After rediscovering Seymour Simon’s Space Monsters book, I wanted to track down the rest of the Eerie Series. That lead me to this one:
The simply named Ghosts is a very different book from Space Monsters. While Space Monsters focused on creatures from movies and TV shows, Ghosts focuses on specters from folklore. Simon records a lot of standard tales about haunted houses and ships and graveyards. One of the best stories is about the Nameless Horror of Berkeley Square, a Lovecraftian ghost that crawled out of the sewers in London to literally scare people to death. There are also poltergeists, ghost dogs, and various other apparitions in the book. There is even a photo of one such apparition, the Brown Lady of Rayhnam Hall.
And there are more pictures in the book than that. In addition to a few other photos and wood carvings, there are also several pieces of original artwork by Stephen Gammell, such as this one:
If the style looks familiar, it should. Gammell was also the artist of the Scary Stories series.
I honestly don’t remember if I read this book as a kid. There is nothing specific about it that I can remember as there was with Space Monsters. But it is a possibility. It is certainly the kind of thing I liked to read back then. And though it’s a little below my current reading level, it’s still the kind of thing I like to read today.
Sometimes you just get lucky. I was thinking about writing a post for next month about the classic 1935 Universal film Bride of Frankenstein. That in turn got me thinking about the Crestwood House Monster Movies series of books I had read and loved as a kid. I decided I wanted to buy one for nostalgia’s sake, and when I searched eBay, this gem popped up.
The Eerie Series was a series somewhat like the Crestwood House series. I’m not sure how many other books there were in the series (I’m sure of at least three). But I know I read this one as a kid. I probably read it several times in the school library. From it I learned about BEMs (Bug-Eyed Monsters), pulp fiction (no fooling; I learned what pulp fiction was from this book), and classic sci-fi movies.
I always wanted to be a kid like I’d see in Explorers or similar movies, a kid who falls asleep each night to classic sci-fi movies. Unfortunately, I never was. I didn’t have a TV in my room and there were no classic sci-fi movies on the channels I had when I was 10 and 11. But I did have this book. It introduced me to all the classics, like Forbidden Planet, Day of the Triffids, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and The Thing From Another World. I particularly remember a comment this book made about The Day The Earth Stood Still. It says that at the end Gort tells the people he is the master, not Klaatu. When I finally got to see the movie years, I kept waiting for this twist ending but it never came. Now that I have this book back in my hands, I see that it was talking about the original short story. Interesting misunderstanding. What is more interesting is that I remembered it for almost 30 years.
There are a few instances where the book touches upon the social issues raised in some of the better science fictions movies. Touches upon them pretty hard, in fact. I totally missed that as a kid, same as I missed the environmental message in The Plant People. I was more interested in the pictures of aliens and robots. This book has tons of such pictures. One of my favorites is this guy here.
Look familiar? It should. One of the Diener Space Creatures that Sean Hartter and Flack have been showing us is based on this guy from I Married A Monster From Outer Space.
Books and series like this were invaluable to a kid like me, a kid with big eyes but little to fill them. They made up for all the movies and shows I didn’t get to see in the pre-adult, pre-Internet era, and they made those movies and shows even bigger classics than they already were.