5.4.10

A MIXED BAG

Cate Ludlow (editor). Tales from the Terrific Register: The Book of Wonders.
The History Press, 2009.

The Terrific Register was a sort of early 19th century cross between Fortean Times, Bizarre, True Crimes and True Adventures, much of its readership being the Georgian equivalents of Richmal Crompton's William Brown. This one is full of 'people wot gets eaten by lions and tigers and bears and 'orrible snakes, and plagues of rats', other strange deaths, thrilling deeds, amazing survivals, terrific thunderstorms, spontaneous human combustion, Gods wrath on sinners, amputations, savage battles and so on. Much loved by Dickens, but hated by clergymen, magistrates etc.

As an example there is the fearful death of Thomas Clements, who while fishing, put a little sole in his mouth to hold, whereupon "the fish with a sudden spring forced itself into his throat and choked him. The unfortunate man had just time to call for assistance, but it came too late; he expired soon afterwards in dreadful agony".

Dick Russell. On the Trail of JFK's Assassins: a Groundbreaking Look at America's Most Infamous Conspiracy. Skyhorse Publishing, 2008.

This collection of old articles and updates has little to say on exactly what happened in Dallas on November 22 1963. Rather it deals with the claims of a variety of 'whistleblowers' and conspiracy theorists. Magonia readers will note the similarity between the sort of claims made here and those made by various characters in ufology. Indeed in some cases they are the same, for on pp. 126/7 we encounter non other than Philip J Corso, of Roswell back-engineering infamy. The conspiratorially minded may see him as a general disinformation specialist, the more cynical (such as yours truly) are more likely to see him as a sad, bitter old man, willing to say anything to anyone in exchange for a sympathetic chat and a beer.

Another feature of this book which will be familiar to those examining paranormal claims is the escalation of claims until they strain the boggle ceiling of even the most open minded. Among those included here is that Lee Harvey Oswald was programmed from childhood onward by CIA mind controllers, that Kennedy's body was altered before the autopsy, that the Zapruder film was altered and so on.

Vladimir Rubtsov. The Tunguska Mystery. Springer, 2010
A detailed examination of the aerial phenomenon or phenomena which exploded over the Tunguska region of Siberia on 30 June 1908. He claims that there are many anomalies which mean standard explanations in terms of stony meteorites or even a comet head are unviable, and that much of the research and study on this phenomenon has never been available in the west. If all the anomalies claimed here are correct, then it would seem to have been something very anomalous indeed. That does not mean it is likely to be an extraterrestrial 'star ship' as the Rubtsov hints but never quite says. It strikes me as implausible to say the least that such a star ship would involve a technology which just seems a century or two ahead of our own, and as to the latest theory that one star ship shot down another, that seems rather like something out of Star Wars.

Palmiro Campagna. The UFO files: The Canadian Connection Exposed.
Dundurn Press, 2010 (sic)
An un-amended reissue of the 1998 paperback edition of a 1997 title. It has some interesting background on the Steve Michalak case, but much of the content is padding about Roswell, Nazi secret weapons, Wilbert Smith (anti gravity flying saucer propulsion theory/contactee hugging crank who led a Canadian official or semi official UFO investigation back in the early 1950s) and etc.


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