PSA :: Shop Nearly Sold Out

We’re nearly sold out of everything in the shop.

Just a few bottles of the original Haute Macabre by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scent remain, and a handful of Tanks and Tote bags. We will not be reprinting those again, so once these are gone, they’re gone for good.

Perfume pre-sales will be open again towards the holiday season, with an estimated ship date of early December.

You guys are, as always, awesome.

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The Totally Disorganized Haute List

The Haute List

Pieces of Me Maxi + Lone Wolf Tee + Say You Love Me Maxi

Lovers Folk Song Dress + North Star Over the Knee Boot + Annabelle Dress

Wonder Woman Mock Neck + Embroidered Victorian Ruffle Top + For Love & Lemons Festival Dress

I completely forgot that Erin’s laptop was having a spa day at the Genius Bar and that she asked me to cover the Haute List for this week until about ten minutes ago. Since I totally fail at putting those together, here’s some of the things I’ve been eyeballing at Free People lately (their New Orleans location is dangerously close to where I work).

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Disco Witch Vintage

Disco Witch Vintage

New this week on Disco Witch Vintage.

This week’s favorite addition to the shop is definitely this edition of Practical Palmistry from the year 1920. I adore the way that old books feel and smell, and this one is no exception. Filled with detailed information on the study of Palmistry with diagrams and illustrations, it’s a beautiful tome. I’ve recently been on the hunt for early twentieth century occult and esoteric books, and have had a bit of luck, so expect more in the future.

Disco Witch Vintage

This tin came with a set of items that I acquired for my personal collection, and when I did some research on it, I was fascinated. First called Pennyroyal Pills, Chi-Ches-Ters had to change their labels because they did not actually contain pennyroyal in them. The pills were a “relief for ladies”, relieving menstrual problems such as pain and even skipping your period (hence the pennyroyal claims). The art inside the tin of the woman’s face hovering over a crescent moon is most likely a representation of the woman in her “moon time”. This relic dates back to the early 1900s.

Disco Witch Vintage

Hardcore heels for hardcore ladies. Betsey Johnson Morticia tapestry heels lined with little skulls, and incredible invisible wedges.

Disco Witch Vintage

Disco Witch Vintage

This Victorian Era lace collar is the perfect, and most unexpected, accessory.

Disco Witch Vintage

Happy little Kitchen Witch Salt and Pepper Shakers for your year-round Halloween.

Disco Witch Vintage

Vintage dresses. Always.

Disco Witch Vintage

Disco Witch Vintage

Disco Witch Vintage

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Freak Show

 

I am beyond excited about October 8.

Last season of American Horror Story was filmed in New Orleans, as is this one. The Coven House is just a few blocks away from my own, I saw the cast about town multiple times, and my husband was even in one scene – the bar where Cordelia’s face was burned is where he works, and he was in the scene as one of the bartenders (he even got a little tipsy with Jessica Lange in between takes!). Yesterday, I am 99% sure that I walked past the actress that played Pepper in Asylum. I even found a number of Spaulding’s dolls for my own collection.

Having a show I love so much literally right outside my door makes it so much more exciting for me, and I cannot wait to see the upcoming season!

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For the Gents: Rememberclick

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Interesting, fairly inexpensive men’s clothing  (men’s clothing? what’s that???) from South Korean label Rememberclick.

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Etsy Shop of the Week :: Witch City Wicks

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This week’s Etsy Shop of the Week is Witch City Wicks, a handcrafted artisan soy candle one woman operation based out of Salem, MA!

A lot of my inspiration comes from my own experience and style. I’ve never been a convention person with conventional tastes. Art, music, certain sub-cultures and especially living in Salem has put me on a path to where I am today. And I think my candle themes and packaging definitely reflect that. – Liz Frazier

I’m personally a huge fan of the candles from Witch City Wicks that I have at home. I’ve had Wolf Moon, a deep musk with hints of patchouli and geranium, burning almost non-stop since I unboxed it, and I keep opening the others to take deep whiffs of them even unlit.

The Halloween collection is now available for a limited time, and while you’re there, do yourself a favor and get one of the limited Black Lodge Twin Peaks tribute candles, as well!

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Summer Reading: The Devil’s Bible

 

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OK, so it kind of looks like a kick-ass Medieval version of Where The Wild Things Are. But it isn’t. This is The Devils’ Bible, or The Codex Gigas. This 13th century manuscript is the life’s work of a Benedictine monk named Herman the Recluse, who was pretty undeniably a bit touched in the head. With a name like Herman the Recluse, that’s hardly a surprise. The work contains most of the Bible, but interspersed with other things- medical texts, works by other authors, local historical records- oh, and following this depiction of the devil, magical formulas. The book has all kinds of a bizarre past- you can learn about it in this National Geographic Special- but here is the great part.  Because the book now resides in the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm, it has been scanned and photographed in its entirety and is available to flip through yourself at the World Digital Library.

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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes :: An Interview With Caitlin Doughty of Ask a Mortician

Please welcome guest blogger Bess Lovejoy!

Bess Lovejoy writes about death, obscure history, and other topics. She is the author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses, which Amazon named one of the best books of 2013. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Smithsonian, Lapham’s Quarterly, Slate, and elsewhere. She is a member of The Order of the Good Death, and a founding member of Death Salon. She lives in Brooklyn, where she can usually be found at a library or a cemetery.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes :: An Interview With Caitlin Doughty of Ask a Mortician

You might know Caitlin Doughty from her laugh-out-loud funny YouTube series, Ask a Mortician, which blends essential death-related information with 80s-tastic special effects and the occasional home experiment (my favorite involving an attempt to bake faux-cremains into a chocolate cake). Her memoir, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, comes out this September, and combines an insider’s view of America’s culture of death denial with a personal account of working in the funeral industry. With her trademark humor and honesty, Caitlin reveals exactly what’s wrong with America’s attitude to death and provides a fascinating corrective.

As a friend of hers, and a member of her Order of the Good Death, I was looking forward to asking Caitlin some questions about the book. And I managed to get through the entire interview without asking her about eerily perfect bangs.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes :: An Interview With Caitlin Doughty of Ask a Mortician

What made you want to write the book?

From my understanding, real, honest-to-God writers feel a compulsion to write. I never felt that compulsion until I started to work at the crematory almost seven years ago. All of a sudden I desperately wanted to share what I was seeing and experiencing, [and] openly discuss our toxic relationship with death. I still wouldn’t classify myself as a writer, but I couldn’t not write the book.

What was the hardest part about the process? Favorite part?

The hardest part was that writing is hard! Do I want to face this difficult part of my life and translate it into 5 readable paragraphs, or do I want to watch this baby goat video on Facebook? The answer, emphatically, is baby goat. But my favorite part was when I actually managed to face the difficult stuff and write. Writing always seems more fun when you’ve actually completed the task.

This is definitely a book with a message. But it’s also a memoir. Did you find those two aspects coming into conflict at all as your wrote, or did they work in synchronicity?

I learned very early on in my death advocacy that it was easier for people to handle the message if it was coming directly from a real person. Especially if the person was using humor and stories to lighten the mood. Death can be incredibly somber, and people tend to shut down if you don’t give them an easier in. The memoir aspect of the book is trying to be that in.

Bonus Question! What did you wish someone had told you about writing a book before you started?

If you aren’t 100% passionate about your subject and your story, you will never finish. I was 150% passionate and there were still many days I wanted to give up.
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes :: An Interview With Caitlin Doughty of Ask a Mortician

And in terms of the book’s message, two connected questions: What do you think are some of the biggest barrier to America becoming more death-positive?

Our dead bodies and death rituals are still largely controlled by the funeral industry. The industry has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Most people have no idea how much control they are actually allowed to have when a family member dies. We just assume that we have to do exactly what the funeral home tells us because that’s the way it has been for so long.

What are some of the biggest changes American society could make to help people be in touch with their own mortality?

Intellectual exercises can be very helpful. But the real change comes around actual death. Being with the dead body, seeing that it’s not dangerous, using it to mourn deeply and realize that you yourself will someday die. As long as we’re handing off death to a business, we’re never going to be able to regain the intimate relationship we once had.

On an individual level, what do you think are some concrete steps people can take to get in touch with their own mortality? And what are some ways to address the fear that brings up for many people?

Treat your relationship with mortality as just that, a relationship. A relationship that is always evolving and requires work to stay healthy. If you think about it, Death is the thing that is always with you. You can prepress the thoughts, but they are still there. you can watch films, read books, visit, deathstinations, talk to your friends and family about what you want done with your body when you die, write a will, visualize your funeral. If those activities bring up fears and emotions–good! Facing those difficult things makes us better, more self-aware people.

Relatedly, how do YOU cope with dealing with such a difficult subject all the time? I know it’s not always easy.

There are many death workers who medicate in not-so-healthy ways. Knowing that, I take self-care very seriously. I read everything I can get my hands on, I write, I exercise, I have an excellent therapist, excellent friends.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes :: An Interview With Caitlin Doughty of Ask a Mortician

Questions from Twitter!

As early adopters of goth culture start feeling the years a little bit, have they impacted the way America does death?

I’m not sure this has had a country-wide effect, simply because the numbers aren’t there. At the moment it’s the baby boomers (a massive group) who are driving the change in our deathways. But the changes the under-50 set are making now, the ideas we’re developing, I believe will have a big impact on how we think about death in the future when we are making decisions for what we want done with our own bodies.

Are upcoming generations less likely to choose embalming? Or is it more regional than generational?

It’s already happening. Embalmer was recently listed as one of the fastest-disappearing middle-class careers. People are choosing cremation, where embalming is harder to sell, and more of us are realizing that the process is not required. It will take longer to disappear in certain regions, like the deep South, where cremation is “of the Devil”.

And finally, if you weren’t a mortician, what would you be?

I’ve been doing death work for so long, and been totally wrapped up in it for so long, that I couldn’t imagine a world where I’m not. All alternative answers are bonkers, like astronaut or ballerina or pterodactyl.

Pre-order Smoke Gets in Your Eyes on Amazon or from any of these retailers!

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