Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis
What’s Deal Me In?
“The Ghost-Extinguisher” by Gelett Burgess
Card picked: Ace of Hearts
From: Introduced to me by Tim Prasil at The Merry Ghost Hunter. Published in Cosmopolitan in 1905, you too can read it online.
My attention was first called to the possibility of manufacturing a practicable ghost-extinguisher by a real-estate agent in San Francisco.
Our ghost-hunting narrator Garrish learns about an ancient Japanese* method of ridding properties of “ghosts” or rather the astral remains of the recently dead. Garrish sciences-up the ritual and devises a way to capture and store ghosts. When the ghost hunting business runs dry in his local area, Garrish takes a trip to England, thinking that the old country should be lousy with ghosts. Unfortunately, in England having a ghost in your house is sort of a status symbol, so no one wants their ghosts
busted er, extinguished. Ever a capitalist, Garrish realizes he has a supply that is in demand. Not surprisingly, things don’t go as planned…
This is fun story. It brings to mind, of course, Ghostbusters, but also The Frighteners, in which hauntings are levied for fun and profit.
* Early 20th century racism alert!
Gelett Burgess was an artist, art critic, and humorist of some note. In addition to “The Purple Cow,” he also coined the term “blurb,” thus giving authors everywhere something to seek or be pestered for depending on which side of fame that author stands.
I ended up perusing the Greater Phoenix Digital Library on Wednesday and checked out a few books. (What, I was supposed to keep to a list?) Since the data drive on this computer is horked up and, therefore, Adobe Digital Editions is more arduous than normal, I read these books on Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader app on my PC. I still don’t know what Amazon has against page numbers, but otherwise the formatting was good.
The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill
After The Two Sams, I was still in the mood for ghost stories. The Woman in Black ended up being much different than I expected. For some reason, I was expecting it to be more romantic. It is, in fact, a straight-up old-fashioned ghost story. And if it was the first ghost story I had ever read, I’d have a higher opinion of it. It is derivative and meant to be so. Hill opts for the gothic novel contrivance of a framing narrator/story, though I’m not sure it’s particularly necessary. The storytelling is methodical and detailed. Maybe even a little slow. Don’t get me wrong; I like these sorts of novels. I wrote one, in fact! It wasn’t the perfect read on the heels of Hirshberg’s more visceral style, but it wasn’t a hardship to read either.
The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this one either. I had seen the trailer for the movie and heard Mark Kermode reviewing it, but otherwise, I didn’t know too much about the book itself. I was under the impression the it was a kids book along the lines of The Name of this Book is a Secret. While I haven’t read that book, I’m sure it’s not as dark or bawdy (or salty, if you will) as The Pirates! It does seem to have a similar brand of absurd silliness. I don’t mind absurd or silly, but there has to be a dollop of clever as well. The Pirates! didn’t have enough clever in my opinion. Or, I just might be a grump…