Edgar Cayce on Atlantis – Edgar Evans Cayce

20160509_204712Warner Books – 1968

This is one of the stupidest, shittest books that I have ever read. I started reading it in February, but school got busy and I gave up on it. Things have eased up a bit recently, and I saw this piece of garbage lying on my shelf, mocking me and boasting to my other books that it been victorious in clogging my bullshit filter. “No!”, I said, “I shall not be defeated!” I picked up the book with renewed vigor, and forced myself to wade through 170 pages of handicap.

Edgar Cayce was a lad from America who claimed he was a psychic. I watched a shite documentary on him once, and I wasn’t very impressed. He would pretend to be asleep and then diagnose people’s diseases. He also gave people information about their past lives and that kind of crap. Somehow, I have amassed a small collection of books about him, but after reading this one, I imagine it will be quite a while until I read any more of them.

20160509_204445.jpgMy Cayce Collection

God, even thinking about explaining what this book is about is making me feel embarrassed. Reflecting on the fact that I knowingly spent several hours of my life reading a book by an idiot about an idiot for a bunch of idiots is making me think that I ought to find a new hobby.

So the idea here is that 12,000+ years ago, Atlantis was an island inhabited by spirits. The spirits wanted to interact with the physical stuff on the island, so they entered into living bodies. Or maybe they created the bodies; I can’t quite remember. Either way, these living bodies were not quite human; some had animal parts. Then, after a bit, some of the weird creatures turned greedy and a split occurred. Half of them remained sound, but half of them turned bad. The bad ones were called the ‘Sons of Belial’, and the good ones were called …something else; I’ll be fucked if I’m reopening the book to find out. So the two factions went at each other, and Atlantis was destroyed. The lads took off, probably in their nuclear powered flying machines, and a bunch of them ended up in Egypt.

When they got to Egypt, there were so many Atlanteans that the Egyptians didn’t know what to do. Somebody came up with the idea of bringing back RaTa. Now, RaTa, for those of you who weren’t aware, was a high priest who had been banished from Egypt. Anyways, RaTa was a bit of a genius too, and he managed to help the Atlanteans assimilate into Egyptian culture. This is how probably how the Egyptians learned about pyramid power and all of that shit. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention; RaTa, the diplomat, outcast, high-priest and all round hero of the story, was actually a previous incarnation of Edgar Cayce himself.  I can’t remember if the book ever mentions why he had been banished from Egypt. I personally suspect that it was for molesting young boys.

This book is a piece of dirt, fouling up my bookshelf. I started off reading it on the toilet, but I found that it gave me constipation. I’ll never read it again. Edgar Cayce was a stupid bastard.

The World’s Most Famous Ghosts – Daniel Cohen

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Archway Pocket Books – 1985

I picked this one up as part of a collection a few weeks ago. I’m not really interested in ghosts, and I’m pretty sure this is a kids’ book, but its size and short chapters made this a perfect book for some potty-reading.

So this is a collection of accounts of different ghosts and hauntings, from the ghost of Abraham Lincoln to the Flying Dutchman. It’s written in the style of writing that 12 year olds are taught to use; every paragraph in here has an introductory sentence and a concluding sentence that rephrases the introductory sentence (Teachers call this the sandwich or hamburger paragraph.). What follows is an actual paragraph from the book:

The local people were very happy. They gave Dickie all the credit. They said he didn’t want noisy trains so close to his home. So he used his supernatural powers to stop them. Dickie is a great favourite.

Come on Daniel! You’re an author; please try to use some complex or compound sentences!

While it doesn’t contain the most eloquent writing in the world, it does contain some cool stories ( And I mean, the writing is bad, but it’s not Gothic Ghosts bad.). I like the chapter on Sarah Winchester, the millionaire’s mad widow who designed a mansion to house ghosts. There’s also the tale of the Baychimo, a ghost ship from Vancouver. I’ll definitely be doing a little more research on that one. The section I found most interesting though, was the chapter on the Screaming Skulls. These cacophonic crania are alledged to shriek whenever they are moved from their particular resting spots in certain  English mansions. I looked the skulls up, and I found the following on their wikipedia page:

Whoever captioned that is a genius.

Like I said, I’m not hugely interested in ghosts, and I can’t say I believe in them, but three days ago, I spent about half an hour in the certainty that my home had been invaded by a poltergeist. My wife and I were sitting down, watching tv when our couch was lifted half a foot off the ground and instantly dropped back down. We don’t have any room-mates or pets, and nothing else in the room had moved. Neither of us had stirred, and our couch is right up against the wall, so we were able to deduce that whatever had done this wasn’t visible.  It wasn’t just a little bump either; this is a heavy couch, and it would take something very powerful to move it with the two of us sitting on it. Now I’ve spent the last two weeks reading books about ghosts and monsters, and so I immediately assumed that we were under some kind of infernal assault. I thought that I had perhaps awoken an evil spirit through my perusal of forbidden texts. I couldn’t sit back on that couch again without a weapon in my hand, and so I took down my trusty bullwhip from its mount and prepared to give 50 lashes to any intrusive ghoul! On seeing that I was ready for business, the spectre took his leave, and we were free to watch tv in relative peace. A while later, my wife checked facebook and saw that there had actually been an earthquake. I had never experienced an earthquake before, and so the thought hadn’t really crossed my mind. It was pretty funny to see how easily my scepticism was shaken in just a few moments of uncertainty.

Anyways, this book is alright. I wouldn’t recommend that you run out and buy a copy, but if you’re stuck on the crapper with nothing else, this will do trick. First you can use the ghastly tales to entertain your mind, and then you can use the nice soft pages to wipe your shitty rim.

Elvis Presley Speaks – Hans Holzer

New English Library – 1981

This book was not my first encounter with the work of Hans Holzer. Some of you may remember my review of Gothic Ghosts. If you have read that review, you will probably wonder why I bothered to read another book by this chump. (If you haven’t read that review, I strongly suggest that you do. It’s one of my personal favourites.) Well, after reading that utter piece of shit, I needed somewhere to direct my hate, and so I did a google image search for the author. An image of this book appeared, and I simply could not help myself. I bought a copy immediately.

This is a book about a woman named Dorothy who believes that the spirit of Elvis Presley exists in an Astral realm between earth and heaven. This realm is peopled by souls awaiting reincarnation, and it is managed by a mysterious bearded figure named Matthew. (My first guess was that it was the gospelly Matthew, but this is neither confirmed nor denied in the book.) The astral residents spend their days going to school, attending jam sessions and sometimes making contact with the living.

Elvis descends from the astral realm and appears to this woman for two reasons.
1. They have been soul mates in many previous lives, but because of some heavenly error, they ended up apart in their most recent incarnations. (Dorothy was a housewife from New Jersey; Elvis was the king of rock and roll.) This separation was partly to blame for the untimely death of Elvis. After death, Elvis’s soul realizes what he has been missing and decides to spend all of his time watching over this woman.
2. Elvis wants Dorothy to contact the famous parapsychologist, Dr. Hans Holzer so that he can send a message to the world. His message is that there is existence after death and that dead souls can get quite lonely.

So what is the ghost of Elvis like? Well, he’s a weird creep. He gets annoyed about impersonators, worries about his family and tries to ruin a woman’s marriage. At one point he climbs on top of Dorothy when she is in bed with her husband and asks her if she wants to “fool around”. There’s not much insight into Elvis’s character here that wouldn’t be available in other biographies or interviews. Let’s remember that Elvis is one of the most famous people to ever walk the earth, and it would probably be a challenge for Elvis himself to give any additional insight on his character. Given that, I have to say that Dorothy Sherry’s portrait of the king is incredibly underwhelming.

This is a very poorly written book. It’s mostly repetition, and Holzer has no interviewing skills whatsoever. As soon as Elvis starts answering any of his questions, Holzer will immediately interrupt him with another unrelated question. I don’t know if Dorothy Sherry even existed, but if she did, I wonder how much of this book is based on her own subjective experiences and lies and how much is based on Holzer’s personal agenda. It seems a bit odd that Elvis Presley, the most famous entertainer in the world, would come back to substantiate personally the claims of a fiddeldy-dee parapsychologist. I got the impression that Dorothy was being led on by a manipulative cadger, anxious to profit from the unfortunate woman’s mental instability.

Obviously the book is completely stupid and unbelievable, but the most annoying thing about it is Holzer’s sense of self importance. He mentions several times that Elvis had read many of his books and that Elvis wanted Holzer to deal with this case personally. The book is about  a famous musician, and Holzer can’t help but announce that he too is a professional musician. At one point in the book he offers to write music for new Elvis songs. Later Dorothy recounts a vision of a past life in ancient Egypt. In this life she was a slave, but she was able to alleviate the misery of servitude by basking in the glory of a noble and intelligent teacher figure. This teacher was none-other than an early incarnation of Hans Holzer himself. Why did Holzer include this vision in a book about  the ghost of Elvis?

Hans Holzer, you are an arsehole.

This book is shite. Pure shite. I found myself questioning my own intelligence when I was reading it. In the hours that it took me to read this garbage, I could have tidied my bedroom or gone for a walk. Sometimes I justify reading stupid books to myself by viewing the activity as an exercise in critical thinking. This book provided no such exercise. The critical thinking involved in the reading of this book was limited to my evaluation and immediate repudiation of the book’s subtitle, “The astonishing evidence of spiritual contact with Elvis from beyond the grave”. This book is scraping the bottom of the barrel, and the only good that can come from reading it is the contrast of quality that you will immediately notice in whatever book you read after it. I doubt that I will be reviewing anything this bad for quite a while.

Oscar Wilde from Purgatory – Hester Travers Smith

Online Text oscar purgatory
(I printed and published my own edition)

Well Ireland is having a gay marriage referendum tomorrow, and although I can’t vote, I can review a text by Ireland’s most infamous homosexual.

I suppose this book isn’t technically by Oscar Wilde; it’s a series of messages delivered by Wilde’s disembodied ghost to Hester Travers Smith and her accomplice, Mr. V in 1923. These messages were originally published in The Sunday Express, nearly a quarter of a century after Oscar’s death.

What does Oscar have to say after 23 years festering in the grave? Well, he gives his opinions on women, being dead and the possibility of composing another play from beyond. He also spends quite a lot of time discussing modern literature. Contacting Smith through a Ouija board, he lets her know that he is not a fan of Joyce, Shaw or Yeats. You may wonder how a dead man could have read literature that was written after his death, but Oscar gives a perfectly satisfactory explanation:

Like blind Homer, I am a wanderer. Over the whole world have I wandered, looking for eyes by which I might see. At times it is given me to pierce this strange veil of darkness, and through eyes, from which my secret must be forever hidden, gaze once more on the gracious day. I have found sight in the most curious places. Through the eyes out of the dusky face of a Tamal girl I  have looked on the tea fields of Ceylon, and through the eyes of a wandering Kurd I have seen  Ararat and the Yezedes, who worship both God and Satan and who love only snakes and  peacocks. […] It may surprise you to learn that in this way I have dipped into the works of some of  your modern novelists. That is, I have not drawn the whole brew, but tasted the vintage.

So Oscar’s ghost just floats around the world, and from time to time he possesses the bodies of unsuspecting individuals to read a few buks. It’s interesting to note that he refers to himself as a wanderer in this passage. To avoid unwanted attention after his stint in prison, Oscar adopted the name Melmoth when traveling. Melmoth the Wanderer is of course the title of a Gothic novel by Wilde’s great uncle, Charles Maturin. Even in death he persists in this self-characterization. Now, if that’s not proof that these messages were delivered by the actual Oscar Wilde, then I don’t know what is!

This text includes not only the messages from the different seances at which Oscar appeared, but also an explanation and defense of the methods that were used to obtain the messages. Incredibly unconvincing arguments for the trustworthiness of ouija boards, automatic writing, cryptesthesia and spiritism are given.

The mediums involved also assure the reader that they knew very little about the life and style of Mr. Wilde before his communications, and hence could not possibly have faked these messages. The obvious argument against this would be that they were lying, and that they probably did a great deal of research into Oscar’s life and style before creating this hoax.There is actually very little reason to believe that they did not indulge in such research. This however is not a particularly interesting explanation of the the scripts, and I far prefer the explanation given by the Reverend Montague Summers:

I do not for a moment accept this script as being inspired or dictated by Wilde. I hasten to add that I do not suggest there was any conscious fraud or trickery on the part of those concerned ; it is quite probable that these psychic messages were conveyed by some intelligence of no very high standing, and the result in fine is not of any value.
(The History of Witchcraft – p.268)

So the communication and messages were real, but the spirit was an imposter. It was only a púca; one who was well versed in Irish literature. I am happy to accept this completely rational argument.

This book is absolute crap. I knew it was going to be crap before I read it, but I couldn’t resist.  3/10. Vote yes.

Myself and Oscar in 2011.