Friday, June 30, 2017

Defence Against the Dark Arts Part IX: more Stalky and Molesworth:

After finishing the article about Rudyard Kipling’s Stalky and the Molesworth books, I found some associated works that I didn’t know existed:

Stalky & Co.  BBC TV series; made in 1982

Two more Molesworth books, written by Simon Brett and illustrated by William Rushton:

Molesworth Rites Again (1983)
How To Stay Topp (1987)

I found some reviews, and there were enough positive ones to make me decide to get them. They sounded at least worth trying. I bought a DVD of the TV series; I bought the books too as they were not in my library’s catalogue.

I wondered whether I had done the right thing, as dramatisations of books I like are usually very disappointing and tribute books are hardly ever as good as the originals.

The Stalky & Co. BBC TV series
I have always believed that books stimulate the imagination whereas films short-circuit it. However, I bought the Stalky DVD in the hope that it would add something to the stories.

I don’t know what people who have never read the book would make of it; my balanced opinion is that while it was not a complete waste of money and it was not so bad that I was outraged by the dramatisation, it is lucky that I had not expected too much.

Some of the stories are shown out of sequence, and only six of the eight have been included. I wish they had included The Impressionists instead of The Moral Persuaders, which was too painful to watch.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle’s witch Helen Penclosa: Part III

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s occult novella The Parasite is a goldmine of supporting material for some of my ideas. It could be used as a teaching aid by people who are interested in informing – and warning - people about some types of unseen influences.

Part I of this series of articles introduced the main characters and outlined the plot; Part II described the effects that Helen Penclosa’s occult practices have on her victims. Part III gives more information about Miss Penclosa and her evil practices.

The source of Helen Penclosa’s powers
Where do Miss Penclosa’s powers come from?

By telling us that Helen Penclosa comes from Trinidad, Conan Doyle suggests that she has been involved with practices such as Voodoo or Obeah. He never states this explicitly, but there can be no other reason for his including this information.

It is a clue; it is a trope of the time; it is similar to saying that she has spent some time in Tibet: readers of the day would infer that she acquired her occult powers in a remote, mysterious and exotic place. It is a cop-out that saves him from trying to explain the inexplicable.

Austin Gilroy thinks that a natural force is at work.

Helen Penclosa could well be a natural witch; her powers could have developed because of her unhappiness, lack of options and inability to obtain what she wants in the normal way.

If the definition of black magic as the illegitimate use of the powers of the subconscious mind for one’s own purposes is accepted, then Miss Penclosa practices black magic.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle’s witch Helen Penclosa: Part II

The Parasite, a short novel about hypnotism by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, contains much material of interest. Part I introduced the main characters and outlined the plot; Part II will give some more details of the effects that Helen Penclosa’s occult practices have on her victims.

Conan Doyle tells us in this chilling little story how it looks and feels to be controlled by hypnotism, suggestion and even possession by this evil witch and energy vampire.

Under the influence: Agatha Marden
As a demonstration of her power, and proof that she can make people do things that they would never do of their own free will, Helen Penclosa hypnotises Austin Gilroy's young fiancée Agatha, ordering her break off the engagement.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Arthur Conan Doyle’s witch Helen Penclosa: Part I

While doing some research for an article about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s life in Southsea, I discovered that he had written a short novel about occult forces called The Parasite:

“… his dark tale of an evil woman possessed of such hypnotic powers that she is able to induce by remote control not only murder, but passionate love as well, in the mind of her chosen victim.”

From  A Study in Southsea: The Unrevealed Life of Doctor Arthur Conan Doyle by Geoffrey Stavert.

Stavert’s summary made the story sound very interesting indeed: I immediately thought of psychic crime and psychological black magic.

I found The Parasite on Project Gutenberg. The novella, which was first published in 1894, is only four chapters long; the plot is simple and there are only a handful of characters. The language is rather old-fashioned and melodramatic and the story a bit contrived, but I found The Parasite worth reading as a source of inspiration for an article or two. It contains some very familiar elements and provides yet more independent confirmation of some of my ideas.

The characters in summary
The two main characters are Miss Helen Penclosa, the evil woman, and Austin Gilroy, the chosen victim.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Southsea and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I went on a day trip to Southsea recently.

The main reason for my visit was to take a look at the place where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once lived and worked.

lived in Southsea during my last few terms at primary school and my first few terms at secondary school.  I went back there once or twice as an adult, but for personal reasons only: I wanted to lay some ghosts from the past. I didn’t know about the Conan Doyle and Kipling connections at the time. I didn’t know anything about the number 33 either, which by chance is the number of the house that I lived in – and other houses I have connections with.

I have already posted pictures of Kipling's House of Desolation, which is still standing; unfortunately, what might be called Conan Doyle’s House of Success is no longer there.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kathleen Raine, the Destroyer and the Destroyed

The poet Kathleen Raine was born on this day, June 14th, in 1908. To mark the occasion, here is another article inspired by her autobiographical books.

One thing I noticed immediately is that, unlike many other victims of the creative spirit, Kathleen Raine made attempts to understand the occult forces and unseen influences at work in her life.

She learned from experience and took some responsibility for what happened to her:

Because I suffered I supposed that he had hurt me… an instinctive reaction, stupid and unjust for most often we hurt ourselves whether by imagining non-existent wrongs or in persistence in some mistake we cannot or will not see…”

She thought about the effect that she had on the people around her and realised that, while she had suffered immensely, she had also caused much suffering to others.  She knew that she had treated her parents cruelly –  in return for what they had done to her – and she also realised that obsessively concentrating on someone can have a damaging effect:

Perhaps he felt the longing dragging at him…the sense of another’s unwanted thoughts flowing towards one constantly…”

She came to understand that what happens to people in the outer world is often a reflection of what is happening in their inner world:

“… the world continually reflects back to us our inner states…”

Everything that befalls us has its cause within ourselves… another of those seeming miracles by which a change of inner disposition is followed by a corresponding change in the outward course of events…

Our being responds only to that to which it is attuned…”

Much of what she says is independent confirmation of the validity of conclusions that I had already come to and the truth of insights that had come to me.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Some thoughts from the poet Kathleen Raine

Some of the books I have written about are guaranteed to drive the dark clouds away every time I read them, Rudyard Kipling’s Stalky stories and the Molesworth books for example. They are old friends who never fail to amuse and make me feel better.

Other books have the opposite effect. I sometimes wish that I had never read Kathleen Raine’s three-volume autobiography. Some of the things that she writes come very close to home; they are extremely depressing and almost too painful to read.

I have described elsewhere the fatal curse that she believes she put on her friend Gavin Maxwell. The books Farewell Happy Fields, The Land Unknown and The Lion’s Mouth contain much more material of interest, not all of it distressing to read.

Here are a few random extracts from the notes I made when reading the three books, which are now back in the public library. I have changed the sequence in which her words appear, and just included some quotations that might inspire people and provide confirmation for their ideas.

Some words of wisdom from Kathleen Raine, and a few comments from me:

Imagination loves nobility and splendour, tragedy, beauty and kingship; loves all great things …of equality it knows nothing…

“… poetry alone answers to the unsatisfied longing for beauty and wonder…”

Poets keep alive the pearls and not the acorns, food of natural mankind…”

Is she suggesting that the majority of people are swine!