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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 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!