I’m immensely happy to announce I have sold my first book.
New Gods and Monsters will be published by Daily Grail Publishing next summer.
Here’s the pitch:
“To a new world of gods and monsters!’
-Dr. Pretorius, in The Bride Of Frankenstein
Despite the predictions (and hopes) of some, the early 21st Century of the Common Era is not a time of less religion than before – 85% of the planet’s population profess to hold some religious belief. But… some of those beliefs are a long way from orthodoxy.
As a result of the rise in popular culture in the last century and the increasing speed and density of communications media to carry it, the modern world has a plethora of stories – avowed fictions among them – about religion, myth and magic to chose from. Increasingly, peoples’ beliefs are directly affected by these stories. Some believers take metaphorical comfort and confirmation of their own orthodox beliefs from them, some incorporate part of pop culture into their belief system… and some even take these fictional tales and treat them as the basis of their own new religions.
New Gods And Monsters is the story of these stories – how they began, how they became popular, the influence they can have on us and what they imply for a future seemingly ridden with religious strife.
This will be an expansion of my previously published thoughts on hyper-real religion, Slenderman, multi-model occultism and basically everything I care about, heavily revised and re-examined – plus a lot of new material on how mythology and stories intersect our modern world.
I did a podcast a couple of days with my friend and fellow Grinder Mikey Pirate (who is totally not the leader of an Asteroid Death Cult): we talked about the usual stuff – hyperreal religion, metafiction, Trickster Gods, Slenderman, Babylon 5‘s Rangers and why those who cosplay the Engineers from Prometheus might not be the nicest people to have over for a cup of tea.
Here it is:
Next week, I’m giving two different talks in London on two consecutive days:
22nd April, I’m speaking at the Royal College of Art’s Battersea campus (RCA students only, sadly) on neopaganism, the hyperreal (again), authenticity and Midsummer. Details here.
On the 23rd, appropriately enough, I’m giving a talk on ‘Robert Anton Wilson – Gnostic Agnostic’ at the University of London’s Senate House Library’s ‘Marginal Presences’ Symposium – there should still be tickets available for this, and you can learn more here.
Things continue to happen…
The biggest is the appearance of volume 8 of Darklore, on sale now.
The line-up is:
Mike Jay dives into the strange history of ‘sane hallucinations’
Martin Shough investigates the ball lightning enigma, and the way science has approached the mystery as compared to the UFO phenomenon
Joanne Conman discusses her revolutionary theory about ancient Egyptian astronomy
Daniel Bourke compares modern accounts of post-death consciousness with the descriptions of the world beyond found in the Tibetan Book of the Dead
Cat Vincent examines the rise of pop culture-based, hyper-real religions
Blair MacKenzie Blake revisits the strange history of the Shaver Mystery craze
Lucy Ryder explores the history of ‘corpse roads’ through archaeology and folklore
Ray Grasse asks the question: what does it mean when weird things happen?
Martin J. Clemens looks into reports of a 24,000-year-old pyramid in Indonesia
Robert M. Schoch explores the nature of death and consciousness
Alistair Coombs goes in search of the ‘Cult of the Cosmic Bull’
Greg Taylor reports on the ‘dying light’ witnessed by some people at the passing of a loved one
You can also read my article “Believing In Fiction: the Rise Of Hyperreal Religion” as a free sample here (pdf).
Also upcoming (hopefully 24 September) is the next post in my ongoing Spiral Nature column The Hype: This time I’ll be talking about a very personal experience in the use of pop culture symbology in magic, and issues of cultural appropriation. Hint:
Oh, that knife…
Finally, a reminder that my talk for the London Fortean Society “Searching For Slenderman” takes place in a couple of weeks. Venue is The Bell pub in London’s East End, on 8 October at 7:45PM. Tickets are £3/£2 concessions.
Here’s the blurb:
The Slenderman. Born barely five years ago in an online Photoshop competition, this faceless creature’s mythology rapidly spread across the internet, inspiring video series, Alternate Reality Games, stories… and nightmares. Earlier this year, its influence may have led to the attempted murder of a child by other children. A creature of pure fiction, drawing blood. Cat Vincent takes a look at the origins, evolution and implications of this most modern of monsters.
Hope to see some of you there.
So, this happened… I wrote the cover feature for this month’s Fortean Times.
Ever since I first read FT as a kid (when it was still a fanzine rather than a professional monthly), I had a dream that I’d be in its pages some day – maybe in an article about weird shit, possibly in a review or even a memorial in the Strange Deaths column!
To not only be commissioned to write for them, but to get the cover first time out, is literally a dream come true – and the highlight of my writing career so far.
Huge thanks to FT editor David Sutton for asking me to write for them, Jenny Coleman for her interesting alternate view of Slendy alongside my piece and Etienne Gilfillan for the beautiful cover art.
Issue 317 of Fortean Times is out now.
It’s been a while since I put up a post – a lot’s been happening. For one thing, I turned fifty years old – and honestly, it feels pretty good.
I have a new monthly column at the venerable occulture site Spiral Nature: called ‘The Hype’, I’m taking a look at currents in occult-related pop culture which are sliding further into both the cultural mainstream and the ‘real’ world. The first piece sets up my angle of attack (using the perspective of sociologist Adam Possamai and his theories on hyper-real religion – hence the name). The second article considers the way True Detective brought the cosmic horror of The King In Yellow to a far wider audience and the third, up today, considers The-City-As-Character in urban fantasy – with a specific, personal focus on London.
(My interest in Possamai’s models will also be involved in my next piece for the Darklore journal, coming later this year.)
I’ve been doing more for Daily Grail, including my partial review/flag-waving for the upcoming stage adaptation of Robert Anton Wilson’s autobiography Cosmic Trigger which promises to be extraordinary (there’s a crowdfunding campaign for a planned 23 November premiere in Liverpool – get on that!). I’ve also done a review of the recent Current 93 gig at Halifax Minster church and the NSA’s facial recognition algorithm seen in light of the prescient (and excellent) TV show, Person Of Interest.
And then there’s Slenderman…
At this point, pretty much everyone has heard about the shocking events in Wisconsin: the attempted murder of a twelve year old girl by two of her friends, trying (allegedly) to sacrifice her in order to become Slenderman Proxies. News agencies across the world have been trying to get a handle on this ever since – I was interviewed for The Guardian a few days after it happened. Then, two more cases involving Slenderman happened – one was a similar attack by a child upon her mother, the second an aside in the multiple cop-killing in Las Vegas by a husband-wife pair, whose interests included right-wing extremism and cosplaying as Joker/Harley Quinn and Slenderman.
Two days after the latter attack, it was the fifth anniversary of Slenderman’s birth – I noted the occasion for Daily Grail.
And… I’ve been commissioned by Fortean Times to write a feature on Slenderman for the next issue. This is a big deal for me, to put it mildly. I hope to do the subject – and the fall-out from the Wisconsin tragedy – justice.
It’s a strange world, and getting stranger by the day. Be safe out there, folks…
I had the great pleasure of giving a talk about Slenderman (based on my two Darklore articles, but expanding on the practical occult aspects) at the celebrated Treadwells bookshop in London on 25th November 2013ce. Now, the video of the talk is available on YouTube.
If I can clean up the audio, I’ll post the Q&A session later.
As I had a few requests for it, the transcript for the original script is below the cut – but you’l have to watch the video for my hilarious improvisations and my appalling Alan Moore impersonation!
I’m happy to announce the publication of Darklore, volume 7 by Daily Grail Publishing.
This year’s book is another stunning collection of the best of modern Forteana – and it also contains the second half of my look at the way the Slenderman meme is infiltrating the ‘real’ world.
This piece, Killing Slenderman, looks at what this could mean and what to do about it – taking on such examples of the fictional entering the quotidian as Alan Moore’s meetings with his own creation John Constantine, and Grant Morrison’s near-death experience writing The Invisibles.
As with Part One (which is still free to download as a pdf article here), I’ve put an extensive set of footnotes and links on the site – you can find that right here – just scroll down part the Part One notes.) I include a little more detail in exactly how, as a combat magician, I might deal with a Slenderman incursion.
And remember… No Wifin.
My piece on Slenderman for Darklore vol. 6 has been put on their website as a free sample, so if you want to read it Right Now, go here. (And NB there’s a page of relevant links for the piece right here on the blog.)
But I’d still recommend the actual Darklore book, as it’s packed with fine Fortean writing and is simply gorgeous.
I’m happy to announce that Darklore volume 6, the latest instalment of what has become one of the best Fortean journals around, is out now – and I’m in it. This is my first professional published work and I’m proud as hell to be there.
Here’s the good word:
Ladies and gentlemen: the sixth instalment of our anthology series covering hidden history, fringe science and general Forteana, Darklore Volume VI, is now available for sale. You can pick up your copy from any number of online retailers through a simple search. But here’s the links to Amazon:
Darklore VI Paperback
Darklore VI Limited Edition Hardcover
Above is the totally awesome cover (conceived by myself, and perfectly executed by Mark Foster), and below is a listing of what you’ll find within:
- Cat Vincent examines the birth of a modern monster meme: The Slenderman.
- Mark Foster unlocks the mystery of the ‘Trial Passages’ beside the Giza pyramids.
- Robert Schoch evaluates the chances of our Sun wiping out modern civilisation.
- Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince lift the veil on the esoteric foundations of The Royal Society.
- Neil Arnold goes in search of sewer monsters.
- Mitch Horowitz points out America’s mystical history.
- Nigel Watson shares a case of ‘alien contact’ that he investigated.
- John Reppion sheds some light on Liverpool’s forgotten megalithic history.
- Martin Shough looks into the strange case of ‘double suns’.
- Blair MacKenzie Blake discusses the mystery man of 20th century alchemy, Fulcanelli.
- Greg Taylor points out the astronomical archetype behind depictions of gods and kings in ancient cultures.
- Jack Hunter heads to the dark side of anthropology and finds the weirdness that doesn’t often get talked about in academic circles.
Thanks for everyone’s support of the Darklore series – it helps to fund this website, and also provides financial support for contributors so that they can continue researching and writing about the stranger side of life.
Well worth your time and money – despite my presence!