Weird and Occult 1/- Library # 1 (Gerald G. Swan)

w-and-o-1

In the 1940s, Gerald G. Swan purchased the rights to tons of stories, paying on acceptance. His files were loaded with unused material that languished throughout the 1950s. Come 1960-1961, the outfit finally issued much of this languishing material in a variety of genre-specific editions. Here, I will be dealing exclusively with the first issue of the Weird and Occult 1/- Library digest-sized paperbacks (and in January 2017, two more blog entries will follow, covering the other two issues).

The books are 64-pages each, measure 5 x 7 inches, and are stapled with glued wraps.

The contents:

  • (1-13) Vashtarin by Kay Hammond
  • (14-15) Twenty-five Years by Herbert J. Brandon
  • (16-22) Cause or Effect by Maurice Grove
  • (22-30) Dr. Kranzer’s Masterpiece by S. G. J. Ousley (sic)
  • (30-39) The Horsehair Chair by Winifred M. Carnegie
  • (40-46) The Case of Eva Gardiner by A. M. Burrage
  • (46-49) In the Dark Temple by Noman C. Jallant (sic)
  • (49-56) Green Eyes for Evil by Leslie Bussey
  • (56-58) Scuttled by Christine Douglas
  • (59-63) The Sins of the Fathers by Tom Lawrence
  • (63-64) So Near – So Far by Philip Glyde

Quite easily this lead story by Kay Hammond-Davies is the best out of the whole lot. Equally so, Vashtarin is the only story within the whole volume worth reading. Taking place during World War Two, the Royal Air Force are interested in investigating a downed plane in the Himalayas. Rumor has it that the valley holds a lost race. The scene switches, and the lost race is given to us in typical Oriental-fiction style, complete with the evil leader possessing magical abilities. Complete with a virgin that falls for the downed airman, we are introduced to a wonderfully exotic lost realm, a pilot whom is struck down after his flights of fancy, and a magically-enhanced world is bombed out of existence by the RAF in retaliation. A story that is more Oriental adventure than weird, with slightly fantastic tones throughout. If only the rest of the stories retained such interest….

Herbert J. Brandon doesn’t break new ground in Twenty-five Years. A few college chums going their own way after graduation vow to meet 25 years hence. Usual snap ending, they all arrive, sans one, whom at the midnight hour, arrives, as a ghostly form, then vanishes, and one of the other older lads notes that he hung that very morning, for a crime!

In Maurice Grove’s Cause or Effect, a wife is convinced that her husband is causing the untimely deaths of people that they once knew or famous persons that haven’t made the news in a while. However, she’s informed she is interpreting his proclamations wrongly. He is attuned to the occult and picking up on their death vibrations, which suddenly makes him call out their name, etc. Convincing her to return to her estranged husband, he later learns that she has died, while attempting to return home. Ironically, only that very day, the husband, whom had long since given up on her returning home, and just uttered that her name, making the doctor wonder…was he wrong?

In Dr. Kranzer’s Masterpiece, S. G. J. Ouseley writes a truly weird tale. Kranzer has gone missing, and Dr. Arnold is brought in to investigate matters. He eventually discovers a secret chamber underground and the doctor, dead, with an uncanny thing, a creation of his own doing, that led, ultimately, to his own undoing!

Winifred M. Carnegie delivers a creepy tale when a dead man bequeaths The Horsehair Chair to a non-believer in the occult. However, when a friend visits and stays the night, reading by the fire, he ends up sitting in the chair (while his friend is drawn away for the night). He’s soon unable to extricate himself from the chair, and is visited by a frightening thing. A demon? The next night, his friend returns and the pair retire to the same room and he takes to the seat. Unable to warn him without being scoffed at, his friend soon suffers the same fate. They later break apart the chair, find a note within, from the original owner, noting that he had murdered another person in that very chair….

A. M. Burrage handles the murder of a young girl in The Case of Eva Gardiner. The police have their man but no evidence. Angered that the murderer has escaped Justice, Mr. Ransome, an older gentleman bachelor nightly coerces himself to focus mentally on the girl, whom was a regular visitor at his home. One night, she ethereally visits while he dreams, and discloses the identity of her killer, and other details. Unable to obtain the police’s assistance in his arrest, Mr. Ransome obtains a gun and shoots the killer dead, turns himself over to the police.

In the Dark Temple, by Norman C. Pallant (erroneously credited as “Jallant” on the page), a man is in the jungle seeking a lost temple. Securing its whereabouts, he alone enters and steals a rare gem off a temple gods face. Despite the gleaming stones removal, he hears a ferociously evil roar from the god and a baleful, evilly bright gleaming eye glares down at him. Scared out of his wits, he is assaulted by some being. Whipping out his knife, he fights for his life…. Mentally deranged, the locals find the treasure hunter, with the gem, and it is learned that a locally infamous one-eyed tiger assaulted him.

Leslie Bussey delivers a somewhat chilling account in Green Eyes for Evil. Alan is fixated on his brother’s fiance, and proclaims his love to her. Failing to secure her affections, he gives her a green stone ring. Time passes, and he receives a letter to meet his brother. In reaching the home, he learns that the brother murdered his wife, after discovering the bejeweled ring. He knows the gem was stolen from a specific location, and intends to exact his revenge upon his deceitful brother. His plans misfire, and Alan murders his brother in  quasi-self-defense. Fearing that, if caught, he’ll hang for murder, he cleans the scene of his presence, and slips the dead man his gun. His brother gets the last laugh…his finger contracts and drills Alan, dead.

Christine Douglas delivers a weakly constructed tale in Scuttled. The protagonist annually plans various luxurious vacations, but in fact, never leaves his home. On returning from his “vacation,” he boasts about how enjoyable it was and provides relevant details to enhance the experience, by reading up on each locale. His plans go vastly awry, when on returning to work this time, his workmates leave a newspaper on his desk noting that HIS SHIP NEVER MADE IT to its final destination.

In The Sins of the Fathers, Tom Lawrence writes a typically dated weird tale in which a dead man visits a young man as a ghost in his dreams, and informs him that he shall die for the sins of his father. While a young boy, his father had caught the dead man stealing from the cash drawer. In protecting his property, he inadvertently strikes the man a death blow and sent to the penitentiary, where, he himself dies, succumbing to an illness. Feeling cheated, the ghost is determined to take the son’s life, instead. If only he can stay away long enough to escape the ghost’s intentions….

In Philip Glyde’s So Near – So Far, a romantic couple are hiking up a mountain when he accidentally slips, knocking their pack off the edge, and damaging his watch. Continuing the ascent, they are met by a thickening mist. Realizing they may become stranded, they begin a rapid, but cautious descent. The mist becomes impenetrably dangerous. Realizing further efforts may result in their death(s), the pair hole-up for the night. On awakening, they find that, in looking over the edge, they were only three feet from completing their downward journey. (NOTE: This is not a weird story in the least)

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Weird and Occult 1/- Library # 1 (Gerald G. Swan)

Galaxy (a post-WW2 humour pocket magazine)

Galaxy 1946 Autumn

Published by The Star Publishing Corporation, GALAXY lasted from 1946 through at least 1949. Numbering is difficult for this publication. It began in January and ran successively for 8 monthly installments, concluding with the August 1946 edition. Then came the pictured edition here, simply dated Autumn. One “Eric H. Hale” is given to have been the editor, a man for whom I know nothing about.

These thin side-stapled pocket magazines contained photos of actresses and models, tons of cartoon drawings, numerous short stories, articles and advertisements. Interestingly enough, the last interior page has two ads, for Outlands: A Magazine for Adventurous Minds and for the New Realm Magazine.

The stories within are hardly noteworthy, running a page or two in length. This issue sports two known entities: Kay Hammond-Davies and N. Wesley Firth. The former supplies a tale in which a young couple and their dog move into a home and must rid their garden of a pesky rabbit. All three are gung-ho toward wanton murder until the girl has a change of heart for the innocent bunny. The husband blows its brains out and the dog pounces and she calls them beasts, much to their bewilderment. Firth’s short-short involves a French artist with poor English-speaking skills explaining why he will no longer paint any further nudes in the future. Most are general fiction tales, with a humorous slant.

The best features of this magazine are the assorted line-drawn cartoons. Contributors include the talented comic artists Denis Gifford and Denis McLoughlin.

Galaxy no 11 1947 SpringThe Spring 1947 issue (the year is actually  not given) sports neither a contents page nor are any of the pages numbered.

Noteworthy contents include the short fantasy “Flesh and Blood” by Eira Williams and a tale by David Boyce.

Artists include Hooper, Ynott, Sten, Anis, James Symington, Arthur Williams, Jones, Hix, and others.

While the gifted “named” artists are missing from this issue, there are some decent “indecent” illustrations that give way to a good chuckle, such as a man’s wife stuffing her bra….

Galaxy no 13 1947 Autumn

The Autumn 1947 edition provides the following data:
Editor: Eric H. Hale
Associate Editor: Beryl Cousins
Advertisement Manager: J. C. Robson
American Representative: Emil Zubryn
African Representative: J. J. Odufuwa

London offices are located at:
Temple Bar House, 23/28 Fleet St,
London, E.C.4

American Bureau
47 West 56th Street
New York City

African Bureau
58 Macullum Street
Ebute-Metta, Nigeria

Trade distributors throughout the world are given to be:
Rolls House Publishing Co., Ltd.
Rolls House
2 Bream Buildings, London, E.C.4

Fiction stories abound with the usual motley crew of illustrators, photos and a Hollywood article supplied by David Boyce. Talented artist Bob Monkhouse supplies a half-pager, while the best fiction tale is a one-page ghoul from beyond the grave! Patrick S. Selby also supplies a short story. His name might best be remembered for having copped the cover to New Worlds #2 with “Space Ship 13.”

Galaxy no 15 SpringAnd we wrap up this article with the last edition in my possession, the Spring 1948 issue.

Story contributors include editor Beryl Cousins, Joan Seager, and a tale by Cay van Ash, largely remembered for  bicycling to the home of writer Sax Rohmer to obtain an interview. He later became Rohmer’s secretary and then departed for Japan, the two becoming fast friends until Sax Rohmer’s death.

David Boyce supplies a supernatural article.

Artwork is supplied by all the regulars of the time, including Griff, James Symington, Housley, Hix, Kenneth Mahood, and the talented Bob Monkhouse returns with two witty pieces.

Galaxy (a post-WW2 humour pocket magazine)

1921-04-02

I am hunting hundreds of newspaper issues.

PLEASE CONTACT ME AT:
morganwallace AT gmail DOT com

Chicago Ledger (1901-1923)
Illustrated Story Weekly (1923-1924)
Weekly Ledger (1924-1925)
Blade and Ledger (1925-1938)

I am interested in the following years.
Quote all issues.
I often buy spare copies as upgrades.

1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909,
1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919,
1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928,
1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1936, 1937, 1938

1921-02-19

Also collecting numerous other story newspapers, including the following titles:

Toronto Star Weekly
(Magazine Sections, 1920s-1940s)
Toronto Star Weekly
(Complete Novel, 1920s-1940s)
Montreal Standard
(Complete Novel, 1920s-1940s)
Fiction Magazine
(Saturday or Sunday edition, 1916-1918)
Literary Magazine Section
(weekly: 1909-1910)
The Illustrated Companion (monthly: 1915-1916)

Corpse from the Sky by J. Murray Crouch

GULLIVER BOOKS Corpse From The Sky
“Corpse from the Sky” by Joseph Murray Crouch (Gulliver Books, 1950)

Corpse from the Sky” was written by J. Murray Crouch and published by Gulliver Books, in 1950.
The book is a 128-page digest-paperback that features artwork that is both not credited and has zero to do with the content(s) of the novel.

This is part of their short-lived Skyscraper Books series, which featured only one other known novel, “The Dead Are So Dumb,” by Leslie Cargill; he churned out over a dozen thrillers during a 15-year span.

Other books noted (on the rear cover) include the following series:

  • Starlight Westerns
  • Kismet Romances
  • It Really Happened!

Our author appears to be Joseph Murray Crouch, born possibly in 1912, Newport and died 1997 in Croydon, Surrey. (Perhaps one day a family-member will read this blog and contribute something further). Come 1940, I found online that he was in the Royal Artillery, and by 1943, he was married on the Isle of Man. At some point, Mr. Crouch was involved with the Intelligence Corps. To my knowledge, this is his only literary contribution. I would surmise that he attempted to translate some of his life experiences into writing this murder – mystery novel.

Here, a man is dumped out of an airplane. The large body slams into the buildings before slithering to the ground, nearly at the feet of a detective. The coincidences and poor ability of the author to create any sense of suspense is further shattered when a lovely young lady enters his office. She is Denise, daughter and heir to Arthur Vanrietz’s fortunes. Inexplicably, we learn that her father, Arthur, had suggested to her to seek out this particular detective, in the event that he is dead. No connection is even given to explain why Arthur should want this particular detective.

So, now we have an unidentified corpse (landing literally at the feet of the detective) and a young lovely lady hiring him to look for her murdered father. She is certain that he is dead, after all. A silly assumption. Our detective, Mr. Bartle, sends her to the local police and while there, she learns of the dropped body, identifies it as her father, returns to Bartle, and tells all. He’s immediately on the case.

Traveling out to the family castle, he meets all sorts of villainous residents. There is no need to travel down the well-worn path to explain that the butler is always given the evil slant (in fact, he served time once) and that the rest are equally unscrupulous.

In the end, Bartle, whom hasn’t a damned clue who the murderer really is, but secretly speculates, has everyone in the lounge and exposes everything he knows, then, absurdly, states that the (secret) half-brother had the best motive for murder and is indeed the crafty butcher whom has murdered every other person throughout the novel.

Seriously? 

Without any basis or proof, the half-brother whips out a gun and tries to effect his escape. Why? There was no proof! he could have sat there all day and laughed.

The novel ends practically on that note. No romantic conclusion. The girl, we are given to understand, is romantically involved with the only other person in the castle that appears to have a relatively clean slate. The half-brother is tackled, cuffed, and arrested, and Bartle turns away in disgust, because he can’t stand the sight of persons placed under arrest.

Huh?

Honestly, the novel had me utterly flummoxed, as I hoping that the otherwise juvenile construction and plot would suddenly explode ingeniously into a ripe thriller. Imagine my disappointment….

 

Corpse from the Sky by J. Murray Crouch