Dr. Creepen reads my story, “Knock Knock”

On the night of October 27, 2004, several residents on E—- Road in B—– called the local police station to report a disturbance at the home of one of their neighbors. The reports indicated that a possible home invasion was in progress, as a number of people in dark clothing had been seen moving furtively around the property at [REDACTED], later determined to be the residence of one Alice L—–, a single female in her mid-20s who lived alone. Some callers reported raised voices, which were taken to be indicative of a confrontation between the homeowner and a possible assailant.

Officers arrived on the scene at 23:23H, approximately two minutes after a 911 call indicated that a young woman was seen confronting one or more possible intruders at her front door. However, the caller could not give further information, due to a sudden surge in the local electrical grid which shut down the power for the entire neighborhood. When the responding officers searched the residence, the front door was ajar and there was no sign of Alice L—–.

Full Story Text Here

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Lore Podcast, Episode 70 – “Familiar”


Those of you who have talked podcasts and/or folklore with me at some point may already know, but I LOVE the Lore podcast. Aaron Mahnke does all his homework and presents a practical view of mysterious events in history that is both engaging and serious without ever being dry. Every episode is spellbinding, and the latest one is no exception.

Episode 70, “Familiar,” deals with witches and witch trials. It’s a topic the podcast has covered before, most notably in episodes 12 (“Half-Hanged”), 28 (“Making A Mark”), 41 (“Hole in the Wall”), and 57 (“Quarantine”). There are others where witchcraft is mentioned, but those are the ones that stand out in my memory. This time around, Mahnke delves into the tale of Matthew Hopkins. If you’re a witch who also happens to be a student of English History, that name might inspire a wince, and with good reason.

During his sordid career in the 1600s, the self-styled “Witchfinder General” took advantage of superstition and religious upheaval to accuse, torture, and ultimately execute close to three hundred people, all on almost entirely baseless charges of witchcraft.  Some of you may recall me talking a lot about King James in relation to the standards and practices involved in persecuting witches. Oh yes, he’s mentioned here too.

Mahnke addresses the social circumstances, historical documents, and civil unrest which played into Hopkins’ rise to power, as well as the horrific consequences of his “work” and a poignant reminder of just how little society has changed.

This episode is a must for anyone looking for a historical perspective on witch trials, what caused them, and what actually happened during the period some modern revisionists term “the Burning Times.”

Updates – Oct. 1, 2017

It’s the most wonderful tiiiime of the year!

The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, the pumpkins are ripe, and the apples are plentiful. Which not only means that Halloween is coming, but also that NaNoWriMo is looming on the horizon.

Since last year’s book was such a success, I think I’ll be devoting my efforts this autumn toward my newest project, The Grovedaughter’s Year. The response I got from folks online when I first mentioned the idea was surprisingly positive, so I’m going to get my notes together and give it a go. I doubt it will be finished by the end of November, but I’m going to write it just the same. Whether it will be an ebook only or wind up long enough to justify a print version as well remains to be seen.

Nearly everything for the Year is either in my head or in my notes. It’s just a matter of coordinating everything and making it coherent. Apart from the obvious literary rewards, it will be helpful for me to have everything quantified.

The Table of Contents is already taking shape, with four basic sections covering various topics. This is definitely subject to change, but it’s certainly a start.

Section One: The Calendar Year

The Yearly Cycle (seasons, holidays, celebratory measures)
Patron Deities (four household deities & associations)
Other Entities (spirit helpers)

Section Two: The Household

The Altar (icons and setup with photos, offertory procedures)
Pets & Familiars (the cats & their duties, info on training)

Section Three: The Garden

Gardening (windowsill plants, growth magic, preparing herbs)
Walking the Woods (outdoor activities, wildcrafting, meditation)
Preferred Herbs & Spices (my go-to plants for various magics)

Section Four: The Craft

Laying the Groundwork (how to set spells into a new home)
Daily Measures (keying spells with a word or gesture)
Household Spells & Charms (selected household magic rituals)
Kitchen Craft (basic food magics and a few preferred recipes for such)
Weather Witching (selected rituals for weather magic)
Sigils & Symbols (protective sigils and ornaments)
Signs & Omens (my system of established signs and omens and their meanings)
A Word on Land Spirits (working with trees and elementals)
A Word on Household Sprites (working with sprites and brownies)
A Word on Ghosts and Spirit Visitors (for the witch who doesn’t want them)

If there’s something you’d like to know about my personal craft that you don’t see covered here, speak up! I’m still gathering material and I’m open to suggestions.


The Witching Hour – Williamsburg, VA

The Triangle, Williamsburg VA
September 24

It’s the final Sunday of the month. The moon is bright, the autumn chill is setting in, and once more, it’s time for the gothic denizens of the Tidewater area to leave their catacombs and congregate for The Witching Hour.

Feast upon delectable small-plate fare, enjoy specialty cocktails, and dance the night away while DJ Karla spins a ghoulish mix of post punk, darkwave, death rock, and witch house into the wee small hours of the morning.

Rumor has it that a certain local witch might even be making an informal appearance to celebrate the fall holidays in style….

The party runs from 10pm to 2am, 18 to enter, 21+ to drink. ID is required at the bar. No cover charge. Appropriate attire is encouraged.

Come out, come out, wherever you are…

A Lesson For Young Witches

If you cannot find representations for a given element, remember…

You are supported by a rigid skeleton made of minerals. You are earth.

Your body is over 70% fluid. You are water.

Your lungs take in and expel breath. You are air.

Your blood is warm and your brain runs on electrical impulses. You are fire.

Your essence, however you describe it, resides within you. You are spirit.

You are composed of gifts from every element, and every element is given marvelous life in you.

Never feel that you are insufficiently magical for lack of icons or accoutrements or accessories.

You are ALWAYS magic. You are ALWAYS enough.

Always Be Polite To Crows

Friday morning, I was ahead of schedule on my way in to work, so I stopped to get breakfast at a Wawa (a popular chain of large convenience stores/gas stations on the US east coast).

As I was coming out, a small crow wheeled right over my head and perched on the corner of the awning in front of the store. He puffed his feathers and shook out his wings and regarded me with one bright black eye. I know a messenger when I see one, so I minded my manners…and ignored the odd looks from the people around me.

Me: Good morning.

Crow: -polite caw-

Me: -taking a piece of donut from my bag- Would you like some breakfast?

Crow: -tips his head the other way and flaps a few times-

Me: Here you go. -tosses the piece onto the ground just below the awning-

Crow: -hesitates, looking between me and the bit of pastry-

Me: It’s all right, it’s for you. -takes a step back for good measure- Go ahead.

Crow: GRAWK! -glides down from the awning, pecks up the snack, and wheels once over my car before flying off-

Me: Give my regards to your mistress, fella.

Lady in the next parking space: …..What kinda Halloweentown shit was that?

Me: -big smile- Any witch worth their salt knows you should always be polite to crows. -hops into car and goes on to work-

Developments – What’s Next?

Now that Pestlework is making its’ way into the market and I’ve had a couple of weeks to rest, it’s time to move on to my next project. I’ve been shuffling things around as needed to publish new material, so I’ve got some options.

The Sisters Grimmoire: Vol. II

The much-anticipated followup to The Sisters Grimmoire (2015), featuring spells based on the collected works of Andrew Lang. The new volume is set to feature close to 100 original spells based on fairy tales and folklore from around the world.

Status: Pre-Writing & Preliminary Draft

The Grovedaughter’s Garden

A book of herbal magic and practical advice for witches with an affinity for growing things. The subjects covered will include magical workings to be done in and around the garden, as well as with the harvested plants, and useful information on simple container gardening for witches without yards or large spaces for planting.

Status: Research & Development

The Grovedaughter’s Year

A largely esoteric project detailing the holidays, traditions, rituals, and idiosyncrasies of my personal practice. This would likely be a short ebook, if published, and I doubt it would garner a lot of interest except from those who follow my blog.

Status: Pre-Writing

Short Horror Fiction

A number of prompts are stashed away in a folder, awaiting attention. I have a dozen or so waiting to be fleshed out, and I’m hoping to submit more works for possible podcast or magazine publication sometime next year. I’m also hoping to eventually publish a short anthology at some point, when I have a fair number of stories ready. At this point, it’s a series of writing exercises, but some of them (such as “Torso”) have managed to garner the attention of the horror community.

Status: 2 Complete, Multiple Preliminary Drafts

A Town Called Abberline

My perennial long fiction “witch village” project, forever halfway-shelved and forever having little bits added to it when inspiration strikes. I have a ton of world-building set down for this project, and a number of plotlines sketched out. It’s just a matter of actually sitting down and WRITING the stories.

Status: Pre-Writing

So as you can see, I’ve got my work cut out for me!

What I want to know is what you guys think. Which projects interest you the most? Which ones would you like to see? Which ones do you think should be shelved?

Let me know! 🙂