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Mary Nohl’s Whimsical Sculpture Garden

Mary Nohl's Whimsical Sculpture Garden 86

The Witch’s House is a Milwaukee landmark with an eerie legend, but the only magic Mary Nohl was conjuring was her yard full of strange sculptures.

There is a curious old home in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin suburb of Fox Point, a cottage on the shore of Lake Michigan, which has been the source of urban legend for decades. My dad drove me past it when I was a kid. The yard was filled with large concrete sculptures of giant heads and abstract figures. Humans, fish, and other water creatures all made with materials gathered from the beach.

Frightened whispers of countless curious visitors tell a story as chilling as the howling wind that blows in from the lake, the tragic tale of a reclusive old woman whose husband and son drowned in the turbulent waters just offshore from their home. In her grief, they say, the “Witch of Fox Point” constructed the bizarre sculptures to keep watch for her lost loved ones to return.

But Mary Nohl was never married, and had no children. She was an artist who conjured fantastical creations that transformed her home into her masterpiece – which continues to be a thorn in her neighbor’s sides to this day.

“Mary cared nothing about conforming, resisted the stereotypical roles for women of her generation,” Barbara Manger, author of Mary Nohl: Inside & Out, said in a 2009 interview. “She set her own direction and pursued creating regardless of the views of others.”

In that way, maybe Mary really was a witch – a strong, independent woman who lived the life she chose regardless of societal expectations.

And it seems she had a sense of humor about the legend, if the word “boo” formed by beach pebbles on her front step is any indication.

The home of Mary Nohl, known as the Milwaukee Witch's House

Mary was born to Leo and Emma Nohl in 1914. Leo was an attorney in Milwaukee. The Nohls bought the lot where the house stands now on North Beach Road and built a small prefab cottage as a summer retreat in 1924. It quickly became 10-year-old Mary’s favorite place. At the time, the road was little more than a dirt path and wasn’t plowed during the winter, so it wasn’t an ideal place to live year round.

That changed by the early 1940s, though, and the Nohl’s hired an architect to build an addition. There were some delays during construction as World War II caused a shortage in building materials, but the house was eventually completed in 1943. The Nohls sold their Milwaukee home and moved in.

Mary graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1937. She taught art in Baltimore and Milwaukee until 1943, when she decided that making art was more enjoyable. She opened a pottery studio in Milwaukee and moved back in with her parents at the house on North Beach Road, where she would spend the rest of her life.

Mary’s parents died in the 1960s, leaving her a sizable inheritance. She didn’t have to work anymore, so she began filling the home where she now lived alone with her creations of concrete, scrollsawn wood, driftwood, glass, bone, and other found objects.

The spectacle soon attracted curious visitors, and with them, vandalism. But Mary didn’t let that hinder her creativity.

“I was awakened early one Sunday morning to the sound of a crackling fire,” she wrote about a particular incident, probably in one of her biannual mimeographed newsletters she sent to friends and family, “and relieved to find that the fire was burning a driftwood figure in the front yard – and not the house. This particular sculpture has been a target for the kids for years – about fifteen feet high and so encrusted with paint and so dried in the sun, that the burning was like a series of explosions. Called the poor, overworked police who sat in three squad cars outside the fence and watched it burn. Sass, Basil and I sat inside and watched from the front window with the aid of a beer. All that was left were two ten-foot pipes anchored in cement, and before the last sparks had drifted off I had plans for my largest cement animal. The two pipes conveniently became the two front legs of a less destructible cement creation.”

Sculptures by Mary Nohl

Mary died in 2001 at the age of 87. She left her home and sculptures to a philanthropic organization called the Kohler Foundation that works in the areas of art preservation, grants, scholarships, and performing arts. Her estate of over $11 million went to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to oversee the administration of the Mary Nohl Foundation and Mary Nohl Fellowship, providing arts education for children and scholarships for artists.

North Beach Road is a wealthy area, and to Mary’s neighbors, her home was an eyesore. They petitioned the city to have it demolished. Instead, the property was granted entries in the Wisconsin Registry of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places, and is now protected.

The Kohler Foundation wanted to open it to the public, but a decade-long struggle with residents and zoning laws proved unsuccessful. In 2014, a plan was announced to move the entire house and sculptures to a more accessible site in Sheboygan County, but it has since been cancelled because the art was deemed too fragile to move.

Sculptures by Mary Nohl, the Witch of Fox Point

Conservators have cataloged hundreds of individual works of art from inside and outside Mary’s home. In her master’s thesis on Nohl, Debra L. Brehmer categorized the yard sculptures into four distinct groups: monolithic heads, figures and groupings, mythic animals, and architectural ruins.

Records of Mary’s works include descriptions such as, “Man & Fish Conversing,” “Tall Horned Figure,” “Wall of Faces,” “Crowned Heads,” and “Mermaids.”

“To build these pieces,” Brehmer wrote, “Mary first develops a rough idea on paper. She then makes armatures out of metal rods, old pipes, fence wire or tin and fills in the forms with stones she collects by the beach in an old red wagon. She applies concrete in sections, from the ground up, allowing each to dry for two or three days before adding the next. She often combs or trowels a texture into the wet medium and adds subtle decorative flourishes, such as beach stone, marbles or reflector eyes and ornamental bits of pottery or tile.”

Among the various exhibitions of Mary’s work over the years was the “Greetings and Salutations and Boo” installation at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in 2017, which included Mary’s intricately embellished living room, carefully removed from her home and reconstructed for the exhibit.

Mary Nohl Art Environment

That may be the closest most of us will ever get, as the house itself remains a private residence for a caretaker from the Kohler Foundation.

The National Register of Historic Places record calls the Mary Nohl Art Environment “one of Wisconsin’s most original and outstanding works of art.”

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Occult

The remains of “witches” burned at the stake for killing children in the 17th century were found by archaeologists

The remains of "witches" burned at the stake for killing children in the 17th century were found by archaeologists 89

In the Polish city of Bochnia, archaeologists unearthed the charred remains of two women. The discovery was made during restoration work in the local market.

They are believed to have lived approximately 300 years ago. According to scientists, it is known that in 1679 three women were burnt in this place. So far, two skeletons have been found, but experts have no doubt that they will soon find a third one, according to Express.

Researchers believe that the victims were accused of witchcraft and murder of children. After that, they were probably burned in the city market. Such punishment was common in the Middle Ages, from the 5th to the 15th centuries. Historians believe that the public burning allegedly showed “witches” going to hell.

Archaeologists will continue to investigate the remains, but they have already stated that the women were buried right at the place of execution. According to experts, in that era it was customary: people convicted of such a crime could not be buried near the church.

According to historical sources, at least 13 women accused of witchcraft were executed in Bochnia. Before the execution of the sentence, they were kept in the neighboring town hall and, most likely, tortured in order to get a confession of their deeds. In addition, the archives contain the names and crimes of the “witches”.

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Which castle in Europe is considered the most mystical: you will be surprised

Which castle in Europe is considered the most mystical: you will be surprised 90

Many castles have survived in Europe, which to modern people seem incredibly beautiful and majestic. Their main purpose was to deter enemies if necessary.

That is why such factors as a good location, a moat, a rampart and other opportunities to repel potential enemies played a strategic role.

However, there is one architectural object that does not fit into the traditional framework.

Which castle in Europe is considered the most mystical: you will be surprised
Photo: Pixabay

The majestic is one of the most famous landmarks in the Italian region of Apulia. Moreover, it will not be an exaggeration to say that this is the most mystical castle in the world.

Unlike other mystical places, this amazing castle is not hidden from prying eyes behind the mountains and forests. On the contrary, it is visible from afar. You drive along the freeway and see it, towering on top of the hill.  It doesn’t matter that the name of the building is translated as “castle on the mountain”, only those who have never seen real mountains in their life can literally take the name Castel del Monte. 

It was built on a castle on the very spot where the Maria del Monte monastery was located until the thirteenth century, hence the first name of the building, which few people remember today – castrum Sancta Maria de Monte.

Today, crowds of people frequently visit Castel del Monte. For this, many thanks to the magical world of cinema and the Italian director Matteo Garrone in particular, because it was in the unusual halls of this monumental structure that he settled the characters of his “Scary Tales” – the king who raised a flea, and the princess whom the eccentric father married to a cannibal. Curiously, until the twentieth century, the castle was in an abandoned state, and shepherds spent the night there. 

Today, the architectural structure is in the care of UNESCO, as a result, it was cleaned and put in order, but the interior decoration of the halls was not preserved – for that reason, Matteo Garrone had to hastily fill the space of the premises with the props brought to the castle.

Garrone chose Castel del Monte for the film adaptation of the tales of the Neapolitan Giambattista Basile for a reason, because this place is incredibly mysterious. Although located 16 kilometers from the city of Andria, Castel del Monte bears the honorary title of one of the most famous medieval castles in the world, in essence it is not a castle.

The fact is that in the understanding of a normal person of the Middle Ages, a castle could only be built for one of two purposes. The first goal, it is also the main one – defense and terrain control. In this case, one or another lord erected a small fortress, as a rule, on the top of a mountain, which helped to repel enemy attacks, and at the same time to influence the situation in the region as a whole. The second task is a fortified place to live. Sometimes castles grew to the size of cities, take, for example, the same Carcassonne, but their powerful walls, again, made it possible to hold back hordes of enemies.

But Castel del Monte is not intended for defense at all. Where are the walls and the moat with water? Where are there any decent defenses? 

This place also seems to be of little use for life. Of course, even Walter Scott in his “Ivanhoe” wrote that the concept of “comfort” did not exist in the Middle Ages, but this castle, even by medieval standards, is far from the home of a self-respecting lord. It’s okay that all the rooms inside are connected to each other, but, most importantly, there is no place for a stable and there is no kitchen. 

So, most of all, the castle looks like a kind of an old art object, built for the sake of ideas, such houses are sometimes designed by modern architects who have received absolute carte blanche for the implementation of their creative ideas coupled with an unlimited budget.

This association is quite appropriate if you know who built Castel del Monte. The castle was built on the mountain by the Emperor Frederick II Staufen – a legendary person in all respects. He not only managed to win the title of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from competitors and lead the sixth crusade, but was also considered one of the most educated people of his time. 

He knew Greek, Latin and Arabic, founded a university in Naples, where not only Christians, but also Jews and Arabs taught, and this, by the way, is the height of tolerance by medieval standards. Frederick II as a whole was very far from Christian prejudices, here are illustrative examples: the emperor insisted that doctors study anatomy on corpses, and Frederick also had a warm attitude towards Fibonacci and even organized mathematical tournaments.

The emperor also had a penchant for writing: he is credited with writing an essay on falconry, and at his court he created a Sicilian school of poetry. At the same time, like all progressive people of his time, Frederick II was an admirer of a wide variety of mystical teachings, studied astronomy and astrology. 

With the personal life of the emperor, everything was also interesting, he earned the reputation of Bluebeard, because he was married four times, however, the church did not recognize his last marriage with his permanent mistress Bianca Lancia. Frederick II spawned a great many children – 20 legitimate, but for obvious reasons, no one scrupulously counted the bastards.

Historians still cannot solve the riddle of the Italian Castel del Monte, to which scientists have many questions

Castel del Monte was built by Frederick II from 1240 to 1250, that is, in the last decade of his life. The name of the architect is unknown, but many historians, not without reason, believe that he was the emperor himself – a painfully intricate design was the result. 

The fact is that, like many medieval mystics, Frederick was obsessed with the number eight, which symbolizes infinity, and it is constantly traced in the structure of the castle.

To begin with, the castle, when viewed from above, is a regular octagon, and an octagonal tower is erected at each corner of the structure. The shape of the inner courtyard of the castle also repeats the octagon. The castle has only two floors, the roof is flat, and the main entrance to Castel del Monte looks strictly to the east, because, as it was believed in the Middle Ages, the good news came from the east.

There are 8 rooms on each floor of the castle, all of them are connected to each other, so that Castel del Monte can be easily walked around the perimeter. The rooms are made in the form of trapezoids, and windows are cut through the walls. Toilets, wardrobes and spiral staircases are located in the corner turrets. 

By the way, the castle has a separate story with the stairs – usually in all castles they are “twisted” to the right, since this is optimal for the defense of the object, but in Castel del Monte, on the contrary, they are “turned” to the left, that is, the way it does nature, because it is to the left that the shells of mollusks or snail shells are twisted.

All rooms of the castle are exactly the same, the rooms differ from each other only in the location of the doors and the number of windows. In the decorative elements, the number eight again dominates: on the capitals of the columns there are eight leaves each, on the bas-reliefs in the rooms there are eight leaves or clover flowers.

Another interesting thing is that direct rays of sunlight fall into the windows of the second floor twice a day (with the first floor, this rule works only in the summer), so many assume that the mysterious castle is nothing more than a huge sundial, and at the same time astronomical device. 

In addition, twice a year, during the summer and winter solstice, sunlight is evenly distributed among all rooms on the ground floor. This, of course, is also no coincidence, so many historians suggest that the first floor of Castel del Monte is a kind of analogue of the solar calendar.

Here’s another curious reason for thinking – twice a year, on April 8 and October 8, the sun’s rays pass through the windows of the castle into the courtyard in such a way that they fall strictly on the part of the wall where in the time of Frederick II a certain bas-relief was carved, now lost. 

Well, and to make everything quite difficult, it is worth remembering that October in the thirteenth century was considered the eighth month of the year.

The castle bears the title of the most mysterious at all because there are many ghosts or other manifestations of mysticism

Frederick II died before he could finish the construction of the castle – the building of Castel del Monte was completed, but the interior decoration was not completed to the end. After the death of the emperor, there were legends in Europe that Frederick did not die, but disappeared in an unknown direction in order to reform the church and establish universal brotherhood and peace.

 A certain symbolism is seen in this, because the octagon, repeated in the structure of Castel del Monte, in the Middle Ages symbolized the transition from the world of the living to the kingdom of the dead, and at the same time the union of heaven and earth.

Everything is very simple here – a square was considered a symbol of the earth, a circle was a symbol of the sky, and an octagon was an intermediate figure that signified both unity and transition. However, scientists far from mysticism believe that the repeated use of the octagon is simply a reference to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, because Frederick II saw the dome over the cornerstone during his crusade.

Historians are confused by the dubious architecture of the object – in such a castle there was not a single chance to hide from an armed attack. No protective mechanisms were used during the construction.

In addition, the building itself boasts the ideal shape of a real octagon. The castle has also 8 turrets.

Scientists did not fit the theory that this castle was used by noble people in order to rest there after hunting. Castel del Monte looks too monumental and luxurious for this.

Some historians suggest that the purpose of the mysterious castle was to comprehend the secret sciences

Castel del Monte has encrypted and biblical symbols. The fact is that the castle has exactly five drainage basins and five fireplaces, many associate this with the phrase of the Baptist John from the Gospel of Luke:

“I baptize you in water for repentance, but the One who follows me is stronger than me; I am not worthy to bear His shoes; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

 So, it is easy to assume that Castel del Monte was for Frederick II an analogue of the temple, built according to his personal project, and this fully meets the ambitions of the emperor.

By the way, this hypothesis is confirmed by another curious detail. If you look closely at the entrance to the castle, you can see a giant letter F encrypted there. If inside the tomb of Frederick II, associations with the pyramids would be inevitable, and so Castel del Monte seems to be a kind of personal portal of the emperor, erected according to his plan and in his honour. 

At least when you stand in the courtyard of the castle and, with your head raised, look at the sky, imprisoned in an octagon of powerful limestone walls, even the most inveterate materialists have a feeling of belonging to the medieval magical tradition. 

The energy of this place is special, in the style of those “Scary Tales” by Matteo Garrone.

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Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 91

On December 11, the Vatican unveiled its 2020 nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square. And as soon as the red drapery covering the stage was removed, the crowd found a towering, brutal and totem-like angel Gabriel watching them, along with an astronaut and a masked executioner (yes, those guys who kill people on death row).

Let’s say the applause after the opening was “polite”. Here are some images of the nativity scene.

An ominous angel looks down at the crowd while Jesus remains in the red cloth for a while (not sure why). Behind the figures is a neon light that should probably look like mountains on the horizon. However, at first glance, it looks like a lightning strike in a nativity scene.

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 92
An astronaut and a masked executioner are also included in the nativity scene.

In a press release, the Vatican Governorate announced that the nursery “is intended to be a sign of hope and faith for the entire world, especially during this difficult time due to the health emergency related to COVID-19.”

But this did not bring “hope and faith” at all. In fact, almost all observers hated it.

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 93

It is as if the Vatican purposely created something so ugly that devout Christians hate the play depicting the birth of Jesus. Satanists couldn’t have done better.

Ugliness with weapons

This nativity scene, titled “Monumental Christmas”, was originally created between 1965 and 1975 by students and teachers of the F.A. Grue art school in Castelli, Italy. The original work contained over 50 pieces, but only a few were selected for the Nativity scene at the Vatican, and they chose the horned-masked executioner.

The “Monumental Nativity Scene” is considered a tribute to the world-renowned pottery works of the Abruzzo region and gives a postmodern twist to the classic nativity scene.

In a conversation with a local newspaper, Italian art historian Andrea Chionchi asked if it was “a nightmare or a masterpiece.”

“Forget the sweet face of the Madonna, the tender radiant incarnation of the Child Jesus, the paternal sweetness of Saint Joseph and the pious miracle of the shepherds. For the first time in the middle of the colonnade, Bernini, the Vatican erected a work of the sixties in a brutal postmodern style.

The figures resemble the masks of the ancient and ferocious Samnites, the ancestors of the Abruzians, who professed a pantheistic, animistic, fetishistic and magical religion, somewhat reminiscent of the Andean goddess of fertility, Pachamama.

Castelli’s “Nativity Scene” is an outdated work, the product of a strongly ideological art school. The work offers a depiction of Castelli ceramics that is definitely not true, given that this remarkable art is renowned for its formal elegance and refined, subtle decorative inspiration, which are completely absent here.

References to Greek, Egyptian, and Sumerian character sculptures suggest a liberal historical-critical method of interpreting Scripture. Liberal Bible scholars have hypothesized about various aspects of the Bible as an adaptation of pagan cultures, and not as a result of divine revelation.

Although “ugliness” is subjective, this nativity scene almost tries its best to be as unpleasant to the eye as possible, which in turn is unpleasant to the soul. At least one could say that this scene is anti-Christian. I mean, who’s actually going to pray to this thing? You just can’t. And that’s kind of a target for the twisted minds behind this thing.

Moreover, in addition to its general ugliness, the nativity scene also contains many symbols and historical references that convey a rather egregious message: it is actually an anti-Christmas scene.

Anti Christmas

Usually in the center of the nativity scene is the baby Jesus. However, in this case, Baby Jesus is essentially a random toddler who just stands there and looks like a giant cork.

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 94

WORSHIP ME

The focus of this play is not Jesus, but rather the angel Gabriel. It is surrounded by a massive halo, while Jesus still stands there like a giant cork. In addition, the angel rises above everything on a ribbed pillar. The overall shape of this column closely resembles an important symbol of Ancient Egypt: the Jed Column.

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 95
Right: A Jed Column dedicated to the goddess Hathor.

Jed is a common symbol in Ancient Egypt believed to represent the god Osiris, or rather his spine. While this symbol probably has an esoteric meaning in relation to the chakras (which are said to be based on the spine), the Jed also has a phallic character and is associated with fertility rites. In fact, the “erection of the Jed” was an important ceremony in ancient Egypt.

The erection of the Jedi ceremony is to symbolize Osiris’ triumph over Set. During the ceremony, the pharaoh uses ropes to lift the pole with the help of the priests. This coincided with the time of year when the agricultural year began and the fields were planted. This was only part of a 17-day celebration dedicated to Osiris. In general, the ceremony of the erection of the Jed personified both the resurrection of Osiris and the strength and stability of the monarch.

– Ancient origins, sacred symbol of the Jed Pillar

Did the Vatican trick its believers into witnessing the Jed Ascension ceremony? One thing is for sure: the Egyptian influence of this den sit well with what is immediately behind it.

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 96
Immediately behind the nativity scene is the obelisk of St. Peter (originally from Egypt).

The general plan of the Vatican is Egyptian magic in plain sight. The phallic obelisk (representing Osiris and the masculine) faces the womb-like dome of St. Peter’s Basilica (representing Isis and the feminine). The same exact layout can be found in various power centers of the world, including Washington, DC.

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 97

In Washington DC, an obelisk (Washington Monument) faces the dome of the US Capitol.

In Egyptian magic, the union of masculine and feminine principles (Osiris and Isis) gives birth to a “star child” (Horus). From an esoteric point of view, this star child is a powerful magical energy.

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 98

The hieroglyph representing Sirius, the most important star of occult symbolism (read my article on this here), consists of three elements of the Egyptian trinity: an obelisk, a dome and a star.

So, the Vatican has an obelisk and a dome. Where is the star completing this trinity? It is there, but you have to look from above.

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 99

The Obelisk of St. Peter is located right in the center of the eight-pointed star, also known as the Ishtar Star.

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 100

The eight-pointed star also adorns the Christmas tree that stands next to the nativity scene this year.

Speaking of cosmic things, the Vatican nativity scene also depicts an astronaut. Why? God knows.

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 101

It seems that the astronaut is holding / giving birth to something. There is also an eight-pointed star on the helmet.

Given the fact that this figure was created between 1965 and 1975, this may be a reference to the 1969 moon landing. But why in 2020 did the Vatican choose this thing to stand next to Jesus?

It is even more incomprehensible why an executioner in a horned mask is standing next to Jesus?

Occult symbolism of the 2020 Vatican nativity scene 102
Even he thinks to himself: “What am I doing here?”

In ancient times, executioners carried out death sentences for lawful convicts by chopping off their heads. In some cases, they wore grotesque masks with dark and menacing features to further intimidate prisoners, depersonalizing them as a person. In short, it is an odd figure to be placed next to the newborn baby Jesus, especially considering the fact that Jesus himself was ultimately sentenced to death.

Apparently this guy is here to represent the “Vatican’s opposition to the death penalty.” This is a rather weak argument that makes little sense. I mean, I’m pretty sure the Vatican is also against methamphetamine. Should they also add a methamphetamine dealer to the nativity scene?

In the scene literally called “Christmas,” this horned figure represents death. This is the complete opposite of “Christmas”. I don’t think Satanists would have done better by desecrating the scene depicting the birth of Jesus.

Finally

In a sense, this year’s nativity scene is a sad reflection of 2020. This is a collection of expressionless and socially detached figures who do not interact with each other, standing under the neon lights of phones and computers.

It also reflects how the occult elite has raised their ugly head this year, poisoning every aspect of our lives with their toxic program. Through their outspoken anti-Christian demonstration, the elite sought to prove that its toxic ideology was also ingrained in the Vatican.

Although the Monumental Nativity scene was created several decades ago, it was chosen for the Christmas scene in 2020 for a special reason: it contains certain symbols, conveying a certain energy. Like everything else that has happened this year, this scene demonstrates the control of the elite and the demoralization of the masses.

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