Tonight’s Read: The Queen’s Conjurer—The Science and Magic of Dr. John Dee, Adviser to Queen Elizabeth I—by Benjamin Woolley, Reviews & Links…

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“John Dee is commonly regarded as England’s finest home-grown magus, our most notable exponent of the esoteric arts that promised astonishing advances in knowledge for 16th-century Europe. His name is mentioned along with those of Paracelsus and Giordano Bruno, and he is sometimes proposed as an inspiration for Dr Faustus, Prospero or Ben Jonson’s Alchemist.“

– Graham Parry, The Guardian


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John Dee, Portrait. Date unknown (Wiki commons).

‘Dr John Dee is a Jekyll and Hyde kind of historical figure – intellectual giant or shady charlatan, depending on your point of view.

Born in 1527, when England was enjoying that flowering of art and learning we call the Renaissance, he trained with the scientist and technical instrument-maker Gemma Frisius at Louvain in the Low Countries, and went on to become a mathematician of distinction.

A personal adviser and official writer of technical “position papers” on navigational and maritime policy matters to Queen Elizabeth I, his opinion was sought by the Tudor government on investment in new technologies and projects to smelt metals.

He was a consultant to Martin Frobisher’s 1576 attempt to discover the Northwest Passage (a northerly trading route by sea to the lucrative markets in Russia and beyond), and trained Frobisher’s team of adventurers in navigational techniques. Dee’s preface to the first English-language edition of the Greek mathematician Euclid’s Elementes of Geometrie (1570), edited by Sir Henry Billingsley, is regarded as a landmark piece of writing on the applications of pure mathematics in science and technology.

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Hereditary…WTF does one even SAY about this movie? ☠️☠️☠️☠️

Holy crap. I’m lost for words. This film scared the shit outta me. Four stars. All the way.

Click here for The New York Times review of Hereditary…

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It made the cover of Rue Morgue also. Creepy AF.

 

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Drawing Down—A Poem by Sanguine Woods, 2018

(Photo by aukjevanderwal.nl)

Bequeath me sight not as it seems
A sphere of light to capture breath;
Come, toll the word of moons and beams—
Exhume the heft of youth-felt schemes.

Purvey the slice that leaves no scar—
A sliver of bewitchèd glass;
A drop to stir; enflame the pall—
Un bâton rouge pour faire l’étoile.

Encerclez! thou thornèd crown—
Each pented point a waning sun;
Le sang va embrasser le sol—
And name the circle ‘done’.

(C)2018 Sanguine Woods

Ten Disturbing Scandinavian Folktales

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Enchanted Wood. Artist unknown. (Scandinavian Folklore/Pinterest)

 

Many folktales are concerned with magical tales of heroism and grandeur. Young people head out on a journey of discovery that makes them a better person. They vanquish evil, help others, and make the world a better place. In the end, the dashing young man usually gets the beautiful girl, and everyone lives happily ever after.

However, some folktales don’t have happy endings. Some folktales can be downright disturbing. Many of the tales in Scandinavian folklore, for instance, are not only grim; some are absolutely terrifying. We selected 10 of the most disturbing for you to enjoy…but, keep a candle burning…


#10. The Sacrificial Beggar Child (Sweden)

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The story goes that there was a town named Dalland that was suffering from a disease that was wiping out much of the population and causing many people to flee. The townsfolk were beside themselves with worry about how to stop it, until an old man from Finland came along with sage advice on how to stop the disease.

He told them that only a sacrifice would put an end to it, and explained that they would need to bury a living thing in the ground. The villagers were desperate to stop the disease, so they took his advice. They began by burying a rooster alive in the ground, but their cruel act failed to produce any results, so they upped the ante by burying an entire goat alive. Unfortunately, this also failed.

Feeling there were no other options left, they decided that the only sacrifice worthy enough to end the spread of the disease would be an actual human being. In order to accomplish this, they set their sights on an orphaned boy and offered him bread as bait for their trap. The unassuming child fell for their trap completely and was dropped in a prepared hole.

The villagers immediately began shoveling dirt on top of the hapless child. The boy was terrified and tried to plead with them to stop burying him alive, but they continued on with their work without mercy. Before long, the job was done and the child was simply left to die, in the hopes he would end the spread of the deadly disease.

Some villagers claimed that they could hear his cries from under the ground, even after his death, decrying the cruel act that had been done to him.


#9. The Christmas Ghosts (Sweden)

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This tale begins with a woman who was preparing to head to a midnight Christmas Mass.

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