Katelan V. Foisy is a visual artist, writer, and occultist. She paints, she writes, she photographs and she is also a witch; a woman of many talents.
I was first attracted to her work some years ago when I happened upon it via Instagram. I was struck by the beautiful colours and the vintage style that transports you back in time.
Please…do not hesitate, pull back the velvet curtain and open yourself up to the magical world of Katelan Foisy.
Greek mythology created quite the monster. Her once beautiful hair had being turned into snakes, her gaze was to turn people into stone – Medusa was the ultimate monstrous female.
Medusa, in Greek mythology, the most famous of the monster figures known as Gorgons. She was usually represented as a winged female creature having a head of hair consisting of snakes; unlike the Gorgons, she was sometimes represented as very beautiful. Medusa was the only Gorgon who was mortal; hence her slayer, Perseus, was able to kill her by cutting off her head. From the blood that spurted from her neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, her two sons by Poseidon. The severed head, which had the power of turning into stone all who looked upon it, was given to Athena, who placed it in her shield; according to another account, Perseus buried it in the marketplace of Argos.
Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica
It was obvious that painters, sculptors, and poets were to take this hideous creature and immortalise her in their work.
Sylvia Plath wrote her poem Medusa, using her characteristics as an allegory for her own relationship with her Mother.
If we step into the art world, we know that many painters have made Medusa their subject, some depict both her pain and beauty.
There was the 1964 film Gorgon made by Hammer Studios that depicted her characteristics and terrifying demeanour that was to scare horror fans all over the world.
Medusa will always be a curious creature to anyone that comes across her whether in poetry or literature. She is both a monster and an inspiration to those that want to frighten in their peculiar tales. Some will warn you of her. Some will be under her spell and others will be turned to stone.
Weird fiction conjures up ideas of the supernatural, ghastly horror and the Gothic; this collection of wonderful tales doesn’t disappoint. With Halloween fast approaching, the dark evenings accompanied by candlelight – this book is the perfect companion to an evening of weird.
Women’s Weird is a collection edited by Melissa Edmundson and features thirteen women writers from 1890-1940, each individually handpicked to give you not only a scare but also food for thought on the idea of everyday life becoming rather weird.
The stories explore a vast array of ideas and occurrences that feed into our human psyche, the scares and the fear that we hear about in folklore and legend come to the surface in these stories. In some cases, these tales go beyond our primal fears and go into the world of the surreal, opening up new ideas and new fears for us to process.
The stories of years gone by often centred around ghosts, for example, a master of his craft M.R James spooked his readers with characteristic settings and afflicted spectres however, Women’s Weird, although in a similar vein, has the ability to take a normal life and turn it on its axis in the most frightening way. The book explores everything from supernatural entities to everyday objects taking on a life of their own.
Another reason why this collection is so special is its theme of the woman writer. Each story has a deeper meaning than just the plot, there are stories here that have taken our innermost anxieties and externalised them in order to produce the wonderful stories we have in front of us today.
Paul Nougé popped up via Pinterest, usually a treasure trove of images for those of us who miss it the first time around. As a fan of surrealism and in particular photography; he intrigued me.
Between 1929 and 1930 he took an ordinary and rather inexpensive camera and starting taking photographs. They are at first glance seemingly normal looking scenes depicting scenes of people but if you look closer, they aren’t quite as ordinary as you first thought. They evoke a feeling of a by-gone era, weird scenes akin to Victorian parlours that hosted supernatural goings-on. What is also rather extraordinary about these images is how well lit, composed and photographed they are, little is known about Nougé and from what I can gather, he hadn’t prior experience of photography.
In 1968, a small book of his images was edited and published by Marcel Marien in a limited edition of 230 copies, half a year after Paul Nougé’s death, it was called The Subversion of Images. This book is now due to be republished in November 2019 for those of you who want to keep a more permanent edition of his work. Paul Nougé was a leading light of Belgian surrealism and continues to inspire many aspiring photographers and artists that wish to dabble in the world of the surrealists.
Denis Forkas Kostromitin currently resides in Moscow, Russia. His work is exquisite and could sit quite comfortably next to the work of William Blake with a clear love for the romantic age whilst gently weaving in elements of the macabre, death, religion and folklore. It is a beautifully dark world that one can lose themselves in.
You can find more of his work here
Loren has been on our radar for a while now after reading issues of her fabulously dark magazine Morbid Curiosity. We wanted to ask her a few questions about how she came to lurk on the dark side of life (and death).
Where did your interest in the macabre come from?
I grew up on a farm outside of Flint, Michigan, so the combination of raising animals to eat and watching a big city die made me a bit morbid — plus my family’s farm is down the road from the graveyard where members of my family are buried.
What is your opinion of the western world’s outlook on death?
I am so immersed in studying cemeteries that I forget sometimes that “normal” people don’t arrange their vacations around the graveyards they want to visit. For instance, I went to Rouen in June pretty much just to see the Aitre Saint Maclou, which is the last surviving medieval ossuary square in Europe. The atrium began as a plague pit in the 14th century and served as a graveyard up until 1781. During that time, people were buried in a mass grave until the flesh came off their bones, then the skeletons were exhumed and stored in the cloister that surrounds the ground. There aren’t any bodies there now, but the surviving buildings are decorated with skulls, spades, coffins: all kinds of lovely things. It’s a beautiful, peaceful space, well worth going out of my way for. Best of all, the buildings around the atrium have housed a school of fine arts since the 1940s. For those students, memento mori are daily inspirations. I think you have to draw a distinction between western society in Europe, which keeps the dead around — especially in churches — for hundreds of years and American cities, many of which uprooted their pioneer graveyards when the dead got in the way of commerce. In America, death is what happens to poor unfortunates who don’t fight it hard enough. It’s never going to happen to those who eat right and exercise hard enough. Maybe, if we close our eyes, it will go away.
Reading through your magazine Morbid Curiosity, some people would think you were weird to put together such a compendium of morbid and macabre stories. What would you say to these people?
I think they’re weird. Morbid Curiosity collected personal essays about unsavoury, unwise, unorthodox, and unusual behaviour. It wasn’t enough that people had strange things happen to them, they also had to examine how those experiences changed their lives. Anyone who’d find that uninteresting isn’t interested in life.
What are your favourite things to do in your spare time?
I blog at CemeteryTravel.com now, writing about cemeteries as travel destinations. The research, travel, and photography take up a lot of my time. I have a daughter, so I do what I can to encourage her to be curious and brave. She wants to grow up to be a veternarian, so we study animals together. In my spare time, I think my favorite thing of all is to have a good, long conversation with someone. A real face-to-face conversation seems such a luxury these days. It practically has to be scheduled in advance.
What would your epitaph say?
It’s changed over the years. When I published Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries in 1994, I wanted my epitaph to say, “She tried always to do right — but sometimes the temptation was too much for her.” Then I went through a phase where I thought it should say, “My god, it’s full of stars.” At this point, it should probably read, “Traveler, stop and lend an eye. As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so shall you be. Prepare for death and follow me.” Sometimes the classics are the best.