Manuscript Found! A Picaresque
In early nineteenth-century Western New York, a world of mobs and secret societies where belief in visions and magic is still commonplace, two men compose manuscripts that will leave indelible marks on society, and one woman finds among the religious and political turmoil a pretext to exert an influence outside her appointed sphere. In this debut novel exploring the beginnings of Mormonism and the rise of America's first third-party political movement in opposition to Freemasonry, Nathaniel Lloyd delineates the intersections of religion and politics and the power of secrets and falsehoods. The first volume of a trilogy, Manuscript Found! establishes compelling characters and follows as they become embroiled in the political and religious affairs of their age, unaware that fate will eventually bring them together on the western frontier.
Episode Reading List
Episode 33: Terror over Tunguska: The Siberian Blast of 1908
This topic also has plenty of scholarly articles and internet articles of lower quality available, but no definitive book that I could find. Check out Vladimir Rubtsov’s The Tunguska Mystery, if you’re looking for a longer form exploration of the topic. It looks like a good volume on the topic.
Episode 32: Maria Monk and Her Awful Disclosures, and Blind Spot: A Tale of Two Babylons
There are no books I have found that properly dissect these stories as I have tried to, and I refuse to link to Monk’s or Hislop’s books, as the fact that they are still disseminated is part of the problem of why their falsehoods continue to be believed. The closest thing to a book that challenges Hislop would be Ralh Woodrow’s The Babylon Connection?, written after he further researched Hislop’s scholarship, but Woodrow himself can’t be called a reliable historian, so for these episodes, I won’t include an entry in the reading list. Visit the blog post to find links to further reading.
Episodes 29-31: The Killing of Dr. King, Parts 1-3
In putting together my series, I relied heavily on Gerald Posner’s meticulously researched and comprehensive book on the King Assassination, Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. This is the definitive work for anyone interested in cutting through the bullshit and discovering what really happened to the great Reverend King in 1968. I highly recommend it.
Episode 28: A Very Historically Blind Christmas
Judith Flanders’s book provides a wealth of information about the traditions of Christmas. Pick it up if you’re in the spirit of the season and want to learn far more than what I covered in the Christmas Special.
Episode 27: The Diabolical Features of Spring-Heeled Jack and Blind Spot: Tracking the Devil in Devon
On these two topics, I can’t recommend any book that is more in-depth than the research freely available at Mike Dash’s website. And be sure to listen to my interview with Mike Dash, in which we dive even deeper into these subjects.
Episode 26: The Myth and Mystery of Columbus
Even before the quincentennial, when reevaluation of Columbus became prevalent, Hans Koning’s Columbus: His Enterprise: Exploding the Myth raised nearly every issue with this figure and remains a key text for revisionists.
Blind Spot: Charles Dellschau and His Extraordinary Sonora Aero Club
This monograph served as my principal source for the episode. Not only does it collect all the best scholarly essays on Dellschau, but it’s also a gorgeous hardcover, glossy-page collection of all his artwork. I can’t recommend this enough as a coffee table book and conversation piece. At $400, it’s pricy, but looking around on Amazon, I see it being priced at almost $2500 elsewhere, so it just may appreciate in value. This is a true collector’s item; I’m really happy with my copy.
Episode 25: The Phantom Airships of 1890s America
Michael Busby’s Solving the 1897 Airship Mystery, while taking a decidedly credulous stance that the airships were real (or at least many of them), is certainly the most comprehensive book on the topic so far.
Episode 24: The Memorable Arrest of Martin Guerre
Natalie Zemon Davis's academic work on this story, occasioned by her consultation on a film of the same name, remains the definitive study of the Affair of Martin Guerre. If you want to learn more about this case, it is a must read.
Episode 23: The Campden Wonder; or, The Supposed Murder of William Harrison
In addition to the work of Andrew Lang, I relied in large part on Linda Stratmann's piece on the Campden Wonder in her book, Gloucestershire Murders. For more historical true crime from this corner of England, check out her book.
Blind Spot: Little Dauphin Lost
Deborah Cadbury's The Lost King of France gives a detailed treatment of the entire mystery, including the 21st-century developments using DNA technology.
Episode 22: The Bastard Princes in the Bloody Tower
Read my principal source for this series, Bertram Fields's Royal Blood, a skeptical but fair and entertaining take on this exceedingly complicated and enthralling historical mystery.
Blind Spot: Babes in the Wailing Wood
Get yourself a copy of Caldecott's picture book! Read it to your children and scar them for life!
Episode 21: The Lost Youth of St. Martin's Land, or Woolpit's Green Children
Get yourself a copy of the book that started it all: Thomas Keightley's classic The Fairy Mythology!
Blind Spot: The Beloved Disciple and the Authorship of John
Read more about the fascinating case for Mary Magdalene being the Beloved Disciple in Robin Griffith-Jones's well-received book.
Episode 20: Eustache Dauger, the Secret Prisoner in the Velveteen Mask
For in-depth research and a more recent theory that I didn't cover in the episode, check out Paul Sonnino's work on the Man in the Iron Mask.
Episode 19: The Priory of Sion and the Quest for the Holy Grail, or Lincoln's Links and Plantard's Plans
The definitive book on the Plantard hoax has yet to be written (or translated into English), but you can read the entire compelling pseudo-history in the original bestseller by Henry Lincoln et al.
Episode 18: The Marian Apparition of Guadalupe and Her Fantastical Portrait
It has proven difficult to find much scholarly research on the Guadalupe Tilma, but this looks like the best book-length work out there on the topic:
But if you're more interested in the claims of the tilma's miraculous qualities and are looking for a coffee table book, you'll probably like this one.
Episode 17: The Turin Shroud, Divine Likeness or Bogus Relic?
Written by an investigative reporter, this book offers the most detailed and accessible overview of sindonological scholarship, and it's a compelling read! I recommend it despite its clear bias for the authenticity of the shroud.
Blind Spot: The Great Los Angeles Air Raid and the Secret Memos of Majestic 12
A collection of works that originally appeared in the Skeptical Inquirer, The Hundredth Monkey and Other Paradigms of the Paranormal includes pieces from Philip J. Klass on the Majestic 12 documents as well as a great many other measured analyses of fascinating subjects.
Episode 16: A Brief History of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena
If you're interested in UFOs and strange celestial wonders, you should really get yourself a copy of this episode's principal source, which chronicles 500 sightings throughout history as well a numerous equally interesting hoaxes. This is a fascinating coffee table book, complete with lots of historical illustrations.
Blind Spot: Three Men Gone from Eilean Mor, the Missing Keepers of the Flannan Isles Light
For a recent and very detailed investigation of all the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the Eilean Mor lighthouse keepers, pick up Keith McCloskey's Lighthouse: The Mystery of the Eilean Mor Lighthouse Keepers.
Episode 15: The Carroll A. Deering, Ghost Ship of Cape Hatteras
for exhaustive research and compelling storytelling on this subject, nothing beats the non-fiction novel Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals: The Mystery of the Carroll A. Deering by Bland Simpson. If you want to read more about this true story in the form of a narrative, check it out!
Blind Spot: The Terrible within the Small; or, The Fabrication of the Learned Elders of Zion and the Forgery of Their Protocols
As mentioned in the episode, this graphic history, the last major work from comics innovator Will Eisner, is both an well-researched history and a compelling and cinematic telling of this story. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy.
Episode 14: Bloody Libel; or The Slaughter and Sacralization of Young William of Norwich
For the most in-depth examination of Thomas of Monmouth and his campaign to venerate William and demonize the Jews in Medieval England, get yourself a copy of E. M. Rose's The Murder of William of Norwich: The Origins of the Blood Libel in Medieval Europe.
Episode 13: The Specter of Devil Worship, Part Two
For a more complete and contemporaneous look inside the Taxil Hoax, you have to read A. E. Waite's Devil Worship in France, a major source for this episode's coverage of that outrageous Anti-Masonic scandal, which actually picked apart all of Taxil's publications and recognized them as part of a sprawling hoax before Taxil revealed as much himself!
Episode 13: The Specter of Devil Worship, Part One
The principal source for this episode was Gareth Medway's Lure of the Sinister: The Unnatural History of Satanism, a fascinating read with endless details to which I couldn't hope to do justice in my little exploration of the topic. I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of this book and reading it for more insight into devil worship throughout history.
Episode 12: Jubal Early's Lost Cause
Read Edward B. Bonekemper III's detailed point by point refutation of every aspect of the Lost Cause mythology. This was a major resource for the episode, and I implore any who feel affronted by this subject matter or doubt this perspective to read it.
For further reading into the Myth of the Lost Cause, check out this book of essays, which laid the groundwork for Bonekemper's book.
Click on the image at left to find the book.
Blind Spot: The Loss of Theodosia
Read Charles Felton Pidgin's classic and detailed biography, Theodosia, the First Gentlewoman of Her Time: The Story of Her Life, and a History of Persons and Events Connected Therewith, which, with its granular detail on the many competing legends surrounding Theodosia Burr Alston's disappearance, served as the principal source for this episode.
Episode 11: The Trial of Levi Weeks for the Murder of Elma Sands
Read the remarkable history that I based this entire episode on. Paul Collins delved deeply into primary sources like court transcripts and contemporary newspapers to painstakingly build the world of turn-of-the-19th-century Manhattan in Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America's First Sensational Murder Mystery.
Blind Spot: Swift's Lost Silver Mine and Dorr's River of Gold
In his book, The Strange Case of Jonathan Swift and the Real Long John Silver, Robert Prather draws a connection between the Swift of our lost sliver mine legend and the fictional pirate, Long John Silver.
Additionally, check out the book that Earl Dorr appears to have plagiarized in his affidavit account of the river of gold beneath Kokoweef!
Click on the image at left to find the book.
Episode 10: Joseph Mulhatton, the Liar Laureate of the World
The definitive biography of Joseph Mulhatton has yet to be written, but Matthew Goodman has written a wonderful book about the Great Moon Hoax in The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York.
Blind Spot: Tutelary Spirits
This 1888 volume describes the legend of the banshee as well as many other Irish marvels and creatures of lore.
Episode 9: The White Ladies of German Lore
Again, there is not much in the way of books available about the White Lady of the Berlin Schloss, but here's a classic illustrated edition of a Bram Stoker novel you likely haven't read, The Lady of the Shroud. In it a mysterious white lady visits a man in his castle. Is she a ghost? A vampire? Or just an unfortunate soul?
Blind Spot: The Lady of the Haystack
Since there appears to be a paucity of published material about this fascinating tale, enjoy instead the classic Thomas Hardy novel Far from the Madding Crowd, in which a poor character, Fanny Robin, finds herself in aq similar situation, destitute and sleeping beneath a haystack.
Episode Eight: Kaspar Hauser, Part Two, Princeling
Not a book, but check out Werner Herzog's classic film interpretation of this amazing story, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser.
Blind Spot: Princess Caraboo of Javasu
A bound edition of the contemporary John Matthew Gutch narrative I used as my principal source for this minisode, which was one of my personal favorites.
Episode Seven: Kaspar Hauser, Part One--Foundling
Peter Tradowsky's treatise on the philosophical and spiritual implications of Kaspar Hauser's story makes for an interesting read.
Additionally, check out my principal source for the Hauser episodes, Jan Bondeson's The Great Pretenders, which has a lot of other great stories to tell as well. Click on image at left to find this book.
Blind Spot: The Oberfohren Memorandum and the Ernst Confession
Read further about Hitler's purge of the SA in the Night of the Long Knives.
Episode Six: Firebrand in the Reichstag!
Read the latest historian touting the "Nazis did it themselves" theory with a grain of salt. Benjamin Carter Hett has been criticized for his take on the affair.
Blind Spot: The Codex of Rohonc
A very expensive volume of essays containing Benedek Lang's article on the forgeries of Samuel Literati Nemes.
Episode Five: The Found Manuscript of Wilfrid Voynich
Yale University Press has published a facsimile edition of The Voynich Manuscript. Get yourself a copy to display on your coffee table as a conversation piece!
And it's a bit pricy, but the Codex Seraphinianus would also make for an amazing coffee table book... (click on image)
Episode Four: The Dancing Plague
David Waller's The Dancing Plague: The Strange, True Story of an Extraordinary Illness was an indispensable source in my episode on this phenomenon. Enjoy!
Episode Three: The Lost Colony and the Dare Stones, Part Two
Get yourself a copy of David La Vere's The Lost Rocks: The Dare Stones and the Unsolved Mystery of Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony, which I used as a source in this episode!
Episode Two: The Lost Colony and the Dare Stones, Part One
Check out Lee Miller's Roanoke: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Colony!
Episode One: Demagoguery and Know-Nothing Native Americanism
Read the Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk, the literary hoax that spawned a wave anti-Catholic rioting and nativist sentiment!
But if you're more interested in the claims of its miraculous qualities and are looking for a coffee table book, you'd probably like this one.