Giuditta Dembech and the lies of the triangles

Very, very occasionally I lose my sense of judgement and needlessly waste many days doggedly pursuing a story, which, at the end, turns out to be nothing more than an empty shell. This usually happens when I’m broke and desperately need to start selling some more stuff.

My pursuit of paranormal activity in Turin turned out to be just such a dead-end, and I am writing this entry in the hope that anyone searching for anything on the subject (for there is precious little of any worth written about it) will discover this blog. Don’t waste your time pursuing research into the legends of magical Turin – they were simply concocted to sell tours and flog books. That in itself is a story, I suppose.

There are a number of legends that have been interwoven into the fabric of Turin’s history, although their origin all seems to stem from the end of the 1970s. There is no indication that they are older than that.

1) Turin is the interconnecting point of two “magic” triangles: one of black magic (interlinking Turin, San Francisco and London) and the other of white magic (interlinking Turin, Lyon and Prague).

2) A ley-line runs through the city (drawn from Mont Michele in France to Monte Sant’Angelo in southeast Italy).

3) One of the gateway’s to Hell lies beneath Piazza Statuto in the city.

Here is a link to an article that goes into a bit more detail.

It doesn’t really matter that one is cynical about the paranormal. I myself am agnostic – in other words, I’m prepared to believe anything if it can be proven. But that isn’t really the point. The point is: where do all these legends come from?

And as far as I can make out, most of them originate from a single scholar of the paranormal in the city (and not a particularly diligent one at that): Giuditta Dembech.

Giuditta was good enough to give me an interview, so I thank her for that. But she was no doubt hoping I would buy everything she said hook, line and sinker – like all the other journalists before me (both Italian and foreign) seem to have done. But a lot of what she said didn’t make sense, and she ducked the answers to many of my more salient questions. Her two books on the subject – Magic Turin volume I and II – are both well written, but in the manner of one that is good with words, and can use such a gift to run rings around what people ought to be believing in.

I asked her about the origin of the legend of the two triangles in Turin, which she speaks prolifically about in her books. She simply shrugged and said that she didn’t know where it came from. That was it. Not even a guess. That didn’t really sound like someone who had given the matter much thought. It just sounded like someone who had conjured the legend up out of her head – which many people who I spoke to, paranormal scholars and sceptics alike, believe she did.

The worst thing is that, when I challenged her on some of these points she had made, rather than rise to my challenge she decided to ignore me. Here is a woman, I thought, who is used to people listening to her and rather takes umbrage when her words are questioned.

But it is not just me who pours scorn on the words of Giuditta.

Here is what Geoffrey Symcox, an American historian, told me: “Like anyone who visits Turin I’ve long been aware that the city has this weird reputation, but nobody has ever explained to me how and when and why it all came about. Local friends just shrug and roll their eyes when the subject comes up. None of this stuff appears in the historical documentation I use. I think you’re right in assuming that the rulers of the House of Savoy were interested in the occult: the one I’ve worked on, Victor Amadeus II (r 1675-1730), consulted astrologers and prophetic nuns. But that was common practice for everyone in those days. It doesn’t set the House of Savoy apart in any special way. So the explanation perhaps lies elsewhere. I rather think it’s a recent development. I first became aware of it in the 80s, when ads for fortune-tellers (offering “private consultations” on love, business etc) started to appear in the trams. At that point I think a cottage industry dealing in the occult was taking off. To give themselves legitimacy its practitioners would then have constructed tales about the supposed antiquity of Turin’s occult powers (intersection of Lay Lines, medieval Savoyard rulers dabbling in astrology etc).”

And he’s not the only one. Dr Leo Ruickbie, head of the Witchcraft Information Centre and Archive, told me: “The legend is not well-authenticated and my research has so far not turned up any written references in English before the twenty-first century and then only in tourist guidebooks. Most of this information is unsourced but the idea of Turin’s ‘black heart’ would seem to come from Giuditta Dembech’s Torino Città Magica (1981) and my theory is that she in turn had this from Gustavo Adolfo Rol. So at the earliest, I would say that these ideas are only traceable to the late twentieth century.”

Then we have a High Priest from Anton Levey’s dreadful Church of Satan, in San Francisco. Dreadful not, incidentally, because it worships Satan, but because it is an atheist organisation that worships selfishness. Even if you do not believe in any higher power, you can still surely believe in the teachings of Jesus and helping thy neighbour. Still, I had to ask them for some comment, seeing as they are, apparently, also sitting slap bang in the triangle of black magic. This is what High Priest Magus H. Gilmore had to say: “That idea is completely fabricated by attention seekers. It has no validity in either tradition or in any reality of people involved in occultism. We Satanists are atheists, not black magicians or devil worshippers, and we think any belief in supernatural entities, heavenly or infernal, or conspiracies is completely foolish.”

So there we have it. The legends of Turin are all fabricated to sell tours and books. There may indeed be some truth in them, but it is impossible to find this truth because all the researchers into the stories lack credibility.

I had been planning to put an article together for Paranormal Magazine, but I probably should have done my research better before pitching it to them; so as not to have been sucked into this superficial paranormal smokescreen, which has made me look rather silly.

As a footnote, I just want to repeat that this issue is not about whether the legends are true or not – the reader can decide for himself – but rather where the legends originated from. And if they only emerged in the 1980s, this is far less interesting than if they had been around for centuries.

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3 Responses to “Giuditta Dembech and the lies of the triangles”

  1. Selene Says:

    You are just a little sad man looking for something to put in to the first page of your magazine. As long as your attitude will be like that you will never find the truth about my beloved city. Giuditta knows you know why?? Becouse she is pure.

    • blakerig Says:

      I’ve approved your comment though I find it slightly unfair. When I write, I present a well-argued viewpoint, to which I invite others to respond with their point of view. I don’t go around needlessly insulting people. You don’t know me and you have never met me, so calling me a sad man is unjustified. On the contrary, I am actually extremely happy.

      The point that I was making in the post is that I failed to be convinced by the arguments that were being made to me, and unfortunately no has persuaded me so far. Perhaps I am, as you seem to suggest, being too logical about things.

  2. More Mollino | Strange Flowers Says:

    […] Before we leave Turin, a final word on the city’s occult lore. To me the interesting thing about belief is not its object but the forms of its observation. And as they say, when the legend becomes fact, print (or post) the legend. However, much of the legend of Turin’s occult mystique may be of more recent provenance than one might expect; you can read an entertaining inquiry on the subject here. […]

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