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#37898 - 04/19/10 11:14 PM Die Elektrischen Vorspiele
MatthewJ1
Unregistered



The Law of the Trapezoid, Die Elektrischen Vorspiele

I enjoy reading and studying the classic CoS rituals in The Satanic Rituals and have found that a magician can learn a great deal about creating and performing a good ritual this way.

The Law of the Trapezoid, Die Elektrischen Vorspiele is certainly one of my favourite rituals from TSR and has been described by Dr. Aquino as a performance which “must be counted as one of the most beautiful and powerful in the entire Satanic rituals.” It can also be one of the most physically and psychologically dangerous rituals and is best left to the more experienced practitioner.

Die Elektrischen Vorspiele is a tremendous psychodrama and gives the reader some sense of LaVey’s talents as a ritual writer. I would have enjoyed seeing him thundering out this litany in a darkened chamber filled with flashing lightning, sound and strange machinery.

Basic Elements of the Ritual

The ritual draws on a large number of elements, which I believe were important to Dr. LaVey. These elements are interesting, not only for thinking about the influences in Dr. LaVey’s work, but further because the interested magician can draw on those elements for developing their own rituals. Some of the main elements are:

• The use of tools and technology which produce electrical and magnetic energy, sound etc. The use of three core elements: atmospheric electromagnetic activity; ionization of the air; and extremely low frequency waves.
• An aesthetic drawing on early twentieth century science fiction and German expressionist films, such as Metropolis and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari with their emphasis on severe angles and weird or haunted geometry. A focus on the laboratory scene in Metropolis where Rotwang brings his robot or artificial human companion to life.
• The inclusion of literary works of horror, fantasy, science fiction or myth to assist in the structuring of the ritual - in this case a story called The Hounds of Tindalos by Frank Belknap Long, which was written in 1929, with its references to the hounds of the angles.
• Drawing on a secretive Satanic history, in this case, the history and magical practice of an alleged German black order existing between the two world wars.
• Drawing on the experimental work of Wilhelm Reich. The charging, as Dr. LaVey states of “the chamber in a manner that allows the celebrant to ‘draw’ energy from it while at the same time he adds his own strength of will.”

The above elements are all important in the construction of the ritual, but there are two elements which I would like to focus on very briefly - those are The Law of the Trapezoid; and the litany of Die Elektrischen Vorspiele, with its references to the hounds of the angles and the way they break through into the world/consciousness/perception.

The Law of the Trapezoid

Dr. LaVey postulated a Law of the Trapezoid based on his reading of Mortensen’s photographic treatise The Command to Look and his own experience and research into the paranormal and the unusual.

According to Dr. Stephen Flowers, who wrote an article about Mortensen’s book The Command to Look in 1986 for the Temple of Set, there are three basic components to the command to look, which when combined compel the viewer to look: those components are impact, subject interest and participation.

Dr. Flowers’ states in regards to the component of impact: “The first element – impact – is psychically coercive. Its function is entirely one of the shapes and patterns the viewer sees.” He then goes onto to say: “According to Mortensen, impact is purely biological in effect. It is primarily dependent on shapes or patterns that serve as stimuli signalling danger.”

Impact is a purely formal phenomenon and underpins and sets up the very basis of the image which commands the viewer to look. The trapezoid is one of the four basic impact types which Mortensen mentions and which force the viewer to look and which causes the viewer to feel fear or feel that danger is present. The trapezoid in this formal system is described, by Mortensen, as compact dominant mass.

Dr. LaVey takes this further in his article The Law of the Trapezoid, which is available in The Devils Notebook. Here are two points from the article:

• Dr. LaVey states that the trapezoid in all its myriad forms is the most disturbing shape of all due it being an incomplete pyramid and its sheer size and bulk. “A trapezoid says to the unconscious, ‘I am here, solid as can be, more massive than an ordinary block, but something’s missing and it bothers you.”
• Dr. LaVey states that, in his experience, houses, rooms or areas that are considered blighted are in fact blighted or haunted because of a violation of topographical or architectural symmetry. “Where an entire building would be blighted, it would either have rooms replete with odd and obtuse angles, useless or impractical ells or nooks – assailing occupants from within – or else an erratic, asymmetrical, or foreboding exterior, affecting those who entered and left the premises on a regular basis or lived in the proximity.”

How would The Law of the Trapezoid relate to the ritual called Die Elektrischen Vorspiele? The point to be made here, I think, is that the trapezoid and more generally angles are not only important as physical forms in the real world, but further can be regarded as symbols, or as representational devices for the purpose of the ritual.

The Law of the Trapezoid may in fact be a mental construct, as well as a principle related to architecture and forms in the world. It may in fact be a means of opening the mind to dark and deep thought processes or unconscious forces through its confronting and fear provoking nature. It confronts the mind and compels it to act, to open and face the abyss – to confront and allow out and therefore empower or to go insane?

Excerpts from the Liturgy of Die Elektrischen Vorspiele and Some Commentary

“The fire of Hell doth provide and the thoughts from within doth prevail. Open the portals of darkness, O Great Opener of the Way. Come forth into this cycle. Blast ye forth through the gates of the shining Trapezohedron, for the blood hath been offered!”

“I have glimpsed the Hounds of the Barrier, lying in wait for the souls of the righteous. They are the guardians of the cycles, and they lurk at the threshold of time.”

“And the night-gaunts shall ride, and, crouching at their talons, the great hounds lie awaiting to leap forth into the world. Think not, o men of mildewed minds that ye can escape the great beasts by entering thy shrines, for they follow fast through angles, and they lurk within the trapezoid. I know them for I am as one of them and I have approached the great barrier, and seen on the shores where time exists not the monolithic forms of the hounds of the barrier.”


The emphasis is on that which lurks unseen behind barriers, at the very edges of the unknown, and within angles waiting to get into this world. Or, properly re – articulated, the emphasis is on dark subconscious or unconscious forces or on a cold and dark reality lurking on the threshold and waiting to break through into the conscious. I regard the hounds as representations, or symbols.

The righteous cannot face the strange and terrible hounds, which lay in the margins at the threshold of time, but can they escape them? Who can face the cold hard darkness, represented the hounds and the lurking place represented by the sharp edges of the angles? Who can face the harsh reality which threatens to rush forth into consciousness and hence into the world?

Again those who are weak should not attempt to break open the gate to the beyond either by performing the ritual or just in normal everyday life. This is not meant for just anybody. (Dr. Aquino’s warning regarding the possible psychological damage done by performing this ritual is noted.) The weak or incompetent or soft are simply not equipped to unleash those darker psychological or mental currents which run so deep and dwell in the darkened corners or the margins beyond.

To blast forth through the gates of the shining Trapezohedron. There is the power of the Trapezoidal shape with its dominant hulking mass and its ability to frighten and overwhelm and confuse the viewer. It is a shape which when reflected upon can let loose the repressed, the demons or the hounds which lurk at the edges.

The ritual has a social or political aspect of some sort as there is a request or demand from the celebrant that the hounds or rather forces work their way into the great councils and stop those who would detain us - the dark unconscious/subconscious forces of a harsh reality work for us once we release them – once we are them. Can the hounds be held back once they have entered the world?

“From prisms wrought within the twilight grotto I speak through angles mirrored with thoughts senescent and supreme. O learn the law, my brothers of the night – the great law and the lesser law. The great law brings the balance and doth persist without mercy. The lesser law abideth as the key, and the shining Trapezoid is the door!”

I get the feeling that cracking the code in the above excerpt leads straight into the heart of Dr. LaVey’s thinking. At this stage I cannot crack this code in its entirety, but hope to in time.

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#37986 - 04/22/10 01:25 AM Re: Die Elektrischen Vorspiele [Re: ]
Meq Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
I just found this performance of the ritual on YouTube.
Excuse the poor recording quality, but other than that, enjoy:



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#37989 - 04/22/10 02:06 AM Re: Die Elektrischen Vorspiele [Re: Meq]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Interesting... a modern take on the ritual. It was quite different pre-computer, where we actually had Tesla coil and electrostatic generators humming and popping, the smell of ozone in the air and strobes and neon-type lighting disorienting the mind throughout the progress of the ritual.

The ritual, done traditionally, can be dangerous and provides one hell of a charge to those celebrating it... it's literally a "hair raising" event, with all of the discharging of electrical energy in near proximity to you.

THIS SHOULD NEVER BE TRIED WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF SOMEONE SKILLED IN ELECTRONICS AND IN ELECTRICAL SAFETY!!!
_________________________
Bury your dead, pick up your weapon and soldier on.


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#38002 - 04/22/10 10:24 AM Re: Die Elektrischen Vorspiele [Re: Jake999]
Meq Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 861
 Originally Posted By: Jake999
The ritual, done traditionally, can be dangerous and provides one hell of a charge to those celebrating it... it's literally a "hair raising" event, with all of the discharging of electrical energy in near proximity to you.

Since I had a pacemaker fitted at the age of 14, the traditional rite would be especially dangerous for me!
Still, in using the technology of the day, this modernized version seems very much in the spirit of the original, if not as dramatic.

I expect obtaining the requisite electrical equipment for the traditional rite is not going to be cheap or easy, which at least reduces the odds of some fuckwit killing himself in the process of this rite.

This modern version (still over 10 yrs old) was evidently performed by Setians, going by the Setian pentagrams instead of Baphomets, references to Xeper and the "Hail Set!", etc. Pity M.A.A. is no longer around to comment...

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#38013 - 04/22/10 04:22 PM Re: Die Elektrischen Vorspiele [Re: ]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2573
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
Just got tapped on the eshoulder and asked to drop in and comment on this topic, so sure.

First and foremost, please take Jake's warning very seriously. Meq's mention of his pacemaker is a case in point. And non-electromagicians present should be pre-briefed on what they can and can't touch/do.

That said, the DEV is ideally a personal-participation working, not a celebrant/onlookers one. So some safe, hands-on gadgetry is part of the concept. In the old days (when Jake and I didn't have grey hair), this might be a van de Graaf generator. Today it still might be one, but there are also options such as plasma balls and tubes.

Anton LaVey also had a small, altartop-size Tesla coil, but of course you can get or build bigger ones as well. Another staple from the old days was a Jacob's ladder. Our Wal-mart of choice for all this mad lab stuff was/still is Information Unlimited, where you can really zap your MasterCard, your neighbors, your electric bill, and yourself.

Those videos that Meq found were done at one of the Temple of Set's international conclaves - I think this one was at Vegas in Y2K. Doing any kind of ritual working at a hotel requires resourcefulness, diplomacy (so as not to freak out the hotel staff or invite a Tac Squad raid), and in the case of a DEV attention to details like room sprinkler systems and heat/smoke sensors. Generally static-electrical generators plus an activated sprinkler is not a great idea. Same goes for [old style] dry ice or [new style] smoke machines. When the Nineveh Grotto did the ritual scene for that turkey Asylum of Satan back in Louisville 1971, we hauled in several containers of dry ice to fog up the room enough to blur out all the cheesy props. Today a water-based smoke machine would do better/faster and not amputate anyone's fingertips.

The DEV in the Satanic Rituals has nothing to do with any of those pre-war/Nazi groups cited in the essay. Anton wrote it himself, inspired by Ufa and Universal mad lab scenes, and Frank Belknap Long's "The Hounds of Tindalos". On 9/2/78 Frank wrote to me:

 Originally Posted By: Frank Belknap Long
The inclusion of “The Hounds of T.” in that Satanic ritual startled me no end. I had no previous knowledge of this. Now I am really frightened, fearing that - oh, well. I shall probably be able to overcome that fear by telling myself, over and over, that the “Hounds” were solely an FBL construct and that I thought of them one morning while shaving. But still - one never knows.

I knew absolutely nothing, I can assure you, of LaVey’s ritual use of “The Hounds” until the arrival of the Nyctalops article, and seemingly none of my friends read the Avon volume. Otherwise I’m quite sure my attention would have been called to it long before this.

I was appalled, as you surmise, that LaVey ascribed “The Hounds” to Nazi/SS ideology. It was published in Weird Tales long before the rise of the Nazis and even before HPL’s C-mythos had taken on its later, elaborately structured form. It could, of course, have gone back to the very wild period of German expressionism that immediately followed World War I - no, that began as early as 1910 or so - if I did not know better. I simply pulled the title out of thin air, in searching for something hideously chilling (some title with a fiery implication attached to it as well perhaps), and I remember that the word “tinder” leapt immediately into my mind.

Now another specter from “long ago and far away” has arisen to astound me. In the just-published new volume about the Necronomicon [Long is talking about The Necronomicon by George Hay (Ed.) - M.A.] an elaborate ancestry has been traced for John Dee’s translation. I pulled that non-existent translation out of thin air too, and it appeared at the head of “The Space Eaters” in Weird Tales in July 1928. HPL immediately incorporated it into the C-mythos. The incredible things we set in motion without remotely suspecting they would have such momentous future consequences!

The German in the SR is also a mistranslation from the original English in a few places; there's a corrected translation in The Church of Satan (Appendix #5).

The original [and most stunning in my opinion] DEVs at 6114 were done in the Blue Room, a chamber in the basement (ground floor) behind the Den of Iniquity. It was painted a very eerie blue, lined with all sorts of weird-angled mirrors, and when not otherwise in use had a coffin on a raised central platform as its sole decoration. Later the Blue Room was dismantled, partitioned off, and part of it turned into a sleazy noir hotel room, in which Anton kept his collection of Hollywood actresses' underwear, etc. Don't even ask.

Thereafter private DEVs were usually done in the Council Chamber (off to the right of the DoI/behind the front outside brick stairs), or for groups in the main ritual chamber upstairs (the one with the stone fireplace).

The Order of the Trapezoid does have all the proper stuff for the full-dress DEV, including a big blue-neon-light-trimmed pentagon for the floor, but we do it only rarely because of all the logistics. The version in Meq's videos is more common because it is easily transportable, takes minimal setup time, and doesn't set anyone or anything on fire.

That's all I can think of to add, so I'mouttahere again ... basically working on more updates to The Temple of Set, which is now up to Draft #10 or so.

Best regards, and never forget that Satanism is supposed to be fun!
_________________________
Michael A. Aquino

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#38019 - 04/22/10 10:12 PM Re: Die Elektrischen Vorspiele [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
MatthewJ1
Unregistered



Well this has just made my day - the brief return of Dr. A.

Am looking forward to reading the updated ebook on The Temple. Pop in every now and then Dr. A.

Thanks to Meq and Jake as well for the link and the info. It certainly increases my understanding of this ritual.

I love these classic rituals and want to study and write some comments on Das Tierdrama next.

Here is a question for interested members? What sort of rituals have you done and how did you compose/write/create them?

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#38049 - 04/23/10 10:55 PM Re: Die Elektrischen Vorspiele [Re: ]
bds23 Offline
stranger


Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 7
Loc: Texas
I feel compelled to express my disappointment with the videos above. Having read the ritual but having never performed it, I expected much more. Of course, watching the video while sitting here with a good cigar is probably nothing like the experience of the actual participants in the ritual. I would imagine that an outsider watching many rituals would not feel moved too much. However, I was suprised to see that many of the participants in the ritual on the video appeared to be quite bored. Reading the ritual in the SR I always had a sense that it would be such a living and dynamic "thing". But hey, I was not there.

In my ritual expereince I have found that it is the rituals that I create for myself that have the most meaning and actually "work" (however one might decide to define that!) in the most profound way.
The question is asked, "What sort of rituals have you done and how did you compose/write/create them?". I imagine that the ritual work I am familiar with would be familiar to most here; rituals for money, sex, the destruction of an enemy, communication between dimensions, and the deification of the Self, etc. When it comes to the process of creation I tend to spend a few weeks focusing on what I want from the ritual. During this time I will do a research of "traditional" texts, poetry, movies etc. and steal a few lines here and there. I will journal about my desires for the ritual and come up with a ritual outline. Then I spend a few days or weeks actually writing the text of the ritual, deciding on music, lighting etc. Sometimes I memorize the litany, other times I create a physical text to take into the chamber and read from.

Of course the above rituals are usually quite full blown affairs and generally of a Greater Black Magic (to steal a good term from my friends in the TOS) nature. I find that for most of my more "practical" magickal needs a well charged sigil can turn the trick uite well.

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#38337 - 05/05/10 06:58 PM Re: Die Elektrischen Vorspiele [Re: bds23]
Kali Offline
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Registered: 04/15/10
Posts: 33
This ritual is really fascinating to me. Though, how dangerous can it be? I mean, all you are doing is breaking down the barriers which are programmed through-out life. Perhaps, is it the destructive nature or sudden-ness that is more threatening? I've practiced a few rituals, and one of them was a mind-f of sorts which caused me to see a circular rainbow. And no, I was not on drugs. I'm going to try this--do it your own way ritual.
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#38339 - 05/05/10 07:28 PM Re: Die Elektrischen Vorspiele [Re: Kali]
TV is God Moderator Offline
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Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 273
Loc: The Cornhole
This is by far the most fascinating of rituals to me. Although I am more attracted to the sounds than anything else.

I'm very attracted to unusual sound. I often take a microphone and an amplifier and manipulate feedback with guitar effects and experiments of the like. I find shutting out all other senses and just focusing on that sound to be very therapeutic and it's probably the closes thing to a "spiritual" experience I've ever had.

Not the same idea as Die Elektrischen Vorspiele but I think this could easily translate into a noise-ritual. Perhaps even of the sounds of the body? If you hold a contact mic to your throat you'll hear your pulse. Amplified and through distortions one could "meditate" to a room full of the noise of your own body. The walls pulse with your heartbeat and your breath echos and resonates like a storn as you become a godly presence haunting the room like a ghost... I've got some equipment to set up.

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#40705 - 07/23/10 06:02 PM Re: Die Elektrischen Vorspiele [Re: TV is God]
Lamar Offline
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Registered: 02/03/10
Posts: 226
Loc: Alabama
I would like to inquire about Anton's The Law of the Trapezoid. I can't find anything written from Anton himself. It's in the Devil's Notebook but I haven't had the cash to purchase it yet.

So The Law of the Trapezoid deals with angles and there effect on your subconscious? I read MathewJ1's post but could someone expand on it a bit?

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#40724 - 07/23/10 09:16 PM Law of the Trapezoid [Re: Lamar]
Michael A.Aquino Offline
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Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 2573
Loc: San Francisco, CA, USA
 Originally Posted By: Lamar
I would like to inquire about Anton's The Law of the Trapezoid. I can't find anything written from Anton himself. It's in the Devil's Notebook but I haven't had the cash to purchase it yet.

So The Law of the Trapezoid deals with angles and there effect on your subconscious? I read MathewJ1's post but could someone expand on it a bit?

Anton LaVey's "Law of the Trapezoid": All obtuse angles are magically harmful to those who are not aware of this property. The same angles are beneficial, stimulating, and energizing to those who are magically sensitive to them.

For a detailed discussion, see Appendix #19 "The Command to Look" in my ebook The Church of Satan.
_________________________
Michael A. Aquino

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#40885 - 07/27/10 09:39 AM Re: Law of the Trapezoid [Re: Michael A.Aquino]
Lamar Offline
member


Registered: 02/03/10
Posts: 226
Loc: Alabama
Ok so, I finally got to read The Law of the Trapezoid. After reading it, ironically, I began to notice a lot of items, fixtures, cars, and objects that were trapezoidal. I work in a local Walmart, when I took my break I noticed that the carts and buggies were nothing but a bunch of trapezoids, as well as other items.

My question is, how could I utilize The Law of the Trapezoid for my benefit? Could this be used in practical Lesser Magic?

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#74163 - 01/06/13 03:50 PM DEV part 2, modern electricity fun [Re: ]
Dimitri Offline
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Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 3138
While Die Elektrischen Vorspiele is already an aesthetical pleasing ritual creating a certain primordial intimate eerie atmosphere, things can always be taken a step further.

Seeing electrical currents is fascinating. There's a whole lot of unexplored field when it comes down to incorporating electricity into ritual. There is, as a purely electrical instrument, the theremin or who is renamed the badgermin in this video (those crazy Brits..) who works with magnetic fields to produce sounds. Seeing the badger doesn't affect the tunes other, more occult or fun, details can be incorporated on the instrument.

There's always going a step even further when there's a lot of spare time and a few technicians/engineers at hand. It creates the opportunity to have a extremely dangerous (yet fun) method of making music alike the boys from Arcattack do with their tesla coils. A little example would be their performance in San Mateo Makers Faire in 2010 by covering the doctor who theme.. And as a little extra to MAA I include the imperial march from SW.

But I guess to many amateur occultists, these tricks will probably end up in a more then close meeting with daddy Satan with a nice pre-cooked flavor of 50.000V.


Edited by Dimitri (01/06/13 03:59 PM)
_________________________
Ut vivat, crescat et floreat

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#78965 - 08/02/13 09:31 PM Re: DEV part 2, modern electricity fun [Re: Dimitri]
SIN3 Offline
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Registered: 05/14/13
Posts: 6786
Loc: Virginia
 Quote:
Seeing electrical currents is fascinating. There's a whole lot of unexplored field when it comes down to incorporating electricity into ritual.


Loooooove me some Electricity.

For mine, I utilize a combination of the Violet Wand Kit, and an Electric Chair. It's built to scale, so it usually has to be brought in through the back gate of my yard and set up in my Garage studio. I had to add a separate breaker for it, so I didn't short out the electrical system.

I usually drape off an area that creates odd angles out there anyway, so extra draping during the Exhibitions just adds to the Aesthetic. I've always favored the Nazi Interrogation techniques, it includes turning up the juice and a combination of either flogging or the whip.

For my 38th Birthday, I turned it into a theme party. I added a few tame clips for my youtube channel: Here

The theme was essentially The Catholic Church trying to convert me by way of torture, the Nazi 'hired' by the Bishops. By the time I took this video clip, his hat and Jacket were off. Shame too, the Regalia is authentic and quite impressive.

My kit looks something like this:
(Lifted this image off the Web)



It's filled with other accessories and items I've added in personal collection. These quack kits put out some decent juice, I prefer the metal to the bulbs but they have their appeal as well.


I also picked up a smaller version as a travel kit and purchased it from this brand:



Converting the voltage was a pain but I found an adapter that works out great.




The electrodes fit my larger model, so I got more bang for my buck.

For group ritual participation I was tied to a metal chair and was zapped repeatedly by everyone in the room, it was a non-stop electro-show in the dark. Strobe Lighting, Music and a mix of the sounds, colors and aroma of the wands, is fantastic. I highly recommend it. If you're a pansy for pain, you can set it on a low setting. Though with the Wartenburg Pinwheel, it rarely makes a difference. I call that thing 'The Little Fucker'. Whether you're the receiver or not, you'll get zapped. Especially if you create a daisy chain. Essentially one person holds the metal rod, then holds hands (or just touches the arm of the next person in the chain), and so on and the current goes through each person. Your hands then become a wand.


For the Electric Chair, there's metal plates on the seat, back, arm and foot rests - so you get the full gambit. There's also a metal helmet but I never got a chance to try it.

An associate of mine built the chair and I request it on occasion.

I thought about doing a Sci-Fi theme, or even something from Silent Hill but I nixed it at the last minute for my last party. I may do that for the big '40'. I haven't decided on the guest list yet.






Edited by SIN3 (08/02/13 09:35 PM)
_________________________
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