Tattoos tell their own stories.

Far from the concepts presented to the mass untattooed culture on shows like Ink Master, some tattoos are distilled images; sigils that compress thought into a symbol and say everything that needs to be said without having to burden the world with more mindless rambling.

Occult Vibrations is a blog for people interested in the symbolic legacy of tattoo culture. The name comes from a song by Lungfish (led by ubiquitous American artist/singer/poet Daniel Higgs) from their 2000 Album Necrophones:

“And all that you can hold
In your pockets and in your arms
Is measured against you
And digested by the stars”

My aim is selfish; to promote the kind of tattooing that I like via artist interviews, current and classic videos and more.

We do take submissions, but not everything that gets submitted will end up on the site.

Shawn Porter


  1. Hi, Shawn – was looking for an email address to send you the press release for the new Kings Avenue Tattooing location (and new home to Sarah Schor) in NYC. If you’d be interested in covering it for your blog, hit me back via email and I’ll send you the release and a link to photographs. Cheers!


  2. Hi-just wanted to say your site is great and to thank you for putting up so many cool videos. The footage with Dave lum is fantastic.


  3. Hello Mr. Porter. I don’t read too many blogs. I do however read yours. I think you do a good job of looking at the rich history of tattooing in the United States. More people in and around the industry would benefit from that approach.

    Be Well –

    Jack Wier


  4. Hey Shawn…my name is Eric Smolinski,,,,,I work at a tattoo shop in IN. I was wondering if you can do a section on HUCK SPAULDING. he just passed last friday..He is a great contribution to our craft…..it would be GREAT to see some old pictures and info … Thanks Shawn…oohh ya and if you need anymore ROYBOY videos i have all 10..And i am freiends with his Ex wife ( he had a lot of them but she was the MAJOR wife)and can get any info you need THANKS!!!!!!!!


  5. Wow! Such an amazing look in to our history! The image, vedeo, and text are awesome! Thank you for this blog. It has quickly become one of my favorite pages on the Internet. Please keep up the good work! Thank you so very much!
    Nathan Haynes
    Tattooer at true blue tattoo, Austin, TX


  6. Shawn, thanks for the trip… I was looking at your story on Henry Goldfield and as I watched the video, I saw a photo of my freshly done Marine tattoo from back in 1985. Good stuff…
    The one in the frame just before mine is from another Marine that I was stationed with at Marine Barracks Alameda. Very cool.
    Thanks a bunch…
    Chris, Worthington Ohio


  7. Shawn, my name is Wanda Berry and I live in a house with Chris Thome, Dans brother. He is trying to find out what happened to him. They have not had contact for a long time and Chris is not doing well. Could you please help??


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