Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Golden Book of the Mysterious (1976)

Written by Jane Werner and Sol Chaneles (with excellent illustrations throughout by Alan Lee), The Golden Book of the Mysterious (1976, Western Publishing Co.) delves into all aspects of the supernatural world, from ESP, psychic premonitions and reincarnation, to werewolves and witches, hauntings, UFOs, mythological monsters and cryptozoology.

Branded a "Golden Book" (although at 144 pages, and with its 8" x 11" hardcover, it is definitely not a Little Golden Book) ...Book of the Mysterious is sort of a children's version of the multi-volume non-fiction book series that were popular at the time (among them Time-Life's Mysteries of the Unknown and A New Library of the Supernatural).

This is the kind of stuff I ate up as a kid, especially before my post-James Randi conversion to junior skeptic.

Here's a sample of illustrations and topics covered.

Ghostly appearances.






Magical powers, such as levitation.

Werewolf transformation.

The yeti.

Monsters of the deep, from sea-serpents to the Loch-Ness monster.

Carvings like these, believed by some to depict an extra-terrestrial traveler, were featured in the Rod Serling narrated TV special, In Search of Ancient Astronauts (1973). (Watch it on YouTube while it lasts).


~Trix. said...

I absolutely love these images!
Thank you so much for sharing... :)

Chris said...

I'm kinda new to the blog but I'm constantly amazed at how much you and I must have been alike as kids. Do you re-buy all this stuff of were you lucky enough to keep it from childhood?

Brother Bill said...

Some rebuys, and some I've always had, but in a lot of cases, this is stuff I never originally owned as a kid. Forgotten treasures from the school library or that friends owned...

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LuckyTiger said...

Had a lot of fun today paging through your blog nostalgically. We seem to be contemporaries, so I thought you might enjoy this haunted house special that aired over the course of three Saturdays in 1983.

And if you don't like that, I have some kick-ass California closets, too.

Brother Bill said...


Ah, yes! The Red Room Riddle. Love those ABC Weekend Specials. When are they finally going to release those to DVD???


Smurfblood said...

Thanks! I almost forgot all about this book - probably because I only possessed it for a day or two. My uncle worked for Western Publishing (makers of Golden Books). So, I was somewhat the lucky boy as, every time I would visit, he would shower me with free books. This one, however, was buried in his basement storage. I immediately took an interest, so he let me take it home. My mother, however, upon seeing the morbid illustrations, deemed it “satanic.” My clearest memory of the shameful ordeal: The sea-serpent on the cover as she pushed it down, into the blackness of our kitchen wastebasket – never to be seen again.

Victoria Phantasmagoria said...

Oh, I had this book for a woefully short time as a kid, too! I was delighted and amazed by it, only to have it stolen by my nefarious cousin before I could even finish reading it! Grrr...

Sadly, I've never seen another copy again. :(

Skullptor said...

I too never was lucky enough to own these books either. Just got to check them out of our elementary school library as a kid. I also thrived on these books. Still do I'm afraid. I was smart enough not to let my mom see what I was reading. heh, always kept the books hidden in my room until I was finished pouring over them... usually late at night via a night-light or sometimes a lit candle. It added to the spookiness of the experience. A few years ago, I was at a used book store and acquired a copy of Time-Life's Mysteries of the Unknown. I treasure it beyond all other books I own.

brain_spoon said...

I love Alan Lee's art. I found a copy of his illustrated Hobbit at a library book sale, and since then I've been snooping around for more. Thanks! I found a copy of this book on amazon. I can't wait.