Coronavirus: Black Magic Goes Viral? Part 2: A Vincent Price Double Feature

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By: H.B. Gardner

Current events have confirmed that we are indeed living the plot lines of two films starring Vincent Price.  If self-quarantine and social distancing has you losing your mind like the protagonist in an Edgar Allan Poe story, then you could do far worse than to delight in a diabolical double feature starring Uncle Vinnie.

Both films, The Masque of the Red Death and The Last Man on Earth are from 1964. But these films stand today, each to a certain degree, as prophetical and horrifically relevant to the present coronavirus / COVID-19 (or, can we now say -20?) global pandemic. Let’s take a quick, spoiler-free glimpse at these two films before looking deeper into our current plague.

The Last Man on Earth

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Vincent Price as Dr. Robert Morgan in The Last Man on Earth

The Last Man on Earth is a 1964 black-and-white post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film based on the 1954 novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.  I Am Legend was remade in 1971 as The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston, and in 2007 with Will Smith. Matheson later said the Vincent Price film was the most faithful adaptation of his book, but he also called the result “inept” and used a pen name for his screenplay.

Humanity is all but wiped out in a global pandemic, a bacterial plague, in which the dead, if not cremated, return as the vampiric undead. The infected are dying too fast and in such great numbers that they must be disposed of via burning pits in mass cremations. All alone, Dr. Robert Morgan (Price) spends his time hunting down the vampires during the day to pound wooden stakes through their hearts, and defending himself from within his home at night when they arise to attack him. Garlic and mirrors ward them off for a time.

In what appears to be an eerie coincidence to our current Coronavirus pandemic, Morgan hypothesizes that he is immune to the bacteria because he was bitten by an infected vampire bat when he was stationed in Panama, which introduced a diluted form of the plague into his blood. In an article shared below we will see the Wuhan coronavirus connection to the bat. Price’s character eventually meets another person and the potential for a cure using Dr. Morgan’s blood – which has built up antibodies to the virus – is attempted, just as is being considered now for the coronavirus. The Last Man on Earth is available to watch for free on Youtube, so what are you waiting for?

“…these films stand today, each to a certain degree, as prophetical and horrifically relevant to the present COVID-19 global pandemic.”

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No one is left untouched by The Masque of The Red Death!

The Masque of The Red Death

Vincent Price is indelibly linked with the macabre tales of Edgar Allan Poe, and this is one of our personal favorites. Price is elegantly evil (as usual) as Prince Prospero – a late medieval period character who is part Gilles de Rais and part Marquis de Sade. As a plague known as The Red Death ravages the land, Prince Prospero invites his privileged, decadent, aristocratic guests to a grand party where he promises protection from the disease without – and much debauchery within – his castle’s walls. But the prince is a serious Satanist longing to go beyond the limits of even his own depravity! He brings a young village girl – along with her father and a young suitor – to his palace as amusement for his guests. Even the prince’s wife gets serious about dabbling in the Dark Arts of Diabolism and Demonolatry.

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Hazel Court brands her breast with the first inverted cross in satanic cinema history! The Masque of The Red Death.

What strikes us here in connection with the Coronavirus is the sheer susceptibility of everyone – no matter how powerful or privileged – to the whims of bacterium! Leaders of nations, royalty, the wealthy, clergy, the religious, people of all nations and races, even healthcare professionals are all in the grip of pestilence when it arises because it has far-reaching effects upon every level of society. We won’t spoil the ending – or the inclusion of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Hop-Frog’ as a side story. But we highly recommend this one as – beneath it’s amusing, vulgar, psychedelic theatricality – it carries a deep truth.

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In an epilogue, the Red Death is seen playing with his Tarot cards with the girl who had escaped the massacre of the remaining villagers. Other similarly cloaked figures then gather around him, each wearing a different colour: the White Death, the Yellow Death, the Golden Death, the Blue Death, the Violet Death and the Black Death.

“Sic transit gloria mundi”

(Latin for “Thus passes the glory of the world”)

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90094919_10217946751479572_3704477505470595072_nCommunist Chinese censorship has far reaching tentacles…

…and pincers, and fangs. Actually, many political systems, governments and ideologies rely on fear and ignorance for fuel these days. In part 1 of this article: Coronavirus: Black Magic Goes Viral? we mused, in an admittedly “not-too-serious” manner, upon the Chinese sorcery aspect of Ku or Gu poisoning and how it relates to the Wuhan Coronavirus / COVID-19 as a pestilence born from humans  meddling with things they are unable to control. We would just like to reflect here upon the certain knowledge of communist China’s well known censorship and propaganda machines, its merciless suppression of anything outside communist party approval, and the control its almost limitless economical weight has over the entire world. Don’t believe everything just because you hear or see it on the nightly news, TV talk shows, or media. All of it is doubtlessly being promoted by big money; and these days the biggest money is in China. Look at history, consider what happened to Tibet, what’s been happening in Hong Kong and Taiwan and try – we implore you – to think for yourself. We know that is asking a lot in this day and age; but it is imperative.

“Look at history, consider what happened to Tibet, what’s been happening in Hong Kong and Taiwan and try – we implore you – to think for yourself.”

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The “Masque” of The “Red” Death

There is much to unpack on this topic but we would point those with a serious interest to the following links; and to the censored text to an article by Chinese researchers pasted below.

Link:

Yes, the Virus Came From Wuhan

“And what puzzles us most, in this storm of information, impressions, opinions, expertise, real or alleged, is that no one is asking China, a country with an already horrible record on humans rights and disinformation, to explain plainly what happens in those research centers, one at less than 300 meters from the Wuhan market and the other at only 12 km.”

Link:

Experts think bats are the source of the Wuhan coronavirus. At least 4 pandemics have originated in these animals.

“”Poorly regulated live-animal markets mixed with illegal wildlife trade offer a unique opportunity for viruses to spill over from wildlife hosts into the human population,” the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement.”

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“…in mid-February two Chinese researchers, Dr. Botao Xiao from South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, and Dr. Lei Xiao, from Wuhan University of Science and Technology, recognized bats as the real source of the infection. Interestingly, the paper has since disappeared from the international scholarly data base Research Gate, not the first such incident for texts from China the CCP does not like,”

The Censored article that disappeared:

The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus〉 (Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao)

The 2019-nCoV coronavirus has caused an epidemic of 28,060 laboratory-confirmed infections in human including 564 deaths in China by February 6, 2020. Two descriptions of the virus published on Nature this week indicated that the genome sequences from patients were 96% or 89% identical to the Bat CoV ZC45 coronavirus originally found in Rhinolophus affinis. It was critical to study where the pathogen came from and how it passed onto human.

An article published on The Lancet reported that 41 people in Wuhan were found to have the acute respiratory syndrome and 27 of them had contact with Huanan Seafood Market. The 2019-nCoV was found in 33 out of 585 samples collected in the market after the outbreak. The market was suspicious to be the origin of the epidemic, and was shut down according to the rule of quarantine the source during an epidemic.

The bats carrying CoV ZC45 were originally found in Yunnan or Zhejiang province, both of which were more than 900 kilometers away from the seafood market. Bats were normally found to live in caves and trees. But the seafood market is in a densely-populated district of Wuhan, a metropolitan of ~15 million people. The probability was very low for the bats to fly to the market. According to municipal reports and the testimonies of 31 residents and 28 visitors, the bat was never a food source in the city, and no bat was traded in the market. There was possible natural recombination or intermediate host of the coronavirus, yet little proof has been reported.

Was there any other possible pathway? We screened the area around the seafood market and identified two laboratories conducting research on bat coronavirus. Within ~280 meters from the market, there was the Wuhan Center for Disease Control Prevention (WHCDC). WHCDC hosted animals in laboratories for research purpose, one of which was specialized in pathogens collection and identification. In one of their studies, 155 bats including Rhinolophus affinis were captured in Hubei province, and other 450 bats were captured in Zhejiang province. The expert in collection was noted in the Author Contributions. Moreover, he was broadcasted for collecting viruses on nation-wide newspapers and websites in 2017 and 2019. He described that he was once by attacked by bats and the blood of a bat shot on his skin. He knew the extreme danger of the infection so he quarantined himself for 14 days. In another accident, he quarantined himself again because bats peed on him. He was once thrilled for capturing a bat carrying a live tick.

Surgery was performed on the caged animals and the tissue samples were collected for DNA and RNA extraction and sequencing. The tissue samples and contaminated trashes were source of pathogens. They were only ~280 meters from the seafood market. The WHCDC was also adjacent to the Union Hospital where the first group of doctors were infected during this epidemic. It is plausible that the virus leaked around and some of them contaminated the initial patients in this epidemic, though solid proofs are needed in future study.

The second laboratory was ~12 kilometers from the seafood market and belonged to Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. This laboratory reported that the Chinese horseshoe bats were natural reservoirs for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) which caused the 2002-3 pandemic. The principle investigator participated in a project which generated a chimeric virus using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system, and reported the potential for human emergence. A direct speculation was that SARS-CoV or its derivative might leak from the laboratory.

In summary, somebody was entangled with the evolution of 2019-nCoV coronavirus. In addition to origins of natural recombination and intermediate host, the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan. Safety level may need to be reinforced in high risk biohazardous laboratories. Regulations may be taken to relocate these laboratories far away from city center and other densely populated places.

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Note: We do not consider the Chinese people at fault for the viral contagion. It is the lack of transparency, censorship and disinformation of the repressive communist government that needs to be addressed.

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The Occult Influence of Alejandro Jodorowsky

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Alejandro Jodorowsky with his restored Tarot of Marseille.

Alejandro Jodorowsky is much more than an acclaimed firebrand of underground cinema. His unique career and work extends far beyond avant-garde film making and into writing, music, comics and graphic novels, performance, mime, surrealism, art, the Tarot, teaching, therapy, psychology and mysticism. Indeed, it is a difficult task to encapsulate the man with any one label as his pursuits bleed and merge artistically into one another in an organic, creative and surreal consciousness-expanding milieu where one finds an ever uncoiling universe constellating around him.

Unknown-1On his religious views, Jodorowsky has called himself an “atheist mystic”; a statement which just barely scratches the surface of this original and pioneering  Magician. He has a profound understanding of psychology and the traumas inherited from family, along with symbology, magickthe Tarot and spiritual alchemy – all of which has enhanced his work and – through his art – opened people’s minds to some of the deeper strata of human experience. This has not always occurred in a smooth fashion for the film maker. In fact, it has often been a struggle to have a wider showing of his work and there have been more than a couple of outrages along the way.

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Dance of Reality (2013)

Although not a “occult horror” film director in the conventional sense, Jodorowky’s films have caused controversy as they are often steeped in religious and occult imagery which has at times caused outrage or even been interpreted as blasphemous. His avant-garde cinematic productions such as  El Topo, The Holy Mountain, and Santa Sangre – along with the more recent The Dance of Reality and Endless Poetry – express a kaleidoscope of symbolism and psychological insight that are often beautiful, unsettling, breathtaking and disturbing – all at once.

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A plethora of mass produced crucified Christs – and The Fool who was their model screaming in the middle of them all – in The Holy Mountain.

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Skinned and crucified dogs carried by marching soldiers in      The Holy Mountain.

Santa Sangre

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Santa Sangre  (1989)

Santa Sangre (1989) may be labeled a drama / mystery,  but the surrealism of the story carries it into stranger territory. A young boy, the son of a circus knife-thrower, witnesses his mother’s arms being amputated in a spectacular way as she attempts to defend her heretical cult. She survives and he learns how to become her hands for her, even killing for her.

 

The Holy Mountain

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Jodorowsky himself plays the Magician in The Holy Mountain.

The Holy Mountain (1973) is a film only the ’70’s could have produced. Nothing else like it has even been attempted. It was almost impossible to even view the film for decades due to a distribution dispute, but is now widely available. John Lennon and Yoko Ono put up production money for this film. Originally, George Harrison was to play the lead role of The Fool but declined because he didn’t wish to have his bare naked ass getting washed to be projected onto the silver screen. It is a surreal, beautiful, and somewhat disturbing experience (much like life) as it follows The Fool’s Journey on the path towards mystical enlightenment. The archetypal planetary Forces are also impersonated – with all their flaws – in a 1970’s fashion which somehow feels timeless; but the surrealist imagery and occult symbols may leave any but those educated in the Arcane Arts rather baffled. Somebody commented that there is so much weird stuff going on in this film that you almost forget about all the nudity. A psychedelic shamanic trip into occult exploration.

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The Magician initiates his apprentice in The Holy Mountain.

Jodorowsky was famously set to direct a film version of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic novel Dune in the mid 1970’s,  but the $9.5 million production would have resulted in a 14 hour movie (featuring Salvador Dali and Orson Welles). The visionary project was aborted but the unmade film is claimed to have been an influence on other actual science fiction films, such as Star Wars, Alien, Terminator, Flash Gordon, The Fifth Element and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Jodorowsky’s tremendous influence is more widely known in the French and Spanish speaking countries and to a growing cadre of English language fans.

Tarot

Mr. Jodorowsky has spent a great deal of time studying the Tarot over the years and has even offered a marvelously colored “reconstructed” version of the famous Marseille pattern Tarot deck which he worked on with Philippe Camoin – descendant and heir to the guardians of the Tarot de Marseille tradition for centuries. This may be considered as the most perfect version we have of The Marseille Tarot pack. It is certainly the best colored one we’ve seen.

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Camoin Tarot website

You have never read a book on Tarot like this before! While some of the associations and interpretations Jodorowsky offers in his Way of Tarot book may surprise and perplex some who study and practice Tarotmancy or “Tarotology”, It is nothing short of genius and will be an exercise in psychological expansion and spiritual unfoldment for any serious occultist who spends some time reflecting on what is presented in the book.

Anyone wishing to go beyond Jodorowsky’s films and delve deeper into the mind of this occult genius must check out his amazing books The Way of Tarot and Psychomagic.

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