A Guide to Ancient Maya Ruins

C. Bruce Hunter

Hunter has spent 30 years leading field study trips to Maya archaeological sites for the American Museum of Natural History, and this guide is intended for the traveler but is nevertheless scholarly. Updated since its original 1974 edition, it incorporates archaeological findings of the last 20 years and would enrich any collection of Central American guidebooks. Look elsewhere for maps, transportation tips and the proper way to say “Make that margarita strawberry” in Spanish. This is a thorough guide to the history, archaeology and architecture of the more accessible Maya ruins. SK

Publisher: University of Oklahoma
Paperback: 356 pages

The History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil

Paul Carus

First published in 1900, Carus’ book funnels all myths and religious imagery through time and space to get to the great black heart of the matter. “Evil personified appears at first sight repulsive. But the more we study the personality of the Devil, the more fascinating it becomes… The Devil is the rebel of the cosmos, the independent in the empire of a tyrant, the exception to the rule, the craving for originality; he overturns the monotony that would permeate the cosmic spheres if every atom in unconscious righteousness and with pious obedience slavishly followed a generally prescribed course.” SK

Publisher: Open Court
Paperback: 496 pages

Spellcraft, Hexcraft, and Witchcraft

Anna Riva

Anna Riva, the first name in modern witchcraft! Here the reader will find: a voodoo doll pattern; uses for grave dirt and coffin nails; an explanation of witches’ covens; an abbreviated list of gemstones and their magickal properties; and the best and most unusual feature, the “Secrets” A-Z list, which once and for all reveals the mysteries of damnation water, abracadabra, magic mirrors, how to get rid of warts, and a list of the tools to use when spell-casting. Useful! Hip! Fun! Easy! For the on-the-go witch of today! SK

Publisher: Indio
Paperback: 64 pages

The World of Ghosts and the Supernatural

Richard Cavendish

It’s by Richard Cavendish, editor of and contributor to the influential Man, Myth and Magic encyclopedia series (the leading candidate for theft at every junior high library), so it must be of a reputable nature. Equal coverage of spirituality and the supernatural makes the title inaccurate. Divided by continent, the highlights include: spectral time slips at Versailles and stones of mystery in Europe; Day of the Dead, Santería, and the Winchester Mystery House in North America; psychic surgery, the Nasca lines and the Antonio Villas Boas alien abduction (the first ever recorded) in South America; King Solomon’s mines, the ‘holy mountain’ and cults in Africa; shamanism in Siberia, sacred sex and spiritual ecstasy in Asia; cargo cults, ominous UFOs and South Sea spirits in the Pacific. Each continent is mapped (with each story pinpointed), and the entire volume is liberally sprinkled with illustrations and photographs. SK

Publisher: Facts on File
Hardback: 160 pages

Mavericks of the Mind: Conversations for the New Millennium

David Jay Brown and Rebecca McClen Novick

Where is reality heading? Here are verbatim interviews with 16 souls who have set the universe spinning in a more divine direction, and it's all about consciousness, baby, to a lesser or greater degree. David Jay Brown, an accomplished psychologist/psychopharmocology buff (and sci-fi novelist) and his cohort offer up some of the best gray matter of our century, naked, there for you to poke and prod and get inside of. The sparse editing reveals the true colors of the subjects: we find McKenna mercurial in wit, and Lilly as cracked as a flowerpot smashed against one of his famed isolation tanks. Brown and Novick have all the angles and in-the-know queries, but even their rare deficiencies are printed.
On the possibility of time travel: “McKenna: Apparently you can move information through time, as long as you don't move it through time faster than light.
Brown: Why is that?
M: I haven't the faintest idea. Who am I, Einstein?”
Recurring questions involve psychedelics, male/female relations, the conscious mind, human evolution, and extraterrestrial visitations. The subjects' pet topics include Terence McKenna on psilocybin mushrooms, the archaic revival vs. New Age, novelty theory; Eisler/Loye on the partnership model; Robert Trivers on reciprocal altruism; Nick Herbert on physics and consciousness, fringe science, time travel; Ralph Abraham on mathematical dynamics and chaos theory; R.A. Wilson on the Illuminati, information; Timothy Leary on death, computers; Rupert Sheldrake on formative causation, morphic fields, memory storage; Carolyn Mary Kleefeld on artistic expression, evolutionary processes; Colin Wilson on the occult, evolution; Oscar Janiger on psychiatry, LSD and creativity, DMT; John Lilly on God, talking dolphins, brain chemistry, war; Nina Graboi on psychedelics, politics of sexuality; Laura Huxley on nutrition, the mind/body connection; Allen Ginsberg on poetry, madness, New Age movement; Stephen LaBerge on lucid dreaming, sleep. SK

Publisher: Crossing
Paperback: 331 pages

Drag Gags

Ralph Judd

Ralph Judd loves to laugh. It says so right there on the book jacket, next to his slightly greasy and cabaret-ravaged face. And he loves to make other people laugh. So he decided to take vintage movie stills which feature men in dresses (the tremendous number of them is surprising) and slap goofy, soggy-breaded one liners on them. Cary Grant! Charlie Chaplin! Jackie Coogan! The two volumes of Drag Gags are intended for anyone who enjoys tabloid-style humor, although they will find most favor with homosexual men of the aged, theater-going variety. SK

Publisher: Judd
Paperback: 60 pages

Drag Gags Return

Ralph Judd

Like the first volume, this features 60 vintage movie stills of male actors in “humorous” feminine drag, gussied up with an amusing pun of Judd’s invention. Milton Berle, Jimmy Durante, Eddie Cantor, Sid Caesar! The practicing transvestite might be offended by this nonsense and complain that homosexuality is yet again being subverted into something erroneously comic. But how can you hate Judd, a fairy if ever there was one? SK

Publisher: Judd
Paperback: 60 pages

Queer Blood: The Secret AIDS Genocide Plot

Alan Cantwell Jr., M.D.

Within six months of the first outbreak in the late ‘70s, the condition that came to be known as AIDS/HIV had become an epidemic in New York, with mysterious, horrific deaths also being tallied in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In Queer Blood, Cantwell still believes it ain’t no monkey virus!
Cantwell gives solid evidence that the experimental gay-hepatitis vaccines in N.Y. and the ambitious smallpox vaccine program implemented by the World Health Organization in the ‘60s and ‘70s can be directly linked to AIDS; almost 100 million blacks were injected in Central Africa alone. Was a dormant virus awakened, or were some batches of the vaccine contaminated? What about the polio vaccines of the ‘60s, some of which were contaminated by a simian virus called SV 40? Why are there an AIDS hetero virus in Africa and a homo virus in the U.S.? The major media are controlled by big business; some conspiratologists believe that the media’s suppression of the AIDS biowarfare idea makes it even more credible. Government propaganda has eradicated any sympathy for homosexual AIDS victims; the Christian fundamentalist view that the disease is some kind of retribution for their evil ways boggles the mind when one learns that 75 percent of the world’s current AIDS cases are hetero. By 1993 300 people were dying each day from AIDS. Why aren’t people asking more questions? Cantwell asks, and why are alternative and holistic methods suppressed in favor of magic pills and vaccine research? SK

Publisher: Aries Rising
Paperback: 159 pages

Ancient Inventions

Peter James and Nick Thorpe

Historian and archaeologist team James and Thorpe have unearthed a mountain of bizarre and astonishing accounts of inventions and discoveries made by the ancient peoples of our planet. The material— “recorded and attested to in the scientific and archaeological literature, though often ignored by textbook histories”—does not cease to amaze, and accounts of seventh-century false teeth, sixth-century iceboxes, ancient Arabian diving equipment, steam engines from Greece and electric batteries in Iraq make one wonder just how incomplete our history textbooks are. This 620-page book is one of those wonderful gems that sticks out its tongue and wiggles its ears at conventional thinking. Wildly important information on the inventions and ingenuity of the ancients. SK

Publisher: Ballantine
Paperback: 620 pages

Atlas of the Mysterious in North America

Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Fifteen phantom ships and a bottle of rum! The author, who has put out many Facts on File encyclopedias, has waded through the deep waters of the unknown for many a year. She has done her homework and makes interesting speculations about the vast collection of mysterious places she’s gathered. Each of the eight sections begins with a map of the U.S., dotted with the locations of each site and an introductory article about the subject (in case you didn’t know that Bigfoot is nocturnal or what the nine classifications of sea monsters are).
The first section is dedicated to sites with ancient connections; detailed maps of states with an overabundance of a particular phenomena are highlighted, such as: power points (Ariz.), sacred mountains (Calif.), sacred lakes/springs (Oreg.), earthworks (Ohio, Flor.), burial mounds (Ohio), platform/temple mounds (Flor.), effigy mounds (Wis.), enclosed stoneworks (New England), medicine wheels (Colo.; Alb., Can.) and petroglyphs/pictographs (Calif., Ariz., Neb., Utah, New Mexico).
The maps illuminate some intriguing facts. The overwhelming majority of earthworks and burial mounds are found east of Mississippi. The high concentration of platform mounds in Florida makes one wonder if the Bimini Mounds (man-made structures underwater off the coast of Florida) were really part of some ancient sunken continent, as has been hypothesized. Also, almost all the water monsters are found right on the U.S./Canada border, contributing to the latitudinal monster belt which circles the globe (and includes Mokele-Mmembe, etc.).
Also includes state by state listings of the crème de la crème of hauntings, ghost lights, phantom ships, water monsters and mystery beasts. The only drawback with books this comprehensive is that each little blurb leaves one needing to do further research to obtain the full story. SK

Publisher: Facts on File
Hardback: 224 pages