Friday, May 14, 2010
Conan Doyle, Houdini & Giants!
Just recently I received in the mail copies of three new books published by what is surely the most industrious Fortean publishing company in the world: Tim Green Beckley's Global Communications. Indeed, it seems to be the case that barely a week goes by (or maybe, even, an hour!) without some new title hitting the stands courtesy of Tim and GB.
And amongst those new titles are those aforementioned three that found their way to my letterbox a few days ago. They are: The American Goliah; The Paranormal World of Sherlock Holmes; and Revealing the Bizarre Powers of Harry Houdini.
I'll begin with The American Goliah. And, no, that's not a spelling-error: even though the book is a study of everything giant and man-like, "Goliah" - rather than "Goliath" - is the wording used in the original 1869 edition of The American Goliah.
Basically, the book is a detailed and fascinating study of a phenomenon that captivated whole swathes of the U.S. population in the late-1800s, when a gigantic, petrified man was "found" at a certain site in the United States. I include the word "found' in brackets, because the subject is one of deep notoriety and chicanery, and is a real roller-coaster-ride-type tale that is filled to the brim with claims, counter-claims, hoaxers, yarns, money-makers, P.T. Barnum (no less!), and tales of giants walking the earth.
I submitted my own piece for inclusion in the book, as did Scott Corrales. And Tim has done a fine job of presenting a fascinating, entertaining and wonderful old tale to a whole new audience. The American Goliah does not disappoint!
Moving on to The Paranormal World of Sherlock Holmes, this is a superb study of the great man himself - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - and his investigations into the world of mediums, life-after-death (a subject very dear to the heart of Sir Arthur), the notorious affair of the photographs of the Cottingley Fairies, ghosts, ectoplasm, seances and a great deal more, too.
Accompanied by a very cool selection of images and photographs, this is a fine study of how and why Conan Doyle became so fascinated by the realms of the paranormal and the supernatural.
And then we have the Houdini book (which, you will be pleased to know, also contains a bonus-CD of Houdini's last seance), that delves deep into the world of the master-escape-artist - who was highly skeptical of tales from the "other-side" - his friendship with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Houdini's exposes of fakers and fantasists, and the nature of belief-systems.
Tim B is to be congratulated for putting into the public domain some old, very-hard-to-find titles that are backed up with new contributions from some well-known names within the field of the paranormal.
If you're even remotely interested in 19th and early-20th Century Forteana, these are all books you definitely cannot afford to miss!