I'll be away in Seattle from Friday October 10 through Monday October 13, attending the launch party of my new novel, Cosmocopia. But I've stacked up four posts in the queue, all new FOLLIES OF THE MAD MEN. Enjoy!
Collecting novels of the fantastic as I do, I eventually and inevitably came across those of Dion Fortune, and bought a few. To this day, they remain untracked by my eyes. Nonetheless, I was sensitized to her name, and could spot her non-fiction selection Psychic Self-Defence readily on the shelf of a used-book store and snatch it up. A bargain at $5.00, I'm sure!
I haven't read it yet, but I'm much looking forward to learning how to protect myself against various types of intrusive mind assaults. Sample a few pages yourselves below.
And thanks to Google Books, you can read the whole thing online here.
I started thinking about contortionists again when I happened upon a feature on them in an old issue of Life. In my novel Spondulix I had a character who was an "enter-ologist," a great term I found in Ricky Jay's wonderful history of sideshows and freaks, Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women. Enter-ologists get into impossible places, rather than escape from impossible places.
In any case, a short search of the web turned up lots of online contortionist info, including the Contortion Home Page, which is where I found this pic of April Tatro. That's her in the video below as well.
Here's another strange book I purchased but have not yet read. The real author is Joseph K. Heydon, using the pen-name of Hal Trevarthen. Time has swallowed up all details related to Heydon and his book, leaving us only with the text itself.
Here's the description from the amazingly ugly dustjacket.
Here's the title page, followed by a sample of the actual bafflegab inside.
A few years ago, visiting the island of Martha's Vineyard off the Massachusetts coast, I learned of Nancy Luce (1814-1890). An eccentric loner artist who self-published her own poetry--mainly devoted to her beloved pet chickens--and buried the birds with fully engraved headstones, she is the subject of a biography still available on the island at various gift shops: Consider Poor I by Walter Magnes Teller. You can read what The New York Times had to say about the book here. You might even be so moved as to purchase a lovely woodcut print of Luce here.
Perhaps we should commemorate Luce with a sample of her poetry:
POOR LITTLE HEARTS
Poor little Ada Queetie has departed this life,
Never to be here no more,
No more to love, no more to speak,
No more to be my friend.
O how I long to see her with me alive and well,
Her heart and mine was united,
Love and feelings deeply rooted for each other,
She and I could never part,
I am left broken hearted....
How weird is it that there are still Confederate Widows alive? Although one named Maudie Hopkins died just recently, experts claim there are still other women alive who were once married to men who fought for the Confederacy. Obviously this bestselling novel will still have relevance for some time yet.
Collecting weird books is one of my hobbies. And I'm not alone, as you can see from this site.
Surely the novel depicted here, which I purchased a month ago at an SF convention, is museum-worthy. Amazingly in this day and age, I can't find any info about it or its author online. Thankfully, the previous owner xeroxed a page about the author and left it inside the book for me to reproduce here.
[From Fortune for December 1945. Two scans, top and bottom.]
There is nothing spectacularly "weird" about this particular entry in our series, except that the artist is William Steig, the famed illustrator and author responsible, most notably in Hollywood terms, for Shrek. It's curious to see him turning his talents to advertising during his early career, as so many artists who later grew rich and famous once did.
Perhaps the true vestige of weirdness here, though, is the image of the proud boy wearing his Jughead cap. You can learn about the history of the Jughead beanie and how to make such a cap yourself at Juggie's Wikipedia page. Or perhaps you'd want to buy one readymade, either here or here.
Books Selected and endorsed for Pure Weirdness by Your WU Team
Who We Are
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.