Frederik Ruysch
Frederik Ruysch

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about related to matters of death & dying & mortality.

💀 No one ever tells you that when your dog is dying, it feels like a human is dying.
💀 7 Imaginative But Most Peculiar Novels About Death
💀 Dignity in Death for Black Families at a Brooklyn Funeral Home
💀 When You Make Friends With Death
💀 Documenting death – the final stories of 3 terminally ill people
💀 The Dark Magic of Dead Bodies
💀 Silent Sisters: Caring for the dead in gendered religious space
💀 Cry, Heart, But Never Break: A Remarkable Illustrated Meditation on Loss and Life
💀 Exploring Graveyards and our Feelings about Death with Pokémon Go
💀 No One Tells You This About Loss, So I Will
💀 The 18th-Century Anatomist Who Celebrated Life with Dioramas of Death
💀 Yale Open Courses On Death
💀 The Dead and their Ghostly Baggage of Superstitions
💀 I Simulated My Own Death & Here’s What I Learned

Previous installments:
Links of the Dead for June 2016
Links of the Dead for May 2016
Links of the Dead for April 2016
Links of the Dead for March 2016
Links of the dead for February 2016
Links of the dead for January 2016
Links of the dead for December 2015
Links of the dead for November 2015
Links of the dead for September 2015
Links of the dead for August 2015

✥ comment

20 Jul

things i loveFor a while now I’ve been wanting to do another Stinkers & Duds post but oddly enough, there’s really been nothing I’ve hated enough to include in a round-up of loathesome stuff.
I guess that’s a good thing?

Instead, here are a few things I have really been enjoying lately.

Le Baume Absolution has a concentrate of Marula, Perilla and Calendula in it and is absolutely fantastic, but whatever– I would love this lip balm for it’s chubby, stubby, easy-to-fit-in-the-hand shape, regardless. It is a wonderful formula, though–not too greasy or too heavy, and not mentholated (which is a huge NOPE for me.) This is, without a doubt, my favorite lip product ever.  I have already replaced it three times now.

L.A. Splash Studio Shine Lip Lustre in Catrina is a gorgeous deep brown base color with a strong metallic blue-green shift, or at least that’s how it is described, but on me, this is definitely less of the beetle-winged color and almost straight-up shimmery green-blue.  Also, you may never have to re-apply this stuff. It doesn’t fade, it doesn’t wear off. Hell, you can barely even get it off your face. (Hint: I use this stuff and a really scrubby washcloth).

Ear Scoops! Yes, yes, I know–we’re not supposed to be sticking anything in our ears. But there’s nothing quite so satisfying as cleaning the gloopy, glunky stuff out of our ears with a q-tip, after a shower, right? That’s what I thought, but then I read this and was immediately intrigued and had to stock up. I’ve already had one weird scare, but I’m an idiot and won’t let that stop me. I’m gonna stick things in my ears and there’s really nothing you can do about it.

The Uncanny Valley by Perturbator is both eerie and energizing and is full of aggressive retro-synth and jazzy noir and groovy bits and I yeah, everyone I know is over this 1980s sci fi/horror sound, but I can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s perfect writing music if you need some melodic noises in the background but you don’t want someone distracting you with a bunch of lyrics. *See also: thisquietarmy’s entire discography.  It’s different sound (ambient/drone/post-rock), but perfectly suited to this use.*

Sunday Riley Luna Oil is a product I have mentioned before, but it’s really just that good.  Advertised as a “next generation retinoid oil [that] reduces pore size, improves appearance of damaged skin, and helps fight wrinkles.”–it’s basically a nighttime vitamin A treatment oil.  It gets mixed reviews for the ingredients (here’s a list), the price, the blue tint, but I wake up with the most velvety skin after having applied it before bed. When I run out I would love to find a more cost-effective version of this stuff, but for now it is pretty amazing.

Satanic Panic has got Kier-La Janisse’s name attached to the project, so I already love it, but how does this sound? “In the 1980s, everywhere you turned there were warnings about a widespread evil conspiracy to indoctrinate the vulnerable through the media they consumed. This percolating cultural hysteria, now known as the “Satanic Panic,” was both illuminated and propagated through almost every pop culture pathway in the 1980s, from heavy metal music to Dungeons & Dragons role playing games, Christian comics, direct-to-VHS scare films, pulp paperbacks, Saturday morning cartoons and TV talk shows —and created its own fascinating cultural legacy of Satan-battling VHS tapes, music and literature. From con artists to pranksters and moralists to martyrs, Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s aims to capture the untold story of the how the Satanic Panic was fought on the pop culture frontlines and the serious consequences it had for many involved.”

I am only a few pages in, but I am already deeply engrossed.  The link above is a pre-order on Amazon; I got my copy directly through the publisher, but I think that version is sold out now.

Wow. I just realized there is no perfume on this list! I think it’s because I am testing a bunch of stuff right now and I’m not ready to talk about any of it yet, ha.
What’s got you excited lately? Books, musics, perfumes? Tell me all!



Sometimes you just want to get away from it all. You’ve got ten vacation days that are burning a hole in your pocket, but lakeside cabins and sandy retreats aren’t as nice as they were when you were a kid and your weird grandparents were still alive, you haven’t got the money for your dream trip to that amazing Japanese Cat Island, and no way are you spending a week with your sister in Hoboken this summer. Never again, I don’t care how crazy-great those New Jersey bagels are.

These ho-hum, humdrum getaways are becoming tiresome year after year, and you’re feeling antsy. You want to go to a far off, far-out place where not only does everyone not know your name, but you can’t even tell if you’re all on the same planet or astral plane anymore. Are those even human people? Some sort of enlightened beings, perhaps? Are they talking in colors? Are their faces melting off? Or is it your own eyeballs melting? Are you all hopped up on hallucinogenic whoseywhatsits? What the hell is going on, even?

Ah–now we’re talking. These are the places we’ve barely dared dream of: the super-saturated, psychedelic escapism and day-glo, swirling surrealism of Oliver Hibert’s fantastical cosmic beyond.




Born in Seattle but currently a resident of Scottsdale AZ, self-taught Hibert’s bright, eye-dazzling style with prevailing themes of powerful feminine mysticism led to his debut in galleries by the age of sixteen, and shortly thereafter, his bold palette and magical scenes caught the attention of MTV for a music video at the age of eighteen.

Hibert notes in a prior interview with the Phoenix New Times that art “….gets me up every day and gives me one of the most powerful reasons to be alive and stay alive. I literally have to create art and get it out of me. I don’t know what I would do without it” — and there is no clearer evidence of Hibert’s wild passion than in the vivid intensity of the boundary-destroying art that he creates.




Not content to merely gaze upon the audacious neon madness? You’d prefer a more supersensory, hands-on experience with Hibert’s kaleidoscopic, mind-bending creations?

You’re in luck, for over at Von Zos, you can purchase the Oliver Hibert Tarot deck. The release consists of a pack of 78 tarot cards designed by Oliver Hibert together with a book featuring an introductory essay by Oliver Hibert and a substantial essay by the British writer and lecturer Caroline Wise.



See more of Oliver Hibert’s work on his website // tumblr // instagram

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

✥ comment

15 Jul

Well, last year my fascination was with all things K-Beauty; this year I have moved on to an utter obsession with the ubiquitous lapel pin. I received my first pin, a little death’s head moth, as an extra when I purchased a piece of grim stitchery from embroidery artist Adicopere …I remember looking at it and thinking “huh, this is cool… but what am I supposed to do with it?”

Not long afterward, I spied this image on instagram, via bloodmilk, and it all became clear.


A search on instagram for #pingame or #pingamestrong will show you many such images of heavily laden, pin-studded jackets, but no doubt most of you already know that by now–and are either in on the madness as a collector, or if you are an artist you are cashing in on the trend hand over fist. And I don’t blame you–the people want what they want, so if you can make some money off of their desires with a gorgeous, high-quality product, you should totally do that!  Sadly, I fall into the money-spending, not money-making camp.

Not a wearer of leather jackets (in Florida? Good lord no), I began impaling an asymmetrical black jacket/sweater/thing that I had on hand, but was acquiring these marvelous little pins at an unholy speed (as far as my obsessions go, this one is pretty cheap and led to frequent purchases) and I soon ran out of material and space!
What to do?


I had something in mind for display purposes: a special corkboard for the pins that were not being worn at the time.  But in my minds-eye, this was a very specific design. It must be coffin-shaped, and the cork pinning part must, must, must be black. Finally, at the end of an exhaustive search, I found Life After Death Design, whose etsy shop held a few things that might fit the bill.  I contacted the exceedingly helpful Rachael for a custom order, and in a flurry of emails she revealed that they had just made the exact thing for another customer…for the very same reason. Perfect! And if you are in the market for a coffin-shaped lipstick orgaziner, (why wouldn’t you be, right??) an exquisite spiderweb filigreed coffin-shaped shelf, or probably whatever coffin-shape thing you can dream up, these folks will take care of you.

It arrived yesterday, and I could not have been more pleased…


IMG_2473 IMG_2474 IMG_2475

If you are interested in any of the artists/designers, I have mapped them out for you below! {Note: some of these were limited editions and may be sold out!}

Are you a pin collector? Are you in on the pinsanity? What are some of your favorites? How do you wear them, or display them? Tell me all!

IMG_2466 copy

1. spooksvilla // 2. cat coven // 3. haute macabre // 4. adipocere // 5. ladybones press // 6. segovia amil // 7. kate logan // 8. amy earles // 9. leila + olive // 10. haute macabre // 11. cultural void // 12. omnia studios // 13. wormwood & rue // 14. cat coven // 15. monpetitefantome // 16. Jon Wye // 17. thora ford // 18. wormwood & rue // 19. caitlin stout // 20. bunny miele // 21. vacvvm // 22. monpetitefantome // 23. hogan mclaughlin // 24. midnight mauve // 25. bill crisafi // 26. caitlin stout // 27. vacvvm // 28. strange women society // 29. inner decay // 30. maddy young // 31. cat coven // 32. monpetitefantome // 33. wormwood & rue // 34. monpetitefantome // 35. humongous x // 36. haute macabre // 37. hannah kristina metz / 38. dana glover


A Virgin Among the Living Dead, 1973, via Honey From A Dark Hive

Aural transmissions & melodic missives for your ennui-filled, overheated midsummer days.

Sparkly etherpop from dreamy duo Golden Gardens


Contemplative, piano sighs & spells from Ben Lukas


Lesley Flanigan’s Hedera is your soundtrack for the still after the storm


Hypnotic, bewitching dream sounds by way of Estonia.


Sonic ephemera from Jason Van Wyk


Sweeping gothic grandeur from Nicole Sabouné


New apothic doom from Skeleton Witch like a knife to the throat


Ominous, dreary and non-danceable. Just how I like my music.


Jazzy Norwegian instru-metal

✥ 1 comment

Abandoned-LEGO-Victorian-Houses-by-Mike-Doyle-1Victorian Lego houses!


A timeline of influential and aesthetically beautiful horror movies from 1895 until 2016.

skellyCartoonist Katie Skelly On Creating The Erotic & Intimate Agent Series

13510760_10208911024520474_2864935256194117897_nA sneak peek of some of the pages for the next Occult Activity Book, with mad-libs inspired words by madman Jack Shear.

13521942_1220316641344833_6520443789216168133_n In love with the stick & poke tattoo art by Tati Compton

KS_Suspiria500If you’re in Southern California, you must go see “My Blood Runs Yellow: A Tribute to Giallos” at Sloane Fine Art Gallery

The Secret of Taste: Why We Like What We Like – Fascinating!
† I can’t wait to read this: Films of the New French Extremity
Short Film Roundup: Horror Edition
Magical Advice We Got From A Real Fitness Witch
New Book To Celebrate 35 Years of Elvira!
17 Female Ghosts & Demons in Japanese Folklore
Demonologica: Dressing in the Demons of Ben Templesmith
A fantastic Best of 2016 list from the inimitable Tenebrous Kate
A Conversation on the Occult Practices in the Arts

✥ comment


I think I am just hardwired to have expensive tastes.  I don’t quite know where that comes from, for growing up, I think we were probably what you would call a lower middle-class family. Maybe not even that. My mother was divorced with three children, didn’t receive adequate (or sometimes any) child support, and for most of the time I was still living at home, she did not have a job.

Our groceries, clothing, utilities, mortgage–maybe everything– was taken care of by my grandparents. Without them we might have been in a pretty bad way, but as it is, I can’t remember wanting for much of anything. We were very, very lucky in that regard, and I’m certain I’ve never properly expressed my gratitude to them–but then again, I don’t think grandchildren ever do.

I do recall constantly sneaking into my mother’s room to sniff at her perfumes and play with her lovely makeup collection. She owned some beautifully enticing products. Thinking back upon it now…for a lady with no money, she sure had a lot of Lancôme and Clinque and many other not entirely inexpensive cosmetics. I’m not one to begrudge someone their beautiful things, but that is a bit of a head-scratcher.

When it came time for me to begin painting my face, well, let’s face it. I had been spoiled. I couldn’t just buy Wet-n-Wild from Wal-greens, no way, no how! And so I would save my baby-sitting dollars (and later, my hamburger flipping monies) and spend it all on department store makeup counter treasures.

Later, as I grew into my fascination for perfumes and began to explore the myriad options presented by niche and independent perfumers, I never forgot my early loves from the Christian Dior and Clinique counters in the mall. Though they are not as fancy as say, a Serge Lutens bell jar scent or an Exclusive Collection Guerlain fragrance, they’re certainly not cheap, either. I know many people would find the thought of spending $300 on a bottle of perfume absolutely ludicrous, but no doubt there’s quite a few who would feel no less offended at the thought of a $75 dollar fragrance (the category into which most of the scents pictured above would fall.)

Aromatics Elixir is described by Clinique as an “intriguing non-conformist fragrance”, and sure, I suppose that is one way to describe it. It’s a bitter, balsamic, astringent, herbal, alien thing–not at all the sort of scent that I imagine most people are used to smelling in a perfume bottle.

Aromatic top notes are verbena, sage and chamomile, which give way to the floral notes of geranium, rose and white flowers, with oakmoss and patchouli note at the base. Described by some reviewers as “a chypre on steroids”, it somehow smells both of a different time, something quite classic, and yet also wholly strange and new.

Chandler Burr describes it as “deep” and “thoughtful” and remarks that if one were to judge it by the first hour, it would be a two-star scent. However, he says, “…judge it after it has unfolded, breathed, burned off the shadows and begun its work, and it has to be five.” It never struck me as particularly shadowy, but you know how it is, once you’ve read something and it strikes a chord, no matter how fanciful. Now it’s difficult to smell it any other way. I wore this scent when I was 19 years old,  attending community college and floundering about–it reminds me of failings and indecision and the gnawing pit in one’s stomach when one’s future is unclear, and yet somehow when I am most troubled, it is a very comforting thing to smell.

Addict by Christian Dior quite honestly reminds me of an Esquire Magazine cover, but back during the time when they featured more women and lots of cleavage on the front pages. It would have been in black and white. Eyes, heavily rimmed with kohl and smoldering. She’s probably chomping on a cigar.

Addict is an Oriental fragrance that smells like a statuesque, expensive, night blooming call girl. With notes of mandarin leaf, orange blossom, Bulgarian Rose, bourbon vanilla, Mysore sandalwood, and tonka bean, it is breathy, velvety, and narcotic. I’m not certain that this scent is, or ever was, very “me”, but I think it’s quite beautiful in the overblown erotic femininity of Anna Nicole Smith as shot by the tastefully provocative Ellen Von Unwerth sort-of-way.

I wore this when I was 28 and in transition, in the winter months while packing to move from Florida to New Jersey. It reminds me of waiting for the other shoe to drop and asking myself why did I want to be with someone when it felt like they loathed me. And maybe I despised him as well. Obviously, I don’t wear Addict very often anymore, but I will always appreciate the imagery it conjures.

Dune, also by Christian Dior, never fails to surprise me with its presence on my shelf. My mother owned and wore this scent, but I cannot remember smelling it on her. I recall stealing a small spritz here and there in my senior year of high school and thinking that it seemed a somber, yet transparent and inoffensive fragrance.

I forgot about it entirely until I purchased the marvelous Perfumes A-Z Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez (and I am not embarrassed to tell you this was perfect by-the-toilet reading for several years! Seriously, get a copy for that purpose alone.) With notes of vanilla, mandarin, and peony, Dune is officially described ” an oceanic fragrance, created in harmony with nature … radiant, fresh and subtle accord captures the landscape where the sky meets the sea in a warm, oceanic floral bouquet.” And while I suppose it may smell like driftwood and beach glass, it’s more a deserted beach on a cloudy day sort of thing.

Furthermore, if Luca Turin is to be believed, Dune is a “disenchanted, lady-like gem…unsmiling from top to bottom”.  He suggests that “true, menacing darkness” is to be found in this fragrance, and it is a strong contender for “the Bleakest Beauty in all perfumery”.  I am sure it is no surprise to you that I am dreadfully influenced by this sort of hyperbole and you can bet I had purchased a bottle for myself within seconds.  This was six or seven years ago, and I am still not entirely convinced Dune is the bleakest thing I have ever smelled (edit: I’ll be straight with you. It’s Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb), but it is rather evocative nonetheless and puts me in an interesting frame of mind when ever I wear it.

I shared the book’s description with my sister, who has also developed an appreciation for fragrance, and now every time she visits me, she sniffs at my scents and ask if she may try something.  Nine times out of ten, she will settle on smelling bleak.


✥ 1 comment

29 Jun


categories: bookish


Though I never again will see the days where I would devour an entire stack of library books in one week, I have made diligent attempts over the past few years to ensure that I don’t neglect one of my favorite past times (I was terribly guilty of this neglect in my late teenage years and early twenties and I cannot tell you how much I regret the reading that I did not do at that time!)

Last year I challenged myself to read 50 books–which seems a rather paltry amount now that I have typed it out–nonetheless, I achieved that goal, and upped my number this year to 75! Now, to be perfectly honest, I include in this number comic books and graphic novels and slim volumes of poetry. But whatever.  Reading is reading, I reckon.


So far I am at 48/75 which isn’t bad at all, although I think I can do better. I’m certainly working hard to diminish these countless stacks of newly accumulated books, at any rate.

My standout reads more than halfway into the year are:

The Etched City – languid, decadent, dark fantasy; gorgeous but short on plot.
Salt Is For Curing – witchy recipe/poems of curses & murder & bones & bodies
Yurei – entertaining, engaging, and thoroughly enjoyable book about Japanese ghosts
Geek Love – everyone knows this wildly marvelous, heartbreaking book, I won’t embarrass myself by synopsisizing it
Wylding Hall – ghosts, a haunted manse in a remote locale, and a British acid-folk band
A Head Ful of Ghosts -teenage madness and/or possession funtimes
Bluets – a poet’s memoir and brilliant investigation of/reflection upon the color blue
Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam -further adventures of depressed, disgusting degenerates
Margaret the First – beautifully imagined story of Margaret Cavendish, the eccentric and wildly unconventional 17th-century Duchess.

Have you got a reading goal for yourself this year? Are you keeping up with it? And what have you enjoyed thus far? Do tell!


Vanitas Newtoniana, Agostino Arrivabene. 2015
Vanitas Newtoniana, Agostino Arrivabene. 2015

A gathering of death related links that I have encountered in the past month or so. From somber to hilarious, from informative to creepy, here’s a snippet of things that have been reported on or journaled about related to matters of death & dying & mortality.

💀 Obituaries my mother wrote for me while I was still living
💀 From fears to fascinations, what exactly is a death salon?
💀 Death Talk Is Cool At This Festival
💀 The Little Book of Burial
💀 Remains of the Day: Here Are the New Ways to Dispose of Your Body
💀 Undertakers Deadly Serious About Gravedigging Championship
💀 When is it appropriate to laugh again after grief?
💀 Visiting my dead dad on Google Street View
💀 EXPIRED–A Death-Positive game for mortals
💀 How to Build a Nursery for a Dying Baby
💀 Planning For Your Death — Why It’s Crucial For The Living
💀 We Live On the Internet. We Die Alone.
💀 A Different Kind Of Grief: Mourning The Loss Of A Twitter Friend

Previous installments:
Links of the Dead for May 2016
Links of the Dead for April 2016
Links of the Dead for March 2016
Links of the dead for February 2016
Links of the dead for January 2016
Links of the dead for December 2015
Links of the dead for November 2015
Links of the dead for September 2015
Links of the dead for August 2015

✥ comment



I am having a difficult time concentrating on much of anything, and no doubt my focus and attention span will not improve as the week goes on.  So while there are things I have done, read, smelled, tasted lately that I would like to share with you…I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what they were.

My grandmother is not doing well, and while that is not much of a surprise–after all, she is 96 years old, and has been generally unwell since before my grandfather passed on last year–I do feel like at this point we are all just waiting, waiting.

I believe she is ready to let go, and I think that we are ready to let her go, which is a rather “dizzying, nauseating, emotional contradiction” because it sort of feels like you are wishing someone you love, dead, doesn’t it? Of course we are not, but regardless of what anyone wants or wishes, it seems like her body is stubbornly, obstinately clinging to life. Which I suppose is commendable, in a way? But it is also very sad and exhausting for everyone, and I think we all sort of feel stuck in limbo just a bit.

She has the look that my grandfather had a few days before he died. A mushroomy pallor. A sort of deflated slackness in the face.  Except where he was a little loopy at the end, she is, so far, totally lucid. I’m not thrilled that I have begun to recognize the look of a human who is about to wink out of existence. This is never knowledge I hoped to have.

But then again, what do I know? A long time ago, we decided that my grandmother was a vampire. Immortal.  For all I know she will live another ten years. At least!  Wouldn’t that be something?