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 régime 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)


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 coöperate. 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 fiancée, 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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