Thursday, October 24, 2019

Paranormal Reading

Though it's a huge time consumer, I always review the shelves and boxes of books at estate and garage sales.  You can usually get a pretty good sense of what you'll find by looking through a row of them.  If you see a lot of religious, self-help or psychiatry books, you're probably not going to find any treasures (unless you need those books, of course).

I hit a gold mine of paranormal books at one particular sale this summer.  They were all from the first year of printing, however, they were the less desirable Book Club versions, though they still sell for more than the $1 each I paid.

First up is William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist".  The movie version of this freaked me out when I was a kid, and I didn't even go see it.  The descriptions I heard were more than enough to make me start wearing the Popsicle stick and soda straw rosary I made in PSR*.

*PSR is Catholic Parish School of Religion, although we just called it "Instructions".

The book itself is actually based on a case that occurred here in St. Louis.  My brother had the paperback version of the novel making the cover picture hard to discern, but I knew it looked creepy.  I remember taking it out of our shared closet one day and throwing it away.

Next up is another devil of a story, "Rosemary's Baby" by Ira Levin.

When I was a kid, I always confused "Rosemary's Baby" with another movie from 1976, "It's Alive".  Believe it or not, they put ads for that movie on the back of comic books. Way to freak this 9-year-old out, people.  I wish I could find a picture of it. It wasn't the same as the movie poster, but a cartoon version of it.  I just remember the long hairy arm hanging out of the crib.  Gah!  It still freaks me out!

Next we move into the series of books that sparked the whole Aliens visited the Ancients phenomena that dominates the satellite and cable TV channels these days and are responsible for providing this guy a paycheck.

Of course I'm talking about Erich Von Däniken and his "Chariots of the Gods?". At least Däniken put a question mark at the end of his book.  For many these days, it seems like a foregone conclusion.

Däniken continued the theme in several other books I picked up as well.

In fact, Däniken continues to write on the subject to this day. At age 84, his most recent book is "The Gods Never Left Us".

I recall my brother reading his books in the '70's and being convinced it was all true.  Reading Däniken's Wikipedia entry, it's as much a biography as a discrediting of his findings.


  1. man, i LOVED Chariot of the Gods back then. it was like catnip for my kid brain. i don't recall any of his follow-up books, though. no wonder we were so into Bigfoot back then! And The Exorcist, brrr.... that book still freaks me out. surprised you didn't find The Amityville Horror too, and Jaws. no 70s bookshelf was complete without those.

    1. You're right, those would have fit right in, especially Amityville. That was another book cover that freaked me out.

    2. those red eyes of Jody the Pig!

  2. I have read Rosemary's Baby - my mom liked that book. That exorcist story gives me the heebee jeebees especially knowing about pedophile priest. Who knows what they did to that poor misunderstood child?

  3. Never read the actuat Excorcist or Rosemary's Baby, but maybe one day. As for the Ancient Aliens proto-books ... I love watching those shows, even though I don't buy their spiel. Good brain candy, and love seeing old relics and landmarks and wonder what they are all about. I thought of going as Giorgio for Halloween, one year. :)


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