Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roots of Horror Classics

On the Nature of Things aka De rerum natura by Lucretius (1st century BC)

An epic poem on "superstition and the fear of death" and a magnificent invocation to Venus.


Lucretius was an epicurean atomicist. That means that the book has a very modern post enlightenment take on the universe. The Universe is infinite and empty. WHen you die, you die... that it. Everything is going to die, the earth will die, the universe is going to die... There is no god. THe universe works by atoms smashing into each other in an infinite variation. etc.

the Book seems like a major inspiration for Darwinism and Relativity. Its the foundation of western science. No wonder the Christians outlawed all Philosophical schools in the 6th century.

Aside from meditating on the horrors of deep space and inspiring all sorts of dark twisted writers. The book also meditates on the beauty of nature and love. It would be easy to trace the roots of the entire Romantic poetry movement to this book. Walt Whitmans poetry style seems heavily influenced by this book. THe mix of Romaticism and horror seems to have been a big influence on Novalis's Romantic Nocturn.


The Faerie Queene (1596) by Edmund Spenser


the longest poem in the English language... hear that you rappers... go!

THe book mixes Orlando Epic inspired action with Dante's inferno style horror and morality. It smells like a major influence on Poe and Lewis Carrols Jabberwockey Poem. -Also the Goblin Market poem I recommended earlier. Spencer is a well known influence on Shakespeare, for whatever thats worth.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Horror


by Algernon Blackwood

H.P. Lovecraft considered it to be the finest supernatural tale in English literature.


The Yellow Wallpaper 1892

by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

"one of the finest, and strongest, tales of horror ever written. It may be a ghost story. Worse yet, it may not"


The Beckoning Fair One 1911

by Oliver Onions

"widely regarded as one of the best in the genre of horror fiction, especially psychological horror...

The story can be read as narrating the gradual possession of the protagonist by a mysterious and possessive feminine spirit, or as a realistic description of a psychotic outbreak culminating in catatonia and murder, told from the sufferer's point of view...

Another theme is a connection between creativity and insanity; in this view, the artist is in danger of withdrawing from the world altogether and losing himself in his creation."


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Blood and Thunder

Salammbô (1862) by Gustave Flaubert

"An exercise in sensuous and violent exoticism" - About the Mercenary Revolt against Carthage in the third century BC.

I would describe this book as a mix of pulp action plotting and ornate literary embellishment. As if Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni painted a Conan the Barbarian comic book.



Benvenuto Cellini (November 3, 1500 – February 13, 1571)

The illest autobiography in history. Cellini studies under Michelangelo and wins the favor of the Pope and the King of France with his sculpture and gold work. But Cellini cant help but drive all that good will into the dirt with outrageous bloodthirsty criminality, and paranoid delusional behavior. What Cellini admits in his autobiography is shocking, and his obvious lies are shocking; for example, when Cellini is shooting birds off the pope's window sill for "target practice" he is obviously threatening the pope with assassination.

from wikipedia:

Cellini's autobiographical memoirs, which he began writing in Florence in 1558, give a detailed account of his singular career, as well as his loves, hatreds, passions, and delights, written in an energetic, direct, and racy style. They show a great self-regard and self-assertion, sometimes running into extravagances which are impossible to credit. He even writes in a complacent way of how he contemplated his murders before carrying them out.

"When certain decisions of the court were sent me by those lawyers, and I perceived that my cause had been unjustly lost, I had recourse for my defense to a great dagger I carried; for I have always taken pleasure in keeping fine weapons. The first man I attacked was a plaintiff who had sued me; and one evening I wounded him in the legs and arms so severely, taking care, however, not to kill him, that I deprived him of the use of both his legs. Then I sought out the other fellow who had brought the suit, and used him also such wise that he dropped it."

Parts of his tale recount some extraordinary events and phenomena; such as his stories of conjuring up a legion of devils in the Colosseum, after one of his not innumerous mistresses had been spirited away from him by her mother; of the marvelous halo of light which he found surrounding his head at dawn and twilight after his Roman imprisonment, and his supernatural visions and angelic protection during that adversity; and of his being poisoned on two separate occasions.


Tales from the Dark Ages

The Kalevala

An Epic poem about Väinämöinen, a shamanistic hero with the magical power of songs and music. He is born of the primeval Maiden of the Air and contributes to the origin of Earth.

from Finnish and Karelian folklore in the nineteenth century - compiled by Elias Lönnrot


The Mabinogion

pre-Christian Iron Age Celtic mythology, international folktale motifs, and early medieval historical traditions.

Compiled by Lady Charlotte Guest in the mid 19th century.



Behn, Aphra, 1640-1689

perhaps the first professional English woman author, "punk and poetesse" playwright, spy for the crown -- the epitome of lewdness and impropriety, Aphra Behn was considered scandalous in her lifetime— and is considered controversial to this day because of her "'unwomanly' subject matter and intellectual immodesty"

Her poetry remarks on romantic relationships with both men and women, discusses rape and impotence, puts forth a woman's right to sexual pleasure, and includes scenes of eroticism between men.



Nightmare Tales (1876-1901) H.P Blavatsky


Elena Petrovna Gan aka Helena Blavatsky (of many psuedonyms) spent the years 1848 to 1858 traveling the world, and is said to have visited Egypt, France, Canada (Quebec), England, South America, Germany, Mexico, India, Greece and Tibet. However she contested charges she was a Russian spy.

Blavatsky's works have shown their influence on Albert Einstein, Henry Miller, Dion Fortune, L. Frank Baum, Mahatma Gandhi, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Adolf Hitler, Sun Ra, Howard Philips Lovecraft, Aleister Crowley, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats and many more.

Her occult philosophies can be found here:


Thursday, July 30, 2009

The World UnMask'd

The Very Horrific Life of Great Gargantua, Father of Pantagruel
The Horrible and Terrifying Deeds and Words of the Very Renowned Pantagruel King of the Dipsodes, Son of the Great Giant Gargantua

by François Rabelais (1532)

"The story of two giants, a father (Gargantua) and his son (Pantagruel) and their adventures, written in an amusing, extravagant, satirical vein. There is much crudity and scatological humor as well as a large amount of violence. Long lists of vulgar insults fill several chapters.

Rabelais studied Ancient Greek, and used this as he invented hundreds of new words, some of which became part of the French language."

Written by a heretical monk. The inspiration for Crowley's "Thelema" and "Do what thou wilt"

Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships (1726)

by Jonathan Swift

Scathing and hilarious satire; my favorite part is the third voyage where he attacks philosophers, inventors, and scientists

De vita Caesarum (121)

by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus

"perversion, brutality and vice" a historic account of abuse of power in Rome. Waay worse than you can imagine.



THe Secret History (550) by Procopius of Caesarea

about corruption and collapse of the Byzantine empire



The imperial orgy: an account of the tsars from the first to the last (1922)

by Edgar Saltus

Learn about Ivan the Terrible, Dmittri the sorcerer an the excesses of the Russian Czars. (czar=cesar)

Breaking Wind: Legendary Farts


Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν, Ta eis heauton (170) by Marcus Aurelius


The Pumpkinification of (the Divine) Claudius or Apocolocyntosis (divi Claudii) (Approx 41-54AD)

by Lucius Annaeus Seneca, tutor and advisor to emperor Nero.

The title plays upon "apotheosis", the process by which dead Roman emperors were recognized as gods.


The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. In Three Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Historically, Opened and Cut up

by Robert Burton

Though presented as a medical text, The Anatomy of Melancholy is a stream of consciousness satire of classic greco-roman philosophy.

Admirers of The Anatomy of Melancholy range from Samuel Johnson, Laurence Sterne, Charles Lamb, and John Keats (who said it was his favourite book), to Stanley Fish, Philip Pullman, Jorge Luis Borges (who used a quote as an epigraph to his story "The Library of Babel"), Samuel Beckett, and Jacques Barzun (who sees in it many anticipations of 20th century psychiatry). The Anatomy is still considered an enduring, eccentric literary classic by many modern critics.



Leaves of Grass (1855)

This book is notable for its delight in and praise of the senses during a time when such candid displays were considered immoral.


audio book
The Art of War (6th century BC) by Sun Tzu



The Code of Hammurabi (1780 BC) by Hammurabi, the ruler of Bablyon

The earliest known written legal code, carved on an eight foot high stone monolith. The harsh system of punishment expressed in this text prefigures the concept of 'an eye for an eye'.



Maxims (1665) by François de La Rochefoucauld

"We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those whom we bore."


Code Duello: The Rules of Dueling (1777)

covering the practice of dueling and points of honor, was drawn up and settled at Clonmel Summer Assizes by gentlemen-delegates of Tipperary, Galway, Sligo, Mayo and Roscommon, and prescribed for general adoption throughout Ireland.


Gypsy Law

Gypsies are blood family. In order to become a Gypsy, a person must adventure with a band of Gypsies for a time as a Gypsy, or be sponsored by a member of the band. The band will then vote whether to accept the candidate into the tribe, and if accepted, the candidate must successfully undergo the initiation ceremony which changes their blood to Gypsy blood.

The Kris is the court of the Gypsies and has the sole authority to remove a person from the tribe. Anyone found guilty by the Kris loses all Gypsy blood, including the accent and the ability to throw Gypsy curses.

The Art of Courtly Love (1174) by Andreas Capellanus

rules for lovers


Monday, July 20, 2009

Faerie Groves

The Fairy Tales of Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde

imprisoned for two years hard labour after being convicted of "gross indecency." After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry.

Goblin Market (1859) by Christina Rossetti

Rossetti claimed that the poem, which features remarkably sexual imagery, was a children's poem.


Big ups to Eden Faye & Yaya Han


Sunday, July 19, 2009


The Purple Cloud (1901) by M. P. Shiel

"a man travelling in the Arctic survives a world-encompassing purple cyanide cloud. Upon his return to civilization he realizes that he is the sole survivor, and with no society to restrict him he becomes an all-powerful insanely destructive juggernaut, revelling in his deliberate razing of entire empty cities with explosives"


War with the Newts (1935) by Dr. Karel Čapek

"Captain van Toch discovers giant, intelligent newts on a remote island off Sumatra, he teaches them to use knives to find food, fight off sharks, and collect pearls for him. When he dies, his partners turn his friendly venture into a huge international business with the newts (rapidly growing in numbers) and with the tools and supplies for them. The newts are taught to read, to build massive underwater projects, and to protect the shores of the countries that bought them. They become an essential and powerful part of the industrial machine, and thus warnings about their potential danger to humankind go unheeded. In the end the newts start to blow up continents to create new shores for themselves, while governments argue impotently. "


Nachtstücke fantastische

Memoirs of Carwin, the Biloquist (September 1798) by Charles Brockden Brown

"It recounts the terrifying story of how Theodore Wieland is driven to madness and murder by a malign ventriloquist called Carwin."

WIdely considered the first professional American writer - at very least a crucial figure in US literature and culture of the 1790s and 1800s

A big influence on Steven King and Anne Rice.

Tales of ETA Hoffman 1809-1820

Hoffmann is one of the best-known representatives of German Romanticism, and a pioneer of the fantasy genre, with a taste for the macabre combined with realism that influenced such authors as Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849), Nikolai Gogol (1809–1852), Charles Dickens (1812–1870), Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821–1881), and Franz Kafka (1883–1924). Hoffmann's story Das Fräulein von Scuderi is sometimes cited as the first detective story and a direct influence on Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue".

The twentieth-century Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin characterised Hoffmann's works as Menippea, essentially satirical and self-parodying in form, thus placing him in a tradition that includes Cervantes, Diderot and Voltaire.

The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner: Written by Himself. With a detail of curious traditionary facts and other evidence by the editor (1824)

by James Hogg

A rashomon style narrative. Considered in turn a Gothic novel, a psychological case study of an unreliable narrator, and an examination of totalitarian thought, the ultimately unclassifiable novel, set in a pseudo-Christian world of angels, devils, and demonic possession. an inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. acclaimed for its probing quest into the nature of religious fanaticism and Calvinist predestination.



Victorian fan language


1) THE FAN PLACED NEAR THE HEART: "You have won my love."

2) A CLOSED FAN TOUCHING THE RIGHT EYE: "When may I be allowed to see you?"


The Devil's Dictionary (1869) by Ambrose Bierce (known as San Francisco’s “laughing devil”)

Conservative: (noun) A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

Lawyer:(noun) One skilled in circumvention of the law.


The Dictionnaire philosophique (1764) by Voltaire

"One of the masterpieces of the Enlightenment"
"enormously influential work of sardonic wit"
"Repeatedly condemned by civil and religious authorities"


Saturday, July 18, 2009

social studies

Erewhon: or Over the Range (1921) Samuel Butler

The first book to use Darwinism to critique machines and mechanized society.


Rossumovi univerzální roboti (1921) by Čapek, Karel

introduced and popularized the term robot.


The Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London

describing the fall of the United States to the cruel fascist dictatorship of the Iron Heel, a group of monopoly capitalists.

"A truer prophecy of the future than either Brave New World or The Shape of Things to Come."
-George Orwell

"Still more astonishing is the genuinely prophetic vision of the methods by which the Iron Heel will sustain its domination over crushed mankind."
-Leon Trotsky



I was searching for more of my favorite vintage/public domain ebooks to recommend,

My Secret Life: An Erotic Diary of Victorian London (1888)



and tripped accross the sickest book archive



It includes titles like "The Merry-Thought, or The Glass-Window and Bog-House Miscellany."

Its a collection of grafitti etched into the the windows of London taverns in 1731.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Gygaxia and hobbitmania

The Prose Edda of Snorri Sturlson (about 1200 AD)

"and thence are come the races of the Rime-Giants, as it says in Völuspá the Less:

All the witches | spring from Witolf,
All the warlocks | are of Willharm,
And the spell-singers | spring from Swarthead;
All the ogres | of Ymir come.

But concerning this says Vafthrúdnir the giant:

Out of the Ice-waves | issued venom-drops,
Waxing until | a giant was;
Thence are our kindred | come all together,--
So it is | they are savage forever."


Orlando innamorato (1495) by Matteo Maria Boiardo http://www.archive.org/details/orlandoinnamorato00boia

Orlando Furioso "The Frenzy of Orlando" (1506)by Ludovico Ariosto

"one of the most influential works in the whole of European literature"

"inextricable maze of most cunningly contrived episodes"

THE WORM OUROBOROS[1922] by E. R. Eddison


the protracted war between the domineering King Gorice of Witchland and the Lords of Demonland .

praised by Tolkien as "The greatest and most convincing writer of 'invented worlds' that I have read".


The Satyricon (Neronian - Late 1st century CE) by Petronius Arbiter

considered one of the gems of Western literature

"A thunderous hammering was heard at the door, while all this was going on, and everyone wondered what this unexpected interruption could mean, when we saw a soldier, one of the night-watch, enter with a drawn sword in his hand, and surrounded by a crowd of young rowdies. He glared about him with savage eyes and blustering mien, and, catching sight of Quartilla, presently, "What's up now, you shameless woman," he bawled; "what do you mean by making game of me with lying promises, and cheating me out of the night you promised me? But you won't get off unpunished You and that lover of yours are going to find out that I'm a man!" At the soldier's orders, his companion bound Quartilla and myself together, mouth to mouth, breast to breast, and thigh to thigh; and not without a great deal of laughter. Then the catamite, also at the soldier's order, began to beslaver me all over with the fetid kisses of his stinking mouth, a treatment I could neither fly from, nor in any other way avoid. Finally, he ravished me, and worked his entire pleasure upon me. In the meantime, the satyrion which I had drunk only a little while before spurred every nerve to lust and I began to gore Quartilla impetuously, and she, burning with the same passion, reciprocated in the game. The rowdies laughed themselves sick, so moved were they by that ludicrous scene, for here was I, mounted by the stalest of catamites, involuntarily and almost unconsciously responding with as rapid a cadence to him as Quartilla did in her wriggling under me."

1920s translation
17th century translation

Asinus Aureus (158AD) by Lucius Apuleius Platonicus

is the only Latin novel to survive in its entirety. Occult initiation disguised as a bawdy comedy. An inspiration for "A Midsummer Night's Dream"


Look for the alternate (even bawdier) version: Pseudo-Lucian's The Ass (Λούκιος ἢ ῎Oνος)
Roman Erotic Elegy

It was very hot. The day had gone just past its noon.
I'd stretched out on a couch to take a nap.
One of the window-shutters was open, one was closed.
The light was like you'd see deep in the woods,
or like the glow of dusk when Phoebus leaves the sky,
or when night pales, and day has not yet dawned.
— a perfect light for girls with too much modesty,
where anxious Shame can hope to hide away.
When, look! here comes Corinna in a loose ungirded gown,
her parted hair framing her gleaming throat,
like lovely Semiramis entering her boudoir,
or fabled Lais, loved by many men.
I tore her gown off — not that it mattered, being so sheer,
and yet she fought to keep that sheer gown on;
but since she fought with no great wish for victory,
she lost, betraying herself to the enemy.
And as she stood before me, her garment all thrown off,
I saw a body perfect in every inch:
What shoulders, what fine arms I looked on — and embraced!
What lovely breasts, begging to be caressed!
How smooth and flat a belly under a compact waist!
And the side view — what a long and youthful thigh!
But why go into details? Each point deserved its praise.
I clasped her naked body close to mine.
You can fill in the rest. We both lay there, worn out.
May all my afternoons turn out this well.

— translated from the Latin by Jon Corelis

also peek Roman shapeshifter classic

The Metamorphoses by Publius Ovidius Naso


Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Philosophy

"Moriae Encomium" 1509 by Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam


"Fortune Loves Those that Have the Least Wit "

Jacques le fataliste et son maître 1765 by Denis Diderot

audiobook en francais

Schiller held it in high regard, and recommended it strongly to Goethe, who also enjoyed it. French critics of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries dismissed it as unnecessarily bawdy.

DaDa Manifestos and Futurist Manifestos

"Have a good look at me!
I'm an idiot, I'm a practical joker, I'm a hoaxer.
Have a good look at me!
I'm ugly, my face has no expression, I'm small.
I'm like the rest of you!"


"We had stayed up all night, my friends and I, under hanging mosque lamps with domes of filigreed brass, domes starred like our spirits, shining like them with the prisoned radiance of electric hearts."

Futurism influenced DADA which 'influenced later styles like the avant-garde and downtown music movements, and groups including surrealism, Nouveau réalisme, pop art, Fluxus and punk rock.'


Hero with 1000 Faces

The History of Caliph Vathek (1782)By William Thomas Beckford.

Lord Byron referred to it as his 'Bible'

"Vathek is a hedonistic voluptuary with an insatiable appetite. His ambitious and completely amoral mother Carathis spends her time at the top of a great tower burning sacrifices to the forces of darkness in hopes of satisfying her
uncontrollable lust for power and wealth.

Carathis strikes a deal with a supernatural being called the Gaiour. In exchange for committing atrocious crimes "



Les Chants de Maldoror(1868) by the Comte de Lautréamont,

"Many of the surrealists (Salvador Dalí, André Breton, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Max Ernst, etc.)in the early 1900s cited the novel as a major inspiration to their own works."

en francais

Selected Poems in translation

Melmoth the wanderer (1820) By Charles Robert Maturin

A big influence on Honoré de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire, Anton LaVey and Varney the Vampire (the book that inspired Carmilla and Dracula).



Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice (1919),

was the subject of a celebrated obscenity case shortly after its publication. The eponymous hero, who considers himself a "monstrous clever fellow", embarks on a journey through ever more fantastic realms, even to hell and heaven. Everywhere he goes, he winds up seducing the local women, even the Devil's wife.


By James Branch Cabell

most aciduous of all the anti-romantics: "The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true."
A Voyage to Arcturus (1920)

by David Lindsay

an exploration of the nature of good and evil and their relationship with existence. It has been described by the critic and philosopher Colin Wilson as the "greatest novel of the twentieth century"


Spiders from Marz

Ἀληθῆ διηγήματα By Lucian of Samosata (1st century AD)

"the earliest known fiction about travelling to outer space, alien life-forms and interplanetary warfare. "


Other Worlds (1657) By Hector Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, Duellist

Pt 1:The Moon

Track down Part2 "Empires of the Sun" - about aliens that live on the surface of the sun and communicate using geometry and music.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


The Night Land (1912) by William Hope Hodgson

"the sun had died"


Hymnen an die Nacht (1800) by Novalis

"I turn to the holy, unspeakable, mysterious Night"


the giant shadow

"On The Pleasure Of Hating" (c.1826)

"THERE is a spider crawling along the matted floor of the room where I sit (not the one which has been so well allegorised in the admirable Lines to a Spider, but another of the same edifying breed); he runs with heedless, hurried haste, he hobbles awkwardly towards me, he stops -- he sees the giant shadow before him"



Thursday, July 2, 2009


Twenty-two Goblins
by Arthur W. Ryder

"Tenth Goblin: The Three Delicate Wives of King Virtue-banner. Which is the most delicate?"



Medieval Beastiary

"Bat: Bird: A bird that gives birth to living young"
"Bee: Insect: Bees are the smallest of birds, and are born from the bodies of oxen"


The Red Laugh
by Leonid Andreyev

"I felt it for the first time as we were marching along the road--marching incessantly for ten hours without stopping, never diminishing our step, never waiting to pick up those that had fallen, but leaving them to the enemy, that was moving behind us in a compact mass only three or four hours later effacing the marks of our feet by their own.

It was very sultry. I do not know how many degrees there were--120°, 140°, or more--I only know that the heat was incessant, hopelessly even and profound. The sun was so enormous, so fiery and terrible, that it seemed as if the earth had drawn nearer to it and would soon be burnt up altogether in its merciless rays. Our eyes had ceased to look. The small shrunk pupil, as small as a poppy-seed, sought in vain for darkness under the closed eyelid; the sun pierced the thin covering and penetrated into the tortured brain in a blood-red glow. "




Monday, June 22, 2009

My brain is on fire! A million of strange eyes seem gazing on me.

I'm reading a free online ebook of Varney the Vampire. Highly recommended. It's a mix of "Castle of Udopho" over the top goth, Dickensian plotting, "Melmoth the Wanderer" morality, and Cervantes style romantic comedy.

How can you not love:

"I saw those glazed eyes close to, mine--I felt a hot, pestiferous
breath upon my face--help--help!"

Follow this link to hidden treasure:


Aside from inspiring Dracula, Dark Shadows, Interview with Vampire and the obvious Horror schtick, the book is also a root for the James Bond spy thriller genre.

Starting with "Les Vampires" - The 10 part serial from 1915, set in Paris, France following the exploits of a gang of master criminals who call themselves "Les Vampires."

From Wikipedia:

In November 1915, the walls of Paris were plastered with street posters that depicted three masked faces with a question mark as a noose, and the questions "who, what, when, where?". The morning newspapers printed the following poem:

Of the moonless nights they are kings,
darkness is their kingdom.
Carrying death and sowing terror
the dark Vampires fly,
with great suede wings,
ready not only to do evil... but to do even worse

Les Vampires influenced the 1919 Fritz Lang a mystery-action serial called The Spiders - Also about a gang of mysterious criminals (but set in tropical destinations). It was censored in Germany

(some alt country band have cut the footage to a jingle jangle country song)

Fritz Lang continued his work in the "master criminal" Genre with: Dr. Mabuse.

Dr. Mabuse is a doctor of psychology and master of disguise. He tricks many people out of money by conning them and using hypnotism. etc. If you've had the pleasure of watching the Dr. Mabuse films you can recognize a direct influence on teh James Bond Films...