Five Real Wizards Who Make Harry Potter Look Like David Blaine

Categories: Gothtopia

By the time you read this, your humble narrator will be on the edge of our seat at the West Oaks Alamo Drafthouse watching the triumphant finale of the Harry Potter films. The books and movies have given us of our best times over the past decade, and it's hard to believe that it's all over.

The series resonated with Rocks Off specifically because we really do believe in magic and wizards, and history backs us up pretty well on the subject. You don't have to go very far back to find people who very likely had occult powers. In honor of these individuals, we present five songs and the magicians they represent.

Grigori Rasputin: Turisas' "Rasputin"


The Man: Grigori Rasputin was a peasant who rose to be the chief spiritual advisor to Tzar Nicholas II. The royal family was very reclusive, and Rasputin often used his familiarity with them as an unofficial steward, controlling access to the monarch. His drunken, lecherous behavior offended much of the Russian nobility, and they assassinated him in 1916.

The Magic: That Rasputin was in it for the alcohol and women no one will argue, but his claim to be able to heal was apparently true. Tsarevich Alexei suffered from hemophilia and Rasputin was several times able to staunch the flow of blood from life-threatening wounds by laying on hands, and on at least one occasion from a distance. Other powers claimed by Rasputin may have been exaggerations by him or his followers, but the effect he had on Alexei is indisputable.

The Music: Turisas is a Finish folk-metal band that incorporates accordions and violins into their otherwise standard metal makeup. Here we have their cover of an old disco tune by Boney M. "Rasputin," and it's frankly one of our favorite metal tunes of all time despite being a cover.

Edward Kelley: Tool, "Faaip De Oiad"


The Man: Edward Kelley was an alchemist and sometime partner to Dr. John Dee until they had a falling out over a bit of proposed wife-swapping. He became famous as a scryer and alchemist, and even though he started out his career being pilloried for counterfeiting he died fabulously wealthy at the age of 42, when Count Vilem Rozmberk of Bohemia had him imprisoned to extract alchemical gold from Kelley. He perished in an escape attempt.

The Magic: With Dr. Dee, Kelley became famous across Europe for aiding Dr. Dee in his hermetical experiments to utilize scrying and numbers to communicate with angels. This in addition to his aforementioned alchemy at which he made tons of money. He's most famous today, however for the magical Enochian language he developed, which went on to be the basis of many magical rituals utilized by a variety of modern ritualists.

The Music: Tool has released some truly disturbing music over the years, but "Faaip De Oiad" off Lateralus has got to be near the top of the list of truly horrifying things the band has done. The song is a recording of a 1997 phone call to the Art Bell radio show by a man who claimed that aliens were coming to attack humanity; whether it was a hoax is still disputed. The song's title comes from Kelley's Enochian language language, and means "the voice of God."

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LaVey never cursed Jayne Mansfield. He thought well of her and warned her away from Sam Brody, for whom the curse was intended. She didn't listen and became a casualty.

Ann Onimus
Ann Onimus

Sadly, your information about Rasputin is based largely on the rumors the aristocracy created to discredit him, and the myths propagated thereafter.  Read "Rasputin and The Jews: A Reversal of History" (on Amazon).  This book is a well-documented account of Rasputin as a healer, equal rights activist and man of God, and why he was so vilified by the aristocracy that their vicious rumors became accepted as history. For nearly a century, Grigory Rasputin, spiritual advisor to Russia's last Tsar and Tsarina, has been unjustly maligned simply because history is written by the politically powerful and not by the common man. A wealth of evidence shows that Rasputin was discredited by a fanatically anti-Semitic Russian society, for advocating equal rights for the severely oppressed Jewish population, as well as for promoting peace in a pro-war era. Testimony by his friends and enemies, from all social strata, provides a picture of a spiritual man who hated bigotry, inequity and violence. The author is the great-great niece of Aron Simanovitch, Rasputin's Jewish secretary.Don't forget that the Romanovs, even before Nicholas II, sanctioned regular raids (called pogroms) on Jewish villages, where they tortured and slaughtered entire populations, in an effort to eradicate the Jews.  Nicholas II had a lot of blood on his hands.  Rasputin never harmed nor killed a single soul and even forgave those who attempted to assassinate him.  

And there IS disagreement about the womanizing and drinking - much of which were rumors.  But, please, Russian society was extremely decadent at the time. The aristocracy drank like fish and were so promiscuous that the newspapers were full of ads for cures for venereal diseases.  Rasputin was used as a scapegoat.  

Jef With One F
Jef With One F

I'm actually aware of Rasputin's work for Jewish rights in Russia, something I was suprised about when I first read it. And I like Rasputin a great deal. In fact, I don't feel I said a bad thing about him. That he was a scapegoat against the Tsar is pretty well known. I stand by the sex and alcohol abuse, though.

Ann Onimus
Ann Onimus

Even if the sex and alcohol abuse were true, it's pretty hypocritical, considering that these two pastimes were rampant among the aristocracy, and if Rasputin had been an aristocrat, no one would have thought anything of it.  His drinking only began after one of the assassination attempts where he was knifed and almost died.  In addition those closest to him never knew of any mistresses.  Only two women, in an investigation by the Extraordinary Commission, were found to have lodged complaints about him, sexually.  One of them had never even met him and the other worked under her - both of them employed by the palace as governess and maid - and loyal to the Old Court (the Dowager Empress and those loyal to her) which spread as many rumors as they could to discredit him. At any rate, there was nothing particularly evil or criminal about alcohol or sex.

In addition, it's not so surprising that he was slandered by the nobility. Anyone having anything to do with Jews was portrayed as evil and in league with the devil. It was like that through most of Europe. And if anything was going to be recorded in history, it would have been the word of the nobility - not the common man or peasant, many of whom adored him and were grateful for his assistance.

Read the book. It will definitely give you a very different point of view.

Ann Onimus
Ann Onimus

I'm glad you're going to look into it.  I've read nearly 100 books on the topic (including De Jonge's) - many by those who were there and knew him personally.

As you will learn, his defense of the Jews is far from 'flimsy' as a premise.  You underestimate the intensity of the anti-Semitism that existed, and the laws preventing Jews from living normal lives.  It was a great contributing factor to the 1917 revolution (along with the poorly treated workers and hungry peasants) and, as an excuse for hating Rasputin, it's about as flimsy as the Holocaust was as an excuse for hating Hitler.  When Rasputin recommended Cabinet ministers to the Tsar, they were men who promised  they'd avoid war and give the Jews equal rights.  The book is very well documented with both French and English sources.

It's been an enjoyable discussion.  I thank you for generously allowing me the space to talk about it.  All the best to you.

Jef With One F
Jef With One F

Also, I am going to get the book as I am a big Rasputin fan, but I got to tell you, it seems to be hanging his entire persecution on a flimsy premise. According to De Jonge, yes, Rasputin advised the Tsar to treat Jews well, and to spare as much peasantry bloodshed in war as possible. However, I don't really believe that these rather minor aspects of his overall influence were the cause of a conspiracy against him. I think it much more likely that people didn't like him because he was the main spiritual advisor to the supreme ruler while being a mostly untaught, almost illiterate, unorthdox, party monster who had the confidence of a foreign born empress they distrusted and whose bloodline directly resulted in the Tsarivech's hemophilia. Still, I promise I'm going to read it.

Jef With One F
Jef With One F

*shrugs* I'm going mostly on the De Jonge book, here, which always seemed pretty objective.

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