There is no shortage of free-spirited souls willing to write online for free, at length, about the otherworldly. Any Web visit for occult info is bound to be rewarding, if not a little unsettling.

Your first stop might be Occultopedia, the Occult and Unexplained Online Encyclopedia. It’s incredibly comprehensive -- so comprehensive, unfortunately, that I am aware of a psychic practice called “scatomancy,” which you probably don’t want to look up. The descriptions are brief, but if you find a topic that interests you, each entry provides a number of links to relevant books for sale on Amazon.

If you want to narrow your search to witchcraft, look no further than Witchcraft - World of Wicca, an Australian site offering history and practical knowledge on the subject, including spells, amongst them protection spells that may come in useful at your story notes meeting.

When you’re ready to dive in headfirst, check out Popsubculture’s Biography Project page on Aleister Crowley. Basically a rock star among early 20th-century warlocks, Crowley liked to call himself, “The Wickedest Man in the World.” Not only will you get a thorough biography here, but also an extensive set of links, including ones to much of his writing.

Finally, no list of Internet resources is complete without some mention of blogs. The Occult Esoterica Blog Center offers a comprehensive list of occult blogs. But beware, there be Magick in these rantings!

Occult Status
Written by Denis Faye

With her fiery red hair and outspoken personality, Mary Kara, a.k.a. “The Psychic Eye” has long been a go-to mystic for Hollywood, appearing on Inside Edition, 20/20, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Criss Angel: Mindfreak, to name a few. Behind the camera, she’s done consulting work for Murder, She Wrote, Beverly Hills 90210, Diagnosis Murder and Charmed.

She also briefly hosted her own radio show, “Psychic Eye On Magic,” on LA’s Magic 94.3 and is co-founder/owner of the Psychic Eye Book Shop chain, bringing the paranormal to the masses since 1985.

Because some of you might not have been able to pop by your local Psychic Eye for a chat lately, Kara took a moment to answer a few questions for Technically Speaking, including that eternal quandary: Do Ouija Boards really work?

What does Hollywood get right about the occult?

They get a lot of things right. They need to make it entertaining and visual, but that’s when the line gets a little gray. But they’ve been portraying the Wiccan thing pretty well lately, like with Charmed. Of course, it’s a sensationalistic kind of show, but they get most of their things right.

What do they get wrong?

Again, when they to make it too sensationalistic. For example, when I was doing Murder, She Wrote, they wanted to do a Voodoo altar, but the altar he was choosing wasn’t right for what he was portraying. It was more of a Santerian altar, more ornate with seashells and stuff. But he just went ahead and did it anyway. Whatever, it was a small detail. Or once they wanted to have something to scare somebody, so they wanted to use a dead cobra, which is bad -- a very sacred type of Voodoo thing. They should have had a chicken leg or something. They went ahead and took my advice with that one.

What would you like to see in an occult movie, just once?

I think when people think of the term “occult,” it automatically brings up the negative. The term isn’t negative. It means, “hidden knowledge.” I’d like to see a movie that portrays the occult in a more positive light, not like a “cult.” You know, c-u-l-t. But that could be boring and dry. Who’s going to want to see all the study and numerology, ya know?

What are some of your favorite occult shows and movies?

I like The Sixth Sense. I think it was accurate. I liked Poltergeist. It was sensationalistic, because it was a movie, and you need to entertain people, but it was accurate too because you could really have that evil energy throwing things around the room.

And that movie with Peter Lorre and Vincent Price, The Raven, with the two wizards fighting with each other across the room. It was actually based on a true story. You know Aleister Crowley and the Golden Dawn and all those guys? Aleister Crowley and McGregor Mathers were in a war with each other and they were literally fighting on the astral plane, or whatever. So that movie was about those two. Of course things didn’t really go flying across the room, but I thought it was funny.

Which ones didn’t you care for?

Oh, Amityville Horror. I didn’t like that at all.

You didn’t think it was accurate?

I didn’t like it, no. It was a little overdone. What else? I don’t watch a lot of occult movies. I do it all day long. Sometimes, I just want to get away.

What one piece of advice would you like to give writers embarking on a script about the occult?

I think so many people are into it nowadays, so there’s more knowledge about it than in the past, so they should keep it an authentic as possible without being ridiculous just for the sake of entertainment.

Are there facets of the occult that should be left alone, not featured in movies?

I can’t think of anything. I mean, a person who was really into it and held sacred knowledge wouldn’t be writing a show or movie to begin with.

When you write a movie about history or racial issues, it requires accuracy. When you’re writing about the occult, is it as important?

Not to be so spot on. You have to entertain. How would you write about a man reading a book? How would you do that? But there should be some legitimacy to it.

Ouija Boards. Do they really work?

(Laughs) They can. It’s a tool like any other. People look at them in such a negative manner because of The Exorcist. And if people are automatically afraid of them, they could channel negative energy. What we have at the shop that’s popular now is an Angel Board. The principle is exactly the same but people aren’t afraid to use it. Someone made a buck there, huh?