulls on them since before the eighteenth century. There is some reason for this, but most of the explanations were quoted in Latin which I never took in high school so you'll have to trust me.

Now, I give you photos with no good history, but are surely lovely to look at. Enjoy.

I think this chasuble is from Pomerania dating from the mid-eighteenth century.


This one (below) has no source either but comes from an amusing blog post by a priest discussing a rumor that white vestments would no longer allowed at funerals.

Fr.  Z's Blog

This is the reverse side of the above chasuble found on the New Liturgical Movement blog.

New Liturgical Movement

I don't know anything about the following vestments.

Defenders of the Catholic Faith

The image below was off of Google images. It linked to a blog called PhatMass (not kidding) and a post called Bad Vestments. I can't make this stuff up. There was no picture on the blog, though, so I just don't know...

After finding these images, I'm more fascinated than ever. I did learn a few things: there are some interesting Catholic blog discussions going on; no one seemed very concerned with exploring the real meaning of the vestments or their history; and you should always read the comments on blog posts. I had a few chuckles reading comments that asked if these vestment were for black masses or satanic rituals. Some commented that if they wore this type of vestment today their congregation would be horrified. I sort of wish this type of vestment would make a come-back. It might inspire some serious contemplation.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bad Vibes by Matt Darling

Matt Darling's pins and patches are just plain fun. Darling's Big Cartel shop Bad Vibes has a nice selection of inexpensive statement pieces. For certain people, they could even serve as memorial gifts.  That's how I found Darling's shop. I was searching for interesting funeral gifts and the skeleton in the coffin pin popped up. Like I said, it's not for everyone, but I think you could carry it off.

Life Was OK
Hang In There Baby
Cat Skull
Cat Moon
Whatevs 4-Evs
Anxiety Ghost
I think I need several of these.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Kukeri Festival

Between New Year and Lent there is a festival to chase away evil spirits in Bulgaria called Kukeri. Let's go!
People wear costumes depicting scary animals and parade through town making lots of noise to scare the bad vibes away. I love these raucous festivals celebrated around the world that simply acknowledge evil and attempt to do something about it. I imagine everyone leaves with a lighter spirit. I like the idea of getting to chase away my bad luck and put all of my negative energy in a pile and burn it once a year. In fact, I might just do that this weekend.
If you feel foolish doing this in your neighborhood, there are packaged tours you can take that will guide you through your first Kukeri festival. They take place throughout the month of January in Bulgaria, but the largest festival takes place in Pernik. This year the Pernik festival takes place January 29-31.  One of the tours is led by V Travel Ltd. and you might want to check it out if you're nearby in, say, Romania or Greece next week.

I really should start a spooky tour company. So many great festivals, so little time.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Welsh Eccentric: William Price

You probably have no idea who William Price was, but he is someone with whom we should be familiar. Price was a Welsh physician born in 1800 who is known as one of the great eccentrics. The son of a (some say insane) minister, Price went against his father's wishes and became a physician. In the early nineteenth century that would probably be enough to call you eccentric, but Price went above and beyond.

First, after returning from an exile in France (long story), Price started a druid group that attracted a great many followers. He is credited with being one of the catalysts for the neo-pagan movement that exists today. He lived the part, too, wearing green flowing robes and growing his beard and hair long. For the Victorians, this was not normal. Need I mention that Price was also a nudist, vegetarian, and opposed vaccination?

Second, when his son died after living only five months, Price held a funeral on a hilltop and attempted to cremate his son. Cremation was taboo and Price was arrested before the cremation could occur. Price argued that cremation was not illegal and the judge agreed and set him free. The cremation was finally performed several months later. Price set a precedent that led to the formation of the Cremation Society of Great Britain. 

William Price's last words before his death on January 23, 1893 were "Bring me a glass of champagne." It really couldn't be more perfect. This Saturday, let's all raise a glass of champagne to William Price, neo-paganism, and cremation.

If you'd like to learn more about Price, there is a biography! Eccentric: The Life of Dr. William Price by Dean Powell was published in 2005. Powell even has a Facebook page on Price if you're really hooked. I think Price is someone you could get hooked on.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Skulls and Betsey Johnson

Fashion designer Betsey Johnson and skulls go hand-in-hand. I've always liked Johnson's vintage-prom-girl-gone-bad style and I own several pieces of her jewelry. My skull earrings by Johnson are a favorite. All of the pieces I'm showing today are available on Amazon. Johnson's own shop doesn't always have past-season designs. Let's indulge in some bright and sparkling skulls and spiders to cheer us up from the winter blues.

"Dark Shadows" Haunted House and Cat Earrings
"Mini's" Skeletons Earrings
"Spider Lux" Statement Necklace
"Spider Lux" Earrings
"Caribbean Queen" Skull Stud Earrings

"Dark Shadows" Skeleton Bride Necklace
"Spring Fling" Bug Drop Earrings
"Lady Lock" Skull Drop Earrings
"Turqs and Caico's" Snake Necklace
"Crystal Rhodium" Snake Earrings
"Dark Shadows" Haunted House Necklace
"Dark Shadows" Mixed Critter Necklace

Really, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Every woman should own at least one piece of Betsey Johnson's devilishly adorable jewelry don't you think?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fantasy Doll Chateau

I came across some really bizarre, jointed dolls that I want to share with you from Doll Chateau. The cool thing about these dolls is that you can purchase them fully designed with makeup and clothing or you can buy just the jointed doll and dress it any way you like. These are not inexpensive. Nude dolls cost hundreds of dollars.

To purchase a doll you need to go through an agent or independent shop. There are several in the United States and across Europe and Asia, and you'll find links on the website.

Here are some of the available completed dolls.

Carol: Limited Edition
Snow Nymph

The detail in these dolls is breathtaking.  You really should clink on the links to see them fully.  You will be charmed.