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Strange Women Society “Secret Society” tee

Just kidding. There will never be a new black! This is evidenced by the 666 (approx.) black tee shirts we have in our wardrobe. Leather harnesses, tulle skirts, and velvet cloaks look marvelous and are great fun for a night out (or hell, grocery shopping or a trip to the post office if you like to give the normies a show) but let’s face it–at the end of the day we just want to be comfortable. And there is nothing, I mean nothing, more comfortable than a black tee shirt. Yes, black tee shirts are more cozy. There’s science to back that up, somewhere.

We also know that we, and no doubt you, too, need to give our pile of ratty old black tees a thorough going-through because man, that shit’s old and nasty. Pilled, worn threadbare, curry-stained and eternally covered with cat fur—mein Gott, we’re gross.

Maybe, and this is just a suggestion, but give it some thought: these loyal wardrobe staples have given you their all and it’s time to let them die with dignity. Gather them up into the charity pile. Or cut ’em up and use ’em for crafts or home improvement projects or light bondage with a consensual partner (make sure they’re your tees on this last point; tossing out someone else’s stuff is likely not to result in sexytimes.)

…wait, wait! Put that middle finger away. You don’t think we’d make you go through such an agonizing exercise without some recommendations as to replacements for your beloved black scraps of comfort, do you? See below for some wicked black tee suggestions that are anything but basic.

Dead Inside Muscle Tee

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Cozy coffin times with the “Dead Inside” muscle tee. FOXBLOOD // $39

Feminism Means Equality Tee

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The Feminism Means Equality tee: shit yeah it does, motherfuckers. CatCoven // $25

Strange Women Society Tee

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Proudly display what everyone already knew anyway in the Secret Society Tee. Strange Women Society // $28.50

The Upside Down Tee

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The Upside Down Stranger Things tee–because we are probably going to be obsessed with Stranger Things until we die. WoeAndShucks // $24 

Too Ghoul For School Tee

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Too Ghoul For School? Yeah, we learned all our creepin’ in the streets. Local Boogeyman // $36 

Support Your Local Coven Tee

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The Support Your Local Coven tee; hexes and charms sold separately. Babe Coven // $28 

In Bed Tee

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The In Bed tee–you’re not the boss of me! But okay maybe. Burger And Friends // $18

Tales From The Crypt Tee

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Crypt Keeper Couture (except you’re way cuter than the Crypt Keeper). Libra Style // $27.31

Satan Is A Lady Cropped Tee

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Satan loves bare navels, people. Better give her what she wants. These Americans // $35.

(This article was originally posted at Dirge; the site is no longer active.)

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13687158_1505275199498442_1881285878_nDo you guys remember that little project, our wee devil baby, the demonic thing on which Becky Munich and I and a coven of infernally talented artists and writers collaborated, conjured forth from the depths of the abyss, and birthed into the world in the early months of 2016? Sure you do! I mean, I hope you do, right?

Our Occult Activity Book for artistic creatures of the night & weirdos who like to dabble in the arcane arts (using crayons and colored pencils, of course!) was a rousing success and sold out in three weeks! As it was a very limited run–“spooky and special”, according to io9!– we decided that we were not going to revive it and raise it from the dead for another go round, but instead make a Volume Two that is twice as filled with magic and witchery, and even more splendid than the first!

This second book is scheduled for release in Fall of 2016, and to whet your appetite for more bewitching spell craft, dark arts, and esoteric fun times, I have gathered a collection of teaser images from the forthcoming book, below. I hope that you are as excited as we our for the release of our devil baby Jr., Occult Activity Book Volume Two!

{Art credits: Becky Munich, Carisa Swenson, Dana Glover, Dan Bythewood, Tenebrous Kate, & Casket Glass Studio; words by Jack Shear, Heather Drain, and Sonya Vatomsky.}

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There are certain times–early mornings, late nights, studying, or writing–where I prefer my music with a minimal amount of stimuli. No data, no information, and especially no words.

Sounds that become so deeply a part of the background, to the extent that that they are now the space within which you exist. Music which summons imagery and energies that both unnerve and entrance, and engages the mind in such a way that the listener is transported to realities outside the confines of their own space and time.

For example…

A cavernous alien construct, floating through the void of space. Industrial creaks and groans, the monstrous pressure and eerie whistle of wind through airducts. The bleak dread as you contemplate the cold stars, utterly alone. The stark terror that besets you as strange, hollow sounds reverberate and echo throughout the craft, the deep bass and unnerving thrum of a heartbeat much heavier and older than your own.

A dark moon, a murky invocation. Dense shadows and fog, the low drone of wordless chants dwindled to a buzzing murmuration. The rattle and reedy thread of dying breaths. Desperate howls and unearthly shrieks as the veil of night is rent in twain with a vision of the unnameable. The sound of things that may best remain unknown.

Or if you please: lying alone on a darkened hillside, surrounded by enormous weather-worn stones, these rocky behemoths stretching to the midnight sky, humming with ancient power. The wind sighs an indeciperhable threnody through the trees. Between the earth and the moon lies you, a conduit for all things beautiful and terrible, vibrating with those simultaneous realities.

If you find yourself sufficiently creeped out but perversely intrigued by these menacing, melancholic scenarios, it may please to you know that there are musicians similarly inspired, whose creations fall into the dark ambient genre of music. Sounds of eerie abstraction, dissonant drones and resonances, and unsettling snatches of melody, evocative of solitude and horror and even an austere bliss. Should you wish to hear more, continue reading for my personal map through the realms of sinister soundscapes and sonic oblivion. There are obviously many more artists than are listed here who fall into this category, and there are many different pathways upon which to summon the glooms. Begin your journey with these five ghostly transmissions from the abyss.

Lustmord

Widely credited as the originator of the dark ambient genre, Lustmord’s Brian Williams has worked with inconoclastic industrial acts such as Throbbing Gristle, as well as contributing his own brand of unsettling sounds to countless cinematic scores. The persistent creep and shadowy paranoia of O T H E R was my first introduction to his eerie œuvre, and while everyone is certainly entitled to a favorite, this album remains my go-to for an evening alone, manifesting dread and drinking deeply of the dark.

Kammarheit

Swedish dark ambient project Kammarheit’s The Starwheel was re-issued in 2016, and offers lush, deep drones and gentle washes of reverb that produce an effect nearly spiritual in its unexpected profundity, and perfect for conjuring meditations upon the immense night and one’s very small place in a universe quite vast.

Bohren & der Club of Gore

German ambient/jazz crossover Bohren & der Club of Gore describe their sound as an “unholy ambient mixture of slow jazz ballads, Black Sabbath doom and down tuned Autopsy sounds.” Evocative of a lounge-noir, Lynchian atmosphere, the solemn mood and lumbering melodies produce a nauseating unease in the listener, and yet with repetition lulls us with its slow, soothing dullness, narcotic in quality, and a luxurious balm for the senses.

Kreng

Enigmatic Belgian artist Kreng (Pepijn Caudron) is an avant-garde alchemist of sound and maybe about whom the less we know, the better– and as far as dark ambient albums go, Kreng’s Grimoire is as spooky as you can get. Ominous strings, brooding horns, and creaking percussion ratchet up tensions to an unbearable, nearly punishing degree, and combined with guttural breaths and operatic vocals, creates a disorienting cacophony, a feverish nightmare from which you fear you may never wake.

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I’m not certain there is much known about the audio/visual/performance project known as ɗʉɭʈ. A meditation on dark mysticism, medievalism, and the macabre, and inspired by Irish mythology, old ritual and nature, it draws its energy from the inherent esoteric elements in all that is ancient and wild, sacred and savage. And indeed, when one hears this excerpt from “LeftHand in thee Dense Thicket,” one perceives something weighty and full of inconceivable gravity, and gets the sense that they are listening in on the birth of the gods, perhaps even the amniotic fluids of the cosmos itself.

(This article was originally posted at Dirge; the site is now defunct.)

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13277644_739243496216166_85591962_nGosh. It’s been a while since I’ve written about what I am currently up to! I tried to put a brief missive together back in June but I was so frazzled with my grandmother’s illness, I just couldn’t think straight. Let’s try again.

I finally put to use the kitchen aid ice cream paddle attachment that I received as a gift last Christmas (or was it two Christmases ago? Jeez.) and made a beautiful batch of coffee ice cream, just in time for some seriously hot Florida weather. Nearly two months later it has only gotten hotter, but have I made any more ice cream? No. The answer is no, I have not. It will probably be another two years. Such is the life of frou-frou kitchen gadgets.

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Speaking of unused Christmas gifts, I received Yotam Ottolenghi’s beautiful vegetarian cookbook Plenty More a year or two ago, and I will shamefacedly admit that other an initial flip through to gaze at the dazzling photos, I hadn’t opened it again since. In searching out some meals that I could ostensibly cook ahead of time and then nibble off pieces for breakfast or lunch as needed, I came across the “cauliflower cake” and thought it looked perfect. I think his recipes are a sort of…Mediterranean fusion, you could say? So, the sort of book with lots of interesting ideas requiring not readily on hand ingredients, and instances where you might look at the recipe title and think, huh, I wonder if that’s really going to work? The cauliflower cake is like a more labor intensive and fancier and perhaps heftier version of a quiche, and we ended up really enjoying it. You can find the recipe over at smitten kitchen, so if you are interested in dusting off your spring form pan and turning on your stove, give it a try.

All summer long I have been making this avocado and crab salad, I think it’s a Tyler Florence recipe, maybe? It’s basically lump crabmeat from the fish guy in your supermarket (not the canned stuff on the shelf, I don’t trust it), mixed with some mayo, sriracha, black sesame seeds, minced green onion, and a wee splash of sesame oil. If I have it on hand, I stir in some diced, seeded cucumber for texture and for, well… roughage, I guess.  In the meantime, dice an avocado, sprinkle with lime juice and salt, and mold it together in a little cracked glass dish that is too cute to throw away. Voilà!

This is the perfect breakfast for me. I cannot eat cold cereal in the morning (it makes me a little nauseous; I think I associate it with the existential dread I felt at the prospect of facing a classroom of second graders when I was 7 years old), and I don’t really love oatmeal or fruit because it’s sweet and sweets in the morning make me rather ill. Wow. I never realized how picky I am.

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13731239_1090341507717227_207964854_nIn early June my office got a bit of a revamp, and though I was opposed to it at first (probably because I didn’t want to do any of the work), I was thrilled with how it turned out. No more stacks and piles of crap! No more hand-me-down particle board!

We have bookshelves elsewhere in the house, so these particular cubbyholes are housing reading for research and edification rather than entertainment– as well as a perfume sample station, knitting nooks and a mini mom altar. There’s some empty spaces yet to fill, though, so that either means I will be stuffing junk in them or saving them for something special. Probably the former.

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My reading has been all over the place over the past few months. I just finished book one of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and I will confess I know nothing of Sabrina, I never even watched the television series in the 90s. I don’t think I would have expected how…dark this story was; I thought it might be lighthearted and campy/spooky. Except I totally expected how dark it was, because the internet spoiled it for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can’t wait to read more.

I was immediately sold on I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl  after reading the Amazon blurb: a “… film noir set in verse, each poem a miniature crime scene with its own set of clues—frosted eye-shadow, a pistol under a horse’s eye, dripping window units, an aneurysm opening its lethal trap. ….”  But in the reading of it…well, to be perfectly honest. I was left feeling pretty dumb and filled with self-loathing. Why wasn’t I getting it? What were all of these readers who have rated it 5-stars seeing that I wasn’t? There were portions in while I was almost there…I was lost in the words and the imagery for just a second, and there was nearly a glimmering of understanding, and then I lost it. As the book wore on, these instances became more frequent and so overall, I mean, yeah–I got it. I think. But it wasn’t a very enjoyable read and I think I finished it out of spite.

I have had my eyes on The Decadent Cookbook for several years now and used a recent  weird and creepy cookbook purchasing binge as an excuse to finally pick it up. Described as a slightly sinister and highly literate feast of decadent writing on food, and with chapters such as “Dinner With Caligula”, “Blood, The Vital Ingredient”, and “I Can Recommend the Poodle”, I can’t tell you how excited I am to dig in. Expect a roast flamingo on my supper table very soon.
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I have been meaning to watch Morgiana for years and just got around to it this weekend (it’s on YouTube, with subtitles!) It’s gorgeous and captivating and quite eccentric. And as one reviewer says:”… Edward Gorey as filmed by Ken Russell–a sardonic chunk of Victorian penny-dreadful melodrama tweaked to new levels of aesthetic and emotional hysteria.”

More one-word reviews for you on other recently watched films…
Hush*–maybe
Late Phases*–yes
Session 9–yes
Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For*–eh
Big Hero 6–maybe
They Look Like People*-maybe
The Invitation*–YES
Darling*–maybe
They’re Watching*–YES(but)**
The Martian–eh
Baskin*–um

*these titles can be found on netflix
** I loved it, in spite of….well. Just don’t kill me for suggesting it.

 

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It’s been a strange summer, full of the sort of things that are done before you know they’ve started, as well as the hurry-up-and-wait type of scenarios. My grandmother pulled through her last health scare, but now she is totally bed-bound. She continues to perservere, however, and is generally cheery and good-natured about it all.  She’ll hang out until she’s ready to leave. I think we are all prepared, as much as one can be…so we are just going to enjoy her until she departs for her next Big Thing.

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Image credit: muttermuseum.org
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Image credit: muttermuseum.org

I took a whirlwind trip to Philadelphia to visit my darling Best Good Friend, who has been spending a great deal of time up there for work-related purposes. Unfortunately I did not get a lot of photos, but maybe that’s a good thing: enjoying time with a loved one without the constant compulsion and distraction of documenting everything.

It was a lovely, relaxing time of shopping and food and shopping and food and catching up–which I think is exactly what we needed. We visited the Reading Terminal Market and walked from there to the Mütter Museum (where they don’t allow photography anyway) and saw the soap lady and the Hyrtl Skull Collection, among other things. We were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Grimms’ Anatomy: Magic and Medicine, a special exhibit in honor of the two-hundredth anniversary of the publication of The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, and which shows real-world examples of gruesome and grotesque fairy-tale bodies. Fascinating!

Of course we could not leave without a trip through the gift shop for all sorts of macabre goodies–the main goal of course was to snag a few bottles of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s “Umlaut“, which was created exclusively for the Mütter Museum. It’s a resinous, musky vanilla that BGF observes smells like a feminist bookstore, probably this one. Which is to say we think it smells pretty amazing.

We also stayed in and ate nearly an entire bag of Herr’s Jalapeno Poppers one night, which, if you don’t know, Herr’s Jalapeno Poppers are basically the best junk food ever.

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Speaking of junkfood, in July my sisters and our significant others met up for a trip that’s been a long time in the planning–a visit to our hometown in Milford Ohio, as well as a stop to see our baby sister’s new home in Indiana and visit with some other family in the area. It has been 30+ years since we moved from Ohio to Florida and I had never been back. I wasn’t quite ten years old when I left, so I was prepared to recognize absolutely nothing, as kids don’t really pay attention to much in the way of driving routes at that age.

After arriving at the airport and being picked up by my brother in law and my other traveling sister, we drove straight to Milford, stopping at a Skyline Chili to stuff cheese coneys in our faces. (I remember after having moved down to Florida and seeing chili dogs on the menu, my excitement rapidly turning to sadness–instead of the monstrous piles of shredded cheese that I was longing for…it was…squirty cheese! I had never been so offended in my young life.) The cheese coneys I had last month tasted exactly like I remembered them–cheesy and oniony, and the weird taste of the Cincinnati chili— and they were totally worth the issues they caused in my now 40 year old guts. NO REGRETS.

In driving to the house where I lived until I was 10 years old, a funny thing happened. The closer we got to it, the more I recognized little landmarks and certain traffic lights…the same used car lot with the funny multicolored triangle flags was still nested in the corner where we made the left-hand turn on our street, for example. It was so surreal. Stranger too, to see a car pull up in our old driveway as we walked toward the house. Two rambunctious young men exited the car and entered the house, so that was that as far as our pressing our faces against the windows to see inside. The driveway was so small!  I recall all the worms that would wriggle across its surface after a rainstorm in the spring…it seemed so immense at the time…

Afterwards we drove by our grandparent’s old place. It’s at the very end of the lane and it looks like developers have still not touched the woods beyond, which made me inordinately happy. It is still very much as I remember it, save for all of the junk in the front yard. Tools and toys and clothing and lawn chairs…it looked as if they might have been having a garage sale. Except…I don’t think they were selling anything. It was kind of weird, actually.

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We spent a good portion of the trip in Bloomington, at my uncle’s beautiful home, far out in the country. Like, far, faaaaar out in the country. The driveway was maybe a quarter mile long and I honestly did not even know where the next neighbor was. The back yard, such as it was, had been turned into a bit of a butterfly and hummingbird garden, and beyond that there was what looked to be miles and miles of wooded area. It was a little eerie at night, imagining the house lit up in the darkness, and someone in the trees watching us intently.

In between visiting folks and dining and chatting, I knit on a sock and I finished reading Kindred by Octavia Butler.I cannot believe it’s taken me this long to read any of her stories, but now I want to devour all of them

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We then: visited a cemetery beautiful old cemetery down the road // met up with our cousins for dinner at Bru Burger Bar in Indianapolis, where we waited two hours to be seated // got a driving tour and history from my baby sister of the beautiful homes of Broadripple // visited downtown Indianapolis // ate all the french fries and all the dipping sauce at Brugge // visited Half Price Books and found the art of Marci Washington for $8

That was a lot of stuff to do in the three days that we were there! And I have promised I will be back in fall of 2017 to do all of the Autumn Things with my sister, as for the past ten years she had been living in California, and had previously spent most of her life in Florida, and so she is going nuts at the prospect of fall activities. I can’t wait.

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7 Aug
2016

The safest place to bury a body from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

Title inspired by the poetry of Sonya Vatomsky and the art of of Stellar Leuna.

Track list:

You Disappear, La Luz | DRIVE YOUR CAR, L.A. WITCH | Female Trouble, Thee Tsunamis | Okie Dokie Doggy Daddy, Lala Lala | Night Sound, Prom Queen | Reposession Man, The Vallures | Eat You Alive, The Delphines | Fuck Marry Kill, Daddy Issues | The Future’s Done, The Lad Mags | La Sirena, Bombón | Cràpula, Les Mortettes

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“Matsuyama Miyabi,” a Chinese artist assuming a Japanese moniker, defines her artistic style as “Neo-Ukiyo-e.”

 

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Juxtaposing the feminine beauty of traditional Edo-era floating world imagery with themes of death and fate and a gorgeously gloomy atmosphere, she conjures shadowy, unsettling truths and reveals the darkness of unspeakable fears.

“WHAT GOOD IS THE WORLD IF THERE IS ONLY BRIGHTNESS AND HAPPINESS?” inquires the thoughtful artist.

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Picking up a small amount of internet fame for her Addams Family In Kimonos, (or perhaps she would have, if the internet wasn’t full of shameless turds who share and pin and reblog things without context or credit), Matsuyama Miyabi candidly shares that although she had fun with it as an interesting creative exercise, she doesn’t even like that particular piece very much!

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Matsuyama Miyabi’s obsessions and inspirations range from horror films and suspenseful thrillers to the grotesque manga art of Junji Ito, and she acknowledges a fondness for the twisted postures encouraged in fashion photography (it reminds her of the dancing figures in the Noh Plays of Japan), and the unique charm of weirdly attractive haute couture fashion models.

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“All kinds of beauty are connected,” she adds with finality.

Find more of Matsuyama Miyabi’s work on her tumblr and her Instagram.

(This article was originally posted at Dirge; the site is no longer active.)

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4 Aug
2016

Image: Ghost Of Perdition by Chris Dessaigne
Image: Ghost Of Perdition by Chris Dessaigne

This was originally written for and posted at After Dark In the Playing Fields on Halloween in 2010, by my partner in the enterprise at that time, to whom we at Unquiet Things refer to, with much love, as a “Kindred Spirit”.

However, I can’t think of a better time to indulge in a chilling tale than during summer’s infernal furnace when the promise of autumn’s cooling glooms are still a dreadfully long way off. And so, you can thank a feverish August heatwave for the re-sharing of this this delightfully spooky list.

Some of the listed items below are complete books, whereas others are shorter stories. I have attempted to include links to read for free on the web, where possible;otherwise, the links will lead you to amazon where the books/stories can be purchased.

1. “The Music of Erich Zann” by H.P. Lovecraft. The shrieking and whining of desperate viols…defending against…what exactly?

2. The Tenant by Roland Topor. The most disturbing novel I have ever read, a nauseating crescendo of paranoia and sinister characters.

3. “O Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad” by M.R. James. Mysterious medieval whistles with Latin inscriptions and the infamous “face of crumpled linen”.

4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Evocative, eerie and I first read it in one sitting.

5. “The White People” by Arthur Machen. “And if the roses in your garden sang a weird song, you would go mad. And suppose the stones in the road began to swell and grow before your eyes, and if the pebble that you noticed at night had shot out stony blossoms in the morning?”

6. “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood. Two campers encounter a place where the veil between the worlds has grown thin…an alien world, a world tenanted by willows only and the souls of willows.

7. “A Haunted Island” by Algernon Blackwood. Chilling terror and remniscent of the Adirondacks island camp I stay at in the summers. (Blackwood makes this list twice, because he is truly the master of the unsettling tale.)

8. The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson. A found manuscript, swine creatures and the swift passing of the universe…is the narrator sane or not?

9. “The Spider” by Hanns Heinz Ewers. Mysterious suicides take place in the same apartment, seemingly without cause.

10. “The Human Chair” by Edogawa Rampo. A bizarre tale of the Japanese gothic.

11. “The Room in the Tower” by E.F. Benson. Sinister dreams and unfriendly nocturnal visitors.

12. “The Damned Thing” by Ambrose Bierce. What may happen in a field of wild oats.

A bonus pick from your host, Mlle. Ghoul:

  • 13.  The House Next Door by Anne River Siddons.  A singular tale, and from what I can tell the author’s lone foray into the genre. A unique take on the haunted house story – is the evil housed within in the structure of the dwelling, or is it the wickedness of the inhabitants that drive the horrors that occur within?  The chills are so subtly sinister and so elegantly written that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly why the book is so frightening; I imagine the shudders provoked by these pages will be very different for each reader.

Feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments!

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Image: Sofia Arjam (this same print hangs above my bed)

You’d imagine that after obsessing about fragrance all throughout the day I would give it a rest, so to speak, as night falls, and I ready myself for bed. Surely, you think, there is no need for perfumes and potions while you are dead to the world for 6 to 8 hours a night.
Not so, friends!

Bedtime is without a doubt, my favorite time of all the times. After a long, tiresome day I have been known to run toward the bedroom murmuring  bedbedbedBedBedBEDBED with increasing urgency before flinging myself onto the bed with a satisfying thwunk! as I sink into our approximately 100 year old mattress.

Whether this is because I long for several hours of uninterrupted me-time with no one making any demands of me, or because I love my dreamland adventures, I don’t quite know for sure, but I can tell you that before clocking out for the evening, I do like to treat myself to a scented nightcap.

I don’t think I am alone in this practice. Whether you like to spritz a fragrance all over the bed linens in a puff of decadence, or just dab a soothing scented oil on your wrists–bedtime is a lovely occasion to swath yourself in cozy comfort with a scent that is neither complicated nor intricate or –on the opposite end of the spectrum–it’s a great time to test out a new fragrance you might not want to wear in public just yet.

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Some folks have favorite warm night or chilly evening fragrances that work best for them, some prefer aromas that send them straight to the snoozes, and some seek out special scents that amplify and intensify their dreams–personally, I probably do all of these things.

What scents work best for these purposes?  Well, I think it is a matter of preferences. I know that lavender oil is highly touted as having a somewhat sedative effect that is good for anxiety and restlessness, but I find the odor too sharp and camphorous to be conducive to calm. Chamomile, also said to be a calming scent, is one that I find much more tolerable with its sweetly herbal, mildly apple-y fragrance. Though to be honest, I think I prefer it as a cup of tea before sleep rather than a blanket of scent in which to wrap myself. (Actually, I don’t pay any attention to any of holistic, aromatherapeutic stuff most of the time. It either smells like sleepy dreams to me, or it doesn’t.)

One such dreamy scent is the Warm Milk & Honey Sleep Body Mist from Bath and Body Works. I don’t know that this was necessarily something I would have purchased on my own, but it was in a gift bag from my best good friend, and I was thoroughly surprised by how much I love it.  So of course it is probably discontinued (here is a link to the lotion). I think it’s like your very favorite mug–that lovely big one with the chipped ridge–filled with softly sugared, steamed milk, in which a lovely stick of cinnamon has been steeping. It’s a spice that’s been tempered and lullabied by creaminess and a warm sweetness that’s not terribly cloying–just enough to promise the best sort of dreams. For what it’s worth, my beau says it “smells like bread”.

Moonrise was a collaboration between Alchemologie’s Julianne Zaleta and Phantasmaphile’s Pam Grossman, and is inspired by plants historically connected to the moon. Notes are “…artemesia, inspired by the Greek goddess, Artemis, who represents the new moon.  Artemis is portrayed in the fragrance by a few spare drops of wormood in the top note, supported by bergamot and petitgrain.  The heart of the perfume is made of luminous jasmine, honey absolute and balanced with rose.  Sandalwood, frankincense and oak moss form the base chord.” I find most moon-inspired fragances to be pale, wan things but Moonrise is not that at all.  Upon first application it’s got a really delightful, heavy, old fashioned dressing table sort of feel, a powdery, balsamic chypre, but with time and wear becomes quite glowing and luminous. I dare you to apply this at the base of your throat while glimpsing peeks of the full moon from an open window–it’s absolutely magical and transportive.

Astral Projection from ForStrangeWomen is composed of plant essences known for their sedative & dream-inducing properties: sweet lemon myrtle in a powdery bed of chamomile, hops, and lavender creates a relaxing aura. Valerian anchors the blend to a deep undercurrant that pulls you further into your dreams. The sedative effects of these plants are combined with the lucid clarity induced by Clary sage, cedar, and clove. When dreams are vivid, lucid, and oddly profound, it is said, you have reached the astral plane.  I don’t know that I find this a very comforting scent, but I break it out when I am feeling adventurous. Unfortunately I do not record my dreams as regularly as I used to, so I can’t say what sort of subconscious thoughts or images it may have conjured! Perhaps I will give it a go this evening.

I’m afraid that some of the scents I’ve mentioned here are discontinued…though I find, as with most things in life, it never hurts to ask! Sometimes businesses have excess stock lying around that they may sell to you. Sometimes not. But you never know if you don’t reach out to them and ask the question.

I will, however, add that for before bedtime in warm weather I love a cooling spritz of  Comme des Garçons Incense Series Kyoto (incense, cypress oil, coffee, teak wood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, everlasting flower, Virginian cedar), which is austere and meditative and calls to mind a dark prayer in a cool, shadowy forest temple. In cool weather I’ll envelop myself in Serge Lutens Chergui (honey, musk, incense, tobacco leaf, hay sugar, amber, iris, rose and sandalwood), which is an intoxicating scent that smells foreign and familiar all at once; like maybe if your idea of “exotic” is from the sumptuous illustrations in a well-worn book of fables from a far-away land. It’s all lofty sandalwood, honeyed musks, and and liquid amber tea on me, and it makes me feel like a desert queen in a strange, dusty tale.

What about you? Do you have special bedtime scents? Fragrances that encourage sweet slumbers or crazy dream trips? Tell me all about them in the comments!

If you are interested in reading previous installations from my Year In Fragrance series, see below for 2016’s entries thus far:

A Year In Fragrance: “Inexpensive” Stuff
A Year In Fragrance: Youth Dew
A Year In Fragrance: a dude thinks on stinks
A Year In Fragrance: Witch’s Workbench
A Year In Fragrance: Willow & Water
A Year In Fragrance: Tea Rose

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