Sunday, January 31, 2016


My sincere thanks to everyone who helped identify the amazing Czech LARP in yesterday's post.  It was the MethanCity event that ran last Halloween weekend.  The dystopian, post-apocalyptic game's website is here in Czech.  Here's the Google translation in English.

Lynn C-H was kind enough to track down this gallery of shots taken by Lukáš Makovička. 

They had flamethrowers, people.  FLAMETHROWERS!

Alweron found another collection of photos from the event that I believe were taken by photographer David Szeliga. 

The production values on display are jaw-dropping.  The closest thing I've seen to a game like this in the US are some of the larger airsoft scenario games.  They're equally good in terms of having vehicles and well-developed locations, but rarely show the consistent level of costuming on display in MethanCity.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dark Future

There are times I really hate a mystery.

I know these pictures come from a post-apocalyptic LARP in the Czech Republic.  Beyond that I have no idea what's going on.  The production quality is obviously through the roof.  Based on the costumes I'd say this was some kind of "Man in the High Castle" alt-future scenario.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Fallout Spray and Pray

Lady Aderissa brings us this recreation of the Spray and Pray sub-machinegun from "Fallout 4".  Her gallery has all the details of how she transformed a cheap airsoft Thompson into one of the game's better weapons.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Mark of the Twin Serpents

Landron Artifacts returns to our pages with this wall tile, recovered from the City of the Twin Serpents.  It's the latest piece in his collection of Mayan-inspired relics from the ancient city.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Have You Seen the Yellow Sign?

Polish artist Sulik brings us this Yellow Sign pendant in brass, based on the symbol used in "True Detective".  Hopefully we'll be seeing more of it when season 3 of the show finally rolls out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Necronomicon, Mille Cuirs Edition.

Mille Cuirs returns with this phenomenal take on the Necronomicon.

It's interesting how prop interpretations of the Necronomicon have changed over the years.  Right through the early 80s the go-to depiction was based on traditional grimoires - lots of iron hardware and tooled leather decoration.  Then "Evil Dead" hit and the whole bound in human flesh/face on the cover thing started.  Over the last few years that's generally fallen to the wayside.  I credit that to an attack of sanity as fans realized how ridiculous the whole face thing usually looked.  Unless you're a truly gifted artist there's no way to pull it off effectively.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The God of Rust and Corruption

Phil Bolton brings us this eldritch tome involved in one of the most mysterious incidents of the 19th century.
April 21st, 1857 was an unseasonably chilly morning, and Messr Barreau was seen by many locals and shopkeepers buying food, and oddly, a selection of cheap iron tools at the local shops. Apart from an unusually haggard, and distracted air, he seemed perfectly normal as he made his purchases and hurried home.

Sometime during that night, the citizens of the Rue Amandine became aware of a strong, rotten odor permeating the area, quite different from the usual odors from the nearby sewer system. Overnight, the smell became quite overbearing until by morning, the locals decided to try and track down this source of the overwhelming stench, which was eventually traced to the apartment of Messr Barreau. No answer came to their knocks and eventually the landlord was summoned with a key. Upon entering the room, the group was all but staggered by a miasma of mold and rot that permeated the dwelling until the retching group could throw opened the moldy window panes for air. Thick layers of dust covered every surface, metal items were found to be rusted and useless, food in the kitchen little more than piles of mold covered mush, and even the wine in an unopened bottle has later found to be reduced to vinegar. Worst of all, lying sprawled on the floor beside the table, lay the barely recognizable remains of Évariste Barreau, bloated, and partly decayed as if he'd been lying dead for many days. This despite the fact that neighbors swore they had seen the old man healthy and active only the day before.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Lafayette Famulus, Part II

I've delved a bit deeper into the history of the Lafayette Famulus.

According to what little documentation is available it was created by Joseph Thibodeaux sometime between 1911 and 1914.  At the time he was heavily involved, if not the leader, of a fringe cult called the "Sacrifice Church" or "Church of the Blood" that practiced black magic rites fueled by blood sacrifices.  Over a period of months in 1911 they engaged in multiple murders/sacrificial rites that eventually lead to the arrest of Clementine Barnabet.

This article at Real Crime Daily has a good overview of the case.  I posted one newspaper account of the killings earlier.  Here's another, from the April 3, 1912 edition of the San Francisco Call.

What becomes readily apparent from all of these accounts is that Barnabet and the other participants were firmly under the control of Thibodeaux.  More tellingly, the murders continued after Barnabet was taken into custody and behind bars.  

One particular detail I want to draw your attention to is the "hoodoo charm" being used by Barnabet and the other participants in the killings. They believed it shielded them from discovery or capture. Obviously, it failed in that regard. But what if that wasn't it's real purpose? What if Thibodeaux provided them with a charm that was part of his own, very personal ritual?

I now believe that Thibodeaux was quite honest with the members of the "Church of the Blood" when he told them blood sacrifice was the path to immortality.  What he didn't tell them was that he was talking about his own life span.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Heat Forming Foam

Evil Ted Smith has a handy video tutorial on heat forming foam.  EVA foamcrafting has revolutionized costuming and I'm surprised we haven't really seen any Mythos related efforts using the material. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Food, Glorious Food

What were people eating in the classic era of the Mythos?  The answer can be found in the New York Public Library's Buttolph Collection of historic menus.  It's an amazing peek into everyday fare and fine dining that includes dinner menus dating back to the 1850s.

For our purposes the 1920s are the decade of interest, and the collection doesn't disappoint.  You'll find a nice selection of period menus from restaurants, hotels, cruise ships, and train dining cars.  This one hails from the Pennsylvania Railroad back in 1926:

From a prop perspective these are a goldmine.  The high resolution scans can be used as-is or retouched for different locations more appropriate for player circumstances. They're just the kind of thing someone would jot an important note or clue on.

Beyond the theatrical utility they're interesting documents in and of themselves.  One thing that struck me while browsing through the 20s is how popular bouillon was as a beverage.  I'd never seen it offered at a dining establishment here in the US until the "bone broth" craze started a few years ago.  Even odder is how prevalent clam bouillon is.  It pops up again and again as the sole bouillon choice for travelers.  I would have thought beef would be the flavor of choice.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Preserved Fae

After seeing my appreciation for non-traditional fairy specimens a kind reader sent over a link to the work of artist Cedric Laquieze.  These are assemblage pieces using bits of real insects and animals to create humanoid fae.  The results are quite impressive, combining nature's amazing colors and detail work with an artists eye for mimicking the human form.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Black Fae

This outstanding fairy corpse comes to us from Belgian artist Peter Van den Ende.  It's an imaginative take on a well-trod subject, all the more notable because it isn't a mummified skeleton with wings.  There's nothing wrong with that approach, but this looks far more alien and inhuman.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Idol of Tsathoggua

“He was very squat and pot-bellied, his head was more like a monstrous toad than a deity, and his whole body was covered with an imitation of short fur, giving somehow a vague sensation of both the bat and the sloth. His sleepy lids were half-lowered over his globular eyes; and the tip of a queer tongue issued from his fat mouth.”
-The Tale of Satampra Zeiros, Clark Ashton Smith
Jason McKittrick returns to our pages with this excellent idol of Tsathoggua.  This is one of, if not the, best depictions I've ever seen.  The toad god is a difficult subject that can easily veer into looking ridiculous.  Other artists have fallen into that trap, but this take does a great job of capturing the feeling of menace the Sleeper of N'kai should exude.

The limited edition sculpt is available as of this morning at the Cryptocurium web site

Thursday, January 14, 2016


It may seem that calling a Lovecraftian film "fun" is damning with faint praise, but it's the best description of  "Harbinger" from Gearmark Pictures.  The filmmakers know their limitations, budgetary and otherwise, and work within those boundaries to create a well done short film.  The production design in particular is exceedingly well done.  There are a lot of Mythos films that could take some cues from this.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Vintage Chinese Luggage Labels

Among the many treasures in the "Art of the Luggage Label" Flickr collection is an entire section dedicated to vintage China.  Few things encompass the adventure of the Golden Age of travel like a well worn suitcase bearing labels commemorating hotels, ships, and airlines from around the world.  Beyond their aesthetic pleasures they also make excellent investigative resources, providing a trail of clues about where someone has traveled.

The Tome

AlexLibris returns to our pages with another masterpiece.  This hand-bound leather tome features custom hardware and some beautiful tooling.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Magic Cards

No, not those Magic cards.  I'm still kicking myself for selling off my "Magic: The Gathering" cards when I moved to Massachusetts.  I weep when I see what a Black Lotus and Mox Pearl is worth today.

Mike Jenkins sent over a link to an interesting set of magical charm cards from the Will's Cigarette Company, posted by the New York Public Library.  The series dates back to the 1920s and were inserted inside each pack of smokes as a premium.  Each one covers an item from around the world and includes explanatory text on the flip side.  The artwork is phenomenal, and the entire set has a wonderfully creepy vibe.

Update: Broken link fixed.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Lafayette Famulus

Occult artifacts are, by their very nature, surrounded by mystery.  That's particularly true for left hand path tools, where the practitioner's desire for power and knowledge trumps all secondary considerations.  That frequently means the commission of crimes both spiritual and secular.

I've recently acquired an unusual item known as the "Lafayette Famulus".  If the provenance provided to me is accurate it's intimately tied to a horrific series of events in the early 20th century.   I'm not sure what's more disturbing- the idea that these horrific crimes were part of a magical ritual, or that they had no real motivation at all. 

This newspaper article was published in the New York Times on April 3, 1912.  The crimes described and the racial language used may be disturbing to those of a sensitive nature.

The Hateful Eight

Professional propmaker Ross MacDonald has a great post up about the props he created for Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight".   That includes his period remake of the Tarantino-verse's signature "Red Apple" cigarettes. 

With a tight deadline he produced dozens of other items, including a selection of alternate cigarette brands and matches...

...and the period warrants that set the entire story into motion.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

From Below

Ukrainian artist Sadan brings us this very nice Deep One sculpt

Friday, January 8, 2016

Expedition Medicine Chest

The Science Museum of London brings us this vintage medicine chest used by Teddy Roosevelt during his 1909 African expedition.  It's a sophisticated piece of kit that wouldn't be out of place on a modern expedition.  One thing I wanted to draw attention to is the sealing mechanism on the medicine bottles.  They're held in place by the upper bays of the chest.  With no room to move around the friction fit ground glass stoppers are enough to maintain a tight seal.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Evangeline Wagner, Mythos Investigator

I'm not a fan of most cosplay efforts, but this one is an exception. Ana Carolina de Carvalho of Brazil brings us Evangeline Wagner, Mythos Investigator.  The costume itself is pretty cool, but it's the case paperwork that really brings the character concept to life.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Elder Gods

For far too long cultists haven't been able to appropriately honor the dark deities of the Mythos.  More mainstream religions have companies specializing in providing supplies to their followers, but such is not the case for more ancient sects.  All that changes today.

Cryptocurium proudly presents their new line of Lovecraftian idols, conveniently sized for all your home cult activities.  Whether you're a devotee of Yog-Sothoth, Shub-Niggurath, Azathoth, or Nyarlathotep these handsome statuettes will be the highlight of your shrine and the envy of your fellow worshippers.  Each idol is available in a limited edition of 50 pieces at the Cryptocurium website.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Brotherhood of the Rift

I've been a fan of ASMR videos for a few years.  If you're not familiar with the genre, and most people aren't, they're attempts at inducing a pleasant and at times euphoric mental state using a variety of visual and auditory triggers.  The Wikipedia entry is a good overview of the "phenomena", such as it is.

One of my favorite ASMR artists on YouTube is Ephemeral Rift.  Most ASMR videos recreate face to face interactions like spas, barbershops, or store specialty clerks.  He goes in a very different direction, bringing to life scenarios featuring monster hunters, insane vivisectionists, and post-apocalyptic candy salesmen.  I mention all this because his latest video features a few of my props.  If you browse his channel you'll see he's a big fan of the Mythos.  Arkham Sanitarium is a frequently visited location, and his Deep One Dave videos are, hands down, the funniest Mythos comedy I've seen in years.

I'll warn you ahead of time that his videos aren't for everyone.  He's absolutely fearless in his embrace of weirdness.  That's one of the reasons I love his work.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Peak Cthulhu: The Stars Are Right

It was bound to happen eventually.  For decades Cthulhu was an obscure literary icon known to only a handful of devotees initiated into the mysteries of the Mythos.  Knowledge of the Great Old One was essentially viral, spreading via direct physical contact with existing fans and occasionally through the letter columns of certain outre publications.  Even then, infection was unlikely.  It might take multiple exposures to the Mythos before it took hold of the victim's mind, forcing them to scour second hand bookstores for forgotten tomes.  Sometimes, despite multiple exposures, it just never took.

Now, years later, the world is a much different place.  Lovecraft's creation has become so ubiquitous that "Lovecraftian" is an eagerly embraced marketing term used by all kinds of dreck, from comics to movies.  In the span of a single generation Cthulhu has gone from being a figure of cosmic dread and horror to a punchline, a kind of hipster Satan.

In short, we've reached Peak Cthulhu.  The Mythos, and Cthulhu in particular, has reached it's maximum level of cultural penetration.  The first signs that total saturation was approaching were visible on Etsy, where an ever growing army of crafters were cranking out Cthulhu hats, cozies, plushies, slippers, purses, earrings, and all manner of ill-conceived geegaws.

But that, my friends, was just a taste of the true horror.

We've gone far, far beyond that.

Even as we speak there are entire factories in China dedicated to mass producing Cthulhu merchandise.  Swag that, amazingly, will then get resold around the world as quirky, handmade Cthulhu cuteness.

Behold...Peak Cthulhu*.

 These disturbing Cthulhu slippers come to us from the Yiwu United Crafts Co. of Zhejiang, China.  They're eager to provide you with up to 1,000,000 pairs of these...a month.

Or the ever popular Cthulhu ski mask from the Qingdao Ever Fortune Industrial Co., Ltd. of Shandong. Need a pallet or two of hideously machine knitted hipness? No problem! Why, they'd be happy to send you an entire shipping container of these...things.

*"Peak Cthulhu" will be featuring all sorts of horrifically bad Cthulhu merchandise.  Much of it will be items available for import from Chinese sweatshops, but I reserve the right to include the best of Etsy.  And by "best of" I mean the most appallingly craptacular junk.