Yule 2018

  • Almond Blossom

    Almond Blossom
    Even iron can put forth,
    Even iron.

    This is the iron age,
    But let us take heart
    Seeing iron break and bud,
    Seeing rusty iron puff with clouds of blossom.

    The almond-tree,
    December’s bare iron hooks sticking out of earth.

    The almond-tree,
    That knows the deadliest poison, like a snake
    In supreme bitterness.

    Upon the iron, and upon the steel,
    Odd flakes as if of snow, odd bits of snow,
    Odd crumbs of melting snow.

    But you mistake, it is not from the sky;
    From out the iron, and from out the steel,
    Flying not down from heaven, but storming up,
    Strange storming up from the dense under-earth
    Along the iron, to the living steel
    In rose-hot tips, and flakes of rose-pale snow
    Setting supreme annunciation to the world.

    Nay, what a heart of delicate super-faith,
    Iron-breaking,
    The rusty swords of almond-trees.

    Trees suffer, like races, down the long ages.
    They wander and are exiled, they live in exile through long ages
    Like drawn blades never sheathed, hacked and gone black,
    The alien trees in alien lands: and yet
    The heart of blossom,
    The unquenchable heart of blossom!

    Look at the many-cicatrised frail vine, none more scarred and frail,
    Yet see him fling himself abroad in fresh abandon
    From the small wound-stump.

    Even the wilful, obstinate, gummy fig-tree
    Can be kept down, but he’ll burst like a polyp into prolixity.

    And the almond-tree, in exile, in the iron age!

    This is the ancient southern earth whence the vases were baked, amphoras, craters, cantharus, oenochoe, and open-hearted cylix,
    Bristling now with the iron of almond-trees

    Iron, but unforgotten,
    Iron, dawn-hearted,
    Ever-beating dawn-heart, enveloped in iron against the exile, against the ages.

    See it come forth in blossom
    From the snow-remembering heart
    In long-nighted January,
    In the long dark nights of the evening star, and Sirius, and the Etna snow-wind through the long night.

    Sweating his drops of blood through the long-nighted Gethsemane
    Into blossom, into pride, into honey-triumph, into most exquisite splendour.
    Oh, give me the tree of life in blossom
    And the Cross sprouting its superb and fearless flowers!

    Something must be reassuring to the almond, in the evening star, and the snow-wind, and the long, long, nights,
    Some memory of far, sun-gentler lands,
    So that the faith in his heart smiles again
    And his blood ripples with that untenable delight of once-more-vindicated faith,
    And the Gethsemane blood at the iron pores unfolds, unfolds,
    Pearls itself into tenderness of bud
    And in a great and sacred forthcoming steps forth, steps out in one stride
    A naked tree of blossom, like a bridegroom bathing in dew, divested of cover,
    Frail-naked, utterly uncovered
    To the green night-baying of the dog-star, Etna’s snow-edged wind
    And January’s loud-seeming sun.

    Think of it, from the iron fastness
    Suddenly to dare to come out naked, in perfection of blossom, beyond the sword-rust.
    Think, to stand there in full-unfolded nudity, smiling,
    With all the snow-wind, and the sun-glare, and the dog-star baying epithalamion.

    Oh, honey-bodied beautiful one,
    Come forth from iron,
    Red your heart is.
    Fragile-tender, fragile-tender life-body,
    More fearless than iron all the time,
    And so much prouder, so disdainful of reluctances.

    In the distance like hoar-frost, like silvery ghosts communing on a green hill,
    Hoar-frost-like and mysterious.

    In the garden raying out
    With a body like spray, dawn-tender, and looking about
    With such insuperable, subtly-smiling assurance,
    Sword-blade-born.

    Unpromised,
    No bounds being set.
    Flaked out and come unpromised,
    The tree being life-divine,
    Fearing nothing, life-blissful at the core
    Within iron and earth.

    Knots of pink, fish-silvery
    In heaven, in blue, blue heaven,
    Soundless, bliss-full, wide-rayed, honey-bodied,
    Red at the core,
    Red at the core,
    Knotted in heaven upon the fine light.

    Open,
    Open,
    Five times wide open,
    Six times wide open,
    And given, and perfect;
    And red at the core with the last sore-heartedness,
    Sore-hearted-looking.
    DH Lawrence

    Something must be reassuring to the almond, in the evening star, and the snow-wind, and the long, long, nights: almond blossom, hoar-frost, and snow-wind.

    Add to cart
  • Black and Red Candy Canes

    Every year at BPAL, we put up our tiny black Yule tree in the front parlor. It has red lights, and it’s decorated with whatever we have handy. I don’t remember when we got this little tree, but it’s been a Yule staple here as long as I can remember. There are always black and red candy canes on the tree; I don’t know what they actually taste like, because these things have been with us forever and are a bajillion years old. They are probably lethal by now.

    Red musk, star anise, clove bud, labdanum, opium pod, and black patchouli.

    Add to cart
  • Blackcurrant Glogg

    A sweet, dark ember of winter pleasure: port wine, brandy, and bourbon simmered with white sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, orange peel, and wild blackcurrant.

    Add to cart
  • Blueberry Sufganiyot

    Blueberry-filled sufganiyot, blooping blue with jelly.

    Add to cart
  • But Men Loved Darkness Rather Than Light

    The world’s light shines, shine as it will,
    The world will love its darkness still.
    I doubt though when the world’s in hell,
    It will not love its darkness half so well.

    The world will love its darkness: cistus labdanum, ginger, East Indian patchouli, pimento berry, oakmoss, saffron, smoky vanilla, sage, myrrh, and bitter clove.

    Add to cart
  • Christmas Pudding Redux

    Black Phoenix’s 2018 blob of Christmas Pudding is loosely based on a medieval recipe, and is crafted, as tradition dictates, from thirteen ingredients (representing Christ and his apostles, natch). Thick with treacle, smoky with suet (suet accord, sillies – there’s no mutton fat in this perfume!), and sweet with stirred custard.

    Add to cart
  • Ded Moroz

    Grandfather Frost! Accompanied by his granddaughter, Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden, he bestows gifts to virtuous and hard-working people, rewarding their decency and integrity, and punishes those who are lazy, shiftless, and unkind, killing their fields with frost, cracking the trunks of their trees, and destroying their homes.

    The first incarnation of Father Frost was not at all benevolent. He was the personification of the darkest aspects of winter, winter’s destruction incarnate. He kidnapped unruly children, and slew people capriciously by freezing them to death.

    Light, darkness, kindness, and malice: golden amber, white amber, redwood, teak, bois du rose, sage, tree moss, and snow.

    Add to cart
  • Dumb Cake

    This is the scent of an awkward encounter with a Yule-evoked doppelgänger mate: spectral cologne, blurry herbs, fireplace ash, and a dusting of crumbs.

    Add to cart
  • Egg Nog

    Sweet brandy, dark rum, heavy cream, sugar, and a dash of nutmeg.

    Add to cart
  • Frumenty

    ‘To make frumente. Tak clene whete & braye yt wel in a morter tyl the holes gon of; seethe it til it breste in water. Nym it up & lat it cole. Tak good broth & swete mylk of kyn or of almand & tempere it therwith. Nym yelkes of eyren rawe & saffroun & cast therto; salt it: lat it naught boyle after the etren ben cast therinne. Messe it forth.’

    In parts of rural England, the last sheaf of grain from autumn’s harvest were added to a sweet porridge that was eaten on Christmas morning to ensure good health and strength during the dark of the year.

    Cracked wheat cooked in cream and ale with currants, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

    Add to cart
  • Placeholder

    Gelt

    Sevivon, sov, sov, sov
    Chanukah, hu chag tov
    Chanukah, hu chag tov
    Sevivon, sov, sov, sov!

    Chag simcha hu la-am
    Nes gadol haya sham
    Nes gadol haya sham
    Chag simcha hu la-am.

    A bounty of chocolate coins! Dry cocoa and golden amber!

    Add to cart
  • Hanerot Halalu

    Hanerot halalu anachnu madlikin
    Al hanissim ve’al haniflaot
    Al hatshu-ot ve’al hamilchamot
    She-asita la’avoteynu
    Bayamim hahem, bazman hazeh
    Al yedey kohanecha hakdoshim.
    Vechol shmonat yemey Chanukah
    Hanerot halalu kodesh hem,
    Ve-ein lanu reshut lehishtamesh bahem
    Ela lirotam bilvad
    Kedai lehodot leshimcha
    Al nissecha veal nifleotecha ve-al yeshuotecha.

    We light these lights
    For the miracles and the wonders,
    For the redemption and the battles
    That you made for our forefathers
    In those days at this season,
    Through your holy priests.
    During all eight days of Chanukah
    These lights are sacred
    And we are not permitted to make
    Ordinary use of them,
    But only to look at them;
    In order to express thanks
    And praise to your great Name
    For your miracles, your wonders
    And your salvations.

    Olive oil, beeswax, and smoke.

    Add to cart
  • Hearthflame and Incense

    Crackling almond wood and the deep sweet smoke of burgundy pitch, Austrian amber resin, black copal, and frankincense.

    Add to cart
  • Jacob’s Ladder

    And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.

    And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.

    And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

    And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;

    And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

    And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

    And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.

    And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

    The meeting of Heaven and Earth: golden amber, galbanum, benzoin, ambrette, rockrose, costus and tonka.

    Add to cart
  • Knecht Ruprecht

    I came here from the forest
    I tell you, it is a very holy night!
    All over the tips of the firs
    I saw bright flashes of golden light;
    And from above, the gates of heaven
    I saw with open eyes the Christ-child
    and as I wander through the dark forest
    I hear a light voice calling me.
    “Knecht Ruprecht” it called, “Old man
    Lift your legs and hurry! Fast!

    The candles alight
    the gates of heaven open wide
    old and young
    shall rest from the hunt of life
    and tomorrow I shall fly to earth
    as it shall be Christmas again!”

    I said: “O dear master, Christ
    My trip is almost at an end;
    It is only this one town / where the children are good”.
    “Do you have your sack with you?”
    I said: “The sack, it is here;
    apples, nuts and almonds
    solemn children do enjoy”.
    “Do you also have your cane?”
    I said: “The cane, it is here.
    But only for the bad children,
    to hit their right rear”.

    The Christ-child spoke: “That is good;
    So go with god my faithful servant!”
    I came here from the forest
    I tell you, it is a very holy night!
    Speak now how I find it here
    Are the children good or bad?

    The snow-covered foliage of the Black Forest and the fruit and woods of apple and almond trees.

    Add to cart
  • Placeholder

    Maison en Pain D’Epices

    This is the scent of a freshly assembled gingerbread house, with swirls of multicolored icing, spice drop lights, meringue snow, pinwheel mint accents, chocolate roof tiles, candy wafer pavers, and jelly candy stained glass. We used a French translation for ‘gingerbread house’ as the name to make it sound fancier. French adds +40% Fancy!

    Add to cart
  • Midnight Mass

    I will wash my hands among the innocent; and will compass thy altar, O Lord: That I may hear the voice of thy praise: and tell of all thy wondrous works. I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of thy house; and the place where thy glory dwelleth. Take not away my soul, O God, with the wicked: nor my life with bloody men: In whose hands are iniquities: their right hand is filled with gifts.

    But as for me, I have walked in my innocence: redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot hath stood in the direct way: in the churches I will bless thee, O Lord.

    In Roman Catholic tradition, the Christmas season begins liturgically on Christmas Eve, though it is forbidden to celebrate the Christmas Mass before midnight. The most devout attend Midnight Mass, celebrating both the Eucharist and the drama of the Nativity.

    This perfume is a traditional Roman Catholic sacramental incense, most often used during a Solemn Mass. Traditionally, five tears of this incense, each encased individually in wax that has been fashioned into the shape of a nail, are inserted into the paschal candle. This is, of course, represents the Five Wounds of Our Risen Savior. Symbolically, the burning of the incense signifies spiritual fervor, the fragrance itself inspires virtue, and the rising smoke carries our prayers to God.

    Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

    Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum, et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri; per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est, et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas, et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis.

    Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.

    Add to cart
  • Midwinter’s Eve

    A melancholy, deep scent, poignant and brimming with nostalgia. The perfume of sugared plums over a breeze of winter flowers.

    Add to cart
  • Mincemeat Pie

    No minces were harmed in the making of this pie perfume.

    Figs, raisins, dried cherries, and suet accord (vegan-safe!) steeped in dark brown sugar, crystallized ginger, lemon and orange zest, nutmeg, allspice, and clove, embraced by an apple cider cornmeal crust.

    Add to cart
  • Nes Gadol Haya Sham

    But not long after the king sent a certain old man of Antioch, to compel the Jews to depart from the laws of their fathers and of God:

    And to defile the temple that was in Jerusalem, and to call it the temple of Jupiter Olympius: and that in Gazarim of Jupiter Hospitalis, according as they were that inhabited the place.

    And very bad was this invasion of evils and grievous to all.

    For the temple was full of the riot and reveling of the Gentiles: and of men lying with lewd women. And women thrust themselves of their accord into the holy places, and brought in things that were not lawful.

    The altar also was filled with unlawful things, which were forbidden by the laws.

    And neither were the sabbaths kept, nor the solemn days of the fathers observed, neither did any man plainly profess himself to be a Jew.

    But they were led by bitter constraint on the king’s birthday to the sacrifices: and when the feast of Bacchus was kept, they wore compelled to go about crowned with ivy in honour of Bacchus.

    And there went out a decree into the neighboring cities of the Gentiles, by the suggestion of the Ptolemeans, that they also should act in like manner against the Jews, to oblige them to sacrifice:

    And whosoever would not conform themselves to the ways of the Gentiles, should be put to death: then was misery to be seen.

    For two women were accused to have circumcised their children: whom, when they had openly led about through the city with the infants hanging at their breasts, they threw down headlong from the walls.

    And others that had met together in caves that were near, and were keeping the sabbath day privately, being discovered by Philip, were burnt with fire, because they made a conscience to help themselves with their hands, by reason of the religious observance of the day.
    – The Second Book of the Maccabees, 6:1-11

    In order to consolidate his power in Jerusalem and Hellenize the area, the Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes outlawed Judaism and ordered the population to worship Zeus and the Hellenic pantheon. As this was anathema to the Jews, they refused, and Antiochus moved to enforce his religious decree by extreme force.

    Some origin tales say that the dreidel was used at this time as a method by which the Jewish people were able to continue to study the Talmud in secret under the guise of gambling. Now, in addition to being a light gambling game, the dreidel is also a reminder of the strength, devotion, and perseverance of the Jewish people and the mercy of God.

    One scent in four parts:

    Nun, the Snake: nuun, nothing. Naḥš, in modern Arabic, means bad luck. Represented by scents of loss and remembrance: opoponax and lemon verbena.

    Gimel, the Camel: the Ship of the Desert. Represented by scents of abundance, fortitude, and determination: patchouli, heliotrope, pomegranate, and almond.

    He, the Window: sometimes used to represent the Unutterable Name of God, this is the window in our souls through which God’s light touches us. Represented by scents of clarity and piety: frankincense, myrtle, and hyssop.

    Shin, the Tooth: also stands for Shaddai, one of the names of God. The hand formed into shin acts as a priestly blessing. Represented by scents of strength, generosity, kindness, and benediction: carnation, myrrh, red poppy, and hibiscus.

    The essences of Nun, Gimel, He, and Shin are blended to become Nes Gadol Haya Sham.

    Add to cart
  • Shattered Silence

    Unearthly howls reverberate in the shadows of a darkened wood: black cedar, yew berries, juniper and frost-crusted moss, crushed beneath a shaggy spectral black musk.

    Add to cart
  • Song of the Otherworld

    On the darkest nights of winter, the swirling winds buffet battle cries and the moans of the long-dead on their blue-fingered eddies. Storm clouds rumble in the east, and a host of wailing spirits, wights, and ghouls gibber, drift, and creep through the land.

    Sleet and champaca, fir needle and opoponax, blue musk and cypress, balsam and snow.

    Add to cart
  • Sweet Strawberry Gingerbread

    A holiday creation of Lilith’s! Squished strawberries and gingerbread with a touch of French vanilla and mint.

    Add to cart
  • The Cross of Snow

    In the long, sleepless watches of the night,
    A gentle face — the face of one long dead —
    Looks at me from the wall, where round its head
    The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light.
    Here in this room she died; and soul more white
    Never through martyrdom of fire was led
    To its repose; nor can in books be read
    The legend of a life more benedight.
    There is a mountain in the distant West
    That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines
    Displays a cross of snow upon its side.
    Such is the cross I wear upon my breast
    These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes
    And seasons, changeless since the day she died.

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Cypress, Spanish moss, and clove bud with labdanum, Italian bergamot, and white tobacco flower.

    Add to cart
  • The Season of Ghosts

    In Latvia, the Ziemassvetki, or Winter Party, is a celebration of the birth of Dievs, the Sky God and Supreme Ruler of the Latvian pantheon. The two weeks prior to the Ziemassvetki is Ve?u laiks: the Season of Ghosts. Candles are lit to honor the gods and a fire is kept burning throughout the Season, burning away the unhappiness of the previous year so men’s spirits can be renewed. At the feast of the Ziemassvetki, places are left as a courtesy to the ghosts, who arrive by sleigh.

    A scent created to burn away sorrow: bergamot, frankincense, rose geranium, ginger, lemongrass, and blood orange.

    Add to cart
  • Yule

    The Holly King and Oak King each hold sway for half of the year, and engage in an epic, eternal battle at Litha and Yule. In truth, they are each a half of the whole — known by many names: Pashupati, Caerwiden, Herne, Pan, Puck, Cernunnos, the Green Man, the Horned God — and as the Holly and Oak Kings represent the light and dark halves of the year, thus do they also represent the light and dark halves of the deity, and thereby, of ourselves.

    During the darkness of the year, though it seems cold, barren, and bleak, the earth holds the warmth of life deep within itself, and in the depth of its shadows is the eternal promise of renewal and rebirth.

    It is Yule, and the Holly King has slain the Oak: blood red holly berry, mistletoe, wild thyme, verbena, cinquefoil, hemp, winter rose, evergreen, frankincense, juniper, and myrrh.

    Add to cart
  • Yule Cat

    The Yule Cat is a gargantuan Icelandic feline that feasts on indolent people who shirk their community responsibilities. Don’t be lazy! – idle hands make for a very unpleasant Yule!

    Malevolent musk, a drop of infernal civet, vetiver, club moss, birch, goosefoot, and rowan.

    Add to cart

Yule 2018 - An Evening With the Spirits

I felt my hair blown and lifted by currents of air, and cool breezes played about my face and hands. Then began a strange sensation, which I had sometimes felt at seances. Frequently I have heard it described by others as of cobwebs being passed over the face, but to me, who watched it curiously, it seemed that I could feel fine threads being drawn out of the pores of my skin.

I experienced none of the fear of the previous evening. At first I had a strange eerie feeling somewhat akin to it, but that passed off, and I became perfectly calm and indisposed to move, or to answer any of the many questions addressed to me by my friends outside. At the same time I took a great interest in analysing my own sensations and wondered as to what would come of the experiment, for that something was about to happen I was certain.

  • A Measurement of the Soul

    If then, man, in every act, leaves the impression, or daguerreotype of his mental being upon the scenes of his life and the subjects of his action, we are by this law furnished with a new clue to the history of our race; and I think it highly probable, that, by the application of this principle, the chasms of history may be supplied, and a glimpse may be obtained of unrecorded ages and nations, whose early history is lost in darkness. The ancient manuscripts, paintings, and other works of art, which still exist – the crucifixes, garments, armor, and other ancient relics, still preserved – are doubtless still instinct with the spirit that produced them, and capable of revealing to psychometric exploration, the living realities with which they were once connected. At present, these relics are barren of significance. Their hidden meaning lies waiting the future explorer, as the hieroglyphics of Egypt awaited the arrival of Champillion to interpret their significance. And why should not the world be filled with the monuments and unwritten records of its past history? It would seem, to the superficial thinker, that man was entirely limited to tradition and written records for his knowledge of the past; but physical science proves, that the world possesses, embodied in enduring monuments, the story of its progressive existence. The geologist finds, in the different strata of the earth, in its curiously mingled and irregular structure, and in the fossil remains which it conceals in its bosom, the history of its various changes of surface, and of the antediluvian races of animals which have long been extinct. The huge Saurian monsters, which he portrays from their fossil relics, rise before the eye as incredible chimeras. And over this fertile region, now occupied by prosperous States, he revives, by the magic power of science, the antediluvian seas and their strange inhabitants, unknown to man.

    The Past is entombed in the Present! The world is its own enduring monument; and that which is true of its physical, is likewise true of its mental career. The discoveries of Psychometry will enable us to explore the history of man, as those of geology enable us to explore the history of the earth. There are mental fossils for psychologists as well as mineral fossils for the geologists; and I believe that hereafter the psychologist and the geologist will go hand in hand — the one portraying the earth, its animals and its vegetation, while the other portrays the human beings who have roamed over its surface in the shadows, and the darkness of primeval barbarism! Aye, the mental telescope is now discovered which may pierce the depths of the past and bring us in full view of the grand and tragic passages of ancient history! I know that, to many of my readers, unaccustomed to these investigations, and unacquainted with the first experimental facts of this great science, these anticipations must seem a visionary hope – too grand, too romantic, too transcendently beautiful to be true. But observe, that all is based upon familiar experiments, and these results are but legitimate deductions from familiar facts. As surely as the expansive power of steam gives premonition of the ocean steamship, does the power of Psychometry give promise of all the glorious performance to which I have alluded.

    —Buchanan, 1842

    A tactile scent, groaning under the weight of aeons: wild fig, cedarwood, venerable ti leaf, and white sage.

    Add to cart
  • A Spirit, Katie

    On my arrival (June 5) all appeared fair enough. I found the mediums established on the second floor of a small house in Ninth Street near Arch. There were but two rooms on the floor, a front parlor and a bedroom; the lower floor under both rooms being occupied as a shop for the sale of musical instruments. In a back corner of the parlor was a walnut cabinet, seven feet wide and eight feet high, with a door that opened into the parlor, and two apertures, five and six feet high respectively, both curtained with black cloth. We had lamp-light, shaded but sufficient to enable us to recognize faces and to see everything that passed in the room. After we had examined the cabinet, the medium entered it, closing the door.

    Soon at one of the apertures appeared a fair, thoughtful young face, a girl of eighteen apparently, by whom I was cordially welcomed in a low, pleasant voice. She returned and spoke to us several times. At the close of the sitting she twice appeared, robed in white, just within the cabinet door; not coming out, however, into the room: the first time (so I was told) that she had ever shown herself in full form.

    It was evidently a living, moving, thinking being. Yet I suspended judgment. One of the mediums was out of our sight. Then there was a door — locked, padlocked, and otherwise effectually secured, it seemed, but yet a door — from the cabinet into the bedroom adjoining. The possibility of a confederate suggested itself.

    Forty memorable sittings followed. Gradually test conditions were perfected, and every imaginable ground for suspecting deception was removed; and then, instead of failure, all the phenomena came out in greater perfection than before. I select the more remarkable; to copy my notes in full would involve tedious repetition.

    June 7. Katie allowed Dr. Child to feel her pulse; its beats were distinct, about seventy-two a minute. A lady offered her a gold ring, and asked me to put it on her finger. I did so. The hand, beautifully formed, was like that of a mortal woman, nearly of the same temperature as my own, and slightly moist. At the close of the sitting she advanced into the room, dropped a finger on my head, and touched several other persons.

    June 9. I gave her a long chain, composed of Violet’s hair, a present to myself more than forty-five years ago: hoping, as I told Katie, thereby to attract Violet herself in accordance with her promise. I observed that Katie wore the gold ring. But when, at the close of the sitting, examined with a light every nook and corner in the cabinet, neither ring nor chain was to be found.

    June 10. Katie called me up to the aperture, handed me back the hair chain, and said: “Violet wishes you to keep this, in memory of her, until you are called to meet her in her spirit-home.”

    – Touching Visitants From a Higher Life, Robert Dale Owen

    In memory of her: green cognac, rose water, and Italian bergamot.

    Add to cart
  • Cadences and Shakes

    Sir, — After sitting for a short time in darkness, we heard raps on the table and on our chairs, after which the whole room vibrated powerfully. The medium, Mr. Herne, was entranced, but was unable to speak. Mr. Kent then described a female spirit as standing behind Mrs. Berry, with arms extended over her head. Mr. Kent took a concertina from the table, and after playing a few airs, Mrs. Berry requested our invisible friends to whistle an accompaniment, which they immediately did through Mr. Kent I the most magnificent manner I ever heard. Every air which was asked for was at once played, and cadences and shakes were whistled in the most finished style. “Home, sweet home!” was the last air played, and a lovely accompaniment like the singing of birds was given by the invisibles. This terminated a most interesting séance.
    – M. Pearson, 5 July 1870

    The tittering whistles of phantasms: rosewood and rose geranium prickled with pink peppercorn, cardamom, white sandalwood, and frankincense.

    Add to cart
  • Claircognizance

    Dr. E. S. Packard, of Corunna, Me., in the Eastern Star, states that Mr. David Prescott, of South Sangerville, over ninety years of age, “wandered away into the woods, and not returning, a crowd of over a hundred men hunted for him nearly two days; the mill pond near his house was drained. Search was made in every direction but to no success.

     “A gentleman of that place decided to call in the aid of Mrs. Stevens; she told him somebody was lost, and not being able to visit the place she drew a map or chart of the locality, giving directions, by which, on his return he was immediately found alive, but died the next day. The day following I was at South Sangerville, and stopping at this gentleman’s house, examined the map, which was perfect in every respect. The house and shed were correctly drawn, the mill and pond near the house were marked, the field and woods, two fences over which Mr. Prescott must climb, even to the swinging of the road by the house was definitely given.

    “The spot where she said he was, was shown by a large black mark, and he was found exactly in that place. When we consider that Mrs. Stevens never saw this place in her normal condition, it is to me a wonderful test of spirit power.”

    Absolute and perfect clarity: rockrose, white amber, Corsican immortelle, Siamese benzoin, white sandalwood, and life everlasting.

    Add to cart
  • Ectoplasm

    In examining and reporting these cases the witnesses averred that certain people, whom they called “materializing mediums,” had the strange physical gift that they could put forth from their bodies a viscous, gelatinous substance which appeared to differ from every known form of matter in that it could solidify and be used for material purposes, and yet could be reabsorbed, leaving absolutely no trace even upon the clothes which it had traversed in leaving the body.

    This substance was actually touched by some enterprising investigators, who reported that it was elastic and appeared to be sensitive, as though it was really an organic extrusion from the medium's body.

    —Arthur Conan Doyle, 1930

    A luminous, viscid blend of white amber, lemongrass, white oakmoss, and davana.

    Add to cart
  • Eusapia

    “The case I allude to is that of an invalid woman who belongs to the humblest class of society. She is nearly thirty years old and very ignorant; her look is neither fascinating nor endowed with the power which modern criminologists call irresistible; but when she wishes, be it by day or by night, she can divert a curious group for an hour or so with the most surprising phenomena. Either bound to a seat or firmly held by the hands of the curious, she attracts to her the articles of furniture which surround her, lifts them up, holds them suspended in the air like Mahomet’s coffin, and makes them come down again with undulatory movements, as if they were obeying her will. She increases their weight or lessens it according to her pleasure. She raps or taps upon the walls, the ceiling, the floor, with fine rhythm and cadence. In response to the requests of the spectators, something like flashes of electricity shoot forth from her body, and envelop her or enwrap the spectators of these marvellous scenes. She draws upon cards that you hold out, everything that you want – figures, signatures, numbers, sentences – by just stretching out her hand toward the indicated place.

    “If you place in the corner of the room a vessel containing a layer of soft clay, you find after some moments the imprint in it of a small or a large hand, the image of a face (front view or profile) from which a plaster cast can be taken. In this way portraits of a face taken at different angles have been preserved, and those who desire so to do can thus make serious and important studies.

    “This woman rises in the air, no matter what bands tie her down. She seems to lie upon the empty air, as on a couch, contrary to all the laws of gravity; she plays on musical instruments – organs, bells, tambourines – as if they had been touched by her hands or moved by the breath of invisible gnomes… This woman at times can increase her stature by more than four inches.

    —Chiaia, in a letter to Lombroso

    Pale lilacs, white tea, and candle wax.

    Add to cart
  • Lajos

    A tribute to Lajos Pap, a spiritualist medium whose specialty was apporting snakes, lizards, rats, and frogs – live and dead – during séance.

    A pattering of night-creatures: indigo musk and patchouli croaking with oakmoss and a skittering of gleaming black olibanum.

    Add to cart
  • Materialisation

    Undoubtedly the greatest marvel of Spiritualism is the materialisation of the spirit form. It is highly interesting to study the gradual development of this phenomenon. It was not till some years after the advent of modern Spiritualism that materialisation was heard of. At first the spirits had power only to materialise a hand or foot, and that very imperfectly; then they were able to produce faces, several sometimes showing at one séance; but even at that time the spirits prophesied that the time would shortly come when they should be able to materialise a complete human form, and walk about in our midst. That time has now come. On two occasions I have witnessed the phenomenon of a spirit reincarnating itself — putting on a material body and dress — the body to all intents a human body, and the dress fabric of earthly produce. The spirit has not suddenly burst on my view in a perfected form, but slowly evolved out of nothingness before my eyes, and again melted away, repeating the process again and again!
    – Experiences in Spiritualism: A Record of Extraordinary Phenomena Witnessed Through the Most Powerful Mediums, With Some Historical Fragments Relating to Semiramide, Given by the Spirit of and Egyptian Who Lived Contemporary With Her by Catherine Berry

    A quiet perfume that emerges slowly out of nonbeing: white musk, ambergris accord, coconut, almond milk, and honeysuckle.

    Add to cart
  • Mr. Morse’s Seances

    Inquiries into the Philosophy and Phenomena of Spiritualism should procure admission to Mr. Morse’s Seances at 15, Southampton Road Holborn, London on Friday Evenings at Eight O’Clock.

    Don’t be late: polished teakwood, pipe smoke, sugar-clouded absinthe, vetiver, and rum musk.

    Add to cart
  • Odic Force

    The desire to inflict a mortal wound on the monster, Superstition, which, from a similar origin, a few centuries ago, inflicted on European society so vast an amount of misery, and by whose influence not hundreds, but thousands, of innocent persons died in tortures, on the rack and at the stake; — the desire made me wish to make the experiment, if possible, of bringing a highly sensitive person, by night, to a churchyard. I thought it possible that they might see, over graves where mouldering bodies lay, something like that which Billing had seen.
    Eucalyptus blossom, lime rind, and white mint coalescing into a green-tinged amber glow.

    Add to cart
  • Practical Occultism

    Practical Occultism consists, first, of a perfect mastery of the individual’s own spirit. No advance whatever can be made in acquiring power over other spirits, such as controlling the lower or  supplicating the higher, until the spirit within has acquired such perfect mastery of itself, that it can never be moved to anger or emotion—realizes no pleasure, cares for no pain; experiences no mortification at insult, loss, or disappointment—in a word, subdues every emotion that stirs common men’s minds.

    To arrive at this state, severe and painful as well as long continued discipline is necessary. Having acquired this perfect equilibrium, the next step is power. The individual must be able to wake when he pleases and sleep when he pleases; go in spirit during bodily sleep where he will, and visit—as well as remember when awake—distant scenes.

    He must be enabled by practice, to telegraph, mentally, with his fellow associates, and present himself, spiritually, in their midst.

    He must, by practice, acquire psychological control over the minds of any persons—not his associates—beneath his own calibre of mind. He must be able to still a crying infant, subdue fierce animals or angry men, and by will, transfer his thought without speech or outward sign to any person of a mental calibre below himself; he must be enabled to summon to his presence elementary spirits, and if he desires to do so (knowing the penalties attached), to make them serve him in the special departments of Nature to which they belong.

    He must, by virtue of complete subjugation of his earthly nature, be able to invoke Planetary and even Solar Spirits, and commune with them to a certain degree.

    To attain these degrees of power the processes are so difficult that a thorough practical occultist can scarcely become one and yet continue his relations with his fellow-men.

    He must continue, from the first to the last degree, a long series of exercises, each one of which must be perfected before another is undertaken.

    A practical occultist may be of either sex, but must observe as the first law inviolable chastity—and that with a view of conserving all the virile powers of the organism. No aged person, especially one who has not lived the life of strict chastity, can acquire the full sum of the powers above named. It is better to commence practice in early youth, for after the meridian of life, when the processes of waste prevail over repair, few of the powers above described can be attained; the full sum never.

    Strict abstinence from animal food and all stimulants is necessary. Frequent ablutions and long periods of silent contemplation are essential. Codes of exercises for the attainment of these powers can be prescribed, but few, if any, of the self-indulgent livers of modern times can perform their routine.

    The arts necessary for study to the practical occultist are, in addition to those prescribed in speculative occultism, a knowledge of the qualities of drugs, vapors, minerals, electricity, perfumes, fumigations, and all kinds of anæsthetics.

    And now, having given in brief as much as is consistent with my position—as the former associate of a secret society—I have simply  to add, that, whilst there are, as in Masonry, certain preliminary degrees to pass through, there are numerous others to which a thoroughly well organized and faithful association might advance. In each degree there are some valuable elements of practical occultism demanded, whilst the teachings conveyed are essential preliminaries. In a word, speculative occultism must precede practical occultism; the former is love and wisdom, the latter, simply power.

    A Victorian occultist’s incense, invoking the Four Archangels: precious wildcrafted Indian frankincense with myrrh, cassia, sandarac, palmarosa, white sage, red sandalwood, elemi, and drops of star anise bound with grains of kyphi.

    Add to cart
  • Protoplasmic Ooze

    The protoplasmic ooze results in man. It arrives at thoughts and emotions, it builds lofty ideals and great civilisations. The objector urges that this proof of progress is no proof of the permanence of any personality. No proof, but certainly no suggestion of disproof. Again, we find no trace of waste. Change and the revolution of one form of matter into another are evident to us, but no waste, no loss, is anywhere discoverable. The noblest product of the universe so far as we are certain of it is the rounded and accomplished personality of man. Why should nature everywhere display her absolute incapacity to cast away an atom of her lowest product, and yet be able to plunge into nothingness her very greatest?
    – the Occult Review, January 1905

    A pretense of civility, the height of anthropocentric arrogance: a lime-washed gentleman’s fougere with a pinch of snuff, an insouciant whiff of gin, and the memory of an amorphous, sluggish, protoplasmic greenness.

    Add to cart
  • Reflections Under Bereavement

    I can only consider departed spirits and ministering angels, as one innumerable company continually surrounding us. And are they not as nearly united to their fellow soldiers now, as when in the body ! What should hinder ? Gratitude and affection are natives of heaven, and live for ever. Forgetfulness is a property of mortality, and drops off with the body. Therefore, they that loved us in the Lord, will surely love us for ever. Can anything material interrupt the sight or presence of a spirit ? Nay,—

    ‘Walk within walls no more the passage bar,
    Than unopposing space of liquid air.’

    – the British Spiritual Telegraph, Vol. 3 No. 6, April 1859

    Blackened opoponax and frankincense smoke shrouded in wilted roses, black taffeta, and tear-stained lace.

    Add to cart
  • Table-Turning

    In the month of December, another fair American medium arrived in England. This lady and her husband, Dr. Roberts, attended a course of lectures I was then delivering in Providence Chapel, upon Mesmerism and Animal Magnetism. They introduced themselves to me, and invited me to visit them. I did so, many times; and to them do I owe much; for, through the information I received from them, I have been enabled to inquire more fully into this soul-stirring, and very important subject, after several Seances at Mrs. Roberts's in Dyer's Buildings, Holborn [MD: original], where I witnessed the moving of the table in various directions. This is what is called “Table-turning,” and which has been attributed to Electricity or Animal Magnetism, by many intelligent and scientific persons… I have seen a loo-table suspended in the air, at least six inches from the ground, without anyone in the body touching it.

    —Hardinge, 1854

    A heavy, tactile scent that thrums with voices from beyond: black polished teakwood, gullies of ectoplasm, and ghostly white musk.

    Add to cart
  • The Air and the Ether

    But on what could an impression be left? An impression of such a nature becomes a material thing and implies a material nexus, however subtle. So far as we know there are only two things there, the air and the ether. The air is a mobile thing and could not carry a permanent impression. But is the ether a mobile thing? It is pictured as a most delicate medium with vibrating currents flowing in it, but it seems to me that a most tenuous jelly with quivers and thrills would be a closer analogy. We could conceive the whole material universe embedded in and interpenetrated by this subtle material, which would not necessarily change its position since it is too fine for wind or any coarser material to influence it. I feel that I am rushing in where even Lodges fear to tread, but if it should prove to be as I suggest then we should have that permanent screen on which shadows are thrown. The block of ether upon the stairs is the same that it always was, and so conveys the impression from the past.

    the Edge of the Unknown, Arthur Conan Doyle

    Gentle, almost imperceptible, permeating all things: pale amber vibrating with ambergris and a thread of lavender.

    Add to cart
  • The Fox Sisters

    For the sake of continuity the subsequent history of the Fox sisters will now be given after the events at Hydesville. It is a remarkable, and to Spiritualists a painful, story, but it bears its own lesson and should be faithfully recorded. When men have an honest and whole-hearted aspiration for truth there is no development which can ever leave them abashed or find no place in their scheme.

    For some years the two younger sisters, Kate and Margaret, gave séances at New York and other places, successfully meeting every test which was applied to them. Horace Greeley, afterwards a candidate for the United States presidency, was, as already shown, deeply interested in them and convinced of their entire honesty. He is said to have furnished the funds by which the younger girl completed her very imperfect education.

    During these years of public mediumship, when the girls were all the rage among those who had no conception of the religious significance of this new revelation, and who concerned themselves with it purely in the hope of worldly advantage, the sisters exposed themselves to the enervating influences of promiscuous séances in a way which no earnest Spiritualist could justify. The dangers of such practices were not then so clearly realized as now, nor had it occurred to people that it is unlikely that high spirits would descend to earth in order to advise as to the state of railway stocks or the issue of love affairs. The ignorance was universal, and there was no wise mentor at the elbow of these poor pioneers to point the higher and the safer path. Worst of all, their jaded energies were renewed by the offer of wine at a time when one at least of them was hardly more than a child. It is said that there was some family predisposition towards alcoholism, but even without such a taint their whole procedure and mode of life were rash to the last degree. Against their moral character there has never been a breath of suspicion, but they had taken a road which leads to degeneration of mind and character, though it was many years before the more serious effects were manifest.

    Some idea of the pressure upon the Fox girls at this time may be gathered from Mrs. Hardinge Britten's* description from her own observation. She talks of “pausing on the first floor to hear poor patient Kate Fox, in the midst of a captious, grumbling crowd of investigators, repeating hour after hour the letters of the alphabet, while the no less poor, patient spirits rapped out names, ages and dates to suit all comers.” Can one wonder that the girls, with vitality sapped, the beautiful, watchful influence of the mother removed, and harassed by enemies, succumbed to a gradually increasing temptation in the direction of stimulants?

    —Arthur Conan Doyle

    Deception and despair: rose geranium and tea roses with mahogany wood, bourbon vanilla, and apple peel.

    Add to cart
  • The Ghost of a Ghost’s Ghost

    Now, suppose this is to be accepted as the rational and scientific explanation of all the phenomena of this order which have been observed since the human race began to conserve records of its own experience. To what conclusion should we be logically forced? The believe in the objective reality of apparitions under such conditions would have to make way for a new conception, but the point which is really at issue between the materialist and the spiritualist would remain untouched. That issue relates to the permanence of the human personality after death. The spiritualist will point you to his own experiences as affording evidence of the permanence of personality. The materialist is certain that all the experiences of which the spiritualist is conscious result from the operation of natural law. But the eternal question of the soul – “Am I an immortal thing?” – is not to be decided either by the proof of the existence of whole armies of ghosts, or by the rational explanation of all apparitional phenomena whatsoever. The spiritualist falls into an easy error in the supposition that a continuance of personality on a new plane implies a permanence of continuity. What guarantee has a ghost of being immortal? Me not he also perish out of his appointed sphere? And why might we not fancy a whole procession of lives in phantom state – each more ghostly, more attenuated than its forerunner – the ghost of a man, the ghost of a man’s ghost, the ghost of a “ghost’s” ghost, until the thin thing fades into nonentity and slips back into the universal element? The materialist falls into an error parallel with that of the spiritualist when he conceives that a rational explanation of all ghostly phenomena has disposed of a belief in immortality. The concept is as independent of evidence, and as unsupportable by evidence as it is indestructible by evidence. We can neither prove nor disprove, but the balance of reason is still upon the side of the believer and it favours strongly the hope of a continued existence and a continued growth. We can but argue from things known. In all nature we find the clearest evidence of law of progress.
    – the Occult Review, January 1905

    Falling into nonentity and slipping back into the universal element: pallid oakmoss and earthy patchouli tumbling into a void of misty lavender, cistus, and white agarwood.

    Add to cart
  • The Musical Seances

    The second series commenced at 15, Southhampton Row, on Wednesday evening. Into the present course, the medium, Mr. Shepherd will introduce some of the more marked peculiarities of his singular performance. He sings at each concert in the soprano voice.

    A marked peculiarity: tonka bean and red sandalwood with orris, lemon peel, and leather.

    Add to cart
  • The Mysterious Rappings Polka

    As performed by Griffiths Quadrille Band in a Mysteriously Effective Manner and Dedicated to all Lovers of “the Mysterious”.

    It really was a thing. Rose musk with pink and black pepper, a splash of bay rum, tobacco absolute, and toffee.

    Add to cart
  • The Naturally Possible and Impossible

    This has occurred in my presence on four occasions in darkness. The test conditions under which they took place were quite satisfactory, so far as the judgment was concerned; but ocular demonstration of such a fact is so necessary to disturb our pre-formed opinions as to “the naturally possible and impossible,” that I will here only mention cases in which the deductions of reason were confirmed by the sense of sight.

    On one occasion I witnessed a chair, with a lady sitting on it, rise several inches from the ground. On another occasion, to avoid the suspicion of this being in some way performed by herself, the lady knelt on the chair in such a manner that its four feet were visible to us. It then rose about three inches, remained suspended for about ten seconds, and then slowly descended. At another time two children, on separate occasions, rose from the floor with their chairs, in full daylight, under (to me) most satisfactory conditions; for I was kneeling and keeping close watch upon the feet of the chair, and observing that no one might touch them.

    The most striking cases of levitation which I have witnessed have been with Mr. Home, on three separate occasions have I seen him raised completely from the floor of the room. Once sitting in an easy chair, once kneeling on his chair, and once standing up. On each occasion I had full opportunity of watching the occurrence as it was taking place.

    There are at least a hundred recorded instances of Mr. Home’s rising from the ground, in the presence of as many separate persons, and I have heard from the lips of the three witnesses to the most striking occurrence of this kind – the Earl of Dunraven, Lord Lindsay, and Captain C. Wynne – their own most minute accounts of what took place. To reject the recorded evidence on this subject is to reject all human testimony whatever; for no fact in sacred or profane history is supported by a stronger array of proofs

    The accumulated testimony establishing Mr. Homes levitations is overwhelming. It is greatly to be desired that some person, whose evidence would be accepted as conclusive by the scientific world – if indeed there lives a person whose testimony in favour of such phenomena would be taken – would seriously and patiently examine the alleged facts. Most of the eyewitnesses to these levitations are now living, and would, doubtless, be willing to give their evidence. But, in a few years, such direct evidence will be difficult, if not impossible, to be obtained.

    – Notes of an Enquiry into the Phenomena called Spiritual during the years 1870-1873, William Crookes

    Well-worn leather, bay rum, vetiver, cigar smoke, and amber oudh.

    Add to cart
  • The Spirit Bridegroom

    UNCANNY STORY FROM THE ONSET SPIRITUALISTS
    Wealthy Widow Becomes a Ghost’s Bride

    The Bangs Sisters, May and Lizzie, Continue to Startle the Peaceful Residents of a Massachusetts Town – the Spirit Bridegroom

    Charming May Bands and her sister, the great spiritualists, who, when at home, reside in Chicago, have lately startled the natives of Onset, Mass. This statement means more than might appear on the surface when it is added that that little town is almost wholly made up of spiritualists. Thither the Bangs sisters hied themselves some weeks ago to take part in the summer assembly of the eastern societies. They made their headquarters at Happy Home cottage, where they were daily visited by pilgrims in search of friends and relatives long since in the “other world.” Among those visitors was a rich widow from the far west, who wanted to see her lover, who had been a captain in the United States army. The captain, who came from Maryland, died on the eve of his marriage to the rich widow. For a year she has worn widows’ weeds and longed for even a visit from the spirit of her departed lover. Miss Bangs informed her that she could not only produce the captain’s spirit, but that the marriage ceremony that had been cut off by death would be performed in Happy Home cottage. A few days ago an item was given out for publication to the effect that the ceremony had been effectually performed some days before. In speaking of it May Bangs said:

    “I materialized the form and the lover came out of the cabinet attired in the uniform of an army officer. The premises had been previously examined to prove that there was no mortal about. The materialized spirit asked that the curtains be drawn for a while to shut off the front parlor. The bride wanted him to put on her slipper, and he did.

    “Only a faint light shone through the room where the minister and others were waiting. He kissed her numerous times. The bride was in a new wedding dress. Then the materialized spirit lover requested that the marriage ceremony be performed, and the request was granted. He placed a ring on her finger. They were together a long time that evening.”

    – Fort Wayne Sentinel, September 10, 1894
    Misted roses and the memory of cologne, salt-wet and bittersweet.

    Add to cart
  • The Writing on the Slate

    My most remarkable experience has been with Dr. H. Slade of New York, for whom I have formed a high regard. I first met him at his residence last November, when, without announcing my name, in three consecutive sittings, at eleven o’clock in the morning, seated at a small, bare table in the centre of a light room, there written on the under side of a slate placed on the table, several communications addressed to me, purporting to come from my deceased friends. I pass over the other manifestations – such as the movement of heavy articles of furniture in plain view, without visible contact – and confine myself to the writing on the slate, which I regarded with most interest…

    – Thos. W. Waterman, Binghamton, NY, July 14, 1873

    The result of a physical law which is not yet understood, and the existence of which has hitherto scarcely been suspected: beeswax candles, chalk, and dust.

    Add to cart
  • Thought Photography

    During the year 1896 considerable stir was created by the investigation of Dr. Hippolyte Baraduc, of Paris, in the line of “Thought Photography,” which is of interest to psychic investigators generally. Dr. Baraduc claimed to have gotten photographic impressions of his thoughts, “made without sunlight or electricity or contact of any material kind.” These impressions he declared to be subjective, being his own personal vibrations, the result of a force emanating from the human personality, supra-mechanical, or spiritual. The experiments were carried on in a dark room, and according to his statement were highly successful. In a communication to an American correspondent, printed in the New York Herald, January 3, 1897, he writes: “I have discovered a human, invisible light, differing altogether from the cathode rays discovered by Prof. Roentgen.” Dr. Baraduc advanced the theory that our souls must be considered as centers of luminous forces, owing their existence partly to the attraction and partly to the repulsion of special and potent forces bred of the invisible cosmos.

    A number of French scientific journals took up the matter, and discussed “Thought Photography” at length, publishing numerous reproductions of the physician’s photographs; but the more conservative journals of England, Germany and America remained silent on the subject, as it seemed to be on the borderland [Pg 199]between science and charlatanry. On January 11, 1897, the American newspapers contained an item to the effect that Drs. S. Millington Miller and Carleton Simon, of New York City, the former a specialist in brain physiology, and the latter an expert hypnotist, had succeeded in obtaining successful thought photographs on dry plates from two hypnotized subjects. When the subjects were not hypnotized, the physicians reported no results.

    As “Thought Photography” is without the pale of known physical laws, stronger evidence is needed to support the claims made for it than that which has been adduced by the French and American investigators. “Thought Photography” once established as a scientific fact, we shall have, perhaps, an explanation of genuine spirit photographs, if such there be.
    – Hours With the Ghosts; Or XIX Century Witchcraft by Henry R. Evans

    Mercury-limned lavender, palo santo, and ambrette seed.

    Add to cart
  • Vital Fluid

    Modern philosophy has admitted a plenum or universal principle of fluid matter, which occupies all space; and that as all bodies moving in the world, abound with pores, this fluid matter introduces itself through the interstices and returns backwards and forwards, flowing through one body by the currents which issue therefrom to another, as in a magnet, which produces that phenomenon which we call Animal Magnetism. This fluid consists of fire, air and spirit, and like all other fluids tends to an equilibrium, therefore it is easy to conceive how the efforts which the bodies make towards each other produce animal electricity, which in fact is no more than the effect produced between two bodies, one of which has more motion than the other; a phenomenon serving to prove that the body which has most motion communicates it to the other, until the medium of motion becomes an equilibrium between the two bodies, and then this equality of motion produces animal electricity.

    —Wonders and mysteries of animal magnetism displayed; or the history, art, practice, and progress of that useful science, from its first rise in the city of Paris, to the present time. With several Curious Cases and new Anecdotes of the Principal Professors, 1791.

    The breath and tears and pulse of all life; the fluid that flows through all creation, permeating space and time and spirit: olibanum, red benzoin absolute, labdanum, betel leaf, galbanum, mastic, and angelica.

    Add to cart
  • Who Would Not Tremble Too?

    The new discovery of “Table Moving,” by means of an unseen power from the human hand, has only been introduced into England within the last few weeks; but it would be difficult to dingle out any scientific subject which has with such rapidity, taken so extensive a hold of the popular mind. If we travel by railway carriage, steamboat, or omnibus, this is the universal topic of conversation. From the aristocratic saloons of Belgravia to the “Parlours” of Whitechapel – the Green Park to the Cat and Mutton Fields, “table moving” is all the rage. From the Royal Institution, where the secretary pokes his head through a forest of electrical apparatus, to inform the audience that the facts are established, down to the humblest Mechanics’ Institute, all are full of it, and the tables, to quote the words of the old song – “are all a moving, move, move, moving,” – Every evening party must of course have its experiments; accordingly, gentlemen come provided with very elegant chapeaux for the occasion, and many an innocent flirtation occurs consequent on the proper arrangement of the little fingers of some of the fair operators. As “sweet eighteen,” with her blue eyes and golden locks, gracefully links her little finger with Charles’s, in a retired corner, what wonder if the hat should tremble? And Charles, being of course fond of poetry (his very name is a guarantee for that), cannot resist softly breathing into Lucy’s ear, that exquisite line from Waller, on his fair one’s harp –

    “Touched by that hand – who would not tremble too?”

    And after a little more conversation of a strictly scientific character, they feel quite satisfied with the success of the experiment. Mamma, who has been watching the progress of the magnetic influence at a distance, “has no patience with such nonsense, and wonders young men and young women cannot find something better to do.” She forgets that there was a magnetic influence at work about twenty years since, and what little trifles served as conductors then.

    – Table Moving, its causes and phenomena: with directions how to experiment

    A spirit-touched courtship: sweet orange blossom, white honey, jasmine tea, white sandalwood, green apple, and lily of the valley.

    Add to cart

Yule 2018 - Frostbitten

The chill silence of winter has descended on the Lab, draping icicles have coalesce on the edges of our laboratory tables, and white, blinding white, snow drifts over all.

Perennial BPAL favorites, frozen.

Yule 2018 - Gingerbread Cotillion

Gingerbread Cotillion

GINGERBREAD COTILLION
Now you shall hear a story that somebody’s great-great-grandmother told a little girl ever so many years ago:

There was once a little old man and a little old woman, who lived in a little old house in the edge of a wood. They would have been a very happy old couple but for one thing — they had no little child, and they wished for one very much. One day, when the little old woman was baking gingerbread, she cut a cake in the shape of a little boy, and put it into the oven.

Presently she went to the oven to see if it was baked. As soon as the oven door was opened, the little gingerbread boy jumped out, and began to run away as fast as he could go.

The little old woman called her husband, and they both ran after him. But they could not catch him. And soon the gingerbread boy came to a barn full of threshers. He called out to them as he went by, saying:

I’ve run away from a little old woman,
A little old man,
And I can run away from you, I can!

Then the barn full of threshers set out to run after him. But, though they ran fast, they could not catch him. And he ran on till he came to a field full of mowers. He called out to them:

I’ve run away from a little old woman,
A little old man,
A barn full of threshers,
And I can run away from you, I can!

Then the mowers began to run after him, but they couldn’t catch him. And he ran on till he came to a cow. He called out to her:

I’ve run away from a little old woman,
A little old man,
A barn full of threshers,
A field full of mowers,
And I can run away from you, I can!

But, though the cow started at once, she couldn’t catch him. And soon he came to a pig. He called out to the pig:

I’ve run away from a little old woman,
A little old man,
A barn full of threshers,
A field full of mowers,
A cow,
And I can run away from you, I can!

But the pig ran, and couldn’t catch him. And he ran till he came across a fox, and to him he called out:

I’ve run away from a little old woman,
A little old man,
A barn full of threshers,
A field full of mowers,
A cow and a pig,
And I can run away from you, I can!

Then the fox set out to run. Now foxes can run very fast, and so the fox soon caught the gingerbread boy and began to eat him up.

Presently the gingerbread boy said, “Oh dear! I’m quarter gone!” And then, “Oh, I’m half gone!” And soon, “I’m three-quarters gone!” And at last, “I’m all gone!” and never spoke again.

Yule 2018 - Twelve Lashes from Krampus

In 2017, we attended the Gnigler Krampuslauf, and it was life-changing. I can remember every single moment of the experience: the smell of spiced hot wine, sausages, and sleet… the needles of the cold on my hands, the sparkle of rapture on my daughter’s face, the eerie amber light that cascaded down on everything. I can remember the smell of wet fake fur and the sensation of the birch branches on my legs, the tugs on my hair, the otherworldliness of it all. There was something absolutely primal and raw present that night; echoes of a thousand years of ritual trembled in the air, buoyed on the gasps and laughter of the crowd.

2018 marks the twelfth year that we have been creating Krampus-themed perfumes for Yule, and to celebrate, we’re laying out the spanks – one for each year. The photos from this series were taken by Brian ‘Doc’ Constantine during our trip to Austria to attend the Gnigler Krampuslauf – tiny flickers of the passion and the raw, brutal exultation of that night, and all the nights like it that extend back into the darkness of our collective past. Perchta and her beautiful monstrosities are also represented here, as we do equal honor to the Lady of Beasts and her howling host.

Yule 2018 - Twelve Lashes from Krampus - Perchtenläufe

During the twelve nights of Christmas, Perchta – the Luminous One, Maiden of the Wagon and Plow, Snow Queen, Iron-Nosed, Guardian of the Beasts and Mother of Spirits, She Who Spins – leads her host of spirits, pixies, ghostly children, beasts, and fiends through the nighttime streets of Alpine villages. With her entourage of schiachperchten and schönperchten, she chastises the shiftless and grants boons to the hardworking.

  • Perchta 2018

    Perchta, the Shining One, is the Lady of the Beasts, an incarnation of the goddess Holda. She, too, leads the Wild Hunt, and is the protectress of wild animals, and appears to mortals as either a white-clad, white-skinned, white-haired beauty, or as a brutish, bestial hag. She is called Berhte Mit Dem Fuoze; one of her feet is shaped like a beast’s, which gives away her superhuman nature no matter how she is disguised. She is also called Perchta the Belly-Slitter, for, at Yuletide, she castigates the wicked, slovenly, and idle, and rewards those that are generous, good-natured, and kind. The Belly-Slitter enforced community taboos, punishing those that spun during holy days and those who failed to partake in sacred feasts, thus jeopardizing the next year’s harvest. Her punishments can be a bit over-the-top, though: they include disemboweling the transgressor and filling the empty cavity with refuse.

    Her scent is a blend of wild musk, snow, and alpine flora: Nigritella lithopolitanica, balsam fir, aconite, crocus, touch-me-not, edelweiss, iced sugar crystals, Iris variegate, and violet.

    Add to cart
  • Schiachperchten

    The Brutal Ones: dark chocolate, black pepper, and green cardamom.

    Add to cart
  • Schönperchten

    The Shining Ones: snow-spattered lavender, bourbon vanilla, white mint, and white amber.

    Add to cart