Thursday, October 6, 2011
How'd They Know Where to Dig?
We continue October SpookFest with another of our book trailers featuring the paranormal. Make with the readers' advisory thing, I say.
Hamlin Garland (1860-1940), who was born in Wisconsin but grew up pioneering in Iowa and South Dakota, won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography with his book, A Daughter of the Middle Border, which was the sequel to his autobiographical/historical work, A Son of the Middle Border (1917). Prior to turning to non-fiction, Garland had become famous as a fiction author, and he is often considered the founder of the "realistic method" in American historical fiction. His novels covered the North American continent and influenced later writers who likewise emphasized realism in portraying the actualities and hardships of late 19th century American life. Critics complained that Garland's books were too harsh, negative, and depressing, but Garland cared little for what such observers thought. He was much more interested in preserving a historical record of the true lives of American frontier and post-frontier homesteaders in the latter 19th century. Life was hard, and he didn't flinch from reporting it as he himself had lived it.
In 1929 Garland moved to Hollywood, California, and subsequently focused upon psychical research, which had attracted his attention as early as 1896 when he lived in Boston. He was a keen observer, skeptical but open-minded, and he was firm in the face of facts that could not be rationally explained away. His decades of investigation culminated in his treatise, Forty Years of Psychic Research (1936), which was followed by his final book, The Mystery of the Buried Crosses (1939). It is a fascinating, true life account of the search to unmask the mystery of how an uneducated couple (Gregory & Violet Parent, of Redlands, California) was able over a 10-year period (1914-1924) to discover Spanish gold and silver coins, as well as Native American artifacts (primarily metal crosses) from early Spanish missionary days, which had been buried and forgotten centuries before in the remote desert hills and mountains of central and southern California. With the help of Chicago psychic medium Sophia Williams, Garland leaves no stones unturned to uncover the secrets underlying this intriguing historical mystery.
Our book trailer below gives the highlights of Garland's research.
There is a wealth of information about the author available from the Hamlin Garland Society (affiliated with the American Literature Association) that was founded to promote and preserve Garland's many literary achievements.
The Mystery of the Buried Crosses is plenty rare these days, but my Library has a copy, which is available through the online Evergreen Indiana catalog, if you have the magic E.I. library card.
Looking for Buried Cans of Tuna-in-Oil, Myself,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Paranormal Readers Advisory News Beat
P.S. Buried treasure brought to mind "One Tin Soldier," written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter and performed by The Original Caste (1969), a Canadian pop group. The song was the theme to the motion picture Billy Jack (1971) in a version sung by Jinx Dawson, of the band Coven.