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22 October 2014

Torture devices: the iconic Iron Maiden

As anticipated in my very old post on my trip to Germany in June, while I was staying in Rothenburg ob der Tauber I had the chance to visit the Mittelalterliches Kriminal Museum aka Criminal Museum of the Middle Ages and there I saw her, without even knowing she was kept there, the one and only IRON MAIDEN , which is the most famous torture device in the world!

The most famous iron maiden was that of Nuremberg, first displayed possibly as far back as 1802. The original was lost in the Allied bombing of Nuremberg in 1944. A copy "from the Royal Castle of Nuremberg," crafted for public display, was sold through J. Ichenhauser of London to the Earl of Shrewsbury in 1890 along with other torture devices, and, after being displayed at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, was taken on an American tour. This copy was auctioned in the early 1960s and is now on display at the Medieval Crime Museum, Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Historians have ascertained that Johann Philipp Siebenkees created the history of it as a hoax in 1793. According to Siebenkees' colportage, it was first used on August 14, 1515, to execute a coin forger.

It was built in the 19th century as a probable misinterpretation of a medieval "Schandmantel" ("mantle of shame"), which was made of wood and tin but without spikes.

It was anthropomorphic, probably styled after primitive "Gothic" representations of Mary, the mother of Jesus, with a cast likeness of her on the face. It was about 7 feet (2.1 m) tall and 3 feet (0.91 m) wide, had double doors, and was big enough to contain an adult man. Inside the tomb-sized container it had dozens of sharp spikes.

A crude copy was supposedly found among the palace effects of Uday Hussein in Iraq.

Several 19th-century iron maidens are on display in museums around the world, but it is unlikely that they were ever employed.

Inspiration for the iron maiden may come from the Carthaginian execution of Marcus Atilius Regulus as recorded in Tertullian's "To the Martyrs" (Chapter 4) and Augustine of Hippo's The City of God (I.15), in which the Carthaginians "packed him into a tight wooden box, spiked with sharp nails on all sides so that he could not lean in any direction without being pierced," or by the account of Nabis of Sparta's deadly statue of his wife, the Apega.

British heavy metal band Iron Maiden got their name from the torture device.

The Sandman - part 2

The Sandman is an American comic book series written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics. Artists include Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, Jill Thompson, Shawn McManus, Marc Hempel, and Michael Zulli, lettering by Todd Klein, and covers by Dave McKean. 

 It tells the story of Dream of the Endless, who rules over the world of dreams. It ran for 75 issues from January 1989 to March 1996, with Gaiman's contract stipulating that the series would end when he left it.

The main character of The Sandman is Dream, also known as Morpheus and other names, who is one of the seven Endless. The other Endless are Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium who was once Delight, and Destruction who turned his back on his duties. Each of the brothers and sisters inhabit and are the anthropomorphic personifications of their concepts. The Sandman is a story about stories and how Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, is captured and subsequently learns that sometimes change is inevitable.

On the cover of Sandman #01 the face of Dream is inspired by
Bauhaus' Peter Murphy's face.

‘The Sandman: Overture’ Recreates Goth Culture With A New Take On Death'

Artist J.H. Williams talks MTV News through his artistic process on the new comic book.

Writer Neil Gaiman created goth culture in 1989 when he introduced the Death character into his seminal comic-book series “The Sandman.” Or maybe goth culture created Death?

It’s a little confusing on the timeline, and we’ll get to why in a second. But which came first, the chicken or the Death isn’t as important as the fact that 25 years later, Death — and The Sandman himself — is making her comeback in a prequel series being released by Vertigo Comics on Wednesday (October 30).

The series, titled “The Sandman: Overture,” is again written by Gaiman, and drawn by critically acclaimed artist J.H. Williams III. In the book, Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, is drawn into an interstellar conflict and may cause the eventual doom of his brothers and sisters, The Endless, in the process. One of those siblings? The soft-spoken, generally cheerful Death, a far cry from the skeletal figure depicted in most media.

“I don’t know how much the artists early on in the series would think of this, but I always saw [Death as] being taken off of Siouxsie Sioux, from Siouxsie and the Banshees,” Williams told MTV News on the phone in anticipation of the books’ release. “In some ways, Death played off of that, and turned around and influenced goth culture, and the goth look for music. There’s kind of like this circle going on there.”

 source: www.mtv.com

21 August 2014

The Sandman: "Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight!" - PART 1

The Sandman is a mythical character in central and northern European folklore who brings good dreams by sprinkling magical sand onto the eyes of people while they sleep at night.

Traditionally, he is a character in many children's stories. He is said to sprinkle sand or dust on or into the eyes of the child at night to bring on dreams and sleep. The grit or "sleep" in one's eyes upon waking is supposed to be the result of the Sandman's work the previous evening.

E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776–1822) wrote an inverse depiction of the lovable character in a story called Der Sandmann, which showed how sinister such a character could be made. According to the protagonist's nurse, he threw sand in the eyes of children who wouldn't sleep, with the result of those eyes falling out and being collected by the Sandman, who then takes the eyes to his iron nest on the Moon, and uses them to feed his children. The protagonist of the story grows to associate this nightmarish creature with the genuinely sinister figure of his father's associate Coppelius. In Romanian folklore there is a similar character, Mos Ene (Ene the Elder).

 Here's a famous stop-motion short animation movie about the sandman directed by Paul Berry. Enjoy:


An opening tracking view of a mountainous lunar landscape and the title card (“The Sandman”), both accompanied by menacing musical cues, dissolve into an unearthly crescent moon and an establishing exterior view of a nighttime household which could be (based upon details like a round tower, half-timbering and mullion windows) in medieval Europe. Inside, a woman sews by the fireplace and a small pale boy, perhaps her son, beats noisily on a toy drum. A cuckoo clock strikes eight o’clock (the “cuckoo” is a skeletal death figure) and the woman sets down her sewing, takes the boy’s drum away, gives him a small oil lamp and, with a pat on the head, dispatches him off to climb a dark and ludicrously lengthy series of staircases to bed. The child’s tremulous ascent is attended by every sort of scary, creaking noise and mysterious, elusive moving shadow.

Once on the upper floor, he dashes for his bedroom, jumps into his bed (which is bathed in hideously lurid moonlight from the large bedroom window) and pulls the bed sheets up over his head. However, he cannot help peering out at his darkened room and through the window at the weird crescent moon, which momentarily takes the form of a terrifying beaked and feathered face in profile. He rubs his eyes and it is gone. A rustling under his bed turns out to be a scolding rat.

Meanwhile, at the foot of the stairs, a strange apparition appears through a closed door: A menacing, raptor-like human figure with huge, hooked nose and chin (echoing the shape of the crescent moon), feathered arms, and knee breeches with stockings—the Sandman. He seems to specialize in creating unnerving and unaccountable sounds in the night and proceeds up the stairs with a curious mincing gait. The boy, who can hear him approach, alternately hides under the covers and cranes his head about to see the impending danger, until he accidentally breaks his lamp and the noise alerts the Sandman to his location. An intruder into the boy's room pulls back the quaking covers, but it turns out to be his solicitous mother, who retrieves the broken lamp, closes his eyes reassuringly and quietly withdraws. No sooner does the door close, however, than the Sandman emerges from the shadows. He commences an exaggerated, almost ritualistic, step, then a leaping dance, around the bed, all the while making small noises to prompt the boy (who resolutely refuses) to open his eyes. He is preparing a handful of sand to toss into the boy's eyes. Finally, the boy relents, opens his eyes, and the Sandman peppers his face with sand. But in silhouette, we can see that the Sandman has also taken something and, his objective apparently attained, he abruptly flies out the open window and into the night sky. On the moon, the Sandman lands on what we now realize is his nest (seen in the opening shot) which contains three of his tiny, hideous progeny. He opens a small, black pouch, and produces (we see this almost simultaneously with shots of the boy's empty-socketed face) -- two eyeballs. The chicks feast greedily. (After the end titles, the little blind boy is seen walking helplessly and then is seen amid a large number of similarly victimized children.)

Many songs have also been made about the sandman. Surely the most famous are Enter Sandman by Metallica (which lyrics I've quoted in the title of this post :P) and Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes. 

24 June 2014

An interview to...Tiffany Apan

Gothic Divine Magazine is proud to present you Tiffany Apan, a young American emerging artist involved in music projects, movies and who is also debutting as writer with a book series called "The Birthrite" . Find out more about her by reading the interview below.

You are a musician/singer/songwriter, actress, producer, and writer of dark fiction, a 360 degrees artist! Which of these creative jobs did you start first?

Ha! Thanks. :) It's actually hard to say, as I think I've always done a little bit of everything depending on my mood. The first artistic endeavor I recall doing was dance (my mom enrolled me in dance when I was three), but I always did things like sing, draw, and write on my own time. My grandparents also taught me alot in regards to music as I grew up. I've also always written, and even wrote a poem about a Viking sea adventure in my fifth grade English class when everyone else was writing about their families and pets.
Voice (singing) and theater were my first real focuses, though.

Why did you choose "dark" as genre for your works? 

When I was seven, I was corrupted by the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Trilogy and the works of Washington Irving. But also on a serious note, I think I can say it's always been what has spoken to me the most, plus I find it to be the most realistic as it normally shows both the light and dark sides of life. Life is both light and dark, and most everything has both in it. It is always interesting tapping into human fear and the unkown, as well as tackling the whole "what if" that comes with it. While I'm not saying that I'll ONLY stick with "the dark side" in my works, I do find it to have alot more possibilities than just writing "a nice little book" does. At least for me.

In the biography in your website www.tiffanyapan.com I read that you have been referred to as "the artsy kid in black" for some time. What's the reason behind this name that you were given?

Ah, that was more of a figure of speech for my bio. But I have worn mostly black and/or dark colors for quite some time, and I've been creative for as long as I can recall. So if anyone ever really did call me that, it wouldn't be too big of a shock and would likely be quite fitting. Actually, I do remember being called 'artsy' quite a bit. :)

In reference to your music career. How long have you been singing? Which are your favourite bands and genre? Do you play other instruments beside your voice?

Well, if you count performing in talent shows and the like, I've been doing that since I was about five. As far as being professionally trained though, that began when I was eleven or twelve.
My favorite bands and genres span pretty widely. I love music from all eras, from the days of composers like Mozart and Strauss (with whom I also share a birthday), to Celtic, to the old jazz of the 1920s and 30s to 1970s Progressive to 1980s New Wave and Metal up to modern day underground. As far as specific musical acts go, you can find the likes of Loreena McKennit, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Hank Williams, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Tori Amos, Vangelis, Rush, and alot of "underground" and independently produced acts (some of my faves reside on the Projekt and Cleopatra record labels).

As far as instruments go, vocals are primary, but I also play the keyboard/piano. I can play a little guitar, but I don't think I'm ready to go live with that. 

You are currently working on a book series called "The Birthrite" which will be available sometime this year. Please tell us something more about this.

Absolutely. It is a series of novels (with a couple spin-off novellas) that will be released starting this summer. It is gothic horror with some dark fantasy and romance elements. The series synopsis is as follows:

Visions of infant twin boys, clouds, a young woman taking her own life, and a collision of space, time, and realms...
On the eve of Summer Solstice in 1844, four men in different areas of the world share an experience that ends up impacting not only their own lives, but those of the future generations.

Nicolae Ganoush, a young fugitive from a Romani slave village in Romania escapes into the night with his younger brother, and battles with inner demons and a murderous act that will haunt him until the end of his days.

Jonathan Blake is an eighteen-year-old Irishman living in the American Midwest. After meeting and falling in love with an American Native girl, his life with her will take a turn that begins to slowly unravel an ancient truth behind their lineages.

When James Livingston agrees to help sponsor an orphanage being built by his good friends, the Flemings, he views it as yet another project to enrich the new growing town of Plains, New York. But an experience he has in room 410 inside one of the buildings on the property will make him question everything he believes. And the troubles may be much closer to home than thought.

In Tuxpan, Mexico, twelve-year-old Hector de Fuentes discovered a mysterious cave hidden amongst a pocket of a large rock formation at the end of the coastline. Now at sixteen, it has become a place for him to think, read, and escape from the outside world. But Hector also has visions, seeing people and places that nobody else can. And being at the cave seems to enhance that ability…
The Birthrite Series is a journey into the vast unknown, and plunges deep into the darkest crevices of the mind, begging the question of what sanity really is and if the insane truly are. Are we really shown the whole truth of what surrounds us or is it an illusion?  It also tells of deep-rooted love, planted centuries ago...
The first book, Descent, will be available in June with a novella titled Sacred Atonement to shortly follow. The time period in which Descent takes place is from the mid 1800s up into the early 1930s, and many time periods will be covered in this series (I am having alot of fun researching the different eras).
The full-length novels will be available in both ebook and paperback, but the spin-off novellas and shorts will strictly be ebook (at least for the time being).

There is more information at the Birthrite Series website: http://thebirthriteseries.com

If you could describe yourself in 3 words, which ones would you choose and why?

Creative, because my brain never seems to stop. Weird, just because I am and I see nothing wrong with fully embracing that. And I guess venturesome would be another, as I'm always looking to learn and try new things

As an actress, in which movies, which have already been made, would you have liked to star into?

Hmmm. I don't know if I can name anything specific, but I would love to do another period piece. A couple years ago, I acted in and narrated a film called Resolution: A Portrait of Amelia Earhart which was released back in 2012 and won third place in the Documentary category at the International Indie Gathering Film Festival (you can actually check it out at http://resolution-movie.com). The dramatic scenes that were interlaced with stock footage and narration were alot of fun to film and I love researching other eras (which is also why I'm having so much fun with writing The Birthrite Series). I would love to do something like that again.


Official Website: http://tiffanyapan.com

Official Blog: http://tiffanyapanwritingproject.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TIFFANYAPAN

Personal Facebook:  http://facebook.com/tiffany.apan

Facebook Artist Page: http://facebook.com/tiffanyapanfanpage

YouTube Channel: http://youtube.com/TiffanyApan

Tumblr: http://tiffanyapan.tumblr.com

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/tiffanyapan

Google Plus: http://plus.google.com/+TiffanyApan

Film Credits Available at IMDb .

Music Available at CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, and other retailers.

Books available at Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble NOOK, and iTunes. Also add me at Goodreads.

Check out more on The Birthrite Series and Stories from Colony Drive.

(Photos Credits: Rowen Poole, Malcolm Gittins, and Karen Yun-Lutz)

18 June 2014

Ceiling Detail at City Hospital, former St. Michael Benedictine Monastery, Bamberg, Germany. Death blowing bubbles. The bubbles symbolize the frailty of human existence...

10 June 2014

A trip to Germany: Norimberg and Rothenburg

Last weekend I was in Germany for a personal matter and I took the chance to visit a few towns nearby the place I was staying in. I visited the wonderful Norimberg (Nuernberg) and Rothenburg ob der Tauber! Germany is in my opinion the gothiest country ever both for the festivals (example: famous WGT Wave Gotik Treffen was held in Leipzig in these days) and for architectural/artistic aspect.

These are some pictures that I've taken during my quick stay:

This was a very creepy but incredibly beautiful fountain in the old city center of Norimberg.

These were the main cathedrals in gothic architectural style:

Famous fountain "Der schoene Brunnen" in the main square of Norimberg:

Other nice palaces and structures:

Particulars of the castle of Norimberg:

The following are pictures of the town I was staying in, Rothenburg ob der Tauber:

These few ones were taken inside the town cemetery:

Rothernburg by night:

In Rothenburg I visited also the biggest German museum of tortures and criminal law during the Middle Ages! I will share pictures in the next post.
Keep in touch ;)

12 May 2014

Books & books

Days keep passing by and I'm still without my pc because of a goddamn error which cannot be fixed :-( but it's not the end of the world! Actually it's always a good thing to take a break from the Internet every now and then and get back to the real life, good or bad that it is. So as my pc won't be back soon, I decide to go and find some good book to read and fill my little library which will come with me when I will go and live on my own one day. :-) here's a few pictures of books that I found digging in my and my boyfriend's  house closets and drawers. From Poe to Lovecraft and even an ancient book in German which we have bought for 1 euro at an antiques market! I found also a book about paranormal written by foundator of italian center for the paranormal activity!And a cute drawn book about gnomes and their lives :)

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