Sunday, March 28, 2021

Something About Usborne’s Supernatural World

Nightmare fuel.

It’s funny the things I find on our bookshelf. Pushed to the back on one shelf of old paperbacks was a thin, paperback copy of the Usborne Supernatural Guide to Mysterious Powers and Strange Forces, one of three books published by the British publisher. Several young readers in both the UK and the US apparently were quite fond of these in the late-70s and early-80s – including yours truly. In 1979, all three books were compiled into one book called Usborne Guide to the Supernatural World – all of which are long out of print. If you’re feeling nostalgic and looking for a copy to complete your collection, then be prepared to spend a couple hundred dollars for the omnibus edition. Good luck finding the separate editions, too.

Or, instead of that ...

Apparently, I'm late to wagon but there is a petition to republish the omnibus Usborne Guide to the Supernatural World. As of this writing the petition just crossed 900 signatures, meaning they are less than 100 signatories away from potentially – and finally – republishing this gem.

The books were my introduction to the Borley Rectory, allegedly the most haunted house in England, and, if I recall correctly, came complete with some of the eeriest illustrations I had seen up to that point.

If time and energy permitted, I would love to go through one of these books (or, all three) and check sources. Stories of people suddenly disappearing and then reappearing literally on the other side of the world are great for young readers to wonder about. This slightly older and jaded archivist likes a good story, too, but it smells of sensationalism. However, someone told me once to print the legend, so --

I’m off to sign a petition.

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