Magic Words: A Dictionary
Seance Parlor Feng Shui
The Care and Feeding of a Spirit Board
Divination By Punctuation
Heirs to the Queen of Hearts: Tracing Magical Genealogy
How to Believe in Your Elf
The Skeleton Key of Solomon
The One Minute Mystic
The Egyptian Secrets in Your Name
The Original Cloudbuster (iOS App)
The Young Wizard's Hexopedia
How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook
Magic Archetypes
Astragalomancy: A Loaded Guide
The JINX Companion
Machinarium Verbosus
A Field Guide to Identifying Unicorns by Sound
The Ghost in the [Scanning] Machine
Trump L'Oeil: Tarot of Portmeirion
Oracle of the Two-Fold Gods
The Magician's Hidden Library: Select a book to read online or get one for your shelf
Unique resources to inspire pure wonder and awe
The Ghost in the Scanning Machine book cover


The Ghost in the [Scanning] Machine

Writing and Dreaming This repository of ghostly images was never meant to be.  The specters were conjured unwittingly, through a mechanical process of book scanning.  Their portraits technically do not exist, except within this context.  To explain: in old books, frontispieces were typically protected by a sheet of translucent tissue paper.  So thorough is the Google Books scanning process that even this page of tissue paper is scanned.  The figure in the plate beneath the tissue — “beyond the veil,” as it were — emerges as from a foggy otherworld.  The frontispieces were never meant to be seen this way.  Their wraithlike manifestations have been artificially “fixed” in time by the scanning process.  In essence, timeless phantasms of dead writers have been captured and bound into a new age.

And so we call this phenomenon “unforeseen art,” as it constitutes an aesthetic expression without original intent.  Just as artists often credit their inspiration to a Muse, the accidental art herein is in the domain of real ghosts; every author here has departed to the Other Side.  We call it “necromancy by proxy,” as the scanning machine serves as our “spirit medium” or shaman.



About the Author


Craig Conley is a magic enthusiast and scholar.  Recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation,” his intensive and eccentric research has led him to compile a true masterwork entitled Magic Words: A Dictionary.  He has also authored One-Letter Words: A Dictionary, among other strange and unusual lexicons, and is a regular columnist for Pentacle magazine.  Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time.  He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan.  His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size.

Featured Works:
  • Magic Words: A Dictionary
  • Magic Archetypes: The Art Behind the Science of Conjuring
  • The Skeleton Key of Solomon
  • The Collected Oldest Trick(s) in the Book(s)
  • Esoteric Articles
  • Trump L’Oeil: Tarot of Portmeirion

    Published Works
    Published Works by Craig Conley


  • Online Resources


  • Jeff McBride’s YourMagic.com
  • Eugene Burger’s MagicBeard.com
  • Rebuilding a Mystery
  • Abecedarian blog
  • Magic Words blog
  • The Mystic's Book of Days

    A free daily symbolic outlook
    for magical people


    You open The Mystic’s Book of Days at page 829,510.  How does each symbol speak to you?  Watch for patterns and note the flow.  For further insights, generate and print your own personal symbolic calendar for the month...