Busy week, so here’s a selection from the past two weeks of my Google Alerts:
Second Salem: The Real-Life Prosecution & Paranoia That Inspired J. K. Rowling’s ‘Fantastic Beasts’: the latest edition to the Harry Potter ‘verse is built around an alternate history in which the 17th century Salem witch trials left a long shadow tainting American muggle/”no maj” and wizard relations well into the 1920s. Opinions?
The Magick of Dion Fortune – With Paul Clark (re-broadcast): Fortune is another new-to-me name from the early years of the Golden Dawn, and writer of occult fiction. This seems to be fairly standard fare from the also new-to-me Hermetic Hour podcast.
Arrival – reviewed by a UFO expert: the expert in question is Nick Pope, former head of the UFO desk (yes, there was [is?] such a thing) in the UK’s Ministry of Defence. Some interesting observations about how the plot of the movie intersects with government (lack of) contingency plans for alien contact and the portrayal of the military. I saw this a few weeks ago and it’s a slow mover but riveting. The aliens are truly alien and the story stays with you long after the credits roll.
“Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons” by George Pendle – recent review of a ten-year old book, and damn was Jack Parsons a strange bird! Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist by day and magician by night, Parsons “treated magic and rocketry as different sides of the same coin” – rather the same way the Renaissance natural philosophers saw no difference between science and magic. Putting on my to-read list.
In difficult times, many readers turn to historical fiction – a psychologist suggests “exploration of the sights, sounds, and events of past eras… help[s] us to imagine how to negotiate the strains of current real-life situations.” Includes reviews of some of her favorites (full disclosure: I’ve not read any of them).
John Dee: Scholar, Courtier, Magician [Video] – if you missed it on my Twitter or Facebook last week, this half hour sneak preview/interview with the curator is well worth seeing. Not only was Dee’s handwriting beautiful but he was a fair artist – check out his doodles.
XETB Plays the Music of John Dee – or music inspired by him, at any rate. Unavailable in my country due to licensing restrictions – can anyone get at it? What do you think?
A Little Bird Told Me: Aleister Crowley and Genesis P-Orridge in Occult Art Show – as ever, you can’t throw the word “occult” around without crashing into Crowley, but he’s not the dominant artist in the show. Some of the usual magic circles and talismans plus other esoteric symbolism.
Researchers confirm site of Salem witch hangings – discovered using witness accounts and modern aerial mapping, the site now overlooks a Walgreens, of all things.