Halloween 2018

The skies have darkened, and summer’s last bright green leaf has turned. Halloween is here at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.

  • All Souls

    A day of remembrance and intercession. Without the prayers and sacrifices of their families and loved ones, the faithful departed may not be cleansed of their venal sins, and thereby cannot attain beatific vision. On November 2nd, prayers are sung and offerings are made to aid lost souls in transcending purgatory.

    An incense blend that invokes the higher qualities of mercy and compassion, mingled with the soft, sugared currant scent of offertory soul cakes.

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  • Blue Ghost Blues

    I feel myself sinkin’ down
    I feel myself sinkin’ down
    My body is freezin’
    I feel something cold creepin’ around

    My windows is rattlin’
    My doorknob turnin’ round an’ round
    My windows is rattlin’
    My doorknob turnin’ round an’ round
    This haunted house blues is killin’ me
    I feel myself sinkin’ down

    I been fastin’ in this haunted house
    Six long months today
    I been fastin’ in this haunted house
    Six long months today
    The Blue Ghost is got the house surrounded, Lord
    And I can’t get away

    They got shotguns and pistols
    Standin’ all round my door
    They got shotguns and pistols
    Standin’ all round my door
    They haunt me all night long
    So I can’t sleep no more

    The Blue Ghost haunts me all night
    The nightmare rides me all night long
    The Blue Ghost haunts me at night
    The nightmare rides me all night long
    They worry me so in this haunted house
    I wished I was dead and gone

    – Lonnie Johnson

    A ward against evil: bay rum, whiskey, cigar smoke, black pepper, and salt.

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  • Bonfire Toffee

    Our spin on a traditional Guy Fawkes Night treat: treacle toffee soaked in rich, dark bourbon.

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  • Dia De Los Muertos

    A joyous celebration of La Catarina, La Flaca, La Muerte… Glorious, Beautiful Death. In Mexico, death is not something to be feared or hated; She is embraced, loved, and adored. La Muerte is fêted, as the celebrant “…chases after it, mocks it, courts it, hugs it, sleeps with it; it is his favorite plaything and his most lasting love.” This is a Mexican paean to La Huesuda: dry, crackling leaves, the incense smoke of altars honoring Death and the Dead, funeral bouquets, the candies, chocolates, foods and tobacco of the ofrenda, amaranth, sweet cactus blossom and desert cereus.

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  • Feeding the Dead

    A barrel of beer, a pyramid of cakes, and three sticks of incense.

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  • Ghost Music

    Gloomy and bare the organ-loft,
    Bent-backed and blind the organist.
    From rafters looming shadowy,
    From the pipes’ tuneful company,
    Drifted together drowsily,
    Innumerable, formless, dim,
    The ghosts of long-dead melodies,
    Of anthems, stately, thunderous,
    Of Kyries shrill and tremulous:
    In melancholy drowsy-sweet
    They huddled there in harmony.
    Like bats at noontide rafter-hung.

    – Robert Graves

    Sheets of white musk and lavender curling around a melancholy song of violet root, iris, neroli, and honeysuckle.

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  • Ghoulish

    Creepy like Creepy and as spooky as Spooky, this is the scent of a black cherry and coconut amaretto confection gently laced with saffron.

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  • Huesos de Santo

    On All Saints Day, Spanish families visit their loved ones in the cemeteries, keeping vigil throughout the evening, saying prayers for the dead. Family burial plots are cleaned and tended, and graves are adorned with gladiolas, chrysanthemums, and roses. Bone-shaped pastries called Saint’s Bones, or the Bones of the Holy, are baked and shared in honor of the souls in Purgatory, and to remind us of those who no longer share our repast, but with whom we one day hope to be reunited with again.

    Orange-glazed cake, dotted with anise seed, and filled with custard, set beside a bouquet of celebratory funeral flowers.

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  • Inside the Golden Amber of Her Eyeballs

    A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
    your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
    within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
    will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

    just as a raving madman, when nothing else
    can ease him, charges into his dark night
    howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
    the rage being taken in and pacified.

    She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
    into her, so that, like an audience,
    she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
    and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

    as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
    and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
    inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
    suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

    – Rainer Maria Rilke

    Sleek black fur and gleaming amber shining in the shadows, a rumble of myrrh, and claws as sharp as ti leaf.

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  • Kinda Sorta Snake Oil Cream Soda

    We’re running out of room at the Lab, and it’s been a long, long time since we’ve had a trunk show. When Brian and I were rifling through the prototype and snafu shelves a few weeks ago, we dug up two busticated Snake Oils – one that was a mispour of Lemon Scented Sticky Bat, and another involved an Aggravated Vanilla Incident – and we unearthed the very first Samhain prototype from 2002.

    We don’t have time to do a full-blown trunk show right now, so we’re offering these three for sale. They’re in very, very limited quantity.

    Out of Stock
  • Lambs-Wool

    According to William Shepard Walsh, the Gentleman’s Magazine for May of 1784 stated, “this is a constant ingredient at merrymaking on Holy Eve.” He also quotes Vallancey’s etymological speculation: “The first day of November was dedicated to the angel presiding over fruits, seeds, etc., and was therefore named La Mas Ubhal, — that is, the day of the apple fruit, — and being pronounced Lamasool, the English have corrupted the name to Lambs-wool.”

    A popular holy day beverage in 18th century Ireland: roasted apples mashed into warmed milk and ale, with nutmeg, sugar, ginger, and clove.

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  • Magnificent Autumn

    By what a subtle alchemy the green leaves are transmuted into gold, as if molten by the fiery blaze of the hot sun! A magic covering spreads over the whole forest, and brightens into more gorgeous hues. The tree-tops seem bathed with the gold and crimson of an Italian sunset. Here and there a shade of green, here and there a tinge of purple, and a stain of scarlet so deep and rich, that the most cunning artifice of man is pale beside it. A thousand delicate shades melt into each other. They blend fantastically into one deep mass. They spread over the forest like a tapestry woven with a thousand hues.

    Magnificent Autumn! He comes not like a pilgrim, clad in russet weeds. He comes not like a hermit, clad in gray. But he comes like a warrior, with the stain of blood upon his brazen mail. His crimson scarf is rent. His scarlet banner drips with gore. His step is like a flail upon the threshing floor.

    The scene changes.

    It is the Indian summer. The rising sun blazes through the misty air like a conflagration. A yellowish, smoky haze fills the atmosphere; and

    A filmy mist,
    Lies like a silver lining on the sky.

    The wind is soft and low. It wafts to us the odor of forest leaves, that hang wilted on the dripping branches, or drop into the stream. Their gorgeous tints are gone, as if the autumnal rains had washed them out. Orange, yellow, and scarlet, all are changed to one melancholy russet hue. The birds, too, have taken wing, and have left their roofless dwellings. Not the whistle of a robin, not the twitter of an eavesdropping swallow, not the carol of one sweet, familiar voice! All gone. Only the dismal cawing of a crow, as he sits and curses, that the harvest is over, – or the chit-chat of an idle squirrel, – the noisy denizen of a hollow tree, – the mendicant friar of a large parish, – the absolute monarch of a dozen acorns!

    Another change.

    The wind sweeps through the forest with a sound like the blast of a trumpet. The dry leaves whirl in eddies through the air. A fret-work of hoar-frost covers the plain. The stagnant water in the pools and ditches is frozen into fantastic figures. Nature ceases from her labors, and prepares for the great change. In the low-hanging clouds, the sharp air, like a busy shuttle, weaves her shroud of snow. There is a melancholy and continual roar in the tops of the tall pines, like the roar of a cataract. It is the funeral anthem of the dying year.

    A scent that wanders through the Ages of Autumn, from the last green leaf to the first breath of winter.

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  • Midnight Bonfire

    Lighting the path between worlds, the beacon at the threshold: night-blooming jasmine, smoldering maple leaves, a cluster of patchouli and blackened ti leaf, black sage, and pinewood smoke.

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  • Pumpkin Crème Brulee

    With vanilla bean scrapings.

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  • Pumpkin Dust

    Shavings of white pumpkin rind and honey powder.

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  • Pumpkin Musk and Black Oudh

    A strangely romantic, disturbingly erotic perfume.

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  • Pumpkin Tobacco

    Sweet black tobacco infused with dried pumpkin and soaked in bourbon.

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  • Samhain

    Truly the scent of autumn itself — damp woods, fir needle, and black patchouli with the gentlest touches of warm pumpkin, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet red apple and mullein.

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  • Samhain V1: the Original 2002 Prototype

    We’re running out of room at the Lab, and it’s been a long, long time since we’ve had a trunk show. When Brian and I were rifling through the prototype and snafu shelves a few weeks ago, we dug up two busticated Snake Oils – one that was a mispour of Lemon Scented Sticky Bat, and another involved an Aggravated Vanilla Incident – and we unearthed the very first Samhain prototype from 2002.

    We don’t have time to do a full-blown trunk show right now, so we’re offering these three for sale. They’re in very, very limited quantity.

    Out of Stock
  • Samhainophobia

    The Fear of Halloween

    Menacing Haitian vetiver, patchouli, and clove with a shock of bourbon geranium, grim oakmoss, and dread-inspiring balsams pierce the innocuous scent of autumn leaves.

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  • Scarecrow Turned Philosopher

    Once I said to a scarecrow, “You must be tired of standing in this
    lonely field.”

    And he said, “The joy of scaring is a deep and lasting one, and I
    never tire of it.”

    Said I, after a minute of thought, “It is true; for I too have
    known that joy.”

    Said he, “Only those who are stuffed with straw can know it.”

    Then I left him, not knowing whether he had complimented or belittled
    me.

    A year passed, during which the scarecrow turned philosopher.

    And when I passed by him again I saw two crows building a nest
    under his hat.

    – Kahlil Gibran

    Corn husks waving on an autumn breeze, beams of amber sunlight, hay bales, and late summer wildflowers.

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  • Snake Oil Lemon Bomb White Tea Fuck Up

    We’re running out of room at the Lab, and it’s been a long, long time since we’ve had a trunk show. When Brian and I were rifling through the prototype and snafu shelves a few weeks ago, we dug up two busticated Snake Oils – one that was a mispour of Lemon Scented Sticky Bat, and another involved an Aggravated Vanilla Incident – and we unearthed the very first Samhain prototype from 2002.

    We don’t have time to do a full-blown trunk show right now, so we’re offering these three for sale. They’re in very, very limited quantity.

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  • Suck It

    Sexy and suckable: black cherry brandy.

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  • The Hag

    The Hag is astride,
    This night for to ride;
    The Devill and shee together:
    Through thick, and through thin,
    Now out, and then in,
    Though ne’r so foule be the weather.

    A Thorn or a Burr
    She takes for a Spurre:
    With a lash of a Bramble she rides now,
    Through Brakes and through Bryars,
    O’re Ditches, and Mires,
    She followes the Spirit that guides now.

    No Beast, for his food,
    Dares now range the wood;
    But husht in his laire he lies lurking:
    While mischiefs, by these,
    On Land and on Seas,
    At noone of Night are working,

    The storme will arise,
    And trouble the skies;
    This night, and more for the wonder,
    The ghost from the Tomb
    Affrighted shall come,
    Cal’d out by the clap of the Thunder.

    Black musk, bay leaves, galangal, bourbon vetiver, blackcurrant, and rum.

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  • The Hare

    In the black furrow of a field
    I saw an old witch-hare this night;
    And she cocked her lissome ear,
    And she eyed the moon so bright,
    And she nibbled o’ the green;
    And I whispered ‘Whsst! witch-hare,’
    Away like a ghostie o’er the field
    She fled, and left the moonlight there.

    A leaper between worlds, the tiny trickster; she soars through liminal spaces, dancing in the strange shadows of dawn and twilight.

    Warm fur and mandrake root, blue sage and tall grasses, honeysuckle-tinged moonlight, carrot seed, comfrey, and dandelion.

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  • The Witch Bride

    A fair witch crept to a young man’s side,
    And he kiss’d her and took her for his bride.

    But a Shape came in at the dead of night,
    And fill’d the room with snowy light.

    And he saw how in his arms there lay
    A thing more frightful than mouth may say.

    And he rose in haste, and follow’d the Shape
    Till morning crown’d an eastern cape.

    And he girded himself, and follow’d still
    When sunset sainted the western hill.

    But, mocking and thwarting, clung to his side,
    Weary day!-the foul Witch-Bride.

    (Aw, c’mon, Allingham. Foul is a pretty strong choice of words, dontcha think?)

    Pale and lovely, with eyes belladonna-wide: hemlock blossoms and ghostly nightshade veiled by wisteria, white frankincense, black amber, and narcissus resin.

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  • This Wan White Humming Hive

    And where should the living feel alive
    But here in this wan white humming hive,
    As the moon wastes down, and the dawn turns cold,
    And one by one they creep back to the fold?
    And where should a man hold his mate and say:
    “One more, one more, ere we go their way”?
    For the year’s on the turn, and it’s All Souls’ night,
    When the living can learn by the churchyard light.

    White patchouli leaf, beeswax, ambergris, and pale incense.

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  • When All Colors to Black Are Cast

    In night when colors all to black are cast,
    Distinction lost, or gone down with the light;
    The eye a watch to inward senses placed,
    Not seeing, yet still having powers of sight,

    Gives vain alarums to the inward sense,
    Where fear stirred up with witty tyranny,
    Confounds all powers, and thorough self-offense,
    Doth forge and raise impossibility:

    Such as in thick depriving darknesses,
    Proper reflections of the error be,
    And images of self-confusednesses,
    Which hurt imaginations only see;

    And from this nothing seen, tells news of devils,
    Which but expressions be of inward evils.

    – Lord Brooke Fulke Greville

    Ink-black musk and dried blackberries, midnight opoponax and sweet labdanum.

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  • Yipe

    In the vein (GET IT) of Boo, Suck It, and Spooky, this is a gushing font of sweet bloody black cherry cream and crushed dried blackberries.

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Halloween 2018 - All Hallows Chaos

Turbulent, disordered beauty: sensitive to initial conditions, topologically mixed, and approached by periodic orbits with abandon. A dynamical system expressed through scent.

Each bottle of Chaos Theory is truly unique, a fragrant fractal, and an exercise in the joy of chance and uncertainty! Each is a one-of-a-kind, utterly random combination of scents, the composition of which is based on whim, mood and gut instinct. Each bottle is numbered, and each bottle is unique.

Hail Eris! After a long hiatus, Chaos Theory is back!

This year, the aforementioned chaos is expressing itself through decidedly seasonal metaphors associated with gathering the harvest and welcoming the “dark half” of the year. Is it comfort you seek, or incantations whispered through a tear in the Veil? Thanks to the options below, you don’t have to choose — you can have it both ways!
This is an exercise in the joy of chance and uncertainty! Each bottle is a one-of-a-kind, utterly random combination of scents, the composition of which is based on whim, mood and gut instinct.

Most common allergens have been omitted from the experiment. No pennyroyal, no nuts, no cinnamon, no cassia. Regardless, if you have any sensitivities, please do not participate in Chaos Theory. The contents of the oils are not recorded [that’s the whole point!] and we will not be able to answer questions about specific bottles of CT:VIII or guarantee that an allergen is not present in your order.

By purchasing CT:VIII, you agree to absolve Black Phoenix of any responsibility related to an allergic reaction to one of the oils in this series. Please make a responsible choice, and use caution and discretion when ordering. This is intended to be a fun, exciting project.

Each CT:VIII scent has a base inspired by one of our favorite ‘Weenies, in wildly varying proportions:

  • All Hallows Chaos: Pumpkin Spice

    “Variety is the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.”
    ― William Cowper, 1785

    Forget about the War on Christmas — the year’s most contentious seasonal battle is actually waged over this inescapable melange of palate-massaging flavors. We’ve got the formula down pat, and invite you to join us in a mad-science experiment: Just how far can we bend it before it breaks?

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  • All Hallows Chaos: Samhain

    “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.”
    ― Mary Shelley, 1831

    This Samhain, we’re reveling in the desecration of a classic blend: “Damp woods, fir needle, and black patchouli with the gentlest touches of warm pumpkin, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet red apple and mullein.”

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Halloween 2018 - Genius Loci: Bats of Los Angeles

The baby bat
Screamed out in fright,
‘Turn on the dark,
I’m afraid of the light.

– Shel Silverstein

This autumn, we are introducing the next Genius Loci series: Bats of Los Angeles. Illustrated by Drew Rausch, scented by Elizabeth Barrial, and inspired by our local furry flighted fuzzballs.

There’s bats over in Black Phoenix Trading Post’s belfry, too!

  • Allen’s Big Eared Bat

    These mountain-dwelling cutie pies roost in caves, mines, and rocky outcrops, and love to munch on moths that they catch mid-flight.

    A fuzzy moth scent, dappled grey and delicious: rosehips and sandalwood with a touch of tobacco flower.

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  • California Leaf-Nosed Bat

    The California Leaf-Nosed Bat prefers the desert. They’re homebodies and do not migrate, and they’re also definitely Type A bats, as they don’t hibernate. Go go go!

    Nightfall in the desert: Mojave yucca, creosote bush, saguaro, dusty clove, and sacred datura.

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  • Ghost Faced Bat

    A venerable and well-respected bat, Ghost Face Bats can trace their ancestry to the late Pleistocene era.

    Sugared coconut meat, vanilla pods, condensed milk, white honey, and benzoin.

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  • Mexican Long-Tongued Bat

    The Gene Simmons of the Phyllostomidae family, this little buddy has a tongue built for harvesting nectar, extending up to a third of its body length and covered in hairy and horny papillae.

    Smoked chili peppers, caramelized saffron, and clove bud.

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  • Pallid Bat

    I want my rooftop filled with Pallid Bats. Not only are they cute as hell, but their favored meal is the Arizona bark scorpion, whose sting is the most venomous to be found in North America.

    Bats > Scorpions
    (Sorry, Scorpios!)

    Tea leaf, bourbon, a sting of white ginger, and Italian bergamot swirled in amber incense smoke.

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  • Western Bonneted Bat

    Fairly antisocial as bats go, Western Bonnie sticks to colonies of less than a hundred other bats. A girl needs her privacy, you know.

    Butterscotch tobacco.

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Halloween 2018 - Masque of the Red Death

It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade. But first let me tell of the rooms in which it was held. There were seven –an imperial suite. In many palaces, however, such suites form a long and straight vista, while the folding doors slide back nearly to the walls on either hand, so that the view of the whole extent is scarcely impeded. Here the case was very different; as might have been expected from the duke’s love of the bizarre. The apartments were so irregularly disposed that the vision embraced but little more than one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. To the right and left, in the middle of each wall, a tall and narrow Gothic window looked out upon a closed corridor which pursued the windings of the suite. These windows were of stained glass whose color varied in accordance with the prevailing hue of the decorations of the chamber into which it opened. That at the eastern extremity was hung, for example, in blue –and vividly blue were its windows. The second chamber was purple in its ornaments and tapestries, and here the panes were purple. The third was green throughout, and so were the casements. The fourth was furnished and lighted with orange — the fifth with white — the sixth with violet. The seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet of the same material and hue. But in this chamber only, the color of the windows failed to correspond with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet –a deep blood color. Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof. There was no light of any kind emanating from lamp or candle within the suite of chambers. But in the corridors that followed the suite, there stood, opposite to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire that protected its rays through the tinted glass and so glaringly illumined the room. And thus were produced a multitude of gaudy and fantastic appearances. But in the western or black chamber the effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the dark hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastly in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon the countenances of those who entered, that there were few of the company bold enough to set foot within its precincts at all.

Art by Tenebrous Kate

Words by Edgar Allan Poe

Scents by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

  • A Certain Nameless Awe

    But from a certain nameless awe with which the mad assumptions of the mummer had inspired the whole party, there were found none who put forth hand to seize him; so that, unimpeded, he passed within a yard of the prince’s person; and, while the vast assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centres of the rooms to the walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the same solemn and measured step which had distinguished him from the first, through the blue chamber to the purple — through the purple to the green — through the green to the orange — through this again to the white — and even thence to the violet, ere a decided movement had been made to arrest him.

    Death unimpeded: bone-white sandalwood, dry cognac, and chilled ambergris accord.

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  • A Deadly Terror That Had Seized Upon All

    It was then, however, that the Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, while none followed him on account of a deadly terror that had seized upon all.

    He bore aloft a drawn dagger, and had approached, in rapid impetuosity, to within three or four feet of the retreating figure, when the latter, having attained the extremity of the velvet apartment, turned suddenly and confronted his pursuer. There was a sharp cry –and the dagger dropped gleaming upon the sable carpet, upon which, instantly afterwards, fell prostrate in death the Prince Prospero. Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave-cerements and corpse-like mask which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form.

    The wild courage of despair: a screech of blood orange and a splash of blood entangled in a corpse-mask of tattered white sandalwood stained with balsam and a grime-crusted winding sheet.

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  • A Gigantic Clock of Ebony

    It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to hearken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at their own nervousness and folly, and made whispering vows, each to the other, that the next chiming of the clock should produce in them no similar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty minutes, (which embrace three thousand and six hundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came yet another chiming of the clock, and then were the same disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as before.

    The chiming of the clock: ebony wood and black pepper, narcissus blossom and tuberose, clanging with dull, heavy opoponax and thick olibanum.

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  • A Group of Pale Courtiers

    It was in the eastern or blue chamber in which stood the Prince Prospero as he uttered these words. They rang throughout the seven rooms loudly and clearly — for the prince was a bold and robust man, and the music had become hushed at the waving of his hand.

    It was in the blue room where stood the prince, with a group of pale courtiers by his side. At first, as he spoke, there was a slight rushing movement of this group in the direction of the intruder, who at the moment was also near at hand, and now, with deliberate and stately step, made closer approach to the speaker.

    A sycophant’s polished stench: green musk fougere, lime, and rose-tufted wig powder.

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  • A Masked Ball of the Most Unusual Magnificence

    It was toward the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence.

    Opulent golden oudh, red benzoin, and bitter almond.

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  • A Multitude of Dreams

    There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust. To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams. And these — the dreams — writhed in and about, taking hue from the rooms, and causing the wild music of the orchestra to seem as the echo of their steps.

    A blackened lavender mist, thick with opoponax, licorice root, and benzoin.

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  • All is Silent Save the Voice of the Clock

    And, anon, there strikes the ebony clock which stands in the hall of the velvet. And then, for a moment, all is still, and all is silent save the voice of the clock. The dreams are stiff-frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die away — they have endured but an instant — and a light, half-subdued laughter floats after them as they depart. And now again the music swells, and the dreams live, and writhe to and fro more merrily than ever, taking hue from the many-tinted windows through which stream the rays from the tripods.

    Dreams writhing to and fro, bubbling up from half-subdued laughter: pink peppercorn, jasmine sambac, and cypress bubbling up through half-subdued white lavender, stabbed through with streams of red musk and black currant.

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  • Glare and Glitter and Piquancy and Phantasm

    He had directed, in great part, the moveable embellishments of the seven chambers, upon occasion of this great fete; and it was his own guiding taste which had given character to the masqueraders. Be sure they were grotesque. There were much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm — much of what has been since seen in “Hernani.” There were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments. There were delirious fancies such as the madman fashions.

    Delirious fancies such as the madman fashions, arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments: orris absolute and leather contorted by cherry and orange blossom.

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  • Happy and Dauntless and Sagacious

    But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince’s own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion.

    Imprisoned in frenzied joy: ribbons of raspberry and red currant streaming through thick goat’s milk.

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  • Illimitable Dominion Over All

    And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.

    Darkness, Decay, and the Red Death: blood musk and black tobacco, birch tar and bleeding cypress sap.

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  • It was Folly to Grieve, or to Think

    The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think.

    Ginger-squeezed champagne with crushed diamonds, orange blossoms, and peach blossoms.

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  • The Night is Waning Away

    But to the chamber which lies most westwardly of the seven, there are now none of the maskers who venture; for the night is waning away; and there flows a ruddier light through the blood-colored panes; and the blackness of the sable drapery appals; and to him whose foot falls upon the sable carpet, there comes from the near clock of ebony a muffled peal more solemnly emphatic than any which reaches their ears who indulge in the more remote gaieties of the other apartments. But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat feverishly the heart of life.

    Night-blooming jasmine and cereus reflected through ruddy musk and crimson amber.

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  • The Red Death

    The “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal –the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.

    Splatters of red musk, bruise-purple violets, vetiver, and pimento.

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  • The Scarlet Horror

    In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted, it may well be supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited such sensation. In truth the masquerade license of the night was nearly unlimited; but the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince’s indefinite decorum. There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made. The whole company, indeed, seemed now deeply to feel that in the costume and bearing of the stranger neither wit nor propriety existed. The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all this might have been endured, if not approved, by the mad revellers around. But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood –and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.

    When the eyes of Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image (which with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage.

    “Who dares?” he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers who stood near him — “who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery? Seize him and unmask him — that we may know whom we have to hang at sunrise, from the battlements!”

    Blasphemous mockery: blood musk and vetiver.

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  • The Sounding of Midnight Upon the Clock

    And the revel went whirlingly on, until at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon the clock. And then the music ceased, as I have told; and the evolutions of the waltzers were quieted; and there was an uneasy cessation of all things as before. But now there were twelve strokes to be sounded by the bell of the clock; and thus it happened, perhaps, that more of thought crept, with more of time, into the meditations of the thoughtful among those who revelled. And thus, too, it happened, perhaps, that before the last echoes of the last chime had utterly sunk into silence, there were many individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no single individual before. And the rumor of this new presence having spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length from the whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disapprobation and surprise –then, finally, of terror, of horror, and of disgust.

    Terror, horror, and disgust: a bowel-churning sweet clench of myrhh and green musk in a pool of suffocating black moss and a shock of white cognac.

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  • The Tastes of the Duke Were Peculiar

    But, in spite of these things, it was a gay and magnificent revel. The tastes of the duke were peculiar. He had a fine eye for colors and effects. He disregarded the decora of mere fashion. His plans were bold and fiery, and his conceptions glowed with barbaric lustre. There are some who would have thought him mad. His followers felt that he was not. It was necessary to hear and see and touch him to be sure that he was not.

    The swirl of a thousand glittering vices: absinthe and laudanum, opium poppy and neroli, star anise and black currant, whip leather and iron shackles, gilded vanilla flower and King mandarin.

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  • There Was Beauty, There Was Wine

    The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the “Red Death.”

    Gushes of black and red wine splattering damask rose and white pear, engulfed in thick clove incense.

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Halloween 2018 - Pickman Gallery 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
ARKHAM’S PICKMAN GALLERY ACQUIRES CURIOUS COLLECTION OF GOAT ART, DEEMED ‘GREATEST OF ALL TIME’
Greatest Of All Time: Portraits of Genus Capra on view at the Pickman Gallery from September 22 to December 28, 2018, Arkham, MA

— On view from September 18 through December 28, 2018 at Pickman Gallery, Arkham, MA, Greatest Of All Time: Portraits of Genus Capra. Greatest Of All Time is guest curated by the Santa Fe Art Institute’s Antonia Vasquez-Thackeray, who also holds a degree in Livestock Science. In this first-of-its-kind exhibition, Mx. Vasquez-Thackeray explores the social co-evolution of humankind and goatkind, a history which stretches back at least 10,000 years. Researchers note that goat remains have been found at archaeological sites in Western Asia including Jericho, Choga Mami, Djeitun, and Çayönü.

Via their innate curiosity and horizontally-pupilled eyes, goats have enjoyed a unique view of human civilization, and our ancestors’ myths and legends have proven us nothing if not fearful of their scrutiny. “Our projections in terms of goat consciousness and goat archetypes have eclipsed anything a goat might tell us about us, or itself,“ Vasquez-Thackeray writes in the introduction to her upcoming MY GOAT, MY INQUISITOR, a salvo against the bias and anthropomorphism that has infected the relations between these two closely interrelated worlds — but which carefully does not disavow the propensity for deceit, diabolism and witchcraft within Caprian mind.

Greatest of All Time consists of works hand-selected to commune with our species’ most recent common ancestor. About this evolutionary MacGuffin, Max Robinson, Ph.D. Molecular Biology and Biotechnology & Evolutionary Genetics, University of Washington, has written: “Millions of years ago, there was some kind of animal that eventually evolved into both goats and humans. It probably had claws rather than hooves or hands. It had a liver, four legs, eyes, and a brain, just like humans and goats still do.”

Unfathomably, a lineage extends directly from that ancestor to this season’s exhibition, which will serve as a family reunion of sorts: several goats from Vasquez-Thackeray’s personal herd will be in residence as docents throughout the duration of the show. (Their reactions to the art as well as to the guests will be recorded via motion-capture and analyzed by individuals from SFAI, MIT, and, by special request, members of Arkham’s Thousand Young Lodge.
Greatest Of All Time: Portraits of Genus Capra promises to feature works by Francisco Goya, J.J. Grandville, Cornelis Saftleven, Johann Christian Reinhart, and Otto Goetze which have never appeared in the same collection before — and by special clause in our arrangement, never will again.

A private, goats-only reception will be held at Pickman Gallery on opening night, September 22, 2018, from midnight until 3am, featuring a special performance by New York drag troupe The Nobodies. RSVP required. Refreshments provided by our perennial sponsors, Sister Shoggoth’s Microbrewery (Home of the original Protoplasmic Bubble Beer), Innsmouth Harbor Fishery, and the Old Arkham Cheese Shoppe.

Sponsorship
Greatest Of All Time: Portraits of Genus Capra was made possible by the generous support of Elizabeth Barrial, director of the Black Phoenix Foundation for the Arts, and TJ Barrial, Visual Arts Professor and Department Chair at the Dunwich Academy of Arts, and was organized for the Celephaïs Athenæum by Brian Constantine, Curator of Sculpture for the Clark Ashton Smith Memorial Gallery. Negtotiatios for the re-aquisition of the Goya piece were handled pro bono by Tom Blunt of the NYC/LA firm Blunt Force Management.

About the Pickman Gallery
The Pickman Gallery is the Miskatonic Valley’s premier privately-owned art gallery. Founded in 1923 by interdimensionally renowned portrait artist Richard Upton Pickman, the Gallery offers the Miskatonic Valley community a dynamic roster of stimulating, dread-provoking exhibitions and enriching public programs. Though the Pickman generally focuses on Aestheticism and Decadence, nearly all artistic movements have been represented throughout the years. Exhibitions organized by the Pickman have featured the works of both local and international artists, and have encompassed all of the visual arts, including printmaking, photography, sculpture, video, film, and performance.

General Information
Pickman Gallery, 432 Sentinel Street, Arkham, MA 01914 Tel: 978/271-1300, Fax: 978/271-1313

Hours
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: Dusk – 1am Saturday: Dusk – 3am Sunday, Monday, and major astronomical events: Closed

Halloween 2018 - Pile of Leaves

Every leaf tells a story.

Halloween 2018 - Pomegranate Grove

About the pomegranate I must say nothing, for its story is something of a mystery.
– Pausanias