It’s the most wonderful time of the year… (Halloween at BPAL!)

It’s that time of year again! Please note, 13, which is all the way down at the end, is ONLY up until 8/14, so if you want that one and need time to think about the others, order it today! (Link to the Lab is in my sidebar!) (Copy below is from the BPAL website, not my own words!)

The Autumn scents are live at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab! First, the Halloweenies…


Based on a venerable French pontifical incense blend:
monastic frankincense and myrrh, Damascus rose, Russian gardenia, cassia, and lily of the valley wafting on a chill Autumn wind. A celebration of the glory and suffering of the saints and matryrs of the Church.

A day of remembrance and intercession. Without the prayers and sacrifices of their families and loved ones, the faithful departed may not be cleansed of their venal sins, and thereby cannot attain beatific vision. On November 2nd, prayers are sung and offerings are made to aid lost souls in transcending purgatory.
An incense blend that invokes the higher qualities of mercy and compassion, mingled with the soft, sugared currant scent of offertory soul cakes.

Puffy clouds of pumpkin candyfloss with a trickle of blackberry juice.

BOO 2010
Eerie billows of spun sugar, fluttering white cotton, and sheets of cream.

Clever little satirical poems in the style of epitaphs written to tease the living and ease grief over a loved one’s passing.
Xocolatl, tequila, copal incense, smoke-dried jalapeños, vanilla pods, and cajeta.

On November 8, the indigenous people of Bolivia share the day with the bones of their ancestors, a custom that has its roots in pre-Columbian Quechua / Aymara spiritual practise. Each person has seven souls, and one stays with the skull after a person dies. The seventh souls can visit loved ones in dreams, grant aid in times of need, perform miracles, and are empowered to bring bounty to the spirit’s descendants. The skulls of a person’s deceased ancestors are cleaned, blessed, and sanctified, and are brought home to reside with their living relatives. On the Day of the Skulls, these souls are honored, and thanks is given for the blessings they have granted in the previous year. Their skulls are taken from the home altars they reside in to a graveyard in order to receive a mass blessing. They are crowned with colorful knitted caps or gorgeous rings of fresh flowers, are given offerings of food, cocoa leaves, sweets, alcohol, and cigarettes, and are serenaded by street musicians.

Hydrangea blossoms and rose petals, cigarette smoke, cocoa leaves, and chichi.

The orange marigold, or zempasúchitl, has been one of Death’s symbols since the pre-Columbian era. The yellow and orange petals are believed to represent the rays of the sun, bringing joy and light to the souls dwelling in the realm of the dead. These flowers surround Day of the Dead altars to guide the spirits to their offerings.

This season’s Ridiculous Scent! Creepy like Creepy and as spooky as Spooky, this is the scent of
a black cherry and coconut amaretto confection gently laced with saffron.

The Hag is astride,
This night for to ride;
The Devill and shee together:
Through thick, and through thin,
Now out, and then in,
Though ne’r so foule be the weather.

A Thorn or a Burr
She takes for a Spurre:
With a lash of a Bramble she rides now,
Through Brakes and through Bryars,
O’re Ditches, and Mires,
She followes the Spirit that guides now.

No Beast, for his food,
Dares now range the wood;
But husht in his laire he lies lurking:
While mischiefs, by these,
On Land and on Seas,
At noone of Night are working,

The storme will arise,
And trouble the skies;
This night, and more for the wonder,
The ghost from the Tomb
Affrighted shall come,
Cal’d out by the clap of the Thunder.

Black musk, bay leaves, galangal, bourbon vetiver, blackcurrant, and rum.

A circular pastry glazed with pink sugar that symbolizes the sweetness of life and the certainty of death.

On All Saints Day, Spanish families visit their loved ones in the cemeteries, keeping vigil throughout the evening, saying prayers for the dead. Family burial plots are cleaned and tended, and graves are adorned with gladiolas, chrysanthemums, and roses. Bone-shaped pastries called Saint’s Bones, or the Bones of the Holy, are baked and shared in honor of the souls in Purgatory, and to remind us of those who no longer share our repast, but with whom we one day hope to be reunited with again.

Orange-glazed cake, dotted with anise seed, and filled with custard, set beside a bouquet of celebratory funeral flowers.

According to William Shepard Walsh, the Gentleman’s Magazine for May of 1784 stated, “this is a constant ingredient at merrymaking on Holy Eve.” He also quotes Vallancey’s etymological speculation: “The first day of November was dedicated to the angel presiding over fruits, seeds, etc., and was therefore named La Mas Ubhal, — that is, the day of the apple fruit, — and being pronounced Lamasool, the English have corrupted the name to Lambs-wool.”

A popular holy day beverage in 18th century Ireland: roasted apples mashed into warmed milk and ale, with nutmeg, sugar, ginger, and clove.

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Dewy green leaves colored by Moroccan amber, ginseng, and rooibos.

Ay, thou art welcome, heaven’s delicious breath!
When woods begin to wear the crimson leaf,
And suns grow meek, and the meek suns grow brief
And the year smiles as it draws near its death.
Wind of the sunny south! oh, still delay
In the gay woods and in the golden air,
Like to a good old age released from care,
Journeying, in long serenity, away.
In such a bright, late quiet, would that I
Might wear out life like thee, ‘mid bowers and brooks
And dearer yet, the sunshine of kind looks,
And music of kind voices ever nigh;
And when my last sand twinkled in the glass,
Pass silently from men, as thou dost pass.

Dry, cold autumn wind. A rustle of red leaves, a touch of smoke and sap in the air.

Espresso, pumpkin syrup, smoky vanilla bean, milk, raw sugar, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Once upon a time, on a wild October night many years ago, a fair took place at Chiselborough. The men of the village of Hinton St. George made their way to the fair, and spent the night in revelry, drinking and carrying on, far into the darkest hours. Their wives grew concerned, and went looking for their unruly husbands. In order to see their way through the autumn gloom, they hollowed out mangel-wurzels and crafted them into makeshift lanterns. The drunken men, in their sloshy haze, saw the ghostly lights approaching, and believed them to be goolies — the furious spirits of unbaptized children. In terror, they fled in panic from their bemused, bewildered wives.

To this day, that night of foolishness is still celebrated! This is a light-hearted scent: apple orchards, bright cranberries, and a touch of warm cider.

Truly the scent of autumn itself
— damp woods, fir needle, and black patchouli with the gentlest touches of warm pumpkin, clove, nutmeg, allspice, sweet red apple and mullein.

Vibrant with the joy and sweetness of life in death!
A blend of five sugars, lightly dusted with candied fruits.

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

October twilight. Falling leaves breaking the stillness of cool water, with sweet autumn clematis, feather-soft orris root, luminous white chypre, and muguet.

I’ve spent Halloween in four cities — Brooklyn, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Halloween night in each of these cities bears the stamp of a very distinct scent memory for me. When I was very little, my father took me to the Green-Wood Cemetery so that I could pay my respects to those who had passed before us. I remember the afternoon as cold and clear, I remember picking up pine cones and putting them in my mother’s handbag, and I remember the blanket of purple flowers that dotted the grass.

I’ve spent many, many Halloweens in New Orleans. To me, it is the most beautiful, most imperfectly perfect city in the world. My strongest memory is of sitting on the banks of the Mississippi in the arms of my someday husband, the sounds of revelry in the distance, enveloped by the scent of water, moss, and sweet olive.

I spent two Halloweens in San Francisco. It was a sad, strange time in my life, as I was still grieving over the death of my father, and the scent of those nights evokes a sense of melancholy for me still. Rain battering leaves that are already soaked by rain, and the salty mist coming from the Pacific.

I grew up in Los Angeles, and spent most of my Halloweens here. Of all the Halloween nights, one stands out the strongest in my memory. When I was in third grade, the hills behind my parent’s house were on fire. The fire was growing, and it was close; we were on evacuation watch all that night. The fire was massive: the skyline was vibrant, electric orange, and I couldn’t stop staring at it. It felt like noon at midnight to me. The smoke penetrated everything, drowning out the scent of my grandmother’s caramel apples. Halloween in Los Angeles has a peculiar scent, and there always seems to be something ablaze here. To me, Halloween in Los Angeles will forever smell like fire and fascination.

The soul of each of these cities is expressed so uniquely, so beautifully, and so eloquently on Halloween night, and they have all left an indelible imprint on my psyche.

Happy Halloween.

Flowering dogwood, weeping cherry, Korean pine, camellia, moonflower, Alberta spruce, arborvitae, and crab apples.

The sky on fire: a strange incense of burning brush, junegrass, tumbleweeds, chaparral, and wild sage.

The distinctive scent of the Mississippi at night mingling with sweet olive and Spanish moss.

Salt air wafting in from the bay. Rain falling on rain-soaked leaves.

The ‘Patch is lying fallow this year. However, the Pomegranate Grove is bearing some beautiful fruit. Pick individual pomegranates from the Grove, or snatch up the whole shebang!

About the pomegranate I must say nothing, for its story is something of a mystery.
– Pausanias

Pomegranate, poet’s jasmine, and benzoin.

Pomegranate, white musk, lemon verbena, grapefruit, pink lime.

Pomegranate, Tamil Nadu sandalwood, lavender, tamarind, hazelnut, Atlas cedarwood, sugar date, bitter clove, and Arabian myrrh.

Pomegranate, cognac, red musk, cocoa, tobacco absolute, star anise, and thyme.

Pomegranate, carnation, amber, cardamom, neroli, vetiver, black pepper, and opium tar.

If you purchase the POMEGRANATE GROVE set, you will receive an imp of:
Argive Hera. The temple in the Argolid that was dedicated to Hera, the Queen of Heaven, in her aspect as the Great Triple Goddess.
Pomegranate, apple blossom, fig, willow bark, and almond.

Also for Halloween, we have the first in a series of tributes to Gothic fiction tropes. Please note: the scents in this series include quotes from classic literary works which may disturb modern sensibilities. The tropes of Gothic fiction and the Gothic horror subgenre are a part of our literary heritage, and are something to be cherished despite how unsettling the subject matter can be. Please proceed with caution into this realm, particularly if you are bothered by descriptions of immoral and possibly illegal acts.

That the exercise of our benevolent feelings, as called forth by the view of human afflictions, should be a source of pleasure, cannot appear wonderful to one who considers that relation between the moral and natural system of man, which has connected a degree of satisfaction with every action or emotion productive of the general welfare. The painful sensation immediately arising from a scene of misery, is so much softened and alleviated by the reflex sense of self-approbation on attending virtuous sympathy, that we find, on the whole, a very exquisite and refined pleasure remaining, which makes us desirous of again being witnesses to such scenes, instead of flying from them with disgust and horror. It is obvious how greatly such a provision must conduce to the ends of mutual support and assistance. But the apparent delight with which we dwell upon objects of pure terror, where our moral feelings are not in the least concerned, and no passion seems to be excited but the depressing one of fear, is a paradox of the heart, much more difficult of solution.

The reality of this source of pleasure seems evident from daily observation. The greediness with which the tales of ghosts and goblins, of murders, earthquakes, fires, shipwrecks, and all the most terrible disasters attending human life, are devoured by every ear, must have been generally remarked. Tragedy, the most favourite work of fiction, has taken a full share of those scenes; “it has supt full with horrors”–and has, perhaps, been more indebted to its tender and pathetic parts. The ghost of Hamlet, Macbeth descending into the witches’ cave, and the tent scene in *Richard*, command as forcibly the attention of our souls as the parting of Jasseir and Belvidera, the fall of Wolsey, or the death of Shore. The inspiration of *terror* was by the antient critics assigned as the peculiar province of tragedy; and the Greek and Roman tragedians have introduced some extraordinary personages for this purpose: not only the shades of the dead, but the furies and other fabulous inhabitants of the infernal regions. Collins, in his most poetical ode to Fear, has finely enforced this idea. “Tho’ gentle Pity claims her mingled part, Yet all the thunders of the scene are thine.” The old Gothic romance and the Eastern tale, with their genii, giants, enchantments, and transformations, however a refined critic may censure them as absurd and extravagant, will ever retain a most powerful influence on the mind, and interest the reader independently of all peculiarity of taste. Thus the great Milton, who had a strong bias to these wildnesses of the imagination, has with striking effect made the stories “of forests and enchantments drear,” a favourite subject with his *Penseroso*; and had undoubtedly their awakening images strong upon his mind when he breaks out,

“Call up him that left half-told
The story of Cambuscan bold; &c.”

How are we then to account for the pleasure derived from such objects? I have often been led to imagine that there is a deception in these cases; and that the avidity with which we attend is not a proof of our receiving real pleasure. The pain of suspense, and the irresistible desire of satisfying curiosity, when once raised, for our eagerness to go quite through an adventure, though we suffer actual pain during the whole course of it. We rather choose to suffer the smart pang of a violent emotion than the uneasy craving of an unsatisfied desire. That this principle, in many instances, may involuntarily carry us through what we dislike, I am convinced from experience. This is the impulse which renders the poorest and most insipid narrative interesting when once we get fairly into it; and I have frequently felt it with regard to our modern novels, which, if lying on my table, and taken up in an idle hour, have led me through the most tedious and disgusting pages, while, like Pistol eating his leek, I have swallowed and execrated to the end. And it will not only force us through dulness, but through actual torture–through the relation of a Damien’s execution, or an inquisitor’s act of faith. When children, therefore, listen with pale and mute attention to the frightful stories of apparitions, we are not, perhaps, to imagine that they are in a state of enjoyment, any more than the poor bird which is dropping into the mouth of the rattlesnake–they are chained by the ears, and fascinated by curiosity. This solution, however, does not satisfy me with respect to the well-wrought scenes of artificial terror which are formed by a sublime and vigorous imagination. Here, though we know before-hand what to expect, we enter into them with eagerness, in quest of a pleasure already experienced. This is the pleasure constantly attached to the excitement of surprise from new and wonderful objects. A strange and unexpected event awakens the mind, and keeps it on the stretch; and where the agency of invisible beings is introduced, of “forms unseen, and mightier far than we,” our imagination, darting forth, explores with rapture the new world which is laid open to its view, and rejoices in the expansion of its powers. Passion and fancy cooperating elevate the soul to its highest pitch; and the pain of terror is lost in amazement.

Hence the more wild, fanciful, and extraordinary are the circumstance of a scene of horror, the more pleasure we receive from it; and where they are too near common nature, though violently borne by curiosity through the adventure, we cannot repeat it or reflect on it, without an overbalance of pain. In the *Arabian Nights* are many most striking examples of the terrible joined with the marvellous: the story of Alladin, and the travels of Sinbad, are particularly excellent. *The Castle of Otranto* is a very spirited modern attempt upon the same plan of mixed terror, adapted to the model of Gothic romance. The best conceived, and most strongly worked-up scene of mere natural horror that I recollect, is in Smollett’s *Ferdinand Count Fathom*; where the hero, entertained in a lone house in a forest, finds a corpse just slaughtered in the room where he is sent to sleep, and the door of which is locked upon him. It may be amusing for the reader to compare his feelings upon these, and from thence form his opinion of the justness of my theory. The following fragment, in which both these manners are attempted to be in some degree united, is offered to entertain a solitary winter’s evening.
“On the Pleasure Derived from Objects of Terror, with Sir Bertrand, a Fragment” —John Aikin

He stood — some dread was on his face,
Soon Hatred settled in its place:
It rose not with the reddening flush
Of transient Anger’s hasty blush,
But pale as marble o’er the tomb,
Whose ghastly whiteness aids its gloom.
His brow was bent, his eye was glazed;
He raised his arm, and fiercely raised,
And sternly shook his hand on high,
As doubting to return or fly;
Impatient of his flight delay’d,
Here loud his raven charger neigh’d —
Down glanced that hand, and grasp’d his blade;
That sound had burst his waking dream,
As Slumber starts at owlet’s scream,
The spur hath lanced his courser’s sides;
Away, away, for life he rides:
Swift as the hurl’d on high jerreed
Springs to the touch his startled steed:
The rock is doubled, and the shore
Shakes with the clattering tramp no more:
The crag is won, no more is seen
His Christian crest and haughty mien.
‘T was but an instant he restrain’d
That fiery barb so sternly rein’d;
‘T was but a moment that he stood,
Then sped as if by death pursued;
But in that instant o’er his soul
Winters of Memory seem’d to roll,
And gather in that drop of time
A life of pain, an age of crime.
O’er him who loves, or hates, or fears,
Such moment pours the grief of years:
What felt he then, at once opprest
By all that most distracts the breast?
That pause, which ponder’d o’er his fate,
Oh, who its dreary length shall date !
Though in Time’s record nearly nought,
It was Eternity to Thought !
For infinite as boundless space
The thought that Conscience must embrace,
Which in itself can comprehend
Woe without name, or hope, or end.
—The Giaour, Lord Byron

An aristocratic cologne of titanic passions, moody and brooding. This scent is dark with disillusionment and cynicism: a Victorian fougère and a dashing carnation boutonnière tainted by a cloud of khus, yew, and patchouli.

I stopped my horse, and looked round me again.

Yes: I saw it. With my own eyes I saw it. A pillar of white mist—between five and six feet high, as well as I could judge—was moving beside me at the edge of the road, on my left hand. When I stopped, the white mist stopped. When I went on, the white mist went on. I pushed my horse to a trot—the pillar of mist was with me. I urged him to a gallop—the pillar of mist was with me. I stopped him again—the pillar of mist stood still.

The white colour of it was the white colour of the fog which I had seen over the river—on the night when I had gone to bid her farewell. And the chill which had then crept through me to the bones was the chill that was creeping through me now.

I went on again slowly. The white mist went on again slowly—with the clear bright night all round it.

I was awed rather than frightened. There was one moment, and one only, when the fear came to me that my reason might be shaken. I caught myself keeping time to the slow tramp of the horse’s feet with the slow utterance of these words, repeated over and over again: ‘Jéromette is dead. Jéromette is dead.’ But my will was still my own: I was able to control myself, to impose silence on my own muttering lips. And I rode on quietly. And the pillar of mist went quietly with me.

My groom was waiting for my return at the rectory gate. I pointed to the mist, passing through the gate with me.

‘Do you see anything there?’ I said.

The man looked at me in astonishment.

I entered the rectory. The housekeeper met me in the hall. I pointed to the mist, entering with me.

‘Do you see anything at my side?’ I asked.

The housekeeper looked at me as the groom had looked at me.

‘I am afraid you are not well, sir,’ she said. ‘Your colour is all gone—you are shivering. Let me get you a glass of wine.’
—Miss Jéromette and the Clergyman, Wilkie Collins

A muculent, brumous, ill-omened scent: orris, yuzu, white ginger, linden flower, petitgrain, and lotus.

During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was; but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me—upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain—upon the bleak walls—upon the vacant eye-like windows—upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveler upon opium—the bitter lapse into every-day life—the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart—an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it—I paused to think—what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher? It was a mystery all insoluble; nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered. I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled luster by the dwelling, and gazed down—but with a shudder even more thrilling than before—upon the remodeled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.
—The Fall of the House of Usher, EA Poe

An architectural doppelganger reflecting a ruined soul: dilapidated planks of mahogany and cypress wood perched feebly on a grim foundation of long-dead leaves, black musk, patchouli, galbanum, tobacco absolute, fragonia, and oakmoss.

At last there came a time when the driver went further afield than he had yet gone, and during his absence, the horses began to tremble worse than ever and to snort and scream with fright. I could not see any cause for it, for the howling of the wolves had ceased altogether. But just then the moon, sailing through the black clouds, appeared behind the jagged crest of a beetling, pine-clad rock, and by its light I saw around us a ring of wolves, with white teeth and lolling red tongues, with long, sinewy limbs and shaggy hair. They were a hundred times more terrible in the grim silence which held them than even when they howled. For myself, I felt a sort of paralysis of fear. It is only when a man feels himself face to face with such horrors that he can understand their true import.

All at once the wolves began to howl as though the moonlight had had some peculiar effect on them. The horses jumped about and reared, and looked helplessly round with eyes that rolled in a way painful to see. But the living ring of terror encompassed them on every side, and they had perforce to remain within it. I called to the coachman to come, for it seemed to me that our only chance was to try to break out through the ring and to aid his approach, I shouted and beat the side of the caleche, hoping by the noise to scare the wolves from the side, so as to give him a chance of reaching the trap. How he came there, I know not, but I heard his voice raised in a tone of imperious command, and looking towards the sound, saw him stand in the roadway. As he swept his long arms, as though brushing aside some impalpable obstacle, the wolves fell back and back further still. Just then a heavy cloud passed across the face of the moon, so that we were again in darkness.

When I could see again the driver was climbing into the caleche, and the wolves disappeared. This was all so strange and uncanny that a dreadful fear came upon me, and I was afraid to speak or move. The time seemed interminable as we swept on our way, now in almost complete darkness, for the rolling clouds obscured the moon.
—Dracula, Bram Stoker

A scent evocative of a forest at midnight, with animalic brown musk, wild sage, Terebinth pine, black oak, and a chilly shock of terror personified by kunzea, cistus labdanum, verbena, juniper, metallic ozone, and white mint.

She ceased. While She spoke, a thousand opposing sentiments combated in Ambrosio’s bosom. Surprise at the singularity of this adventure, Confusion at her abrupt declaration, Resentment at her boldness in entering the Monastery, and Consciousness of the austerity with which it behooved him to reply, such were the sentiments of which He was aware; But there were others also which did not obtain his notice. He perceived not, that his vanity was flattered by the praises bestowed upon his eloquence and virtue; that He felt a secret pleasure in reflecting that a young and seemingly lovely Woman had for his sake abandoned the world, and sacrificed every other passion to that which He had inspired: Still less did He perceive that his heart throbbed with desire, while his hand was pressed gently by Matilda’s ivory fingers.
—The Monk, MG Lewis

A creamy, sensual, honeyed red musk.

Hark, Ambrosio, while I unveil your crimes! You have shed the blood of two innocents; Antonia and Elvira perished by your hand. That Antonia whom you violated, was your Sister! That Elvira whom you murdered, gave you birth! Tremble, abandoned Hypocrite! Inhuman Parricide! Incestuous Ravisher! Tremble at the extent of your offences! And you it was who thought yourself proof against temptation, absolved from human frailties, and free from error and vice! Is pride then a virtue? Is inhumanity no fault? Know, vain Man! That I long have marked you for my prey: I watched the movements of your heart; I saw that you were virtuous from vanity, not principle, and I seized the fit moment of seduction. I observed your blind idolatry of the Madonna’s picture. I bade a subordinate but crafty spirit assume a similar form, and you eagerly yielded to the blandishments of Matilda. Your pride was gratified by her flattery; Your lust only needed an opportunity to break forth; You ran into the snare blindly, and scrupled not to commit a crime which you blamed in another with unfeeling severity. It was I who threw Matilda in your way; It was I who gave you entrance to Antonia’s chamber; It was I who caused the dagger to be given you which pierced your Sister’s bosom; and it was I who warned Elvira in dreams of your designs upon her Daughter, and thus, by preventing your profiting by her sleep, compelled you to add rape as well as incest to the catalogue of your crimes. Hear, hear, Ambrosio! Had you resisted me one minute longer, you had saved your body and soul. The guards whom you heard at your prison door came to signify your pardon. But I had already triumphed: My plots had already succeeded. Scarcely could I propose crimes so quick as you performed them. You are mine, and Heaven itself cannot rescue you from my power. Hope not that your penitence will make void our contract. Here is your bond signed with your blood; You have given up your claim to mercy, and nothing can restore to you the rights which you have foolishly resigned. Believe you that your secret thoughts escaped me? No, no, I read them all! You trusted that you should still have time for repentance. I saw your artifice, knew its falsity, and rejoiced in deceiving the deceiver! You are mine beyond reprieve: I burn to possess my right, and alive you quit not these mountains.
—The Monk, MG Lewis

Faustian depravity: daemonorops, rose-infused frankincense, vetiver, mate absolute, and clove bud.

It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw—not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things.

But there is something else about that paper—the smell! I noticed it the moment we came into the room, but with so much air and sun it was not bad. Now we have had a week of fog and rain, and whether the windows are open or not, the smell is here.

It creeps all over the house.

I find it hovering in the dining-room, skulking in the parlor, hiding in the hall, lying in wait for me on the stairs.

It gets into my hair.

Even when I go to ride, if I turn my head suddenly and surprise it—there is that smell!

Such a peculiar odor, too! I have spent hours in trying to analyze it, to find what it smelled like.

It is not bad—at first, and very gentle, but quite the subtlest, most enduring odor I ever met.

In this damp weather it is awful, I wake up in the night and find it hanging over me.

It used to disturb me at first. I thought seriously of burning the house—to reach the smell.

But now I am used to it. The only thing I can think of that it is like is the COLOR of the paper! A yellow smell.

There is a very funny mark on this wall, low down, near the mopboard. A streak that runs round the room. It goes behind every piece of furniture, except the bed, a long, straight, even SMOOCH, as if it had been rubbed over and over.

I wonder how it was done and who did it, and what they did it for. Round and round and round—round and round and round—it makes me dizzy!

I really have discovered something at last.

Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I have finally found out.

The front pattern DOES move—and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it!

Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over.

Then in the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard.

And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern—it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads.

They get through, and then the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside down, and makes their eyes white!

If those heads were covered or taken off it would not be half so bad.

I think that woman gets out in the daytime!

And I’ll tell you why—privately—I’ve seen her!

I can see her out of every one of my windows!

It is the same woman, I know, for she is always creeping, and most women do not creep by daylight.

I see her on that long road under the trees, creeping along, and when a carriage comes she hides under the blackberry vines.

I don’t blame her a bit. It must be very humiliating to be caught creeping by daylight!
—The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A yellow smell. Old foul, bad yellow things. Honeysuckle, chrysanthemum, balsam, hydrangea, and helichrysum.

Meanwhile, the deep impression made by this unknown tormentor, the monk, and especially by his prediction of the death of Bianchi, remained upon his mind, and he once more determined to ascertain, if possible, the true nature of the portentous visitant, and what were the motives which induced him thus to haunt his footsteps and interrupt his peace. He was awed by the circumstances which had attended the visitations of the monk, if monk it was; by the suddenness of his appearance, and departure; by the truth of his prophecies; and, above all, by the solemn event which had verified his last warning; and his imagination, thus elevated by wonder and painful curiosity, was prepared for something above the reach of common conjecture, and beyond the accomplishment of human agency. His understanding was sufficiently clear and strong to teach him to detect many errors of opinion, that prevailed around him, as well as to despise the common superstitions of his country, and in the usual state of his mind, he probably would not have paused for a moment on the subject before him; but his passions were not interested, and his fancy awakened, and, though he was unconscious of this propensity, he would, perhaps, have been somewhat disappointed, to have suddenly from the region of fearful sublimity to which he had soared —the world of terrible shadows— to the earth, on which he daily walked, and to an explanation simply natural.
—The Italian, Ann Radcliffe

A sudden and shocking insight into the vast, ineffable, overwhelming power of Nature, stirred by a vision or experience of perfected beauty and perfected terror, that changes the soul irretrievably. An epiphany: Moroccan amber, wisteria, ambergris accord, white rose, magnolia, white mint, angelica, bergamot, and myrrh.

In the deep shade, at the farther end of the room, a figure ran backwards and forwards. What it was, whether beast or human being, one could not, at first sight tell: it grovelled, seemingly, on all fours; it snatched and growled like some strange wild animal: but it was covered with clothing, and a quantity of dark, grizzled hair, wild as a mane, hid its head and face.
—Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Dusty white sandalwood, ragged cloth, and a dry, long-dead bridal bouquet.

“Isaac, you dreamed your ill dream on this Wednesday morning. What time was it when you saw the fair woman with the knife in her hand?”

Isaac reflected on what the landlord had said when they had passed by the clock on his leaving the inn; allowed as nearly as he could for the time that must have elapsed between the unlocking of his bedroom door and the paying of his bill just before going away, and answered.

“Somewhere about two o’clock in the morning.”

His mother suddenly quitted her hold of his neck, and struck her hands together with a gesture of despair.

“This Wednesday is your birthday, Isaac, and two o’clock in the morning was the time when you were born.”
—Brother Morgan’s Story of the Dream-Woman, wilkie Collins

Black rose, olibanum, dark musk, myrrh, blackcurrant, lavender buds, bourbon geranium, and amber incense.

“The great thing is not to be afraid. Now, between you and me, I don’t want to hang–that’s practical; but for all cant, Macfarlane, I was born with a contempt. Hell, God, Devil, right, wrong, sin, crime, and all the old gallery of curiosities –they may frighten boys, but men of the world, like you and me, despise them. Here’s to the memory of Gray!”

It was by this time growing somewhat late. The gig, according to order, was brought round to the door with both lamps brightly shining, and the young men had to pay their bill and take the road. They announced that they were bound for Peebles, and drove in that direction till they were clear of the last houses of the town; then, extinguishing the lamps, returned upon their course, and followed a by-road toward Glencorse. There was no sound but that of their own passage, and the incessant, strident pouring of the rain. It was pitch dark; here and there a white gate or a white stone in the wall guided them for a short space across the night; but for the most part it was at a foot pace, and almost groping, that they picked their way through that resonant blackness to their solemn and isolated destination. In the sunken woods that traverse the neighbourhood of the burying-ground the last glimmer failed them, and it became necessary to kindle a match and reillumine one of the lanterns of the gig. Thus, under the dripping trees, and environed by huge and moving shadows, they reached the scene of their unhallowed labours.

They were both experienced in such affairs, and powerful with the spade; and they had scarce been twenty minutes at their task before they were rewarded by a dull rattle on the coffin lid. At the same moment Macfarlane, having hurt his hand upon a stone, flung it carelessly above his head. The grave, in which they now stood almost to the shoulders, was close to the edge of the plateau of the graveyard; and the gig lamp had been propped, the better to illuminate their labours, against a tree, and on the immediate verge of the steep bank descending to the stream. Chance had taken a sure aim with the stone. Then came a clang of broken glass; night fell upon them; sounds alternately dull and ringing announced the bounding of the lantern down the bank, and its occasional collision with the trees. A stone or two, which it had dislodged in its descent, rattled behind it into the profundities of the glen; and then silence, like night, resumed its sway; and they might bend their hearing to its utmost pitch, but naught was to be heard except the rain, now marching to the wind, now steadily falling over miles of open country.

They were so nearly at an end of their abhorred task that they judged it wisest to complete it in the dark. The coffin was exhumed and broken open; the body inserted in the dripping sack and carried between them to the gig; one mounted to keep it in its place, and the other, taking the horse by the mouth, groped along by wall and bush until they reached the wider road by the Fisher’s Tryst. Here was a faint, diffused radiancy, which they hailed like daylight; by that they pushed the horse to a good pace and began to rattle along merrily in the direction of the town.

They had both been wetted to the skin during their operations, and now, as the gig jumped among the deep ruts, the thing that stood propped between them fell now upon one and now upon the other. At every repetition of the horrid contact each instinctively repelled it with the greater haste; and the process, natural although it was, began to tell upon the nerves of the companions. Macfarlane made some ill-favoured jest about the farmer’s wife, but it came hollowly from his lips, and was allowed to drop in silence. Still their unnatural burden bumped from side to side; and now the head would be laid, as if in confidence, upon their shoulders, and now the drenching sackcloth would flap icily about their faces. A creeping chill began to possess the soul of Fettes. He peered at the bundle, and it seemed somehow larger than at first. All over the countryside, and from every degree of distance, the farm dogs accompanied their passage with tragic ululations; and it grew and grew upon his mind that some unnatural miracle had been accomplished, that some nameless change had befallen the dead body, and that it was in fear of their unholy burden that the dogs were howling.

“For God’s sake,” said he, making a great effort to arrive at speech, “for God’s sake, let’s have a light!”

Seemingly Macfarlane was affected in the same direction; for, though he made no reply, he stopped the horse, passed the reins to his companion, got down, and proceeded to kindle the remaining lamp. They had by that time got no farther than the cross-road down to Auchenclinny. The rain still poured as though the deluge were returning, and it was no easy matter to make a light in such a world of wet and darkness. When at last the flickering blue flame had been transferred to the wick and began to expand and clarify, and shed a wide circle of misty brightness round the gig, it became possible for the two young men to see each other and the thing they had along with them. The rain had moulded the rough sacking to the outlines of the body underneath; the head was distinct from the trunk, the shoulders plainly modelled; something at once spectral and human riveted their eyes upon the ghastly comrade of their drive.
—The Body-Snatchers, RL Stevenson

An unearthed oakwood coffin, cemetery weeds, and a hint of booze.

It made me, the sound of the words, in which it seemed to me that I caught for the very first time a small faint quaver of consenting consciousness—it made me drop on my knees beside the bed and seize once more the chance of possessing him. “Dear little Miles, dear little Miles, if you KNEW how I want to help you! It’s only that, it’s nothing but that, and I’d rather die than give you a pain or do you a wrong—I’d rather die than hurt a hair of you. Dear little Miles”—oh, I brought it out now even if I SHOULD go too far—”I just want you to help me to save you!” But I knew in a moment after this that I had gone too far. The answer to my appeal was instantaneous, but it came in the form of an extraordinary blast and chill, a gust of frozen air, and a shake of the room as great as if, in the wild wind, the casement had crashed in. The boy gave a loud, high shriek, which, lost in the rest of the shock of sound, might have seemed, indistinctly, though I was so close to him, a note either of jubilation or of terror. I jumped to my feet again and was conscious of darkness. So for a moment we remained, while I stared about me and saw that the drawn curtains were unstirred and the window tight. “Why, the candle’s out!” I then cried.
“It was I who blew it, dear!” said Miles.
—The Turn of the Screw, Henry James

White tea and violet leaf.

And lo! – what have we here? Looks like the Halloween update went live on Friday the 13th…

13: August 2010
13 is significant, whether you consider it lucky, unlucky or just plain odd. Many believe it to be unfortunate…

… because there were 13 present at the Last Supper.
… Loki crashed a party of 12 at Valhalla, which ended in Baldur’s death.
… Oinomaos killed 13 of Hippodamia’s suitors before Pelops finally, in his own shady way, defeated the jealous king.
… In ancient Rome, Hecate’s witches gathered in groups of 12, the Goddess herself being the 13th in the coven.

Concern over the number thirteen echoes back beyond the Christian era. Line 13 was omitted form the Code of Hammurabi.

The shivers over Friday the 13th also have some interesting origins:

… Christ was allegedly crucified on Friday the 13th.
… On Friday, October 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrests of Jaques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and sixty of his senior knights.
… In British custom, hangings were held on Fridays, and there were 13 steps on the gallows leading to the noose.

To combat the superstition, Robert Ingersoll and the Thirteen Club held thirteen-men dinners during the 19th Century. Successful? Hardly. The number still invokes trepidation to this day. A recent whimsical little serial killer study showed that the following murderers all have names that total thirteen letters:

Theodore Bundy
Jeffrey Dahmer
Albert De Salvo
John Wayne Gacy

And, with a little stretch of the imagination, you can also fit ”˜Jack the Ripper’ and ”˜Charles Manson’ into that equation.

More current-era paranoia: modern schoolchildren stop their memorization of the multiplication tables at 12. There were 13 Plutonium slugs in the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. Apollo 13 wasn’t exactly the most successful space mission. All of these are things that modern triskaidekaphobes point to when justifying their fears.

For some, 13 is an extremely fortuitous and auspicious number…

… In Jewish tradition, God has 13 Attributes of Mercy. Also, there were 13 tribes of Israel, 13 principles of Jewish faith, and 13 is considered the age of maturity.
… The ancient Egyptians believed that there were 12 stages of spiritual achievement in this lifetime, and a 13th beyond death.
… The word for thirteen, in Chinese, sounds much like the word which means “must be alive” .

Thirteen, whether you love it or loathe it, is a pretty cool number all around.

… In some theories of relativity, there are 13 dimensions.
… It is a prime number, lucky number, star number, Wilson Prime, and Fibonacci number.
… There are 13 Archimedean solids.

… There were 13 original colonies when the United States were founded.

Says a lot about the US, doesn’t it?

A base of bitter dark chocolate with thirteen baneful and beneficial bits including pimento berry, pink pepper, tolu balsam, bergamot, golden honey, tobacco absolute, champaca flower, and paprika.

Thirteen will be live until the fourteenth, as is our custom, and the Halloweenies will be live until the November Lunacy comes down. All the Halloweenies are $20, and the Pomegranate Grove is $97.


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