Some Things Coming

Tags: Carnivals, due dates, Daddy-hood, destiny, “a mean house in a dull street.”

Something Historic This Way Comes: I will be hosting the 23rd edition of the History Carnival here at OitNN on January 15th. (Carnival No. 22 is up at Jonathan Dresner’s Frog In A Well.) If you read (or write!) any interesting history-related blogging between now and January 15, please let me know by commenting or emailing a link (I’m at electromail-way at-way obmacdougall-ray ot-day org-way.) It doesn’t have to be academic-style history or the work of a professional historian–quite the opposite. The guidelines say: “It must be stressed that the Carnival is not just for academics and specialists, that entries certainly don’t have to be heavyweight scholarship. … They may be focused on a historical topic, on the author’s particular research interests or, alternatively, they may be reflections on the particular challenges and rewards of studying, researching and teaching history. Other examples of possible candidates for inclusion could include reviews of history books or web resources, discussions of ‘popular’ histories (films, dramas and documentaries, novels, etc).” A few submissions have already trickled in–thanks for those, keep them coming, and tune in here on the 15th!

Something Else Historic This Way Comes: Impending parenthood comes at us in funny ways.* I was checking out some library books yesterday, and as the librarian stamped and demagnetized them, she said, “the due date is April 22nd.” And a thrill of excitement and panic washed over me. Because the due date is April 22nd! (Or possibly April 29th, depending on how we calculate.) So there are now library books in my possession, checked out by feckless childless me, that may well be returned by somebody’s Daddy. Man oh man! Thus was my borrowed copy of Lisa Gitelman’s Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines: Representing Technology in the Edison Era imbued with a poweful sense of destiny.

*Or, at least, it comes at me in funny ways. I suppose L possesses more strenuous reminders of her condition.

Something Ghostly, If Not Particularly Historic, This Way Runs: As a coda to my twin posts on spiritualism and photography, I rummaged around in the basement and found my own personal foray into ghost photography, this accidental double exposure from 1980 or so. (I didn’t match my socks to my t-shirt as a rule–I’m in my soccer uniform here.)

The angel of death comes for Rob.
The angel of death comes for Rob.

Mr. Osbert Sitwell informed us the other day that ghosts went out when electricity came in; but surely this is to misapprehend the nature of the ghostly. What drives ghosts away is not the aspidistra or the electric cooker; I can imagine them more wistfully haunting a mean house in a dull street than the battlemented castle with its boring stage properties.
–Edith Wharton


  1. Wow, those people are jerks, sorry about that. The Picture is cool, I love to read up on ghost photography and ghosts, but not because I believe in them. I would rather prove them fraud. What is really funny in most cases is how the fakes and the “real deals” look exactly the same. Take William Hope from the early 1900’s for example. At the time there where tons of pictures being produced of “ghosts” taken only in the hope of seeing a ghost. People were paying ghost photographers, like Hope, to take pictures of themselves with the spirits of dead family members. Many of those photographs have now been proved to be swapped photographic plates, and assistants jumping into the exposure with sheets over their heads. But for some strange reason HIS figures wearing sheets on their heads are authentic, and can’t be disproved. Why do I not believe it?
    I regret to say I haven’t read your other articles on spiritualism and photography; I’m actually supposed to be working on an informative essay for my English class (subject: Tower of London) and stumbled on this page. I thought I would try to leave you at least one decent comment before I returned to work, considering the other not so thoughtful ones. Good luck on any future articles you have in the making, I hope you find a more considerate audience.

  2. Thanks, Jessica. I don’t think the comments above yours are from real people. They all came from the same address and had weird spammy links attached, but they amused me so I stripped out the links and kept the comments. But thanks for sticking up for me just the same.

    I hadn’t heard of William Hope, but it’s a cool story and I share your skepticism. My other articles on spirit photography are here and here if you’re interested in reading them. Good luck with the Tower of London.

  3. I have to admit, that is a pretty cool picture for not being real.

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