Oddity of the Week: Daniel Defoe and The Deadly Archives

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This material is not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned.

As a h2g2 Researcher, would you strike a Faustian bargain to get your information? This week's Halloween Oddity involves. . .

Daniel Defoe and The Deadly Archives

Frontispiece to  A Compleat System of Magick

Daniel Defoe? Magic? Magick [sic], even? We thought Defoe was a practical fellow. After all, we've all read Robinson Crusoe.

Nope. The investigative journalist of the 18th Century was, apparently, a bit of a tinfoil hat wearer. In addition to A Compleat System of Magick (1726), of which this image is the frontispiece, Defoe also penned An Essay on the History and Reality of Apparitions in 1727. In that book, Defoe tells us how to deal with ghosts, and to stop being scared of them.

We would love to have got Mr Defoe on a chat show with, say, James van Praagh and that Medium woman. Oh, and Harry Houdini, the biggest skeptic of them all.

'I'm getting a message for someone in the audience. The name begins with 'C'. . . '

Does anything ever change?

Enjoy your Halloween, but be careful in those magic(k) circles.

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Dmitri Gheorgheni

29.10.12 Front Page

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