Over the gate...

Designed in 1913 by Victorian/Edwardian/other architect Theophilus A Allen; John Lennon's house between 1964 and 1968; sunroom, attic and prisco stripe hibernice; Mellotron and caravan; Babidji and Mimi; mortar and pestle; Wubbleyoo Dubbleyoo; curios and curiosity; remnants and residue; testimonials and traces; (Cavendish Avenue, Sunny Heights and Kinfauns); Montagu Square; mock Tudor: Brown House: *KENWOOD*.

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Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Magickal Childe: 35 West 19th Street, Manhattan, NY.


Hey Dullblog-ite Michael Gerber recently expressed the desire that someone dig a little deeper into John's NYC, getting beyond the quotidian (yer Dakotas and Bank Streets) to some of his lesser known hangouts. In so doing, he suggested a couple for starters, which (leaving Korean brothels to one side for the mo) brings me to The Magickal Childe shop on W 19th street.
According to Michael Lloyd's biography of Eddie Buczynski, this place was frequented not only by John and Yoko, but also Paul and Linda, and George too.
John's interest in the occult is fairly well documented (e.g. mentioning Crowley's Book Of Lies as a personal fave in the March '74 Crawdaddy interview, taking "destiny-altering" clockwise (or was it anti-clockwise) round the world trips etc), and Fred Seaman's book (which should, admittedly, be treated with a spoonful of sodium) has several passages on this topic, e.g. John's cynicism-tinged fascination with Theosophy and the like.
The Magickal Childe was Manhattan's main repository and purveyor of Neo-Pagan/Wiccan/etc goods, a by all accounts bizarre, claustrophobic, cluttered mish-mash of all things occult, from rare herbs and incense ingredients stored in jars along the walls, to books, apparel, ritual swords, a human skull in a case...you name it.
The shop's owner, Herman Slater, dubbed "Horrible Herman" due to his habit of shouting at irritating customers, catered for all those of an occult-minded bent from the mid-70s on. The place finally closed in 1999, a few years following Herman's death.
T'ínternet being what it is, however, some traces remain. Above, on the left, the shop frontage as John would have known it (decidedly subfusc), and a later incarnation as featured in the Nicholas Cage film Vampire's Kiss (another truly extraordinary performance by NC).
A video produced by Herman (find it on YouTube ye seekers) allows a glimpse of the interior. Those jars of incense and spell-making ingredients:


Bits and pieces (which remind one (or at least me) of the shelves in the sunroom):


The building remains, though, and it's now a tapas place called Sala One Nine:


It is intriguing that, apparently, all the ex-Fabs bar His Schnozzness were moved to investigate The Magical Childe... but then again, Crowley was probably on the cover of Pepper for a reason. So mote it be. (Or summat.)

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