While TikTok and Tumblr have long been brimming with a newly abundant witch culture, believers in magic also populate a darker, more occultic level of the internet — and John R. King IV, whose long-running blog details his explorations of demonology, is one of its most prominent practitioners. What happens when Kent Russell seeks him out? The result is (sorry) spellbinding.
I pressed King to let me watch him conjure. Show me a scream full of hooves, I said, or a smile spreading across a pool of blackness. He demurred. He had to ascertain what kind of person I was offline before that could happen. So we made plans to meet at the Okanogan Family Faire, a festival where especially dirty hippies encamp alongside militiaman types in a valley on the far side of the Cascades. For several days, they sing and dance and barter goods and services—mostly drugs. King would be offering tarot readings, but for me, he said, he might perform services that would disclose how demons affect everyday lives, my own included. I booked my flight and dusted off my camping gear.