After a long stretch of very very serious, we’re unwinding with some cheerful consumerism! We spent the last months looking for holiday gifts with only a whiff of brimstone, and here’s the results. With the supply chain being what it is, you can pretend you ordered these in the summer, even if they show up in January. Enjoy!
Let’s get ready to shop with a carefully thought-out dosage of Devil Mountain Coffee, which prides itself on being the world’s strongest coffee, in particular their “Black Label” blend. Although maybe “Dante’s Revenge” would be more on topic for us.
In the very occasional world of interesecting medievalism and artificial intelligence, Ai-Da, an artificial intelligence with interest in visual art, poetry, and lecturing (see TED talk, at right), recently gave her first poetry reading at the Oxford’s Ashmolean museum. She had studied up on Dante’s Divine Comedy for her poetic inspiration, and a short portion of that reading is over on Instagram.
We got a little distracted by Inspirobot, a fun little website that makes procedurally generated inspirational messages. After Jacob clicked on it for like 15 minutes he found out that it gets abruptly more dystopian at some point. Do with that what you will.
Onward to the gifts…
.Visiting the Curia Arcanum store on South Congress was a real treat, a small but hugely rewarding nicknackatorium on the south side. Not only was the shop a fun sideshow/gallery/performance space and a joy to wander through, but the proprietor was fun to talk to. The shop is a little hard to find as it’s embedded in a mixed-use office park…it’s kind of like finding an orchid blooming in a suburban lawn. Or maybe stumbling across an Audrey II.
If you can’t make it there, the online shop is well worth a visit, and features their in-house cartomancy pack, fezzes, assorted…things… and events as well. Much of the material there is occult and spooky, but there’s a carnival sideshow flavor running through the store that will appeal to many folks.. Toys, clothing and accessories, hard-to-find books, and a few relics besides.
More a destination than a specific gift idea, Morbid Anatomy has a range of online courses (See the Morbid Academy) in myth and religion, creative arts, literature, history…it’s hard to pinpoint a specific thread linking them, but the list is very well curated. They also have a number of online events and single-session presentations (and you can join Jacob on April 18 for David Farley’s lecture on the Foreskin of Christ, which is going to be fun.)
But for holiday giving, check out their online shop. Again, the range here is huge and hard to describe, and many of the items there are unique. Rare tarot, anatomical grotesqueries, mourning in so many forms. Take a tour through the site and their “what’s on” calendar.
Creatures of Decay
An online shop full of resin-cast art by Dingy Dave Prieto, glowing, complex, a little trippy, and loaded with character. These are small pieces of art, hand-cast little works of desk-art. Some of the smalller ones (such as the werewolf pack) are in the “stocking stuffer” price range. Unfortunately the Krampus is not currently available on Prieto’s website, but soon!
Meet Solomon Hitch, a misunderstood monster with a heart of gold and a taste for living flesh, and his love Lucy Chaplin, the world’s most glamorous mad scientist. These two are the cover-art sweethearts of “Halloween Man,” the comic creation of Drew Edwards…nice colorful review over on firscomincsnews, BTW. . We were lucky to find real life dead tree versions of these titles at Horror for the Holidays. Not sure how best to buy the paper editions outside of a live event, but you can definitely find, and give, them through Comixology.
I’ve been thinking about this absinthe for years, so long in fact that I’ve completely forgotten what it actually is. In my head, this is a tall bottle of deep red absinthe, a novelty created by shock-rocker Marilyn Manson, but in fact, it’s quite not that at all. It’s a nice absinthe, or perhaps Mansinthe, on a budget, more enthusiastic than subtle, with an almost, but not quite, creepy picture by Manson. It wa developed by Manson and absinthe distiller Markus Lion.. You can find it on Alandia, an absinthe specialty shop, but it may be available at your local high-end boozitorium.
I must have seen some kind of absinthe display that featured both Mansinthe and a red absinthe, of which there are several.
One of the high points of this particular dive was the reviews posted for Mansinthe in Google Shopping. Which, sadly, I can’t find anymore. But here’s a couple of choice ones.
a week ago
I was having some construction done in my home and got this to assist with the dust. It seems to make a huge difference. The one improvement would be washable filters.
Lisa H. · Reviewed on alen.com
Great Product So Far
a year ago
We have been using this every night in our bedroom now for almost 2 weeks. We both saw a improvement the next day. Not walking up feeling so gunky in our lungs.
Will see what the next 6 months hold for us but hoping it continues.
Tim B. · Reviewed on alen.com
Cuddly Cuddly Cerberus (and friends)
There are certainly other providers of plush cerberi, But the one sold by Ebros has an attractive silver-gray coat, it’s a decent size, and its eyes are flat red disks like an evil version of Annie’s dog. I like this one! And if you have a spare $125 lying around, you can get Cerberus and his cousins, Chimera and Hydra, which would be a sizable investment in Greek horror.
Satanic Hot Sauce
If you’re looking for dark gifties for someone with an unsettling sense of humor, The Satanic Temple’s gift shop is a good place to begin your search. Did you need a Baphomet for your tree or festivus pole? Almost certainly. But a special callout to their line of hot sauces, which are very likely to be tasty, but are definitely packaged well. We don’t think you can go wrong with garlic chipolte and a dapper bunny on the bottle. Win-win.
Hex Girls Merch
If you’re trying to be either a good or bad influence on a tweenager in your life, this might be a good way to go. The Hex Girls have been a part of the Scooby Doo extended cinematic universe since 1999, an “eco-goth-rock band.” Catch them in concert. They have a fair amount of GLBT and girl-power cred, inspired by Josie and the Pussycats but, obviously, much cooler.
My first encounter with the Hex Girls, and everyone remembers their first, was at Hot Topic, where you can buy back packs, tees, Funko miniatures, and clothes that are not anyone’s size. Cute stuff.
A trip through Google Shopping will get you any amount of band merch (tees, posters, that sort of thing.) Sadly, there is NOTHING on their copycat competition, The Jinx Gals. Very sad. Special mention from the satire site, Landover Baptist Church.
Inferno: The Tabletop RPG
I’ve talked this one up any number of times on the podcast, and I’m still excited by it. Acheron Books launched a kickstarter last year for a 5th edition RPG based on the Inferno…theoretically part of a trilogy based on the Divine Comedy. It looks really well-realized and interesting. I’m hoping “Inferno” arrives at the same time as the really big furry 5th edition game, because that’ll be a weird month around the gaming table. Inferno is available for preorder and a spring release, but if you want to get a taste of it, you can subscribe to Acheron’s newsletter and get a quickstart that looks like it’s most of the character generation materials for the game. Very pretty stuff! (And if you, like Jacob, want to play “the second level of hell is full of foxy fox boys, you can combine Inferno with “The Delver’s Guide to Beast World.” But maybe you shouldn’t.)
Cards on the table, we just ordered a sample set of this perfume, and it hasn’t arrived yet. But the company’s in Texas so here’s hoping! Hausovphaedra is an Etsy shop specializing in witchy apothecary goods…candles, potions, stuff like that. But what caught my eye here was the Von Krampus perfume (brimstone, patchouli, vetiver, coal), and I’m really looking forward to this one! Also paralleling some of our interests: Mistress Krampus (amber, vanilla, tobacco, fire, cinnamon), Mephisto (vanilla, tobacco, leather, smoke, myrrh), In The Grave (dirt, patchouli, wormwood, vetiver), Mourning Veil (carnations, lilies, dried roses) …and maybe Sugared Flames (vanilla and bonfire). Or get a sampler with five fragrances of your choice. But do start with Mr. and Mrs. Krampus.
Etsy Goetia Pins
Design elements in public domain + infinite space of the internet…you’ll get demons. Beelsebub and Stolas from Torvenius, Spinny Buer from Mamath, Astaroth Buer and Malphas and Pazuzu, Stolas, and Caim from SmokingSheep. Torvenius in particular has, from a pop demonology perspective, a lot of nice stuff, including a tarot, goetic sigil coins, and lots of patches and jewelry, totally worth a tour through his inventory.
Dark Dungeons (2014)
I’d forgotten that the 2014 production of Chick’s Dark Dungeons was produced by Zombie Orpheus, who makes a lot of really phenomenal gamer-geek humor. I forget who showed me “The Gamers“, but that was I think the beginning of their dorky empire, and they’ve got tons of great stuff to follow. You can read “Dark Dungeons” in its entirety over on Chick.com. It’s out of print, but maybe that’s okay. Any of their films would be a solid choice for a gifty for the gamer in your life, “Dark Dungeons is just the most on-topic for our podcast…
Now in color from Image comics! Trashy, massively irreverent, occasionally obscene, Battle Pope is a fun indie/underground title by Robert Kirkman, who went on to create Invincible a great many years later. Don’t feel obligated to watch the animated shorts from Spike. I don’t know how you cheapen Jesus picking his nose, but they did it.
Alternative Scout Badges
This…this is kind of the perfect oddball stocking stuffer. You should probably provide a sash of some kind to go with it. It was probably a massive let-down when you realized the scouts weren’t going to recognize your achievements in arson and home surgery. So with LukeDrozd’s help, you can recognize them to your heart’s content. The rest of Lukedrozd’s store is fun, too, I think I would be a happier person if I had the “Those Dicks Won’t Draw Themselves” tee, but he really nailed it with the scout patches.
Lunafide Sherpa Cloaks (and more)
There is an awful lot of very pretty stuff at Lunafide, but the wizardly cut and design of the sherpa cloaks is pretty special. There’s a lot of fun designs for the occultist in your life, whether you’re going for “modern day druid” or “extra from the Doctor Strange” film, they’ve got you covered. And do consider wearing the matching shorts under your wizard robe so you look like an insane occultist flasher.