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Evocation and Dark-Mirror Scrying

To: alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Evocation and Dark-Mirror Scrying (var)
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2001 13:39:48 -0800

Evocation and Dark-Mirror Scrying

This is an edited version of the compiled usenet posts made
in alt.magick during August 2001 concerning the source of a
specific dark-mirror evocation method described in Chapter
Nine of Donald Michael Kraig's book "Modern Magick."

David Cantu (

Kraig stole portions of the book ["Modern Magick,"
specifically Chapter Nine] from one Carol (Poke, Gnome)
Runyon's work [...] Poke says a student gave Kraig the
skrying material for his book, and that Poke was the
inventor of the method and went un-credited.

nagasiva (

please provide some relevant quotations from each and their
copyright dating in support of this claim. I haven't heard
this charge yet and what I saw in Kraig's "Modern Magick"
seemed rather conventional Thelemic/Golden Dawn such that I
wonder what was "stolen".

David Cantu (

Poke had nothing published at the time [of Kraig's
publication of "Modern Magick" in 1989] so there is no
copyright to point to, and while that is not plagiarism,
that was not what I claimed, Naga, only that he stole from
Poke's work.

catherine yronwode (

David Cantu's claim that Poke had "nothing published" is not
exactly accurate -- for although Poke HIMSELF had not yet
published the material, below we find that he supplies THREE
published references predating Kraig's book --
   *  the 1980 Robert S. Ellwood book, reprinted in 1988;
   *  the 1972 Hans Holzer book, reprinted in 1977 and 1978;
   *  the 1974 Tom Snyder Show on NBC TV, re-broadcast in 1975
-- EACH OF WHICH clearly identified Carroll "Poke" Runyon
and the O.T.A. as the source and originator of this particular
form of dark-mirror scrying used in Goetic evocation.

Furthermore, Runyon states that he alone originated this
specific dark-mirror method, in 1969. This bears examining:

Nelson White, whom Donald Michael Kraig sourced as the
originator of the method, was said by Hans Holzer, in
1972, to have been Runyon's assistant. In fact, Holzer
specifically makes it clear that he met both White and
Runyon and that "all of the artistic work and theories ...
are the brainchild of ...Frater Aleyin (Carroll "Poke"
Runyon)." Holzer saw the operation performed by Runyon and
his wife Jeanette, not by White, who merely "aided and
abetted." (See below.)

This independent documentation of the respective roles of
Runyon and White, given by Holzer in 1972 -- seven years
before White published his one-paragraph account of the
method -- makes it untenable for Kraig to *persist* in
stating that White was the originator of the material.

In my opinion, based on a reading of the documentation,
Kraig may have made a simple error of ascription when he
first published "Modern Magick" in 1989, but when called to
account, as a responsible scholar, he should have credited
Runyon in subsequent reprintings of his book.

As i understand it, what is at issue is not plagiarism per
se, but rather the theft of intellectual property and/or
repeated failure to credit a colleague in one's field -- and
Runyon's charge is not only aimed at Donald Michael Kraig,
but at Nelson White, from whom Kraig claims to have received
the material.

White's personal animosity toward Runyon at the time he
published "Secret Magick Revealed" provides sufficent
explanation for his behaviour -- but Kriag's continuing
refusal to credit Runyon, despite the evidence, is
surprising, as Kraig was never personally involved in O.T.A.
group dynamics, and he is also demonstrably reasonable and
fair about giving credit to other individuals (such as Dion
Fortune) whose writings he interpreted in "Modern Magick."

Poke Runyon (

Just to set the record straight on this: I've never accused
Don Kraig of plagiarism. He came close but not over the
line. What happened was this: one of my students [Nelson
White] had a falling out with me -- mostly instigated by his
wife -- and, after leaving the O.T.A., he circulated  a
Xerox, Acco binder "book" in which he briefly explained the
facial reflection/distortion method of Goetia evocation I
had developed back in 1969. He admitted that he was
"Revealing" someone else's "Secret Magick." [The book was
"Secret Magick Revealed" by Nelson White and Anne White.]
This was a marginal, underground publication and the method
itself was only presented in one paragraph. I decided to
ignore it. Kraig, however, praised it, calling the authors
[the Whites] "two excellent occultists," and cited it as his
major source for Chapter Nine in *Modern Magick,*  He then
came as close as he dared to showing exactly how the O.T.A.
method was done.

Just a few months before Kraig's book hit the stands, Carl
Weschecke [the publisher of Llewellyn books] was anxious to
introduce me to Don Kraig at the ABA convention in Los
Angeles. He wanted "To get us together." Kraig was also
ingratiating. He had heard I was working on the G.D. [Golden
Dawn] cyphers and he wanted to give me a copy of McGee's
pamphlet version in exchange for a set of our 7th Ray
journals. I agreed.

A month or so later, his letter arrived with the McGee
pamphlet and a money order for $15.00. I shelved it until I
could get a set of Rays ready for him (some had to be
re-copied). In less than a week his book was out and I had
my first look at it.

I must admit I was furious. I'd been ripped off and there
was nothing I could do about it. Weschecke had known very
well that I would be furious, and so had Kraig. The ABA
courtship was a slimy move by both of them. I shoved Kraig's
 letter with the money order into a cubby hole and tried
very hard to put the whole rotten business out of my mind.

Seven years later, at Pat Zalewiski's urging, I got back to
work on the G.D. cyphers. I used the McGee pamphlet (one of
several versions of the cyphers) as one of my  cross
references (It was available in two copyrighted re-prints),
but I still gave Don Kraig thanks in the acknowledgements to
my book for having sent me a copy.

Carl Wescheke wrote that he liked my book and we signed a
contract. Everything seemed to be going well with the
project at Llewellyn until Don Kraig circulated a letter to
the whole staff accusing me of "stealing his work," (his
exact words!) without explaining himself further. In other
words, he accused me of plagiarism! I sent a five page
letter to Llewellyn detailing the background of the
situation and asking for an apology.

Kraig tried to justify his accusation by claiming that he
had had to "work" to "earn the money" to buy the pamphlet
from McGee, and therefore I had "stolen his work" (I have
this incredible statement over his signature!) -- and of
course there was the $15.00 money (which had grown to $25.00
in his mind) that I had also "stolen". This didn't work very
well either because I'd never cashed it and had managed to
find the original buried in my desk.

The upshot of all this was that Llewellyn dragged their feet
on my book for a year until Darcy Kuntz's version of the
cyphers came out and then used that as an excuse to break
their contract. Of course I had grounds for a lawsuit
against Kraig and Llewellyn but suing authors and their
publishers is not a wise thing to do if you are a writer

So, in my opinion Mr. Kraig is not a very honorable or even
an honest gentleman, but I can't call him a plagiarist --
even though he certainly called me one.

catherine yronwode (

Ironically, Poke would probably have given permission for
the use of the material to Kraig, as he previously had given
it to three others, had only he been properly CREDITED by
Kriag as he was by the others.

Poke Runyon (

You're absolutely right. I would have been more than happy
to cooperate. And I strongly suspect that Carl Weschecke
suggested that to Kraig.

David Cantu (

Perhaps Kraig was unaware at the time, but I don't know that
he has given the credit [since].

Poke Runyon (

No. He has never apologized to me or acknowledged my
contribution to Dark Mirror evocation methodology.

Note that I have never claimed to have invented Dark Mirror
scrying. In fact I've pointed to Dee and Kelly's work often
to counter the claims of those credulous medievalists who
think that Dark Mirror scrying is only a minor magical

What I did discover (possibly re-discovered, but if so,
nobody yet has found the original) is the application of the
facial reflection / distortion (Bloody Mary) phenomenon to
Goetic Evocation.

I taught the method to Nelson White in 1969, and we founded
the O.T.A. in 1970. White resigned in 1972 and eventually
published my method in "Secret Magick Revealed" in 1979 --
after Hans Holzer, in "The New Pagans," referred to the
method and attributed it to me in 1972, after Ellwood
described in print one of my Goetia operations in 1980, and
well after we had shown Jo Carson's film of me conjuring
behind Hal's wife, who was holding the candle sticks and
standing in front of the upraised triangle -- with the
mirror on it -- on the NBC Tom Snyder Show in 1974 and again
in 1975. Not only that, White clearly stated in his 1979
book that he was revealing a "closely guarded secret" -- a
secret I taught him!

Now please understand, I didn't start this present go-round,
and I'm not trying to keep it going -- but at this stage in
my life, I'm not about to roll over and play dead dog on
this issue.

nagasiva (

it sounds like Runyon is asserting that Kraig knowingly
stole the ideas and then rejected Runyon's explanation as
false in a fit of jealousy or in order to protect his own
publishing interests with Llewellyn, adding fictional
elements to his account of the situation and making
impossible Runyon's publishing through Llewellyn.

Poke Runyon (

That's the gist of it.

David Cantu (

Or perhaps Poke made this all up, in all honesty, how am I
to know.

nagasiva (

well you're the one repeating the story. I'd like it if you
looked more deeply and became convinced of the matter one
way or another if you're going to be promoting one side of
it in the newsgroup. I enjoy the critical approach we bring
to alt.magick and prefer not to leave one-sided contentions
(about the value of a particular book, for example, or the
way a particular part of occult (even occult publishing)
history actually took place) go unaddressed by a fair-minded
appraisal from someone unbiased due to their proximity to
the events or to those who bring the matter to us.

Poke Runyon (

I don't make things up. Everything I posted is documented in
correspondence between myself, Kraig and Llewellyn; it's
true, and even understated. It's quite a large file. Kraig,
a lifetime resident of Los Angeles, has tried to claim that
he didn't really know about the O.T.A. and our mirror
method, but Nelson White's book made it  obvious that the
concept and method was an "Initiatory Secret"  White was
"Revealing." How Kraig, a keen student of magick, could
totally miss the following documentation is frankly


         Mysticism and Religion
           by Robert S. Ellwood, Jr., Ph.D.
           Prentice-Hall, 1980

    Reprinted in:

         Religious and Spiritual Groups
         in Modern America, 2nd Edition
           by Robert S. Ellwood, Jr. & Harry B. Partin
           Prentice-Hall , 1988

      "On May 6, 1977, I attended an evocation of Astarte, the
    ancient Canaanite goddess of love, performed by the Ordo Templi
    Astartes. The rite exemplified how the intensive ritual work in a
    close-knit group can arouse psychic energy leading to strong
    ecstatic or religious experience.

       "The principal parts in the rite were those of the
    Receiver and  Operator. The Receiver (a woman since the deity was
    female), stood before the mirror with a candle in each hand. In
    her it was believed that the goddess would manifest her
    personality and power. Also a glimpse might be caught of the
    passing glory in the mirror.

      "The Operator or Magus stood within the circle facing the
    Receiver. His function, supported by the concentrated energies of
    the entire group, was by the force of his will and magical words
    to summon up Astarte into the woman's body and the mirror. Thus,
    he repeated over and over an invocation of Astarte in a chanting
    tone, his voice full of concentrated power. The emphasis was on
    his command to the ancient goddess in the name of Elohim (God).

      "Breaking the mood, he quietly asked the Receiver if
    Astarte was now here. She said in a low voice, "One more time."
    The Magus called out the invocation once more. The Receiver
    shook; the candles moved, making dim patterns in the mirror. Then
    suddenly the Receiver laughed, a lilting, sexual, musical laugh
    quite different from the woman's ordinary tone. At this point I
    myself felt a surge of  tremendous tingling excitement..."

(Note: The Magus was Carroll "Poke" Runyon; the Receiver was
Jeanette Runyon. Ellwood's book was published in 1980, one
year following Nelson's publication of "Secret Magick
Revealed," but EIGHT years before Kraig's, and it dated the
operation previous to Nelson's publication. That is the most
important point. Ellwood's and Holzer's books were a great
deal more important and well known than Nelson's. Kraig's
ignorance of them is remarkable.)


          The New Pagans
            by Hans Holzer
            Doubleday, 1972

    Reprinted in:

          Pagans and Witches
            by Hans Holzer
            Manor Books, NY, 1978

          In Search of Magic and Witchcraft
            by Alan Landsburg
            Bantam Books, 1977

    "All of the artistic work and theories behind this brotherhood
    (The OTA) are the brainchild of an extremely talented young man
    by the occult name of Frater Aleyin (Carroll "Poke" Runyon). He
    is aided and abetted by another young man named Frater Khedemel
    (Nelson H. White), a part time teacher and peace officer..."

    "...On February 4, 1971, I was to find out for myself what
    exactly the O.T.A. kind of magic was like. The boys picked me up
    at my hotel, and as early as 7 p.m. we arrived at the temple in
    Pasadena. This gave me ample time to look around and inspect the

    "...In an adjoining room , which is somewhat larger than the
    first one, the inner temple had been established. Painted in
    black it is illuminated in stage lights in various colors that
    give it an almost psychedelic effect. In the center there is a
    circle consisting of a slightly raised narrow wooden platform.
    Further back outside the circle there is a gong, and facing
    forward just outside the circle, a large mirror on a stand. When
    I first inspected the temple that mirror was covered, since it
    played a major part in the ritual that was to follow shortly."

    "...I was to "scrye" in the great mirror -- to do some crystal
    gazing in the hope that Baal might appear to me ... The Master
    thrust two long candle sticks into my hands and motioned me to
    hold them up so that I could see the mirror more clearly. What I
    saw was merely my face, but in time I might conceivably see
    someone lurking behind me."

    "...As I stood there staring into the half darkened mirror I
    thought I felt some presence hovering over my shoulder. I did not
    see the clearly defined face of King Baal next to me in the glass
    but I felt something.

(Note: this account was first published in 1972, seven years
before the publication of SECRET MAGICK REVEALED.)

And in addition to this we demonstrated the technique
(Mirror on the upraised Triangle with the receiver holding
the evocation candles) on the Tom Snyder Show, NBC network
television, in October 1974, and again (re-run) on Halloween
the following year. If anyone doubts this, we have plenty of
VHS copies of the old Tom Synder Show that will totally
confirm it. If Kraig didn't know where the Dark Mirror
method came from by the early 1980s he must have been the
most out-of-touch magician in the whole Western World!

I think it is important to note that Nelson White and I have
buried the hatchet and have been friends for several years
now. Nelson even gave "The Magick of Solomon" and "The Book
of Solomon's Magick" favorable reviews. Dredging up this
business does tend to embarrass Nelson and I want him to
know that I did not instigate this present inquiry. Nelson
had a legitimate beef with me: I pumped him full of visions
of success, and then unilaterally decided that I wasn't cut
out to be an occult marketeer, got married and turned the
O.T.A. -- that he had devoted three years of his life to
helping develop -- into a magical wicca coven. Kraig has no
such excuse.

nagasiva (

if it is true what you are saying, then I'd like Kraig to be
held accountable and provided with the reputation which he
actually *deserves* rather than merely that provided him by
his fans and enemies. I have sent a copy of this post to Mr.
Kraig for comment. here is his response to the material I
presented him and the questions that I asked regarding the
mirror-scrying technique he described in Chapter 9 of
"Modern Magick":

Donald Michael Kraig (

"Modern Magick" was the result of ten years of teaching
classes which followed a decade of my own private work. In
the section on evocation I fully describe how I came to a
conclusion about the way evocation works and I clearly and
explicitly name the sources I used. I will not get into an
argument over this. Instead, I would encourage people to
find a system that works for them and use it.

bard (

In Donald Michael Kraig's "Modern Magic" (First Edition,
Eighth Printing, 1993), the sources listed for Chapter 9

  Lesser Key of Solomom: Goetia, The,
      DeLaurence, 1916.
Crowley, Aleister,
      Weiser, 1973
Feldman, Daniel Hale,
  Clear Magic,
      Garden of YH-Light, 1984
Fortune, Dion,
  Aspects of Occultism,
      Aquarian Press, 1962
Mathers, S. L. M. (transalator),
  Greater Key of Solomon, The,
      DeLaurence, 1914
  Grimoire of Armadel, The,
      Weiser, 1980
McIntosh, Phineas,
  Origin of Letters and Numerals Acording to the Sefer Yetzirah, The,
     Weiser, 1975.
Turner, Robert, (translator),
  Arbatel of Magick,
     Heptangle, N.D.
White, Nelson and Anne,
  Lemegeton; Clavicula Salomonis,
     The Technology Group, 1979. (This is the complete Lessor Key).
  Secret Magick Revealed,
     The Technology Group, 1979

Poke Runyon (

At this point the truth about my Dark Mirror contribution is
such general knowledge that Kraig's refusal to admit it
poses no threat to me or my work.

I will cite two current examples:

(1) From Lon Milo DuQuette's "My Life With The Spirits", 1999

   "Nathan Sanders was an O.T.O. Brother and the most
   experienced Goetic magician I had ever met. He was a former
   student of Carroll (Poke) Runyon, the legendary master of
   the art of evocation.

   (Footnote: See "The Book of Solomon's Magick" ... Runyon
   rediscovered the key secret of conjuring a spirit to visible
   appearance in a black mirror. This facial distortion technique
   had been lost in the middle ages, leaving half a millennium
   of magicians struggling to see spirits in the incense smoke
   rising from an empty triangle.)"

   -- page 119

(2) From David Griffin's "The Ritual Magic Manual", 1999

   "In recent decades however, research has suggested that the
   smoke method is but a blind, or "smoke-screen" for the
   actual procedure, which is to place a mirror inside the
   Triangle of Art. For the latter method arrange the Triangle
   vertically so the magician can easily see his or her
   reflection therein. Although the adept should experiment
   with both methods, research reveals the latter to be more
   effective. There is a distinct advantage in using the mirror
   in the Triangle instead of smoke, since the entity appears
   together with the reflection of the seer, thus facilitating
   the projection psychic contents into the Triangle.

   (Footnote: This method was apparently rediscovered by Poke
   Runyon of the Ordo Templi Astarte(s).)"

      -- page 551

All that would be necessary for Mr. Kraig to do in order to
reconcile this issue -- even after all this time -- would be
to revise his Chapter Nine for the next reprint of "Modern
Magick", and give credit where credit is due. This would
satisfy me, and make him look better in the eyes of his


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