- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Adventures Unlimited Press; Revised edition (April 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0932813674
- ISBN-13: 978-0932813671
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,157,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Eccentric Lives and Peculiar Notions Paperback – April 1, 1999
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About the Author
John Michell was a Russian interpreter and Chartered Surveyor before publishing his first book, The Flying Saucer Vision, in 1967. This and its successor, The View Over Atlantis (1969), helped to change the attitudes of a whole generation to the culture, wisdom and science of ancient societies. His other books include The Earth Spirit, A Little History of Astro Archaeology, Simulacra, Megalithomania, The New View Over Atlantis, and, with Robert Rickard, Phenomena and Living Wonders. He lives in London. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
This book includes the following topics:
"A dreadfully persistent lover" - The life of the man known as Woodcock Carden who pursued his love to extremes despite her refusal of his advances.
"The strange adventure of a Somerset genealogist" - The life of Sir Ian Stuart-Knill and his wife Lady Eve and their research into the earliest history of King Arthur.
"Loyalists of the flat earth" - The history of the belief that the earth is flat, beginning with the Greek monk Cosmas and culminating in various fundamentalists in modern times who continue to cling to the biblically based belief in a flat earth despite the globularists. This section also includes discussion of attempts to determine which theory was correct, pitting the two theories against each other and featuring such characters as Alfred Russell Wallace and Lady Blount.
"The community that dwelt within the earth" - The followers of Dr. Cyrus Teed who advocated a utopian religion called Koreshanity and their belief that the earth was a hollow sphere (as well as attempts to prove this through measurement).
"The diehard priest who opposed capitalism" - The life and exploits of the diehard priest Father Jeremiah O'Callaghan who opposed the lending at interest (usury), basing his arguments on church tradition and Scripture, including mention of William Cobbett who largely embraced his ideas.
"A most conservative M.P. and the royal boycott of Lincoln" - The life of the arch-conservative Colonel Sibthorp who opposed all reform and change to the English Constitution of his youth.
"The first lady of conspiratology" - A thorough discussion of the notion of conspiracy theory, focusing on the life of Nesta Webster and her early involvement in the occult and her unveiling of a conspiracy against Christian civilization. This section also includes discussion of the Bavarian Illuminati and the nefarious Adam Weishaupt, as well as mentioning conspiracy theory in America including in modern times such as propagated by the magazine _The Spotlight_ and the U. S. Labor Party.
"The man who got letters from statues" - A discussion of the Fox sisters and spiritualism as well as Baron Ludwig de Guldenstubbe who received letters from statues.
"Two unusual landowners" - The lives of Lord Rokeby and Henry Lee Warner and their respectively unusual practices concerning the ownership of their land.
"The consolation of a jilted Latvian" - The life of the jilted lover Edward Leedskalnin and his creations of structures out of coral as well as his book of philosophy and advice.
"The judge who visited wild men" - The life of Lord Monboddo and his philosophy of universal consciousness which was an important precursor to Darwinism as well as his peculiar belief that orangutans were primitive men and that some men had tails.
"A crusader for thoroughbred people" - The life of Sir Francis Galton and his researches into human differences and statistics as well as the power of prayer. This section also discusses Galton's development of the ideas behind eugenics and his desire to breed a thoroughbred race of people.
"The inventor of frozen battleships" - The life and inventions of the eccentric Geoffrey Nathaniel Pyke and his role in education and in attempting to create a battleship made out of an ice-like material ("pykeite") to achieve victory in the Second World War.
"The last of the old Welsh druids" - The lives of various eccentrics, including Edward Williams (known as Iolo Morganwg), Dr. Price, and Evan Davies (known as Myfyr Morganwg), their eccentric and radical ideas, and their belief in a primitive Christianity embodied in the traditions of the Welsh druids.
"Jerusalem in Scotland and other findings of a revisionist geographer" - The life of Comyns Beaumont who proposed a revisionist geography of Britain in which Britain served as the true Holy Land which had been lost because of misdoings by Constantine.
"The people with holes in their heads" - Individuals who believe that through the practice of trepanation the mind can be liberated. This section also includes a discussion of the culture surrounding drugs and LSD in the Sixties and the role such ideas came to play on such people.
"Bibliomaniacs" - The lives of various individuals who became obsessed with collecting books to such a great degree that their lives were often ruined and their homes completely covered with books.
"Jews, Britons, and the lost tribes of Israel" - The belief that the British are in fact the lost tribe of Israel, popularized by British Israelites. This section also discusses various attempts by Victorians to convert the Jews to Christ as well as the role of early Zionism.
"Doubts on Shakespeare, and a Baconian martyr" - The life of Delia Bacon who believed that the author of Shakespeare's plays was in fact Francis Bacon.
"Congressman Donnelly, the great heretic" - The life of Ignatius Donnelly and his role in populist politics and in opposition to the conspiracies of bankers and big business as well as his theories concerning Atlantis, Ragnarok (and the collision of a comet with the earth), and the true authorship of Shakespeare's plays (he believed it to be Bacon).
"Shakespearean decoders and the great Baconian treasure hunt" - Further theories on the true authorship of Shakespeare's plays, emphasizing the role of Bacon but also of other figures such as Marlowe. Includes emphasis on cryptographs in deciphering the true authorship of Shakespeare.
"Eminent ufologists" - An examination of the UFO question, including such figures as George Adamski, Carl Jung, and Brinsley le Poer Trench, as well as various theories concerning the UFO phenomena and the role of governments.
This book is a fascinating examination of the minds of various eccentric and bizarre individuals who held to peculiar notions. It is a fun read and certain to be enjoyable to all who would look at the stranger side of human nature.
No, this book is exactly what I thought it would be, and it's delightful. I read it from cover to cover. One of the few books that turned out to be every good as I was hoping.
It's a series of essays about eccentric people and their beliefs, all written by the author. There are lots of pictures and the writing is only a bit stuffy. Each essay is stand-alone and the book does not need to be read in sequence.
There are only a couple of duds among the batch, but the ones that are worth it are really, really worth it. The very first one, for example, "A Dreadfully Persistent Lover," is unforgettable. Others, such as the "people with holes in their heads," will have you scrambling for Wikipedia to ensure the author isn't making this stuff up.
Alas. He isn't.
Most of what you'll find in the book has been rehashed time and time again. However; if you have never read about people like this,it will probably amuse you.
I did hang in and read most of the book;but the two chapters on Shakespeare were just too much of the stuff that has been repeated over and over without any resolution;that I must admit,I just couldn't force myself to plod through. However;to give credit where it is due;we are given some pretty good photographs of most of the characters involved.
I was, however,quite taken by the chapter on Geoffrey Nathaniel Pyke (1894-1948),the inventer of Frozen Battleships and how he was actually listened to by Mountbatten,Churchill and Roosevelt.I guess there is some truth to it all;but I've never come across any mention of him and his ideas.
Having said all that, if individuals with odd beliefs and eccentric notions are of particular interest to the reader, there are some notable characters to be found in this book.
Each chapter is self contained, making this book ideal bathtub/bedtime reader.
I was thouroughly entertained by this book. It is a quick and fun read. The bibliography and index lets you conduct any further investigations on those subjects that particularily interested you.
Try it, you'll like it.