A Higher Strangeness explores the place of the paranormal and occult in popular—and sometimes not so popular—culture. I’m especially interested in the so-called “occult explosion” in America and the UK during the 1960s and early 1970s. The counterculture and its sympathizers, disgusted with the crass, materialistic establishment, including traditional Christianity, sought more meaningful spiritual experiences through astrology, witchcraft, ufology, drugs, eastern mysticism, and so on. The excitement of “high strangeness” soon filtered down to the mainstream in the form of occult-themed literature and film (Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), TV (Dark Shadows, Night Gallery, In Search of…), comic books (Doctor Strange, House of Mystery, The Witching Hour), music (Led Zeppelin, Arthur Brown), and even games (Parker Brothers’ Ouija, Dungeons & Dragons).
UPDATE: A Higher Strangeness is no longer being updated. My new online magazine, We Are the Mutants, covers the same subject, along with other misunderstood and underappreciated media and artifacts of the Cold War era, in much more depth.
(Image credit: Detail from Wilfried Sätty’s cover for Nat Freedland’s The Occult Explosion [United Artists, 1973])