Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some of Hereward's early magic collection
Some old magic items and odds and ends. His collection had many standard magic tricks of the day, 1890-1920 mostly. Also he owned various spirit magic and standard items used in seances - rapping hands, slates, reaching rods and so forth. Hereward loved magic and had dreamed of being a magician but early on, he found satisfation in writing, lecturing and presenting demonstrations. Hereward presented his first magic show at age 13 and put on a charity show in New York City for a hospital, not long after he arrived in the USA, he was still 18 years old and it was the year 1899.

Hereward Carrington's Estate collection

Here is half of Hereward's spirit cabinet curtain. There were two halves and each half had a skull at the top. The curtain was set up in the corner of a room with some rods and a rope or line running through and across the top. I have half and a London collector got the other half. Hereward was giving demonstrations of seance trickery by 1909 and likely already had such a curtain handy for the various psychics and mediums he lectured about and allowed to present their demonstations of their "abilities." A spirit cabinet is any separated enclosed area and the spirit curtain was an old common way of setting up such an area. I am not sure of the age of this one he was using but it is very old. Who knows what famous mediums may have used it when Hereward lectured. Hereward's estate collection came up for sale in the late 1990's and thousands of items were sold over the next ten years that had once been his. The bulk of the material was his book collection but a considerable amount of other interesting items were sold too.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hereward in the 1950's

Hereward continues to write which was always a main component of his work. With help sometimes from Marie, he is trying hard to get network interest in a television series based on his investigations. He is supplying old articles for another series to turn into scripts but he would like his own series. He makes a guest appearance on "You bet your life" and "You asked for it." He appears frail and a decade older than his age, his hand shakes a little and his boyish face is gone as his health problems have taken their toll on him. His interest in film and radio goes back to his early days. He wrote the story outline for the silent movie occult thriller, "The Mysteries of Myra," released in 1916. He was also the consultant on the film. This film is claimed by various writers to be the first all occult supernatural thriller film. Later he had a radio show called "Who Knows." I have another silent film short treatment he did called Zenobia, about an Egyptian princess returned to life by a supernatural spell. It was never produced to my knowledge and also has a 1916 date. Hereward did write some fiction stories which are not easy to track down because he didn't always use his own name but pen names. He was likely influenced or a fan of fantasy and occult fiction from his days as an asst. editor at Street and Smith publications, who published many pulp magazines. On his appearnce on the TV show,"You asked for it," he does a brief exposure of seance trickery in his film segment.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A limited biography of Hereward Carrington

A 1941 Magazine promo for Hereward Carrington
A biography of Hereward Carrington is long overdue. He was the most famous of the American psychic researchers in the first half of the 20th century. He started serious study of psychic phenomena at age 16 and kept journals of his thoughts and experiences from then up till his death in 1958, at the age of 78. He had three failed marriages,and he struggled with health problems for decades from contracting TB. He knew most of the prominent mediums and psychics of his day. He investigated haunted houses, seances, psychics and many other things. He wrote over 100 books and several thousand articles that appeared in various newspapers and magazines.
Why should we call him an American researcher when so many call him British. Most of his life was spent in America, he moved here permanently at age 19, when he arrived in 1899. Hereward first came to America for an extended visit with his mother and sister at age 8 and was still here at age 12. Hereward became an American citizen. His mother was born in New York state. I think of Hereward as British in temperment and American by choice. The Paul Tabori mini biography on Hereward Carrington is pretty good but has a number of errors in it. Even some of the errors tells me things. Paul has the wrong college where Hereward got his PhD but he is only repeating another person's mistake. Then when he speaks of Mrs Carrington, he is unaware in about 1950 that Hereward supposedly married the 2nd Marie. There is a strange story here with a strange ending. I have not tracked down their marriage certificates which would interest me.