1. Graphic of the process by which illness is shamanically banished into effigies in Mongolia.

    Graphic of the process by which illness is shamanically banished into effigies in Mongolia.

  2. Nick Carter, in “Zanabayah, the Terrible, or, Nick Carter’s Struggle With the Vitic King”

    A little Friday reading for you, from a 1907 dime novel.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Nick Carter, he was the archetypal detective figure in American popular culture for about thirty five years. He appeared in around 5000 stories, gave the world the first major supervillain in Dr. Jack Quartz (years before Arthur Conan Doyle created Professor Moriarty), and provided the model for Doc Savage, Superman, and Batman.

    He was important, is what I’m saying.

    The prose is dated, of course, but it’s still entertaining (I think so, anyhow) and stands as a good example of the dime novels at their peak.

    "Zanabayah, the Terrible, or, Nick Carter’s Struggle With the Vitic King" 

  3. Orpheus, and the central conflict in classical Greece.

    But here comes in one of the dark features of the Greek religion, in which the gods envy the advancement of man in knowledge and civilization, and severely punish any one who transgresses the bounds assigned to humanity. In a later age the conflict was no longer viewed as between the gods and man, but between the worshippers of different divinities; and especially between Apollo, the symbol of pure intellect, and Dionysus, the deity of the senses; hence Orpheus, the servant of Apollo, falls a victim to the jealousy of Dionysus and the fury of his worshippers.

  4. Interesting Roman ceremony.

    Well, it interests me, anyhow.

    Nudipedalia. A name given to a procession of barefooted matrons, as an obsecratio, in time of great drought. The magistrates laid aside their insignia, the fasces were reversed, and a sacrifice was made at the Temple of Jupiter, the pontifices bearing at the head of the procession a sacred stone called the lapis manalis, from the Temple of Mars.

  5. The Mysteries of Greece.

    The Mysteries consisted of purifications, sacrifices, processions, songs, dances, dramatic spectacles, and similar ceremonies. The formulae or liturgies were kept profoundly secret, to be revealed only to those who had been fully initiated. The mystagogi, or priests of the Mysteries had undoubtedly at their command an abundance of mechanical devices to produce effects most startlng and convincing to the credulous worshipers. All the arts, in fact, were taxed to the utomst to astonish, dazzle, and appal. Marvels of light, sound and colour were displayed. Mysterious harmonies stole upon the ears of the attendant throngs; sighs and whispers were audible amid the intervals of awful silence; lights gleamed in strangely beautiful colours; and dazzing figures appeared and disappeared.

  6. Rome’s doorway to Hell.

    On the Mons Palatinus at Rome, there was, as in other Italian towns, [so this was common?] a deep pit with the shape of an inverted sky, known as the mundus, the lowest part of which was consecrated to the infernal gods and also to the Manes [the spirits of the dead], and was closed with a stone, the lapis manalis, thought to be the gate of the nether world. This stone was lifted up three times a year (August 24, October 5, November 8) and the Manes were then believed to rise to the upper world; on this account those days were religiosi—i.e. no serious matter might be undertaken on them.

  7. The Lupercalia

    Lupercalia. A festival held in Rome from time immemorial on February 15. It was in honor of Faunus [the Roman Bacchus], who was worshiped under the name Lupercus….

    The procedure at the Lupercalia was as follows: After the Flamen Dialis had sacrificed some he-goats and a dog, two youths were touched on the forehead with a knife, smeared with the blood of the goats. It was then immediately wiped off with wool dipped in milk,whereupon they were bound to laugh. [emphasis mine] After the sacrificial feast the Luperci, crowned and anointed, and naked, except for an apron of goat-skin, ran round the ancient city on the Palatine with thongs cut from the skin of the sacrificed goats in their hands. On their course, women used to place themselves in their way to receive blows from the thongs, which was believed to be a charm against barrenness.

  8. Art by @xPeregrine (her Tumblr account here) for my forthcoming roleplaying game Strange Tales of the Century.

    Art by @xPeregrine (her Tumblr account here) for my forthcoming roleplaying game Strange Tales of the Century.

  9. Hermotimus: the Dr. Strange of the classic world.

    Hermotimus. A native of Clazomenae; a philosopher of the Ionian school, of whom many marvels were told. Tradition represented him as a person gifted with a power by which his soul could leave his body, and so bring him tidings of distant events with wonderful speed. At last, his enemies burned his body in the absence of his soul, thus putting an end to him and to his wanderings.