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Time for BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup!

2016 December 23
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ Bad omen from Naples: the blood of San Genarro failed to liquefy on schedule.

☠ Witch marks, curses, and magic in the neglected history of Medieval graffiti.

Neil Gaiman ruminates on his childhood fascination with Christmas, to his Jewish family’s chagrin.

☠ Library staff in northern Queensland, Australia are about to be joined by a humanoid robotnamed Pepper.

☠ Meanwhile, if no action is taken, Britain’s rash of library closures are set to double in the next five years.

☠ From The Paris Review: when Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus was first performed centuries ago, audiences believed they were witnessing a literal conjuration of the Devil.

Lucien’s True History, written around 175 CE, could be considered the original Star Wars.

☠ Check out this version of Westworld’s opening credits, re-imagined as an artifact of the 1980′s.

☠ White Christmas, indeed: Check out the apocalyptic wall of icy fog that just rolled in across Lake Superior!

☠ Instead of the traditional fireplace video, close out 2016 with seven hours of melting Chucky from Child’s Play. Enjoy below!

Welcome to #BPAL7wordstory Round Four: GLUTTONY

2016 December 21
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by black phoenix


For the fourth time, we invite BPAL’s fans to participate in our creative process. Welcome one and all to the return of our Seven Word Story Contest!

Call it what you will — flash fiction, microfiction, writing for short attention spans — we want to see just how imaginative you can get in seven words of fewer between now and 1 January 2016.

The winning story will inspire an original fragrance crafted by BPAL’s head perfumer, and will be featured on the label alongside a credit to the author (who will also receive a free bottle of the blend).

This time around, we’re celebrating the Solstice and winter holidays by reveling in GLUTTONY. Make every word count! Multiple entries are fine as well.

The deadline for entries is 1 January 2016.  Please read the rules below before submitting. Email your entries (and any questions about the Contest) to, or tweet them @bpal with the hashtag #BPAL7wordstory.

BPAL Seven Word Story Contest Rules and Regulations

By submitting an entry, you agree to be bound by the Official Submission Guidelines and Rules and represent that you have read and understood all requirements set forth.

How do I submit a 7 Word Story and what are the deadlines?

All submissions must be received by the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab by January 1, 2017. Stories should be submitted online via email to or on Twitter using the #BPAL7wordstory hashtag. On or about January 12, 2017, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab will announce the selected story.

On February 10, 2017 a fragrance inspired by the winning story will be released for sale on Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, featuring the full text of the story and winner’s name on the label.

Selected authors will receive credit under the name of their choice on the copy text for the fragrance, one bottle of the fragrance inspired by their story, and enviable fame within the Black Phoenix community (no warranties on the fame bit).

By submitting an entry, you agree to be bound by these Official Submission Guidelines and Rules and represent that you have read and understood all requirements set forth below.

  1. Submitted stories must be written in English; stories written in other languages will not be accepted.
  1. All entries must be 7 words or fewer.
  1. Stories must be original and unpublished at the time of submission, including the entrant’s social media accounts. All submissions must be exclusive to the 7 Word Stories Project through April 30, 2017, regardless of whether a story is selected as winner.
  1. All information must be submitted electronically via email ( or Twitter (#BPAL7wordstory).
  1. Stories must only have one author. No coauthored works, please. Because…Seven Words.
  1. A submitted story may not contain any material that is copyrighted or otherwise owned or controlled by someone other than the author (including but not limited to, poetry, music and/or lyrics, characters originally created by others in any medium, and/or stories based on real people and/or other people’s lives, other than public figures). We would be fascinated by how you’d manage it, though.
  1. All submissions should be complete stories which can stand on their own.
  1. By submitting a story, authors (and/or their parents and/or guardians) agree that Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and any sponsors or other supporters of the 7 Word Stories Project may use the author’s name, image and all or a portion of the submitted story to promote the project, regardless of whether the story entered is selected as winner. Authors who are under the age of 18 must have the permission of their parent or guardian to submit their work.
  1. Employees of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab or any of their respective entities, subsidiaries, and immediate families (spouses, parents, children, and siblings and their spouses) and/or persons living in the same households as such persons of each are not eligible to enter.
  1. All applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. You are responsible for knowing the laws of your jurisdiction with respect to contest entry. The 7 Word Stories Project and these rules will be governed, construed and interpreted under the laws of California. By entering, you agree to be bound by these rules and by the decisions of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, which are final and binding in all respects. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab reserves the right to change these rules at any time, and in its sole discretion, and to suspend, cancel, postpone or extend the project. Individuals who violate or fail to comply with these rules, violate any law, rule or regulation in connection with participation in the application process, tamper with the operation of the entry process, or engage in any conduct that is detrimental or unfair to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, the application process, any other applicants (in each case as determined in Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s sole discretion), are subject to disqualification.
  1. By entering, authors retain their copyright but grant Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab the license to use their entire story for promotion of the scent, contest, and the Lab in general.
  1. The Lab agrees to use all commercially reasonable efforts to provide credit in whatever format entrants request (i.e., real name, forum name, other pseudonym).
  1. The winning entry or entries will be selected in the sole discretion of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.The Lab reserves the right to select one or more entries based on the quality of entries received. Entries will be judged on their overall narrative, as well as their potential for providing scent inspiration.

Humbugs and Hand Grenades: It’s BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup!

2016 December 16
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ A new experiment may have revealed that ravens have a sense of fairness, just like people or dogs.

This Crusader-era hand grenade was fished out of the sea near Northern Israel.

Miami Beach has run out of sand. Now what?

☠ Read about the time-honored tradition of witch pits. Which pits? Witch pits!

The mystic Rumi remains beloved by Americans, despite growing anti-Muslim sentiment. What gives?

☠ Be honest: are you really learning anything new? Book Riot introduces their third annual Read Harder challenge!

☠ This week Wonder Woman was stripped of her honorary UN Ambassador title, because: haters.

☠ Feeling under the weather this holiday season? William Faulkner’s hot toddy recipe to the rescue!

☠ Watch this version of A Christmas Carol compiled from 400 different adaptations!

Welcome to BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup!

2016 December 9
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ Dining with painfully normal family members this Christmas? Feed them Klaus Nomi’s lime tart recipe.

☠ An entire dinosaur tail has been found trapped in amber – and it’s covered in feathers!

☠ Medieval murals painted over by Shakespeare’s father on Henry VIII’s orders have been revealed for the first time in 450 years.

What are these mysterious jelly-like creatures that have begun washing up on Huntington Beach by the thousands?

Neil Gaiman reads Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven.” We’re not worthy.

☠ All the Harry Potter books rated purely by their mentions of goats.

Psilocybin mushrooms are changing lives in new therapeutic trials with anxiety and depression sufferers.

☠ Blasphemy, sex, Satanism, and sadism: the diabolic erotic art of Félicien Rops (NSFW).

☠ We can’t answer all your questions, but “What if THE VVITCH had been made by Wes Anderson?” That one we can handle. See below!

Curses! It’s BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup

2016 November 25
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠  Over 40 ancient ships have been discovered at the bottom of the Black Sea.

☠  Protect your library the Medieval way, with horrible book curses.

☠  The One Where Medea Saves Her Kids: it urns out our understanding of ancient Greek culture is based on just a few surviving fragments of literature.

☠  Aaron Orbey writes about horror movies an aid in the grieving process.

☠  What it’s like teaching Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four to students in 2016.

☠  A handwritten poem by Anne Frank just sold for over $148K at auction!

☠  On the 50th anniversary of its sovereignty, Barbados wants to ditch Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.

☠  The Chicago politician who complained about squirrels ended up being hospitalized by one.

☠  Vikings returns to the History Channel on November 30th! Here’s a teaser of bloody events to come.

Snake You Very Much: It’s BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup!

2016 November 11
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ Support this Kickstarter: pirate singing group Pirates For Sail is working on their next full-length album, Crabby Road.

☠ We are all this baby iguana trying to flee an army of snakes in the new Planet Earth series.

☠ A 350 year-old Scottish book containing the names and confessions of people accused of witchcraft has been scanned and published online.

Listen to Patti Smith read the words of Oscar Wilde at an event hosted by the prison where he was incarcerated in 1895.

☠ Today’s prison inmates are relying on Dungeons and Dragons as a creative, collaborative way of passing the time.

The wait is finally over for those who ordered the Babadook pop-up book!

☠ Astrid Lindgren’s daughter reveals the secrets of Pippi Longstocking’s origin as a figure in her bedtime stories.

☠ Clickhole poking fun: “6 Things That Happen In Every Jane Austen Story Ever.”

☠ What the world needs now is Nina Simone singing lyrics by Langston Hughes:

Ragnarok Your Way Into the Weekend With BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup

2016 November 4
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ Somehow, the basement of the Finnish Natural History Museum has become infested with dangerous Chilean Recluse spiders,

☠ Ragnarok, anyone? A Swedish photographer captured this image of a giant wolf appearing in the Northern Lights.

☠ NYC’s Metropolitan Opera was shut down this week when a man began scattering his friend’s ashes during a performance.

☠ Here’s why queer Haitians are turning to Vodou in ever-greater numbers.

☠ RIP Tammy Grimes, the Broadway star who voiced Molly Grue in The Last Unicorn.

☠ For the first time, 50,000 year-old human settlements have been discovered in Australia’s interior.

☠ From The Babadook to Raw: Rolling Stone chronicles the rise of the modern female horror filmmaker.

☠ In his Hans Christian Andersen Award acceptance speech, novelist Haruki Murakami urges all the world’s nations to explore their dark side.

☠ Get back to your roots with Pitchfork’s crudely (yet adorably) animated short, A Brief History of Goth:

Spooky News Abounds in BPAL’s Weekly Links!

2016 October 28
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits. This week’s batch:

Maori women describe the transformative power of their sacred chin tattoos.

☠ Wander through a gallery of these folk art relics from America’s secret societies of yesteryear.

☠ Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s historic bathhouse-turned-warehouse may get scrubbed out in the name of residential development.

☠ Some things to consider when traveling through Romania using Bram Stoker’s Dracula as a guide.

☠ We’re diabolically inspired by this photo essay of witchcraft in rural Portugal!

☠ In related news, here is the first known depiction of a witch riding a broomstick.

☠ This week, Daily Show writer Daniel Radosh shared his response to being presented with a permission slip so his son could read Fahrenheit 451.

What’s up with the male robots in Westworld not getting it on?

☠ Adding Donald Trump voiceover to Texas Chainsaw Massacre footage is te best way to#MakeLeatherfaceScaryAgain:

Welcome to BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup

2016 October 14
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by black phoenix

ca. 1950s-1970s --- A relief sculpture of a man[?] sticking out his tongue. Dendera, Egypt. --- Image by © Otto Lang/CORBIS

Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote quest has been dealt a death blow: Disney is developing its own multi-film adaptation.

☠ Learn all about how the Egyptian god Bes gave the Christian devil his looks.

☠ 12th century archbishop Thomas Becket’s personal book of Psalms has been discovered in a library at Cambridge.

☠ An early Adolf Hitler biography turns out to have been most likely written by the Führer himself.

Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play A Doll’s House is getting a rather unconventional sequel – starring Laurie Metcalf and Chris Cooper.

☠ Taschen is reissuing Salvador Dali’s surrealist cookbook, forty years after it was first published!

PJ Harvey collaborates with refugee poets to tell their powerful stories.

☠ More than just a pretty face: revel in the witchy magic of beauty rituals.

☠ According to Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of SNL, there ain’t no party like a The Cruciblecast party. Watch below!

The Old Ways Are New Again in BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup

2016 October 1
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ The current Wonder Woman comic’s writer confirms: “Themyscira Is a Queer Culture.”

☠ Read along in awe as scientists trace society’s greatest myths back to their primordial origins.

☠ The novelist disguised as a housewife: Shirley Jackson wrote 17 books while raising four children.

☠ Get thee to a gallery: beginning this month, the Getty Museum presents an exhibition on the art of alchemy!

☠ A genetic study reveals that cats sailed along with the Vikings on world-conquering journeys.

Photographers have caught mirror spiders adjusting their shiny silver plates to appear extra shiny and dangerous.

☠ An ancient Greek shrine to Demeter and Persephone has been uncovered in Bulgaria.

☠ What does the word “chameleon” actually mean? A survey of all the reigning theories can be found here.

☠ A week from Monday, William Blake’s The Book of Urizen will be presented as a live musical performance at Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum. Enjoy a sneak peek of the work below!