Edward Gorey is famous for diabolical events that befall small children. That is in the form of wicked little books with his intricately crude scratchings of ill tidings upon unsuspecting youth. But his cutely disturbing classics like The Gashlycrumb Tinies, Cautionary Tales for Children and Wuggly Ump are only a small part of his vast body of work as writer and illustrator. His books like The Gilded Bat and The Doubtful Guest and his illustrations for Edgar Allen Poe, H. G. Wells, T.S. Elliot, Samuel Beckett and John Updike have been influential on many artists and writers including Tim Burton, Tony Millionaire, Jhonen Vasquez, Gris Grimley and Neal Gaiman. Even The Tiger Lillies and Kronos Quartet recorded an album in his honour.
But there are two of his non-book works that really charm me. Well, charm me in their deliciously gothic way. Besides being a celebrated illustrator and teller of evil grin tales he was a well-respected artist for the theatre. His most famous accomplishment in this field was as costume and scenic designer for the 1977 Broadway production of Dracula. But theatre is all too fleeting and we can only imagine how that production looked. But you don't have to imagine too hard because you can perform it yourself. All you need is Edward Gorey's Dracula: A Toy Theatre. Based on his Dracula designs you have the sets, props and characters for your own cardboard puppet performance of Dracula. Can something about Dracula be so cute? Yes it can.
Now, this other item is a bit different. You can be a believer or disbeliever of the power of the Tarot and still make use of this. Though I think it best works by being casually placed on the coffee table to get a reaction from the occasional guest. The Fantod Pack is Edward Gorey's oracle deck for impending doom. There is a small book by Madame Groeda Weyrd that provides interpretation of the cards as they forecast things like spasms, thwarted ambition, shrivelling and even loss of hair. Sure, you can buy a pack of Angel cards that promise to only tell you nice things but wouldn't it be more pleasurable to give a reading to a dear friend explaining how everything in their future will just suck. But it will suck in a wickedly funny way like all Gorey.