The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm.

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A postcard from the 1800s shows the seven dwarfs finding Snow White asleep in their bedroom. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The Original Folk & Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
by Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, Jack Zipes and Andrea Dezso
It’s well-known that our favorite fairy tales started out darker than the ones Disney animators brought to life. But you might be surprised by how much darker the originals were.
For the first time, a new translation of the Brothers Grimm’s tales reveals exactly how unsanitized and murderous the bedtime stories really were.
Jack Zipes, author of The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, is the only person who has ever translated the first edition of their tales into English.
“Some of them are extremely dark and harrowing,” Zipes tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “Many are somewhat erotic and deal with incest. Most of them are not what we call fairy tales; they tend to be animal tales or warning tales.”
Take, for example, Snow White. In the modern version of the tale, the Evil Queen is Snow White’s stepmother.

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But in the first edition, Snow White is only 7 years old, and it’s her biological mother who wants to murder her for her beauty.
The stories are hardly appropriate for children by today’s standards, and at the outset, they weren’t intended to be.
The Grimms “collected these tales to show what life was like,” says Zipes. “And they wanted to reveal what they considered the divine truths of the tales.”
And the tales endure. Zipes says that’s because they resonate in every era. “I think they speak to the human condition. …
They also provide hope. For the most part, there is social justice in these tales and … we need that. We need the hope that these tales provide.”
Read on via Today’s Fairy Tales Started Out (Even More) Dark And Harrowing : NPR.

“American Grotesque” The Life of William Mortensen.

slide_374356_4366144_freeThe book, published by Feral House, explores an art historical hero not well known to the masses.
So here’s a primer: Mortensen began as a Hollywood artist; a contemporary of Cecil B. DeMille who worked in everything from set decoration to costumery.
He was a photographer too, and as the jack-of-all-trades grew more popular in the film industry, he was able to photograph the likes of Jean Harlow and Peter Lorre, the resulting images ending up in glamorous magazines and bestselling books.
Except Mortensen was no typical portrait artist.
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Influenced by the burgeoning genre of horror film growing inside studios like Universal in the 1920s and ’30s, he produced portraits that were more nightmare than reality.
Manipulating his images with printmaking techniques and rather primitive collage-like practices, his artworks looked like paintings rather than photographs.
Given the subject matter — monster primates, transfixing nudes and anything occult — it was just easier to assume the former.
His non-celebrity imagery had no limits, as he obsessed over torture, death and unbridled sexuality.
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“In Mortensen’s mind, the grotesque had essential value for ‘the escape it provides from cramping realism,’” Moynihan writes in the first few pages of American Grotesque.
Split into five parts, the book outlines not only the biography of one of American art’s most complex and mystifying characters, but also the evolution and perception of Mortensen’s “ends-justify-the-means” way of photographing people and places.
(“He was willing to use any and all techniques of photographic manipulation to obtain the picture he desired.”)
via William Mortensen’s 20th Century Photos Are Some Of The Most Beautifully Terrifying Images Ever Made.

London’s Cannibal Club and The Hounds of Hell.

From the intellectual ferment of the Anthropological Society’s inaugural year grew an even more exclusive and overtly seditious conclave of high-society rebels: a gentlemen’s dining group called the Cannibal Club.
Sir Richard Burton, who possessed a Byronic love for shocking people, was to be the mastermind behind the new hush-hush fraternity.
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Sir Richard Burton, Scoundrel, Spy, Sexual Deviant and one of the Hounds of Hell of the Cannibal Club.
An experienced geographer and explorer, a writer and translator who spoke 29 languages, a decorated captain in the army of the East India Company and renowned cartographer, Richard Francis Burton was also considered by some to be a rogue, a murderer, an impostor and betrayer, a sexual deviant, and a heroic boozer and brawler.
He was six feet tall with a barrel chest and an imposing scar on his left cheek.
He was famous for infiltrating Mecca in 1853, disguised as an Arab merchant and for translating the raw, unexpurgated texts of erotic Eastern literature such as the Kama Sutra and the Arabian Nights.
He was presented to the Queen and he dined with the Prime Minister.
When asked by a young vicar if he’d ever killed a man, Burton replied cooly, “Sir, I’m proud to say that I have committed every sin in the Decalogue.”
Burton was one of Hell’s original hounds and the Cannibal Club was his sanctuary.
Read on via The Cannibal Club: Racism and Rabble-Rousing in Victorian England | History | Smithsonian.

Gerald Gardner, The Father of Modern Witchcraft 1884-1964.

75445832_754458311by Roz Tappenden BBC South.
Gerald Brosseau Gardner worked to ensure the survival of Wiccan culture, gaining worldwide attention.
A blue plaque is being unveiled in Dorset at the former home of Gerald Brosseau Gardner. He is regarded by many as the “father of modern witchcraft”, but who was he and what was his legacy?
Southridge, a comfortable 1920s house in Highcliffe, was bought by Gardner and his wife, Dorothea, in 1938 when they moved from London.
Until then Gardner’s life had been unremarkable for someone of his wealthy background in the colonial era.
_75426201_75424357Gardner said he was initiated into the New Forest Coven in Mill House, not far from his home in Highcliffe
Born in 1884, he had been sent to the warmer climes of Madeira as a child in a bid to alleviate his asthma.
Consequently he received little education and later claimed he had taught himself to read.
Gardnerian Wiccans are organised in covens, usually with 13 or fewer members. Membership is gained through initiation by a High Priestess or High Priest. There are no central authorities.
There are eight festivals – two solstices and equinoxes, Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain (also known as All Hallow’s Eve)
As a young man, he spent time working in Ceylon, Borneo and Malaya before returning to London in 1936.
After arriving in Highcliffe, shortly before the outbreak of war, he became acquainted with a group claiming to be witches and was initiated into the New Forest Coven at nearby Mill House.
It proved to be a turning point for Gardner who, from that time, devoted himself to promoting his new-found religion.
Biographer and Wiccan initiate Philip Heselton said: “He wasn’t a religious pioneer.
What he did was to publicise it and write about it and he gradually became known through that and people made contact.
“He initiated quite a lot of people into the Wiccan culture. He felt it was important that it survived.”
Read more of this article via BBC News – Gerald Gardner: Legacy of the ‘father of witchcraft’.

Saint Olga, Mass Murderer of Kiev.

dscn08521When Princess Olga’s husband, Igor, was murdered by the Drevlyans (an Eastern Slavic tribe), she took over the rule of Kiev and the surrounding provinces.
The Drevlyans didn’t quite fancy having a female ruler, so they sent Olga a bunch of suitors to win her hand. She had slightly different ideas.
The suitors were carried by boat to the courtyard of her castle, and then dumped into a giant hole where they were buried alive.
That’s one way to say ‘nope, not marrying you’, thats for sure! Olga still felt like she had to keep up appearances with the Drevlyans, so she organised a little tete-a-tete.
Once all her Drevlyan guests had arrived, the doors to the venue were barred, and the building burnt to a crisp.
But, Olga didn’t want to appear crass. She held a memorial for the victims of the fire.
But lo and behold, once the Drevlyan guests had arrived, Olga ordered her royal guard to kill all 5,000 of them.
The Drevlyans had started to see the error of their ways, and asked Olga for forgiveness.
Being a compassionate woman, Olga asked the Drevlyans to send her three pigeons and three sparrows from each home in their capital city, as a peace offering.
Once the birds arrived, Olga had hot coals tied to their legs and sent the birds back home. Safe to say, the city burnt to the ground and any survivors were enslaved or murdered by Olga’s army.
And after all that murder…
Olga is still recognised as a Saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
via Historical Honey

The Bodysnatchers of Axley 1830.

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In 1830, William Patrick and William Whayley, labourers of Farcet were charged with bodysnatching from Yaxley churchyard.
Together they stole the recently interred body of Jane Mason.
Abraham Rist, labourer of Yaxley told the court of Patrick’s attempts to get him to enter a body-snatching partnership.
Patrick assured him that the watchmen turned a blind eye when he carried the sacks from the churchyard if he tipped with a few pieces of silver. Patrick also said that a certain ‘Grimmer’ repeatedly offered him money for the dead bodies.
A common purpose of body snatching, especially in the 19th century, was to sell the corpses for dissection or anatomy lectures in medical schools. Those who practised body snatching were often called “resurrectionists” or “resurrection-men”.
Before the Anatomy Act of 1832, the only legal supply of corpses for anatomical purposes in the UK were those condemned to death and dissection by the courts.
Those who were sentenced to dissection by the courts were often guilty of comparatively harsher crimes. Such sentences did not provide enough subjects for the medical schools and private anatomical schools (which did not require a licence before 1832).
While during the 18th century hundreds had been executed for trivial crimes, by the 19th century only about 55 people were being sentenced to capital punishment each year.
However, with the expansion of the medical schools, as many as 500 cadavers were needed.
Read more via The Yaxley Bodysnatchers.