Uncanny Book Club: Harry Price


Original copies of early works by the famous/infamous ghost hunter Harry Price are now difficult to track down and expensive when you do. A few years ago I followed on eBay a copy of ‘The Haunting of Cashen’s Gap’, Price’s classic exploration of the Gef ‘the talking mongoose’ case. The seller was from the Isle of Man and clearly had no idea of the rarity of what he owned: a 1930s first edition in its dust jacket. No doubt he was amazed when it sold for nearly £300!

I only own three of Price’s books. Two of them you can see here: his best-sellers on the subject of Borley Rectory. Fortunately, both were quite cheap, but both are tatty. My copy of ‘The Most Haunted House in England’ is the second edition (‘Reprinted with corrections’) of 1941, published a year after the first. The bonus with this copy is that although the dust jacket is missing (a complete DJ would have made it much more expensive to buy), a former owner has pasted in what remained of it onto the flyleaf, with a bit of the spine featuring a sketch of the ghostly nun stuck down opposite the title page.

My copy of the follow-up, ‘The End of Borley Rectory’, does have its dust jacket – or most of it – but is also a reprint from the year after the first edition (ie 1947, not 1946). Neverthless, it cost me £15. I did see a similar and much more attractive copy for sale a couple of years ago at a book fair for the same price – but though I itched to buy this brighter copy, I managed to control my illogical book-collecting instincts. Needless to say, both books are must-reads because of their importance in English ghost-lore.

The only other book by Price I own is a 1945 first edition of ‘Poltergeists Over England’ with a dust jacket in about the same condition as ‘End of’. I think this is one of Price’s better books: a solid and reasonable discussion of the poltergeist phenomenon and a useful first reference point on the subject. This also cost me £15 (nearly 20 years ago) and was definately a bargain

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About UncannyUK

I am the editor of Uncanny UK (www.uncannyuk.com), a website devoted to British ghosts and folklore. I am the former editor of Paranormal Magazine and the author five books on Welsh folklore. Just launched Apparition Developments, first product of which is Ghost Finder London - an app plotting 300 haunted sites in London for iPhone. I'm a highly experienced journalist and corporate copywriter. I'm an enthusiast on the subjects of UK folklore, the supernatural and antiquities and am fond of old horror and sci-fi movies, cult TV such as Dr Who and I collect Victorian/Edwardian magazines. I also enjoy weird art and macabre literature by the likes of M R James, E F Benson, Algernon Blackwood, W Hope-Hodgson, H P Lovecraft etc. I live in North Wales, which is a very spooky place.
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