“Why did the man travel all the way to the moorland track where he was found? Why there? Why poison? Why strychnine?” I love a good mystery, don’t you? A man travels to a far away destination with a lovely view and exits the world in time with the setting sun. No one knows who he is or why he’s done this. That’s worth a story. Read the BBC News (long) article about the man they’re calling Neil.
I’m always amazed by how many variations there are on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein fiction. Countless movies, retellings and what have you. What often surprises me is how few horror fans I encounter who have actually read the book. And Shelley’s writings, like many in that era, is simply beautifully written. If you haven’t read it, you can download a free copy of it here.
On the topic of Frankenstein, there is an interesting essay on science behind the story. “Professor Sharon Ruston surveys the scientific background to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, considering contemporary investigations into resuscitation, galvanism, and the possibility of states between life and death.” You can read the full article here.
The artwork included with our entry here is the High Priestess card from our Halloween Tarot deck. Follow this link to see the whole deck. ;)
“Mike Jay recounts the tragic story of James Tilly Matthews, a former peace activist of the Napoleonic Wars who was confined to London’s notorious Bedlam asylum in 1797 for believing that his mind was under the control of the “Air Loom” – a terrifying machine whose mesmeric rays and mysterious gases were brainwashing politicians and plunging Europe into revolution, terror, and war.” It has a strangely, almost happy ending. At least Matthews’ doctor who tried to prophet off of his time in Bedlam met with an appropriate ending. Read the full article over at Public Domain Review. (Please support this site. It is a wonderful site worth hours of exploring.)
Did you know there is life on the moon? Or at least, did you know that there was once an article that led trusting folk to believe there was life on the moon? The Museum of Hoaxes has an interesting article on The Great Moon Hoax. “The article started by triumphantly listing a series of stunning astronomical breakthroughs the famous British astronomer, Sir John Herschel, had made ‘by means of a telescope of vast dimensions and an entirely new principle.’ Herschel, the article declared, had established a ‘new theory of cometary phenomena’; he had discovered planets in other solar systems; and he had ‘solved or corrected nearly every leading problem of mathematical astronomy.’ Then, almost as if it were an afterthought, the article revealed Herschel’s final, stunning achievement. He had discovered life on the moon.” I still would have liked to see the biped beaver.
PrairieGhosts.com has a nice little article on the Fox Sisters. Not familiar with them? They were a thing for a bit in the Victorian era Spiritualist movement. They were quite notable for their click-clacking conversations with the dead. Then things got real, as in they were found to be frauds. THE FOX SISTERS: The Rise & Fall of Spiritualism’s Founders covers the life and times of the infamous Fox sisters. For anyone who has been wanting to dip their foot into the ghostly pool of that strange era of shooting ectoplasm from the nose and creepy ghost photography, this is a good place to start.
So, while looking through some random image files courtesy of Google, I stumbled upon the phrase funeral candy The very idea is a little off-putting but I am a ghost and perhaps I’m just feeling jealousy. No one brought candy to my final party. Nourishing Death blog has an interesting article on Swedish Funeral Canday. “During the mid-nineteenth century in Sweden hard sugar candies, typically in the form of a corpse and wrapped in black crepe paper with fringes became a popular funeral favor. Offered to funeral attendees with wine prior to the service, these little candy corpses wrapped up in a black shroud soon became a Swedish custom.” Give it a read if interesting by unsettling is your thing.
As a user of the aetherweb I’m sure you’ve come across the random strange illustration from centuries past. If there’s no accompanying information to explain the illustration’s original purpose one might wonder: Did someone really create this? Or is it just one of those oddities of history? Cat Pianos, Sound-Houses, and Other Imaginary Musical Instruments is another wonderful article from Public Domain Review pertaining to this. “Deirdre Loughridge and Thomas Patteson, curators of the Museum of Imaginary Musical Instruments, explore the wonderful history of made-up musical contraptions, including a piano comprised of yelping cats and Francis Bacon’s 17th-century vision of experimental sound manipulation.” Remember to show this site a little love & support if you enjoy these articles. :)
Hyperallergic.com has an interesting article on a new book Animal Kingdom: Stereoscopic Images Of Natural History, which features photographer Jim Naughten using the 19th-century stereoscopic technique to capture old items housed in natural history institutions so that they can be viewed on 3-D. The book even comes with a foldable stereoscopic viewer. Have a look: The Relics of Victorian Natural History in Eye-Popping Stereoscope. Photo credit: Jim Naughten, “Atlantic White-Spotted Octopus (2014)