WHERE IT ALL BEGAN...
Hello again my fellow weird folk and thank you for returning to The Lost Library of The Strange.
Today I'm taking you back to my primary school years when I was aged around 8 or 9 years old.
(My fascination with the dark and macabre started at an early age, and during this time in my life, I was an avid watcher of Scooby Doo, Chocky, The Box of Delights, and other creepy kids TV programmes).
Each week, our class would be allowed access to the tiny school library which was tucked away at the bottom of a small and slightly spooky staircase. Me and my fellow classmates would be organised into an orderly queue and marched down the corridor from our classroom by our teacher, who would ask us to wait at the top of the library steps as they descended into the darkness of the stairwell below to unlock the library door.
On my frst visit to tjhe library my stomach was in excited knots, in anticipation of being able to explore this unfamiliar space, which was so important it had to be locked at all times, and, to top it off, was supposedly haunted!
Whilst waiting at the top of the stairs, my imagination would be conjuring up scenarios of bumping into the book loving spectre from Ghostbusters, or a similar ghoul that maywell reside between the towering bookshelves of this windowless room.
It was on this first visit, I was scanning the shelves, wide-eyed and overwhelmed with the huge number of books that surrounded me.
I found it.
The word 'GHOSTS' written down its thick, heavy spine, in a creepy green font that stood out like a beacon to my fear-loving eyes.
I darted across the library and began to slide the book from its space on the shelf. I lifted it down onto a nearby table and sat down to digest the books front cover. My heart-rate quickened, and my stomach somersaulted.
It was beautiful
My eyes scanned the books title...
'The Hamkyn Book of Ghosts in fact and fiction'
Fact and fiction?
FACT and fiction? What? This shit is actually real?! And if the book's sleeve is this creepy and amazing, what the hell am I going to find inside!!!
ABOVE: Cover art 'The Hamlyn Book of Ghosts in fact and fiction'
I slowly opened the front cover of the book. It felt like I was doing something forbidden, something naughty, and I loved it! I began to flick from one page to the next, gasping at the incredible images as my eyes absorbed them in their full horrific glory. Those images burned themselves permanently into my memory and The Hamlyn Book Of Ghosts became my obsession.
It is where my love for horror and all things weird began. And, although this book sent chills through my bones, and did absolutely nothing for my night terrors, on every visit to the library, I couldn't resist its draw. I became a Gollum of sorts, hiding it in the wrong place so as no one else could find it and take my precious away.
But now I am older and wiser and, would like to share this books contents with you including some of the illustrations that scared the begeeesus out of 8 year old me. In the next blog post I will reveal the first of these images and the story that accompanied it.
So, until next time,
Stay weird my Fiends. x