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Oddities: a Book of Unexplained Facts


THE inexplicable is always fascinating, and here is both a humorous and a serious study of such oddities. The zoologist can speculate as to the ‘Devil’ who came out of the sea and impressed his ‘Hoof-Marks’ on the Devon coast. Crosse's Acari, produced by long-continued electrical action, go far beyond the bacteria and slimes produced by professional spontaneous generationists. The demons or ghosts which come from unknown realms to interfere with coffins and their contents, as at Barbados, certainly merit the attention of a ‘learned’ society and, of some ‘scientists’. The possibility of the reincarnation of such people as the Berbalangs of the Philippines is believed by all wild peoples. The Wizard of Mauritius of the eighteenth century, who could foretell the arrival of ships several days beforehand, will be claimed by some ethnologists to have his prototypes in many a savage isle of the Pacific. The search for the Auroras and other lost islands still goes on, and this story of several southern isles is from an expert. All Britain was excited over the fate of Franklin in 1845–46, and were “The ships seen on the Ice” of a great berg near Newfoundland in 1851 the Erebus and Terror with which they so clearly corresponded? We suppose the astronomers will not allow us the planet Vulcan, but popular writers still regard it as a subject for speculation. Our editor and the president of the Royal Society are the two targets for the fiends of ‘perpetual motion’, but really it is rather difficult for the layman to understand that the hypothesis of the conservation of energy holds for space as we know it. Orifyreus was mad perchance, but we, like our author, would not accuse him of being a knave. Astrology in the person of Nostradamus comes in too—and we may refer our readers to the professor of this ‘science in Oxford’, our sole specialist in this modern age. Buy and read this book; every page interests, and rio page bores.

Oddities: a Book of Unexplained Facts.


Rupert T.


By. Pp. 336 + 8 plates.(London: Philip Allan and Co., Ltd., 1928.) 12s. 6d. net.

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G., J. Oddities: a Book of Unexplained Facts . Nature 124, 368–369 (1929).

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