Wednesday, 23 February 2011

more mysterious adventures

As promised, to add to the Marcel Belline post, more covers from mid-70s editions of L'Aventure Mystérieuse series.

Tiger-men! Fox-ladies! Cat-ghosts! Werewolves! Fabulous monsters of all kinds. "In all ages, in all places, the human soul has roamed the uncertain boundaries of the animal world." But here, that cover is more punk than punk in its year of publication, 1977.

Former 1940s surrealist writer, postwar newspaper seller, tunnel digger and journalist de Sede is the guy responsible for the the whole Priory of Sion/Knights Templar malarkey. In other words, the Da Vinci Code? His fault. De Sede's son said that his father had made it up. But this 1973 book is all about that popular favourite, ancient astronauts, wrapping aliens and mythology up into a perplexing yet somehow cosy alternative DNA strand, so obviously that's completely ok.

Giant statues high up in the Andes, geology and the legend of Atlantis - at last, the full story, and geologists get to be (kind of) exciting.

George Adamski was a Polish-American ice cream salesman who rose to fame as the first human, so he said, to be contacted by aliens in the 50s. Adamski was befriended by a Venusian called Orthon and  took photographs of Orthon's spaceships. Reports of the these encounters spread across the pond to Desmond Leslie, an esoteric-obsessed Irish aristocrat who wrote to Adamski requesting more information, added it to his existing research into ancient astronauts and made Adamski a co-author of the 1953 factual bestseller, Flying Saucers Have Landed. Arthur C Clarke was among those who rubbished the book as a "farrago of nonsense". Leslie went on to preach the aliens' message for humans, and punch Bernard Levin (he'd given Leslie's wife a bad review) live on television in the 60s on That Was The Week That Was.

More from the self-styled prince of the seers, Marcel Belline, on clairvoyance and looking beyond the veil.

An exotic character by any stretch, William Seabrook was an American reporter and medal-awarded first world war veteran who had an inveterate eye for a story throughout the 1920s, turning every nook and cranny of his admittedly interesting life into commercial fodder, whether in books or articles for magazines like Cosmopolitan. Much of his focus was occult based, as he explored devil worshippers and whirling dervishes in Arabia, voodoo and satanism in Haiti and Aleister Crowley and witchcraft (in what must have been a decidedly intense week-long visit by Crowley to Seabrook's farm). But Seabrook also wrote up his experiences when he was committed to mental institution for alcoholism as a bestseller, Asylum. His wife in turn wrote a biography of him, long after they had divorced and he had died, called The Strange World Of Willie Seabrook.

Shortly before his death in 1978, Bergier said of himself "I am not a legend", but that honour had already been sealed in 1960 by the publication of his occult-revival inducing seminal work with Louis Pauwels, The Morning Of The Magicians. Bergier's life was pretty legendary anyway even before then - a gifted toddler who escaped with his family from revolutionary Russia, ending up in France, became a pioneering chemical engineer, signed up with the French resistance and went cloak and dagger as a cold war spy after the second world war. Recommended reading: Bergier on whether 70s eastern Europe was A Mental Wasteland Or A Psi Paradise. The Book Of The Inexplicable, pictured above,  was one of several dozen titles written by Bergier.

Superhuman knowledge and geometric prophesies based on mathematical measurements. Unfortunately, most of the deadlines for the dark dangers prophesied had already been and gone without incident before it was even published in 1936, never mind when it was reprinted in this graphically satisfying edition in the mid-70s.

It Was Thus (published in 1976) was one of a mountain of books by Lobsang Rampa, otherwise known as Cyril Henry Hoskin, a writer born in 1910 who claimed that he was the reincarnation of a Tibetan monk, that his cat had dictated one his books to him by telepathy and, in his last book, that there was an enormous secret cave in Tibet that existed outside of time, filled with futuristic technology belonging to a race that had disappeared millions of years before. Denounced frequently in the British press as a charlatan, Hoskin/Rampa moved to Canada in 1960.


  1. Absolutely marvellous, I will start hunting these eerie volumes down. I love the French translation of 'flying saucer'.

  2. in love with this post and your blog in general. thanks!

  3. Thanks so much - trying to catch up on a backlog to upload, and all the support makes it worthwhile