The Idiot’s Guide to Psychic Self-Defense


British occultist Dion Fortune, pictured with her husband.

Are you having trouble sleeping? Do you have moments where you inexplicably feel afraid and oppressed? Do you find yourself sniffing in rancid odors without a clear source? Has your body suffered mysterious bruises, sometimes in the shape of a goat’s hoof? Are you a white person? If the answer to all or any of these questions is a resounding yes, then according to British occultist Dion Fortune, you’re very likely the victim of a psychic attack. Before ascending to a plane higher than our own in January 1946, Fortune was benevolent enough to leave behind some two dozen books, one of which includes the indispensable 1930 manual Psychic Self-Defense.

In her day, Fortune was one of the best-known occultists in the United Kingdom. Born to a wealthy English family in Wales under the name Violet Mary Firth in 1890, Fortune became interested in the Theosophical Society while working at a psychological clinic. After quarreling with her friend Moina Mathers, Fortune quit Mathers’ Alpha et Omega group and established her own society of quacks, the Fraternity of the Inner Light. (An organization you can find on the internet and still join today.) Fortune claimed to have visions and psychic powers, so naturally, she was a perfect candidate for writing something like Psychic Self-Defense. She was even the target of an attack herself once.

When she was 20-years-old, Fortune worked for a nasty boss who terrorized her employees “by means of her knowledge of mind-power.” When this woman, Lillias Hamilton, suddenly fired an employee without paying him, the man took her to court. Hamilton tried to manipulate Fortune into supporting her case, hypnotizing the poor young woman and using her psychic powers to force Fortune to take her side. After one interrogation, Fortune felt so mentally and physically drained that she slept for fifteen hours.

When Fortune got tired of Hamilton’s abuse, she confronted her boss and told her that she was going to quit. In retaliation, Hamilton managed to keep Fortune in place for four hours, telling her several hundred times that she was incompetent and had no self-confidence. Having these words drilled into her head put Fortune into a daze, and she mindlessly laid in bed for over thirty hours before a housekeeper started to keep an eye on her. She lost her appetite, and had no desire but to stay in bed.

This aimlessness lasted for days, until finally, Fortune’s family came and took her away. In the preface of Psychic Self-Defense, Fortune wrote that, during the attack, she had “physical symptoms of intense fear. Dry mouth, sweating palms, thumping heart and shallow, hasty breathing. My heart was beating so hard that at each beat a loose brass knob on the bedstead rattled.” At the time, Fortune had no idea she was suffering from a psychic attack, and it wasn’t until she became involved with occultism years later that she fully recovered and became aware of what had happened to her.

Fortune didn’t believe that her boss was the only one who could use their psychic powers for evil. “I am of the opinion,” she confessed in the preface, “that psychic attacks are far commoner than is generally realised, even by occultists themselves. Certainly the general public has no conception at all of the sort of things that are done by people who have a knowledge of the powers of the human mind and set to work to exploit them.” Throughout the book, she gives examples of other supposedly real psychic attacks, tying the phenomenon in with vampires, witches, and hauntings. It’s absolute nonsense, but quite fun, and some of the cases she discusses are pretty bizarre.

In a chapter entitled “Vampirism,” for example, Fortune discussed an episode she heard from a student at the psychological clinic where she once worked. After a young man called Z. became roommates with the student, dogs in the area would bark and howl at the same time every evening. A specific window in their apartment would then fly open, and the apartment would become cold. On one occasion, an invisible being flew into the building. After getting rid of the thing, Z. admitted a peculiar relationship with his cousin D. This particular man was a World War I soldier who was discharged after practicing necrophilia on the battle-field. It was believed that D. was psychically attacking Z., and that the war veteran himself was also under the influence of a vampire.

But I digress: How do you actually defend yourself against a psychic attack? For starters, Fortune recommended that victims get as much sunlight as possible. They should avoid the countryside, large bodies of water, and walking alone, because solitude can increase the risk of suicide. Important “psychic centres” such as the head and solar plexus should be kept closed, since they’re easy entry points for psychic influence. But most importantly, ” the bowels should be kept freely open while facing a psychic attack, because there is nothing that puts one at so great a disadvantage as the accumulation of effete matter within the body.” Such measures won’t entirely protect a person from a psychic attack, but they’re great methods of resistance, and can help a victim endure until the attacker runs out of energy.

Another technique is to take a bath in consecrated water. Meditation can also be useful, along with creating magical circles, which can protect the victim’s sleep-place. Alternately, there’s a kind of “mystic superconsciousness” or “Higher Self” that Fortune thought could be activated as a kind of guardian angel in the crisis of a psychic attack. A person’s Higher Self can guide them to safety, away from the site of the psychic attack. In Fortune’s words, “…in times of spiritual crisis the man that has faith in the law of God can rise up and invoke its protection and a seeming miracle will be performed for his benefit.”

Follow these guidelines and you should be fine. To reiterate: when you’re out having fun this weekend, don’t walk alone along a lake in the countryside under any circumstances. Keep your bowels open. Be sure to meditate every once in a while. And last, but not least, keep your Higher Self on the ready in case any wizards, vampires, or New Age cat ladies attempt to telepathically beat you up.

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The Black Magic Murders of Ahmad Suradji

Picture of Ahmad Suradji. (Image source/credit here.)

Picture of Ahmad Suradji. (Image source/credit here.)

Ahmad Suradji, also known as Nasib Kelewang, was a self-proclaimed black magic master who ritualistically killed 42 women and girls over an 11 year period.

 A cattle breeder by trade, he lived in Medan, in West Java, Indonesia, where many women would make the journey to his house seeking guidance and assistance in matters of health, love and finance.

Suradji would generally charge between $200-$300 for his services, with most of his female clients longing to be wealthy or attractive and some asking him to perform black magic rituals to keep their significant others from cheating. As a Dukun, or Shaman, they believed, just as the vast majority of the Indonesian population does, that black magic could help them.

Ahmad Suradji on trial. (Image source/credit here.)

Ahmad Suradji on trial. (Image source/credit here.)

A revered position, many Dukuns make a living with this occupation, and although primarily healers, they are used for a variety of reasons; some are exorcists, some perform blessings on new businesses, and farm lands and on individuals, and some can see the future through spirits. Some Dukuns even offer a darker service of casting curses and hexes and spells for revenge.

Suradji was something of a sorcerer, and between the years of 1986 – 1997 he murdered 42 of his clients in ritual slayings that he believed would ultimately make him more powerful.

Inspired by a dream he had in 1988, in which his deceased father visited him, Suradji would lead the woman and girls out to a sugar cane plant on the outskirts of Medan, and bury them up to their waists in earth before strangling them with a cord. Once dead, he would strip the bodies of the women naked and bury them facing in the direction of his house.As instructed by his father in the dream, he would also consume the victim’s saliva.

His objective was to kill 70 victims in this way, but he was caught at just over half way through his mission at confirmed victim number 42, after the discovery of a body, later identified as Sri Kemala Dewi, by a local man at the sugar cane plantation.

Picture of Ahmad Suradji. (Image source/credit here.)

Picture of Ahmad Suradji. (Image source/credit here.)

Investigators found clothing linked to over 20 women who had been reported as missing in and around the local area. All of the victims were between the ages of 11-39 years old. If Suradji was running low on clientele, it was said that he would also kill local sex workers to get closer to his goal.

Despite the official recorded body count of 42 victims, it is possible that the actual number could be almost double that.

Suradji was convicted, along with one of his three wives (all sisters) who had helped him hide the bodies.

Despite protests by Amnesty International, he was executed by firing squad in 2008.

This article originally appeared on Real Life is Horror, a blog about the unexplained, the creepy, and the unsolved. It has been reposted with the author’s permission. 

The Jiangshi, a Vampire Zombie that Moves by Hopping


The jiangshi, meaning “stiff corpse”, is a monster from Chinese folklore somewhat similar to Western vampires and zombies. There are several different ways a person can become a jiangshi, and while they are usually dead beforehand, some living people can turn into jiangshi after being bitten or attacked by one. People who commit suicide, aren’t buried after death, or whose corpses become possessed by malicious spirits can all become jiangshi. Daoist priests can also reanimate the dead and turn them into jiangshi.

A jiangshi from the 1985 Mr. Vampire movie.

A jiangshi from the 1985 Mr. Vampire movie.

Jiangshi tend to vary in appearance, an individual jiangshi’s looks depending on how exactly long it had been dead. Some that had just recently died look like ordinary human beings, while others that had died a long time ago look just like rotting corpses. All of them are known, however, for their peculiar way of movement. Because of rigor mortis, a jiangshi’s arms and legs are very stiff, so they’re forced to hop and keep their arms stretched forward to grab victims easier.

Another scene from Mr. Vampire. These jiangshi were put to sleep by a Daoist priest.

Another scene from Mr. Vampire. These jiangshi were put to sleep by a Daoist priest.

In popular culture, especially in Hong Kong movies, they are usually depicted with claw-like fingernails, greenish-white skin, and wide open mouths. They wear the uniform of a Qing official, the period of Chinese history (1644-1912) when the Han Chinese were ruled by the Manchu.

A man wearing a Qing-era costume.

A man wearing a Qing-era costume.

Jiangshi avoid the sun, and because they’re afraid of rooster calls, rest in caves or coffins during the day. Once night-time comes around, they emerge from their hiding places and look for victims whose life force they can suck up. There are many ways a jiangshi can be defeated, including showing them their reflection in a mirror, setting them on fire, or throwing the blood of a black dog on them.

The word “jiangshi” has been used in Chinese literature as early as the time of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), but this early usage referred to a corpse. By the time of the Qing, it had come to denote a supernatural reanimated corpse. Jiangshi stories were quite popular during the Qing-era, and their conventional costume might be a reinforcement of anti-Manchu backlash.

An illustration showing what the method of

An illustration showing what the method of “transporting a corpse over 1000 li” looked like.

The source of the jiangshi monster might have come from the practice of “transporting a corpse over a thousand li”, a common method of moving dead bodies in the region of Xiangxi. Dying away from home was considered a very big deal in traditional China, and families who were too poor to afford transportation to bring back a relative who died in a far away location would buy the services of “corpse walkers”. Corpse walkers, typically a team of two men, would tie corpses upright upon long bamboo rods that were carried horizontally. When seen from far away, because the rods would bump up and down, the corpses looked like they were hopping. This practice was often done at night, to avoid seeing people and because it was cooler outside.