nthposition online magazine

Tom Ruffles

Ruffles is author of Ghost Images: Cinema of the Afterlife, a study of survival after death in film since the medium's beginnings, and lectures on film.

Chico Xavier

[ bookreviews ]

Medium of the century? Claim not proven...

Houdini: Art and Magic

[ bookreviews ]

The symbolism of Houdini breaking free of his shackles made him a role model for other Jewish immigrants with similar aspirations

The essential Ida Craddock

[ bookreviews ]

How did a stenographer turned sexologist with a spirit bridegroom ever lapse into obscurity?

The sympathetic medium

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

Transcribing, sending, receiving and recording information between the living was essentially the same as doing so between living and dead in the 19th century

Immortal longings

[ bookreviews ]

FWH Myers, Society for Psychical Research pioneer, and the Victorian search for life after death

Spiritualism and women's writing

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

More useful to literature students than historians of psychical research or Spiritualism

Alice Guy Blaché: cinema pioneer

[ bookreviews ]

The first woman film director is rewritten into history.

A study in survival

[ bookreviews ]

Communicating with the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Or not, as the case may be...

Shell shock cinema

[ bookreviews ]

A fascinating look at Weimar cinema.

Slate writing

[ bookreviews ]

A superficial look at a curiosity from the heyday of mediumship.

The articulate dead

[ bookreviews ]

Enjoyable but uncritical

Mrs Miller's gift

[ bookreviews ]

Vintage Spiritualist audio recordings get dusted down.

Weimar cinema

[ bookreviews ]

There was more to the period than the Kit Kat Club and green nail polish.

The Oxford companion to the photograph

[ bookreviews ]

A doorstop of a book, but excellent.

The haunted gallery

[ bookreviews ]

"Early commentators, watching the first films flicker to life (these metaphors are deeply ingrained) were impressed by the sense that somehow death was overcome."

The adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle

[ bookreviews ]

Another year, another biography of Sir Arthur...

The education of the eye

[ bookreviews ]

Ah, the glory days before health and safety education ruined education...

Brought to Light

[ bookreviews ]

"a photograph of what appears to be a rolled-up echidna is actually a 'Spark made on the surface of the body of a prostitute', to which is added the reassuring information, 'well washed'."

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

[ strangeness - january 09 ]

A re-examination and a possible explanation of the famous ghost photograph.

The Paranormal Caught on Film

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

Even-handed if hardly ground-breaking study. Shame about the editing, though...

The eager dead

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

A spectacularly odd (and true) tale of adultery, communicating with the dead and the spirit-child who was to bring harmony to Earth

HG Wells in Nature

[ bookreviews ]

Science fiction's science background.

Ghosts of Futures Past

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

"Dr Mary Walker, 'the most distinguished invert in the United States' was a Spiritualist and won the Congressional Medal of Honour, yet was arrested in 1878 for wearing trousers in public."

Framed time

[ bookreviews ]

"Digital may be the bright shiny future, the electrograph taking over from 'the fading hegemony of the cinematograph', but progress has a downside."

The Seance

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

The Victorian chiller is reborn...

Six feet over

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

Oh, Death, where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling?

"I am Houdini! And you are a fraud!"

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

This book gets it wrong: Houdini had a dislike of fraudulent mediums, but he was agnostic about Spiritualism as a philosophy.

Victor Hugo's conversations with the spirit world...

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

...included chats with abstractions, talking animals, extraterrestrials, entire countries, the Finger of Death... oh, and Shakespeare.

Laboratories of faith

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

A fascinating look at how marginal ideas and the mainstream intersected in 19th century France.

Movies and the modern psyche

[ bookreviews ]

Oh dear. Not a triumph.

Photography and spirit

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

A welcome survey of 19th and early 20th century spirit photography focuses the contemporary debates about religion, science and art.

Early discourses on colour and cinema

[ bookreviews ]

"By calibrating colour verisimilitude on Caucasian flesh tones, Kinemacolor's relationship with reality was culturally constructed..."

Conan Doyle

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

A warts and all portrait of the man who invented Sherlock Holmes

Black and White and Blue

[ bookreviews ]

That'll be 'black and white', as in film, and 'blue', as in porn.

Nature exposed

[ bookreviews ]

Rethinking Victorian photography.

Technologies of magic

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

The notion of 'magic' is a slippery one and can encourage waffle when it is not pinned down sufficiently...

Hexen 2039

[ bookreviews ]

"Treister takes this tendency to read causation into correlation, and our fascination with conspiracy, and satirises its ridiculousness by piling on arbitrary components"

Blasphemy

[ bookreviews ]

Boundary wars between the sacred and the profane.

Ghost hunters

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

Pulitzer prize-winner Deborah Blum's history of investigating life after death is a rattling good read... with some very puzzling lacunae.

Phantasmagoria

[ strangeness | bookreviews ]

A fascinating history of projected ghoulies and ghosties