'Information ... Slightly Coloured by Prejudice'

Thursday, August 24, 2006
For a long time I had access to the 17th edition minus a volume or two. I had no idea that the 11th edition was considered among the finest examples of the form. I had no idea anyone rated such things.

I did know what a treasure trove the 17th was and wandered through it often and for hours on end. Things like Terrye's Sin Eaters... No Pluto... things missing by taboo and so much that is taboo today.

I can smell it. I wonder if it still is where it was.


CF said...

Slightly off topic, but I notice the article was written from Rangeley Lake, Me. One of the loveliest spots on earth.Especially in August and September.

Knucklehead said...


What could be better than finding treasure in one of the loveliest spots on earth ;)

Andrewdb said...

It is indeed wonderful, if slightly (ok, rather) dated at points. BUt where else can you get George Bernard Shaw to write on drame, of Freud on psychoanalysis?

I managed to pick up a copy at a used book store for a very affordable price, after years of lusting after the 1911. Meanwhile, someone has OCR'd it and it is available on-line at


Knucklehead said...


Thank you for that URL! Unfortunately it is not covered in green (well, the 17th was, can't say I ever set eyes on the 11th), does not smell of 90 year old books, or provide the feel of those pages but it will due in a pinch ;)

Now here is something that'll put hair on your head!

Ed onWestSlope said...

From my own view point as an Engineer, working with a lot of Geology, I find much the same wonder and fascination when reading reports and mapping produced before 1920.

I have in front of me the Needle Mountains Folio, 1905, USGS. The authors are listed, the descriptions are complete, the Economic Geology gives a lot of local history, the plates and maps are hand drawn (enchanting)and the photographs are striking. These are CLASS publications. The dusty smell is an absolute joy.

Now you have made me want to dig out some other old books. How am I going to get any work done? Should I blame you when my clients call?

I am so grateful that my father tracked down this and the other 13 Folios within the substantial geologic library which I have inherited.

terrye said...


And you thought I was making that up!

Turht is my old grandmother was a fount of folklore and I heard the tale of the sin eaters years ago.

She also swore she saw death. Sometime I might tell you all about it.

Luther McLeod said...

Hmmm..."she saw death"...interesting Terrye. I think I saw that myself once, with witnesses. I would like to hear your story.

chuck said...


Turht is my old grandmother was a fount of folklore

My grandmother told me how to cure snakebite by pulling the feathers out of the breast of a living chicken and holding it against the wound to draw out the poison. But she laughed when she told me and said there were many other such stories. I am sure there were, as her family lived in a dugout in Texas and weren't the upper class sort. Sadly, that was about the only story I got from her. My fault for not asking, I suppose.


I've never tried that cure for baldness. All the chemicals are easily to hand however. I wonder why no one ever told me about it before?

terrye said...


Years ago when she was about 15 my grandmother was picking in cotten on her uncle George's farm in Oklahoma. He was laid up in the house.. sick.

All of a sudden down the row came something black and close to the ground like a shadow, but it had legs too like a big spider. She said it ran up the row to the house, she followed it inside. It went in George's room. When she got to the door she saw it slide out the window and there her uncle lay dead on the bed, his face dark as if bruised.

That is the story. I am sitting in Mammy's farm house and she bends toward me and she says, "Yes child. I saw death. Death is black like shadow, and close to the ground and moves like a spider and it can come anytime it chooses."

Not your average granny.

terrye said...


My grandmother would bury hair in the yard to cure a headache. She made herbal remedies from things she picked in the fields and along the fence rows.

She would be out there in a man's shirt, a skirt, work shoes and a sunbonnet with a big basket over her arm.

Skookumchuk said...

ed onwestslope:

I have somewhere in the chaos a USGS guide to field mapping and reporting. It dates from I think the 20s. In it, you are instructed to describe the flora and fauna, on the assumption that you may be the first literate human to see that particular place.

On our dining room wall, I have an early USGS map of Yosemite Valley, done in that wonderful time when art and science were each still an integral part of cartography.

Suddenly I feel this need to buy an old encyclopedia...

Luther McLeod said...

Thanks Terrye. Good story. This may come across as my old hippie self, but certain people do see, certain things.

My experience was a little different. I am not sure I can give it justice in the written word. Plus, I feel very awkward in relating it.

We were assaulting a small but significant hill in SVN (for the third time). My squad had moved into position on a small knoll to sweep the larger hill. My men called me over to one end of the knoll. When I looked to the larger hill, I saw an apparition. It was in human form but appeared as a skeleton, the bones were identifiable in the face. It was wearing an unknown uniform with helmet. But oddly, as well, a gas mask. Totally unnecessary at the time.

This apparition calmly and slowly appeared and disappeared several times while we watched. Appearing to sink into a hole and then arise. We were so transfixed as to not even raise our weapons.

We mentally marked the spot. And on arriving at that location, did a thorough search for any type of hole. Bayonets out, probing the ground. There was no trace.

We just all agreed that it was death making an appearance.

Sorry if I sound like a nut. But if you were to take me back there, I could show you the exact spot.

terrye said...


You do not sound like a nut. Not at all. People see things. It happens.

A friend of mine was so lost after her daughter was killed in an accident that all she could do was cry. One day the girl's dog starting barking in the kitchen...when she went to investigate there was her daughter.The girl told her that she was ok and not to worry about her and vanished. The mother's grief will never leave her, but she felt a measure of peace after that. Was it an apparition? You will never convince her of that, she saw what she saw.

Syl said...

Love is a golden twisted ribbon of light connecting two human beings. I've seen it.

Somehow I just can't make myself say more.