The Mystery of the Skull Cult Tree Book
I first heard about Skull Cult Tree from a guy in my Creative Writing class in college, about two years ago. His name was Victor Luzyga.
Victor was the exact type of person you'd think would bring up something called Skull Cult Tree. At 23 he was already bald, surly, and he wore thick glasses. He referred to woman as females. In class he wrote poetry about the dark arts, magic, witchcraft, satan, that kind of stuff. He wore either a Slayer or a Black Sabbath shirt every day, and always carried around a Big Gulp container filled with a mysterious liquid. He was my only friend in college.
We both lived in the same neighborhood and after class one day we found ourselves sitting across from each other on the train. We chatted, cordially, as you have to in that situation. At first it was mostly about class, but as the semester went on, we kept riding the train together. I didn't really know anybody else at school and while we never hung out outside of class or the train, I feel like Victor and I were friends. I got the idea that I was the only person he really talked to. And he was the same for me.
At some point we started talking about our favorite writers and inspiration, and that's when he brought up Skull Cult Tree.
"It's the greatest book ever written," he told me. "It was originally created by a group of druids looking to record their spells. Over time, it's turned into a tomb of knowledge across the ages, like an encyclopedia of the occult. It gets updated every couple years by different groups. Every possible permutation of every spell in the world, man, it's crazy."
When he told me about this, I gave him the same look you're giving this web page.
When we parted ways off the train after that conversation, I didn't think much of it. We'd made plans to get a beer after class the next week because it was the end of the semester, and we walked our separate ways. But that was the last time I ever saw him.
This was in 2002. I tried to track him down on Friendster and Livejournal, but he stopped posting on both. After that week, I went to the English department advisor for help. They hadn't heard from him either, but their only suggestion was to file a missing person case. I did, but it turns out being a classmate and sort of friend isn't really enough to justify a missing person search. "This happens all the time, people just leave," they told me. And that was that.
For the last two years I've looked for him and for the Skull Cult Tree. I haven't had any luck finding him. But I've learned a bit about the book. I hope that publishing this on my new personal 'Net page will help me find more people who know about the book and more importantly, my help me find my friend.
I think the best way to present my research is a timeline. I don't know that much, so trying to piece this all together myself seems pointless. Here's what I know:
Skull Cult Tree was supposedly first written in 1245, by, as Victor suggested, Dualisticpagan druids and bards in the British Isles. We think this because several sources, including Rise of Dualisticpagans by Edward Sheeth and Baphomet and Baptiste by Erica Sump both point to this year and place. Nobody has seen the original transcripts, though.
I couldn't find anything about Skull Cult Tree again until sometime in the 1600s, when a Paulaner monk in Southern Italy worked on the first official illuminated manuscript. It was destroyed in a fire sometime in the 1800s, but I did at least find a record of it existing in the monk's library.
The first official printing of Skull Cult Tree was published by Left Hand Press out of New York (REBECCA REMEMBER TO ADD A LINK HERE). This is the common version we know today. Even in this version, there are over 200 authors listed, compared to the 565 in the most recent edition.
In 1993 the last known pressing of Skull Cult Tree was released, again by Left Hand Press. I can't find any copies for sale anywhere but did find this image of the cover. I haven't found a single mention of the book anywhere on the 'Net except buried deep in Usenet groups. Someone named "Fintecr@ss" on the alt.religion group posted a Portable Document Format (PDF) file in 1998, but the link no longer works. I did find a name, though, Adalka Hayes, a researcher from the University of Colorado. In their original post Fintercr@ss says this Hayes person is who they got the scan from.
Adalka Hayes is dead, apparently, and according to this clipping its linked to their research about the book. From what I can tell, Hayes was a Mathematics professor, not a Religious Studies or English professor, like I'd expect.
Adalka Hayes' research was primarily about something called the RNN, but it seems like at some point he became obsessed with the Skull Cult Tree, and dedicated a lot of his time to researching it. I called the University Hayes taught at, but they wouldn't give me much information about his research. They did confirm he was planning to teach a class on the Skull Cult Tree and had set up "expeditions to the RNN" to further his research, though it's not entirely clear why.
So, I realize this isn't much to go off, but this is what I think about Skull Cult Tree, about Victor, and about Hayes.
Well, I'd like to find someone else who has a copy of the book or a digital file. I think if I can gain access to the RNN, I can find Victor. The Skull Cult Tree is the key. Is there anyone out there who can help me? Please contact me at my electronic mail address!
Copyright © 2004 c.e., Rebecca Cunning. This text file may be freely distributed on the Net, provided that no editing is done, the version number is retained, and everything in this notice box is included. If you would like to be added to the email list click here to get subscription information.