In November 2019, the second season of Planet Weird original series Hellier was released through Amazon Prime, and then later free on YouTube. The crew comprises Dana and Greg Newkirk of the Travelling Museum of the Paranormal and Week in Weird, Karl Pfeiffer and Connor Randall of the Spirits of the Stanley series, and, joining the team as a regular investigator after an appearance in Season One, occult adventurer and researcher Tyler Strand. Their investigation runs the gamut of paranormal phenomena, starting with strange emails from a man seeing goblins outside of his house at night, to the Mothman sightings and Fortean phenomena of Point Pleasant, to a cipher that decodes the names of ultraterrestrials, to spooky caves deep in the country. Season 2 brings us connections to the ostensible clustering of the paranormal along the 37th parallel, rumours of rural cult activity, experiments in hypnosis and psi, meetings with occultists, and the evocation of the great god Pan in an eerie cave.
One aspect of the team’s investigation that deserves close attention is their attempt at communication with the unseen forces that appear to be orchestrating their initiation into the wider occult world, if the signs and synchronicities are to be believed. Throughout their investigation, the Hellier team appear to be in contact with something – the essence of which is so slippery and difficult to grasp that they simply refer to it as “the phenomena”. This phenomena appears to manifest through their sessions with spirit boxes and in charting synchronicities – but there is ample scope to consider it as being in some way tied to the narrative of Hellier itself, the way the crew talk about that narrative, and how the phenomena crosses the dividing lines between the team’s experiences, the show, and its audience.
In particular, language, narrative and metatextuality are recurrent themes throughout the series, most often literally in the sense of delving into various esoteric books, cryptic emails and ciphers, or attempting spirit communication through diverse means; there’s a more subtle current in the fact that many of the group’s paranormal experiences – and the production of the show itself – sidle up against the vagaries of communication, textual processes, and storytelling, some of which we’ll discuss below.
Note that there are spoilers for both seasons of Hellier in the discussion ahead!
Continue reading ““Who’s quoting this?”: Synchromystic Language, Narrative and Metatextuality in Hellier”
We will make such strange and curious things for you.
- Samples of all work can be found in the Portfolio.
- Requests can be made and discussed over email or Twitter (see Contact),.
- Open to NSFW/18+ commissions.
- Transactions are handled through Ko-fi or Paypal.
- Note that requests for work with additional requirements (tight deadlines, high-volume work, contracts e.t.c.) may be priced differently.
Writing and developing scenes, backstories or mood pieces for personal original characters, roleplaying characters and extended universes, creating lore and fic for conworlds and original settings.
- $25 for up to 1,000 words, + $10 per 1,000 words thereafter
- Specialist subjects: M/M fic, narratives with queer characters, witchcraft, the occult and supernatural, Victoriana, orcs, monsters, furry.
- Samples: The Netherhall Experiments (Writing Sample); Monstrous Lore.
Writing for games, including interactive narrative, dialogue, item descriptions, romance routes, sex scenes, lore entries or mood/atmosphere pieces.
Writing blogposts, guest features or articles for SEO on a variety of topics.
Interactive Narrative/Twine Games
Creating a short twine game based on characters, themes and narratives requested.
- $50, + $negotiable for additional requested complexity (e.g. branching narratives, specialised game mechanics)
- Specialist subjects: M/M, narratives with queer characters, witchcraft, the occult and supernatural, Victoriana, orcs, monsters, furry.
- Samples: BEHEMOTH (itch.io), Hypnagogue (itch.io).
Illustrating characters and scenes, and creating cover art.
Each Tarot reading comes with a card-by-card analysis and interpretation, an overall summary, and a photo of the cards in your spread. Note that Tarot readings aren’t foolproof and 100% accurate systems of predictions, and future decisions should not be based off of a reading alone!
All Tarot readings are handled through Ko-fi, or Patreon for subscribers.
- $3 for a 3-card reading, $6 for a 6-card reading, $9 for a 10-card Celtic Cross reading (for all readings except Extensive Readings.)
- General Reading: A general overview of your situation at present; no specific question or direction, using the cards to suggest a particular issue.
- Specific Reading: A reading to explore one question or issue in particular, where all of the cards will be interpreted in light of that question/issue.
- Creative Reading: Ideas and inspiration for original characters or settings, such as suggestions for character backgrounds, possible plotlines for future roleplaying campaigns, looking at narrative problems from different perspectives, or something similar.
- Extensive Reading: A more in-depth reading, either involving more cards, with more complex and specific requirements, or which are required to be repeated regularly. This may include tarot readings for businesses, queries with multiple questions, queries with two or more possible options, or for those requiring more esoteric/occult interpretations of the cards (good for those with a background in the occult). Extensive readings’ costs are negotiated based on requirements: get in touch through the contact page for more information.
- Patreon supporters on the Conjuror or Wych tiers can request a 3-card or 6-card Tarot reading each month.
Sourcing the origin of weird possibly-occult symbols or things you’ve found; suggestions for where to look for further information on occult topics or areas of interest; consultation on occult and magickal art, narratives and history in fiction; discussing experiences and interpreting them through potential occult lenses. Information is presented without dogma or commitment to one particular religious or spiritual practice, and is provided as context/routes for exploration rather than as definitive and authoritative orthodoxy.
- Consultation is usually a pay-what-you-want donation after the consultation itself, larger projects or more extensive consultations are open to negotiation.
Any commissions that check off something from this list of oddnesses might be eligible for a discount with discussion!
- Nonfiction commissions exploring modern or postmodern magick and the occult
- Scripts/theme & scene directions/dialogue for queer erotica
A look at some small game design choices that were going into a previous build in Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim — a way of dealing with an issue between the NPC Autonomy system and making the story more accessible to players, and how Cennedig is the lynchpin in player interactions with the three chiefs of the clan.
Continue reading “The Whispering #1: Choosing Duties; Cennedig as Front of House”
Exploring dens, private spaces, and room to breathe in game design through The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and merritt k’s Soft Chambers project.
Continue reading “Room to Breathe in Games and Play”
Messy queer teenage emotions, a conflicted religious upbringing and imbalanced relationship dynamics are all things that many LGBTQ people have had to learn to deal with as part of growing up. Thankfully, very few of us also have to deal with the literal devil on top of that – but the trio of teenage protagonists in horror visual-novel We Know the Devil have no choice but to contend with all of these things over the course of one fateful night in an abandoned shack near their religious youth camp.
Continue reading “The Price the Two Pay Will Be The Third: We Know the Devil, a review”
The Silent Hill series draws upon a vast range of artists and media for the inspiration behind its macabre setting, its disturbing and suggestive monsters, and its unsettling stories; the work of David Lynch (especially Lost Highway and Mulholland Drive), Adrian Lyne’s Jacob’s Ladder, Stephen King’s “The Mist”, and many more. Of particular importance is Francis Bacon (1909 – 1992), a gay Irish/English figurative painter whose artwork frequently explores themes of dread, violence, sexuality and the human condition – there are strong parallels between Francis Bacon’s work and the monsters, environments and themes of Silent Hill – violence, punishment, redemption, sexuality, death and humanity.
Continue reading “Fear for the Flesh: Francis Bacon’s Influence on Silent Hill”
A look at Dorian Pavus, and how he embodies queer narratives in Bioware’s Dragon Age III.
Continue reading “A Different Kind of Sophisticated Gent: A Look at Dorian Pavus”
Monsters have always been a prominent part of the games we play; the moblins of Zelda, the demons and darkspawn of Dragon Age, the orcs of Shadow of Mordor, even the grues of Zork – creatures of disparate biology, origin and motive that are clustered together because they are the inhuman enemy – the Other, a concept that is prevalent throughout fantasy and sci-fi genres in all media.
However, there has been a great deal of interest in art, academia and other avenues of exploring what “monsters” really are, how we as a society construct them, and what their relationship to humanity is – which has led to complex understandings of monstrosity that move beyond a simple catch-all category for anything deemed inhuman.
Continue reading “Monstrous Identity: Monsters and their LGBTQ Fans”