Archive for October, 2011

“The Devil’s Night” — David Jacobs

[amtap book:isbn=0425178609]

They only come out at night

Cloth tear­ing, she spread-eagled her arms and legs, taut­ening the leath­ery folds of swelling batwings. The wings were part of arms, grow­ing out of the shoul­ders, attached to the long thin­ning skele­tal arms and legs with scal­loped leath­ery black bat membranes. 

Batwings beat the air fran­ti­cal­ly, try­ing to stop or at least slow the fall. 

Among the Undead, only the most pow­er­ful vam­pires can muster the occult force need­ed for shapeshift­ing, to become a giant bat, a wolf, or mist that can drift through sol­id walls. 

Such a queen vam­pire was Marya Zaleska. 

Count­ess Marya Zales­ka, Drac­u­la’s Daughter. 

The Uni­ver­sal Mon­sters: Drac­u­la, Franken­stein’s Mon­ster, the Wolf­man, Drac­u­la’s Daugh­ter. All return­ing, just as they returned in so many Uni­ver­sal hor­ror movies, this time in fic­tion­al form. 

⇒ Con­tin­ue read­ing ““The Devil’s Night” — David Jacobs”

“Eyes Reveal True Hypnotic State” — New Scientist

Over the past sev­er­al years, there has been sig­nif­i­cant research in deter­min­ing the state of the brain dur­ing hyp­no­sis, includ­ing prov­ing the dif­fer­ence between hyp­no­sis and sleep. 

Now, this study from report­ed in New Sci­en­tist and ref­er­enced here at Io9, describes a phys­i­cal sign that a per­son is in a state of hyp­no­sis, and, of course, it hap­pens to involve the eyes. In hyp­no­sis, accord­ing to this research, peo­ple have dif­fer­ent eye reac­tions, includ­ing blink rates and pupil response, things that are impos­si­ble to fake or dupli­cate, things that are caused by changes in the brain activ­i­ty under hypnosis. 

“We found that dur­ing hyp­no­sis, the frontal area was almost per­fect­ly dis­con­nect­ed from the rest of the brain,” says Kallio. “There are usu­al­ly lots of con­nec­tions but dur­ing hyp­no­sis they were almost gone.” 

More than just an addi­tion­al proof that hyp­no­sis does exist, it also con­firms the stereo­type of the blank-eyed sub­ject. The old say­ing “The eyes are win­dows to the soul” also comes to mind here.

“10 Things an Electromagnetic Field Can Do to Your Brain” — Io9

Not real­ly any­thing about hyp­no­sis but cer­tain­ly verg­ing into areas of out­right mind con­trol, this arti­cle in the Io9 web­site is a bit light but still at least inter­est­ing read­ing and maybe a lit­tle thought-pro­vok­ing. The arti­cle lists ten dif­fer­ent ways elec­tro-mag­net­ic fields can affect brain func­tion­al­i­ty, usu­al­ly to the detri­ment of the per­son affect­ed. These ways are: 

10. Shred its DNA

9. Stim­u­late its Growth

8. Train you off food and water

7. Make you spin in circles

6. Paci­fy you completely

5. Alter your morality

4. Take out your pow­er of speech but leave your abil­i­ty to sing

3. Induce pan­ic, dis­ori­en­ta­tion, and deep fear

2. Cause Seizures and Death

1. Make you see ghosts

Sound far-fetched? In real­i­ty, research is already under­way in ways to make use of elec­tro-mag­net­ic fields (and sim­i­lar ener­gy pro­jec­tion meth­ods) in com­bat or crowd con­trol sit­u­a­tions. There is already in use a high-fre­quen­cy, high deci­bel sound pro­jec­tor that has been in use for crowd con­trol sit­u­a­tions in recent years. Not to men­tion the alleged secret gov­ern­ment exper­i­ments into sim­i­lar mind con­trol­ling devices in the past. 

Now can this be applied to hyp­no­sis? Well, hyp­no­sis is a com­pli­cat­ed state but one that is def­i­nite­ly affect­ed by the men­tal state of the sub­ject. Could the brain be so stim­u­lat­ed through elec­tro-mag­net­ic fields that can induce a trance-like state that can be used to effect a hyp­not­ic state? Giv­en that sev­er­al MRI stud­ies have shown which parts of the brain are in oper­a­tion dur­ing hyp­no­sis (stud­ies which show that the brain in sleep uses dif­fer­ent areas, demon­strat­ing that hyp­no­sis is not a form of sleep) these areas could be tar­get­ed for stim­u­la­tion in induce that effect. 

Of course, the arti­cle here needs to be treat­ed with a cer­tain lev­el of skep­ti­cism, but the idea is worth keep­ing in mind.

Edmund Shaftesbury

Edmund Shaftes­bury was the pseu­do­nym of Web­ster Edger­ly (1852–1926). Edger­ly was a pro­lif­ic writer on a vari­ety of sub­jects, pre­dom­i­nant­ly self-improve­ment (not lim­it­ed to per­son­al mag­net­ism) and health. The fol­low­ing descrip­tion is from Alfred Arm­strong’s web site on Web­ster Edger­ly.

Albert Web­ster Edger­ly was a self-help guru, a crank and a racist big­ot. Pos­sessed of seem­ing­ly bound­less ener­gy, from his twen­ties until his death he wrote and pub­lished many books and found­ed a series of orga­ni­za­tions ded­i­cat­ed to health and self-improve­ment, main­ly under his pseu­do­nym “Edmund (or Edmonde) Shaftes­bury”. As the beget­ter of the “Ral­ston Health Club” he also used the name “Dr Everett Ralston”. 

In about 1900, William Dan­forth invit­ed “Dr Ral­ston” to par­tic­i­pate in his Puri­na Whole­food Com­pa­ny. At that time Edger­ly’s Health Club had a size­able fol­low­ing [accord­ing to this, over 800,000] and he was not­ed for his pro­nounce­ments on diet, which were com­pat­i­ble with Dan­forth’s own phi­los­o­phy. The com­pa­ny took a new name, Ral­ston Puri­na, under which it still trad­ed until rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly, when it was acquired by Nestlé. 

Edger­ly attempt­ed in 1905 to put his utopi­an ideas into prac­tice when he found­ed a com­mu­ni­ty of Ral­stonites at “Ral­ston Heights”. As is ever the case with such endeav­ors, it was not a success. 

Edger­ly also cre­at­ed “Ral­ston­ism”, a “minor social move­ment” based on his writ­ings, all of which was to enable the fol­low­er the abil­i­ty to devel­op “per­son­al mag­net­ism” and the pow­er over the thoughts of oth­ers, among oth­er ben­e­fits. To quote Edgerly: 

“We believe that Ral­ston­ism, since it is becom­ing uni­ver­sal, is as nec­es­sary as food, light or water. This move­ment is the grand­est, noblest, and already the most far-reach­ing pow­er that has orig­i­nat­ed in the present age. 

“Ral­ston­ism is the grand­est move­ment that man is capa­ble of establishing”. 

Fol­low­ers were encour­aged to pur­chase the Ral­ston­ism books, among oth­er ways to progress in the hier­ar­chy of the movement. 

Ral­stonites were to fol­low strict dietary guide­lines. … Cor­rect diet and prop­er phys­i­cal exer­cise would help read­er attain “per­son­al mag­net­ism”, which would give them con­trol over the thoughts of oth­ers. Much of the phys­i­cal regime demand­ed mov­ing in grace­ful curves and arcs and walk­ing exclu­sive­ly on the balls of one’s feet. Because sud­den starts and stops and sharp angu­lar move­ments caused a “leak­age of vital force”, Ral­stonites were to even pick mar­bles in con­tin­u­ous cir­cles. There was a prop­er way to bathe (dry bath), ges­ture, sit, stand, sleep, talk and have sex. Edger­ly claimed a sci­en­tif­ic basis for all this. 

To that end, he start­ed Ral­son Heights in New Jer­sey with the intent of cre­at­ing a com­mu­ni­ty of Ral­sonites. Unfor­tu­nate­ly the com­mu­ni­ty nev­er mate­ri­al­ized before his death and after­ward much of the ter­ri­to­ry was sold off. 

Among the rel­e­vant books are: 

“Instantaneous Personal Magnetism” (1926)

“The Magnetism Books”

  1. “Advanced Mag­net­ism” (?)
    Con­trol of Oth­ers Through the Feelings 
  2. “Men­tal Mag­net­ism” (1934)
    Mas­tery in All the Con­flicts of Life
    A Study of the Sev­en Realms of Mind and Mas­tery in the Con­flicts of Life 
  3. “Sex Mag­net­ism” (1924)
    Pri­vate Lessons in the Cul­ti­va­tion of Mag­net­ism of the Sexes
    Teach­ing the Devel­op­ment and Won­der­ful Enlarge­ment of those Pow­ers and Influ­ences That Nature has Invent­ed to Aid Every Human Life
    A review of this book can be found here.
  4. “Oper­a­tions of the Oth­er Mind” (1934)
    Gigan­tic Pow­ers of the Human Brain
    Mak­ing Known the Unseen Pow­ers of the Uni­verse in Their Con­trol Over Human Life 
  5. “Per­son­al Mag­net­ism” (1924)
    This book does not con­tain chap­ters; instead, it con­tains a series of steps required to devel­op the “per­son­al mag­net­ism” of the title.
    A review of this book can be found here.
  6. “Uni­ver­sal Mag­net­ism — Vol­ume I” (?)
  7. “Uni­ver­sal Mag­net­ism — Vol­ume II” (?)
    Secret Lessons in Con­trol of Self and Others 

“The College of Mental Studies”

  1. “Future See­ing and Des­tiny” (?)
    800 lessons in philosophy. 
  2. “The Great Psy­chic” (?)
    The Mas­ter Mind of the Universe 
  3. “Life Elec­tric­i­ty” (?)
    Cre­ation of Extra-ordi­nary Health-Vitality 
  4. “Thought Trans­fer­ence” (?)
    “Or The Radio-Activ­i­ty of the Human Mind”
    “Based on the New­ly Dis­cov­ered Laws of RADIO-Com­mu­nic­tion Between BRAIN and BRAIN”
    Uses of Telepa­thy, Mind and Thought 
  5. “Goal of Cre­ation” (?)
    The Tem­ple of Great Achievements 
  6. “Your­self Behind Closed Doors” (?)
    The Sub­lim­ist Study of Self 

And even though I have a num­ber of these books, many in fine print­ing, I haven’t real­ly been able to read them. 

Many of his books remain in print to this day. A com­plete list­ing of all works by this author is found here.

Oth­er References:

“The Brides of Fu Manchu” (1966)

[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060188/]

The mas­ter of evil takes a harem of horror! 

Would-be world con­queror Fu Manchu returns, hold­ing the beau­ti­ful daugh­ters (are there ever any oth­ers?) of impor­tant sci­en­tists in order to black­mail their fathers. With their help, he is able to con­struct a device capa­ble of trans­mit­ting destruc­tive ener­gy from his moun­tain strong­hold any­where in the world. How­ev­er, his eter­nal foe, Sir Den­nis Nay­land Smith, is always ready to con­test the sin­is­ter Man­dar­in’s plot. 


The hyp­not­ic action starts imme­di­ate­ly: sci­en­tist Otto Lentz is brought before Fu Manchu and his sin­is­ter daugh­ter Lin Tang (played by Tsai Chin: it is obvi­ous that she is sup­posed to be Fah Lo Suee.) in a throne room lined with the placid forms of a multi­na­tion­al group of young women, all the “brides” of Fu Manchu. There, he is ordered to coop­er­ate. When he refus­es, his beau­ti­ful daugh­ter Marie is brought forth, look­ing equal­ly as placid, is if drugged. She is led before Lin Tang, who takes the girl’s head in her hands and clos­es the girl’s eyes with her thumbs. When released, Marie opens her eyes to stare direct­ly in the eyes of her cap­tor. Just that eas­i­ly, Marie is under the con­trol of Lin Tang and Fu Manchu. At their direc­tion, she sends anoth­er of the “brides” to her death, and her father is black­mailed with the threat of awak­en­ing her with the full knowl­edge of her action. Only then does the audi­ence get an idea of what the sin­is­ter Man­dar­in’s plot is: the sci­en­tists have all been work­ing on parts of a device that will trans­mit destruc­tive radio waves to any­where in the world. With it, he plans to destroy an upcom­ing arms con­fer­ence, sow­ing dis­or­der and chaos in the West. 

Sir Den­nis Nay­land Smith, how­ev­er, is always there to oppose the sin­is­ter Man­darin, and through his inves­ti­ga­tion into the dis­ap­pear­ances of the “brides” is try­ing to pre­vent the next dis­ap­pear­ance. To that end, he employs the help of Franz Bauer, Marie’s fiancee, and arranges for him to be tak­en in place of the next sci­en­tist on Fu Manchu’s list. Lack­ing the aid of the sci­en­tist, and with Nay­land Smith clos­ing in on both the Lon­don hide­out and Fu Manchu’s hid­den lair, the final assault on the con­fer­ence goes ter­ri­bly awry, as the trans­mit­ter is over­loaded and the entire instal­la­tion destroyed. Befit­ting their sta­tus, Fu Manchu and Lin Tang escape through a secret pas­sage and sur­vive the destruc­tion, in order to return in the next movie. 

There are three oth­er hyp­not­ic scenes: the first, when Lin Tang enters the din­ing room with all of the “brides” to take Otto Lentz away; the sec­ond, when anoth­er of the “brides” is brought before Fu Manchu; and the last is dur­ing the riot when the “brides” attempt to escape. There is also a brief moment at the end of the movie, after all of the “brides” were res­cued and Fu Manchu’s lair destroyed, when they all pause, turn and stare blankly back at the ruin, as if hear­ing the voice of Fu Manchu com­mand­ing them one last time. 

  • In the first, Lentz and Marie are say­ing good­bye when Lin Tang enters the room: at that moment, all of the girls stand and are entranced. Marie, even, is com­plete­ly obliv­i­ous to her father, see­ing and hear­ing only Ling Tang. 
  • In the sec­ond, the bride is ter­ri­fied by the sight of a pit full of snakes, then, in her ter­ri­fied state, is mes­mer­ized by Fu Manchu himself. 
  • In the last, dur­ing the riot as the “brides” are bat­tling the guards. Into that chaos strides Lin Tang, who takes one of the women by the shoul­ders and stares into her eyes, entranc­ing her. How­ev­er, anoth­er of the “brides” sees that and knocks Lin Tang uncon­scious. Not so when the impe­ri­ous Fu Manchu enters, as which point every one of the “brides” falls back into their placid trance state. 

The above clip is actu­al­ly from two dif­fer­ent movies of this series: the first half is from the third movie, “The Vengeance of Fu Manchu”, while the sec­ond half, start­ing at about 0:53, is from this movie, and is a longer and bet­ter ver­sion of the scene shown pre­vi­ous­ly. It also speaks of Marie being “pre­pared” which tends to con­firm that she is some­how drugged. Just ignore the ran­dom clip insert­ed some­how in the middle. 

Com­men­tary: The sec­ond of five Fu Manchu movies star­ring Christo­pher Lee in the title role. “The Brides of Fu Manchu”, a sequel to The Face of Fu Manchu” of the pre­vi­ous year. It has noth­ing to do with the nov­el “The Bride of Fu Manchu”, which is about 

It should be not­ed that this is the first time that Fah Lo Suee (or what­ev­er she is named in the movies) was played by a true Asian actress: before this, the char­ac­ter was always por­trayed by a West­ern actress, includ­ing Myr­na Loy.

Rec­om­men­da­tion: For sheer his­tor­i­cal val­ue, I would rec­om­mend the movie, if it can be found. Christo­pher Lee has a cer­tain amount of sedate fun in this movie, which I believe is the best of the five of this series, and pos­si­bly of all the lat­er Fu Manchu movies, which is not real­ly say­ing much. 

Note: For years, I thought these were Ham­mer films, what with Christo­pher Lee star­ring in them: the look was so sim­i­lar to the Ham­mer style it was pret­ty easy to con­fuse the two, as direc­tor Don Sharp also direct­ed such Ham­mer clas­sics as Rasputin: The Mad Monk” and The Kiss of the Vam­pire” , as well as a num­ber of “Avengers” TV episodes and an episode of the “Ham­mer House of Hor­ror” anthol­o­gy TV series. The “Avengers” con­nec­tion also car­ries over to his Direc­tor oh Pho­tog­ra­phy, Ernest Stew­ard who also worked the series. 

Triv­ia: If you watch care­ful­ly, you will see a some­what famil­iar face: one of the guards, Feng, was played by Burt Kwouk, who is famous for play­ing Cato on the Peter Sell­ers “Pink Pan­ther” movies. Kwouk has a very long act­ing  resumé, includ­ing oth­er Fu Manchu films, and is still work­ing today.

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