Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Witchcraft: in the shadows no more

An old review, but a good one, written before I got my PhD, hence the use of 'Mr':

Witchcraft: Out of the Shadows

Leo Ruickbie


Mr Ruickbie has written a tight overview of the history and current trends (including some interesting statistical analysis) in Witchcraft. Unlike some books on the subject, there is no political or religious motivation to this book. It is factual and unjudgemental on the subject, neither being the craft's cheerleader nor taking the "its all evil" line. Because of this lack of an agenda, the book is much more complete than many books of its kind. His flowing style allows the reader to get to grips with the varied history of Witchcraft without being overwhelmed by minutiae. Not only is the book a fascinating read, it is a pleasant one as well. Needless to say, Ruickbie has included an extensive bibliography for those wishing to read further on the subject. I highly recomend this book to anyone with the slightest interest in the "Craft".

Rating: 5/5

Sunday, 18 October 2009

On the Shelf Review – Ruickbie’s Faustus: The Life and Times of a Renaissance Magician

I don’t know what I pay you guys for, because nobody mentioned to me that the most thorough treatment of the Renaissance magus Faust, Leo Ruickbie’s Faustus, had just appeared. Nevertheless, you’re all forgiven, and I’ll review it for you.

Writing a biography of Jorg Faust is an extremely daunting task. [...] This is the task that Leo Ruickbie sets out to do, and his solution is novel.

[...] enjoy the first full biography of Faustus as a window into the life of a fascinating, and likely very misunderstood, individual.

Thanks to Dan Harms for this review. You can read the full review at his webiste.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Has Michael Jackson's Ghost Returned from the Grave

Has Michael Jackson come back fom the dead? Speculation reaches fever pitch as reports of sightings come in from all over the world. Are we witnessing genuine paranormal phenomena or mass hysteria?

Does Jackson’s Ghost Haunt Neverland?
During filming inside Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch for Larry King Live on CNN, the cameraman caught a shadowy figure moving across a long hallway. Many watching CNN's ‘Exclusive: Inside Neverland’ were convinced that they had seen the ghost of Michael Jackson haunting his former home. Video clips were soon circulating on YouTube and across the internet.

Jackson Speaks from Beyond the Grave
Psychic Christian von Lähr appeared on the late night radio talkshow Coast to Coast AM, claiming to be able to channel the spirit of Michael Jackson. Speaking to presenter Ian Punnet, von Lähr said that Jackson was able to talk through him and went on to reveal details of a family trust fund – a story that was only broken by CNN two days later. It should be pointed out that it is in no way unusual for someone with substantial assests to make out trust funds to provide for family members, hence the apparent revelation is an entirely logical conjecture that requires no supernatural explanation. Von Lähr also added to the debate about possible foul play in Jackson’s death by claiming to deliver the following from Jackson himself: ‘The oxygen tank was half empty. Did it run out? There’s something wrong with the air... it wasn’t... I wasn’t gone eight... eight or eighteen? I’m not sure when I passed. There’s something wrong with that.’

Friday, 16 October 2009

New Witch for Wookey Hole

An eerie human shaped figure in the rock scares nervous visitors to the Wookey Hole Caves in Somerset. According to the local legend she was a witch turned to stone by a Glastonbury monk. Today she has some flesh and blood competition. Film goers will remember the chilling underground scenes from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, some of which were filmed at Wookey Hole. But it is not Harry Potter who has returned to haunt the caves, but a former estate agent from Shepton Mallet.