Monday, October 28, 2019

Halloween 2019 book cover: "Haunted Houses"

  • Title: Haunted Houses
  • Author: Joseph Braddock (1902-?)
  • Dust jacket designer and interior illustrator: Felix Kelly (1914-1994). You can get a full look at Kelly's gorgeous wraparound dust jacket on this 2011 post on Uncanny UK.
  • Publisher: B.T. Batsford Ltd. (same as yesterday's book)
  • Publication date: 1956
  • Dust jacket price: Can't tell. It's clipped.
  • Pages: 218
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Dust jacket blurb: "Joseph Braddock believes in 'a world of spirit which is just as real as this one'. Although, to his regret, he has never seen a ghost, it is his humility before the relation of supra-normal happenings which gives a particular quality — neither sceptical nor yet credulous — to this book about Haunted Houses."
  • Dedication: "TO MY WIFE who has walked with me round the edge of the Unknown"
  • First sentence: "A great number of books has been written, in the present and in the past, about ghosts and haunted houses, linked with their allied subjects such as witchcraft, legends, miraculous cures, uncanny happenings at séances, extra-sensory perception, and visitations and messages received by living persons from the so-called dead."
  • Last sentence: "The scientific approach to these profound mysteries, though most valuable, is not the only one."
  • Random sentence from middle #1: "Doarlish Cashen — Manx for Cashen's Gap, a gap in the hedge — is an ancient, bleak and remote farmhouse, built of slate slabs faced with cement, out of sight of any other farm, perched about seven hundred and twenty-five feet above sea level upon a treeless, shrubless slope of Dalby Mountain on the west coast of the Isle of Man."
  • Don't leave us in the lurch, Otto! What happened at this spooky place? Not much. Unless you consider a clever talking mongoose from the fifth dimension named Gef odd.
  • Random sentence from middle #2: "A baleful black stalagmite formation, dominating the mysterious river, clearly depicts the menacing nutcracker profile of an old witch woman."
  • Review excerpt: On Magonia (, a reviewer compared his original read as a child in 1961 with his re-read in 2012, writing: "Today they may seem like pretty tame stuff, but I suspect there is stuff in them to scare even the most internet-hardened kiddie. I am not sure what did for me, perhaps it was Braddock’s chapter heading ‘Evil Ghosts’, or his story of the house in Birmingham in which a phantom cat was blamed for the death of a baby, or maybe it was his story of the boy in the Grenadier pub, who saw a shadow advancing and retreating, complete with evocative drawing by Felix Kelly."
  • Want a copy? This book was reprinted in 1991 with the title Haunted Houses in Great Britain, though I'm not sure if Kelly's illustrations are included. Used copies of this later edition are fairly cheap.

But wait, there's more

While trying to find more about Joseph Braddock, I stumbled upon this classified advertisement, under "Business Personals" in the October 20, 1975, edition of The Pittsburgh Press.

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