Archive for the 70s Category

The New Pagans by Frederick Adams

Posted in 70s, Book, SFW on 9 September 2010 by redwitch1

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have returned. There is still a fair bit of stuff in boxes, and the internet connection is cobbled together with cables running the length of the house, but it is time for me to return to my task of exploring—and exposing—the endless variety of truly-awesome witchy art.

And I so I present you this gem: Hans Holzer, The New Pagans (New York: Doubleday, 1972); the artwork is by Frederick Adams.

This is one of the many books that I packed (and unpacked) and—while doing so—thought: “Now that has got to go on my blog!” It has everything going for it: the artwork, the date (1972. What a year), and the author. And it is about wicca and witches. (The first sixty pages are “The Heirs of Wicca”.)

Hans Holzer was a legend. Wikipedia claims that he “wrote well over 100 books on supernatural and occult subjects”. Of these there are five every self-respecting witch should have The Truth about Witchcraft (New York: Doubleday, 1969); The New Pagans (New York: Doubleday, 1972); The Witchcraft Report (New York: Ace, 1973); Confessions of a Witch, as Told By Heather (London: Star Book, 1976) and Witches (New York: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 2002).

In terms of the best cover-art, it would be a near thing choosing between Confessions of a Witch and The New Pagans. You will get to see both, but I am saving Confessions of a Witch for another day.

Blood Sabbath, 1972

Posted in 70s, Movies, NSFW on 7 March 2009 by redwitch1
[Alotta and Goat]

Blood Sabbath (1972) is a sweet love story, in which an ex Vietnam-vet falls in love with a Water-Nymph, loses his soul, drinks blood (at the eponymous “Blood Sabbath”), beheads the local priest, and is run down by Combie Van, but gets the girl before the credits roll.

I am reviewing this film here because Alotta, Queen of Witches, is the Water-Nymph’s rival for the affections of the Vietnam-vet, David. And Alotta and her coven of (usually naked) witches are, emphatically, sexy. But to continue with the back-story: Alotta ensures the success of the crops of the local population. In return they hand over a girl every year; the coven sacrifice the girl’s soul, and she joins the coven. The local “Padre” is in on the arrangement, taking his kick-back in (literally “soul-less”) sexual favours from the witches.

The film starts with David strolling along in the country side with a guitar on his shoulder. Relaxing folk music is playing, a Combie Van passes by, covered in rainbows, astrological symbols; a hippie chick leans out and looks like she is about to hand him a beer, but instead she sprays the beer all over him, and then tears open her blouse and given him a show as the van drives off. Bad hippies!

[David having a bad day]

Later that night, when David is trying to sleep by his camp-fire, the denizens of the Combie are having an orgy. Four naked women decide to pay him a visit and David—the pride of the US Army—runs for his life, eventually falling over in the dark and knocking himself out.

[David’s day gets worse]

He is revived by the Water Nymph, Yyalah, but the next morning it is all a little unclear to him. He is taken in and fed by a strange bearded man, Lonzo, but David is smitten: he searches for Yyalah, finds her, they look adoringly into each others eyes, walk around hand-in-hand, kiss etc, until Yyalah informs him that he should go away because she has no soul and he must be the same for them to be together.

[Yyalah, the Water Nymph (on land)]

David does the only sensible thing: asks the local priest how to get rid of his pesky soul. “The Padre” says no, in fact he gets very angry, and yells and gesticulates a lot. He then goes and visits Alotta, who plies him with booze and naked acolytes, but he is still angry and he tells Alotta he has had enough, and all this soul-sacrificing has to stop. As soon as the Padre leave, Alotta makes a Padre pin-cushion (Voodoo-style).

[The Padre won’t help David]
[Alotta’s coven want to help The Padre]

David, meanwhile, still wants rid of his soul, so he asks Lonzo if he can take the place of the latest “sacrifice”; he agrees, David seeks out Alotta to take his soul. As it happens, Alotta has had her eye on David for a while, and already cast a spell to draw him to her, so she she agrees—on the condition he returns to her if the Water Nymph tires of him—then calls up her coven, who dance his soul away. David is ecstatic.

[David offers to take the place of the child]
[Alotta’s coven in robes (note hexagram and Aries symbol)]
[Dancing away David’s soul]

We then have a montage of happy David and Yyalah, followed by the “Blood Sabbath” at which a woman is sacrificed; David drinks the blood of the sacrifice, and returns to Yyalah with blood all over his face. Yyalah runs away, Alotta comes to David and does the sexiest 70s hippy dance you have ever seen, using a glamour to look like Yyalah; then she sends him off to behead the Padre.

[Blood- and lust-crazed David wakes Yyalah]
[Alotta dancing (not a pun, honestly)]
[Alotta using an astonishingly effective Yyalah-glamour]

Yyalah prepares a potion that breaks Alotta’s spell over David, so Alotta tries to kill him (using her stooge, Lonzo). David kill’s Lonzo, then Alotta, who curses him. The curse takes the form of a possesed Combie—a relative of Christine?—that runs him down. Fortunately, and inexplicably, David either survives or is revived by Yyalah’s magic, and they swim off into the sunset.

[David cursed by the dying Alotta]
[David chased by possessed Combie]
[David and Yyalah swim into a foggy sunset]

Okay, so now you have the whole story, such as it is. Almost everyone dies (David, Alotta, Lonzo, The Padre) or loses their soul (David and Alotta’s coven, Yyalah doesn’t have one to begin with, and The Padre and all the local townsfolk are probably damned too), but the witches are sexy, so it is all good. In one scene we see seven witches plus Alotta but there must be more somewhere; eleven are credited on Imdb. (And assuming the ones we see are eighteen or older, but were about ten when they arrived, then there must be eight under-18s in training). So Alotta is sexy and successful!

Apparently this film was made in ten days during an actor’s strike by “a bunch of pick up people who did it for fun on less than a shoestring … It was an interesting experiment for everybody” according to skipretty, now aged 73, who was involved in making the film. Most of the undifferentiated witches appear on Imdb for this film only (Susan Landis, Samra Harvey, Mary Lind, Felice Darvey, Ramona Timberlake and Francesca Pelli), and those that appear more than once seem to have specialised in soft-porn T&A such as Terror at Orgy Castle (1971) and The Adult Version of Jekyll & Hide (1972) (Jane Louise) or Sexcapade in Mexico (1973) (Lynn Harris, Kathy Hilton and Terri Johnson).

There are a few reviews of this film online (here, here and here) and Imdb has quite a few contributions on it. The interest in the film seems to be largely because Anthony Geary, the nobody who played David, went to make a name in General Hospital (1978–2009). Personally, I am more impressed by the astonishing Dyanne Thorne, who played Alotta, Queen of Witches. Thorne is legendary today for Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975), Ilsa, the Wicked Warden (1977) [a
Jesus Franco film] etc. Blessed with an extraordinary figure (37C-17-33 at age 15, 37D-22-35 at age 40), she also has a fine brain: she has Ph.D. in Comparative religion, is an ordained minister and, according to Wikipedia, conducts scenic outdoor weddings as an alternative to a traditional wedding chapel.

There is no satisfactory DVD of this film. I got my copy from VideoScreams (item L460 here), but it also available from Dvd Source. I suspect both are re-issues of the 2002 Pegasus release (no longer available). Original VHS tapes of the film in good condition are collector’s items and priced accordingly. So, hunt down a copy: not only was 1972, without doubt, the best year for films, but you be a long time looking for a sexier group of witches than the ones above!

UPDATE: 17 March 09: I have corrected the “covenstead” references in the above. Chas S. Clifton (see feedback), who certainly knows better about these things than I do, assures me that this word is used only for a place, not a group of people. I actually thought it could be used for both, but I am happy to defer to Chas.

How to Become a Sensuous Witch, 1971

Posted in 70s, Book, Photograph, Real Witch, SFW on 12 September 2008 by redwitch1

“Two of New York’s most successful witches”, Abragail and Valaria, “reveal their occult (and culinary) secrets for a livelier love life!” in How to Become a Sensuous Witch: Spells, Rituals, and Recipes for a Livelier Love Life (New York: Paperback Library, [November] 1971). The shout on the rear cover continues:

Finding a new love, or getting rid of an old one, is simple when you use magic. Keeping the right man is eisier too.

How to be a Sensuous Witch is a combination of time-tested rituals and up to the minute recipes guaranteed to satisfy you and your love.

There are spells to attract both men and money (poverty is counter-sensuous), to arouse passion, to assure fidelity, or (if you get bored) to separate your lover from you. The recipes range from elegant dinners to restorative breakfasts—and there is a whole chapter on festive Sabbats for your whole Coven!

[NB: this witch is a model (in a very silly pose). See below for Abragail and Valaria.]

This books has an Introduction by no less a man that Dr. Raymond Buckland, eponymous director of the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Long Island, New York. Unfortunately, it says absolutely nothing about the identity, or reason for the fame, of “two of New York’s most successful witches” (and note, “two of”: this could mean two of the two thousand most successful witches).

Abragail’s Preface is a little more informative. It tells us that “Valaria is a practicing witch. She does not belong to a coven, as she prefers to practice alone and on her own … Val has always had an interest in the occult sciences and was psychic as a child” (15). Val has a great “grandmother story” (every witch had one in the 60s and 70s): ten years ago she found an old letter, in an old truck, addressed to her from her long dead grandmother (a witch from Bohemia) directing her to “certain [hidden] books of magic” (16) which she duly finds and which now direct her occult studies.

Abragail is a sorceress “who has become adept in the arts of seduction and love through the study of herbology and the making of philtres and potions”. Abragail & Val are introduced by their astrologer, formed a company “The Witches Cauldron, a metaphysical supply company” and “Bob’s your Uncle”, or Agent, or something (i.e. and so the book is made).

The spells are pretty much what you’d expect. A few have been reused by more recent writers (Robin Skelton uses the “Sensuous Witch Spell” (19) in Spellcraft: A Manual of Verbal Magic (1978) and Migene González-Wippler uses “Divorce Insurance Spell”, “Black Candle Separation Spell” and “Separation Powder” (100) in The Complete Book of Spells, Ceremonies and Magic (1988)) but the names are the best bit; lots of alliteration, but also a lot of fun:

Salem Sausage (26), Scallops Satan (28), White Goddess Dressing (37), Moon Mushrooms (40), Apples Aradia (52), Banana Bacchus (60), Pan Pudding (61), Beltane Biscuits (80), Carrots Cernunos (82), Sex Soup (106) etc

(All of which is a lot like Lionel Harris Braun and William Adams’ Fanny Hill’s Cook Book (London: Odyssey Press, 1970), with magnificent illustrations—see here—by Brian Forbes.)

W*I*T*C*H: We Intend To Create Havoc, 1971

Posted in 70s, Book, Photograph, SFW on 5 September 2008 by redwitch1

W*I*T*C*H: We Intend To Create Havoc (London: New English Library, 1971) is by “Jane Harman” aka Terry Harknett, who used his wife’s maiden name for this 126-page exploitation novel.

The rear cover copy reads:

The nine principles of the WITCH creed:
1. We intend to gain equality.
2. We intend to shed our chains.
3. We intend to fight for right.
4. We intend to unite women in a common cause.
5. We intend to lose our man-created image.
6. We intend to change the law.
7. We intend to reveal our power.
8. We intend to win.

Hordes of bare-breasted, shaven-headed girls on motorcycles roar into Southend—Bank Holiday style!

Cities everywhere are saturated with stripclubs for girls—where titillating males peel off their drag!

Havoc—pure havoc. Created by leather-clad, hate-filled, WITCHES.

There seems to be a certain tension between principles 5 and 7 (or even 9) in the writing of this book (to say nothing of the cover-art!). The opening paragraphs, for instance, read:

Susan wasn’t wearing a bra. As she took off her coat and swayed across the room Gerald could see that her breasts were unfettered by anything except the white wool of the sweater. A thin covering that adhered to every line of her upper body, clinging to the gentle swell [three more lines on breasts] …. Of course, she wore trousers [five lines describing hips etc] …. Susan had hinted, but Gerald had never taken any steps to find out, that on some days she wore no panties.

(Actually, the first five words are a paragraph to themselves because the author wants you to know that THE BARE-BREASTS START RIGHT HERE!)

Anyway, it is possible that Susan is revealing her power (principle 7) by not wearing a bra, or even creating havoc (principle 9), since the magnetic appeal of Susan’s breasts is truly astonishing: at the end of three paragraphs the narrator still hasn’t drawn his eyes from Susan’s chest (perhaps she needs one of those tshirts that read “My Face Is Up Here”). But if Susan knows this and is revealing her power and creating havoc I do not think she has lost her “man-created image” in the process. But to continue …

Harknett was among “the first and most successful” of “the small group of writers whose noses were [kept] firmly to the grindstone at New English Library’s genre workhouse” according to Steve Holland (see The Man Who Was George G. Gilman, first printed in PBO no. 8 (Winter 1997/98)). Holland goes on to explain:

The novel was actually a fill-in: “They had commissioned the book, that was to be called WAM (Women Against Men) and the guy who wrote it thought that it was so good he deserved more money for it; NEL said No, we’re not going to give you more money, and promptly got on to me and said can you do us with a quick story and I think they came up with the title W*I*T*C*H and took it from there. I couldn’t swear to it but I think Sphere published WAM.”

It is worth mentioning that Peter Haining, the master of all things witchy and occultish, was a senior editor at NEL in the early 70s, and that he “singled Terry out as, historically, one of the instigators of the paperbook boom”: perhaps it was Haining who suggested the title.

As many of you will know, there were real feminist groups called “W.I.T.C.H” active in the late 60s, the most famous being the Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (more info and photos here). The group (and its manifesto) in Harknett’s book has more than a passing resemblance to the real “W*I*T*C*H” groups, suggesting, what we already know, that this is an exploitation novel. I wonder what the feminists (and witches) of the time thought of this book?

As Glenn (the Administrator on the “GGG and the Piccadilly Cowboys” forum) mused in 2004:

Is it a work of subversive underground literature, pulpily reflecting the rising feminist movement and prophesying the coming of Girl Power, Riot Grrrls, and Third Wave Feminism …? Well, probably not. Sure, the story features an anarchic group of women, seeking sexual as well as political power (not a dungaree in sight—the WITCH uniform is tight t-shirts and leather trousers…) However, the resolution of the story involves the WITCHes being overthrown—not by the police, who come across as nasty pieces of work, but by an alliance of ‘proper’ women:

“It started with a few lady committee members on a back lawn,” he said … ”I knew men would never stop Ophelia … I told Susan about it and she telephoned every decent, law-abiding woman she knew. They called others and it kind of snowballed.” [122]

So society is saved! Some of the characters literally walk off to get married, after the memorable lines:

“What about some lunch?” Daphne said.
“Shush Daphne,” Susan warned. “That’s all behind us. The gentlemen are supposed to ask the ladies.” [126]

The Coven, 1971

Posted in 70s, Book, SFW on 23 August 2008 by redwitch1

Rebecca is my new hero. Not only is she a “mysteriously archetypal enchanted storybook witch-princess” (which, of course, we all want to be), but she has sent me the link to a the The University of Queensland’s Carter Brown Book Covers page.

Once the UQ page loads you will see 496 (!!) different Carter Brown book covers, each of which can be examined in considerable detail. Click on a thumbnail and you get a 500 pixel wide image, click again and you get a magnifying glass tool that allows you to get even more detail, but only of part of the picture.

Once I looked at this site I wondered whether there was any point continuing with my Carter Brown posts, but four things occurred to me. First, I collect the witchy Carter Brown books, no matter how hard they are to identify (see my last post for details), and so my posts are about my collection rather than just providing images of Carter Brown covers, cool as they are. Second, the large images I provide—which are linked to the smaller images below—are 1000 pixels wide, twice the size of the largest you can download on the UQ site. (And the detail pictures are even larger). Third, I also provide information on the relationship between the titles, not just images. And fourth, I do acually have a few covers not on the UQ site. (Ner ne’ner ne’ner ne’ner).

On the third point, Toni Johnson-Woods (the expert on all things Carter Brown-ish) has asked me about my sources for the overseas titles. I am sure she will be dissapointed to hear that it is a combination of Austlit, Graeme Flanagan’s Australian Vintage Paperback Guide (1994) and lots of little bits picked up off second-hand booksellers and eBay folks over the years.

But now to The Coven. The UQ site has two covers: below are three (once again with the gloating and the Ner ne’ner ne’ner ne’ner!). The first US edition (New York: New American Library, April 1971), the first Australian edition (Sydney: Horwitz, November 1971), and an American reprint (New American Library, October 1978). The blurb on the back reads


The nude girl in the photograph was beautiful, young, and rich—and a witch. And RICK HOLMAN had to find her. It looked easy—until a beautiful corpse washed in with the tide and her throat slashed.

And until he met the Coven!

They were six young psychos who liked their sex mixed with dope and the Devil. But one was a rapist with a kinky taste for ritual murder!

The shout on the first page is even “better”:


Her body, bathed in the soft light from the bedside lamp, was breathtakingly beautiful. My eyes absorbed every detail with a kind of stunned disbelief and I opened my mouth to say something, but all I got was a croaking sound from deep inside my throat. She sat down on the edge of the bed and wrapped her arms tight around herself, giving support to the deep swell of magnificent breasts that were in no need of support.

“I’ll go down onto my knees and beg,” she said in a tremulous voice. “If you insist …”

Apparently, in 1971 the “magnificent breasts” of the vulnerable witch could only be included on the cover of the New York edition if the they were not really real. In Australia, we got a photograph. I am not sure who got the better deal: the painting used on the New York edition is pretty damn cool (and for more on paintings vs photographs on paperback cover art see here and here). By 1976 the American public was able to cope with draped breasts.

The 1970s

Posted in 70s, index on 2 August 2008 by redwitch1

The following links are to all of my posts of sexy witches of the seventies.

  • Initiation of Janet Owen, 1970
  • Studying Witchcraft in 1970
  • The Coven, 1971
  • How to Become a Sensuous Witch, 1971
  • W*I*T*C*H: We Intend To Create Havoc, 1971
  • Blood Sabbath, 1972
  • Babetta, 1974
  • Carter Brown’s Sexy Witches
  • Sexy Witches on Tandem Books
  • Initiation of Janet Owen, 1970

    Posted in 70s, NSFW, Photograph, Real Witch on 15 September 2007 by redwitch1

    When I last did a post on Janet Owen (Janet Farrar) I promised that my next post would be made up of later images. After looking at my post again, I changed my mind. There was too much left out of my first post.

    According to his own account, Stewart Farrar met Alex and Maxine Sanders on Saturday 20 December 1969 at the release of Legend of the Witches. On Saturday 21 February 1970 he was initiated into the Sanders’ coven. Four months later it was reported in Rolling Stone (25 June 1970, p.18) that the Sanders’ had

    recently completed an album. Done in one take, 50 consecutive minutes, it is an actual initiation ceremony as performed by Alex and Maxine and five others. There is a spoken narrative to describe the physical trappings and occurrences.

    The same issue of Rolling Stone contains the following advertisement for A Witch is Born:

    The participants are named on the album cover as Alex Sanders (High Priest); Maxine Sanders (High Priestess); Janet Owen (Initiate); Stewart Farrar (Narrator, and author of the Liner Notes); Charles Mitchell, Elaine Ferguson, Nicola Kozak, Rollo Maughfling (Coven members) (this information is also online on Discogs).

    A Witch is Born has three tracks 1 “Initiation” (24:42); 2 “The Legend Of The Goddess” (5:19); 3 “The Great Rite” (9:01): representing a first, second and third degree initiation (as Stewart states on the liner notes). At 24.30 of Track 1 Alex says to Janet “I now salute thee … newly made priestess and witch”; at 8.40 of Track 3 Alex says to Janet “I bring before you, Janet, duly consecrated, a priestess of the Goddess.” That is, Janet has been given a first, second and third degree initiation in an “actual” (i.e. genuine) initiation ceremony. (An mp3 audio file of Janet making her vows has been posted here, where you can listen to the short clip, or download the audio file).

    However, Janet tells us that she was initiated to the Second Degree on 17 October 1970 by Alex and Maxine “in an unoccupied house in Sydenham” (from coven records and documented history) and to the Third Degree on the 24 April 1971 in the Sanders’ Notting Hill flat.

    Also, confusingly, it seems that Janet acted as Maiden at Stewart’s initiation, suggesting that her first degree initiation occurred before Stewart’s on 21 February 1970. In What Witches Do (1971) Stewart describes the Maiden [p.25] as “a shapely girl, almost as tall as [the author]; a Highland Scot, having that unique femininity which goes with soft accents, hard landscapes, and the title ‘lass.’ In fact, everything which would normally stimulate him.” This last bit being a reminder that the pair were naked, and in an embrace. Janet, is one of only two women that were in the Sanders’ coven at the time [pp.72-73], though she is not Scottish (she is of “mixed English, Irish and Welsh descent” according to Wikipedia.)

    So, while it is not clear whether the pictures below are of the “actual initiation” of Janet; Janet was undoubtedly initiated — eventually — and photos were taken by Stewart of the event recorded on A Witch is Born. The LP was issued by A&M Records [AMLS 984], London, the day after Janet turned 20 and this album was reissued in 1994 by Grey Matter as a CD [GM06CD]. Photos also appear in Stewart’s What Witches Do (1971), Douglas Hill’s Witchcraft, Magic and the Supernatural: The Weird World of the Unknown (1974), and Nevil Drury’s Magic and Witchcraft: From Shamanism to Technopagans (2003).

    Altar ready for initiation
    Alex and Maxine prepare cords for binding Janet
    Alex and Maxine. The invocation of the Goddess
    Invoking the Lords of the Watchtowers
    The Challenge
    Binding the initiate
    Taking the measure
    The ritual scourging
    Janet receiving her ritual tools
    Enacting the Legend of the Goddess

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