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SF mystic Ciall Austell channels the artist Miró among others

By Mark Ewert

Afew years ago, ciall and his band lived in a 200-year-old farmhouse in upstate New York. They found a beautiful antique Ouija board in the basement, which would frequently announce its desire to be used by falling out of the closet where it was stored with a great deal of noise. Sally Burnham, one of Ciall's friends, was able to use the board to contact her great, great, great ... grandmother, Abitha White, who was burned as a witch in Salem. Other entities also clamored to speak, including some indigenous spirits of the land who used Ciall and Co. to write a whole novella about a world inhabited by intelligent monkeys, one of whom goes on a vision quest to solve the mystery of the failing banana crops. Another time, the spirits suggested the band members try their hand at automatic drawing. Through Ciall, some of the earth spirits came through with a series of squiggly drawings that were meant to be silk-screened on shirts for pregnant women to wear in order to aid the baby's healthy development. Finally, the Spanish artist Miró arrived and announced his desire to paint and draw with Ciall and Sally. Everyone was amazed at the beauty of the resulting paintings.

"Miró always signed his name the same way," says Ciall. "We checked some art books in the library--it's his signature all right."


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From the February 15, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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