Saturday, 8 November 2008


I have in my possession an old Danish comic book on ghosts, which is actually a translation of an original comic book from Classics International that published the well-known Illustrated Classics series. Published in 1961, which is a couple of years before I was born, I must have purchased it in some second hand book shop as a child (as a child I spent a lot of my pocket money on second hand books and comics) and for some reason I have kept it ever since.

The title translates as 'Superstition and Ghosts', and it was, of course, issue number 13 in a series on 'The world in text and pictures'. It contains a number of relatively archetypical examples of stories of ghosts and premonition, like e.g. the story of a man giving a girl a ride only to find that she was the ghost of a girl who was killed in a car accident and is buried in the cemetery where he saw her waiting for a bus.

Another example is poltergeist phenomena, which is also reported in some cases of magia posthuma. Like premonition, it is a subject that was of particular interest to those involved in parapsychology, a subject that was in vogue when the comic book was published, and a lot of the contents are concerned with 'telepathy', 'telechinesis' etc.

It's quite curious to be reminded of how popular 'paranormal research' was back then, as no one seems to care about it today. Well, I suppose it should be obvious that it was a dead end like the 'theories' of Von Däniken and others that were also widely studied when I was a child and a young man. I'm sure there are internet groups that cherish these theories and collect 'Forteana', but I'm not going to look for them. Even the subject of vampirism has its cultists, and I don't care to spend any time on them.

But it is very interesting to study how the conception of revenants and related 'supernatural' phenomena have changed over the years, e.g. from the quite corporeal revenants of earlier times to the rather incorporeal 'grey ladies' and onto the pseudo-scientific concepts of parapsychology. Unfortunately, very few books attempt to describe this evolution and explain it in terms of how our world view has changed over e.g. the past milennium.

The old comic book on ghosts isn't very well drawn, and maybe it's just because I read it as a child, but I think it does say something essential about the subject in a way that makes you say: 'What if?'

Click on the two pages from the comic book to see them in a larger format.

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