Erik Davis' Figments

[1] "The Haunter of the Dark," The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre (New York: Ballantine, 1963), p. 220.

2 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press). "The anomalous is neither an individual nor a species; it has only affects, it has neither familiar or subjectified feelings, nor specific or significant characteristics. Human tenderness is as foreign to it as human

classifications. Lovecraft applies the term 'Outsider' to this thing

or entity, the Thing which arrives and passes at the edge, which is linear yet multiple, 'teeming, seething, swelling, foaming, spreading like an infectious disease, his nameless horror.'" (244-5) "What we are saying is that every animal is fundamentally a band, a pack...It is at this point that the human being encounters the animal. We do not become animal without a fascination for the pack, for multiplicity. A fascination for the outside? Or is the multiplicity that fascinates us already related to a multiplicity dwelling within us? In one of his masterpieces, H.P. Lovecraft recounts the story of Randolph Carter, who feels his 'self' reel and who experiences a fear worse than that of annihilation: 'Carters of form both human and nonhuman, vertebrate and invertebrate .... etc'"(240)

[3] Ibid., p. 202

[4]One notable exception to this is The Starry Wisdom, D.M. Mitchell's recent British collection of Mythos tales and art that bristles with experimental and chthonic magick (London: Creation Books, 1994). Contributors range from J.G. Ballard and William S. Burroughs to Grant Morrison and Alan Moore, two of today's most intelligent comic book writers. Though the bios make no mention of the fact, a number of the contributors, including Don Webb, are solid occultists. On the other hand, the author of one of the more perverse tales is Robert M. Price, a New Testament scholar and pastor of the First Baptist Church of Montclair, New Jersey.

[5] Fritz Leiber, Jr., "A Literary Copernicus," in S.T. Joshi, et., H.P. Lovecraft: Four Decades of Criticism (Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1980), p. 51.

[6] S.T. Joshi, H.P. Lovecraft (Mercer Island, Wash.: Starmbat House, 1982), p. 58.

[7] He was also the first modern occultist to anticipate Lovecraft by trafficking with explicitly extraterrestrial entities.

[8] See Nadia Choucha's Surrealism and the Occult (Vermont: Destiny Books, 1991), pp. 51-74.

[9] Colin Wilson, "Introduction," in George Hay, ed., The Necronomicon: The book of Dead Names (London: Corgi, 1978), p. 35.

[10] The Necronomicon FAQ Version 2.0, written and compiled by Kendrick Kerwin Chua (, May 1994.

[11] Anton LaVey, The Satanic Rituals (New York: Avon, 1972).

[12] Private email correspondence.

[13] "The Whisperer in Darkness," op. cit Best of..., p. 162.

[14] Joshi, p.32.

[15] The imaginative production of a role-playing game's "virtual reality" is not dissimilar to ceremonial magic. RPGs consist of a defined space and time; random dicethrows; source books; a game system that organizes numbers, rules and characteristics; and, most importantly, the active imagination of the players. Organized magical rituals follow a superficially similar scheme: a coherent and graded system carves out a performative space and time wherein divinatory randomness, data from occult cookbooks, and symbolic networks of numbers and signs come to life within the active imagination of the mage, a "playful" imagination that calls forth--and even becomes--the autonomous "characters" of the gods.

From ancient ritualistic board games to the Golden Dawn's Enochian Chess, games have been vehicles for magic and divination. Recently Chaosium, the publisher of Call of Cthulhu, has cemented the connection with Nephilim, the first explicitly occult role-playing game. You play one the Nephilim, a race of magical beings who battle secret societies and must take over living human hosts in their quest for enlightenment. Already banned in some stores, Nephilim artfully and systematically melds deep and genuine esoteric arcana (kabbalah, alchemy, astrology) with an original variant of the occult conspiracy theory of history.

[16] Following the logic of the Freudian slip, Spare workings such as sigil magic must be "forgotten" in order for their encoded intention to "break through" into reality.

[17] August Derleth collected Lovecraft's letters about his dreams in Dreams and Fantasies (Suak City, Wis.: Arkham House, 1962).

[18] op. cit, Chua.

[19] Quoted in Roland Edighoffer,"Rosicrucianism," in Antoine Faivre and Jacob Needleman, eds., Modern Esoteric Spirituality (New York: Crossroads, 1992), p. 198.

[20] Quoted in S.T. Joshi, "Afterword," in H.P.Lovecraft, The History of the Necronomicon (West Warmick, R.I.: Necronomicon Press, 1980), p.9.

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