Monday, 13 December 2010

where it starts

Does this fascination with the supernatural start with the Usborne Book of Ghosts as a birthday present aged seven? Or being one of the generation drawn into either Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World (as sung about by The Divine Comedy) or The Unexplained magazine series in the late 70s? Or any of the disturbing 70s or 80s children's supernaturally-tinged dramas (most of which I've already linked to here, but I've kept meaning to slot in John Wyndham's Chocky, which had a pretty ace haunted soundtrack on top of references to aliens, menacing powers, cosmic energy and pyramids). Maybe it's something as innocuous as watching reruns of 60s horror comedy classic The Addams Family (or seeing the cartoons - lovely edition of pictured, left) or The Munsters? Or the cool 60s hearse cars used by a) The Monkees b) Neil Young and c) the Ghostbusters? Or maybe it goes further, the primal fascinations of the dark, the things we catch out of the corner of our eye, or the sinister resonances of sound written about by David Toop. It's not always sinister, that's for sure. More times than not it's the comfort of escaping into the uncanny versus the nightmare of reality that's oddest.


  1. My first memories of an interest in 'the supernatural' were of reading a book called 'Folklore, Myths, and Legends of Britain' at my aunt and uncles house in the early seventies. It was a large black, leatherbound hardcover with a picture of the cornish 'Ooser' in gilt on the front. I was OBSESSED with that book. It was published in 1973, the year I was born, and I was definitely able to read well enough to get the gist of it by 1978, so i guess it was all downhill from there - 'Man, Myth & Magic', Dennis Wheatley novels from Woolworths, Arthur C Clarke and Sapphire and Steel on the TV...the seventies were easily THE best time for spooky stuff.

  2. That sounds like a fantastic book to be obsessed with at such a young age! And it's definitely strange looking back to see how surrounded we were by the supernatural then. I really, really hope for a rerun of Sapphire And Steel - the episode with the ghostly first world war soldiers still sticks in my head, though I know there must've been far better episodes I can't remember.