250 years ago a young man with a generous trust fund and a gilded macabre imagination invented modern gothic style and fiction as we know it. His name was Horace Walpole and his “spirit” flows through almost ever scary story and every bleak bannister. Horace Walpole was the son of essentially the first Prime Minister of England, Sir Robert Walpole, and used his privileged position in life to indulge his aesthetic sensibilities to the extreme.

In 1920, esteemed invention powerhouse Thomas Edison shocked and titillated the public by announcing to American Magazine that for some time he’d been working with his team on a very special invention: a machine that could contact the dead. This was quite a surprise for a man of science, and some believe he was trolling everyone, but Edison claimed that searching for communication with spirits might not be in opposition of science at all.

The tin foil hat (misnomer for aluminum foil, which is the product actually sold in stores) is a pervasive metaphor for paranoia and conspiracy theorists, but there’s no record of any real life conspiracy theorist ever seriously fashioning some Reynold’s wrap into headwear. How, then, did this bit of absurd fashion come to be associated with paranoia and mind control prevention?

Assia Wevill, one of Ted Hughes’ love interests, was also a creative person. While Ted Hughes scrambled to fund his turbulent life with a poet’s living, Assia held down steady jobs in advertising. Her most famous and successful campaign, a 1965 spot for Sea Witch, was a chilling 90-second myth to sell hair dye. Called “The Lost Island,” the humorous ad features a crew of seven men lured to an legendary island of sirens. There were seven of us. Thousands… Read more »

“If a man could learn to fly, why could he not learn how to live forever?”
– Charles Lindbergh

The heart beats on rhythm rippling electric red through the body, a wet erosive machine. As if on cue the animal breaks down, eventually. It’s born strange and confused and grows into a sleek engine, skin taunt and muscles primed. The full grown animal seems beautiful and perfect to our eyes, and it’s a sorrowful notion that it must inevitably wither and degrade.

There must be a way to save it.

It was Key West, 1940, and Carl Tanzler, (a.k.a. the self-proclaimed Count Carl von Cosel) had a fan club while he stood trial for grave robbing. He received scores of letters and visits from young women championing his undying obsession. They were seduced by his spin on eternal love and mad romance. Some of Carl’s fans were excited by his quest to seize life from the clutches of death with the right formula of elixirs and electricity. All great scientiest are thought to be crazy until they’re proven right, they argued.

Dennis Wilson ghosted Charles Manson in 1968. Before the Beach Boy quietly moved to a new address without telling Charlie and his gang, he had let the group crash at his Laurel Canyon mansion 24/7. They used Dennis Wilson’s laid back attitude to invade his home and take advantage of his resources. The Manson Family ran up doctor bills treating the constant waves of STDs that rippled through the group (Dennis himself had to take more trips to the doctor during their time with him,) and ordered huge amounts of gourmet food and juice on his tab. They even crashed Wilson’s uninsured Mercedes. It was time for Dennis to move on.

One of the first historical references to a “Wicker Man” came from Julius Ceasar, but the myth building that solidified the story of the ominous Wicker Man in popular consciousness was a 1973 horror flick starring Christopher Lee. Radiohead recreated the plot of this classic movie in their Chris Hopewell-directed stop-motion music video for their new song “Burn the Witch.”