Reblog: Naked As Nature Intended? Victorian Author & Spiritualist, Catherine Crowe in Edinburgh, 1854

You might call it parapsychology’s greatest mystery…

Did Catherine Crowe–the at-the-time sixty-something literary stalwart of the mid-nineteenth century, passionate advocate of the German ghost story, and author of that runaway best-seller The Night Side of Nature (London, 2 vols.: Newby, 1848)–really tear through the streets of Edinburgh toward the end of February 1854, naked but for a handkerchief clutched in one plump hand, and a visiting card in the other? And, if she did, was it because she had experienced a nervous breakdown, or because the spirits had convinced her that, once her clothes were shed, she would become invisible?

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Author & Spiritualist, Catherine Crowe in her only extant image (Public Domain).

Crowe’s name may not ring too many bells today, but a century and a half ago she was famous. Born in 1790, she was noted as a novelist (she wrote Susan Hopley, an intricately plotted crime procedural that was some way ahead of its time) and as a friend of the great and good (she knew Thackeray, Dickens and Charlotte Brontë, among many others). Nowadays, however, she is best remembered as a pioneer parapsychologist–“a hugely important figure in the emergence of modern ghost-seeing culture chiefly because of her relentless calls for society to turn its attention to the unexplained phenomena in its midst and investigate them in an objective manner.” [McCorristine p.10]

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“On Writing the Ghost Story”—An Essay by Jack Cady

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(Pinterest)

On Writing the Ghost Story

Jack Cady

Approach the Cathedral from the south and walk around it three times. On the third time, stop before the second gargoyle from the southwest corner. Spin around seven times very slowly while repeating ‘aroint ye, aroint ye, aroint ye,’ and your warts will disappear.


And, wouldn’t you know, that ancient man followed instructions and his warts dried up. The happy results might have caused him to figure that time and expense going into cathedral construction was money well spent. He probably said as much to his neighbors. Word probably got back to the local priest, and the priest had to deal with it; just as we do, today.

The priest would have said, “Miracle,” or at least, “Blessing.” He would be quick to point out that it was Faith, or the presence of the cathedral that caused disappearing warts. It was not the gargoyle. Or, maybe he would have said something else. After all, it was a long time ago.

Today, we might say “coincidence,” or “the placebo effect.” We might say, “Quaint story, and isn’t it wonderful how even the ancients could spread a certain amount of bull.”

Having said that, we could dismiss the story and turn away. We could, in fact, make the same mistake that many have made since the rise of science and rationality in the 18th century. The mistake is best termed “denial of evidence.” In its way, it is quite as serious as previous mistakes that denied all rationality and/or science. The universe, I fear, is rather more complicated than we might wish.

For that reason (complication) and because unseen matters sometimes compel me, I wish to spend a few moments giving a definition, and making distinctions. There are reasons to write what I call The Fantastic, and they have nothing to do with notoriety, fame, or money.

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What’s on the Tube? An Urban Supernatural Creeper Starring Nicholas Cage—“Pay the Ghost” Is Based on a Halloween Story by UK Author Tim Lebbon

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Well, the poster sucks. I give the poster a half star! But this is a good film for a cool night with the windows open, and the wind going.

Based on the short story “Pay the Ghost” written by horror author Tim Lebbon (see “About the Short Story”, below) and published in October Dreams*—a Halloween-themed anthology edited by Richard Chizmar and published by Cemetery Dance books in 2000, the film, Pay the Ghost, stars Nicholas Cage in a frightening take on kidnapping, Pagan lore, and witchcraft all with an urban twist that is effective. I was fascinated and even scared here and there. Effects are well done; and even though the plot has been done before in a variety of ways; the supernatural elements work.

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So, now that I’ve seen the film, I’m backtracking and starting the story!

Here are some links to info on the film and to the ebook site—where you can read the original short story for only $.99! Lebbon is a great writer, so check it out!

Entertainment Weekly Review:

http://ew.com/article/2015/08/24/nicolas-cage-poster-pay-the-ghost/

Wiki:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pay_the_Ghost

About the Short Story

Click here to get “Pay the Ghost”, the story by Tim Lebbon:

*Click here to read about the anthology October Dreams ed. by Richard Chizmar & Robert Moorish:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_Dreams

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Listen to a Podcast in which Lebbon discusses the story:

http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/tih-106-tim-lebbon-on-pay-the-ghost-the-silence-and-self-doubt/

Interview with The Story’s Author, Tim Lebbon:

https://www.starburstmagazine.com/features/tim-lebbon-interview

Visit the author’s website, here:

https://www.timlebbon.net/

Below, is the Foreword of the 2018 ebook edition and following that is page one of the story…

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“Scientists Want To Bring Dinosaurs And Neanderthals Back To Life” … ?

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“Neanderthal” by Tim O’Brien (University of Colorado, Boulder).*

Remember that not long ago, scientists said they wanted to clone Mammoths? Well apparently, Mammoths aren’t really that interesting, and as experts say, we could bring back dinosaurs and Neanderthals back to life.**

Speaking to Big Think, Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York, asks what if we could bring back Neanderthals back to life, or a dinosaur, using only their genomes?

Do we have that sort of technology? Technically we could, but the idea of doing so raises a number of problems, the biggest one being Bioethics: is it ethical to clone a Neanderthal? Is it inhumane? And should we even attempt it?

According to Dr. George Church, a geneticist, and director of Harvard University’s Church Labs thinks that not only can we clone a Neanderthal, we can do so in our lifetime.

According to Dr. Church, the only thing we’d need to start cloning ancient humans is “one extremely adventurous human female.”

However, Dr. Church isn’t saying we should attempt cloning a Neanderthal right away, but he does encourage the scientific community should discuss the matter.

Dr. Church believes that with current stem cell technology and our completed sequence of the Neanderthal genome, we are equipped with all the necessary prerequisites to successfully clone a Neanderthal.

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Arthur Machen—an eccentric, mystical, intelligent man—some things we didn’t know about the Welsh Author (Chronology published 1964, Twayne’s Author Series)

Click images to enlarge…

“The Festival”—A Cult Horror Story by H. P. Lovecraft, Full Text & Facsimilie Pages of Lovecraft’s Final Draft as Submitted to the Publisher

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“Lovecraft’s ‘The Festival’. Art by SPARATIK @ Deviantart.com.

The Festival

H. P. Lovecraft

“Efficiunt Daemones, ut quae non sunt, sic tamen
quasi sint, conspicienda hominibus exhibeant.”
—Lactantius.


I was far from home, and the spell of the eastern sea was upon me. In the twilight I heard it pounding on the rocks, and I knew it lay just over the hill where the twisting willows writhed against the clearing sky and the first stars of evening. And because my fathers had called me to the old town beyond, I pushed on through the shallow, new-fallen snow along the road that soared lonely up to where Aldebaran twinkled among the trees; on toward the very ancient town I had never seen but often dreamed of.

It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and mankind. It was the Yuletide, and I had come at last to the ancient sea town where my people had dwelt and kept festival in the elder time when festival was forbidden; where also they had commanded their sons to keep festival once every century, that the memory of primal secrets might not be forgotten. Mine were an old people, and were old even when this land was settled three hundred years before. And they were strange, because they had come as dark furtive folk from opiate southern gardens of orchids, and spoken another tongue before they learnt the tongue of the blue-eyed fishers. And now they were scattered, and shared only the rituals of mysteries that none living could understand. I was the only one who came back that night to the old fishing town as legend bade, for only the poor and the lonely remember.

Then beyond the hill’s crest I saw Kingsport outspread frostily in the gloaming; snowy Kingsport with its ancient vanes and steeples, ridgepoles and chimney-pots, wharves and small bridges, willow-trees and graveyards; endless labyrinths of steep, narrow, crooked streets, and dizzy church-crowned central peak that time durst not touch; ceaseless mazes of colonial houses piled and scattered at all angles and levels like a child’s disordered blocks; antiquity hovering on grey wings over winter-whitened gables and gambrel roofs; fanlights and small-paned windows one by one gleaming out in the cold dusk to join Orion and the archaic stars. And against the rotting wharves the sea pounded; the secretive, immemorial sea out of which the people had come in the elder time.

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What’s on the tube? The Void Works on So Many Levels. It Really Creeped Me Out… ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ …and let’s clear up some things about “cosmicism” & Lovecraftian “homages”…

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Cop: “What, so you worship the Devil, then?”
Man covered in blood, laughing: “I don’t believe in the Devil. But I believe in this.”

-from The Void

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These creepy, crazy-as-shit cult members terrorize a small town hospital in The Void. If you see the black triangle…it’s too late. (IMDb)

The Void is a 2016 Canadian horror film written and directed by Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie, and produced by Jonathan Bronfman and Casey Walker. It stars Aaron Poole as deputy Daniel Carter, Kenneth Welsh as Dr. Powell, Daniel Fathers as Vincent, Kathleen Munroe as Allison, and Ellen Wong as Kim. The plot follows a group of people who have been trapped in a hospital by a gathering of hooded cultists. The group soon discovers that the hospital has been inhabited by grotesque creatures. [More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Void_(2016_film)]

I don’t know about you, but THIS is the stuff of which my nightmares are made. But, let’s clarify one thing up front that the “UK Teaser Trailer” below gets wrong:

A Note on Homages

THE VOID IS NOT an homage to John Carpenter. First of all, Carpenter’s 1982 film, The Thing, is based on John W. Campbell’s 1938 novelette Who Goes There?* All three of the “Thing” films, in fact (1951, 1982, 2011**) owe a debt to Campbell’s story.

Carpenter’s film is an homage to Howard Phillips Lovecraft.*** I can’t say for sure whether Campbell had Lovecraft in mind when he wrote Who Goes There?—but it’s possible, since the story was published a year after Lovecraft’s death.

Above, left to right: Alternative film poster for John Carpenter’s The Thing (Pinterest); illustration by “ArtistMEF” for Lovecraft’s story “The Colour Out of Space” (deviantart.com); a poster concept based on Lovecraft’s story “The Colour Out of Space” (Pinterest)
*https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Goes_There%3F

**The novelette inspired the 1951 film The Thing from Another World, which historically, is pretty nifty, but it’s not Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thing_from_Another_World
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thing_(1982_film)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thing_(2011_film)
***https://nerdist.com/john-carpenters-the-thing-lovecraftian-35-anniversary/

THE VOID IS an homage to H. P. Lovecraft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmicism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovecraftian_horror


Let’s Talk About Cosmicism…

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