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Hecate's Grandchildren
A repository of Gothic Stuff
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26th-Aug-2005 01:40 pm - Cemeteries
There is something oddly attractive about graveyards.

As a child I would attend the funerals of my family. We were nominally Methodist, though it was hard to tell when the only times one attended church were births, deaths and marriages. Despite being mysteriously sent for three years to a Church of Christ Sunday school, the experience that had the most impact on me was funerals.

Funerals are of course, not for the dead, but the living. Convinced of our mortality, we seek reassurance that we too will be remembered after we die. The sadness I felt at funerals was not for the departed, but for myself, as one more person in my web of friends and relatives was now gone.

Graveyards and cemeteries are therefore, not memorials for the dead, but for the living. Perhaps this is why so much excess and expense goes into personalising the monuments therein. Human nature being what it is however, even the grandest monument falls into disrepair. And that I think is what intrigues me.

In the midst of efforts of capturing the sublime, ever present is decay. Weeds and grafitti mix with attempted beauty and grandeur. What could be more Gothic than that?

26th-Aug-2005 01:37 pm - The Goth Test

This is mirrored from http://www.demon.co.uk/bat/aircrash/gt.zip.
All I've done is format it in HTML.

From: COUNT VON SEXBAT
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1993 17:33:06 +0000

Scoring - Count 1 for each item that you have done, or each question that you can answer correctly. If you don't know the 'correct' answer then you've got it wrong.

This test is not graded, you only fail the test if you score less than 20. If you score over 80 then you are awarded the rank of net.goth and you can walk around looking down your nose at everyone. Some sort of medal or insignia is probably in order, any suggestions?

Suggestions for additional questions to be included in subsequent versions should be mailed to gothtest@batt.demon.co.uk.

And now, the test:

Section 1 - What *do* you look like?

  • Do you have black, purple, or white hair?
  • Do you dye your hair?
  • Do you dye your hair every 4 weeks?
  • Every week?
  • Do you have or have you ever had hair extensions
  • Is there such a thing as 'too much' hairspray?
  • Do you own more eyeliner pencils than ordinary pencils?
  • Do you wear your makeup to bed? (bonus point if you don't go to bed)
  • Could you underpin a building with your foundation?
  • Does it take you more than an hour to get ready to go out?
  • Can you put eyeliner on without using a mirror?
  • Has anyone asked you if you 'sharpen your feet'?
  • Do you have more buckles than toes?
  • Have you worn fishnet on your arms?
  • Do you set off the metal detector at airports?

Section 2 - Music, Musicians, Muses

  • Do you know every Sisters of Mercy Song?
  • Can you do the actions?
  • Have you ever seen - Bauhaus?
  • The Virgin Prunes?
  • Alien Sex Fiend?
  • The Sisters of Mercy?
  • The Fields of the Nephlim (or the Nephlim)
  • Can you name the original line-up of Christain Death?
  • Have you ever ligged a band on the goth list?
  • Have you ever had a pass to one of these bands?
  • Did you use it?
  • Have you been to an aftershow party with a famous goth band?
  • Were the members of the band scared of you?
  • Was the last song you heard gothic?
  • Have you been in a goth band?

Section 3- Clubs

  • Have you been to a goth club?
  • Did you stay until the end?
  • Can you slamdance?
  • Can you chicken dance?
  • Can you do the backwards & forwards bending over like Peter Murphy Dance?
  • Do you drink snakebite?
  • Did you go to the Batcave?
  • Are you on the guest list?
  • Are you on first name terms with the DJ
  • Are you the DJ?

Section 4 - The Undead

  • Have you got naturally pointy teeth?
  • Have you worn plastic vampire teeth other than at Halloween.
  • Did you pick someone up as a result?
  • Have you had sex with the undead?
  • Have you been to the Wiredog Club (or equivalent)
  • Are you a vampire?
  • How do you do your makeup if you haven't got a reflection?
  • Have you ever drunk blood?
  • Have you ever drunk human blood?
  • From a glass?

Section 5 - On the road

  • Have you ever been in a following?
  • Did you ever follow Southern Death Cult, Play Dead, X-Mal, The Sisters?
  • Have you contributed to a fanzine?
  • Have you edited a fanzine?
  • Have you sold a fanzine?

Section 6 - At the movies

  • Have you seen The Hunger?
  • Have you seen Return of the Living Dead?
  • Have you seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show?
  • Have you seen the Addams Family (TV Show)?
  • Do you think it's better than the Munsters?

Section 7 - Hardercore than thou?

  • Do you own ...A Tarot Deck?
  • ...Lots of weird silver jewelery?
  • ...Mainly black clothes?
  • ...More boots than shoes?
  • ...An original copy of Walk Away
    (with the flexi)?
  • ...An inflatable bannana?
  • Have you ever been called a goth?
  • Did you deny it?
  • Do you ever refer to other people as mini-goths or quantum-goths?
  • Do you get upset when it rains, but still sing 'I love the rain?'
  • Have you been on alt.gothic since it started?
  • Have you actually read Shelley?
  • Do you have a fetish?
  • Have you flirted with magick or alternative religions?
  • Do you object fundamentaly to this test even though you scored over 80 points on it?

Section 8 - What's the difference between a Casual and a Redneck?

  • Do the people you meet on the streets often ask you if you're on your way to a funeral?
  • Do you encounter carloads of people who make sarcastic comments about the fact that Halloween is X months away?
  • Do your teachers, peers, etc., often recommend that you see a counselor?
  • Do you have a pet snake, spider, or a reasonable facsimile thereof?
  • Have you painted your bedroom black?
  • Are your parents/friends afraid that you've committed suicide if you stay in your room for more than an hour at a time?
  • Do you habitually wear dark sunglasses, at all hours of the day?
  • Do you go by a Gothic/Romantic name on the net? (i.e. made up)
  • Do you go by a Gothic/Romantic name in real life? (i.e. made up)
  • Is there any difference between a Casual and a Redneck?
  • Have you ever been propositioned by a drunk Casual/Redneck?
  • Did you hospitalise them?
  • Did you hospitalise them in a really messy way?
  • Have you ever gone up to a bunch of these people and said 'What the F**k do you think you're looking at?'
  • Do you have the scars to prove it?

Section 9 - Brown Questions (Art & Literature)

  • Have you read any Poe?
  • ...Dante?
  • ...Shelley?
  • Who was 'Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to know?'
  • Can you tell the difference between Norman and Gothic Churches?
  • Have you read any Lovecraft?
  • ...Gothic Novels?
  • ...de Sade?
  • Do you like pre-rapheltie or romantic art?
  • Have you heard Verdi's Requiem?

Section 10 - Courtesy of the University of London Union Old Goth Barstaff soc.

  • Can you name all the bands on the Merciful Release label?
  • Do you know what the Birthday Party were called before they were called The Birthday Party?
  • Who play 'House Music for Goths?'
  • Do you own a pair of crimpers?
  • Do you tie an obscene number of scarves to your waist?
  • Do you know what this signifies?
  • Have you ever been part of a pyramid?
  • Do you know the name of Eldritch's cat?
  • Does God drive a white Merc?
  • Who's the fairest of them all?

Section 11 - Drugs

  • Do you or have you ever smoked?
  • ...Clove, Marlborough, or Death?
  • Have you ever had speed before breakfast?
  • ...instead of breakfast?
  • Is caffine more important than sunlight?

Section 12 - Bonus Point

  • You can have a bonus point if you can help Juliet with her question about Renegade Flight. (ie What have they done on Vinyl?)
Love&Hugs
/\../\
Sexbat
hell

With Thanks to:

e_ruthyn@cyberden.sf.ca.us
cfair@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu
Danl (dbl150872@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu)
John McDonagh (mcdonghj@unix2.tcd.ie)
Ryan L Watkins (vamp@eskimo.com)
Juliet Smith (juliet@batt.demon.co.uk)
Than a'Mara (lots of numbers)
The ULU barstaff (ulu@not.on.the.net)

The current net.goth insignia is the addition of the words 'net.goth' in lower case on your leather jacket or wherever you wish to put it. London Style guru's suggest on the top of the sleeve, just below the shoulder.

26th-Aug-2005 01:34 pm - What's a Goth?
[Neogothic circa 1930] Not everyone knows just what a "Goth" is. I have a slight speech impediment and sometimes when I tell folks that I've been to a "Goth club" they think I've been somewhere swinging a club at a ball!

Ask an academic and they might tell you that the Goths were a group of nomadic peoples who (among others) are credited with the overrunning of the Roman Empire in the 4th and 5th centuries. This is true, they did, and for a a while there were Visigoth and Ostrogothic Kingdoms in Europe (until either re-conquered by the Byzantine Empire or succeeded by other dynasties).

Gothic Architecture is mostly know for a church building style -- we tend to think of vast cathedrals with huge vaulted ceilings, and stained glass windows. It's more likely though, that at this website, I mean something more like the definition given by Tony Thorne in Fads, Fashions & Cults(1) (which focuses mostly with American and English culture):


One strand of punk imagery -- exemplified by the groups
Sioxsie and the Banshees and the Damned -- consisted of doom-laden or anthemic guitar-based rock music accompanied by black clothing, bleached hair, powdered faces and the wearing of occult or mock-medieval paraphernalia. This horror-film iconography preceded Punk; it had been used by a variety of performers(2) since the 1950s as well as comic books and the camp Sixties The Addams Family and The Munsters. In the post-punk era the humorous aspects of the style were picked up by such neo-psychedelic bands as Gaye Bikers on Acid and Zodiac Mindwarp, as well as the enduring Damned. The introverted and serious vein evolved via groups such as Bauhaus, the Cure, Southern Death Cult, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and the Sisters of Mercy to become Goth.

The term itself (based on 'Gothic Rock', a music journalist categorisation) began to be used in 1984 of a youth cult that had during the previous year been focused on the Batcave, a Soho music club. This had been touted as a revival of Punk values but although its label 'Positive Punk', and its leading exponents, Brigandage, did not last long, the Goth pose of pallor, black leather, crucifixes and a sort of morbid passivity caught on among adolescents. Goth proved to be the most enduring direct legacy of Punk, but without Punk's energy, anger or subversion. At its edges it blurred with grebo or crusty culture, but its mainstream presented a remarkably unified appearance and attitude; an impressively forbidding fantasy mask for youth angst and sensitivity. (p98)

Now I bet there's some out there that'll disagree with this definition -- fair enough -- it isn't mine, but is one that can be useful for some purposes. Personally I think that the Goth sub-culture is just another example of Gothic Revival, something that's been going on for the last 300 years. This is just the current wave, reflecting modern mass culture.

This wave merely gained momentum in the late Seventies and early Eighties, when people realised that you could whoever you want, and still belong; that you could dress up without being "glam" and express sensitivity and sexuality in ways other that mainstream. For Goth is certainly not mainstream, merely easily identified from outside.

[Goths as shown in TIME Magazine]

So a Goth is (more or less), someone who follows the Goth scene, or Goth sub-culture. Clear (as mud)? Good. Don't lose any sleep over it.


(1) Thorne, Tony; FADS, FASHIONS & CULTS: From Acid House to Zoot suit -- via Existentialism and Political Correctness -- the definitive guide to (post-) modern culture; London, Bloomsbury Publishing, 1993; ISBN 0-7475-1384-8.

(2) Such as: Bobby 'Boris' Pickett and the Crypt-kickers; Screaming Lord Sutch; the Undertakers; Hawkwind; Black Sabbath; Alice Cooper; and The Rocky Horror Show.

26th-Aug-2005 01:31 pm - Vampire Folklore
Vampires feature heavily in the Gothic Subculture, much to the fascination or disdain of its members. There seems to be no middle ground -- either you can't get enough of vampire imagery, or you can't stand it at all.

The following is a condensed collection of European folklore about vampires, and some observations as well. Vampires feature in folklore around the world, but the image that most are familiar with via the media is the western variety.

Becoming a Vampire

Methods by which a person can become an undead. These varied quite considerably, and are more extensive than the most well known method -- being killed by a vampire.

Predisposition

  • Born at certain times of the year; with a red caul, with teeth, or with an extra nipple; with extra hair or with two hearts.
  • Conceived on a holy day.
  • Weaned too early.
  • Born the seventh son of a seventh son.
  • Death without baptism.
  • Received a curse.
  • Mother stared at by a Vampire while pregnant.

Actions in Life

  • Committing suicide.
  • Practising sorcery/witchcraft.
  • Eating sheep killed by a wolf.
  • Leading an immoral life.
  • Say mass while in a state of mortal sin (if a priest).
  • Being a werewolf.

Death/After-death Causes

  • Death at the hands of a Vampire.
  • Wind from the Russian steppe blowing on the corpse.
  • Having a cat/animal jump or fly over the corpse; or a shadow fall on the corpse.
  • No burial or improper burial rites.
  • Death by violence, murder or drowning.
  • Murder that is un-revenged.
  • Stealing the ropes used to bury a corpse.

Detecting a Vampire

Traditional vampires often did not leave their coffins physically, but preyed on their victims via dreams and visions, wasting them away. When the coffins of suspected vampires were checked, the bodies were sometimes found to be un-decayed and often gorged with blood.

At the graveyard

  • Disturbed earth or coffins, or groaning noises heard from under the earth.
  • Moved or fallen tombstones or broken/fallen crosses.
  • Dogs barking or refusing to enter cemetery; horses shying from the grave; or geese screaming near the grave.
  • Constant mists and/or no birds singing.

Signs on a corpse or in a Coffin/Tomb

  • Open eyes or an open mouth.
  • Ruddy complexion and/or bloated body.
  • Fangs or clawed nails.
  • No decomposition.
  • New nails/long hair.
  • Blood around the mouth or in the coffin/tomb.
  • An overly protective caretaker.
  • Other similar corpses nearby.

Possible Victims

  • Sleeplessness, sleepwalking or nightmares.
  • No appetite, exhaustion, nervousness and irritability.
  • Anaemia, bite marks.
  • Weight loss, strange dental growths.
  • Photo sensitivity.

Powers and Abilities

The abilities of a vampire vary greatly depending upon the local types experienced. For example, it is commonly thought that all vampires are (unless destroyed) immortal, but this is not the case. Some only "live" for 40 days after death!
Causing impotence
A power of the nosferatu of Romania.
Control of Animals
Power extends over many creatures such as insects, rats, fleas and bats. Obviously dogs, horses and geese are not always included.
Control the elements
Power extends over wind, rain, and other natural forces.
Creating other Vampires
One cause of vampires is being killed by one. Other version have that it is the vampire's choice to create new ones, or that it takes a certain number of bites before this happens.
Draining the life force/psychic energy
An attribute of the psychic vampire.
Eternal life
varies in length. Not all vampires are immortal, and some have to renew their immortality by certain rituals or slayings.
Flight
Only some vampire can fly without shape changing first.
Hypnosis
The ability to put victims into a deep trance. This depends on the beliefs and willpower of the victim.
Misting and Vaporising
Not all vampires can do this, but very handy for gate crashing.
Scale walls
Vampires can be as nimble as spiders. The most well known case comes from a scene in Dracula.
Siring children
The offspring may be called dhampirs.
Strength
Equal to that of many men, may increase with age.
Transformations
may turn into bats, cats, dogs, wolves, butterflies, insects, rats, birds, fleas, mice or locusts.

Protection from a Vampire

If there are vampires, and they threaten, then it's only natural that deterrents would be developed to protect against them.
Bells
Constant ringing will drive away the undead.
Candles
An abundance of light deters vampires, especially if the candles have been blessed.
Crosses/Crucifixes or Icons
These can hold vampires at bay, and render a grave site useless to them.
Fishnets
Placed on windows or doors or in graves to distract vampires who are obsessive about untangling objects. One wonders about fishnet stockings?!
Garlic
Either worn or dangled around the house. Can also be mixed with water and spread through an area.
Grain & Seeds
Oats and millets can be sprinkled on yards and walkways, as can mustard or poppy seeds.
Holly
Placed around the house.
Holy Water
Can be thrown at the undead, poured in graves and sprinkled around other areas.
Magic
Use only a licenced practitioner.
Mirrors
Placed on doors because vampires cannot see their own reflection in them.
Prayer
Only works if you are a believer, or have faith.
Tar
Used to paint crosses on windows and doors.

Destroying a Vampire

There's more than one way to skin a cat, or kill a vampire. This is presumerably, given the expected contagious nature of vampire activity, why mortals haven't been overrun by them.
  • Staking through the heart. Traditionally done to pin the vampire to the ground so that it cannot move while being beheaded.
  • Beheading (may be preceded by breaking the spine of the vampire).
  • Sunlight -- some vampires are immune and not all vampires are restricted by sunlight in any case. Some have an activity range of between Noon to Midnight.
  • Cremation and scattering of the ashes.
  • Piercing with a (blessed) sword.
  • Immersing in water.
  • Drenching in garlic and holy water, or injecting holy water into the vampire's body.
  • Touching with a crucifix -- works only on young vampires, but acts as a repellent on others.
  • Extracting the heart -- may be boiled later in either vinegar, wine or oil.

One person's rational explanation

The following is reprinted from Fortean Times # 119 and was quoting New Scientist, 26 Sept 1998:

Neurologist Juan Gomez-Alonso of the Xeral Hospital in Vigo, Spain, has suggested a link between vampires and rabies. His thesis appeared in the 21 September edition of the journal Neurology. Watching an old vampire film, he was struck by the "obvious similarities between vampires and what happened in rabies, such as aggressiveness and hypersexuality".

Dr Gomez-Alonso found that 25 per cent of rabid men have a tendency to bite others, often passing on the rabies in saliva, just as vampires allegedly increase the population of the un-dead by biting the living. He maintained that early tales of vampirism frequently coincided with reports of rabies outbreaks in eastern Europe, such as the widespread epidemic of rabies in dogs, wolves and other animals in Hungary in 1721-28, approximately the place and time when vampire legends first became common. Stories of blood-drinking undead occur round the world and probably date back many centuries, but in eastern Europe the frightening symptoms of rabies could well have been incorporated into existing folklore.

The first symptoms of rabies, which include loss of appetite, fever and fatigue, can be confused with those of flu; but the virus soon begins to attack the central nervous system and in the final stages before death it can cause agitation and dementia. In severe cases, called furious rabies, the victim can become violent and animal-like. Vampires generally are male, and rabies is seven times more frequent in men than in women. Rabid men develop insomnia, tend to wander at night and become hypersexual, sometimes getting painful erections that last for days. "The literature reports cases of rabid patients who practised intercourse up to 30 times in a day," says Gomez-Alonso.

The legend of vampires transforming themselves into animals may come from the way rabies affects bats, dogs and wolves in a fashion similar to man. In particular, muscle spasms in the face and neck can give human victims the look of an angry dog. Vampires' aversion to garlic and mirrors could be ascribed to rabid hypersensitivity. "Men with rabies," he said, "react to stimuli such as water, light, odours or mirrors with spasms of the facial and vocal muscles that can cause hoarse sounds, bared teeth and frothing at the mouth of bloody fluid." In the past, he contended, "a man was not considered rabid if he was able to stand the sight of his own image in a mirror."

Vampirism as a form of rabies. Such an explanation, though perhaps likely, lacks the romance of the established mythos. It'll never catch on!

Sources:

Vampire: The Encyclopedia by Matthew Bunson, Thames & Hudson, 1993.
Fortean Times # 119, John Brown Publishing (see link).
26th-Aug-2005 01:27 pm - Entities
There are quite a number of mythical or supernatural beings used as inspiration and/or symbols in Gothic literature and art. Much of this comes from Christian/Hebrew religion/folklore. Here's a list of some of them:

Angels

Angels are common to Zoroastian, Hebrew, Christian, and Islamic religions. Basically an angel is the messenger / functionary of God. Because each of the above is essentially monotheist, each has angels which act as an intermediary between God and humankind. There are numerous kinds and divisions of angels, which vary depending upon religion and interpretation.

Traditionally angels have been depicted with feathered wings.

[Iris visiting a mortal]This is by convention only, and indicates that they are higher (and thereby closer) to God. The image of Angels in western art has been heavily influenced by the Greco / Roman figures of Nike, Hermes, Iris, Eros, and others.

Some more widely known types of angels are: Cherubim, Seraphim, Gregori and Hafaza.

Devils

Fallen Angels. Those angels who followed Satan in his rebellion against God, and when defeated, fell with him into the dreadful darkness of hell. In general Devils are depicted differently from angels in that their winds (if any) are not bird , but bat looking. They also tend to look grotesque rather than serene.

Fairies

A wide variety of supernatural beings that help or harm humankind. Some fairies are earth and wood spirits embodying a locale, others a mischievous entities that like playing jokes on people. Fairies should not be confused with either Angels or Devils, as their wings are insect-like, instead of bird- or bat- like.

Genii

The Genius (or Juno) is a Greco/Roman figure that equates to the Christian concept of a guardian or guiding spirit. The head of the house or family was said to have a genius (if male) or Juno (if female) that was the embodiment of their higher self, appetites and desires. Genii also exist for palaces, homes, associations, guilds and the Roman state itself.

Ghouls

A cemetery-infesting demon. Ghouls prefer to eat the dead, though they may appear as merely human throughout the day.

Grigori

The Hebrew name for the Watchers -- a group of angels sent to Earth to give instruction to mortals on nature and other knowledge. Some of the watchers fell into sin, became enamoured of those they were sent to instruct, and begat the Nephilim.

Jinn

An Islamic equivalent to Devils. Made two thousand years before Adam, they occupied a high place in paradise along side the angels. After God made Adam, they refused to bow down before the mortal, and were cast out of heaven for this offence. Iblis, one of the jinn, is the equivalent of Satan.

Nephilim

The Hebrew name for the offspring of human women and the Grigori. They became troublesome figures of mischief until all but wiped out in the Flood.

Vampires

  1. A bloodsucking ghost or reanimated body of a dead person, believed to come from the grave and wander about by night sucking the blood of persons asleep.
  2. Fundamentally a parasitic force or being, malevolent and self-seeking by nature, whose paramount desire is to absorb the life-force or to ingest the vital fluids of a living organism in order to sate its perverse hunger and to perpetuate its unnatural existence.

    Werewolves

    A kind of lycanthrope found throughout the world, but causing particular alarm in Europe, where some thirty thousand cases were reported between 1520 and 1630.

    Zombies

    A body that has a kind of life restored to it by magical means, or a living person under the complete control of a magician. Zombies differ from vampires in that they do not require blood, are mute, and are not necessarily well preserved. Zombies also have no self-will of their own, and do the bidding of others.

    24th-Aug-2005 05:43 pm - A Test
    This is a test
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