Something a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m fascinated by 17th-19th Century natural history. I’ve got a small – but growing – collection of natural history books that were published in the 1800s, things like Ray Lankester’s Diversions of a Naturalist and Frank Buckland’s Curiosities of Natural History; books that try to explain things that science at the time didn’t have an explanation for.
The whole ‘Age of Enlightenment’ in general is enormously interesting. This was a time when science as we know it was in its infancy, and people still had a residual belief in magic. This was the time that gave birth to the Wunderkammer, and mediums and freak shows and all sorts of things could be found everywhere you looked.
The story I’ve been writing this past couple of weeks has drawn quite a bit on my love of all of this stuff, especially on the history of the Feejee Mermaid. If you don’t know what that is you should read about it, because it’s fascinating.
Anyway. It’s a goal of mine to build up a collection of curiosities to go with my natural history books, and I think I know where I’m going to start. There’s a guy on eBay called Brian Davis who makes all sorts of weird things, including feejee mermaids and – believe it or not – a Cthulu foetus. They’re amazing, and hideous, and I really want on. Have a look;
Aren’t they amazing? If anybody wants to buy me one, feel free.