Chaotic Utopia

Freaky Fractals

i-afc9ac906972c977c935d4c1602b8d50-fffull.jpg In order to make up for my recent shortage of Friday Fractals, I’ve assembled a few at once, with a Halloween-ish theme. I browsed over the Mandelbrot set, seeking the spookiest angles. What seems freakiest is the unending depths of the set… I could have been wandering through forever. It is sort of like a dream of falling, but never hitting the bottom.

I began using the same set of colors displayed in my Halloween banner, and soon found images reminiscent of monsters and insects:


Freaky Fractal I-Monsters

That was slightly unsettling, so I brightened things up with shades of orange. Soon, I found a place where pumpkins seemed to repeat endlessly off into the horizon. It wasn’t my local pumpkin farm–we never made it, with Colorado’s uncertain October weather–but a small patch of the Mandelbrot set:


I picked one pumpkin-like shape, which I later carved up in Photoshop:


Freaky Fractal II-Jack o’ Lantern

I kept searching. Eventually, my restless wanderings through the set were making me weak and weary. Then, I thought the set grew denser, thickened by some unknown integer, left by Mandelbrot, scattered like Cantor’s Dust across the floor. From a feather I pulled the colors, those black as midnight, but no others…


And from within that fractal feast, I saw the shadows of an ancient beast. That beguiling raven that Poe adored, perched above his chamber door, fascinating me since childhood… and more.


Freaky Fractal III-The Raven

i-57dacd5f98d0dab232c618b661e6c3ae-ravensm.jpg I knew I couldn’t let Halloween pass without making some sort of tribute to one of my favorite poems, The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe. I memorized the whole thing, once upon a time, and still remember practically every verse. (The drawing on the right was inspired by an illustrated copy of “The Raven” that became dog-eared as I worked on my memorization. At some point, I got bored with recitation, and sat down and doodled it out.) I’ve found hidden meanings within the poem which Poe may never have intended. Without a doubt, it highlights our darkest doubts–our inabilities to either change or forget the past. Still, like these fractals, the repeating patterns, however haunting, delight our senses.

I haven’t included any photographs with these fractals. Instead of mimicking a picture from the camera’s eye, I’ve chosen images from the imagination. But I can’t leave without passing out some kind of treat. So, for a wicked delight, I invite you to listen to “The Raven”, read by the most haunting voice of our generation, Christopher Walken:

Notes: Audio borrowed from a course in Information and Media Studies at the University of Western Ontario… I have no idea where the original came from. All fractals made by the author using ChaosPro. Pencil drawing by the author in 1992.


  1. #1 The Ridger
    October 30, 2006

    Cool. I love these. (And your banner!)

  2. #2 Shalini
    October 30, 2006

    Awesome. Exactly my cup of tea.


  3. #3 Matt
    November 3, 2006

    Great pictures – I’d like to think that Poe, with his interests in cryptography (the story “The Gold Bug”) and biology (the book “The Conchologist’s First Book” – guide to animals with shells) would appreciate fractals and their connection to the natural world. If I’m not mistaken, the conchology book was the only one of his works for which a second edition was issued during his lifetime.

  4. #4 Kim Boone
    December 5, 2006

    Poe nd Cristopher Walken! A treat indeed! Thanks.

  5. #5 porno
    April 10, 2010

    which a second edition was issued during his lifetime.

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